Thursday, November 30, 2006

Randomness from Here

Since I'm on a bloggy roll today, I'll tell you what's going on here.

The temperature dropped sharply in a matter of a few hours, and went from breezy and balmy this morning to cold and rainy this afternoon. I had a wonderfully productive morning. I got my closet and bedroom cleaned out, resulting in two full bags of trash (!!!) and two full bags of items to donate. Funny thing is, it hasn't been long since I did that. Amazing how things pile up.

Now Sarah is asleep and Elizabeth and Silas are laying down for a rest, listening to the Story Hour tapes my mom gave me, that I used to listen to when I was little. Anybody remember Aunt Sue and Uncle Dan? It's such fun to see my kids enjoying them as much as I did.

Now I must be off to make sure that I don't squander the rest of my day...

Scripture Memory for Kids

I have to say this is not an original idea. My mom used this technique with us growing up. I've just modified it since my kids are in Awana, a structured Bible memory club.

As an Awana leader I notice that a lot if parents aren't working with their children to learn their memory verses at home. And I understand. While it's noble to say that parents should be helping their kids memorize scripture, the truth is that it's really hard to find time for the amount of drill necessary to make it stick, especially when you have a non-reader.

I've been writing their verses on index cards and putting them at their places at the table. Since we eat meals together, this is a great time to review their verses each day. Growing up, we read/said our memory verse as soon as the prayer was over, before we began to eat. I'm not quite that consistent, but I've found that having the verse in front of us reminds me to have the kids say it a number of times through the week. Usually before the week's end, they can say it by heart.

I usually write 3 at a time and paper clip them together. Index cards work better than keeping their Awana book on the table (where it might get damaged), and if I do several at one time, it's easier to not get behind.

It only takes a few minutes for me to copy their verses, and then a minute or two each day. This takes so much intimidation out of the idea of scripture memory! Absolutely painless!

Advent Chains

If your kids are like mine, they are already asking, "How many days till Christmas?" Of course, a traditional way to count down is to use a lovely advent calendar with little windows to open each day. For some reason this has never worked for us. Either I forget to buy a calendar, or the windows get torn off, or we forget to check it each day.

I've seen some beautiful ideas for homemade alternatives around the blogosphere that range from 24 envelopes with a holiday activity inside, to 24 stockings, and so on.

However, I'm into easy. Simple. When I make things too complicated, they just don't get done. So I'm recycling the paper chain idea. Each of my kids made a paper chain with 24 links, out of old wrapping paper. Each day during December they get to tear a chain off, and they have a visual idea of how many more days till Christmas.

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Ten Ways to Bless Your Pastor

Here's a little something I wrote over a year ago; it's been languishing in my files. This seemed like a good time to share it.


Christmas can be both a joy-filled and extra-stressful time for those in ministry. It can also be a great time of year to show your pastor special love and support. Through the years, here are a few ways dear church members have blessed us, both at Christmas and all year long.

1. Be his friend. Guys, your pastor needs buddies just like anyone else. Invite him to go golfing or hunting with you. Kid around with him.

2. Befriend his family. Ladies, take his wife out to lunch or shopping. Support his kids. Go to their ball games or recitals, and remember them on special days.

3. Give him grace. Remember, he’s human, too. He will make mistakes just like anyone else.

4. Show hospitality. Invite his family to your home for lunch after church, or take them out to eat. Sundays are a crazy day in most ministry homes. Your pastor’s family will appreciate not having to worry about lunch sometimes, and they will also appreciate the social interaction.

5. Encourage him verbally, as well as with cards and letters. Be sensitive to the Spirit’s prompting and deliver encouragement when you feel compelled to do so. You don’t know what all he has had to deal with through the week, and often a word fitly spoken will give him the boost he needs to keep going.

6. Give practical gifts. Fresh garden vegetables, fresh game if you hunt, home baked or canned goods are usually welcome treats. One year a deacon’s wife made each of us a fleece blanket. Several years later, we still use them daily. Cash or gift cards are nearly always a good choice.

7. Let his wife be his wife. Remember that her first priority is to be your pastor’s help and support at home. Don’t expect her to act as an unofficial associate.

8. Watch for special needs. If he has unexpected medical bills, his freezer or vacuum cleaner bites the dust, or his couch is in tatters, look for ways to help. Not everyone will be able to do this, but if you’re blessed financially, helping to meet these larger needs are some of the best ways you can bless your pastor. Even if you don’t have an extra abundance to share, keep his family in mind when you have hand-me-downs to give away or when you’re able to give your pastor a good deal on something you’re selling which he needs.

9. Be a peacemaker. If you disagree with him or are offended by something he says or does, talk to him personally rather than taking it to others or leaving the church without seeking to make amends. This will help everyone avoid huge amounts of hurt and division, and it will promote unity in the Body.

10. Include his family in yours. Many pastors’ families give up the opportunity to live close to their relatives in order to shepherd flocks far from home. Often they aren’t able to spend holidays with family, and they miss out on extra grandparent help when they needs a hand with home improvement projects or a babysitter so mom and dad can go on a date. Look for ways to be the family of God to your pastor; be there for him when he needs it most, even in the simple things. Include them in your holiday celebrations. Adopt your pastor’s family and be a stand-in grandparent, aunt, or uncle. Love them at Christmas and always!

Monday, November 27, 2006


Hope all of you had a wonderful Thanksgiving. We did. We spent time with my family and Billy's family during Thanksgiving week, and the kids had loads of exhausting fun. They are still wiped out. For that matter, so are we. But it was wonderful. My brother was in from Wyoming and my sister and brother in law and little nephews were in from South Dakota. This is the first time my whole family has been together for a holiday in years.

Now it's time to unpack, clean up, and recuperate from a week's break.

More later.

P.S. Thanks to all of you who left sweet comments while I was on my little break. I appreciate them all! :)

Monday, November 20, 2006

Links Updated

It really bugs me to follow links from someone's blog roll and find out that they have blogs listed that haven't been updated in years. So I cleaned up my blog roll this morning while nursing the baby, adding some new links and removing some that aren't active or seem to be winding down. I left a few I consider to be in limbo in hopes that they take off again. :) I changed links on some recent moves, correctly alphabetized a stray link that somehow was out of order, and changed the name on Valerie's blog. How long has it not been Take Joy?! And how did I not notice that I had it listed under the wrong name?!

Brief Blog Break

I probably won't be posting any this week as I take time to enjoy family and friends.

Have a great Thanksgiving!

Driscoll Responds to Critics


Thursday, November 16, 2006

What Do I Have In My Hand?

Many years ago I received a (now defunct) magazine for Christian women in which the editress (OK, spell check says there is no such word…female editor) frequently exhorted us ladies to ask ourselves, “What do I have in my hand?” The idea was to be creative with what we had rather than feeling that we had to buy something new, or even new supplies to make something. While the magazine went down a sad road and eventually disappeared (as far as I know), the question stayed with me. I still often ask myself, “What do I have in my hand?”

Honestly, I don’t get out much. It’s not that I can’t; it’s just more practical not to. I don’t know when I’d have the time to get out more. And I love staying home. Going out with three tiny children is hard, and in this day and time, especially in an urban setting, a little dangerous. Also, it’s cheaper. So I’m home a lot. Consequently, I frequently find that I won’t be going to the store for a few more days or weeks, but I have a need or want at the moment. Maybe it’s a meal; maybe it’s a craft I want to make. Maybe I need a gift for someone, or a costume for my kids. Asking, “What do I have in my hand?” has saved me money—probably a lot of money.

Recently when I needed a baby gift, I raided my stash of fabric scraps, downloaded a free bib pattern from the internet, embellished it (OK, I bought 75 cents worth of embroidery floss), and had a gift in hand.

I’ve always thought that I wasn’t a very creative person, but I find that the more I have to be, the more I am. Necessity is the mother of invention, you know. I also get wonderful, inspiring ideas from other bloggers. They have no idea. Thanks to all of you who post beautiful pictures of your crafts.

Sara at Walk Slowly, Live Wildly is learning how to ask “What do I have in my hand?” in a big way (although I don’t think she uses that term). She and her family have joined Compact, a group of people who have committed to not buy anything new for one year, except for what her family needs to live, like food. She outlines it more on her blog. As I understand it, it’s not against the rules to shop for, say, a needed coat at Goodwill—you are just not supposed to buy anything new. One of Sara’s goals in this adventure is to pay off her student loans.

Imagine the money you would save if you didn’t buy anything new for one year. While I don’t see my family going to that extreme any time soon, I admire Compact members and their example inspires me to waste less and ask, “What do I have in my hand?” In this way, I can help my family and steward well God’s gifts to me.

Nontoxic Cleaner

I remember reading on Anna's blog that baking soda was good for cleaning stovetops. This interested me since I'm allergic to the scent in many cleaning products. Today as I was getting ready to scrub the stove (one of the things on my least fave jobs list) I remembered what she had said. I also remembered that I had some lemons in the freezer, and how acid and soda fizzed, sort of like scrubbin' bubbles. Hmmmmm...

Maybe this is old news to some, but to my surprise, lemon juice and soda cleaned my stovetop better than ANY cleaner I've ever used. The grime and burned-on food literally wiped away. I had to use some elbow grease on some of the worst places, and there are a few tiny spots that didn't come completely clean--but it's way cleaner than it's been before using regular cleaners.

So I'm tickled to hit 3 birds with one stone--this cleaner is cheap, effective, and doesn't give me a headache or panic attack. I'll be using it again!

Fruit Juice Sweetened Fruit Cake

One thing I really missed when I had to swear off sugar is my Grandma’s Christmas fruitcake. After a few years of doing without, I came up with this alternative, based on her original recipe. It’s basically a lot of dried fruit and nuts held together with a spicy, orangey batter. If you like fruit cake you’ll like this, and it’s a whole lot more healthful.

1 c. olive or other vegetable oil
4 eggs
3 cups white or whole wheat flour
1 ½ c. dried pineapple, chopped
1 ½ c. dried papaya, chopped
1 ½ c. dates, chopped
1 ½ c. raisins
3 c. broken pecans
1 t. baking powder
2 t. salt
2 t. cinnamon
2 t. allspice
1 t. cloves
1 1/4 c. thawed frozen orange juice concentrate

Heat oven to 275. Line 2 large loaf pans with lightly greased brown paper.

Combine oil and eggs. Beat well. In large bowl, combine 1 c. flour with fruit and nuts. Mix remaining flour with other dry ingredients. Add dry ingredients alternately with orange juice concentrate. Pour batter over fruit mixture. Blend well. Turn into prepared pans. Place pan of water on lower oven rack. Bake 2 1/2 -3 hours or till done. (Knife will never come out quite clean.)

Cool on wire racks. Seal in bags and let age in refrigerator for 2-3 weeks if desired.

Frankly, I think the aging in the original recipe has something to do with putting brandy on top, which I never do. I think it would be just fine un-aged if you don’t use liquor.

Also, you could probably use any combination of dried fruit you like. I'll probably add some dried apricots this year.

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

'Cause I'm Sure You're Just Dying to Know

My favorite homemaking job: Vacumming. It's very relaxing. Next in line would be sweeping, and also cooking, when I'm not under time constraints.

Least favorite homemaking job: ironing (maybe wouldn't be so bad if I weren't so far behind), followed by washing dishes.

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

One of Those Weeks

So far it's been one of those weeks--and it's just Tuesday. It feels like it should be Friday, at least. Late nights, last-minute changes of plans (well, that was last week...good changes...but threw this week into chaos...), recalcitrant children, a very tired mama, a messy house, and laundry stacked to the ceiling. It always amazes me how quickly I get behind, just when I think I'm catching up.

Oh well. This too shall pass! Meanwhile I'll stay thankful that I have so many wonderful blessings, even when I feel overwhelmed! :)

Back to your regularly scheduled cheerful programming.

Monday, November 13, 2006


Over the past couple months I've heard several people say, "I was an accident," in regards to their conception. One added, "That's what my mother has told me all my life." Seeing the brokenness, the despair, the lack of self-worth in the lives of one of these people in particular makes me wonder...Could this sense all one's life of being and "accident" contribute to such destructive behavior, such a devastated life?

No, I want to say. You aren't an accident. You were planned in the mind of God before you were conceived. You are precious. You are worthy.

I'm not a quiverfull diehard...However, it grieves me to see the surprise of an unexpected child viewed as an accident. Furthermore, that any child would be raised with the understanding that they were an unwelcome intruder into a carefully planned family--how sad.

I can't think of a good way to wrap this up, it's just something that's been on my mind lately. Let's welcome these precious little ones for what they are--blessings, eternal souls worthy of celebration.

Thursday, November 09, 2006

Out and About

My sister has some good post-election thoughts up.

Rick Capezza tells about all the pro-life democrats who won.

TulipGirl is on hiatus...Or is she? I'm glad I kept checking every day, just in case!

Lindsey is doing a week of modest and feminine dress at her blog. So refreshing to have someone enjoy looking like a lady without being legalistic about it. (Today she's in track pants and a pink t-shirt.) Lindsey is adorable, and I love her girly outfits since I'm all about skirts myself.

Mrs. Cat has some great "waste not want not" tips up today. I've been working on not being so wasteful, so these were very timely for me.

Anna at Pleasant View Schoolhouse (a beautiful blog) has pointers for working with a beginning seamstress.

Mrs. Wilt has moved! Check out her new blog.

Yes, I admit it. I'm mostly reading homemaking and craft blogs right now. For those of you who enjoy something different, maybe the pendulum will swing one of these days soon.

Have a great day!

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Where Have You Been All My Life?

One Hour Crafts

Mark Driscoll is Right

I don’t like conflict and I usually steer clear of controversy, but I can’t help but weigh in on the brouhaha that’s ensued over this statement by Mark Driscoll:

Most pastors I know do not have satisfying, free, sexual conversations and liberties with their wives. At the risk of being even more widely despised than I currently am, I will lean over the plate and take one for the team on this. It is not uncommon to meet pastors’ wives who really let themselves go; they sometimes feel that because their husband is a pastor, he is therefore trapped into fidelity, which gives them cause for laziness. A wife who lets herself go and is not sexually available to her husband in the ways that the Song of Songs is so frank about is not responsible for her husband’s sin, but she may not be helping him either.

I honestly can’t for the life of me figure out why it’s so controversial. Because it’s by a man? Does that automatically make him a male chauvinist pig? Because he suggests that a sloppy, frigid wife could leave her husband open to temptation? Good grief, hasn’t anyone read I Corinthians 7:1-5? What is so scandalous about this?

To say that Mark Driscoll is pointing the finger at Gayle Haggard (who seems to be a lovely and godly lady), or that he expects women to look like 20-year-old supermodels, or that he’s giving men a free pass, or advocating some kind of wild chandelier-swinging experience, or that skinny women are the only ones who wouldn’t be offended by this, or that he doesn’t think pastors/men should treat their lives with love—all are reading a whole lot into what Driscoll actually said. Am I really the only one that’s not offended, and in fact actually agrees with him? Trust me, I’ve seen a lot of marriages wrecked in part by the kind of carelessness and frigidity he describes. It’s foolish to say that a woman has no responsibility in keeping her husband satisfied so that he’s not tempted by the pretty little hussy who’s all too willing to meet his needs. Read Proverbs 5, 6, and 7. That kind of girl is out there, waiting for your man to show up with his defenses down.

Yes, husbands should be faithful in the worst of circumstances—even if their wives do “let themselves go” and kick them out of the bedroom. Husbands should love their wives no matter what, because we’ll all have times when we’re more attractive than others. I’m glad mine loves me when I’m 9 months pregnant, when I have rooster hair, morning breath, and no makeup, when I’m fatter or thinner, whether I’m too stoic or too emotional, and all through the Hades that was hypothyroidism. But this doesn’t let me off the hook of being all I can be for him--body and soul--and meeting his needs to the best of my ability. Trust me, I’m no Victoria Osteen, but I firmly believe that we wives, especially pastor's wives, should do the best we can with what we have, and make sure that our husbands are fulfilled.

Girls, we need to stop being so all-fired sensitive. Can we just take this statement at face value? Let’s keep our guys happy!

Sunday, November 05, 2006

Affecting the Culture

Ransom Fellowship has been such a great help to me and enabled me to see my place in our culture in a fresh light. This article is no exception. A quote:

For nearly twenty-five years, evangelicals have been politically active. Large sums of money have been raised. Political PACs and think tanks have been formed. Elections have been won—even as far as the White House. Nonetheless, American cultural life has continued to decline over the same period. What was considered scandalous when aging Boomers were in college is now regular programming on family TV. We have not been effective in influencing culture.

This statement is in the next paragraph:

Cultural change requires changing minds and hearts. It cannot be forced.

The entire article is well worth reading. I don't agree with every statement, but the points give great food for thought.


Since I've been craving Reese's Peanut butter cups, it's no surprise that I'm drooling over this recipe. Oh. My.

On an opposite note...My sis has a great post up about how to eat healthfully even when you're far from a major health food outlet or coop.

And check out the great new blog Real Food Revolution for more inspiring ideas about why and how to eat well.

Friday, November 03, 2006

Frugal Friday: Bean Day

One thing my mom did growing up during lean times was to have beans once a week. Saturday was bean day. Now I do the same thing. I cook a big pot, usually on Mondays when we're recovering from the weekend, and then we have leftovers for lunch a couple days after that. It's cheap, it's good, and it's predictable. Plus, it's nice to have a day when I know that I can just put a pot on to simmer and I don't really have to cook!

Frugal Fridays hosted by Crystal

Thursday, November 02, 2006

Beta again?! Help!

Went to update to beta, only to find that the little update button is gone...Have a missed a window of opportunity? How do I update? Help! (Yes, I'm a technological ignoramous.)

Apparently I've been left behind. Oh well. One day.

Advent for Evangelicals

Lindsey has started a new blog, Advent for Evangelicals. Looks delicious, especially if you love this season! I'll be taking advantage of her wonderful resource this year. Check it out!

Wednesday, November 01, 2006


I finished a post that was in draft, and it showed up below the post I wrote yesterday. So scroll down if you want to read about aprons!