Romans 12:1-2

So here's what I want you to do, God helping you: Take your everyday, ordinary life—your sleeping, eating, going-to-work, and walking-around life—and place it before God as an offering. Embracing what God does for you is the best thing you can do for him. Don't become so well-adjusted to your culture that you fit into it without even thinking. Instead, fix your attention on God. You'll be changed from the inside out. Readily recognize what he wants from you, and quickly respond to it. Unlike the culture around you, always dragging you down to its level of immaturity, God brings the best out of you, develops well-formed maturity in you. Romans 12:1-2

Thursday, June 30, 2011

JamWithMe Thursday - Keep Faith Fresh


What is one area you’d like a refill of encouragement? (e.g. work, parenting, marriage, friendship, ministry, faith, health, finances, or ___? )

I regularly read Dayspring’s blog (in)courage and sometimes check out the writer’s sites. I really like Faith Barista. On Thursdays she hosts “JamWithMe Thursdays” where she serves up the topic of faith and we write the post. This week I’m wanting to write a post each day (M-F) so I thought, why not? I’m discovering her prompts make you be transparent.

The area I would like a refill of encouragement is friendship. My husband is my best friend. My sister is my best girlfriend and I’m thankful to be in the same town. I have my FB and bloggy friends. I have friends at church and I’m thankful for the time we share. I get to see friends in Texas soon. What I want is a like-minded friend locally who I can connect with on a weekly basis.

Sometimes it’s hard to make those connections when a friend’s kids are different ages than yours or they have girls and you have boys or your schedules are different. Sometimes people are friendly, but they have that “one” friend and don’t need a deeper friendship than being friendly. I don’t want to make excuses and I’m open to an unlikely friend.

Lord, please stretch my faith and open my heart to encouragement in friendship.

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Make 5 Dinners in One Hour

***Side note to the potato salad: I made about 24 servings of potato salad for $4.50. Buying five pounds (about 15 servings) from the deli would cost approximately $10.**

When M. was very young I did some Once a Month Cooking. It was nice to have the dinners in the freezer, but was a real pain to make. Literally, after a day of cooking I hurt all over, especially my back. In Texas I went to one of those neat little dinner stations where I made up several meals and took home to either make soon or freeze. It was a luxury I did maybe three or four times - super expensive!

I found this blog, Make 5 Dinners in One Hour. You can either just enjoy the blog (there are recipes on it from time to time) or subscribe to the menus. It's $15 for three months. It comes with recipe, serve with suggestions, instructions AND shopping list. It's something you could just do once and rotate the recipes if you don't want to continue.

It's wonderful and worth the price to me not to have to think about what's for dinner or making a list. We've never had a bad dinner from it. In fact, now I am cooking much more flavorful food and I'm using all kinds of spices I didn't before. I also love that the food is "real"- nothing is complicated or expensive.

Please leave me a comment and let me know if you try out the sample menu.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Potato Salad and Vintage Bowl

Yesterday evening I made something that I have made a total of three times in my life. Potato Salad. Now, I've eaten plenty, just not made it. BTW, I do not like the already made up stuff in a tub that you can buy at the grocery store. The recipe I made last year when we went camping at Father's Day called for sweet relish, but I didn't have enough. So, I made a recipe that I found by the Idaho Potato Commission. Potato Commission - Potato Salad. Perfect match!
This recipe turned out great! I doubled it since I was making enough for Hubby's work potluch and our dinner the next night. I used half the amount of eggs though because they aren't my favorite and I used a bunch of green onions because it's what I had.

In addition to sending the potato salad I sent a really cool bowl. Hubby said it got lots of compliments. It's a Texas Ware melamac mixing bowl - brown with confetti splatters. I found some on blogs and Ebay with quite a wide range of prices. It's from the 1950s and was my Mom's. I love it!
The potato salad - it's not as runny as it looks. I don't like runny potato salad!

The bowl
Left hand side near bottom - the bowl in use.
Photo of my mom and sister (Aunt) in the late 60s.

Monday, June 27, 2011

Multitudes on Mondays - June 27

363. Hubby knows how to fix wall board
364. Supplies
365. Safety
366. Electricity
367. Better air flow for the ac
368. Lower humidity
369. Watching someone we know on HGTV
370. A flowering vine starting to climb the fence
371. Hubby home early
372. Answered prayer
373. Going to Home Depot with my best friend
374. 20 kids in a pool
375. Stopping to talk to a neighbor – not being in a hurry
376. The scent of my Aveeno lotion
377. M. thinking of me by bring a CFA sweet tea home
378. Aunt taxiing M. while I mow
379. Boys starting thankful journals
380. Boys getting along
381. Triple berry muffins
382. A road trip
383. Personalizing a devotional thought
384. Rays of sunshine streaming down to the ground
385. Ear to ear grin (L. after getting call from soccer coach that he made his team)
386. Being included and belonging
387. Going to Walmart late at night to get a new soccer ball
388. Friends to meet at IHOP at 1am
389. Children who teach me
390. A swimming pool in the neighborhood
391. A new tree better suited for our climate
392. New leaves on the rubber plant
393. Dog laying in the grass with her chin on the cement of the porch
394. Garden growing

Even though the fig trees are all destroyed, and there is neither blossom left nor fruit, and though the olive crops all fail, and the fields lie barren, even if the flocks die in the fields and the cattle barns are empty, yet I will rejoice in the Lord, I will be happy in the God of my salvation. Habakkuk 3:17, 18 (NLT)

Daybook - June 27

Outside my window…sunny, unusually still – hardly any breeze

I am thankful for… seeing different planes and life flight at the fly-in and just generally being with my family there.

I am wearing… still wearing jammies!

Some plans for the rest of the week… I need to get busy on projects! I added another week away to the summer so that means I only have three weeks left at home before school starts (and all our trips).

I am hoping … that the business we have to do with the water dept. doesn’t cost any money!

On my mind… my boys. We watched a Phineas and Ferb episode last night and I’m thinking about summer vacation and hoping that my boys look back on ours with fond memories.

Hearing…. draws shutting from boys getting dressed.

I am praying for… friend whose son has MRI today.

From the kitchen….. ate yesterday at the fly-in “burger bash” (and my scales show it today!) Dinner part of this week: M – chicken chili, T- grilled food, W – bbq pork in the crock pot

Around the house… things keep piling in my office. Grrrr. Oh, a good around the house – our air conditioner seems to be cooling better.

One of my favorite things…. mornings in my porch swing

From my picture journal…

Please note: L has a new hairdo!

To view more daybooks visit Simple Woman's Daybook.

Sunday, June 26, 2011


My friend at A Homemaker's Heart is giving away a mini ant hill by Insect Lore. Check it out here! Tamara is a wonderful home schooling mom and you'll love her photos, homemaking and home school information.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

The Meaning of Love

I was browsing through an issue of Real Simple and read about their essay contest to answer “When did you first understand the meaning of love?”. Although I’m not in to writing for their contest, I thought it would make a good blog post for me.

God’s love has been evident to me from an early age and consistently since then. I am thankful that I don’t ever recall a time where I felt unloved. Awkward and not fitting in during growing up years, yes, but never unloved. Also, it was during most difficult parts of my life that I felt especially loved and cared for by my Heavenly Father.

I have also felt loved by my earthly family. Maybe even when I didn’t understand it with my head as “love”, I did with my heart. My mom always tucked me in at night and woke me up each morning. She had breakfast for me and either took me to school or watched for the bus if the roads were bad. She helped me study and quizzed me on almost every test I had in high school. Dad spelled love “t-i-m-e”. On Saturdays I was his shadow for whatever errands and projects he had going. My sister (Aunt) helped take care of me, she taught me to read in the grocery store, she carried my bag of stuff when we went to the cellar in the middle of the night and she looked out for me in a million ways. Sundays were my favorite day at home. Every Sunday the same thing – Aunt and I went to church, when we got home Mom had made my favorite dinner – cube steak and Velveeta shells mac n cheese, then we’d hang out in the living room where Dad was watching TV. We’d read the Sunday paper and nap in the afternoon. A snack in the evening and Heehaw or The Wonderful World of Disney rounded out the day.

The love of my life – Hubby – helps me understand a bit more about the meaning of love every single day! He always inspires me, is hardworking, seeks to be redemptive in all relationships, and is self-sacrificing. He made my day, week, month, year – the other day when were on an errand together he declared “I get to go to Home Depot with my best friend”. Our boys, M & L, are a precious blessing to us. I understand love more as I care for them, as we spend time together and with every sweet gesture of their love.

I John 4:11-12, The Message: My dear, dear friends, if God loved us like this, we certainly ought to love each other. No one has seen God, ever. But if we love one another, God dwells deeply within us, and his love becomes complete in us—perfect love!

I think I was 8 in this picture.

I'm curious, does your family take pictures in front of the fireplace?

Monday, June 20, 2011

Multitudes on Mondays - June 20

332. Things swaying in the breeze

333. Time shared and thank yous

334. Color to behold and eyes to see it

335. Intricacies of yellow on delicate wildflowers

336. Relatively speaking -serenity

337. Rain! The sound of it on my kitchen window

338. New friends

339. Riding five miles round trip on a bike for a snow-cone

340. Riding my bike through a sprinkler

341. A free teacher's workshop

342. A door prize from the History Center

343. Questions answered

344. Our porch

345. A cool summer morning

346. Tan lines on a baby's chubby leg rolls

347. The rhythm of water dripping off my roof onto the rocks below

348. The huge wide-mouth yawn of our dog.

349. Watching a kitten at the pet store chase its tail and pounce on another kitten

350. Abundance of groceries available - choices

351. Naps

352. Going to the Lord's table in gratitude

353. A kind word and noticing

354. We have a living hope because of salvation in Christ alone

355. Crepe myrtle

356. The sun setting by the river as we ride bikes

357. The wind in my face as I ride

358. Looking up and seeing the American flag

359. Being together

360. Company to run errands

361. Con-structo straws from when I was kid - playing them with L.

362. Conversation - questions that open communication

Daybook - June 20

Outside my window…our vehicles are parked in front of the house instead of the garage – not in the driveway so they don’t interfere with basketball.

I am thankful for… Father’s Day. I’m thankful for years I had with my Dad and I’m thankful for such a Godly husband and Dad to our boys.

I am wearing… grey Mickey Mouse t-shirt and old shorts (I’m dressed for bike riding)

Some plans for the rest of the week… M. starts football workouts, we’re going to start working on more of Dad’s business, Friday I have to make up a day of a four day conference and Sat. is soccer tryouts for L.

I am hoping … the prayers and steps that I’ve been taking for my kids to get along better will come to fruition.

On my mind… Sat. was the 5th anniversary of Mom’s passing and yesterday was the 1st Father’s Day without Dad.

Hearing…. airplane overhead, microwave door shutting – L. is making oatmeal.

I am praying for… my children to make wise choices in their entertainment.

From the kitchen….. soup, salad and sandwiches for Father’s Day lunch and then out for dinner, tonight – chicken fajitas

Around the house… the kitchen is going to get cleaned today not just straightened and I have meat in the fridge that needs to be put into smaller packages.

One of my favorite things…. riding bikes as a family (it’s especially nicer now that I have a bit more stamina to keep up)

From my picture journal…
Third cousins (M & L's) that were at our Family Cook-out

To view more daybooks visit Simple Woman's Daybook.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

A Bittersweet Summer Project

The first week that school was out, my sister (known here as Aunt) and I came together to clean out Dad’s house. We worked all day on Monday and the dumpster came on Tuesday. Wed. Hubby came and took apart the sheds and barn and helped us tremendously.

Aunt was the official photographer – it was our solution to not hanging on to everything. Looking back at the pictures I realized how terribly dirty everything was and I wish we had done it sooner. However, at the time keeping up with Dad was all we could manage. I’m very grateful to have the pictures. Really, what does one do with the Christmas tree they made over 25 years ago?

The temperature was already in the 90s for this project and we did it without air conditioning so beware, some of these pictures of us are just awful! Some highlights were finding my Bible from 1981, trying on Mom’s clothes from the 60s and 70s, having family stop by and hang out, looking at pictures and greeting cards together, finding family history, seeing all the evidences of a proud Grandpa, going to lunch in town with Hubby and Aunt and then another day with Aunt, and seeing things from childhood.

This is "awful" - putting on a long sleeve dress in a house that's over 90 degrees. Did save the dress though. I have a few outfits for a vintage party.

While these cards were mine, we also took pictures of cards that belonged to Mom and Dad. We found cards in every room of the house (except the bathroom!).
There was not a shortage of pictures of M & L in the house!

These curlers belonged to Aunt and the books were mine.

I thought that I’d write a really great blog post on doing this, but honestly after going back and looking at the pictures, it’s still kind of emotional and I’m not quite there. When everything was in the dumpster it was all still our stuff (most things weren’t in any kind of condition to keep). It was on Friday when I got to Dad’s house that was hard – the dumpster was gone. I am very happy to have this done though. There are some odds n ends left in the house, but it’s mainly cleaned out (but not clean!).

Monday, June 13, 2011

Multitudes on Mondays - June 13

316. Long phone conversations with a friend
317. Accidentally spraying the dog with the hose once - doing it on purpose the 2nd time!
318. New knowledge and skill
319. Extended family
320. Getting the boys back safely
321. M. & L. being silly with Cousin
322. A buzz cut
323. Watching L. play soccer
324. Cool morning and almost an hour to read
325. A son sitting close by
326. Good, Godly examples
327. Growth
328. Smiles
329. Responsibility - L. watering a neighbor's garden while they are away
330. Walking - ability and someone to walk with (J. the dog this morning)
331. Hubby saying "Let's pray"

The past few weeks have been big family weeks - the boys spent time with their grandparents in Albuquerque; Aunt and I cleaned out Mom and Dad's house; Hubby, the boys and I spent time with extended family at a Great Uncle's funeral; and two of my aunts and four first cousins and their families came over on Saturday. I met 2nd and 3rd cousins for the first time and held my 3 month old cousin. M. and L. were overwhelmed by so many girl cousins!

This morning I came across this verse in Psalm 102:18 "Let this be written for a future generation, that a people not yet created may praise the Lord." In Scripture before and after this one, the Psalmist focused on God - who He is and what He has done. I pray that praises I write may encourage future generations of my family to praise the Lord!

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Daybook - June 12

Outside my window… sunshine, a breeze, flowers, cars parked at the neighbors’ houses.

I am thankful for… all those who came to our family cookout yesterday. For the boys to have a broader scope of “family” from that and our time in the City Thursday and Friday.

I am wearing… khaki cargo pants and multi-colored (plum, burnt orange and brown) shirt

Some plans for the rest of the week… soccer clinics, searching out some phonics stuff with 2nd grade team, first volunteer at the pet shop.

I am hoping … to find a relaxing summer routine while at the same time tackling some projects.

On my mind… wondering where my phone could possibly be

Hearing…. the air conditioner

I am praying for… M. at teen camp for the first time this week.

From the kitchen….. cookout yesterday and lots of salads – broccoli, pasta and macaroni – leftover in the fridge (thank you to fam)

Around the house… laundry, need I say more?

One of my favorite things…. researching on the Internet (that’s why I’m sad right now that ours in down)

From my picture journal…
The Internet is back up. However, my camera has seen better days. I'm waiting to get lots of pictures of late from Aunt's camera. This snapshot is from about six years ago (best I can tell). M. & L. were the joy of my Daddy's life. This photo is in honor of his birthday June 9. He would have been 78.

To view more daybooks visit Simple Woman's Daybook.

Secrets of the Vine for Women

Secrets of the Vine for Women, Breaking Through to Abundance is a delightful book that shows how God works in our life for us to bear fruit, bear more fruit and bear much fruit. The book is visually pleasing in that each chapter has beautiful vineyard artwork with a Scripture. It touches emotionally by including a fictional vignette of a daughter and her father’s grape harvest. In addition to the main purpose of the book, it encourages spiritual growth by including excerpts from Secrets of the Vine Bible Study, a “Three Seasons in God’s Vineyard” chart that is built upon throughout the book, and a study guide with seven questions for each chapter. The book can be read straight through in a short span, be used as personal study or devotions, or be used for a group study. Scripture is abundant throughout.

Just as Jesus used a vineyard analogy in John 15, Wilkinson continues that theme and explains some grape growing principles. Most meaningful to me was where she explained that a stronger rendering of a Greek word that means “cut off” would be “lifts up”. According to a vineyard keeper, a branch that is trailing in the dirt is too valuable to cut off; instead it would be lifted, washed, and tied up in the sun so it would produce again. Although I know that sometimes God removes things in our lives, I thought this was a beautiful picture of Him tenderly retraining areas of our lives to grow again.

Now that I have read this book through I am going to go back and examine it more closely and use the study guide in some times of reflection. Secrets of the Vine for Women is definitely worth the read!

I received this book for free from WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group for this review.

Monday, June 6, 2011

Multitudes on Mondays - June 6

John 14:16 - From the fullness of his grace we have all received one blessing after another.
I am learning that counting my blessings brings contentment, chases away complaints and helps me look to the Giver of all.
Many of the gifts in this post come from the major task of last week - sorting through all the things at Mom and Dad's house. I was going to write about some of it here, but I think I will save it for it's own post. I still have some pondering to do.

Here is #265-315 for week ending June 6.

265. A text from M.
266, Sharing sno-ice with Hubby
267. Being someplace people still call you “honey” and “sweetie”
268. Being someplace where everyone waves when you pass
269. Sitting on the front porch looking at old pictures and greeting cards with Aunt
270. Trying on clothes of my Mom’s from the 60s and 70s
271. An its Ok text
272. Family that taught me to be giving
273. Finding my Bible from 1981
274. Daffodil bulbs – verigated
275. Compliments
276. Finding family history
277. Help to do hard things
278. Working hard for a long time
279. A group of ladies to go thru 1000 Gifts with
280. Silliness
281. Boys who are enjoying spending time with their grandparents
282. Eating/shopping locally
283. Finding, remembering and keeping Christmas decorations from when I was a kid
284. Going out, seeing someone we know from church and talking for an hour
285. Not being in a hurry when you grocery shop
286. Turtles - turtles rescued and turtles missed in the car
287. Time at home to get a few things done – a head start on Saturday!
288. Soft cotton
289. Lavender fabric softener
290. Lifetime Weight Watchers for Aunt
291. No set schedule
292. Hubby is doing something he loves – flying
293. A reminder to enjoy every moment
294. Games
295. Making conversation with people you don’t really know.
296. New zebra print flip flops
297. Taking the back way home
298. Having flowers to water
299. Songs of contentment
300. The glimmer of lightning bugs
301. Seeing both the whole round shape of the moon and the bright crescent
302. Being the only ones walking in the park
303. Ice cream sandwiches
304. Hubby installing a new dishwasher
305. Sitting across from each other eating
306. Lingering to drink all my water
307. Seeds of faith
308. Watching toads
309. Rows and rows of color at the home center
310. Deciding together
311. Bunnies hopping across the trail and into our yard
312. The warmth of the sun in the morning
313. Shade
314. Little blue wildflowers by the fence line when I mow at Dad’s
315. Hot pink wildflowers in the park when I walk.

Saturday, June 4, 2011

Daybook - June 4

Outside my window… wet sidewalks – I just watered the front flower bed. I can’t believe how dry it is at just the beginning of June! Every now and then a family goes by the window on the way to the pool.

I am thankful for… being almost finished with Dad’s house. Purge now I tell you, so your kids don’t have to do it when you’re gone!

I am wearing… jean shorts and red shirt with little white flowers.

Some plans for the rest of the week… Great Expectations conference T-F, Aunt and I are going to go through family pictures and walk at the conservation district on Monday.

I am hoping … to get my house together once my summer vacation really begins!

On my mind… my boys who are STILL in Albuquerque. Right now they are at “Cats”.

Hearing…. the air purifier, Hubby tapping on the keyboard, J. making doggie sounds. The air conditioner just kicked off.

I am praying for… all those I hear about from the Joplin and Oklahoma tornadoes.

From the kitchen….. Chef Salad last night, out for Italian tonight, there are dinners in the fridge waiting to be made for next three nights (tex-mex burger packets for the grill, stroganoff, and black bean and corn pizza)

Around the house… I have lots of things from Dad’s that need to be cleaned and either put away or integrated into our things. A little bit at a time!

One of my favorite things….going to classes at church on Wed. night, talking with Hubby, family history.

From my picture journal...This was from my 5th or 6th Christmas. My sister (Aunt) and I are in the middle and cousins are on each side. When cleaning this week we saw almost absolutely everything you see in the picture. Mom and Dad didn't throw anything away!

To view more daybooks visit Simple Woman's Daybook.