Wednesday, July 30, 2014

The Best Cucumber Sandwich Ever~

1 loaf of french bread
1 package of cream cheese
1 package of Italian dressing mix
1 fresh cucumber
dried dill seed

  • Slice the bread into 1 inch slices.
  • Mix cream cheese and Italian dressing mix and spread over the bread.
  • Place a sliced cucumber on cream cheese .
  • Sprinkle dill seed over the cucumber. 
  • Enjoy!

Monday, July 28, 2014

If I Could See What The Angels See~

Happy Monday~
I am back. So enjoyed giving up our normal day to day sameness for a few weeks of vacation. For those of you that follow and know our family ~ you know our lives revolve around a school year. We think life is an accumulation of four quarters each containing nine weeks with summer thrown in for good measure and sameness of mind.

 Oh, my~ how I have enjoyed summers. When the kids were small (dad being a teacher had the summers mostly off) we would party the entire summer with vacationing, swimming and roasting hot dogs at midnight. Aww~ I miss those days.

This summer started with a sad goodbye. We are still working through the emotions and grief of losing my mother-in-law.  It was not the normal summer of celebration.

 We are taking our first vacation without the kids~ bittersweet. They are all starting their own "summer traditions" with their families and the last remaining child at home is so busy I catch his dirty clothes and text him when I miss him. He just doesn't understand when I ask where he is that I am really saying I miss my boy and I really want you to come home. Why should a boy be working three jobs anyway?

As I was cooking breakfast this morning and sending off My Brian for another school year this song came on from Amy Grant. This 80's girl at heart loves me some "Amy Grant." It just takes me back to sweet~ summer days.

If I could hear what the angels hear ~ I would never doubt that God is near. Wow~ what more could we ask for than to know that God Almighty is walking right beside us? He sees and hears each and everything I feel today. He knows my fears~ my struggles ~ my tears~  and my laughter. 

If I could know what the angles know. I would know that death is just a swinging door. That my mother-in-law took her last flight and walked through the door where Heaven's  splendor    opened for her. If only I  just see~ It would make the horrible sting of death seem sweeter.

The truth would be easier to believe is what Amy says. She is right you know. We would live more fervently for God if we could just see the other side for a moment . However~ we do know the truth. God recorded it just for us in His Word. 

So when the fears come we can go to ~

Isaiah 41:1 Fear thou not; for I am with thee: be not dismayed; for I am thy God: I will strengthen thee; yea, I will help thee; yea, I will uphold thee with the right hand of my righteousness.

When we feel rejected we can go to~

1 John 3:1 Behold, what manner of love the Father hath bestowed upon us, that we should be called the sons of God: therefore the world knoweth us not, because it knew him not.

When we feel alone we can go to~

Psalm 139:1 O lord, thou hast searched me, and known me. Thou knowest my downsitting and mine uprising, thou understandest my thought afar off.Thou compassest my path and my lying down, and art acquainted with all my ways.

When we feel lost about our future we can go to~

Jeremiah 29:1 For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, saith the Lord, thoughts of peace, and not of evil, to give you an expected end.

When we feel unloved we can go to~

Exodus 19:5 Now therefore, if ye will obey my voice indeed, and keep my covenant, then ye shall be a peculiar treasure unto me above all people: for all the earth is mine:

When our heart feels broken we can go to~

Psalm 34:1 The Lord is nigh unto them that are of a broken heart; and saveth such as be of a contrite spirit.

The promises of God are all recorded~  thousands of them . We really do know what angles know. We only have to read and believe~ have faith that God has it all under control. 

Now that is something to celebrate on this beautiful Monday morning!

Happy Birthday to my Beautiful Girl!
What more could this momma ask for than a girl who loves God with all her heart!

Friday, July 18, 2014

Living Bridges~

This morning as I am reading The Daily Bread. I read about how in India they grow bridges from the roots of rubber trees. It takes 10-15 years but once the bridge is built it is sturdy and dependable~ lasting for a hundred years or so. They are called "Living Bridges."

In Jeremiah 17:5 ~ the Bible tells us the man who places his trust in man is cursed. When we make "man" our hope we will be let down each and every time. We can't allow man ~ our parents~ our Pastor ~ our spouse even our children be our identity~ our hope~ our security. We can't allow our hope to be misplaced in human instead of God.  We will be malnourished and unstable.

Yet~ when we give God  His rightful place in our lives we will be blessed. We will remain stable and secure.  The Bible tells us we will be as a tree planted by the water~ our roots will spread and grow and we will stand strong and secure no matter what the circumstances in life may be. Our leaf will be green ~ we will grow into mature Christians.We will be much like the "Living Bridges" pointing others to Christ.

This morning I am evaluating my life~ where are my roots planted? At times~ I misplace them and allow them to be uprooted and transplanted like my plants I move around from time to time. I take a little shock and feel parched and wilted.  When I have uprooted my faith in God and allow others to take God's place I feel insecure, unstable, hurt and out-of-balance. However~ when we give God back His rightful spot in our lives we once again renew our joy in the Lord. We once again will be a "Living Bridge" pointing others to Christ.

Colossians 2: (KJV)

Rooted and built up in him, and stablished in the faith, as ye have been taught, abounding therein with thanksgiving.

Jeremiah 17:5-1 (KJV)

Thus saith the Lord; Cursed be the man that trusteth in man, and maketh flesh his arm, and whose heart departeth from the Lord.
For he shall be like the heath in the desert, and shall not see when good cometh; but shall inhabit the parched places in the wilderness, in a salt land and not inhabited.
Blessed is the man that trusteth in the Lord, and whose hope the Lord is.
For he shall be as a tree planted by the waters, and that spreadeth out her roots by the river, and shall not see when heat cometh, but her leaf shall be green; and shall not be careful in the year of drought, neither shall cease from yielding fruit.
The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it?
10 I the Lord search the heart, I try the reins, even to give every man according to his ways, and according to the fruit of his doings.

Thursday, July 17, 2014

"You Can Never Go Back"

I have been having the time of my life. Really I have. I have been missing here in blog land because I have been too busy having fun.

We have been on vacation. My Brian and I have been putting up a pool~ they are not a lot of fun to install. However ~ it sure is nice. Nothing like a good book~ Diet Coke ~floating in cold water on a hot Missouri day. It just does not get any better than this.

Vacation started with lots of work so we decided to wrap it up and take off for some fun. This is our first summer vacation without any of our children. It is bittersweet. I know you all know what I mean. We are trying to reach for the positive side of the empty nest ~ we are working hard at it.

Here we are off and running~ My Brian is not real excited about selfies!

We traveled to Middlebury, Indiana and we landed here at The McKenzie Bed and Breakfast. Oh my lucky stars~ it was heavenly. I mean we pulled into the loveliest yard with beautiful flowers. The wrap around porch was decorated with the most gigantic ferns I had ever seen. It was so inviting. The rooms were gorgeous and so amazingly clean. Not even a speck of dust graced the light fixtures. It was decorated just beautifully. I felt like I had come home.

 When we woke up the next morning I was greeted with a breakfast feast served family style on the most beautiful platters. It was top-notch! I am already planning our next visit~ for real. Bruce and Sherry ~ the owners left nothing undone. The entire house had devotionals and amazing books to pick up and read~ this girl loves to read. We stayed a couple of nights with the great folks at The McKenzie House.

We stayed in Megan's Room~ all the rooms were lovely.
Click here to see Megan's Room.

Next time I am going to stay in Nicolle's Room.
Click here to see that room.

Breakfast is served in their beautiful Dinning Room.
I usually review Christian books on my blog but today I am rating 
The McKenzie House and I give it a 5+stars! 

We spent a day visiting Shipshewana. I hate to say it ~ but ~ things have changed. When we were here five years ago it was my favorite place to visit. You can see my Shipshewana visit then right here. We wondered into a place called Rise and Roll Bakery. It was in the yard of a sweet Amish lady. We even wrote letters to each other that summer after vacation. She shared with me that she had accepted the free gift of salvation by grace ~ that she had accepted Jesus Christ as her Lord and Saviour. I was so impressed with her joy. Amazing music flowed from that little Bakery in four- part harmony. 

 Only this time I found she had sold her Bakery to a non-Amish couple and now it is a franchise. The food is still amazing but it is no longer that sweet little country piece of Heaven on earth. 

Here is the Rise and Roll Bakery five years ago with our two youngest children.

And here is the Rise and Roll Bakery today~  Click here!

We spent the day at the Shipshewana Flea Market~ even it had changed. It was full of a lot of imports from other countries~ not the old antique finds that we had seen five years ago. Click here to see the Shipshewana Flea Market.

It was hard to find the sweet little quiet shops nestled in the Amish countryside.  Even the Dutch Pantry Bulk store was huge and loaded with people. The Amish appear to have joined in the commercialization of my favorite little place in the world. The Amish farms are still the most beautiful ~ rich farms I have ever seen. Shipshewana is just beautiful. The grass is green and the flowers are out of this world. The tourism has been good to all~ the English and Amish alike.

 This Missouri girl would compare in to an "Amish Branson" in the making. The cars are neck to neck and it takes 30 minutes to get through Main Street.  We stopped at a huge Antique Mall just across the street from the Flea Market. I found some Green Depression Glass dessert cups. Upon checking out I asked the clerk what she thought about the change and she agreed it was very sad. However she said~ "You can never go back." 

As I clicked back in time on my blog and read my Shipshewana post from five years ago I tearfully agreed. My children are grown~ our little Emma Jean has passed on~ Grandma Shindorf has left us with memories and most recent my mother-in-law has passed on to Glory. 

Today as we have landed in Michigan to my Brian's birthplace and childhood home we are making memories with my father-in-law. Trying to carve out a new normal without his Momma. Quietly we ponder on the days gone by all while trying to capture each and every moment before they too will soon be just a memory. 

Life is short. Only one life so soon it will pass ~ only what's done for Christ will last. Only one chance to do His will. So give to Jesus all your days~ it's the only life that pays. For when you recall you have but one life. 

I will be back soon!

Thursday, July 3, 2014

New Mercies~

2 Timothy 2:6

 The husbandman that laboureth must be first partaker of the fruits.

I love mornings~if you are not a morning person ~don't hate me. I look forward to the beautiful sunrise and the birds chirping. This morning I have a little frog that is crocking outside my bedroom window.

I love a blank new page~I get to start over. Don't you just love a chance to do it over? A new day is a do over~and today maybe I will get it right!

In my early years of raising our children, I was a huge fan of Emilie Barnes~she has since slowed down and does not write or speak as much. I will be forever grateful to her and will one day sit down in Heaven and thank her! She is the queen of 15 minutes. In reading her books I have adopted the 15-minute rule. If you have an extra 15 minutes~wipe down a bathroom, fold a load of clothes~ect... This concept has helped me tremendously. But the most important 15-minute rule I have is taking 15 minutes a day to read the Proverbs of the day~today being Proverb 3. No matter how busy I get~ I do my best to take 15 minutes to connect with God. 

Proverbs 3:6 
 In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths.

I need God to make my path straight. I need Him to redeem my time, to direct me, and to guide me. If I don't spend time with Him~how in the world can He speak to me? I need answers~His answers. I take great comfort in knowing that when I spend TIME with Him ~He will direct my paths! 

His mercies are new each and every day. Now that is a reason to celebrate today!

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Festive Cupcakes For The 4th Of July~

Semi~Homemade Chocolate Cupcakes~
Prepare your cake mix as follows, only add milk instead of water and
 add a huge dollop of mayonnaise~taste like homemade!

My Homemade Chocolate Frosting Recipe~

  • 1/2 cup margarine (1 stick)
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 4 or 5 tablespoons milk
  • 4 cups powdered sugar
  • Good dash salt
Soften or melt the margarine first.  Melt it in the microwave. Add the cocoa, vanilla, and 4 tablespoons milk. Using electric beaters or a whisk, beat these ingredients together until they are good and smooth. Add the powdered sugar, about a cup at a time, and continue beating the frosting. After you have added all four cups of powdered sugar, you may need a little more milk to give the frosting spreading consistency. If you think you need more milk, add it a teaspoon at a time. If too much milk is added, you will end up with runny frosting. Fix this by adding more unsweetened cocoa, or more powdered sugar, or both. If desired you may replace the milk with strong coffee and end up with a very tasty grown up mocha flavor. SO GOOD!

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

My Reason To Celebrate Today~

This is not the best picture but this is Grammy Carrie and Livi chatting at the end of the day. I am celebrating today that I can  see my babies every day on FaceTime. When Livi hears her Grammy's voice she wants her momma's phone. She grins from ear to ear and gets all excited. Why? Because her Grammy acts like a fool. I clap and sing ~ "You Are My Sunshine." I call her my sunshine all over the place. We act silly until she gets bored.  I can have myself a pity party that she lives so far away or I can celebrate that we have a way to talk and sing together across the miles.

I chose to stay at home and raise our children~ including homeschooling them. I wouldn't have missed it for the world. I mean we made some great memories and had a few that were not so great but we sure learned in the process. I worked many part- time jobs but my focus was my family. All these years of homeschooling have come to an end. My house is too quiet and I am just not sure what to do with myself. I can have a pity party or I can celebrate that I had my children all day ~ every day.  I can celebrate that I have independent children who stand and trust their God. 

I have a rule for me~ it is that I find a reason to celebrate every day. I started this when the children were all little and the days were long. If I had something to celebrate it kept me from joining myself in my own personal pity party. Being a stay-at-home mom has great rewards but the pay stinks and the accolades are few. No one notices that meal on the table at 5:00 that took hours to plan, buy and cook~ they only notice if it is not there. 

This morning as I was reading a devotion I was challenged to read  Psalms 139~ go ahead I dare you! (Just click that link.) Before I was done I was crying like a baby.  Lately~ I spend most of my days with just me and Pippa Lou. Pippa Lou is my little spoiled rotten Corgi.  I catch dirty clothes and hand out food to a couple hungry men. Not exactly an ego boosting job!  My girls have moved away and my life consists of car shows and grease. Sometimes I want to run away to my girls. Just to eat crumpets and sip tea. Ok~ maybe Diet Coke and chocolate!

I have invested my entire life in my family and now I have time to invest in me. Only I just don't know who that is. You ever been there? I feel confused and uncertain which direction to turn. I remember thinking that when I reached this stage in life when I could take a bath by myself and read a book I would do all these wonderful things. I had great plans to fly! Only now I don't know where to fly to.

If it sounds like I am having a pity party~ bear with me. I have struggled with my identity and value for years. But I know that I am a daughter of the King. I am fearfully and wonderfully made. No one can take my place in the Father's heart! I am special in God's eyes and YOU ARE TOO!  Now that is something to celebrate today! 

Psalm 139:17-18King James Version (KJV)

17 How precious also are thy thoughts unto me, O God! how great is the sum of them!
18 If I should count them, they are more in number than the sand: when I awake, I am still with thee.
If you are teetering on a pity party ~ maybe it is time to turn it into a praise party and invite a friend or two.



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