Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Thus Far Has the Lord Helped Us...

Thus far has the Lord Helped us. (1 Samuel 7:12)

As I look towards the New Year and new goals, a devotional I read encouraged a look back before I look forward.

"Whether through poverty, wealth, sickness, or health, whether at home or abroad, or on land, sea, or air, and whether in honor, dishonor, difficulties, joy, trials, triumph, prayer, or temptation

– ‘Thus far has the Lord helped’!"

"Look at the large green limbs of God’s mercy overhead and the strong pillars of His loving-kindness and faithfulness that have brought you much joy."

As I look back over this past year, I am humbled and in awe of my Lord’s mercy and grace poured out toward me.

There have been some very difficult trials that He has graciously brought me through. Times I wondered if I could even go on another day, another moment.

Thus far has the Lord helped us.

There have been moments of great joy, so much so that I’ve been reduced to tears that I could be so blessed.

Thus far has the Lord helped us.

Other times He has mercifully exposed my heart and all the filth therein. He so gently and lovingly shows me how far I am from where I think I am. He does it with such pure love, never to condemn, only to convict and restore.

Thus far has the Lord helped us.

Yes, I see once again that He has carried me through and "Thus far has the Lord helped" me. And it is with renewed hope and strength that, should I be allowed more tomorrows, I can face them with all of their trials, joys, temptations, battles, defeats, victories, prayers, answers, toils and strength yet to come.

So, dear believer, "be strong and take heart," for...

The Lord who "thus far" has helped you
Will help you all your journey through.

To Him Who is seated on the throne and to the Lamb be ascribed the blessing and the honor and the majesty (glory, splendor) and the power (might and dominion) forever and ever (through the eternities of the eternities)!

Devotional quotes taken fromStreams in the Desert, by L.B. Cowman

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Rejection is God's Protection (pt.1)

I was standing in line at my local Goodwill when I spotted a young lady with a sweatshirt that said "Rejection is God's Protection". I was stunned! My mind whirled. I had never thought of it that way. I immediately remembered a few years ago the Lord healing a huge hurt in my heart with this very concept.

When I was in high school, I had a boyfriend with whom I was sure I loved with all my heart. We were together for a couple of years. His family loved me and I them. They were so 'normal'. I came from a divorced family and as I look back I see I was so desperate for someone to love and accept me. Well, we broke up before graduation, and I was truly devestated. I did everything I knew to try to get him back, and for seemingly no reason he wouldn't take me back. I am sure the rejection I felt set me up for a whole bunch of poor choices over the next several years.

Fast forward to a couple of years ago when the Lord was showing me just how much He loved me, how I was accepted and loved by Him just as I was. That I was precious and valuable in His sight...

One morning during my quiet time He revealed to me that the reason that boy and I never got back together was not because something was wrong with me, but because my Father was protecting me and saving me for the awesome Godly man I am married to now. For years I felt like something must be wrong with me--now I was able to see that is was God's hand protecting me.

I wept for what seemed like forever! I not only realized I was not some unlovable person, but my Father loved me so much and that His plan was so, so much better than mine.

You see, this man I am married to loves me so much. He is so kind and patient with me. We are constantly amazed at how awesome it is to be married to each other.

Thank You, Lord, for Your wisdom. Thank You for the rejection You used to protect me.

Has there been deep rejection in your life that has left a deep wound? Perhaps this little story pales in comparison to your story. Could you possibly see your Father's hand protecting you? Even if you cannot see it now, could you dare to trust Him to heal and fill that hurt?

Lord Jesus, let us see Your hand in our lives lovingly protecting us, even using the pain of rejection. Oh Lord, give us grace to trust You more.

Monday, December 29, 2008

Menu Plan Monday (Click Picture to Enlarge)

Welcome to the last Monday of the year! I hope you are blessed and helped by the way I do our menu plan. As you can see it not only has what we are having for each meal, but also the 'tasks' I need to do that day to keep on the plan.

One thing that helps immensely with a large family is to have certain meals be the same each week. I like variety in our dinners but our breakfasts and lunches pretty much stay the same. I might change them on the fly, but at least I have the standbys planned.

I have also included our yummy Baked Oatmeal that we have twice a week. It is so awesome! Have a great week and a happy New Year! Feel free to 'browse' around my blog, my heart is to encourage women, hopefully you will be blessed.

Baked Oatmeal (Nourishing Tradition Style)

Mix in a large bowl and soak overnight:

1 cup oil ( I use 1/2 butter and 1/2 coconut oil, or olive oil)
1 1/2 cup Rapadura ( or honey, use less)
6 cups Oats
1 tsp. Salt
1 T. Cinnamon
2 cups yogurt or kefir

In morning add:
4 eggs
4 tsp. Baking powder
1 T. vanilla
Flax Seed!

It is easier to just use your hands to mix this together. Spread into prepared cookie sheet and bake @ 375 for 30-40 minutes
You can add fruit, nuts or otherwise. Serve with raw milk. This recipe can be easily doubled.
See more menu plans here.

Sunday, December 28, 2008

He Is Waiting For You. . .

"In the secret place of His presence how my soul delights."

Time alone with my God, sitting in His presence~oh how my soul delight to hide! I have found over the years my 'quiet time' to be the most precious time of my life. I adore and absolutely love time with my husband. Snuggling babies, nursing them, smelling them, what pleasure and delight. Teaching my littles to read, watching the older ones spread their wings, walk out their faith, all of these are marvelous gifts. But one thing I desire above all of this, only one thing is needful, sitting at my Lord's feet.

I am sure that each person's 'quiet time' is as unique as each individual. I am not here to preach a formula, though maybe in another post I'll share what my time looks like. I want to encourage you in the treasure of a 'quiet time'.

Time with the Lord will probably look different depending on the season of your life.

When you are single or newly married without children, you probably will have more opportunity for longer times of prayer and fellowship.

When you have two or three littles, all close together, your quiet time might literally be the ten minutes in the shower...maybe;) He gently leads those with young; He does not give you a whole passel of littles and demand you spend hours everyday praying and studying!

Maybe as your children get older you can carve out lengthier blocks of time. It doesn't really matter what time of the day, though I am a strong proponent of the morning hour, what matters is that you seek Him. Cry out to Him, desire Him~He will make a way. I have often found that when my desire is lacking I can even ask Him for that..."make me hungry for You and Your Word, Lord". He is so faithful!

Over the years He has created such a hunger, love and passion for His Word in my heart. All the glory goes to Him for sure. For He drew me, He created the hunger, He ordered my circumstances that cause me to cling desperately.

Oh ladies, do you have a precious time with Him? Do you meet with your Maker everyday? He longs to meet with you. He longs to impart strength and hope, comfort and courage. He desires to hear the very longings of your heart.

Isaiah 30:18 (Amplified)

And therefore the Lord [earnestly] waits [expecting, looking, and longing] to be gracious to you; and therefore He lifts Himself up, that He may have mercy on you and show loving-kindness to you. For the Lord is a God of justice. Blessed (happy, fortunate, to be envied) are all those who [earnestly] wait for Him, who expect and look and long for Him [for His victory, His favor, His love, His peace, His joy, and His matchless, unbroken companionship]!

It doesn't matter what your circumstances are, He will meet you. It might be just that ten minutes in the shower or the three minutes each time you swap out the laundry or the hour in your quiet time chair, it doesn't matter, He is waiting.

I encourage you to draw near to Him in some way, any way you can, and He, my friend, will most certainly draw near to you.

I know I have already taken so much of your time, but if you have a few more minutes listen to this song and hear your Father calling you.

Monday, December 22, 2008

The Mother Letter

I love to encourage other mothers so when I read this I thought it was so neat. Take a minute to read about it here.

I think most of us have so much! How about giving the gift of encouragement?

Jesse Tree

We are doing the "Jesse Tree" this year. There are lots of versions online. You can google it and find one you like. We are enjoying it.

At first the ornaments stumped me, then God gave me a thought to make them out of clay. That was the most fun for all of us, when I wasn't being too controlling on how they turned out;) Brian even helped, though he claims does not have a crafty bone in his body. Take notice of the earth, this was done by him. Here is a sample of our ornaments.

God Created the World


(Representing God's

Promise to Abraham)


Sunday, December 21, 2008

Strange Hedges Indeed

The Lord has been dealing with me to be thankful in all things, and to be content. Life is so hard sometimes. I don't understand why I can't seem to get victory in certain areas or why the physical pain, lack of sleep, hormone issues, ect. It seems I am doing all I can. Believing all I know to. What, Lord, are you showing me? I feel so 'hedged' in.

Therefore I will block her path with thornbushes; I will wall her in so that she cannot find her way. She will chase after her lovers but not catch them; she will look for them but not find them. Then she will say, 'I will go back to my husband as at first, for then I was better off than now.' (Hosea 2:6-7)

"Therefore I am now going to allure her; I will lead her into the desert and speak tenderly to her. There I will give her back her vineyards, and will make the Valley of Achor a door of hope. There she will sing as in the days of her youth, as in the day she came up out of Egypt. (Hosea 8:14-15)

Lord, I love this picture You are giving me, help me to see it more clearly.

You, by Your mercy have hedged me in with thorns, that is, weaknesses, lack of sleep, lack of health, physical pain, such a sense of inadequacy with being a mama. The list goes on and on. I tend to want to chase after my "lovers", that is, my will, my ideas, things I am interested and want to do. (research, projects, cleaning, organizing, baking, cooking etc.)

You won't let me. I 'don't overtake them' and 'shall not find them'. I am unable to do all I want, so I return to You. Your plans, Your will, the very desires of my heart~my husband, children~You, all I am called to do here.

For I know this is far better, yet my heart tends to wander and is so easily distracted. It strays. I cannot keep it where it should be. I inevitably find myself down the wrong path. As I go off to sleep at night my heart is heavy because yet again I chased "my lovers".

But You, so rich in mercy hedge me in. All these things I lament, all of them are Your mercy towards me. They are gifts, sent to guide and keep my heart!

When I lie on my bed at night and plead with You to make me a good mama, turn my heart toward my children. Cause my heart to want to listen and play and laugh and disciple. Make me gentle and patient. Let me love like Jesus. Don't let me waste my time. Teach me to number my days. Show me how to make the most of every opportunity. Teach me all I need to know to train and disciple these littles...

You hear from heaven the deepest longings of my heart. And, in Your mercy and love You hedge me in. The sleepless nights or physical pain, it causes me to slow down and as I do I hear Your voice more clearly. It is not just something I hear in the background as I am whirling through my day. I recognize the needs of the littles more. I hear their cry for training. I have slowed down enough to tie a shoe or kiss a sweet face.

The utter inadequacies I feel when I access this calling of "mamahood"are the very things that keep me on my knees crying out for wisdom. The very inability in me causes me to cling desperately to You, my Strength, my Wisdom.

So many more things You allow and even bring into my life to hedge and fence me in. How foolish of me to resist and complain. To lament the very precious gifts You send in all these hedges and hindrances.

"These hedges and hindrances are right for us or else He would quickly remove them"

Thank You Lord Jesus for Your mercy poured out to this rebellious, self-seeking woman. I bow before Your infinite wisdom and love.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

"Works For Me" Waterbottle!

This is my way to get my "eight glasses" of water every day and not spill. With so many littles around a glass doesn't work well. I'm just to lazy to have to unscrew a lid.

I had my son drill a whole the size of a straw in one of those plastic lids you can buy for mason jars and voila!

This cheap, easy, and practical 'water bottle' works-for-me.

More Works for Me Wednesday tips here.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Successful Day Defined!

I was asked "how do you define a successful day?

What matters most to me at the end of day?

Is it...

the house picked up (ha!)

laundry all done (ha ha!)

wonderful dinner prepared (on time, again ha!)

quiet, peaceful, calm (not even going to say it)

What really matters most at the end of the day?

did I honor and love my husband?

did I look for ways to bless him, further his plans?

have I been kind and gentle to the children?

have I spent time with them?

did I work on relationships with each of them?

did I teach them about our God?

did I model Christ to them? (ouch)

Help me, Lord, I fear my priorities are mixed up most days. Show me Lord, show me .

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Menu Plan Monday (Click Picture to Enlarge)

I know this might look 'over the top' but this is the form I use for my menu planning each week.
Many things are standard each week such as breakfasts, lunches, and snacks.
If you click on the picture it will enlarge it.
I really love this way of planning because it gives me the 'tasks' I need to do each day also. We try to incorporate as much 'Nourishing Traditions' as possible, and as you know, you need to really plan ahead!
See more Menu Plans here!

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Simplifying Encouraging Others

I love to send cards and notes of encouragement to friends, but to find a notecard, then a stamp, then their address, then my return labels...well it just makes it hard to make happen! So I have put together a little basket or box that has all I need all in one place.

One extra step I take in advance is print up all the ladies addresses I usually send a card to on a label sheet. One sheet holds 30 labels, so I fill them in accordingly. Certain friends get more frequent cards so they have more labels. This makes it so easy to send a card at a moments notice! You certainly could at least keep those special addresses in this spot if you don't print your own labels.

In my basket:

My return address labels



Friends address
Find more ways to simplify your life at Keeper of the Home

Friday, December 12, 2008

Leftover Rice Casserole

We love this recipe so much that I actually plan to have leftover rice in my menu planning. It is very, very forgiving. You can mix and match ingredients as you want.

Leftover Rice Casserole
This is a great recipe if I have leftover rice to use. It is also good when I have leafy greens that need to be eaten. It freezes well too.

1 onion chopped
2 plus cups leafy greens (kale, beet greens, bok choy, collards, spinach, swiss chard) More is even better!
1 clove of garlic
1-tablespoon butter
2 eggs
2 cups grated cheddar cheese
1-cup milk ( or cream)
2 cups cooked rice

Saute onion, greens, and garlic in butter in frying pan until tender.

Mix eggs, salt and pepper, rice, cheese and milk in bowl.

Spray pan and pour egg mixture in and put in 350 degree oven for about an hour. (Depending on size)

I add extra eggs and/or cheese, extra rice, ect.

Double this to fit in 9 x 13 pan.

Could use broccoli or any type of veggie you have on hand.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Little Ones Are Watching

Note to self: There are little ones watching your every move. What they see influences who they are and who they will become.

Today while doing school with my eleven year old son I was impatient and frustrated with his struggles with math. Why I get like that I do not know. I am supposed to be teaching him, not expecting him to know it all. As the Holy Spirit convicted me of my harshness I looked up and saw my sweet daughter looking at me. It was then I realized I am modeling for her how to parent and teach. What she saw today was NOT how I want her to be, ever.

Oh Lord, the responsibility of raising these children for You can be so overwhelming at times. Forgive me for the selfishness, the unlovliness, the harshness. Let them see Jesus in me. Help me to love and give of myself~generously, utterly and joyfully.

P.S. I need to go ask for forgiveness from that sweet little boy.

Do you sometimes blow it royally? Do you run to the Father for forgiveness and refreshing?

"Repent, then, and turn to God, so that your sins may be wiped out, that times of refreshing may come from the Lord" Acts 3:19

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Hearty Beef Soup (Nourishing Traditions)

I made a yummy beef and vegetable soup today using some meaty bones from our 1/4 cow. We have been blessed this far to be able to afford buying our beef from a local farmer who raise grassfed, nearly organic beef. I try to use it as frugally as I can. One of the ways is to make soups and stocks from the bonier cuts of meat. The benefits of bone broths are many. Not only are they frugal, but also so very healthful. You could read about it here.

We got two meals and a lunch for hubby out of a few pounds of meaty bones.

This is the recipe that I basically followed, of course I changed a few things to make it my own.;)

Hearty Beef Soup
Makes 6 quarts

4 beef shanks, cross-cut at 2-inch intervals

6 tablespoons olive oil

4 quarts filtered water

2 pounds carrots, peeled

2 pounds potatoes, washed

1 pound shallots or onions, peeled

2 large cans crushed tomatoes

1 cup balsamic vinegar

3-4 bay leaves

4 tablespoons green peppercorns

1 tablespoon coarse black pepper

3 tablespoons fresh garlic, chopped

1 cup fresh parsley, chopped

sea salt to taste

Pat shanks dry and sprinkle with black pepper. In a heavy-bottomed, non-aluminum stockpot, heat half the oil. Sear the shanks on both sides until brown. Add water, vinegar, tomatoes, bay leaves and peppercorns. Simmer for 4 hours or until beef is flaky tender. Remove meat and bones from the stock and allow to cool.Return stock to a simmer and skim debris from the top of the liquid. Separate the meat from bones and gristle. Cut potatoes and carrots into bite-sized pieces and add to stock along with the garlic. Quarter the shallots or onions, toss them in the remaining oil, roast or saute until brown and add to stock. When the vegetables are tender, add meat, chopped parsley and salt to taste.

This is the link you can find this recipe and other great one at. Hearty Beef Soup

"Throw Away" Biscuits!

I think I have perfected this biscuit recipe. They are called 'throw away' biscuits because the first time I made them they didn't seem like they were going to turn out and I almost threw them away. At the encouragement of my children I made them anyway and they turned out great. I guess 1 1/2 sticks of butter can cover a multitude of sins! These are 'soaked' biscuits in the tradition of Nourishing Traditions. You can read about soaking grains from people who know way more than me, like Kimi at Nourishing Traditions "soaking grains" .

Mama’s "Throw Away" Biscuits

This classic recipe produces biscuits with a lovely light texture.
Yield: Makes 12 servings

Mix together and soak for 12-24 hours
3 cups whole wheat flour
1 cup plus 2 T. kefir (buttermilk, yogurt or other acid medium)

Break dough apart into small pieces and sprinkle the dough:
2 tablespoons sugar
4 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
With fingers, work the cut pieces of butter into the dough quickly. It is not necessary to get it thoroughly mixed in.

3/4 cup (1 1/2sticks) chilled unsalted butter, cut into 1/4-inch pieces
Preheat oven to 425°F. Using 1/4 cup dough for each biscuit, drop biscuits onto baking sheet, spacing 2 inches apart. Bake until biscuits are golden brown on top, about 15 minutes. Cool slightly. Serve warm.

A very nice addition to this recipe is garlic powder and cheddar cheese. Similar to Cheddar Bay Biscuits
A note here: you really can't mess these up. You can break the dough apart and mess with it as much as is needed and they still turn out great. I do try to not let the butter get too mixed in and melted, try to keep it cold.