Thursday, October 21, 2010

I Leave You With This

We are finishing our last minute preparations for our trip to GA. God has been so faithful in the preparing, we are very organized, it seems. Thank You Father!!
You may have already seen this, but it is amazingly wonderful! I am posting all the parts as well as the short version of it. Take a break from school or whatever you are doing and watch this with your children. I am reduced to tears every time I see this and realize just how awesome our God is and how HE holds ALL THINGS together.
Here is the short version if you want to quickly see what I am talking about, but trust me, this is a MUST SEE!! Please watch it with your family, make some popcorn and make a treat out of it.

Monday, October 18, 2010

We Are Leaving Again!

We are going to Georgia, again! Can you believe it? This time it is with all the children (well, not all, my oldest and his wife are not going, boo hoo) and Brian and I! Yes, that is right, eight children and a mom and dad driving from Michigan to Georgia in two days! Sound fun?

Okay, I am sure to some of you it seems as though we are 'world travelers' who travel all the time. Let me assure you, we are not. We haven't even been on a vacation in the last five years. I mean not even a 'local' vacation. So the fact that Brian and I got to go to Georgia and now, shortly thereafter we are all going is quite unusual for our family.

The Lord has opened the door and has provided all the finances for us to take the children down to GA for the For My Life/For My Life Children programs. When we saw one of the skits that they do in the children's program we knew right away we wanted to bring the children.

We are so excited. We are leaving early Friday morning(10/22, Lord willing). That means this week is lots of packing, organizing, cooking, planning and trying not to freak out. (oh, that is my job, not freaking out)

We are trying to do the 'food' portion of it as cheaply and healthfully as we can. That takes extra planning and space. It would certainly be 'easier' if we could just eat out at each meal, but yuck, that doesn't even sound appealing to me. We will do pre-made sub sandwiches for lunches on the way down. Breakfast will be in the hotel. Dinners will be out, but as cheaply as we can. For example, we will probably eat fruits and veggies and some cheese before we go in for dinner. That will help with how much we spend at the restaurants.

I am bringing our homemade yogurt (we already have the raw milk paid for or else I would just buy yogurt in GA) for breakfasts. We made up 11 quarts of granola this weekend to bring. We also made and froze 7 loaves of banana bread to bring. Lunches are provided for at the conference. Dinners will be brought from home, pre-made and frozen in zip top freezer bags, including White Chili, Chicken Enchilada, BBQ and Taco Meat for Nachos.

We have PB Balls, Granola Bars, Nutty Bars, Slice Cheese and Apples and Veggies for snacks the whole week.

When we travel by vehicle we use Rubbermaid containers instead of bags and suitcases. They simply stack better. Brian made his rounds all over the house this past Saturday to empty toy and clothing containers, putting the contents in boxes, in search of the perfect sizes and amount of containers. Good thing I am known as the Rubbermaid Queen.

While we are on a pretty tight schedule, we would love to meet any of you who live near the places we will be driving through. Let me know if you live near any of the following cities and wouldn't mind driving to a highway exit for a hug!!

South Bend




( I-65 to Louisville, I-64 to Lexington, I-75 all the way through Atlanta)

We are staying in Williamsburg, KY the first night.

The second day we go through




Give me a shout out if you live in or near these cities or anywhere along our path!!

Friday, October 15, 2010

Remembering . . . Please Share

All this week we have been remembering the precious little one we lost one year ago. Last year I wrote a series of posts sharing my heart and encouraging others to do the same as we remembered our babies that are now with Jesus.

It is sort of 'funny' this morning I felt a tug on my heart to post something about this because as I was looking over my posts from last year I saw that October 15th has been set aside as a day to remember our babies.

Yesterday, as I was out for a walk and talking to my Father, I cried tears of sadness over the babies I will not see on this side of heaven, praised Him for His perfect plans and pondered if I will ever carry another baby in my womb. Will I ever nurse another baby? Will I ever smell that intoxicating newborn smell? Will I ever kiss the whole face of a teeny one? Will I ever feel a precious little one nuzzled right up to my neck?

I don't know the answer to these questions, but I know the One to Whom I ask? I know I can trust His beautiful plan for my life. I can trust Him to distribute His blessings as He sees fit. I know that He knows the desires of my heart and holds them so close to His heart. I know when I grieve He is there holding me, comforting me. I know He delights to bless me, knowing His plan and what is ultimately the best for me. I know Him who works EVERYTHING out for my good because I love Him and have been called according to His purpose. I know Whom I have believed.

This is not a sad post, really, I stand amazed at His mercy and goodness. His faithfulness. His love. While I will never forget each of my precious six babies, there is no pain, just peace and a knowing He holds them and me in His very hands. Amazing it is, when He comes and heals. He came to heal and bind up the broken hearted, you know?

Please feel free to share your "story" by either leaving a comment or providing a link to read on your blog. And PLEASE, if you are still reeling with grief and pain over the loss of your precious little one (s), please let me pray with you. Leave me a comment, email me, or if you would like to me to pray with you on the phone, I would be honored. Please ask, let me do that for you.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Lunch Time Blahs, Part Two

In my search to beat the Lunch Time Blahs I have discovered another yummy recipe to share with you. Parts of it happened by accident, but it turned out delicious! I like to call it, Sprouted Lentil Tacos. Here is how it happened.

I was soaking lentils overnight for a lentil taco recipe I was going to try and something happened the next day and they didn't get cooked. Later that night I panicked because the lentils were still soaking and I didn't know if they would turn to mush, so I drained them and left them in the colander overnight. The next morning I had cute little sprouted lentils! As most of you probably know, soaking and/or sprouting grains, legumes, nuts and seeds make them much more nutritious, so I was thrilled when I saw they had sprouted.

You may make the following recipe with non-soaked, soaked or sprouted lentils, it is your choice. This recipe is based on a recipe I found online called, Red Lentil Tacos. Here is my adaptation of it, as you can see, it is really only based loosely on her recipe.

Sprouted Lentil Tacos

1/2 to 1 whole onion, chopped
1/2 chopped bell pepper
chopped garlic
2 cups soaked or sprouted lentils
about 2 cups chicken broth or water
1 cup can tomato product of choice
salt and pepper

Saute the onion, peppers and garlic in a little olive oil until softened and slightly browned. Add the taco seasoning, salt and pepper. Saute for a few seconds to release the flavors. Add sprouted lentils, chicken stock and tomato product. You want the lentils covered with liquid but not drowning in liquid. Let simmer, uncovered for about 15-20 minutes until most of the liquid is absorbed and mixture has become thickened. You might need to keep checking to make sure there is enough liquid. I usually don't measure, so the above is my best guess. Proceed with caution! ;-)
We serve this Sprouted Lentil Taco mixture in flour or corn tortilla wraps with lots of shredded cheese. It was very yummy. Healthy and Frugal!
As promised, here is my list of Lunch Ideas from my Meal Planning Notebook

Lunch Ideas

Spaghetti Sauce Pasta (Easy Tomato or Mine)
French Toast
Quinoa Burgers
Grilled Cheese
Lentil Burgers
Refried Beans and Rice
Saucy Black Beans and Rice or Quinoa
Muffins or Bars and Smoothie (yogurt or green)
Lentil Chili and Cornbread or over rice or quinoa
Broccoli Pasta
Pesto Pasta
Bean Dip and Chips
Pizza Pockets
Taco Pockets
Hard Boiled Eggs and Veggies
Mock Sloppy Joes
Fried Rice
Stir Fry w/ rice or quinoa
Taco Salad
Taco Soup
Meatless Chili
Chips and Cheese
Egg Frittata (veggies)
Eggs and Hash browns
Goulash with rice pasta or over rice or spaghetti squash
Wild rice pilaf
Breakfast pizza with rice as the crust??

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Beating the Lunch Time Blahs

Do you ever get in a rut with your meals for breakfast, lunch and/or dinner? We are in one of those ruts right now. I am determined to change things up a bit and try some new things now that life is getting back to normal. (LOL, what is normal anyway?)

Today I will share a recipe that was met with rave reviews. Please feel free to share you favorite 'go-to' lunches to give us all of some new ideas.

I have adapted this recipe from Stephanie, who wrote a wonderful Crockpot cookbook called Make it Fast, Cook it Slow.

Crockpot Beans and Rice

In the morning, by 8:00 am I sauteed a half of an onion and some garlic. (this is not necessary, but I really believe taking this step adds needed flavor.)

Into the crockpot:

Sauteed onion/garlic
2 cups brown rice (that I soaked overnight)
2 cups pinto beans (that I soaked, cooked and had in the freezer, you could use canned)
2 cups black beans (that I soaked, cooked and had in the freezer, you could use canned)
1 quart of my canned tomatoes
(that had some garlic, salt and onion, maybe use stewed tomato)
Italian Seasoning, salt and pepper
about 1 cup water to rinse our jar
Shredded cheese (add after done cooking)

Mix it up and put it on high. About 11:00, I checked it and it seemed to need a little water. The rice was not quite done and it was a little dry. I added a splash of boiling water at this time.

By noon we had delicious smelling and tasting beans and rice. We added shredded cheddar, but any flavor cheese would be great. It was different than our usual beans and rice because of the Italian flare. We are bored to tears with our standard beans and rice ;-) It was so great to put in such a small amount of effort and come up from doing school to a hot and tasty meal.

Here is Stephanie's Recipe. I suggest you go check it out and maybe follow her recipe or amounts before you adapt it like my recipe.

Helpful Hints:
  • Soak and cook up huge pots of beans and freeze them in 2-4 cup portions. I do this with all my beans. The beans are far superior to canned beans, as they are prepared properly, and it is so cheap. Especially if you buy in bulk.
  • Whenever possible, saute your veggies in a little oil to release flavor.
  • Season as you go along, layering the flavor.

Next time, another successful lunch idea and my list of Lunch Menu Ideas from my Meal Planning notebook. Don't forget to share you ideas!

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

His Amazing Protection!

I imagine that there are countless times our lives have been spared and protected from things we don't even know. But don't you just love it when our Father lets us see one of those times??

Isaiah, our just turned thirteen year old loves to fish. Yesterday was a beautiful afternoon and he had gotten some new fishing gear for his birthday, you guessed it, he went fishing in our pond.

While he was talking with our neighbor, the neighbors grandson picked up Isaiah's fishing pole. Isaiah went over to encourage him to put it down when the little guy decided to try his hand at casting. In a split second Isaiah had a hook in his face.

He came into show me. Yep, it was in there good. I calmly called Brian who said, 'call the doctor, I am packing up my work right now. I'll meet you.' ( I just love this man!) I, of course, being a 'doctor wannabe' thought I might be able to get it out. Good thing wisdom from the man prevails.

Of course you have the thoughts like, 'thank You, Father, it could have been his eye'. But suddenly I thought, what happened to the string? Did Isaiah cut it? When I asked him he told me it just untied when it got hooked in his face. The string just untied???!! Seriously?

I began to play in my mind the casting motion. You fling it back and then you strongly fling it forward. Ummm, I don't fish all that often, but, that fling forward can be pretty strong. I would guess that often times whatever gets hooked from behind would tend to go forward with that fling. Which, by the way, could have been a chunk of my sweet Isaiah's face! Nope, the string simply untied!!

Some might think it wasn't tied well, or that it was a fluke. But not me! Oh no, it was my Father protecting my son! I'm not sure why it got hooked in the first place. I'm not sure why we had to sit for hours in the Urgent Care. But I do know Isaiah could have lost a chunk of his face that day and he didn't.

Ask me how ironic I think it is that this same Isaiah is the one who came to me a couple of days ago sharing his thoughts and revelations on Psalm 91.

For he shall give his angels charge over thee, to keep thee in all thy ways. (Ps. 91:11)

The LORD be magnified!!!

Monday, October 11, 2010

Let's Do This Together!!

Good morning, Ladies! I have been overwhelmed with the joy of the Lord yesterday and today. As I was reading Psalm 71 today I was struck by how many times we are exhorted to 'praise the Lord', to 'tell of His righteous deeds'.
Below are various verses from Psalm 71.

My mouth shall be filled with Your praise and with Your honor all the day.

But I will hope continually, and will praise You yet more and more.
My mouth shall tell of Your righteous acts and of Your deeds of salvation all the day, for their number is more than I know.

I will come in the strength and with the mighty acts of the Lord God; I will mention and praise Your righteousness, even Yours alone.

O God, You have taught me from my youth, and hitherto have I declared Your wondrous works.

Yes, even when I am old and gray-headed, O God, forsake me not, [but keep me alive] until I have declared Your mighty strength to [this] generation, and Your might and power to all that are to come.

My lips shall shout for joy when I sing praises to You, and my inner being, which You have redeemed.

My tongue also shall talk of Your righteousness all the day long; for they are put to shame, for they are confounded, who seek and demand my hurt.

You probably know as well as I do that recounting, praising, thanking and telling of His wonderful faithfulness is smattered from one end of the Bible to the other.
Let's obey that admonition. Joy truly does bubble up when we stop focusing on the 'woes' of life and start magnifying the Lord. So, let the LORD be magnified this morning! Just off the top of you head list five things you are thankful for or want to praise Him for. Don't stress yourself out, whatever comes to mind, spend the few seconds to type them in the comment section. If it is a particularly difficult morning it might feel like a stretch, but look around, there are literally tons of things to be thankful for. I'll start.
  1. a beautiful day of rest yesterday
  2. joy returning to my heart
  3. the opportunity to teach and train today
  4. one more day to glorify my God (help me, Father ;-)
  5. schedules, menu plans and lists

Your turn! Imagine a day filled with 'declaring' His goodness . . . all the day long!! Join me!?

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Please Be Praying!

Sweet Alex

My very dear friend and neighbor's precious grandson needs our prayers. His grandparents and parents do too. Please go over to Cindy's blog and read her story. Thank you!


Below is a video our oldest son put together of photos from our third son, Joshua's graduation ceremony and party on September 26, 2010. Matthew did an awesome job with the photography and video. Thanks, Love!
You will see pictures of our children sharing a scripture or a word to their brother. It was so sweet. They each sought the Lord on just what to share with him, even the nine year old.
Also, there is a woman speaking to him in a few of the pictures, this was his piano teacher for years. We love this woman. She comes to our house to teach our children. She is the epitome of the perfect teacher. She inspires them, she is firm, yet gentle. She truly loves and values them. She is such a gift.
Joshua's Chemistry, Latin and Hebrew teacher is in one of the pictures also. This man is brilliant! He knows, I don't know, a bazillion languages and is a Professor of Physics at an University near us. He tutored Luke and Josh for several years. He too is a gift!
It was a beautiful day of honoring and sharing, surrounded by loved ones. Praising God for His leading to homeschool our children. It truly is an awesome, most wonderful experience. We would not trade it for the world!