Saturday, December 31, 2011

Thank You, readers!

It's the end of 2011. It's been a full, wonderful year. Some of the challenges this year have been in completely new territory, some have been well traveled (but still difficult) roads. It has all been in God's wonderful plan for my life, and there isn't a moment I would change.

One of the big changes this year was the amount of writing this blog has seen. At 134 posts this has undoubtedly been my busiest year! I've enjoyed exploring different aspects life--from cooking to good books.

As readers, you have encouraged me with your comments and emails. Thank you. I really couldn't have kept this up without your encouragement.

In celebration of the new year, I thought it would be interesting to share what the top posts of 2011 have been--according to YOU, my readers. Many of them have surprised me!

  • #5 How to Make A Freezer Burrito--In this simple how-to post I took a look at the basics of making a freezer burrito. Using this method you can be sure your burritos will be easy to store, fresh, and ready for a scrumptious meal!

  • #4 Single Gals, beware your reputation!--This post pointed out an important fact that single gals often forget--actions speak louder than words. A reputation once made is not easily changed.  

  • #1 Prof. Horners Bible Reading Plan--I'll be honest--the popularity of this post stunned me. But with twice as many page reads as the runner up--this was definitely the most popular post of the year!

I have a number of ideas about different directions to take this blog in the coming months, some of which I'll be sharing with you in the coming weeks.  I would also love to hear from my readers. What would YOU like to see more of? Recipes? Personal posts? Challenges? How-to articles? If you have any comments, please leave them below or drop me an email.

God bless you in the New Year!

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Defend your God-given responsibility

This is absolutely stunning. I highly recommend that anyone who is a parent, or hopes to be one at some point watch this video.

We are called as parents to take responsibility for the training of our children. This responsibility is given by God, but it is not protected (or recognized) by the United States or most of the world. If we continue to do nothing, our rights will continue to erode to the point that we can no longer fulfill our God given responsibility.

ParentalRights.orgOur goal is to pass the following amendment to the U.S. Constitution to protect the fundamental rights of parents in raising their children:

“SECTION ONE: The liberty of parents to direct the upbringing and education of their children is a fundamental right.
 “SECTION TWO: Neither the United States nor any State shall infringe upon this right without demonstrating that its governmental interest as applied to the person is of the highest order and not otherwise served.
 “SECTION THREE: No treaty may adopted nor shall any source of international law be employed to supersede, modify, interpret, or apply to the rights guaranteed by this article.”

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

The blessing of... Family

GreaThings 2011

I'm going to depart a bit from the GreaThings schedule today, and instead of doing the assignment (letter I) mention my Family. God really has blessed me with an amazing family.

Dad is a man of God with a passion for the Lord. He loves teaching, almost as much as he enjoys learning. We often pass book recommendations back and forth between us. As much as he enjoys learning new things, another important quality is that he is discerning in the materials that he reads and how they line up with the whole of scripture. He also has amazing faith in God. I could tell stories, but there isn't space. :-)

Mom is the most patient person I know. Seriously. She is loving, supportive, and probably the only person I actually talk to on a (almost) daily basis. She has lived a life of dedication to God first and to her family next, and provided me with a wonderful model to follow with my own family.

Dallas, Josiah, Jonathan
Josiah is the 4th and youngest of the brood. He loves army men and computer games, but has some amazing insights as well. I remember my surprise when I walked into the computer room one day and saw a note (a LARGE and DISTRACTING note) reminding him not to get on the computer till AFTER he'd done his quiet time for the day.

Dallas is the 3rd of the brood. His hobbies are varied, but almost always in the arts. He's pursued dulcimer, drawing, photography, piano, computer graphics and I forget what else--with varied levels of success. He also has commitment, as shown by his job--an early morning (as in, 3am) shift.
Jonathan with Amanda and Abigail 
Jonathan and I were pretty close growing up, partially due to our closeness of age, and partly because we were the only two siblings that had our own room. I remember when he was fairly young and new to having his own room he'd come to my room just to visit. I also played more pranks on him than any of my other brothers... Now he's a banker, web designer, and one of the most committed people I know. A man of his word.

Amanda is my sister-in-law (married to Jonathan), but I've told her it's just a matter of convenience. She was my best friend and a part of the family LONG before I knew my brother would be obliging enough to marry her to make it all permanent. She's the closest thing to a "real" sister that I've ever had, down to rooming together for a couple months a few years ago. She's artistic, fun, gave me a cute little niece, and conveniently lives about a half a block away.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Difficult times God used

GreaThings 2011

For this post in GreaThings we are looking at difficult times of the past year that we are grateful for.

When looking back over the last year I see that there have been many challenges my husband and I have faced together. Many of them have been alluded to in previous posts of GreaThings, or at other times as I've been writing through this year. But when I think of defining moments of this year, there is only one Difficult Thing that stands out. That is loosing our first little one.

In other posts this year I've talked about the hardships of our loss. I've talked about how to treat a grieving mother. I've told my personal story of loss. I've mentioned that, even though I'm expecting again, I still think about our first nearly every day. I need to point that out, because my focus for this post is going to be very different. Instead of focusing on how hard it was to loose my baby, I want to look at the good that God has been able to work out of the loss.

Encouragement of the Saints--I had no idea before we lost our little one how much little kindnesses count. A listening ear. A bouquet of flowers. A bracelet to remember. Practical help. Our church (primarily, though there were others as well)  covered us with love. They grieved as we grieved. But they also encouraged us to find joy in our ashes, to trust God with His plan for our lives, and to carry on.

Shared experience--I'm a practical gal when it comes to most things. I'm not very good and dealing with emotions--especially other people's emotions. It follows that comforting isn't my forte. While that is still true, having now experienced the loss of a child it is much easier to identify with those who are grieving over the same loss. It is easier to feel their pain. Easier to passionately intercede with God on their behalf. Easier to share their tears.

My relationship with my husband--Any major event that doesn't pull a couple together will push them apart. This definitely brought my husband and I closer together as we shared the pain of loss with each other. While our relationship has always been incredibly stable, I doubt we would be where we are today in our depth of understanding of one another if we hadn't shared this difficult experience.

Value of life--Pregnancy is much more valuable to me than it used to be. While I've lost the innocent youthful assumption that nothing could go wrong, I've gained a greater value of time. I understand that there are no guarantees that my current pregnancy will come to term. I pray it will, but God's will may be different and I have accepted that. Because I am constantly aware of the brevity of life I actively value each day that I have with my little one in a way that I don't believe would be possible if I hadn't lost a child.

Monday, November 21, 2011

Blessings with "T"

GreaThings 2011

Our next project in GreaThings is exploring blessings starting with the letter T. That one is super easy for me--its The Church!

When I married my husband I wasn't just marrying him, I was also marrying his ministry. I became his help-meet, and his dreams and goals became my dreams and goals. After his relationship with God and his family, my husband's greatest passion is his ministry. While that entails many things at the moment, the most concrete form of ministry is to our church.

Answered Prayers of 2011

GreaThings 2011

Today in GreatThings we're looking at some answered prayers and miracles from this past year.

While there have been a number of answered prayers this year, the ones that stand out most to me are the ones related to transportation. Even though we've only been married a little over a year, my hubby and I have had a rough run with our vehicles.

Saturday, November 19, 2011

The blessings of.... In-Laws!

GreaThings 2011

Today in GreaThings we are exploring blessings that start with the letter A. The main blessing that came to mind for this letter is my Amazing In-Laws. I really do have a fantastic extended family, and that isn't overstating the truth one bit. In fact, as I've never introduced my family on the blog before, I'm going to let you "meet" each one of them along a few words about their general amazing-ness.

Papa and Mama Rohlin
 Mama and Papa have been the best mother and father in laws a girl could ask for. Even before I was aware that their son would be my husband someday, they'd already "adopted" me into the family. Mama taught me piano for a number of years--and for a long time the biggest reason I enjoyed my lesson was because I had her all to myself for an hour! :-) Papa often had me back in his office, discussing the future and the past, and listening to whatever was going on in my life. While marriage has changed things (no more piano lessons!) they are still the best mother and father in law ever! (and I happen to love it when they laugh! :-)

Melody with her husband Donald
and little  girl, Danielle.
Melody is Richard's only older sibling, and the only other one that is married off at this point. She and I don't get to spend much time together (due to living quite a distance apart!) but we do have quite a lot of similar interests as her newest little one (a boy!) is due just two months before mine.

Faith, Grace, and Hope
Faith is an aspiring  young photographer (who took some anniversary pics I'm looking forward to sharing soon!). She has really been focusing on the Lord this past year, and I know is going to do some amazing things!!

Grace is one of the most passionate people I know--and about all the right things! She's also one of only two pen-pals that regularly sends me letters the "old fashioned" way.

Hope sees more than most people, and talks less about it--making her unusually wise for her age. She's also been a lifesaver the past couple months, as she's my helper in our new Keepers class. Between the two of us we keep that class busy!

Harmony and me

Harmony has been growing up way too fast lately *smile.* She's one of my older Keepers girls, and quite ready to help! I've loved having some extra time to spend with her.

Arthur (and assorted nuns)

Arthur may have cried at the altar during our wedding when his oldest (and only) brother abandoned him to a houseful of girls, but he's seemed to hold his own quite well since then. He is loving and affectionate--but as ready as ever for a good duct-tape sword fight!

Christiana is one of the all-time cutest little girls, and THE MOST experienced flower girl I've ever met! (to the tune of 4-5 weddings worth of experience). She's one of the most imaginative and enthusiastic little girls I know.

The whole clan together

Friday, November 18, 2011

A heartbeat!

As I'm having trouble uploading an MP3 File into my post, please click over to my hubby's blog to hear the single best sound I've heard this year.

Blessings with "E"

GreaThings 2011

Today in GreaThings We're going to be exploring some blessings that start with the letter "E." From least to greatest:

I'm thankful for Email and Envelopes. I have several friends who regularly correspond with me via either email or "snail" mail. Every time I see a letter from them I'm excited, because in addition to being fun to read, each of those letters is a written version of "I Love You" that I'll be able to hold on to for years to come.

The greatest thing that I'm thankful for is every minute I've had that I've been Expecting. All told this year I've had 23 weeks with my babies, almost 30 weeks by the end of the year. That means that while my time has seemed so brief,  I've spent well over half the year with one of my littles. It has been a privilege to be a mama, and one I have thanked God for many times.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Scriptures for the year

GreaThings 2011

Today in the GreaThings challenge we are looking at Scriptures that have been meaningful to us this year. While there isn't a single scripture overarching over the entire year, there have been many that have been an encouragement to me during specific circumstances.

 Earlier this year when my new-to-me car was totaled, and we had three job schedules divided between two people and one car (that I couldn't drive), the verse that my husband I claimed was Philippians 4:19. We claimed that verse again a couple months ago when our ONLY car bit the dust and we had two job schedules, divided between two people and NO cars. Then there were the months

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Thanking God for... Romance

GreaThings 2011

It's the second day in the GreaThings challenge, and today we are exploring one or two special blessings that begin with the letter R.

My first blessing is Romance.

What is Gratitude?

GreaThings 2011

I've been wishing for a Thanksgiving related challenge to participate in with my blog, but couldn't think of what exactly. Then yesterday evening I saw that Chantel is hosting the GreaThings challenge on her blog. Although I'm starting a bit late, this is just what I've wanted so I'm going to hop on anyway! :-)

The first portion of the challenge is to define what gratitude is. I've been thinking about that all morning, and I realized that before I can define gratitude I have another couple words to define. Bear with me, it'll tie in.

Monday, October 31, 2011


In honor of one of my favorite holidays on the calendar, Reformation Day

(and because it's a BEAUTIFUL day)

may we present to you:


Saturday, October 29, 2011

Reformation Day

For the last 10 years or so I have assisted a friend of mine, Elaine, in pulling together a Reformation Day Celebration at our church. She's been planning it for 20 years now, and when I started helping I was in my mid/early-teens. Since then I've grown up, gotten married, and changed churches three times!! Yet every year around early September we get together and start planning what THIS year's Reformation party will be like.

Every year is fun and different, and in honor of the upcoming holiday I thought I'd write out a FAQ guide to Reformation Day.

What is the history of Reformation Day?

Reformation Day began on October 31, 1517 when Martin Luther hung his 95 Thesis on the Wittenburg church door. These 95 Thesis objected to some unscriptural practices of the church at the time, in particular the sell of indulgences (by which a family could purchase for their deceased loved one "time off" of their stay in purgatory). While the actual 95 thesis were never responded to officially, they were a sort of wake up call to the church at the time and are considered the catalyst for the following reformation of the church.

What is the focus of a Reformation Day Celebration?
In our church we focus primarily on the children. Our primary goal is to glorify Christ while teaching the children in our church (and any visitors who happen to come!) the importance of this holiday. We want everyone--especially the children--to walk away from the celebration having both had fun and learned something new.

How is Reformation Day celebrated?
There are many ways to celebrate Reformation day! Since our primary focus is on the children, we focus on fun games, skits, prizes  and other things that are fun and keep their attention. The primary ingredient common to everything we do is that it all purposefully directs back to the focus of the celebration.

Is Reformation Day just another alternative to Halloween? Afterall, it IS on October 31...
Absolutely not. Our church does not celebrate Reformation Day as an alternative to Haloween (similar to other churchs "fall festivals"). Reformation Day is a holiday in it's own right, and in some countries (such as Slovenia and Chili) is actually a civic or national holiday. While most churches don't give Reformation Day much notice, it is one of the most pivotal events in church history. It is also one of the few holidays on our calendar that are uniquely Christian. If Luther had posted his 95 Thesis on another day we would celebrate Reformation Day on THAT day instead.

HOWEVER, although Haloween didn't exist then in the way it does now, there is a possibility that it wasn't entirely coincidence that Martin Luther chose that particular day to post his 95 Thesis. To quote from Wikipedia:
The fact that Reformation Day coincides with Halloween may not be mere coincidence. Halloween, being the Eve of All Saints' Day might have been an entirely appropriate day for Luther to post his 95 Theses against indulgences since the castle church would be open on All Saints' Day specifically for people to view a large collection of relics. The viewing of these relics was said to promise a reduction in time in purgatory similar to that of the purchase of an indulgence.
Note: For information on why we do not celebrate haloween, please refer to this lesson from my father in law, our associate pastor.

What specific games do you use for Reformation Day?
We've used quite a few games over the years!! To take a sampling from last year, we played:

 "Trash the Indulgences" (a relay style game in which the kids learned what indulgences were and why it was wrong for the church to sell them), "

Nail the Theses (a nail the tail on the donkey type game, where the kids learned what the 95 thesis were and why they were important), 

 "Lasso Luther" (just as the name implies, in which the kids learned that Luther's commitment to God's word resulted in him being excommunicated and becoming an outlaw)

"Blind Faith" (in which the kids learned that like Luther, even if we are ridiculed we must listen to God's voice alone. 

Other games we have included are: Life of Luther Maze (with objects that were pivotal in Luthers life), Coffer toss, Bible Translators Clue, beanbag toss, and a variety of others. 

Are there other specific things you do to celebrate?
Of course! The last few years we've encouraged costumes in line with the theme, particularly if the children come as a character from the Reformation and can tell a bit about the person they are representing.

We often do a "German" themed potluck meal, which means lots of sauerkraut and sausage!

There is always a play or skit of some sort. Sometimes we re-use skits, but most years we make up new ones. Usually the skits draw heavily on audience participation.

Prizes--of course! The prizes change every year, but there are ALWAYS prizes, and most of the children are able to earn at least one.


If you have any other questions please feel free to ask!! :-)

Friday, October 28, 2011

To be Relevant

It's once more time to join Gypsy Mama with Five Minute Friday, the day that we write just for the love of the word--no backspacing, no editing, writing straight from the heart. There are only a few rules:

    1. Write for 5 minutes flat – no editing, no over thinking, no backtracking.
    2. Link back here and invite others to join in.
    3. Most importantly: leave a comment for the person who linked up before you – encouraging them in their writing!
The prompt today is: Relevant.

Relevant. It's what I want to be. It's what I wonder each week as I pull my girls into the little classroom back of church to slap paint on wood and stamps on paper. Is what I'm saying relevant to them? Am I actually teaching them things that they care about? Need to know? Want to learn? Will remember after they leave--and even for years later? Is what I'm saying relevant?

I ask myself that question when my sister in law and I plan together to have a young lady in the church over every couple of weeks--ostensibly to teach her the finer womanly arts of cake decorating and sewing and baby-watching. Really what we plan on doing is speaking encouragement to her heart, showing her she's is maturing into a woman of value, arming her with tools of scripture to fight the battles she's already facing. Can we do that with a few fancy cake decorating tips? Write God's love on her heart with a bit of colored icing? Will it work?

I wonder if I'm relevant, if I'm speaking the words that need to be said. I ask God to teach me what to say, and how to act--because "relevant" is so much more than the words that I speak. It doesn't matter if they remember me--what matters is that I use the abilities and voice that God has given me to the utmost, and that I encourage them to be the women of purpose He created them to be. 

Thursday, October 27, 2011


A couple weeks ago I was reminded by Holly that the month of October is

Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Month.

That's not very hard.

The past couple months have been full ones for me. The blog has been quieter than it ever has been this year, and it's because in the last few months I've dealt with just about every major life change there is.



As much as it has been to process, I haven't ever forgotten about my little one.  I couldn't ever forget about him.

It was four months ago that my little one, my first, our Christian William, went home to be with Jesus. It was completely unexpected--but these things always are, I suppose. It still amazes me how much love two parents can have in their heart for a child they never met.

I think about him every day.

There are a couple things I have done to remember my little one...

The first was to make a baby box. It isn't much, really. So little that I keep it in the top drawer of my jewelry box. There are a couple of my positive pregnancy tests (though I didn't keep all 7!! *smiles*). A heart charm. And a fortune cookie insert that says Alto Sax (when I was married my aunt gave me a gift bag with a dozen fortune cookies "re-stuffed" with the names of various musical instruments. She told me she expected me to have a lot of children who were all musical, and to avoid redundant instruments all I had to do was open a fortune cookie with each pregnancy to find out which musical instrument that child needed to learn. Christian, apparently, would have played Alto Sax.)

Perhaps the thing that has helped the most in remembering my Christian was a gift from my husband and a dear friend who also lost her first. It is a remembrance bracelet by La Belle Dame. The bracelet itself is made of alternating beads of Blue Lace Agate and Rose Quartz, because it was too early for us to know for sure whether we were having a boy or a girl. There are three Forget Me Not flowers, and on either side of each flower is a gemstone--one for the month of conception (diamond), one for the month of the loss (pearl), and one for the month he would have been due (garnet). I rarely leave the house without this bracelet on.

The grieving process has been difficult, but the Lord has been with us through it all--and He has blessed us with family and friends who have helped tremendously.

For those of you who have little ones with Jesus, did you do anything this month to remember them? If so, I'd love to hear about it.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

When the Roll Is Called Up Yonder

One week ago today I arrived at work to find that the lady I cared for, Miss Inez, had passed away an hour before I arrived. She had been in failing health since a little before her birthday, and over the past week had gotten much worse. She'd been off liquids for several days.

It was an honor to sit with Miss Inez and be a part of her life. I was her companion for nearly 3 years, and we had some pretty good times together. When I first started working I always brought my laptop along and would type out the stories she told me. Miss Inez never really understood what I was doing (sometimes she'd complain to her daughter that I wasn't doing anything but playing on my computer all day!), but that Christmas we were able to present to her family an illustrated book of her memories. It was 50 pages long, specially bound, and each of her children got a copy.

As Miss Inez drew closer to her 100th birthday she told fewer and fewer stories. Her health declined, and within a year of when I started sitting with her she had broken two bones and had to move from her daughters house to a skilled nursing unit. My hours were increased, and after about a year her daughter, Linda, moved back to Texas from Tennessee. Linda began staying with her mother in the afternoons and weekends after that, so for those last few months Miss Inez had someone with her nearly the entire day.

While I do miss her, I don't grieve for her. She is leaving a legacy of children and grand children, and great-grand children to be proud of. I know she loved the lord, and she served Him faithfully all her life. The last year has been a difficult one for her physically, and she spoke often of her two children who hadn't survived childhood. I know she wanted to see them again. I imagine she has already met my own little one, who I never met in this world.

Miss Inez loved to sing, though her singing voice wasn't what it used to be. On rare occasions  she'd treat us all to a ditty. On her birthday, for example, she sang the kids song about a duck with a feather over his back who lead the others with a "Quack, quack, quack." She remembered three verses--more than any of us did!

She also enjoyed it when I sang to her. Amazing Grace was a favorite, but the one she consistently asked for was When the Roll is Called Up Yonder. When I sang that one to her she'd almost always join in on the chorus--even that last week she was with us. I know that when the roll is called up yonder she'll be there--she is there right now, singing with a new voice as loud and pretty as anyone.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011


This week is going to be a little different of a Multitude Monday for me. Lately God has been putting my life on the fast-track, and there are SO MANY blessings I have to count!!

A new Keepers of the Faith ministry at church (231), and the 8 girls I meet with every week to teach them fun homemaking skills, Bible Verses, and character (232). The way their eyes light up when it is time to meet brings joy to my heart (233). The eagerness of the boys to do something similar (after seeing how much fun their sisters are having)(234), and the stepping up of a soon-to-be man to fill the need for a leader—THAT makes me smile (235). The words of praise as their parents pull me to the side and tell me how much their daughter enjoys the class, and that they are already seeing a change at home in the way she acts around her family—is the crown (236). This is a 10 year dream realized over the past 2 weeks—and it's everything I'd hoped it would be. (237)

A new Ladies Bible Study I started at church, small—only 4 of us (238). But we meet every week as we learn together to trust God with everything, and quiet our noisy souls before him. (239) It challenges me.

An anniversary, my first, spent very quietly with my husband. (240) A year ago today we'd just arrived back from our honeymoon, and I was just learning how to be a wife and dreaming of being a mother. Now I am a mother, (241) though my baby is with Jesus, and have learned to be a help-meet for my husband. It has been a beautiful, quiet, perfect first year. (242) I know that this next year will be different. But that's good too.

A new ministry given to me in an area I've dreamed of working in for many years. (243) I was trained a few weeks ago to work with We Are Cherished, and though I haven't yet been able to volunteer with the ministry, I look forward to the ways God will use that in my life and in the lives of the women he puts before me.

A new apartment, next door to my brother and his bride (and their new little girl!). I love our beautiful new home! :-) (244)

A new community group, the second one in our church, visions multiplying. (245) This one will be meeting in our new home, too—blessing upon blessing!


Housekeeping: Since we moved a couple weeks ago my schedule has been completely out of the norm. I haven’t had time to keep up with email, much less the blog. I’m hoping that as life settles down into a new normal I’ll be able to pick up writing again as well; but for the time being I’ll only be posting a couple times a week. 

Friday, October 7, 2011


I'm joining Gypsy Mama this morning for Five Minute Friday--the prompt today is:

On ordinary…

I walk out of my house and head to work in the morning, and the coolness of fall hits me. Where I live "coolness of fall" may be 80 degrees or higher by noon, but it is a blessed relief from one of the longest droughts in our history. It's an ordinary fall day, but as I smell the rain I think "ordinary" must be pretty close to perfect sometimes.

I never realized till this year how much Fall is a new beginning to me. So many fresh starts I've made in Septemmber and October over the years, and this year is no exception. My ordinary days have been different this past month, I feel God moving my family. It's an invisible, silent movement that seems to shout volumes to me.

My husband and I celebrated our first anniversary a couple weeks ago. It marked the end to a year where "ordinary" really was pretty close to perfect. I know this next year will be the same in that respect, but ordinary will be different now. Looking forward I see a year full of ministry--both in the church as my husbands wife, and at home, with my family. "Ordinary" is changing for me now, so that I'm only just now learning what is going to be normal from now on. But that is good. When God leads, the best thing to do is hold on tight and follow along closely!!

The rules for joining are:

    1. Write for 5 minutes flat – no editing, no over thinking, no backtracking.
    2. Link back here and invite others to join in.
    3. Go all out encouraging the writer who linked up before you.

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Zaycon Bacon Savings Event

Zaycon is having another savings event, this time for Bacon. While I have never tried their bacon before, if their bacon is the same quality as the other products I have purchased through Zaycon, it should be delicious. 

While 30 lbs of bacon seems a bit much to buy all at once, the cases are designed to be easy to split. My mom, sister-in-law, and myself are splitting a case, and if you were interested (but not in so much!) it probably won't be hard to find someone to split the case with. 

There are many drop-off locations around the DFW area, if you are interested there should be a good place for you. 

We are excited to bring you Zaycon Foods Fresh Hickory Smoked, regular sliced Bacon:   With fantastic flavor, this fresh from the farm bacon is a great addition to any breakfast, lunch or dinner. 
Price is $2.97 per lb.
 FRESH Premium Hickory Smoked Bacon
• High quality, regular-cut hickory smoked sliced bacon
• Order includes two 15-lb cases with two 7.5-lb packages per case (Total order size is 30-lbs)
• Premium, high-quality and consistent, this hickory-smoked bacon has a wonderful flavor and represents a great value for families
• Easy to share with a friend if you do not think you can use the entire case

Here is my referral link to the savings event: Zaycon Bacon Savings Event. I hope y'all find something you like!!

Monday, September 5, 2011

The gift of saying goodbye

I completely forgot to post my 1000 Gifts last week, so here's two weeks worth of my little joys. I imagine the blog is going to be a bit slower for the next week or two, as my hubby and I are preparing for our move this weekend and our anniversary next weekend (can it really have been a year already??). I'll still be around, but may be a bit quieter than usual.

207. planning in advance (anniversary around the corner!!)
208. Writing a Katie Luther monologue for Reformation Day
209. New planner pages come in the mail!!
210. An anniversary gift arrived early
211. A visit from a friend to help with packing
212. Lots more boxes!!

213. The book shelves packed (mostly :P)
214. fudge Sundays with a sister
215. New week to plan
216. A Proverbs 31day (awesome!)
217. Sushi with my parents, a double date
218. 30lbs of ground beef to put up

219. Freezer cooking day with the “in-laws.”
220. 6 year old Christiana “chopping” parsley for me
221. 47 meals made, 6 recipes, under $1 per main course serving.
222. Long quiet time and a goodbye walk
223. Sewing progress
224. Preparatory packing finished (thanks mom!!)

225. Sunshiny, beautiful (cool!!!) day!!
226. Wonderful fun planning sessions (about any number of topics!!)
227. Work--hard, but rewarding.
228. An avalanche of free boxes, all in the same day, what a blessing!!
229. A posse of in-laws come to help pack--two days of work, and one packed apartment the result (THANK YOU!!!!)
230. Saying goodbye to our first home--5 days to go.

Friday, September 2, 2011

What is rest?

Rest. It's something we all need, but many of us struggle to get. Rest. There are days when life is coming from all directions, and there are a thousand and one things to think about. The to-do-lists to work down, the chores to be done, the only vehicle to juggle, and (for us at least) the boxes to pack. There are jobs, and responsibilities, and important things--and urgent things (that might not be quite so important as they seem to be). With all of the noisy list of responsibilities, it's hard to step back and rest.

I've spent the month of August learning about rest, among a few other things. I've discovered that there is a lot more to rest than I first thought. I used to think that rest was that thing you got at night when your eyes were closed and your breathing was regular. Or, perhaps, it was those few minutes of blessed nap-time snatched sometime during the day. While that is part of rest, it's much too confined a definition. If that is all that rest is, no wonder we don't have enough time for it!!

Rest is choosing to settle your mind away from the hectic business of life and onto something greater, something (or should I say someONE) all-consumingly important. Rest is choosing to see God in the middle of a normal day's chaos. It's seeing the joy in the small things. It's choosing to trust Him with the latest list of worries or things to do. Rest chooses to turn over in the mind God's greatness, his love, his goodness, his gentleness, his wisdom, until all the worries and things to do fade into the background. I've learned that Rest, primarily, is meditation on God, and it usually happens right there in the middle of the mess.


Linking up to Lisa-Jo for Five Minute Friday.

Friday, August 26, 2011

Time Capsule

Joining Lisa-Jo for Five Minute Friday again, and this week is her birthday!! Head over to to wish Lisa a happy birthday, or read what other folks are writing. This week the prompt is "Older."

I remember, years ago, my younger self made a "time capsule" box for my older self. A time capsule filled with different things that were special to me. My Grand Champion horse pedigrees; a bead bracelet in bright neon colors, the first one hand-made on my beading loom; and a letter written to myself 10 years later. A decade doesn't seem like all that much to me now, but a decade is a lifetime to a little girl who is 10. 

I'm pretty good with following rules, so like a good girl I waited to open that time capsule until the proper time (so maybe I peeked once...). When I did open it I was surrounded by memories of my childhood. I remember how, as a 10 year old, I very naturally assumed that when I was 20 I'd be just about perfect. It makes me smile now, but at the time I figured that the eradication of temptation, bad habits, and a multitude of other annoyances would SURELY be accomplished after TEN YEARS. From my 20-something perspective I've still got a ways to go. 

As much work as God has left, I know that God is the one doing it--he who has begun a good work in me will bring it to completion. He is walking with me, and every day that I spend with him brings me closer to him. I may not ever obtain in this life the perfection my 10 year old self so blithely assumed, but I know that I am daily being molded into Christ. I also know that one day the work will be complete, when I am with Christ. And that's about as good as it gets. 

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Zaycon--Last Call

At the risk of being repetitive, this is quick reminder that the deadline to order your box of Zaycon Ground beef is tomorrow. This beef sells out quickly. Last time Zaycon hosted a ground beef event I intended to order, but waited till the last day and missed out. While none of the locations are sold out now, if you are planning to buy I recommend making your purchase this evening.

If you missed my previous post about Zaycon Ground Beef events, check out this post and it will have all the details: Zaycon Beef Event @ Love Lifted Me.

Monday, August 22, 2011

Dreaming castles

My man and I have done a lot of dreaming this week. A LOT of dreaming--all of it starting with just a grain of reality and then built into a absolutely beautiful castle in the sky. I know all the dreaming probably won't end up being reality, and that's really okay with me. It isn't reasonable to expect all castles to come out just the way we've planned them in our head. I've just enjoyed the freedom we have to build those lovely castles together.

191. Lots of little girls that need to be occupied, just at a time when I'm free. Maybe time for a Keepers program? A dream castle long standing.

192. Walking through a fabric store again, dreaming of possibilities (the last time was before I was married!)
193. Fabric for not one new dress, but TWO

194. sewing again, after a year off
195. Anniversary planning

196. An offer of help in packing--gladly accepted!
197. A tasty meal with family
198. watching the droopy leaves of a houseplant perk up after getting water
199. The first few boxes-packed
200. My hamster, Kitty Strunksworthy the First

201. ALL the laundry DONE (well, except folding, but still! It was a great work!)
202. Happy memories packed in boxes (and the anticipation of UNpacking them in just a month
203. Resolution

204.  A new morning
205.  dreaming with my man
206. Castles in the sky

Friday, August 19, 2011

New: Five Minute Friday

Joining The Gypsy Mama again for Five Minute Friday. As a recap of the rules:

    1. Write for 5 minutes flat – no editing, no over thinking, no backtracking.
    2. Link back here and invite others to join in.
    3. Get a little crazy with encouragement for the five minuter who linked up before you.


New—for me it's what life is right now. New.

There is the new home in less than a month. A new place to live—I've lived in one town for over 20 years of my life. And now I'm moving to a new town. It's close to the old one, true. If I get lost, at least I can (in theory) find my way to the old roads to find the new place again. But it's different. It's new.

There is the new stage of life, marriage. In less than a month we'll celebrate our first anniversary. We'll eat that cake that's been waiting in our freezr since the wedding 11 months ago (will it still be good? How will it taste? What flavor of cake did we have, anyway? And have we really been married such a short time that it's possible that a cake kept in the freezer could still be edible?). Marriage doesn't seem new anymore—after the first 6 weeks we felt like we'd been married all our lives. But for as long as it feels, it hasn't yet been a full turn around the sun.

New can be a scary thing—you never quite know if "new" is going to be new-good or new-not-so-good. New means change, and change is just like that. It's an adventure, but all the best adventures have moments when everything seems to go awry. Thank goodness that with God, noting new is a surprise! If he holds our future, a God of love, of compassion, of tender-loving-kindness, we don't need to be afraid of changes. And, in a way, I suppose that makes all new, "good new."


Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Smoked Salmon Breakfast Bagel

One of my hubby's (many) favorite foods is Smoked Salmon. I'd never heard of smoked salmon before we were married, and so one day when we were shopping together he saw a pound of it for a good price and tossed it in the cart along with a bag of bagels.  I was leery of the idea--smoked or not that salmon looked raw to me. But I'd promised him I'd try anything once, and he called me on it.  My hubby fixed breakfast the next morning, and despite my dubious reaction to the whole idea I found it to be quite tasty.

Smoked Salmon Breakfast Bagel

(All measurements "to taste")
Cream Cheese
Onion, thinly sliced
Tomato, thinly sliced
Smoked Salmon

Divide bagels into round halves. Spread each half with cream cheese. Sprinkle a few capers across the top. Place a few thinly sliced onion rings on top of each bagel half, and one slice of tomato. Spread one thin piece of smoked salmon over top. Enjoy!!


Saturday, August 13, 2011


Want to take five minutes with me and share what you found? Want to just write without worrying if it’s just right or not. Here’s how we do it:

1. Write for 5 minutes flat with no editing, tweaking or self critiquing.
2. Link back to Gypsy Mama and invite others to join in
3. Go and tell the person who linked up before you what their words meant to you. Every writer longs to feel heard.
The prompt today is:


Beauty in the waking up after a "driest-7-months-on-record"  drought to the pitter-patter of rain on the roof.

Beauty is realizing that you have a friend who is "closer than a brother."

Beauty is the surprised joy of forgiveness, unexpected or looked for.

Beauty is housework, accomplished.

Beauty is an hour spent in the early morning with my Lord.

Beauty is family loving each other, despite each other.

Beauty is the little acts of God, his love letter to us.

Beauty is acceptance--without the expectation to "measure up."

Beauty is the kiss my husband gives when he walks in the door after a long work day.

Beauty is a letter, both sent and received.

Beauty is a sacrifice made for love.

Beauty is a gift purchased--the "perfect" gift--and the anticipation of giving.

Beauty is Love--pure and simple