A place of encouragement:

Living By Faith, Walking in the Light, Saved By His Amazing Grace

Saturday, June 23, 2012

Books We Fell In Love With

It's been busy here and then again I'm sure it's busy everywhere. This life that we live seems to get tangled up in to-do-lists, errands, work, and the everyday chores that seem to accumulate faster than we can conquer them! I was reminded today that I don't take a moment to pause near enough....

To read a good book, to spend time in His word, Pop in on family un-announced.....It's refreshing to keep in touch...To keep the doors open and the communication in free motion. Spent some time with family today to celebrate my great niece's 3rd birthday. Glad I went.....Sometimes we get so caught up in life we forget how important it is to live life with the ones we love! There will always be work, chores and errands to run....But we all have our days numbered. We all have an appointment with our maker. And I don't want to leave this life being remembered as the Mama, Friend, Sister, Daughter, wife who always had something else to do!

With that said I have a list of read alouds you will want to make time for.....I like books with a simple story line, one that every one in the family can follow...One that draws you in immediately and leaves you wanting more! I feel this short list of books has done that for my kids and I!

Elkan: This book is AMAZING. So powerful! This book will probably go down as one of our all time favorites! Stirred a lot of questions up about what it would be like if sin didn't enter in. The book will take you on a journey through creation to the crucifixion. The book stands on the authority of scripture! A definite MUST READ!!!

The Trumpet Of The Swan: Although this book is geared toward 8-12 year old's, I must say it even drew my two teenagers in. Don't tell them I told you that! *Smile* A good story about accepting others that may look or act differently than we do for who they are and learning how to love being who God made you to be!

Mountain Born: Sweet story about a shepherd boy learning to be a Courageous Leader!

The Boxcar Children: These books have always held my kid's attention. Through their many adventures we have enjoyed these stories. I believe it may be time to pull them out again!

Little Pilgrim's Progress: Yes! Yes! and Yes Again! A story of a Christian's walk through life.

Jonathan Park Radio Drama: These are great half hour shows that tell stories through a creationists point of view. Jammed packed with creation data from creation scientists world wide! These are good quality dramas that are not cheesy in their acting! We Love them!

Adventures In Odessey: Another great Christian Series that My kids have always enjoyed! They like to listen to them right before bed time. Great stories with biblical principals...Great lessons that teach kids what to do in many situations that may arise in everyday life!

These are just a few of the many we enjoy.....And are some of our very favorites through the years! I will share more when the time allows......


Wednesday, June 20, 2012


 I usually come here to this spot when I feel I have something worth while sharing. Or when life hits me hard and I need to be real with who ever stops by to visit. And I must tell you that I haven't had the words. I've tried to sit here and type what was on my heart.......And they say that writer's block can be a difficult wall to climb. So I go about life and live it....I walk away from the media and the things that tend to pull me away from moments meant to be made, and still I sit in a fog.
And it's funny how the simplest of comments and gestures made in the past can come full circle and find you when you feel like your lost. I don't know why I have my moments where I forget about the passion that lives inside of me....Why I bury it with everyday moaning and groaning of the same old everyday life sort of things that tend to wear me down and make me forget who I am. And why is it that I lose sight of the fact that I was created for His GLORY and not mine.

I get a text message from my niece today...She is reading the book "Kisses From Katie". She wanted to let me know how it has change her life and she's only on chapter 4. And she see's things and places in her dreams. She can envision God opening doors and using her in ways she would of never dreamed if she only abandons "her" plans and follows His lead. And through excited  messages bouncing back and forth I remember how that very same book caused a stir with in my soul. Oh to let go in pure abandonment of the things that hold me captive...And cling to the life and plans He has for me. To trust Him that much...to dare to ask Him what He would have me do next. And words are just words but, when actions are mixed in, what a beautiful portrait they create!
The enemy, he tells you lies and creates in you a doubtful spirit....A why bother attitude. I know, because lately I have been listening to all the lies.

Oh I may not be in Africa adopting baby girls and helping the poor and the sick, but I'm here, here in "my little africa" where I am needed and if I would just abandon what holds me captive.....I would have actions mixed with words and a portrait of how Amazing our God is......Oh He doesn't need me to prove anything.....I'm the one in need.....and all of this.... here in "my little africa" is worth living for.....worth thanking him for......worth fighting for.

 I may not have the plans set out in front of me, but I have to believe that He is holding my hand, guiding my every step. And I'm going to take that leap of faith and ask Him......Lord what do you want me to do...Where do you want me to go......How would you like me to serve?

If you haven't read "Kisses From Katie" yet I encourage you to do so........It's about total ABANDONMENT and the beauty that comes from it all!

And so I wait for doors to close and open. I wait in pure abandonment for the One who created me for His Glory and not mine.......

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Strawberry Honey Jam

6 Cups chopped strawberries
2 Boxes of Fruit Pectin
1 1/2 - 2 Cups Raw Honey ( I used 2, I like my Jam sweeter)
2 Tb. Lemon Juice or 4 drops Lemon essential oil (Make sure it's oil that is safe to consume! I use Young Living Oils.)

Put your berries in your pot along with the pectin stir with a wooden spoon over high heat and bring to a boil. Keep stirring and boil for 1 minute.

Remove from heat to add the honey and lemon juice, mix well. Return to heat and bring to a boil again. Keep stirring and let it boil for 5 minutes. Remove jam from heat let it sit for a few minutes. It will thicken some. This jam does not set up like other jams that you use sugar with, but it still has a nice consistency and a nice, sweet, tangy flavor!

Ladle into your jars and boil in a hot water bath for 10 minutes. Remove jars from bath and let sit on your counter to cool and listen for that ever famous Pop! Ping!

Toast homemade honey wheat bread and slather it with Goodness!


Sunday, June 17, 2012

My Daddy is That Kind of Man

Little girl all dressed up begging her daddy to buckle her shoes......
It was Daddy who taught me how to put  bows in my laces. I was all of five and I remember all my friends could tie and make pretty bows. So he sat me down with all the patience of any man I have ever met and he stayed with me until I got it right.
And through the years this man raised me with a strong and gentle hand. He never confused the two. And I understood what it meant for a man to love his wife by watching him love and take care of my Mama. I remember him always working but, never too busy for his girls.

I remember "Gun Smoke" on Saturday nights with a large Hershey's Candy bar split between the three of us as we waited for Mama to come home from work. I remember running wild all over the back yard on hot summer nights as he chased us with the lawn mower......Never coming close but, always making us think he was right there.
I remember long bike rides through the flats, Daddy crashing and me running right over the top of him.....I remember going turkey hunting and shooting woodchucks. I remember dancing in the living room to the oldies, daddy taking turns with each of his girls. I remember the long rides up to klipnocky, and the fifty acre lot on a hay wagon to go cut wood for the winter. I remember his long talks and the nights he would come sit at the edge of my bed trying to get me to open up..........

I remember him coming to know that safe, saving place where grace filled him up and made him whole. I remember my hand trembling, my lips quivering, my heart pounding as he held my hand and walked me down the isle to give me away. I remember the first time he saw his very first grandchild and held him as if would never let go.

I remember losing him for 11 minutes on May 8th 2012 and feeling the weight of the world laying heavy on my shoulders thinking I would never get to hold that man again this side of heaven.

What I remember is a Daddy filled with patience, an honest man, Hard working to a fault, give you the shirt off his back kind of man, too honest (is there such a thing?) Very friendly to every one! Wide smile, talk your ear off if you let him kind of man.......Big heart, stubborn pride kind of man.

My Daddy is the Man that God has chosen to bless me, my Mama and sister with and I couldn't of chosen a better man for the job......Oh how I love that man, stubborn, sweet, sensitive, strong I'll take it all and wrap it up in ribbons so I can untie them for the rest of my days here this side of heaven.......

Happy Father's day Daddy!!!! I love you with all my heart!

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Books Worth Buying and Keeping

After almost 12 years of homeschooling you can imagine that I have accumulated lots of books over the years! Some good...some not so good.  And then there are those that remain on the shelf because they are CLASSICS! Ones that we go back to again and again. Here are some of my favorites! Have you seen our bookshelves?

I will start with Noah Webster's 1828 Version of the Dictionary. This book is a little pricey but so well worth the money spent. This is not the watered down version. The definitions are unapologetically Christian inspired. This is how Webster meant for it to be. Over the years it has been redefined with many words omitted because of Noah's Christian emphasis in his writing of the book. You can buy it used for half the price on Amazon here.

The next two books that have earned their rightful place on our shelves are "The Usborne Book of World History" and "The Kingfisher History Encyclopedia" They are both packed full with information from the earliest of civilizations to the 20th century. If you are from a creationists point of view you may find some things in there that go against creation but, I always take that as an opportunity to explain why we believe what we do! I have not come across anything yet..... that I can remember.....On second thought I think one of them might of said something like 450,000 years ago?

Which leads me to my next Very informative Web site. I do have several of their books gracing my shelves but, there are so many that I will just give you the site address so you can pick and choose for yourself. Answers in Genesis. Wonderful Creation website with magazines, DVDs and Books! You name it they got it!

The next set of books have been on my shelves from the very beginning and they are "The Beautiful Feet Collection" And you can find them here. You can also try on E-bay and Amazon to get them cheaper. I've went back to these books several times over the years.

Another book that pops in and out is  "In God We Trust" by Timothy Crater and Ranelda Hunsicker. These are little stories of faith about some of the most important people who shaped our country. They are stories you don't hear about anymore because of how secular our society has become....What a shame! You can find it here.

Another book that has recently graced my shelf is "Four Centuries of American Education" By David Barton And while we are on David Barton I have another book that I would recommend keeping "Lives of the Signers of the Declaration of Independence" This is true factual History. This is what our public schools refuse to teach. This is what every American needs to know! Can you tell I have a passion for our American Heritage? You can find these books on David's site, Wall builders or on Amazon. For a younger version of the signers I have "For you They Signed" by Boyer this comes with an activity book so the kids can make a scrap book of all the signers. you can find it here.

And I must say I LOVE "The Pioneer Sampler" by Barbara Greenwood Packed full of projects and stories of the time...You will use it again and again...Especially if you have multiple children! You can find it here.

I have several Books on animals but the two that stick out in my mind the most are Anna Comstock's "Handbook of Nature Study" and "The World of Animals". We are always going to these books to find out what that weird creature is! You can find them here and here.

Last year I found a bird book that I will forever cherish. "Bird Songs" They have recorded over 250 North American Birds in song, with information and a picture of each one.... A Beautiful addition to our Science shelf! You can find it here.

Next post I will share our favorite read alouds. And if there is a particular subject or story you are looking for just ask I may have a suggestion for you!

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Banana Bread With Honey & Applesauce

This is my tried and true, old faithful banana bread recipe! It never lets me down. I have always substituted the applesauce for the oil but, never used honey for the substitute of sugar, until now..........

 I discovered another Banana bread recipe on Pinterest I pinned it because it was made with honey instead of sugar. Then I had a friend tell me she tried the recipe I had pinned  with very little success.....It didn't raise well for her and was bitter.

So I went to my recipe box and pulled out old faithful. I had to see if I could make this work.....After all what did they use for sweetness before man messed with the natural state of food?

Did I tell you this recipe never lets me down? I was afraid that it might not be sweet enough or rise like it normally does but, it turned out BEAUTIFUL....Tastes just as sweet and looks just as pretty!

So now I am pleased to share this healthier version but not lacking in flavor or beauty, Old Faithful Banana Bread Recipe!

5C Flour
1 1/2 C Raw Honey
4 tsp. Baking powder
2 eggs
2 tsp. sea salt
6 Tb. Applesauce
1 1/2 C whole milk
3 ripe bananas cut into chunks

Mix all ingredients in a large bowl pour into greased loaf pans and bake @ 350 for 55 to 60 minutes. Or until tooth pick comes out clean. This makes two loaves.

That's it! So simple....So much healthier and so GOOD! Enjoy with a drizzle of honey butter. Mmmmmm soooo yummy!

Raw Honey

First I want to start by saying that for years I have cooked and baked from scratch! I've always used real food....Oh I still have processed food in my pantry like crackers and some junk food but, for the most part I am a homemade kind of girl!! Over the last couple of years I have been eliminating processed foods from our diets. I use to use canned cream soups for my casseroles but now I make my own. It's the little steps I have been making that has brought real, whole food completely to my kitchen! The more I read labels the more I am floored by all the unreadable, chemical ingredients they call preservatives in their boxed, processed, nutritionally depleted excuses for food! Okay I'm done! More on whole and real foods in another post!

I was never a fan of honey. I never really cared for the taste.....Until I tried raw honey for the first time a couple of years ago! And it's amazing!

I've been reading and studying up on this incredible God given power food and I am in awe! As most of you know refined sugar is not good for you....mentally it creates havoc in your brain. It literally short circuits the hard wiring of one of the most powerful and most important organs you posses! Don't believe me? Feed your child sugar, wait a few minutes and watch the horror take place. They go from the ultimate high to major melt downs in just minutes! I've seen it....I've witnessed it with my own children! I've witnessed the effects it has on me...feeling sluggish and heavy. The more sugar I take in the more headaches I get.

Physically it creates a much larger waist line... I am also witness to that! It causes diabetes and heart disease and many other health related issues.

I know what some of you may be thinking "Everything in moderation." or "What isn't bad for you?" Well that use to be my thinking too. But if you were given a choice to choose between chemically refined and processed food that even in small consumption can cause diseases like cancer...Verses God's raw unrefined super foods that burst with age defying properties and healing powers would you really feel good about choosing what's not natural?

It is said that Raw Honey contains at least 181 known substances, nutrients, such as amino acids, natural carbohydrates, as well as trace enzymes, minerals(including calcium, fluoride,iron, magnesium, phosphorus, and selenium.) Vitamins including vitamin C, folate and choline.) But the vitamins and minerals are not the only thing that makes this super food powerful, the power of honey is that it is rich in antioxidants and that's where the real power lies!

Processed verses raw: Processed is just that. Processed honey is made with fillers (Which are chemicals) to remove little imperfections to make it look pretty. In the process it strips the honey of all it's healing properties and nutrients.  Processed honey can be watered down by nearly 20%!

The benefits of raw honey are numerous and honey has been around a really long time! the records of using honey for it's medicinal and nutritional properties dates back to 4000 years ago!  I read an article quite a few years ago about some archaeologists who found honey in one of the tombs in the pyramids over in  Egypt.....The honey was still good! I mean it was still good enough to eat 2000 years later! I don't believe I know of any other natural food that has a longer shelf life with out the use of man made preservatives, Do you? Honey is found in the Bible many times! It was one of the main staples in their diet! The phrase "Milk and honey" was used at least 21 times. Honey was often given as a gift and was widely know back then for it's healing powers!

Before I leave you all and go about my day I wanted to share this information with you. I also will be sharing more about my adventures with raw honey in some of my future posts Like recipes and things that I have found that work well and also where I get my raw honey! Hopefully this post has sparked a little interest and is leaving you thinking about cutting down on all that refined sugar or maybe even eliminating it completely!

It is stated that when you mix cinnamon and raw honey it will cure many ailments. Here are a few I have found on line:
1) A paste of cinnamon and natural, raw, honey spread on bread and eaten regularly has been shown to reduce the risk of heart disease [site of study: nursing homes in America and Canada].

2) 1 cup hot water, 2 tbs raw honey and 1 small tsp of cinnamon powder taken every morning and night can help with arthritis pain [site of study: Copenhagen University].
3) 2 tbs cinnamon and 1 tsp raw honey in a glass of lukewarm water speeds recovery from bladder infections.
4) 3 tsp. cinnamon powder and 2 tbs raw honey mixed in 16 ounces of water can “reduce the level of cholesterol in the blood by 10 percent within two hours”.  The journal also reports that raw honey eaten daily can reduce complaints of cholesterol.
5) 1 tbs of lukewarm raw honey with 1/4 spoonful of cinnamon powder daily for three days can help kick your mild or severe cold.
6) Raw honey + cinnamon powder can help cure upset stomachs, and attacks stomach ulcers at their roots!
7) Studies in India and Japan show that raw honey + cinnamon powder can help relieve the stomach of gas.
8.) Raw honey and cinnamon help protect the immune system from viral attacks
9) Apparently… a scientist in Spain showed there is a special ‘ingredient’ in raw honey that can help save patients from influenza!
10) 4 tsp. raw honey, 1 tsp cinnamon powder and 3 cups of boiled water for tea can “arrest the ravages of old age”.  Keep your skin fresh with a natural remedy that tastes good!
11) Sip on 1 tbs raw honey every 3 hours when you have a raspy, sore throat to improve your symptoms and get back to feeling yourself.
12) For you youngsters with acne problems: Use 3 tbs raw honey + 1 tsp cinnamon powder to make a paste.  Apply it to your face at night and wash it off in the AM.  Repeat this for TWO WEEKS and note the beautiful difference in your skin.
13) Put some raw honey + cinnamon powder on your eczema, ringworm, and other skin infections to help cure them faster.
14) Drink some raw honey and cinnamon in boiled water 30 minutes before breakfast (make sure your stomach is empty) and before you go to bed.  It can help with weight loss.  Regular consumption of this concoction does not allow fat to accumulate throughout the body.
15) Studies in Japan and Australia show that stomach and bone cancer have successfully been cured with the regular use of 1 tbs raw honey mixed with 1 tsp cinnamon powder, three times a day for a month straight.
16) Fatigue, hearing loss, and bad breath have also shown to be improved with the regular use of raw honey and cinnamon powder.

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

The Art of Homemaking

A little while ago I stumbled upon one of the nicest set of books on homemaking skills that I think I have ever seen. These books are jammed packed full of wonderful information on how to keep a home. I'll start with the Guide book:

There is a section for each room of the house with detailed check lists and instructions on how to do each task.

One of the assignments is to have your child create a dinner menu and invite company! Complete with printable recipe cards for their very own recipe box. I have to tell you that they have left nothing out! From managing the budget of a meal to managing every part of the home, inside and out. There is even a section on gardening and how to have a welcoming front porch!

The guide book can stand alone and you can find it here, but they also sell a set of four books that would be a great companion to the guide book, that I have been drooling over. here
Each issue is loaded with recipes and how tos, Like Pressure canning, preserving, dehydrating, Sewing and learning how to make your own patterns, Embroidery, Making Jerky, Homespun gifts, Homemade light, tips and tricks for anything you might imagine. You name it, it's in here!

I have to tell you I'm very impressed and to me it was worth the money spent. These are the kind of books that you need to fill your library with. These are the kinds of books that I don't mind spending the extra money on. Especially when I saved money on their main curriculum this year! These are the books that can be passed down as precious learning tools and keepsakes!

Homemaking is becoming a lost art! Teach your daughters responsibility and self sufficiency. It's important they know how to take care of their homes and their families! And may they learn to take pride in doing so!  If you don't, who will?

I also believe that these books are not just for your children......I've really been enjoying them and there are so many things that I intend on trying with my girls! Remember I'm always learning.......*Smile*

Memories in the making!

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

When Life Comes At You Hard

When life comes at you hard and speeds out of control.....There is only one who can slow you down. Only one who can bring you into the calm before the storm. Only one who can bring you out of those storms that life blows your way.

And so many times I've heard people ask, Why does life have to be so hard hitting? Why do bad things happen to good people?

Because this world is sin soaked and we can't escape the effects of sin here on this side of heaven but, we can be set free from it's bondage. Free from all that holds us captive here.

There is a dear sweet woman fighting for her life tonight and I'm in constant prayer, lifting her up to my Father in heaven. She is a friend, a Mama, a wife and she has told me that she follows my blog faithfully. She has said That I somehow take all that she has felt in the past and all that she feels in the here and now and I put those feelings into words. And some how even though the years separate us she feels she can relate to me. This sin soaked Mama, well she feels she has something in common with me. And I am humbled by her words of gratitude....

I know what we have in common..........WE are both God's Girls, sin soaked Mama's saved by His Amazing grace....that's where we connect even though time sets us apart. And I know if she were with me right now She would tell me to keep praying because faith is what He's looking for and grace is what we have found...She did say before she left for surgery...."I'm really okay with this, I have a peace about all of this. I know He's in control no matter what happens."

And I love her FAITH!

When our souls are feeling full and overwhelmed, like that of a pregnant woman ready to just give in and let go.......We must remember He will deliver us from all that makes us break, from all that strips us raw and leaves us wide open to the pain and fear of this life.

Meanwhile, the moment we get tired in the waiting, God's Spirit is right alongside helping us along. If we don't know how or what to pray, it doesn't matter. He does our praying in and for us, making prayer out of our wordless sighs, our aching groans. He knows us far better than we know ourselves, knows our pregnant condition, and keeps us present before God. That's why we can be so sure that every detail in our lives of love for God is worked into something good. Romans 8:28

Praying for you my sweet friend. Lifting you up to our Father. Knowing that He has this all under control and you and I both know this does not come as a surprise to Him.....He knew it all along.....It is a part of His plan...All for the good of those who love Him!

.....Love to you from one sin soaked Mama to another......

Monday, June 4, 2012

To Meal Plan or NOT!

The spontaneously creative side of me has once again taken over....I have discovered that the meal planning is not working for me.

To be honest with you I may have stuck to the meal plan twice this past week with the exception of even changing a few sides....So I couldn't even say I stayed on the menu for those two meals. I hate to say that I'm quitting this part of my organizational plan......But, I'M QUITTING THIS PART OF MY ORGANIZATIONAL PLAN!

If there is one thing that I do enjoy most of the time it is being in the kitchen creating, making and baking. Oh I still have my days when the last thing I want to do is cook but, for the most part cooking is relaxing and fun for me!

Three things I've discovered while trying to meal plan:

1.)  It takes up too much time: I've found that I spent more time scouring through recipes and wondering which day would be best for that meal. Trying to schedule around certain activities turned out to be too much of a chore! I'm good at pulling something out of the fridge or freezer at the last minute and turning it into a masterpiece. My Mama was like that! She would come home from work not having anything planned for supper....Walk to the fridge and just start pulling things out with out thinking about it! And with in an hour she had this gorgeous meal sitting on the table! That's me! I can do that! I got that "gift" from her!!

2.) Sometimes.... I/we didn't feel like having a heavy meal: We were just happy having a salad. I found that it really stifled my spontaneous, free spirit......Which in turn was making me miserable. I believe we should follow rules....But making rules regarding what I should cook in my own kitchen on each night has been a complete failure!

3.) Somethings you just have to let go:  As much as I wanted this to work, I was miserable in trying to make it work....I actually hated it! My free spirit was being stifled and suffocated.......Well at least on the nights that I actually tried to stick to the menu.  *Smile*  (Little bit of rebellion creeping in I guess.)

So I sent the meal planning packing! And I am instead going back to pulling things out of the fridge/freezer and I am going to continue to be spontaneous and bake and create the way I use to! So sorry to have let you down.....But this girl has to follow her heart and her instinct when it comes to her kitchen!!!

What's on the menu tonight? I don't know...something to do with chicken.....I can let you know tomorrow what we have tonight.  Heeheee that feels good to say that!

I know you "OCD, Organizing, stick to the plan folks" will not understand......And to that I say... Take a deep breath, it will all be okay! My life will not fall apart because my meal planning did!

But to all of you "Free Spirit" friends of mine, I know you got my back and you completely understand my plight! Carry on and be Free!