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Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Jonah

QT Today - Jonah received instructions from God and disobeyed. He had to be swallowed by a big fish before deciding to obey God. But the heathen king of Ninevah heard God's instructions one time and repented. Let me be more like the king of Ninevah, in that I am quick to repent and obey.

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Protect My Life from Fear of the Enemy

I ran across this old post tonight and was reminded of a lesson God taught me almost two years ago. I love when we can see God's hand at work in our lives, in this case, teaching me this lesson long before I would need to put it into action. Thank you, God, for answering this prayer of mine, and for the promise that you will continue to answer my prayers.


I had forgotten about this post.... I couldn't explain after our recent break in how I could have such peace about living in my home and continuing our ministry in South Africa, and here it was an answer to my own prayers!


Jan 18, 2009


Psalm 64:1 Hear my voice, O God, in my prayer: preserve my life from fear of the enemy.

My husband preached tonight. I love to hear him preach - it's fun to see what God is teaching Him and I always am challenged about something new.

This verse wasn't the main focus of his message tonight, but it really spoke to me. There is a lot of crime in South Africa. I am aware of it, but it doesn't control my life. There was a time close to our arrival in the country that I had to battle to keep it from controlling my thoughts, though. God used a beautiful song to teach me to rely wholly on Jesus.

When I heard this verse tonight, I couldn't help but think how applicable this is for so many South Africans tonight! There are many that battle with fear - with what may seem to most like a reason to fear, but David prayed "preserve my life from FEAR of the enemy"! And we know that David had every earthly reason to fear his enemies!

Living in fear can cripple us. It can keep us from serving God and impacting others for Him. I am going to pray that God preserve my life from fear of the enemy. And I will pray that for my friends, as well. I pray that God protect you from harm, but also from fear of the enemy.

Sunday, December 5, 2010

News....

This morning we had a break-in at the house. We were all home, and I saw the guys as they approached to break the windows. We are all SAFE! No injuries, and feel at peace - even the kids.... The whole thing only lasted at the most 5 minutes.

I'll start at the beginning - I had just gotten out of bed with Mya at about 6:40. The way our house is setup, it is one long rectangle with the lounge/dining room kitchen at one end, and then the bedrooms down the passage, with a security gate between the two sections. So, I had opened the security gate and sent Mya out to the lounge while I got her stuff to do her hair. As I walked back down the passage the dogs were out back barking and it caught my attention, so I Brandon's bedroom window and saw them. One came through Brandon's window and the other broke the kitchen window. Brandon was woken by the window breaking, but has a tent around his bed, and stayed in it so they didn't even know he was there. When I saw them approaching I screamed to Brad that someone was coming into the house and that Mya was in the lounge, so I ran back to our bedroom to push the panic button and he ran to the lounge and hid her in the couch. She stayed under the pillows and didn't move. 

Once they were in there was no screaming/yelling. I had run back to make sure Brad got to Mya and the kids were ok, and the men approached me in the passage. I just shrank down and hugged my knees and said a couple of times that I had pushed the panic button and they left me and went to the lounge and approached Brad, so I went back down the passage and locked the kids and I in the bedrooms. Marissa got up to see what was going on and I sent her to Brandon's bed. Brad just told them take whatever you want, and they took our 2 laptops and Brad's wedding ring. Brad told them he had some nice tools out back and tried to convince them to go out. One guy came back to the security gate and tried it, but realized it was locked and went out the kitchen window. The other guy stayed by Brad and "threatened" him with a broken bottle, but Brad says he in no way felt threatened. He felt that there was no way that the guy would follow through on his threats. He had time to unlock the back door while the guy was looking around and push the panic button there. He let the guy out the back door and they jumped over the side wall and back down the street.

The police and security were here within minutes. They looked for them but didn't find them.

We are taking the opportunity tomorrow to start putting electric fencing around the side wall of the house. We already did the front, but they came through the neighbors garden and jumped their wall. We are also installing security bars on all the windows, so that they can't break through that way again.

Living in Johannesburg, we knew that it was not "if" it would happen, but when, and basically have had the opinion that they could take whatever they wanted.

I and am so grateful for God's protection. God made His presence so real to us through it all, and we really feel at peace. 

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Pumpkin Pie Squares

Rating:
Category:Other
Crust:
1 C Flour
1/2 C Oatmeal
1/2 C packed Brown Sugar
1/2 C butter

Combine in 9x13 baking pan and press all over bottom. Bake at 350F (180C) for 20 min.

Filling:
2-15 oz. Pumpkin canned (or 4 1/2 C pureed Pumpkin)
2-12 oz. cans evaporated Milk (1 1/2 C)
4 Eggs
1 1/2 C Sugar
2 tsp Cinnamon
1 tsp Ground Ginger
1/2 tsp Ground Cloves
1 tsp Salt

Mix together and pour over crust. Bake for 45 min. Remove and sprinkle on Topping.

Topping:
1/2 C packed Brown Sugar
1/2 C chopped Pecans
2 Tbsp Butter

Mix together and sprink on top of pie squares. Return to the oven to bake 15-20 min longer.

Pumpkin Pie (Better Homes & Gardens)

Rating:
Category:Other
http://www.bhg.com/recipe/pies/pumpkin-pie/

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Saying Goodbye

I grew up in the "city" of Lapeer, population of around 7,000 when I graduated in 1990 at 17 years of age. For those 17 years, I lived in the same house, went to the same school, and attended the same church. I only ever remember saying goodbye to one person that meant a lot to me, and though it wasn't easy and the memories of my sadness are very clear, there wasn't a lot of change in my life.

Since that time, I have lived in numerous cities and states, and have ended up in another country. We currently live in Johannesburg, South Africa, estimated population of 4,000,000! The number of relationships built that have ended in goodbyes are too numerous to count, and I treasure each one! This is the life of a missionary. 

Long ago I decided that I must love fully, give freely, and not hold back just because I'm going to have to say goodbye, maybe even soon. I won't shut you out, I won't build a wall, I will cherish every moment. (and this applies to all of my friends, not just this situation)

So now, as I approach another goodbye with a very close friend, I covet your prayers. She is a missionary preparing to leave the field so that her husband can take a pastorate in the US. They are so excited about the next step in their ministry! But change isn't easy. We don't know when she's leaving yet, but it could be as early as December. Some days I am in denial, yet I find myself clinging to every moment we can spend together. I also find myself being hit with a wave of emotion from out of no where - a "last" we experience together, something one of the children says (as our children are each other's best friends), something said by a mutual friend, etc.


I love James & Ella. God brought them into my life at a time when I needed them and provided a family away from home through them. They are precious, and I will cherish their friendship forever - from near and from far away!

James & Ella playing Wii at our house
Fun times on a girls' day out
But another goodbye isn't easy. 

And I have started even now to look around to see how God will provide a way to comfort, who God will use in my life to ease me into this change. Is there someone new that I need to pour my life into? Is there a current relationship that I need to focus on strengthening?

Thank you, God, for loving me, for being my Rock and my Redeemer! Help me to remember to rest in You.

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Great Aunt Mary's Banana Nut Cake

Rating:★★★★★
Category:Other
Preheat oven to 350 F (180C)

Sift together into bowl (I don't sift, I just whisk)
2 1/2 C Flour
1 2/3 C Sugar
1 1/4 tsp baking powder
1 1/4 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt

Add:
2/3 C Shortening (I use butter)
1/3 C Buttermilk (you can substitute with 1 tsp vinegar and enough milk to make 1/3 C)
1 3/4 C Mashed Bananas
Beat vigorously 2 minutes with spoon or mix with electric mixer on medium for 2 minutes.

Then Add:
1/3 C Buttermilk (you can substitute with 1 tsp vinegar and enough milk to make 1/3 C)
2 large Eggs
Beat 2 more minutes. Fold in 2/3 C chopped nuts (optional). Pour into prepared pans.
For 2 round pans, bake for 30-35 minutes.
For Rectangular 9x13, bake 45 minutes.

I like to ice this with Cream Cheese Icing. Follow this link and look for the icing recipe at the bottom of the cake recipe.
http://www.bhg.com/recipe/cakes/carrot-cake/

Cream Cheese Icing (Better Homes & Gardens)

Rating:★★★★★
Category:Other
Follow this link and look for the icing recipe at the bottom of the cake recipe.
http://www.bhg.com/recipe/cakes/carrot-cake/

South African English

South Africa has 11 official languages! Fortunately for us, one of those languages is English. While we didn't have to learn a new language to start the ministry, there are a lot of differences! I thought it might be fun for you to see just a few of them.

Bakkie (pronounced bucky) - pickup truck
Boot - trunk of car
Bonnet - hood of car
Hooter - horn
Robot - stoplight
Trolley - grocery cart
Serviette - Napkin

Brinjal - Eggplant
Marrow - Zucchini
Mince - Ground Beef
Spanspek (pronounced spawnspek) - Cantaloupe

Cot - baby crib
Dummy - pacifier
Nappy - diaper
Doo Doo - nap
Camp Cot - Pack 'n Play
Pram - Stroller

Stroller - Umbrella Stroller

Pronunciation and spelling are also often very different! Here are a couple of examples:

When saying "path" the a would be pronounced like the a in wigwam;
but when saying "wigwam", the a would be pronounced like we say the a in path!

Due to other languages, street and suburb names can get quite interesting! We lived in Weltevreden Park (veltefreeden). Yet now we live in Wilro Park, and it's pronounced like it's written. Another suburb is Helderkruin (helderkrane). W's can be "v", V's can be "f", ui says long a....

Here are a couple of the spelling differences: colour, practise.

Dates are written as day/month/year. For example, today is 31/10/2010, or 31 Oct 2010.

Time is frequently referred to as military time. It is currently 22h52.

God's Children

Tonight God brought this to mind, and I just felt the need to share. There was a time, about 3 1/2 years ago while we were waiting for a baby to adopt, that one night while I was praying through the tears for God to bring us a baby. I felt God clearly saying to me (not audibly, of course) that I needed to stop praying for God to bring us a baby, but to start praying that God give the babies a home.
There are so many orphaned and abandoned children in South Africa. God loves each and every one of those children. Please pray that they have a home and are loved, but even more importantly, please pray that they come to know and experience the love of God in a relationship with Him!
I am so grateful to God for giving us Mya to love. She brightens every one of our days!

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Words, Meditations, Rock, Redeemer

Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart 

be acceptable unto you, O LORD, 

my Rock and my Redeemer. Psalm 19:14


I can't tell you the number of times that I've prayed these words in the last week. They have been a source of strength to me. Lord, let my words be acceptable in Your sight! If my meditations are acceptable in Your sight, how much easier it will be for my words to be acceptable! Lord, please help me to meditate on Your Word!
And how grateful I am that you are my Rock - never changing, never failing, always present God! and my Redeemer!!! Thank you, Lord, for your vast forgiveness, unfailing love, and for being able to do exceedingly abundantly more than I can ask or imagine to change my life.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Disciplines of a Godly Woman

This month's chapter was on the discipline of propriety. I read the chapter a little here & there throughout the month, God continuing to lay on my heart specifically my attitude toward my children, which can often be lacking in patience, resulting in harsh words. I have known this is wrong, and pray to change, but have struggled often, having to ask the forgiveness of my children and my merciful Abba Father.
Today I was directed through the Bible Study to this passage: (Now keep in mind that I memorized the verses in bold when I was in high school, but reading them in context today just majorly spoke to my heart!)

Psalm 119:9-16 

 9 How can a young man keep his way pure?
       By living according to your word.
 
10 I seek you with all my heart;
       do not let me stray from your commands.

 11 I have hidden your word in my heart
       that I might not sin against you.

 12 Praise be to you, O LORD;
       teach me your decrees.

 13 With my lips I recount
       all the laws that come from your mouth.

 14 I rejoice in following your statutes
       as one rejoices in great riches.

 15 I meditate on your precepts
       and consider your ways.

 16 I delight in your decrees;
       I will not neglect your word.
Thank you, Lord, for reminding me that it's Your Word that washes me. I want my spiritual apparel to reflect my life as a believer. I want to work on having more patience in my heart and gentleness in my words. Barbara encouraged us to pray Psalm 19:14, "Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable in Your sight, O LORD, my rock and my Redeemer." This is my next memory verse. Then I will seek out verses that speak specifically to the issues that I'm dealing with and memorize them, too. It's His Word in my heart that is going to change me. 

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

My Heart

God brought this back to my mind today, and as I wrote this long before I had this blog, I thought I would share....


July 2, 2008
I read this yesterday, through my tears, and I just had to share. I couldn't believe how much I related, and with the freshness of visiting an orphanage....

And today we were at another orphanage! My heart just broke for those children. And then I walked into a room full of babies, cribs lining all the walls. The first baby I saw was a tiny new baby that had been abandoned. She was so precious and innocent that my heart melted! So in need of a mother. I could hardly hold back the tears. She had only been there for days and was assumed to be a couple weeks old. As I write this, I still want to go back and get her and bring her home with me. As I held her, she yawned and put her tiny fingers in her mouth to suckle. Lord, I know you love her and have a plan for her life. Please allow her the opportunity to know the love of a mother and a family!

coffeegirlconfessions ....
[what's brewing today: the stuff that keeps you up at night]

It was late and high time to be falling asleep, but I could not get my thoughts to slow down. My sister delivered her first baby today, a precious baby girl. This was a day that we dreamed of together since we were old enough to talk. I couldn't believe my sister was now a mom, but even more difficult to believe was the fact that I would be moving out of the country, thousands of miles away from this precious baby in just 6 weeks. I knew all along it would be difficult to go, but until I held that little bundle in my arms tonight I didn't know just how difficult it would be. 

My heart was aching, and suddenly the weight of moving away from my family seemed too heavy to bear. My throat was sore from holding in my tears, and I decided to make my heartache known. "Honey?" I quietly cried out to my husband. No response. "Honey?" I said again, a bit louder. Nothing. How could this be? I feel like I'm on the edge of an emotional breakdown and my husband is sleeping peacefully next to me? I need to talk – I need to be heard, right now. I contemplate waking him, but know I will only be disappointed with his groggy response when I explain the reason he's awake. 

So I lay there, alone. 

The tears start pouring down my cheeks and before I know it I'm shaking with emotion. I'm simply overwhelmed with the thought of leaving, and sad that I'm alone in this pain tonight. As I lay there crying, I suddenly have a thought so clear that I know it is not of my own mind. "You're not alone. I'm here with you. I am the one who collects your tears, whether anyone else in the world knows of them or not. I know your heartache and I've promised to be near to the brokenhearted." ....
I have never audibly heard God speak to me, but I am often spoken to in this way –a pressing thought that I know is not of my own thinking. As I silently interact with those thoughts, my conversations with God begin. "Oh Lord, how quickly I forget that you are the only one who truly knows my heart and the joys and pains within it. I had no idea how hard it would be to leave my family – I feel devastated over it tonight." ....
My thoughts continue from there, guided by the Lord I am sure. Oh, how fortunate I am to have a family that I am grieved to leave behind. The orphaned and abandoned children that we will soon be living among do not know this feeling – they have no family members to love, nor family to love them in return. The capacity to feel this pain is a blessing that devastatingly sets me apart from thousands and thousands of children in this world.....
I start to realize that this broken spot in my heart has been given to me as a bottle to collect my tears and grief in as I move forward in this journey. This bottle of tears will be turned into worship as they have been this night – I can pour them out in prayer and love for these children. I can be thankful for the capacity to grieve and intercede for those who do not know what it is to grieve separation from family members.....
It is a holy moment as I lay there in bed – God has shown himself to me. He has seen my tears. He has come near to the brokenhearted...me.....
And so I pray for the orphans we will soon be serving:....
Oh Lord, may they someday know the depth of love that you have for them. ....
May you allow me to love them in such a way that they will know what it feels like to grieve when we part ways in the future.....

Friday, October 15, 2010

Our Great High Priest and A Perfect Sacrifice!!!

WOW!!!! That was the first thing I wrote in my Word of Life Quiet Time this morning.... (Now, for those of you in the US using the Quiet Time, we're on a different schedule here in SA, so don't think I'm crazy. You've already done this. ;)) But, back to WOW! I love how God works.
You see, 1). I am in week 10 of Beth Moore's study, A Woman's Heart, God's Dwelling Place (about the Tabernacle), 2). AND my pastor has started a series on the tabernacle Sunday nights at church, 3). AND about a month ago, God brought me in my QT to Hebrews - which brings to light that JESUS is the only sacrifice that takes away my sins, the only priest that can sit because His sacrifice is once and for all, that He is a better priest, a better sacrifice....

Now, do you think God is trying to teach me something?? Well, I KNOW He is, always! But, specifically today, I HAD to share. I'm STILL going WOW!!!

First read what I read....
Hebrews 10:19-25
Therefore, brethren, since we have confidence to enter the holy place by the blood of Jesus, by a new and living way which He inaugurated for us through the veil, that is, His flesh, and since we have a great priest over the house of God, let us draw near with a sincere heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled clean from an evil conscience and our bodies washed with pure water.
Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for He who promised is faithful; and let us consider how to stimulate one another to love and good deeds, not forsaking our own assembling together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another; and all the more as you see the day drawing near.

Now, in the OT Tabernacle, ONLY the High Priest could enter beyond the veil to the Holy of Holies, and he had bells on his garment so that people knew that he was still alive when he moved, and a rope tied to his leg so that if he wasn't they could get him out. Our God is a holy and just God, and if they didn't follow His regulations, there was consequence!
But when Christ died on the cross, that veil was torn, top to bottom. Read the Hebrews passage again - the veil that is His flesh! When Christ died on the cross He gave us access to the Holy of Holies through faith, "having our hearts sprinkled clean from an evil conscience and our bodies washed with pure water."
But before we get carried away, let us look at the "therefore". Now I'm sure that you've probably heard, like me, that when we see the word "therefore" we must look and see what it's there for! It's a matter of "if this", "then that"....
So, these are some of the verses that stood out to me as I looked back on Chapter 10....
For it is impossible for the blood of bulls and goats to take away sins. v. 4
By this will we have been sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all. v. 10
Every priest stands daily ministering and offering time after time the same sacrifices, which can never take away sins; but He, having offered one sacrifice for sins for all time,  SAT DOWN AT THE RIGHT HAND OF GOD, v. 11-12
And I am reminded of Hebrews 7:23-28:
The former priests, on the one hand, existed in greater numbers because they were prevented by death from continuing, but Jesus, on the other hand, because He continues forever, holds His priesthood permanently.
Therefore He is able also to save forever those who draw near to God through Him, since He always lives to make intercession for them. For it was fitting for us to have such a high priest, holy, innocent, undefiled, separated from sinners and exalted above the heavens; who does not need daily, like those high priests, to offer up sacrifices, first for His own sins and then for the sins of the people, because this He did once for all when He offered up Himself.
For the Law appoints men as high priests who are weak, but the word of the oath, which came after the Law, appoints a Son, made perfect forever.
Is anyone else saying "Wow" yet?
Anyways, back to Hebrews 10 and the "therefore".  "Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for He who promised is faithful; and let us consider how to stimulate one another to love and good deeds, not forsaking our own assembling together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another; and all the more as you see the day drawing near."

It really speaks for itself, but it challenges me. This year has been a challenge toward self-discipline. I want to run the race with abandon! (see previous post) So, in light of that, this is the challenge that I received from Hebrews 10 today....
1. Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for He who promised is faithful;
2. let us consider how to stimulate one another to love and good deeds
3. not forsaking our own assembling together
4. encouraging one another; and all the more as you see the day drawing near.

I could expound on each of those points, specifically how I feel God is challenging me in each of them, but I think this post is long enough and I'll save it for another day. Thanks for following down the "therefore" path with me today, and I hope someone out there is saying, "WOW" with me as we consider God's Word and how amazing HE is!!!

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Contentment

This months' study in Disciplines of a Godly Woman was on contentment. I liked how she evaluated contentment as godly discontent or ungodly. 

I want to have a godly discontentment with my relationship with God - always longing for more of Him, more time in His Word....

I want to stop and ask myself, why am I discontent? And if it's ungodly discontent with my circumstances or those around me, I want to throw it out the window in search of a stronger relationship with God!

"If contentment is found in a growing knowledge of God combined with trust in God regardless of your circumstances, what is missing from your Christian life when you are discontented - knowledge or trust?"


 As the deer pants for the water brooks, 
So my soul pants for You, O God. 
Psalm 42:1

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Encouraging Article

I ran across this article and was so encouraged that I want to share it with a few friends....


What I Do with the Hard Things in My Life
(Written for the Gospel Women Study at College Church by Mary Duvel, published in Barbara Hughes 'Disciplines of a Godly Woman', pages 243-244.)


  1. Immerse myself in the Word of God. His divine power has given me everything I need for life and godliness through the knowledge of Him (2 Peter 1:3).


  2. Realise: a) He is in sovereign control of all that concerns me, His child. Everything is sifted through His fingers first. b) God has given each of us our own race to run. We are to keep our eyes fixed on Him and stay in our own lane, not comparing our lives or the life of someone we love to the lives of others (1 Cor 7:17, Heb 12:1-2). c) God does not give us grace for someone else's race. d) God does not ask us to understand His ways, but He asks us to trust Him implicitly. He sees the whole, eternal picture. e) My lack of faith does not nullify His faithfulness (Rom 3:3). f) I am not the point, He is. It is not about me getting out of suffocating pain; it is about His Son being revealed in me, about God's image being released in me. (This idea is from 'Finding God' by Larry Crabb.)


  3. Yield to the instrument of refinement He has chosen in my life. God cannot fulfill His purpose in me when I am kicking and screaming.


  4. Confess that I don't know how to yield, that I am helpless and angry. God is big enough to take it.


  5. Confirm that I am willing to be taught in the midst of this pain and difficulty.


  6. Ask in the disappointment, loss, isolation, and pain that the Holy Spirit will teach me through the Word to trust God and understand who God is in all His mercy and love.


  7. Seek to walk in obedience through the storm and not waste my energy fretting.


  8. Know that the secret is Christ in me, not me in a different set of circumstances. (This thought is from 'Keep a Quiet Heart' by Elizabeth Elliot.)


  9. Remain hopeful that through all of life's changes, we are secure in the knowledge that we will see his face and be fully satisfied. (Psalm 17:15).


  10. Press on to take hold of that for which Christ took hold of us (Phil 3:12, Acts 20:24)!

Weight Loss

Really struggled with discipline in the area of eating over the weekend, which bled a bit into my week. Doing very well today, and want to exercise, but am EXHAUSTED as Mya has had a stuffy nose and cough and is not sleeping well at night. I might just have to take a nap!
Haven't lost more, but haven't gained. Down 5 pounds so far.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Hebrews

SOOOO looking forward to digging into the book of Hebrews for the next 6 weeks in our Word of Life Quiet Time! Here is a section of the introduction by Don Kelso:
The key word in Hebrews is "better": used 13 times. It literally means higher in rank; thus, more prominent. 'Better' is used in the Book of Hebrews to build a series of comparisons:
a. Christ is a better messenger than prophets or angels (1:1-2:18)
b. Christ is a better apostle than Moses (3:1-6)
c. Christ gives a better rest than Joshua (4:1-10)
d. Christ is a better priest than Aaron (4:14-7:28)
e. The New Covenant is better than the Old Covenant (8:1-9:28)
f. Christ is a better sacrifice than the OT sacrifices (10:1-18)
g. The Christian life of "faith" is a better way to live (10:32-12:29)

WOW!

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Random thoughts from Bible Study

Just wanted to share some random thoughts from my Bible study, A Woman's Heart: God's Dwelling Place, Member Book UPDATED.

Exodus 33
1 Then the LORD said to Moses, "Leave this place, you and the people you brought up out of Egypt, and go up to the land I promised on oath to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, saying, 'I will give it to your descendants.' 2 I will send an angel before you and drive out the Canaanites, Amorites, Hittites, Perizzites, Hivites and Jebusites. 3 Go up to the land flowing with milk and honey. But I will not go with you, because you are a stiff-necked people and I might destroy you on the way."

God was going to send an angel with them, win wars, fulfill His covenant, but He would not go with them. Moses said, PLEASE! If your presence does not go with us, do not lead us from here! Moses had experienced God's presence. Verse 11 tells us that "The LORD would speak to Moses face to face, as a man speaks with his friend." Moses would rather not go to the promised land if it was going to cost Him the presence of God!

I want to have the same kind of passion. NOTHING on earth is worth risking separating myself from the presence of God! Sin keeps me from the presence of God. He is Holy and cannot tolerate sin! I want to ALWAYS view sin in that point of view! Of course I can't be perfect, but in my striving for self-discipline, I want to sin less, and have a short account with sin. I want to be sensitive and confess sin quickly, turning away from it.

Verse 16 says "Or wherein shall it be known here that I and thy people have found grace in thy sight? is it not in that thou goest with us? so shall we be separated, I and thy people, from all the people that are upon the face of the earth." In other words, If you don't go with us, how will they know we're Your people?

I want people to know that I am God's because of the time I spend in His presence. As I spend time in His presence, I will become distinguishably His!

God, please transform my life. I want to be more like You. Please wash me with Your word, and do a work in my life that is immeasurably more than I can ask or imagine.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Weight Loss

I think I've finally found the self-discipline to get back to weight loss. Started exercising a little yesterday and started eating right today. Really want to do this, and really am nervous to share for fear that I won't stick to it. Maybe this will help keep me accountable. Here we go!

Thursday, August 19, 2010

More from The Discipline of the Mind

Disciplines of a Godly Woman
I have thought often this week on Philippians 4:8, "Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things."

It has been a real challenge for me to bring my thoughts under discipline. I find that while I try to control what I say and how I say it, I don't try to have such a rein on the thoughts of my mind. I might often allow myself to think something that I would never say, indulging in grumbling and selfishness in my thoughts.

As I met with Mandy and Ann today, we challenged ourselves to CHOOSE our thoughts. When a thought comes to mind we don't want to have, to put it off and put on good thoughts, ones that are true, honest, just, etc.

I was also challenged today by Psalm 119:97-100.
O how love I thy law! it is my meditation all the day.
Thou through thy commandments hast made me wiser than mine enemies: for they are ever with me.
I have more understanding than all my teachers: for thy testimonies are my meditation.
I understand more than the ancients, because I keep thy precepts.

I want to be diligent in reading God's Word every day AND to meditate on it throughout the day. I don't want it to be just another checkmark on the "to do" list, but something that changes me and washes me, remembering all through the day what God spoke to me about in His Word. I want my time with God to be fresh and I want to spend time looking forward, with the excitement of a child, to my time alone with Him.

I also was challenged to continue my "read through the Bible in a year." In the "busyness" of life, I have let it slip, and though I won't finish by the end of the year, I'm going to pick it up where I left off and carry on. It made me think of FLYlady. FLYlady often says you are not behind. Just jump in where you are!

Lessons from God

I have been enjoying our Beth Moore study, A Woman's Heart: God's Dwelling Place, Member Book UPDATED. I must admit I have had a hard time keeping up with homework, so today, while my friend Ella is homeschooling my children to give me a break, I am playing catch-up.

I am really enjoying the reminders from God of LFL's I have learned in the past. A "LFL" is something I learned from the Kay Arthur book, How to Study Your Bible: The Lasting Rewards of the Inductive Method. It means Lesson For Life.

Here is one reminder from the life of Abraham. God told him (Gen. 12) to pack up his things and go to a place that God would lead him, and Abraham packs up his family and his belongings and goes! God doesn't give him ALL the information. Abraham doesn't say, "I'm willing to go, God, just show me where." God says, "Go forth from your country, and from your relatives, and from your father's house to the land which I will show you." And Abraham "went forth as the Lord had spoken to him."

Reminder #2 - Abraham believed and it was counted unto him as righteousness.

Sometimes someone says something in a new way, putting into words what you've thought and you are just like, THAT'S IT! Just like when Abraham was willing to obediently offer his one and only son Isaac as a sacrifice when asked, God willingly gave His one and only Son. BUT "the very heart of the gospel is realizing that God did not simply provide a sacrifice for us, but instead of us." Jesus is our ram! He took my place on the altar to pay for my sins.

And, this quote meant a lot... "Maybe, like me, you need to hear God say, 'I alone am God, my Child. I am the only One with the power to keep every promise. As they seek Me, I will enable others to forgive you for not being me." These were my thoughts I jotted down - Love it! I don't have to be perfect! As others seek God, He will enable others to forgive me for NOT being perfect Him!

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Life...

This month's discipline (Disciplines of a Godly Woman) is the mind. Pray with me that in the midst of "busyness" that I would keep my mind stayed on Him. "...whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things." Philippians 4:8

My "busyness" right now seems daunting sometimes, but I feel that my steps are being ordered by the Lord! Thursday night we had 3 friends for a sleepover, got up and went ice skating, back home to fetch Brad and drop him off at the office, home for 1 hour, pick up friends for Olympians (jr. youth), go to Olympians, Rissa & Mya off for a sleepover at a friends, off to run a Micro F1 at another church's Olympians club, drop Brandon off for a sleepover with his sisters, and home again.

Today I have guests coming over, Olympians training, a Birthday Party for an adorably sweet little 2 year old boy, music practice and senior youth at our home church.

Tomorrow we're looking forward to going to church at Community Baptist in Leondale and then attending a birthday party/bring & braai. Love fellowship with good friends!

Our week slows down a bit, back to homeschool in the mornings, though there is something extra almost every day. We may have extra practices this week for the drama that the kids are in, Fiddler on the Roof.

Monday we look forward to our best friends visiting in the afternoon and I got to a Beth Moore Bible study in the evening, Tuesday eve is Bible Study at church, Wednesday late morning/early afternoon is drama practice and late afternoon we go to visit friends. Thursday is usually our day at home, but this week I meet with my mentor (once a month) while the kids play baseball with some homeschool friends. Friday we start that weekend all over again! Though weekends are usually quite AS hectic as this last one was. ;)

Well, I better get back to tidying up my house for those visitors this morning! Thinking about making some monkey bread.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

DeclutteringI

We are in the process of decluttering and organizing around our house, as we have had someone move in to the Rondoval, which is a small building out back that we've been storing things in. SOOOOO!
Out with the baby clothes, baby toys, and even some other things! So far I've given away 6 boxes worth of things, and Brad's gotten rid of stuff, too!
It's great to bless others in need and to free up space around here!

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Disciplines of A Godly Woman

Once a month I meet with a friend, Mandy Neilson, and we study the book Disciplines of a Godly Woman by Barbara Hughes. Here are some things that really jumped out at me from this month's chapter, The Discipline of Worship.
After the service, everyone asks, 'What did you think of the service today?' or they slip out the door as quickly as possible. The real question should be, 'What did God think of it - and of us?" We ought to ask, 'What did I give to God?'
Worshiping 'in truth' means that we come informed by the objective relevation o God's Word about the great God we serve and the precepts He has spoken. In this sense our worship is governed by what we know and believe about God. The better informed we are, the better we can worship.
The next quote is from A.W. Tozer
Has it ever occurred to you that one hundred pianos all tuned to the same fork are automatically tuned to each other? They are of one accord by being tuned, not to each other, but to one standard to which each one must individually blow. So one hundred worshippers met together, each one looking away to Christ, are in heart nearer to each other than they could possibly be were they to become 'unity' conscious and turn their eyes away from God to strive for closer fellowship?

She also had some good ideas at preparing your heart for Sunday morning worship, as well, like laying clothes and Bibles out on Friday evening, along with anything else that you might need, praying for the Worship service ahead of time, getting up early on Sunday morning so you have plenty of time to get ready, and even spending a time of prayer as a family on Sunday before you leave for church.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Cream Soup Substitute

Rating:
Category:Other
Ingredients:

* 3 tablespoon butter
* 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
* 1/2 cup low sodium chicken broth
* 1/2 cup low-fat or fat free milk
* salt and pepper to taste

Preparation:
Melt butter in a saucepan over medium-low heat. Stir in flour; keep stirring until smooth and bubbly. Remove from heat and add the chicken broth and milk, a little at a time, stirring to keep smooth. Return to heat. Bring sauce to a gentle boil; cook, stirring constantly, until it thickens. Taste and add salt and pepper, as needed to taste.
Use in casseroles in place of condensed cream soups.

Can be varied by using vegetable broth, sauteéd chopped celery, celery seed, or sauteéd chopped mushrooms.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Joy

I want to find joy in all the little things I do today, thanking God for all the blessings that He's given me.
Thank You, God, for giving me kids to clean up after. Thank You, God, for providing us food to cook. Thank You, God, for possessions to tidy up. Thank You, God, for clothes to wash. Thank You, God, even for the trials, though I may not understand why they continue, I know that You are trying to strengthen me into the person You want me to be.

Friday, July 2, 2010

Butternut Soup

Rating:★★★★★
Category:Other
3 C cubed butternut
1 1/2 C water
2 cubes chicken bouillon
1/4 tsp marjarom
1/8 tsp pepper
1/16 tsp ground cayenne pepper
8 oz. cream cheese

Cook butternut with water, bouillon, marjarom and spices. Bring to boil and cook 20 minutes more.
Add cream cheese and puree/blend. Heat through, but do not boil again!

Monday, June 28, 2010

Quilting

I am working on finishing two quilts right now, one for Brad and one for Rissa. They are both Trip Around the World quilts based on what I learned from using this book LONG ago when I first made a quilt:

Trip Around the World Quilt (Quilt in a Day Series)

It's a SUPER easy method! If you have any desire to quilt and are hesitant because you think you can't, try this - you can! :)

I'll post some pics of the quilts later....

Saturday, June 26, 2010

How to - Jean Pocket Purse

Here's a way to use old jeans!

Cut out the back pocket around the seam so that you have both layers still sewn together.


Decide how long you would like the handle for your purse and cut a piece of ribbon or lace the appropriate length (make sure to add a little length to sew onto the back of the pocket). Sew into place on the wrong side.



Add any embellishments you might like (lace, buttons, patch, etc.). For this one I sewed on a scrap piece of lace. You could also use fabric glue if you wanted to add something in the middle of the pocket so that you don't sew through both layers and close the pocket.
Here is a picture of the finished product.




At birthday parties here in South Africa, every child that comes gets a "party pack" or something to take home with them, usually a bag full of sweets and maybe a toy. We used these as the party packs for all the girls that came to Marissa's birthday party.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Raising Homemakers

Raising Homemakers has launched! Check it out....
If you want to journey with us, roll up your sleeves, splash some water on your face, and get ready to be intentional! It takes work, time, and intentionality to raise up homemakers for the glory of God! It takes work, time, and intentionality to train yourself in homemaking if you were never taught! We’re in this together, friends, so let’s get going!
To help facilitate the journey, we have some fun and meaningful plans in store.
One of things you can look forward to is a weekly link-up of a Polished Cornerstones project.  Polished Cornerstones is a study for daughters on the path to womanhood, and it is filled with wonderful projects for all age-groups (so no matter what season you or your daughter is in, it fits!).  We will begin these link-ups on Wednesday, June 30th (so you have time to get the book!).
We also have some fun giveaways for you as a kick-off to Raising Homemakers!

Monday, May 31, 2010

Marissa's Broken Collar Bone


Marissa fell off the jungle gym last week and broke her clavicle. We had x-rays and it was a clean break. She has to wear a sling for two weeks. 



Sunday, May 30, 2010

Word of Life Southern Africa Staff Retreat

We had our first staff retreat in YEARS this month! There were 17 that left from South Africa and by way of Kruger National Park met up with 4 from Moçambique, and landed in Beline, Moçambique. It was an amazing trip from start to end. Everyone was so kind & considerate! Everyone worked together and played together, and we got to know each person a little better. We had an excellent time around God's Word watching the History dvd's taught by Andy Stanley and Louie Giglio. It was a great opportunity to give and receive encouragement.
I will share a smattering of pics with you. If you want to see more, head on over to facebook or multiply.


 
Palavra da Vida, Moçambique Staff


 Word of Life Staff in Southern Africa

Quiet Time

I have been so encouraged in my quiet time this month. We have been reading Judges, and the stories of Gideon and Samson have come alive to me again.

Gideon was so unbelieving - over and over and over again God gave him sign after sign! Then God says that He is ready to deliver the Midianites into Gideon's hands, BUT if Gideon is afraid (still after all those signs?) that he should go down to the Midianite camp and God will give him another sign, and HE GOES! God has so much patience with his lack of faith! And it's amazing to me that what causes him to believe that God will give the Midianites into their hands is an unbeliever's dream and it's interpretation.

Samson was so bad! He is not what you think of when you think of an example you would like to follow, yet God used him over and over to fulfill God's purposes! And yet, we are told in Hebrews 11:32-33, "And what shall I more say? for the time would fail me to tell of Gedeon, and of Barak, and of Samson, and of Jephthae; of David also, and Samuel, and of the prophets: Who through faith subdued kingdoms, wrought righteousness, obtained promises, stopped the mouths of lions." Here they are listed in the "HALL OF FAITH!"

This gives me hope. I don't have to be perfect. Christ has covered all my imperfections. He has set me free from the law! It's a good thing I don't have to be perfect, because I can't! And yet, in my imperfect state, I can still be considered faithful. God, you are amazingly merciful!!!

Chastening and Encouragement

While reading a book this week entitled "Disciplines of a Godly Woman" by Barbara Hughes, I ran across this quote that has really challenged and encouraged me. I almost cried.

A member of our church, Marilee Melvin, wrote in our church letter about her mother's dependence on prayer: 
I remember a night when I was asked to help get dinner on the table. Dad was out of town, and Mom, seven months pregnant and caring for five children ages two to nine, was serving my most-hated meal - black-eyed peas and Spam.... I complained loudly about the dinner, and soon Mom disappeared from the kitchen. I called to find her and got no answer.... Something drew me to the basement, and I found her at last in the furnace room. It was completely dark, and she was crying. Seeing her seven-year-old standing there in fear, she wiped her eyes and told me she needed to come pray for more strength. That early image of Mom as intercessor and supplicant fills my mind and memory now with its poignancy and truth. Instead of shouting in anger at my childish insensitivity, she withdrew to call on more reserves from her heavenly Father, abundantly available to her  for the asking. (2 Corinthians 9:8)

I met with my mentor this week (we meet monthly), and we are studying this book together. I was so encouraged after our time together around the Word of God. This month I am going to make it a point to speak with gentleness to my children and to be more disciplined in the areas of time spent in prayer and controlling what I eat and how often I exercise.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Soccer World Cup Homeschool Links

http://mysoccerblog.blogspot.com/2006/06/how-does-world-cup-work.html
http://www.e-forwards.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/04/popworldcup2010_wallchart_v3-13.jpg
http://www.fifa.com/worldcup/teams/index.html
http://www.teacherplanet.com/resource/worldcup.php
http://www.homeschoolshare.com/soccer.php
http://abcteach.com/directory/theme_units/sports/world_cup_soccer_football/
http://www.cup2010.info/countries/countries.html
http://msn.foxsports.com/foxsoccer/worldcup/map
http://www.fifa.com/worldcup/

I am weak, but He is strong

Well, I am thinking I need to post the good, the bad and the ugly.
I am tired. Not just physically tired, but overall tired. My house is a mess, I have 4 loads of laundry to fold and probably 4 more to wash, my daughter (7) is broken (broken clavicle), home school seems overwhelming this week, etc.... I'm tired of trying to control it all. I can't do it. I know God can do all things, but I don't see how He can do it all through me.
Why does it seem like when I am trying to surrender and run the race with self-discipline that life gets so frustrating?
I had a cup of tea, and I am going to put my "baby" (almost 3 now) in bed, spend a little time with the Lord and then turn up the music and have a crisis cleaning session.

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Grandma Walker's Chocolate Oatmeal Cake

Rating:★★★★★
Category:Other
1 3/4 C Boiling Water
1 C Uncooked Oatmeal
1 C Brown Sugar
1 C White Sugar
1/2 C Butter or Margarine
2 Eggs

1 3/4 C Flour
1 tsp Baking Soda
1/2 tsp Salt
1 Tbsp Cocoa
2 C Chocolate Chips
3/4 C Walnuts, Chopped

Pour boiling water over oatmeal and let stand 10 minutes.
In the meantime, mix flour, baking soda, salt and cocoa.
After 10 minutes, add sugar and butter to oats. Stir until butter melts. Add eggs. Add dry ingredients. Beat 2 minutes. Stir in 1 C chocolate chips. Pour into greased and floured 9x13 pan. Sprinkle rest of chips and walnuts (optional) on top. Bake at 350 F (180 C) for 40 minutes. No need to frost.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Brandon's Birthday

We were on holiday on the South Coast with the Koks for Brandon's birthday. It's hard to believe that my little boy is already 11 years old! Brad has tried to convince him that he is not allowed to be double digits, so he just keeps turning 9, but it doesn't seem to fly with Brand. I'm sure in no time flat he'll be taller than me, as he already comes up to my nose.


We went to Scottborgh beach so the kids could use the boogie boards, and we could soak in some sun and enjoy our friends. Zoe was a bit wary of the jelly fish and sharks ;) but we laughed it off and said not to worry.


The kids were having a blast! All except 2 yr old Ezra that is.... He was still struggling a bit with the waves. Brandon, Zoe, Sarah, Marissa, Nina & Mya were all really enjoying themselves until along came the blue bottles and Brandon and Marissa were stung. Marissa's sting was around 2 inches long near her underarm. Brandon's blue bottle wrapped itself around and around Brandon's leg. Boy did it hurt. They were instantly ready to leave the beach. Zoe even declared that she told us we shouldn't have come! At least Ezra was now happy to play in the sand. ;) Uncle Dion suggested ice cream and that was a temporary distraction. After cleaning up from the ice cream we decided to leave the beach and head back to the house. Brandon was convinced that if he would be okay if he could just play his Nintendo DS Lite for a distraction. :)

On the way to the car Uncle Dion had another great plan for distraction! Everyone got a couple of rides on the Waterslide! The kids were thrilled and by now I think the pain of the blue bottle stings were wearing off, and everyone was in good humour again.

 


We headed back to the house, gave the "babies" naps, swam and played, and the Koks were off to visit some friends.



Brad went to the shop to buy a chocolate cake mix and vanilla icing, so I made a cake, added some Peanut Butter to the icing for the PB King, and decorated it with my Easter M&M's - a precious commodity in Mom's eyes!

Brandon's choice for dinner was going to be Lasagna, but we saw a Spur while we were out for the day and he opted for Spur so that it would be easier on Mom than making Lasagna in a holiday kitchen with no dishwasher. (Thanks, Brandon!) So off to Spur for dinner and ice cream for the bday boy! He enjoyed a few bites of his ice cream and decided to turn it into a Fanta Orange float.



All in all it was a good day, in spite of those blue bottles. Happy Birthday, Brandon! We love you!

Jess' Enchiladas

Rating:★★★★★
Category:Other
Jess made this recipe for us last night. YUM! Here is Jess' blog page - http://www.jesscase.blogspot.com/

2 Cups Chicken, cooked & shredded
1 Cup Cream Cheese
8 Tortilla Shells
1 Cup Salsa
1 Cup Sour Cream
2 Cups Shredded Cheese

Combine Chicken and Cream Cheese. Divide amongst 8 tortilla shells and roll into tubes. Grease 9x13 pan and lay tortillas side by side to fill pan. Top with mixture of Salsa and Sour Cream. Cook at 350 F (180 C) for 20 minutes. Top with cheese and bake until melted, about 10 minutes more.

Peanut Butter Sheet Cake

1 C Butter or Margarine
1/4 C Peanut Butter
1 C Hot Water
Combine and bring to boil. Pour over:

2 C Flour
2 C Sugar
1 tsp Baking Soda
Mix Well. Add:

1/2 C Buttermilk
2 Eggs
1 tsp Vanilla.
Mix Well. Pour into a greased jelly roll pan and bake for 20 - 25 min at 350 F (180 C).

For Icing:
Melt in pan on stove:
1/2 C butter or margarine
1/3 C Buttermilk
1/4 C Peanut Butter
Bring to boil and add
1 lb. (450 g) Icing Sugar.
Mix well and add
1 tsp Vanilla.

Ice while still hot.

Friday, April 9, 2010

Book Review - Sounds Like One I Gotta Read!

Tender Mercy for a Mother's Soul: Inspiration to Renew Your Spirit, by Angela Thomas Guffey

"A mother’s drive to care for her children and family – physically, mentally & spiritually is so strong and all encompassing that she often neglects to safeguard a bare minimum of time to nurture her own soul. In this book, Angela Guffey gently reminds mothers, through insights that are heart warming and funny one moment and serious the next, that motherhood requires more time invested in personal, spiritual growth, not less. But between teething and tantrums, schedules and schoolwork, what mother has the time?
Make time. It’s not a selfish act. On the contrary, it’s selfless. 'Soul care is about replacing what has been given out,' says Guffey.'Commit that, above all things, even above the precious gifts of husband and children…Jesus will come first.' She urges mothers to 'do whatever it takes' to keep their spiritual health sound."

To order in SA, go to Loot!

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Swimming....

My head is swimming in thoughts! Things are quickly getting busy and I rarely finish a thought before another one takes over. In fact, I had a pretty hard time finishing that last sentence! ;)

We are in the midst of school holidays in SA, and school starts again next week. We returned from SMASH last Saturday and have been pretty busy since.... Easter, Heidi at the Children's Theatre, went to The Meat Company for dinner with Jess Case as she leaves to go back to the US soon :( and then watched The Blindside at her house, had a visit from my friend Marianne and her kids (one of my best friends that previously lived in South Africa and immigrated to Switzerland about 1 1/2 years ago), had a planning meeting for Sunday School, Children's Choir, and Senior Youth, and went to Moyo to celebrate Mike & Fran VanBruggen's 20th Wedding Anniversary. And imagine - I told someone that this was going to be a quiet week!

Tomorrow afternoon I am babysitting Marianne's 4 kiddies ranging from age 2 to 8. Saturday we have a birthday party to go to. Sunday it's church, a going away party for Jess, and church again.... Whew!

Monday we are headed to the South Coast with Marianne's family for a much needed family break with friends. We will be there together until Thursday morning when they return to Johannesburg. We will stay one more night, and then Friday we move on to Northdene for Word of Life Orientation with Grace Baptist Church. I will be doing my first orientation, training them to use the Olympians program while my husband teaches the Student program. I am excited at this new opportunity!

Speaking of new opportunities, upon our return home I will be teaching Sunday School and starting a children's choir. I am in the midst of planning Sunday School curriculum for preschool through Grade 6 and looking for songs to start with the children's choir.

Brandon & Marissa will have auditions for The Fiddler on the Roof at the end of April. I will be working with the other moms once a week to help organize this.

And all this shared, I can see the hand of God in preparing me for all of these changes, and I am looking forward to seeing how He provides strength for this journey. Just running the race!!