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Friday, October 29, 2010

Quilt Holes

My husband sent this poem to me today and as tears sprung to my eyes, I smiled too...I sometimes try to imagine what it will be like when I see my Lord and Saviour...what will I do?  What will I think?  Will I speak?  Will I cry?  Sing?  Laugh?  Dance?  I often wonder how I will feel when I kneel before Him and offer my pitiful life to Him, the Lord of All...the Mighty One...My Redeemer...My Saviour...My Protector...what might He say to me?  

The song, I Can Only Imagine by Mercy Me speaks to my heart every time I hear it played - it's a powerful reminder that some day I will kneel or stand before the Lord Jesus and account for my life...I am so thankful that as a believer, His blood covers my sin!

Anyway, here is the poem my hubby sent me today.  I'm a novice quilter, so it hit home in more than one way. 
Quilt of Holes

Author: Unknown

As I faced my Maker at the last judgment, I knelt
before the Lord along with all the other souls.

Before each of us laid our lives like the squares
of a quilt in many piles; an angel sat before each of us sewing our
quilt squares together into a tapestry that is our life.

But as my angel took each piece of cloth off the
pile, I noticed how ragged and empty each of my squares was. 
They were filled with giant holes.  Each
square was labeled with a part of my life that had
been difficult, the challenges and temptations I was faced with in
every day life. I saw hardships that I endured, which were the largest holes of all.

I glanced around me.  Nobody else had such
squares.  Other than a tiny hole here and there, the other tapestries were filled
with rich color and the bright hues of worldly fortune.  I gazed upon my own
life and was disheartened.

My angel was sewing the ragged pieces of cloth together, 
threadbare and empty, like binding air.

Finally the time came when each life was to be
displayed, held up to the the scrutiny of truth.  The others rose; each
in turn, holding up their tapestries.  So filled their lives had been.
My angel looked upon me, and nodded for me to rise.

My gaze dropped to the ground in shame.  I hadn't
had all the earthly fortunes.  I had love in my life, and laughter. But
there had also been trials of illness, and wealth, and false
accusations that took from me my
world, as I knew it.  I had to start over many
times.  I often struggled with
the temptation to quit, only to somehow muster the strength to pick up and
begin again.  I spent many nights on my knees in
prayer, asking for help and
guidance in my life.  I had often been held up to
ridicule, which I endured
painfully, each time offering it up to the Father
in hopes that I would not
melt within my skin beneath the judgmental gaze of
those who unfairly judged me.

And now, I had to face the truth.  My life was
what it was, and I had to accept it for what it was.
I rose and slowly lifted the combined squares of
my life to the light.

An awe-filled gasp filled the air.  I gazed around
at the others who stared at me with wide eyes.

Then, I looked upon the tapestry before me.  Light
flooded the many holes,
creating an image, the face of Christ.  Then our
Lord stood before me, with
warmth and love in His eyes.  He said, "Every time
you gave over your life
to Me, it became My life, My hardships, and My

Each point of light in your life is when you
stepped aside and let Me shine
through, until there was more of Me than there was
of you."

May all our quilts be threadbare and worn, allowing
Christ to shine through!

 Is this the cry of your heart today?


Monday, October 25, 2010

The Real Me

Yes, I have procrastinated with this post.  Over the weekend, I read my blog roll and read Jen's post at Denton Sanatorium to bloggers to be honest and "real" in their blogs.  That's a tough one!  But, here goes...

This is me with my sweet husband, Jeff.  This is as close to a self-portrait as I will allow as I am not typically the one in front of the camera.  You can see why, can't you?  ugh...  But hubby makes up for me - he's handsome with a great smile and gorgeous blue eyes!

Reality check?  I need to color my hair, lose weight and find some new clothes.  Ah well, that will all happen in my spare time, right?  (If I could, I'd insert a laughing-out-loud smiley here)

A typical day in our house looks something like this:
I try to get out of bed by 5 a.m., but it's usually more like 6 a.m. these days.  Turn on the coffee, wash my face and turn on the computer.  Allow myself at least 1/2 hour to wake up a bit.  Work for about an hour, make hubby's lunch, get another cup of coffee, hug him goodbye, and get back to work.  I try to work until the girls wake up, which is usually around 8:30 or so.

My girls need a few minutes to wake up too, so I give them about 15 minutes to read and then we get breakfast.  Hygiene, getting chores started, and then we sit down to school.  Sometimes we don't get school started until (a-hem) 10 a.m.!  But that's ok, we get it done and that's what matters.  At least that's what I keep telling myself, a typical Type A personality.  If I could have my way, school would be started by 8 a.m.  Ah well, that's one of the beauties of home schooling... a flexible schedule.  

While the girls work on their subjects, I am usually flitting around the house tidying up whatever I didn't get done from the previous day and periodically answering questions from the girls as I fly by with laundry or stuff in arms.  Sometimes all this is done while I'm still in pajamas.  Sad, but true.

Lunch time for me is at 11:45.  I make my lunch while the girls finish up some things and then I watch "my" show.  No, it's not a soap opera!  I like the show What Not to Wear on TLC.  It seems a bit silly sometimes, but I like it anyway.  It's my "let down" for the day. 

1 p.m. - this is usually when my girls get their lunch (they eat breakfast so late) and watch a short show themselves.  I usually try to get more writing done for either my blog, website, or clients. 

Intermittently when I can no longer seem to form proper sentences, I get up and do more chores or see what the girls are up to.  By around 2:30 or so, I feel that wonderful "slump" - you know, when you want to lie down and take a nap but know you can't so you grab the first thing of caffeine or protein you can find, so I have to keep moving.

The girls spend their afternoons crafting, reading, playing the piano, or playing together.  Or, fighting - you know, it happens!  Right now, Julie, our oldest daughter, is working on Christmas gifts, so she often has her door closed in the afternoon.  It's all kind of hush-hush in there.  Love that!  Heather, our youngest, is an avid reader, so I can usually find her sitting in the living room or on her loft reading and listening to music.

Errands, if we have them, are typically next on the agenda.  I don't know about you, but when I leave the house, it's as if everything else just gets pushed to the side.  Errands seem to take forever, but we try to do them only a few times a week so we aren't out and running every day of the week.

By 4:30, I am thinking I need to consider what to have for dinner and try to get that started.  But, if I've gotten into a craft or have started a project, I will admit many times I am surprised when Jeff walks in from work and I have yet to even begin thinking about what to feed my family!  He is gracious with me, thankfully!   

Dinner, chatting with the girls about their day, showers, and then watching a bit of television before bed.  Once the girls are in bed, I might watch a show I've taped or tidy up some more and then get to bed by 10 p.m. when I can.  

It doesn't sound like much, but there are days when it's just plain crazy around here!  I'm sure everyone has those days, yes?

More truth about me...
  • I love a neat and clean house but struggle mightily to get it and keep it that way.
  • I let my oldest daughter go to co-op last week with her hair still pink from the soccer game the night before (yes, I worried about what people might think and then I thought, seriously, it's just pink hair and how many times do you let her do this?  Not a battle I thought was worth fighting.)
  • My sewing area is a must be all those creative juices flowing...uh-huh
  • I have piles throughout the house - things I plan to do, things I want to do, projects I want to tackle, or stuff I just don't have a place for and am too lazy to stick it back up in the attic...which is another place that needs cleaning.
  • My sweet husband gets to leave for work every day with this image of me in his head - a wife who is still in her pajamas, drinking coffee, and hasn't brushed her hair.  Yes, that's lovely isn't it?  I do get up early so I can work before the girls get up and we have to tackle school, errands, etc. so I don't do much to get ready for my day until after he leaves.  He says he doesn't care...but someday I'd like to be that wife who has exercised, showered, and is dressed to the nines for her day before he leaves for work!
  • Sometimes I put dirty dishes into the dishwasher with the clean ones just so I don't have to empty what's left in there and I run it again.  Yes, I know...sad, but true.  It makes for a clean sink very quickly!  That's how I think on some days...get it done!
  • One redeeming quality - I do make my bed every day.  I figure if the rest of the house looks like a tornado hit it, at least Jeff and I have one room in the house to which we can retreat at the end of the day.
It's true, we blog about what we think people want to read about.  We put out the best photos of our trips, our crafts, etc.  Those are great!  But now and then it is nice to know that there are other moms and women out there who get through their days by the skin of their teeth and sometimes in their pajamas!  

Scripture Reading Update
Day 8:  Job17-20
Day 9:  Job 21-23
Day 10:  Job 24-28
Day 11:  Job 29-31
Day 12:  Job 32-24
All my best to you today,

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Turkey Meatloaf Recipe

We love this turkey meatloaf recipe.  It's moist and delicious with the addition of the cottage cheese in the middle.  As I've mentioned before, we are trying some new foods in our house and this is a recipe I discovered in the back of my recipe binder the other day. 

It's from MPS, or Metabolic Profile System.  I used to make this when I was in the program.  I think it's going to be a "keeper" from now on!

Moist Turkey Meat Loaf
Serves 6

  • 1 pound ground turkey breast
  • 1/2 large onion, finely chopped (about 2/3 cup)
  • 2 teaspoons minced, fresh lemon rind, divided
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 1/4 teaspoon dried thyme, crushed, divided
  • 3 pieces whole wheat bread crumbs (easy to make your own - see below)
  • 1/2 cup 1% low fat cottage cheese (you can substitute an extra egg or broth)
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup apple juice or white wine
  • 2 teaspoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 garlic clove, pressed or minced
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.  Coat a 9x5 inch loaf pan with  nonstick vegetable cooking spray and set aside.

Combine the ground turkey, onion, bread crumbs, egg, juice (or wine), olive oil, 1 teaspoon of thyme, garlic, 1 teaspoon of lemon rind, and salt in a large mixing bowl.  Mix well.  In another bowl combine the cottage cheese (or extra egg or chicken broth), remaining 1/4 teaspoon thyme, and remaining 1 teaspoon lemon rind.  Mix well.

Place half the turkey mixture in the bottom of the loaf pan and press out evenly.  Spoon the cottage cheese mixture on top of the turkey and spread evenly.  Cover with remaining turkey mixture.

Place meat loaf in a pre-heated oven and bake for one hour.  Let stand 10 minutes before slicing.

**The original recipe calls for 2 teaspoons of minced, fresh lemon rind, but we found that we preferred the meatloaf without this ingredient.

Make Your Own Whole Wheat Bread Crumbs
I simply toast whole wheat bread until it is crispy (without burning).  Then, I tear the toast into smaller pieces and put the pieces into a blender.  Pulse a few times until you have crumbs.  It's so easy and much less expensive than purchasing the ready-made version.

I apologize for no photo with this recipe, but I am having a difficult time taking food photos that do the food item justice!  

Scripture Reading

As I feared, I have already been remiss in posting the scheduled Scripture readings, so here they are beginning from where we left off:
Day 4:  Job 1-5
Day 5:  Job 6-9
Day 6:  Job 10-13
Day 7:  Job 14-16

Monday, October 18, 2010

Buy One Game, Get One FREE

This isn't normally the kind of post I would do, but with the holidays coming up, I thought perhaps others would appreciate this wonderful deal as much as I did! 

Wendy's has been including small versions of games in their kids' meals and along with the game is an advertisement for one full size version of the game for free with the purchase of one full size game. 

The web address is: 

Choose two games from the same category (they must be from the same age category or else the code won't work). When you go to check out, enter the coupon code of Wendys10 and you will get one of the games for free. 

I think I paid around $31 for two games and shipping. Great deal, yes?  Plus, the games are educational and fun, which makes it an even better deal in my humble opinion.

Hope this helps someone else! I know we're always trying to stretch our $$$$ and would love to help others do the same.

I have not been compensated in any way for writing this post - it's simply one wife/mom/woman to another offering a great tip for Christmas shopping.

Decorating Pumpkins

We were the lucky recipients of 8 pumpkins this year from my parents' garden.  We had a great time decorating them last night!  The girls drew their designs onto the front of the pumpkin and their Daddy did the actual carving. 

 Jeff making the initial cut on top.

Heather pulling out seeds (notice the slight grimace - it was slimy!)

Julie rather enjoyed putting her hands into the slime and pulling out seeds.  She said, "it's all part of the experience!"  Wonder where she's heard that before...

They were surprised at how many seeds were inside the pumpkin.

This was Julie's rendition of our cat Digsy drawn onto her pumpkin.

Heather drew our family on her pumpkin - "we're all chihuahuas Mommy!" (giggle, giggle)

We carved only two pumpkins and drew on the rest.

The entire Pardoe pumpkin family. 

The best part of the evening though was after we were done with the pumpkins.  We turned off the patio lights and sat together on the patio swing and enjoyed the soft glow of the pumpkins.  The night air was cool, so we snuggled together and just enjoyed the evening for a bit.

I plan to roast the seeds today, so hopefully I can post about those very soon!  

All my best to you this Monday morning!

Scripture Reading for today, October 18, 2010:  Job 1-5

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Resting Today

Good Sunday morning!

It's a day of rest for us today and I plan to enjoy it to the fullest.  We're going to service this morning, a potluck dinner with our Sunday school class following service and then home to rest and perhaps paint pumpkins and roast pumpkin seeds.  Doesn't that sound like a wonderful fall day?

I think our cat Digsy has the right idea...a nap might be nice today...

Scripture reading for today, October 17, 2010:  Genesis 8-11

Enjoy your day, whatever you may be doing!

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Learning Something New - The First Day!

Good Saturday Morning to you!

Yesterday was my first day of reading through God's Word chronologically.  As you may expect, I began by reading in Genesis, chapters 1-3.  I have read through this book of the Bible several times during my Christian walk, but I learned something new yesterday!  It was rather exciting to me that the Lord would have an interesting nugget of truth for me on my very first day of this Bible-reading journey.  (Isn't He GOOD?)

In Chapter 3, it talks about how Eve and Adam sinned against the Lord by eating the fruit of the tree of knowledge (of which they were instructed not to eat) and that they realized they were naked and needed clothing.  The Lord explained to them that they were going to have to leave the garden and toil and labor to make a living now that they had disobeyed, sinned, against Him.

Verse 21 of Genesis Chapter 3 says, "Unto Adam also and to his wife did the Lord God make coats of skins, and clothed them."  I read through it twice and thought, wait a minute!  Did the Lord kill animals in the Garden of Eden in order to make the clothing for Adam and Eve?  That seemed odd to me, so I asked my husband about it.  The conversation went something like this.

Me:  Honey, this is what verse 21 in Genesis Chapter 3 says (quoted it to him).  Does this mean the Lord killed animals in the garden of Eden to clothe Adam and Eve? 

Hubby:  Yes.

Me:  Was it because sin was committed by Adam and Eve?

Hubby:  Yes.

Me:  But, why did he kill the animals? (in my mind, the Lord could have just produced some clothing for them without sacrificing the animals' lives)

Hubby:  What had to happen in order for sin to be forgiven? 

Me:  Christ had to die on the cross for my sins.

Hubby:  Yes, and He was perfect, right?  (I'm nodding)  Christ was perfect and yet He had to die.  The animals in the garden of Eden were perfect too before sin, but once sin entered the world, the animals were killed to cover Adam and Eve's sin (their blood was shed).

Me:  (the light bulb went on!)  Oh!  So, this is a 'type' of Christ!

Hubby:  It's a foreshadowing of Christ coming to die for our sins!  (I am nodding) 

Me:  I get it!

I grabbed a pencil right then and wrote that nugget of truth out right in the margin of my Bible so I wouldn't forget it.  Yes, it's ok to write in your copy of God's Word!  

Now, you may be thinking, wow, she just got that after reading through Genesis several times?  I am still in awe of the fact that we can read God's Word over and over and still see and understand new things every time we read it.  He opens our eyes to what I think of as "big" truths and "little" truths.  I know that truth is truth, but sometimes for me, I feel like He gives me one or the other depending on what is going on in my life at the time.

Again, isn't God Good?

I love the saying, "God is good all the time...and all the time God is good." 

To be truthful, there are days that I cannot say that without a niggling question in the back of my disbelief gets the better of me sometimes...but in my heart of hearts, I know that He is Good.  I know that He has my best interest at heart.  He loves me with an everlasting Love. 

I am humbled that He would love someone like me.  A flawed, selfish, cross (sometimes), difficult person like me...He loves me with no holds barred and died for my sins so that I might live with Him in eternity.

That truth still makes me cry sometimes and makes me wonder why...but deep down I am so very, very grateful that He loves me the way He does.  Thank you Lord!

I hope the Lord is showing you new and exciting things each and every day as you read through His Word and listen for His voice.  He loves you. 

Scripture Reading for today:  Genesis 4- 7

All my best to you today,

Friday, October 15, 2010

We're Not Ahead...But We're Not Behind...

 We're on a new financial path...yet again...and it's not of our own doing...again...

My husband came home yesterday clearly discouraged.  I could tell earlier in the day by the tone of his voice that he was discouraged about something, but I couldn't tell what and the day didn't lend itself for having that conversation right then.  We talked when he returned home from work last night and I quickly realized why he felt so down.  It was difficult not to go right down with him, but I also felt the Lord's peace somehow about the whole thing. 

I'm sure many of you, like us, are facing changes in your financial status once January 2011 arrives.  The new health care is hitting people hard, especially families.  Last night, my husband shared with me that our family insurance plan is going up by $100 per month.  Yes, that's a lot in our household.  The news hit him (and me) like a ton of bricks.  Adding to our frustration, and admittedly, a bit of anger at first, he found out from his co-workers who have the single person plan that their increase is a mere $5.00 per month.  Now, don't get me wrong, he doesn't wish for them to have a bigger increase or anything, but it's clear that the new health plan is targeting families.  It's one more indicator that the family unit is under attack in our world and our country. 

See, the hardest thing about it is that we had finally reached a point where we were going to be able to put $100 into savings toward a new-to-us vehicle which we know is going to be needed in the next few years most likely.  Now, with a bit of juggling and some changes (no details needed), we will be able to make the extra payment toward health care, but we won't have anything left over to put into savings.  **sigh**

It seems like every time we just begin to see the light at the end of the tunnel, that light gets extinguished again.  It's not like we are asking for a lot - we don't mean to take vacations that cost thousands of dollars or buy a larger house or spend lots of money on clothing, games, or other material things (not that those things are bad, just stick with me).  All we wanted was to put aside some money each month toward an expense we know we are going to incur sometime soon.  We have cut every expense we know how, but now are trying to find yet another way to do so.  Seems simple enough, doesn't it?

My husband is an excellent provider!  I don't want any misunderstandings here...I respect and love my husband and appreciate all that he does for us and how hard he works for us!  

It's just amazing to me that with this economy, he is working full time and I am working two part-time jobs from home and we feel as though we struggle sometimes financially.  I can't imagine those families who are without income at I need to get the right perspective and realize how blessed we are, even when we feel discouraged.

We shop thrift stores for our clothes, we use coupons and plan menus around the weekly sales, we don't go on big vacations, we make 95% of our meals at home, and we are frugal in so many ways.  Not sure where else to cut expenses, but I am sure the Lord will show us how we can do that as we go along.

The conclusion is this:  while we aren't ahead financially, we aren't behind either.  It's kind of a "wash".  We still have jobs.  We have a cozy home and a roof over our heads.  There is plenty of food in our refrigerator and our pantry.  We have clothes in our closets and dressers.  We are not wanting for anything we actually need.  We are blessed!

We know that the Lord will provide.  We know He is caring for us during this difficult time of change and upheaval in our country.  He is still in control!  I thank the Lord for that!

I don't believe it is any coincidence that today is my first day of Bible reading - reading through the Bible chronologically I mean.  I will try to keep you updated of the Scripture references so if you're interested in reading through with me, you'll have them.  However, I know I am a flawed individual and will likely miss a few days here and there, so if you're interested in the schedule to read your Bible in one year, go to and you can print out the schedule there.

Scriptures for today:  Genesis 1-3.

All my best to you today! 

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

De-Cluttering and Purging Your Home

Have you ever watched the show Clean House or Hoarders?  These shows are eye-opening!  Both of these shows are based on helping families who have issues with clutter or purchasing.  I just watched Hoarders the other night for about 15 minutes and was overwhelmed by the need some people have to hold on to their stuff.

These are folks who can't stop shopping, are going into serious debt because of their habit, are on the verge of losing relationships, and simply have a path (maybe) through their home because there is stuff everywhere.  They can't seem to let go of it.  It's a serious emotional issue that requires therapy and outside help.  Some of them have lost spouses and children (broken relationships) because they just can't get a hold on why they shop and can't seem to quit accumulating material things. 

The lady on Hoarders the other night had anywhere between $10,000 to $20,000 of collectibles sitting in her home that she could likely sell according to the experts brought in, but she preferred to keep the stuff instead of freeing up space and adding some financial peace to her life.  Her husband said he was contemplating leaving her if she couldn't get help and clear their home of clutter.

Time to purge...!

Every time I watch one of these shows, (which isn't as often recently), I find myself purging yet again in our house.  We live in a humble 1,400 square foot home that fits us perfectly as a family of four.  But, I am constantly aware of the stuff we seem to accumulate despite my efforts of purging and giving away things regularly.

Our home had an attic above the garage when we moved in and were were thankful for it because we don't have a basement for "extras".  When I say extras, I mean Christmas decorations, suitcases, camping gear, etc.  Well, we discovered quickly once the girls came along that we would need to switch out seasonal clothing from the closets to the attic because our closets are relatively small and can't fit both seasons (and we don't have that many clothes either).  So, my husband built in a set of stairs on the opposite side of the house off our hallway and put in plywood up there so we could store seasonal clothing and a few other items I would like to be able to access easily.

I have to admit, it's become my "catch-all".  When I don't want to get rid of something but don't want it in the house anymore, I toss it up there.  It's not the organized space I originally had or intended to keep.  There are toys up there from when the girls were little, bedspreads we don't use anymore (but might?), two rolling carts of extra craft stuff (we will enjoy some fun crafts in the weeks to come!), and so much more that I need to go through and purge!  I will be working on that during the next few weeks so I can enjoy a clean and organized space once again. 

De-cluttering your home is not difficult, but it can be time consuming and therefore become overwhelming and daunting to some people.  Here are some tips that have worked for me when I de-clutter my home that keep me from throwing my hands into the air and giving up completely.

De-Cluttering Tips
  • Take on one room at a time - yes, I know that sometimes you find stuff that goes into another room or you think of something that could be used to organize the room you're currently working in, but try to focus on one room at a time so you don't become easily overwhelmed.  I find that this process helps me to conquer more spaces in a timely manner rather than trashing my entire house at one time.
  • Accept that it will possibly get worse before it gets better.  I can't tell you the number of times I get half way through a space, and look around and get really tired and discouraged.  But, if that happens, take a break (chocolate is good!) and then come back with renewed vigor and finish it up.
  • Get three containers - one for giving away, one for selling, and one for keeping.  This way, you can automatically fill containers as you're going through closets, attics, garages, or under the bed.  I seem to have two give-away containers when I de-clutter - one is for items I want to share with other moms in my homeschool co-op, and one for Goodwill.  Do what works for you.  If you're not interested in selling anything (it does take time and it sits around a while), then just give it away!  
  • Good rule of thumb - if you haven't worn it or used it in a year, give it to someone who could use it.  This rule doesn't apply to items you use perhaps once or twice a year such as canning jars or the birthday cake pedestal - you know what I mean.
  • Start small if you don't have a lot of time during a day - begin with the junk drawer or the cluttered counter that seems to catch everything when family members walk in.  For me, it's a large basket underneath my counter - it's the place I put things I think I will deal with "later".  When it fills up, it's time for me to go through it, which is usually about once a month.  But, stuff gets lost in there, so I need to find another alternative.
  • Take the Goodwill bags/boxes to the drop off center the same day if at all possible.  At the very least, load it into your vehicle to drop off on your way past the center the following day.
  • Ask the following questions as you work:  Do I absolutely love it?  Can I live without it?  Does it make my life easier or more difficult?
  • Purge regularly - everyone has a different strategy, but do what works for you and fits into your lifestyle.  Take five minutes a day to de-clutter.  Take a weekend now and then if that works for you.  Or designate one week to do a room a day in your home.  It's up to you how you de-clutter, but just get started!
I love, love my home when it is organized and things are in their place.  It's freedom!  It provides a sense of calm in our home that isn't there when things are lying around or when my basket under the counter is overflowing (smile).

How do you de-clutter?  Do you find it helps you function more efficiently when your home is clean and uncluttered?  I'd love to hear your thoughts!

All my best to you today,

Monday, October 11, 2010

Friendship is Sweet

Friendship is so sweet....

Sharing hearts and (harmless) secrets...

Holding hands and hanging out together on a beautiful fall day...

Rachel and Heather have been friends for almost three years now and it warms our hearts (the moms) to see how our girls love each other.  

Let us not forget how sweet friendship can be...even as adults.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Our New Food Adventure - Lowering Cholesterol

We are embarking on a new adventure in our house.  Food!  For those of you who already know I live with somewhat particular eaters, you can imagine how fun this new adventure might (or might not) be, especially in the first few months.

High cholesterol is in both our families' history.  The last time I had my numbers checked, my doctor was slightly concerned that my cholesterol seemed to creep up ever-so-slightly.  She recommended a good diet and ample exercise and she wanted to see me back in a year.  My sweet husband just got his numbers back last week and his cholesterol is not where we want it to be.  His doctor wants to see him in 6 weeks to check it again.

We are both painfully aware we are not getting any younger and that this food thing is going to get harder, not easier when it comes to staying healthy and eating the "right" foods.  **sigh**

Now is the time to get healthier!  My husband's dad had heart issues at a very young age and due to a doctor's mistake, died very young as well.  Needless to say, I want to and will do anything it takes to get my hubby as healthy as possible!

I began researching last week to see what foods are recommended for lowering cholesterol.  The list I wrote down looked something like this:
  • garlic
  • spinach, dark green leafy vegetables
  • veggies in general - some are better than others
  • lean meat and chicken
  • cinnamon
  • green beans
  • carrots
  • broccoli
  • whole wheat bread/grains
  • tomatoes
  • olive oil
  • soy nuts
  • almonds
  • pure pomegranate juice
  • oatmeal
  • strawberries
  • apples
  • grapes
  • onions
  • kidney beans, high fiber foods
  • Omega-3 fatty acids (found most often in fish)
  • dried beans, legumes
  • corn, kale, artichokes
  • citrus fruits
  • blueberries, raspberries
  • bison meat
Now, I have to say that I like pretty much everything on the list except for the dried beans and legumes.  My husband likes 2/3 of the list of foods, which isn't too bad.  The oatmeal is not too horrible if you add a bit of milk and about a teaspoon of brown sugar to it.  I would add some dried fruit too such as dried cherries, dried cranberries, or raisins to make it more flavorful.

I do know that making changes in the diet need to be swift in one way, but realistically, I also know I need to tread slowly with my family so dinner doesn't become a mutiny situation.  See, our two daughters can be somewhat picky eaters (ask anyone who has tried to feed them, they will tell you!), so I am trying to move forward with healthier eating options, but must do so in a way that isn't too drastic all at once.  **sigh**

To that end, last night I tried one new dish - oven roasted green beans.  The original recipe from which I was working was Emeril's Oven Roasted Green Beans, but I added almonds to the mix and it was delicious!  Alas, by the time I thought of taking a photo, my sweet husband and I had eaten them all up.  I will try to remember to take photos of new dishes from now on.

The oven roasted green beans were a hit!  My husband usually eats baked beans with his burger, so last night he looked at me and said, "how bad are baked beans for me?"  I'll rephrase that in my own words - "why do I have this pile of green stuff on my plate in place of my baked beans?"  (smile)

But after he had eaten a few bites, he said something along the lines of, "you know, these are really good".

Yes!  My first victory!

I know what some of you are thinking...we had oven roasted green beans...and burgers.  Well, admittedly, the burger was 83% lean and I know that we need to do better, but this is one of those times I decided to go slowly.  We are going to work our way up to leaner meats, but it's a taste issue with all of us.

So, there you have it...the first day of our new food adventure recorded.  I'll keep you updated on how things are going!

All my best to you this beautiful Sunday morning,

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Healing and Encouragement

Last night, we had our pizza and movie night like usual together as a family.  Friday nights are eagerly anticipated in our home because we eat together and then snuggle together on the couch to watch a movie.  It's one time during the week we all plan to "stop the treadmill" and spend time together.  Inevitably, the movie we watch ends up sparking conversations that seem to go in any and all directions.  It's wonderful actually because my husband and I have the privilege of hearing what is going on in our daughter's hearts and minds in a way that is totally unexpected. 

Last night, the conversation was primarily between my husband and oldest daughter, but my youngest daughter and I were listening intently.  They got to talking about the Lord returning to take us home (Rapture), God's Word and how important it is to us, the experiences we had at our last two churches and what the Lord taught us there (child version of course), and much more.  My husband has been listening to sermons daily via his MP3 player and I can hear in his voice that the Lord is encouraging his heart once again.

See, we went through a very rough time several years back with not one, but two churches and two pastors.  Let's just say that when we chose to follow the Lord's leading (leaving "their" churches), they were not happy to say the least.  We were told we were no longer believers, that we would backslide, that we would be divorced within a year (that was nearly five years ago), and that our children would be on drugs and drinking alcohol before we knew it.  We were out of the Lord's favor and His will because we were leaving a certain church, not because of sin or something we had or hadn't done.  Our dedication and love for the Lord and His people was questioned and we were basically blackballed by the people we had spent so much time with and served for several years in His name. 

It was a dark few years for us, but we always felt the Lord's leading and His voice through it all.  My husband and I know that the Lord carried us through those days of panic attacks and feelings of inadequacy and fear.  The Lord brought to my husband a senior saint from one of those churches who came alongside my husband and mentored him and loved him with Christ's love.  These two men still meet once a week for devotional and prayer time to encourage each other and lift each other up in the name of the Lord.  It's inspiring.  I am so thankful for this man, one who truly sees the light and love of  Christ despite what goes on around him, followed the Lord's leading and never once allowed my husband to doubt our decision. He knew the decision had been bathed in prayer for nearly a year and that we had spoken to no one of our thoughts because we wanted to hear only the Lord's voice.  I praise the Lord for this senior saint who loves Him and shows Christ's love to my husband and to us. 

Last night I realized even more strongly while listening to my husband and daughter talk that I have closed my heart off to many things in the last several years.  I am, frankly, terrified to open my heart to the Lord in many ways...scared to be hurt again.  I know it wasn't the Lord who hurt me, it was His people who weren't seeing clearly.  But, nevertheless, I know that I am living in fear of what the Lord will call me to if I open my heart completely to Him and to His Word.  Isn't that crazy?

I share all of this to say that I am committing to the Lord (and to you, my sweet readers), that I am going to read the Bible over the next year from cover to cover.  I need to immerse myself in His Word.  I need to try and open my heart and life to Him in a way that will change me...and my life...because I know in my mind that Jesus loves me too much to leave me the way I am.  He knows I need to change in so many ways!  I want to be more like Him!

I thought about trying to read the Bible in one month, but when I realized it would take a dedication of 2 1/2 hours a day, I know that realistically, that won't happen for me.  I am a busy home schooling mom working two part-time jobs from home and trying to take care of my husband and girls the way they deserve to be taken care of, so I know that this type of schedule would fall by the wayside very quickly.  That would only serve as a discouragement to me.  If there is one thing I have realized in the last few years, it is that I must be realistic in my expectations - with others and especially with myself. 

That said, reading the Bible in one year is very reasonable and I am looking forward to getting started.  I found this site, that provides a reading schedule for reading the Bible through from cover to cover in one year.  You can choose how you want to read it - from the beginning, chronologically, historically, or whether you want to read the Old Testament or New Testament first.  The site lists several different Bible versions from which to choose as well, so you can choose your preferred version.  The schedule is set up so you can start either on the 1st of a month or the 15th of a month. 

I'm going to begin my reading on October 15th and I've chosen to read the Bible in chronological order.  I am wondering if this will help me further understand my Lord and who He really is.  I will keep you updated!

May you be encouraged today by the Lord's Word.

All my best to you today,