Monday, November 14, 2016

Fun Fall Memories, 2016

 I can't believe that this is the last year I can take a picture like this. Josh will be graduating this year! Every two years, I will be having a graduating senior for the next 10 years. That is a crazy thought!

 I am watching my sweet, amazing disabled young lady, Amanda while the kids are in school. This is my third year of getting to have this pleasure. She keeps me from being lonely when Steve is at work and all the kids are gone. She and I have so much fun together. Her highlight of the day is when Marcus runs home for lunch and he plays with her. It is pretty precious to watch!

Jess played volleyball this year. It was fun to watch these girls grow! This isn't her favorite sport, but I am glad she does it because she gets so bored when she isn't playing sports.

 Time to start trimming and deadheading the dying flowers around the place. I let Jacob try this year. I don't think he was quite ready, but Andrew came and finished for him. I so appreciate kids that are willing to work! Saves my arm and my back!

 There was one Saturday in October where nothing was going on. I decided I needed a little time with just me and God. I drove up to the forest and took in all the beautiful fall colors. I was thankful I took the time to do this. It was such a blessing when I asked God to delight me and on the way back a herd of elk were beside the road. The trophy bull elk was breathtaking! Another example of how God knows what we need when we need it. I just needed to know that He loves me and He sees me.

Some pictures of a quaint little creek I stopped and looked at. It is a shame that I live 45 minutes away from this area and I rarely get to get up there. I am determined to take the kids hiking next year!

 Jackie and her kids came up to watch my big boys play football. It was fun to watch a home game with her. Her kids ended up getting sick so she had to go home early. So it was a whirlwind visit. This is what we do in our hometown in the fall. We watch LOTS of football! Steve and Dad are in the background. It is a family thing!

 Here is a great picture of my boys! They have worked so hard this year. Both of them are on the line. At first they were really competitive and it was not so fun to listen to them after practice, but as the season has gone by they have developed a respect for each others strengths and differences. It has been cool to watch. ( Love Marcus's friend, Russell, photobombing them in the back. So him!)
 Marcus's last JV game. They did a great job and won every game they played this year!

The Varsity team is going to semi-finals this Saturday to see if they will play in the Championship game. Our boys are defending their title of being the 1A State Champs last year! I know we can do it and can't wait to watch them go head to head with the best teams in Oregon!

I was able to have my sister, Jackie and my mom come over last weekend and scrapbook. I got around 30-40 pages done. It was so fun to do something creative and have hard copies of some of my favorite memories. We were going to go into Portland but the anti-Trump riots were kind of scary sounding, so we opted to play it safe and stay and my house while Steve took the kids to go to the play off game.

Right now life is good. We are not without struggle but we are certainly staying busy trying to keep up with all these kids and their activities. Steve has never tried harder to try to get to all their games this year. Not an easy task for someone who works 24 hours when he is on shift! He is probably the greatest Ranger fan out there right now. He loves to root and cheer (loudly) for our kids and everyone else's kids too!

As we approach Thanksgiving, I just want to thank the Lord for the good times and the bad times. The good times are good of course because they are joyful and easy to walk through. But I am learning that the Lord redeems the bad times as well. What we think are disasters become some of our greatest victories! 

Friday, September 23, 2016

This Promise is MINE!

 Dear Mothers,

Lately, the enemy has just been harassing me. I thought I had cut the head off of fear years ago. Apparently, it has edged its way back into my life again. It frustrates me that I feel like I am back in this hole, mainly because I remember the work it took to get out of it. But at the same time, I am pressing in to the Lord, and when I do that with everything I have in me, good things always follows. What good things? Peace, and blessed JOY!

It seems like everything I am reading is about the Promised Land. But before that promise was fulfilled to the Israelites, there was a time of wandering, waiting, wandering, and waiting.

When you have teenagers, you really do have to learn to wait and it feels like you are wandering a LOT. Everything you taught them since they were knee-high to a grasshopper is not going to just suddenly manifest itself in your teen! They have a journey they are going on too. They have their own wandering to do until they realize that Jesus really is the Promised Land!

I have stayed encouraged lately by reading about other Christian parents who are raising their hard teenagers. I am not alone. I like reading about how they got to their Promised Land. It is helping me be patient and helping me also to work on me, myself and I. Boy, do I have a lot of soul-searchng to do in that department!

I have also learned to accept  just because we had a bad day, week or even month, does not mean I failed. There will be good days, that follow. Sometimes there are just several bad days in a row and you gotta grit your teeth and push through even when you see ZERO fruit and nothing but not-so-lovely conflict.

I am going to stop worrying about being scared I am displeasing my kids. I WILL ask them to respect me and if they do not, I WILL apply consequences. For Heaven's sake, why do I think I should put up with that kind of talk for a minute? Either I am too tired to deal with it, lazy, or I just want to keep the peace. Those are no good reasons to tolerate disrespect.

I read this in my devotions from "Streams in the Desert" by L.B. Cowman

"You should get into the habit of looking for the silver lining of storm clouds. And once you have found it, continue to focus on it rather than the dark grey of the center. Do not yield to discouragement no matter how severely stressed or surrounded by problems you may be. A discouraged soul is in a helpless state being neither able to "stand against the devil's schemes" (Eph 6:11) himself nor able to prevail in prayer for others. Flee every symptom of the deadly foe of discouragement as you would run from a snake. Never be slow to turn your back on it, unless you desire to eat the dust of bitter defeat.

Search for specific promises of God, saying aloud of each one "This promise is mine." then if you still experience feelings of doubt and discouragement, pour your heart out to God, asking Him to rebuke the Adversary who is so mercilessly harassing you."

Can I get an, Amen? Boy, howdy, that is some good stuff right there!

One promise I can always take to the bank is "Never will I leave you, nor forsake you." He is always there with me. He sees all, and yet He loves me anyway. I don't have to be a perfect mom! I just have to love the fact that I am forgiven and out of a grateful heart to my Savior I will try hard to please Him by teaching my children His ways and His Truth.

Thursday, September 8, 2016

Stacie's Caramel Apple Cinnamon Rolls (Bread machine)

(Here they are inverted)

Stacie's Bread Machine Caramel Apple Cinnamon Rolls

In Bread machine pan:

Place 1 cup of milk
1/4 cup of water
1/4 cup of butter, softened
1 egg
1 tsp salt
4 cups of bread flour
1/4 cup instant vanilla pudding mix
1 TB sugar
1 TB active dry yeast

Select Dough cycle.

For filling:

In food processor add:
1/2 cup light brown sugar or sucanat
1/2 cup sugar
2 TBs of white flour
1 1/2 TB of ground cinnamon
1/2 cup butter (cut up)

Mix till crumbly.

For the Caramel Sauce:

1/2 cup salted better
1 cup light brown sugar or sucanat
1/4 cup light corn syrup

Heat till sugar dissolves and pour into a greased 10x16 inch glass pan. Or you can divide into two 9x9 pans.

When dough is done, roll out on large rectangler cutting board. Place filling on dough, then 2 cups of chopped apples.  Roll and seal. Cut the jelly-roll style dough in 1 to 2 inch sections. Place cut sections face cut-side down onto the caramel sauce.

Cover and let rise till doubled. Bake at 350 for 30-40 minutes or until light brown. While they are warm, invert onto a serving plate. YUMMY!!!

Saturday, August 20, 2016

Like Wings of Eagles

I ran across this poem the other day and it completely made Isaiah 40:31 come alive for me.

One day when walking down the street,
On business bent, while thinking hard
About the "hundred cares" which seemed
Like thunderclouds about to break
In torrents, Self-pity said to me:
"You poor, poor thing, you have too much
To do. Your life is far too hard.
This heavy load will crush you soon."
A swift response of sympathy
Welled up within. The burning sun
Seemed more intense. The dust and noise
Of puffing motors flying past
With rasping blast of blowing horn
Incensed still more the whining nerves,
The fabled last back-breaking straw
To weary, troubled, fretting mind.
"Ah yes, it will break and crush my life;
I cannot bear this constant strain
Of endless agravating cares;
They are too great for such as I."
So thus my heart consoled itself,
"Enjoying misery," when lo!
A "still small voice" distincly said,
"'Twas sent to lift you-not to crush."
I saw at once my great mistake.
My place was not beneath the load
But on the top! God meant it not
That I should carry it. He sent
It here to carry me. Full well
He knew my incapacity
Before the plan was made. He saw
A child of His in need of grace
And power to serve; a puny twig
Requiring sun and rain to grow;
An undeveloped chrysalis;
A weak soul lacking faith in God.
He could not help but see all this
And more. And then, with tender thought
He placed it where it had to grow-
Or die. To lie and cringe beneath
One's load means death, but life and power
Await all those who dare to rise above.
Our burdens are our wings; on them
We soar to higher realms of grace;
Without them we must ever roam
On plains of undeveloped faith,
(For faith grows but by exercise
In circumstance impossible).
O paradox of Heaven. The load
We think will crush was sent to lift us
Up to God! Then, soul of mine,
Climb up! Nothing can e'er be crushed
Save what is underneath the weight.
How may we climb! By what ascent
Will we crest the critical cares
Of life! Within His Word is found
The key which opens His secret Stairs;
alone with Christ, secluded there,
We mount our loads, and rest in Him.

-Mary Butterfield

May you be blessed today as you learn to soar on "wings of eagles"!

Monday, August 15, 2016

My Firefighter

 I absolutely LOVE this picture of Steve and his "guys" (Kurt, and Hal). The tilted hats, immediately make me think of great humor and fun that these guys maintain on a daily basis while doing their job. They are on a grass fire in this picture. Steve has had his wild land gear for over 20 years! I guess the other guys just got new ones and need to break them in.

These images are of Steve fighting a house fire last month. The way the fire engine's lights were shining through the smoke was breathtaking. Another firefighter named Casey took these photos.

I am so proud of my firefighter. He works so hard for our family. Lots of overtime this summer has kept him at the station for long periods of time. I am so thankful that the Lord has kept him safe all these years...

Thursday, August 11, 2016

Canadian Trip Part 2

Here is the rest of my trip...

 Camille took us around a beautiful park in the middle of the city called Stanley Park. It would be the equivalent to Central Park for New Yorkers. The park had many features and was HUGE! Jackie and Jenn are taking pictures of the ocean. This is right after Jackie dropped her cell phone down a small cliff in the bushes. I had a hold of her while she fished it out. It was pretty scary, but then we laughed hard when she found it. Whew!

This was my favorite spot in the park. It was very tranquil here.

This was a little lighthouse.

The King's Cross bridge, I believe.

 The favorite activity for me was going to High Tea at the "White House". It was owned by a doctor in the 1800's. Very quaint!

 Camille, and Jenn getting ready to have High Tea...

 The presentation was beautiful, and the food was as amazing as it looked. Such different flavors and variety!

 It didn't look like a lot of food, but by the time you got to dessert you felt like you were ready to pop!

We ate in the carriage room where the good doctor stored his carriage. Very cool! I loved the ladder resting on the rafters.

Before we left Camille's we asked if we could see their son, Austin's grave. Austin died a few years back and was an integral part of their family. Camille was very honest in her grief and has used her pain to point people to the Lord and share her testimony over and over again. I have never met any couple so eternally-minded. The love Jesus so much and they can't wait to be reunited in Heaven with their son. The was the most well-tended grave I have ever seen. Thank you, Camille for sharing your hope with us.

 Here we are back in the States. Again, other than traffic, the border crossing was a cinch.

 There was this weird art right when you got into America. I think it was made out of metal. Fascinating!!!

One more parting shot of my other half! So thankful that we took this journey together. This was the longest sister trip we have ever been able to take. We are already making plans to go on another one to visit far away friends. It cost so much less when you have someone you can lodge with and can take you around to see the sights! Traveling really can be affordable! Then you can spend your money on delicious food and experiences.

Thank you, Lord, for giving us this gift and for bringing us back home refreshed so that we can pour into our families.

Tuesday, August 9, 2016

My Trip to Canada! Part One

While I was in Mexico when some wonderful friends, I felt the Lord speaking to my heart about dreaming again. I have been very consumed with raising my family, being a good wife and mother and active in my church. But one thing I think I have lost is a discovering "me". I know that sounds a little self-centered, but I realized that I have one life to live. I have always been a very cautious person, taking as few risks as possible. I have anxiety when I feel out of control. That's why traveling is so hard for me. Getting on a plane and going some place unfamiliar was a HUGE step for me. I am so grateful for the patience of my traveling companions! The only way of overcoming this fear is to actually go and do something!

After traveling to Mexico and spending all that money on a passport, I thought what a waste to only use it once. My sister and I concocted a plan to go visit our mutual blog friend, Camille from "Flowers in His Garden". Jackie from "Homestead Wannabees", contacted Camille and asked if we could come up to Canada and visit! She was thrilled and said yes. The next thing we know our other mutual blog friend, Jenn from "Wanting What I Have" said she could fly in from Georgia!!! Our hearts were amazed at what God was doing! We started saving every penny of our mad money and made this trip a reality this August. It still feels like a dream, that I, scaredy-cat, Stacie travelled to two countries in one year!

Here are some memories of our amazing trip! Let's see if I can beat my other blog friends! LOL! I guarantee you their pictures will be better. They are gifted photographers while I am not.

We stopped at the Aplets and Cotlets factory in Cashmere, Washington. Didn't get a tour because of a bus tour that was going on. 

 I LOVE these candies! This is what my step mom always gets me for Christmas!

 Jackie and I found genuine Turkish Delights! Can't wait to try them. The lady in the background looked really tired and grumpy!

 We drove to Canada in one straight shot. Took us about 8 hours total. Here we are at the Peace Arch Park waiting in line to get through the Border. We were so nervous that it would be a pain to get across. They aren't kidding, it is the "friendliest border in the world". They barely ask questions and didn't inspect a thing. Kind of scary to see how easy it would be for bad guys to get something through.

Almost to the Canadian Border! At least they had beautiful gardens to look at while were were waiting in line.

Camille's house was just a few minutes away from the Canadian Border so it was pretty easy to get too. We both didn't feel like upgrading our cell phone plans so we had no GPS or cell service. It was good for us!

Here we are all together. from left to right: Me, Jackie, Jenn and Camille in front of Camille's lovely house! We were all so excited to meet one another! It was crazy to be seeing each other face to face and hear one another's accents. Jenn with her southern accent, Camille with her Canadian, and apparently we had accents to them! Jenn and I kept looking at each other and saying, "I can't believe this is happening!" We all started blogging around the same time which was in 2008 I believe. We have followed each other's lives via blog. We have all had many ups and downs in these past years and have loved, supported, and prayed for each other and their families.

 That evening after a delicious dinner, Camille took us to the waterfront as the sun was setting. It was such a gorgeous evening.

 Here is a view of the pier lit up in Surrey, Canada. 

 Loved this Bible verse etched into the pier. John 6:37. The sky just glowed that evening!

 Couldn't resist getting a picture of Camille, Jenn and Jackie "catching up" on each other's lives. I don't think we stopped talking for two and a half days! We had so many questions and so many gaps to fill in since we don't share everything on the Internet.

Camille treated us to Gellato (sp? my spell checker decided to quit working). I had never had it! The flavor I chose was Baklava. It was amazing! 

The next day we took a trip into the big city of Vancouver, B.C. City life is NOT my idea of a good time, but Camille showed us many beautiful sights that were special to her and by the end of the tour I could truly appreciate the beauty of this large city. 

 I couldn't help but notice Canadians refer to their bathrooms as WASHROOMS. Interesting.  A much more genteel way of saying it.
 The Olympic Torch in Vancouver, B.C.. It wasn't lit up but I bet it would be beautiful at night when it is.

 Jackie and I have never seen a large cruise ship up close before and it was fun doing some people watching while Camille and Jenn went on a virtual tour of Canada. Both Jackie and I get motion sickness, so it wasn't for us.

A view from Canada Place in Vancouver. 

I will post more pics later, but this is a good start!

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