Saturday, January 26, 2013

The Balance of Prayer

 (Frost on the old gate at the ranch)

 "Think about the overall make up of your prayers. Are they out of balance in favor of asking and seeking? Are they top-heavy with complaints about your current condition or circumstances? Or-even in those times when you feel a desperate need for God's action and intervention-do your prayers include expressions of gratitude?

These are important questions to ask of ourselves, not to discourage honesty or deny reality, but to help train our hearts to see all that concerns us within the context of God's goodness and blessing. We must not forget His benefits while dealing with our problems. Even before His answer is in sight, thank Him-for being there, for listening, for working all things according to His Will."-Nancy Leigh DeMoss from the book Choosing Gratitude.

(Christmas at the fire station with Dad)

"First of all, then, I urge you that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgivings be made for all people"-1 Timothy 2:1

(Sweet Lily with her play dough shake, burger and fries)

God, give me a grateful heart. I know this is the key to contentment. I want to have the joy and peace that accompanies contentment. You are the joy-maker! Keep showing me the good things, the blessings, and the mighty work that You are doing in my life and the lives around me.



Monday, January 21, 2013

Beautiful Frozen Fog at The Ranch

 Love this sign that Diana made!


 The kids found this frozen patch of ice and had fun "skating" on it in their cowboy boots!

 Dough Boy, one of the miniatures, eating his hay contentedly. He is such a fur-ball in the winter!
 The kids and I loved the effect that fog left on this fence! Stunning!
 A calf that was born yesterday. The mama was not thrilled that we were even looking at it!


 Wading in the creek is Josh and Jessica.

 Josh, being a goofball as usual. Looks like he is about ready to break into a chorus!

 Ice in the creek
 I looked back and Lily was upside down. She just wanted to be silly, I guess!

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Peanut Sauce for Thai Rolls



This is my base. If it doesn’t taste just right, I usually add a bit more ginger, sugar or lime. I usually double this and freeze in 8 oz glass jars.

1 cup creamy peanut butter
14 oz or 1 can of chicken broth
3 TBS brown sugar (or sucanat)
2 TBS plus 1 tsp of soy sauce
2 tsp of dried ginger (or 2 TBS of fresh grated ginger)
½ tsp dried crushed red pepper (optional, my kiddos don't like it hot)

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Six Days of Chicken!

The children were begging for their own little chicken, so I broke down and gave them each a Cornish game hen. They were $3.48 a piece! I was shocked. So I thought to myself, "you can make this last, just get creative."

The First Day: They each got their own Game Hen
That means no fighting over who gets the drumstick!

I covered them with salt, pepper, garlic powder and parsley and baked them at 350 until they were done (less then two hours). Super easy!
 Second Day: Chicken Stock

 I gathered all the leftover chicken and de-boned them. There was a lot leftover, especially white meat. I then threw their little carcasses into a big stockpot and added salt, garlic, pepper, celery, carrots and onions and water. I let it simmer all day long and got 1 2/3rd gallons of chicken stock for my soups!
 After they cool down a bit, I put them in the fridge. The next morning I skim all the fat that has congealed at the top. The stock is so yummy!
 Day Three: Chicken Cabbage Salads
Day Four: Thai Rolls. Here are my links to how to make them. This is a family favorite!!! I seriously can't make enough of them and they are very healthy and yummy!

Day Five: Clam Chowder
 I used the chicken stock to make Clam Chowder

Day Six: Cheesy Broccoli Soup.

This was my husband's request. I never made it before. Holy cow, there is a lot of cream, butter and cheese in broccoli soup. No wonder why it tastes good!

I love figuring out how to stretch my meat. It makes me feel like I am doing my husband good by keeping for the food bill down. If anyone else has any tips on stretching their meat, please leave a comment. Also, if there is a recipe you are are interested in and I haven't posted it on my blog, please let me know and I will get it up.

I also found an old post on how to be creative with using leftovers. Hope you enjoy it!

Blessings!


Sunday, January 6, 2013

Revive


"On the day I called, You answered me; You made me BOLD with strength in my soul...For great is the glory of the Lord....Though I walk in the midst of trouble, You will REVIVE me; You will stretch forth Your hand...and Your right hand will SAVE me. The Lord will accomplish what concerns me; Your loving-kindness, O Lord, is everlasting; do not forsake the works of Your hands."-Psalm 138:5-8 NASB (emphasis mine)

I can't recall a time that I have ever needed to be revived more. After a year of loss, grief and unbelievable ups and downs, twists and turns, blessings and heartache, I am needing some spiritual CPR. My prayer as my family enters this new year is that it will be a year of firsts and new beginnings. I have stayed close to God. I have faced many of my worst fears and have lived through them. I am stronger in the Lord than I thought I was.

At this time last year, I was finally in a position to lead our women's Sunday school class in a Bible study called "Believing God". I was so excited, I was three weeks into it and when the the poo hit the fan. I was tested and faced the truth. Did I really believe Him? Was I practicing what I was preaching? Through a year of tests and trials, I believe that I can say with integrity that I do believe in Him.

1. I believe who He says He is.
2. I believe He can do what He says He can do.
3. I am who God says I am.
4. I can do all things through Christ.
5. God's Word is alive and active in Me.

I'm BELIEVING God!

He has taught me to take my anger and disappointments at his feet. I am now aware more than ever that God is sovereign and He cannot be manipulated into doing what I want Him to do. I think I have mentioned this before. I found myself trying to coerce Him into doing what I thought was best because He would get so much praise and honor and glory for me. I was essentially bribing Him with His own glory!

This year has been a year of growing up. When I was squeezed, at first ugliness, bitterness and anger came out. As the year progressed and the refinement process continued, when I was squeezed, love, forgiveness and gratitude would pour out of me (not every time, mind you, but more often than not). I am growing up and maturing in my faith.

I wouldn't trade this last year for anything, because as I pressed in and got into the Word of the Lord, I received divine revelation of God's character. I gained wisdom and I see the fruit of that as I am now at a point where I can start pouring myself out again in other people's lives. I think I can finally say I am gaining in my goal to be a Titus 2 woman. My love is so much deeper for those who are hurting. From exhausted young mothers, to women who are struggling to love their husbands, or just plain life taking an unexpected turn, I feel like I have more to offer them. True empathy. It is good.

Life is hard, but God is good. He has provided in ways that make no sense. I love His ways, for they are unexpected and delightful. He has stripped me bare, pruned me back to a nub, but I am alive, breathing and full of joy. It doesn't make sense!

"Weeping may remain for a night, but rejoicing comes in the morning." -Psalm 30:5

Joy is deeper than happiness. It exists under the surface. It is a gift of God and the fruit of the Holy Spirit. It is reviving me.

The other day, as I held my friend's new baby, I started weeping. I couldn't figure out if it was sadness or joy. I think it was a mixture of both. The innocence of a sweet baby, the anguish of knowing that she will one day have to face heartache, and the joy of knowing that God holds her in His capable hands. I look back at those years that I was having baby after baby. Life was hard, but it was good. I felt a little bit of my soul heal once more as I rocked her and drank her in.

It reminded me of my sweet son as a babe. The rebellion as he grew into a teenager was terrible. The sin he fell into was awful. Our children will make serious mistakes with serious consequences  Do we abandon them, no matter how painful and embarrassing those mistakes are? NO! We walk through it with them. We show them the love and forgiveness of Jesus. We become the hands and feet of their Savior. My son knows God is good. My son, knows what forgiveness is. He first had to accept that his parent's could forgive him, before he could accept that God forgives him. We are the earthly example, a foreshadow of what God offers them.

I praise the Lord, for what He has done in our lives! I would love to know what you look forward to this year.
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