Sunday, October 28, 2018

Sunday Afternoon

North shore beauty.  : )

The pumpkin party last night was SO fun.  LOTS of laughter and THAT is a very good thing.  : )

With Halloween coming up on Wednesday, I tend to think that a lot of Christians wonder what in the world to do with it.  We are to be in the world, but not of the world.  When our son was young we did do the trick-or-treating thing.  I made costumes and he and his friends went to get their candy, came back to our house, and sometimes had overnights depending upon whether or not it was a school night.  That was well over 20 years ago - it was never what Halloween has become today - I wouldn't have allowed it if it was.  I heard the statistics of how much money people spend on this "holiday" and it's pretty sad.  More like outrageous!  And the stuff they're spending their hard-earned money on is disgusting.  

My husband and I go for our neighborhood walks and there are some houses that keep in line with the Autumn decorating - pumpkins, orange lights, mums, scarecrows, you know, pretty and cute - and then we have the houses that have gravestones all over their yard and skeletons hanging from trees and witches flying, not to name the really gross stuff.  Slowly our world is turning towards the gross, the scary, the wicked, and the sad part is..........they're buying into it.  The makers and producers of all this evil stuff are loving it. We've become so desensitized by the whole thing.  Many people don't see the harm in any of it and it's literally scary.

So what do we, as follows of Christ, do with Halloween?  Yes, we can turn off the lights and go downstairs and not answer the door if they knock (which we have done for the past couple of years).  But Halloween is not going away (though I wish it would).  We are going to try something different this year and I cannot take the credit for it.  Our church suggested that we use that night as an outreach - to greet our neighbors and get to know them and them to know us.  To show people that our home is a place of morals and standards by which to live (not in a condescending way, but a proper genuine way).  A safe place to be in case someone should ever need that.  So we're going to give it a try.

Years ago, I used to subscribe to "Family Fun" magazine (I don't even know if it's in publication anymore), but as soon as our church was talking about outreach, I immediately thought back to an idea in the magazine about this very thing (only they didn't call it outreach - LOL).  It's so strange that this idea came to my mind after all these years (coincidence? - I think not).  The idea was to set up an inviting table in front of the house by the front door where people will be passing by and offer hot apple cider and cookies, along with the treats that would be given to the children.  The apple cider and cookies would be for the grown-ups and would show hospitality to them.

We may not want to encourage this (so-called) holiday, but we have also been called to be salt and light in the world and our neighborhoods are a very good place to start.  Maybe YOU can begin today to try and think of something that will be bold and loving and show others that you care about them - make the environment around you pretty and Autumn-like.  Extend kindness.  You just never know how your actions will change someone else when God is with you in it.  Which is a very important start - begin today by praying for what God would have you do.  For how He would want to use you for good.  And then begin to pray for those who will come around (the children for the candy and the parents who are with them).  Let's make a difference this year!  : ) 

Saturday, October 27, 2018

Getting Ready For A Party

Just a few of the pumpkins from last year's party.  : )

I'm going to hurry this post along as we have a pumpkin party to host tonight!!!  This is a highlight for me and I've been looking forward to this all week.  We are not Halloween people so to speak, but I think Fall can be celebrated with beauty, creativity, and fun.  I love seeing what design everyone comes up with.  And this is something you can do with your friends and family too!  What we do is have everyone bring a cleaned out pumpkin, set up long tables, and provide the tools in which to carve.  We provide a candle to go inside and then LOTS of photos are taken!

Before we carve, however, we eat.  We can't expect people to have fun without food.  : )  So tonight's menu will be:

*Chicken Taco Soup
*Beef Stew
*Pumpkin Muffins
*Harvest Bread
*Mixed Greens with Avocados, Blueberries, and Strawberries with a Balsamic Vinegar Dressing

After carving, we will enjoy:
*A variety of cookies on a tray
*Apple Dessert with whipped cream

And throughout the evening:
*A variety of soda pop
*Hot chocolate, hot cider

A simple meal but fun.  The soup goes together quickly and will just heat up in the Crockpot this afternoon.  I made the stew yesterday and will go into another Crockpot to heat up this afternoon.  The muffins and bread have been in the freezer and are now thawing, and the salad will be a last-minute to-do.  The cookies also are thawing and I will make the apple dessert this morning.   Which brings me to........................................

The next "A"!  A is for Apple Dessert.  : )  This is a quick go-to dessert that can be easily doubled (which I'll do today).  It's a pantry dessert so it's easy but oh, so yummy.  Here it is:

APPLE DESSERT (this is the original smaller version)

1 can of apple pie filling
1 small box of Jiffy yellow cake mix
1/2 cup butter, melted
1/4 cup packed brown sugar

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Grease sides and bottom of  8" x  8" pan.  Pour pie filling into pan; spread evenly.  Sprinkle the dry cake mix evenly over fruit; drizzle butter over top.  Sprinkle brown sugar over top of everything and bake for 1 hour.  Serve with whipped topping or vanilla ice cream.

That's it!!!! How quick and easy was that?  : )  I'm sorry that I don't have a photo of it, but I haven't made it yet.  : )  But I do hope you can give it a try.  It's very good.

Well, I must stop and get to my work for this evening's party.  Thank you SO much for dropping by - I really do appreciate it.  God bless your day!!! 

Tuesday, October 23, 2018

Another Great Bread Machine Bread

Very rustic!  : )

We had soup for lunch and I thought bread, hot from the oven, would be an excellent cool weather day meal.  : )  Thank goodness for the bread machine - it has been such a good purchase for us.  I love rustic-looking breads - no tin - just plop it on a baking sheet and bake.  This bread is SO good - there were three of us for lunch today and we actually ate 3/4 of the loaf!!!!!!  The chicken noodle soup was just a side dish in our minds.  LOL  : )  Is there anything better than hot bread with butter slathered on?  I can't think of anything.  It can be a meal in itself as far as I'm concerned!

Well, is the recipe.  


In your bread machine, layer the following ingredients:

1 cup buttermilk
2/3 cup lukewarm water
2 Tbsp. veg. oil
1 tsp. salt
3 Tbsp. liquid honey
2 cups bread flour
1 cup whole-wheat flour
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/2 cup ground flax seeds
1/2 cup quick-cook oatmeal
2/3 cup sunflower seeds
1 1/2 tsp. bread machine yeast

Select dough cycle (which is usually about an hour and a half).  When finished, transfer dough to lightly floured surface, kneading in a little flour if it's too sticky.  Cover and let it rest for 15 minutes.  Using a little extra flour, shape the dough into a ball.  Lightly grease a baking sheet and place dough on the sheet - flatten somewhat.  Cover again and let rise for about 1/2 hour or till doubled.  Brush top of loaf with:

1 tsp. water
1 egg, beaten

Using a very sharp knife, score the top of the loaf three times.  Bake at 375 degrees for about 30 minutes.  Enjoy!!!!!!

*If you look at the above photo, you can tell that I didn't score the bread deep enough - I'll have to do better next time.  But it came out fine.

This is another Mennonite recipe.  My go-to folks for good recipes - I'm not sure if I've had a bad one yet!!!  Old-fashioned goodness with love.  Nothing better.  : )

Thank you for dropping by and God bless.

Sunday, October 21, 2018

A Is For Attributes

Autumn pretty.  : )

I always think it is a good thing, when reading the Bible, to have a pencil or pen in your hands and a notebook on the side.  As you read, it's a wonderful thing to either underline in your Bible or write them down in the notebook, every attribute relating to God.  And when we pray, it helps to use these attributes in the adoration part of our prayers (which is another "a").    : )

We need to remember to put God first in our prayers and when you have a list in hand it reminds us to Whom we are speaking.  Sometimes, when referring to a specific attribute, you will find that it is very timely in what your prayer requests are or how God has (or is) doing for you at that time.  You could take an attribute a day, or delve into one attribute a week and look up as many verses as you can find in regards to that particular attribute.  Or, you could name all of them each day and let it build up inside of you as read for memorization.  However, be careful to not make this a rote thing.  Each attribute should bring you closer to God - not just saying it for the tenth time because it's in your notebook.

I won't give you an exhaustive list because I think it's important that you do this for yourselves.  To get into the Bible and read it and find out for yourselves who God was, is, and always will be.  Here are some that I have found over the years:

*God of peace
*Most Holy
*High Priest
*Great Shepherd
*Promise Keeper
*........................................  (I hope you will add your own!)

God is worthy of our praise.  Keep Him first in your life.  Read and learn so you can know Him better.  Be a student of the Bible.  And, like I say sometimes in my Sunday post, if you haven't yet asked Jesus into your heart, make today the day.   Come to Him, repent, turn your life over to Him, and be saved.  Today is the day of salvation!  : )

Saturday, October 20, 2018

The Next "A"

This lovely Winter scene was given to us by a friend - even though it is a Winter scene, I keep it up all year because it's so pretty to look at.  : )

Which gets me to the next "A" in our homemaking series.  And that is Artwork.  What you have on your walls and surrounding you in your home is SO important.  We should be having artwork in our homes that shows and tells what we like - who we are.  It shows our personalities.  As homemaking women in our homes, it's pretty much up to us what we select but we also have to be aware of what the other members of our families like too.  Although we live in Minnesota and our Winters can get to be a little long, we still love Winter photos and pictures, so the above artwork works well in our home.  I have a rocking chair that sits just opposite of this picture and sometimes (with a cup of hot coffee or tea) I can sit and just look at it for its peaceful feeling.

This artwork is in our dining area.  I first found out about this artist and bought this picture at a County Fair.  The artist's name is Billy Jacobs and I love the simplicity.  Even though this picture is a Fall picture, we keep it up all year (just like the above Winter picture) because it's so peaceful and it makes you just want to jump into the scene and walk that road.  : )

Another artist we like is Warren Kimble.  Again the simplicity of his artwork is what draws us in.  This schoolhouse and church picture is wonderful to us.  I also had a calendar with his artwork in it that I took apart after the year was over and framed a couple of his barn pictures and then change out others on our refrigerator.  It just helps us to remember a more innocent time.

I have always loved this painting and was so happy to find it at a thrift store.  It hangs above a comfy chair in a bedroom next to three large shelves loaded with favorite books.  The perfect spot to sit and read.  

Another good idea in a home is to go through the photos you take throughout the year and frame them as another form of artwork in your home.  Our son is a photographer so we always request that he pulls some of his favorites out so we, and others, can enjoy them too.  This is in a spare bedroom (that used to be his old room) and we think they're beautiful.  : )

If you have children or grandchildren, I've always thought that having them draw, color, or paint pictures, framing, and then hanging them up is such a good idea.  It shows them that you think what they create is worth the time and effort and you may just spark a creative interest that will give them something to do for the rest of their lives (even if it's just a hobby).

What kinds of things do you have in your home?  Are you modern?  Country?  Farmhouse?  Cabin?  Mid-century modern?  Victorian?  French country?  Minimalist?  A little bit of everything?  This can be the fun part of homemaking.  Look for inspiration in magazines but be careful of discontentment!  Magazines can sometimes make you feel out of it. Like you're not keeping up with what's new.  Make your home reflect who you and your family are and never worry about if it's "right" or "in".

A really good (and fun) project to work on is to get a scrapbook, a whole bunch of magazines, scissors, glue or tape and start cutting pictures out.  Everything that jumps out at you and/or something you know you like and would definitely have in your home.  Everything from decor ideas, to actual rooms, to accessories, to colors.  After cutting the pictures out, now arrange and adhere them all into your scrapbook.  You will see a pattern forming and you will see what catches your eye.  You will see what colors you are drawn to and what designs you like.  This is so fun to go through from time to time and you can keep adding to it.  

I used to look at magazines and feel a little overwhelmed but now if I can take just a small something from it and use it in our own home it feels good.  We certainly can't afford to redo our home every time a fashion or fad comes around, but when you fashion your home with what you love and are comfortable with, it will never go out of style for you.

Well, that is it for today!  Thank you SO much for dropping by.  Enjoy the day and weekend.  God bless.  : )

Tuesday, October 16, 2018

Another "A" For Homekeeping

A dollar store find.  : )

Today's "A" in our homekeeping is for Air Quality.  I think a lot of allergies and not feeling well are linked to the air quality in our homes.  Now, with the cold/flu season upon us, we need to be vigilant in keeping our homes healthy.

*We need to check for mildew and mold on a regular basis and keep it at bay. Bathrooms and basements (especially the laundry areas) are usually the culprits.  Clean areas with water and a little bleach, or tea tree oil is good for taking care of mold as well.

*Good ventilation is necessary as well.  I have posted on this before, but I recommend that we all open our windows on a daily basis - even in the winter months!!  Air gets stale in our homes and if we cook and bake a lot, the natural gas does linger so we need that fresh outdoor air to come in and blow out the old.  Make sure you turn your thermostat down while doing this so the furnace doesn't come on - that isn't very frugal!  : o

*If you're like me, and love burning candles in the Fall/Winter months, try to purchase soy-based candles as they burn cleaner and are better for the air in your home.  Unfortunately, right now, I have a  good ole' Yankee Candle that I need to use up before buying another!

*Purchase a dehumidifier for your basement.  We did this years ago and it really helps in keeping the moisture out and prevents it from getting that musty smell.

*Purchase humidifiers for your bedroom(s).  As the air gets drier so do our homes and that means we breathe dry air which isn't good for us.  Our skin, hair, and sinuses all get so dry and it's not healthy, so putting humidifiers in our bedrooms means that we will breathe in cool, moist air while we sleep.  Remember, however, to consistently clean the humidifiers!  The "experts" recommend that we keep our thermostats between 60 - 65 degrees while sleeping.  Cool temps are better for us - just throw an extra blanket on!  : )

I think that's all I can come with today.  I hope this helps and hope you can do some of these things if you're not already.  Thanks for dropping by for this short visit.  God bless.

Sunday, October 14, 2018

A Snowy Sunday in Minnesota

The little scarecrow still has a smile on his face.  😊

When we left for church this morning, it was just flurries.  When we got home from church, the flurries added up to a little more.  I have to was very pretty.  😐  It's melting quickly, so it's not a big deal (a little early maybe but not a big deal).

As I ALWAYS say - the weeks just fly by.  The beginning of a new week again.  Looking back at the past week I'm grateful to the Lord for bringing our son and his wife safely home from their trip, and for bringing us safely home from our little trip.  I'm still very much enjoying the "Choosing Gratitude" book and do hope you can get a copy of your own to read as it helps to remind us to be thankful in even the minute things (because God DOES provide ALL that we have and enjoy).

The thing that stands out for me today is in the New Testament of the Bible where the Apostle Paul talks about the "thorn in his flesh" that he is constantly praying to be rid of but God keeps saying "no" and that His Grace is sufficient for Paul.  We kind of use the term "a thorn in our flesh" when we talk about difficult people in our lives, but Paul speaks of a physical condition that he has.  A condition that he isn't specific about but must be of some concern to want to be rid of it.

I, too, have been afflicted with a "thorn in my flesh" since I was in my early twenties.  I have been to doctors and have talked to dentists about it and it has concerned me for 40 years now.  And I have prayed that the Lord would take it away, but He chooses not to.  I have experienced concern, worry, or fear over it.  This past week, while going through another moment of concern and praying about it again, the Lord's answer to my fear was to go on-line and once again read up on it a little more.  He took me to a specific article that He knew I needed to read because it gave me more information than I had read before and I truly believe that it was His way of calming me down and letting me know that what I have won't be something that will get worse and/or eventually take my life.  This article also told me what I can do to lesson the symptoms and possibly take it away at some point.

So, instead of healing, God gave me information for peace of mind.  Maybe not the answer I've been wanting all these years (because I would choose healing before anything else) but peace of mind is also what I needed and He answered my prayers in that.

As I always want to say - don't give up in praying.  It's SO important that you don't give up.  And then listen to what He is saying to you.  That's the importance of "quiet time" with the Lord.  It's not just you talking to God, it's God talking to you!  And you can't hear His voice if you don't spend time with Him.

You can begin today (if you haven't already) by meeting with Him on your own.  I know it's not easy especially if you have children around, but it can be a teaching moment with them too!  Just letting them know that Mom needs to meet with Father God is a wonderful thing for their own personal prayer life.  But I also think that's why it's important to get up early in the morning before everybody is awake and have that time of prayer and Bible reading.   Sometimes it's not an easy thing to do but sometimes our ease isn't important.  

May you experience a time of quiet and peace this week with God.  

Saturday, October 13, 2018

A Good Saturday Morning to You

On the prairies of South Dakota.

It's the middle of October already.  Wow.  We finally saw the sun yesterday after I don't know how many days of it being hidden under clouds!!!  I know it's been well over a week.  With the days so much shorter there is this pull in getting outdoors to get to the chores that we've had to postpone because of all the rain.  Hoping to do a little of that today.

Yesterday, while I was thinking about more blog ideas, I thought about the "ABC's" of homekeeping and I'm writing down a few ideas that come to my mind - it won't be an exhaustive list, just things that I either think about, do, make, serve, etc.  I'm not certain of the format - whether I'll post them as I think of them, or assign a specific day to them but I'll begin today with the first one on my list.  And that is APPLIANCES.

We all have appliances in our homes that need regular attention.  I don't know about you, but I use these appliances and don't give much thought to the upkeep of them to keep them running smoothly.

*toasters - we don't make a lot of toast but we use it enough to warrant a cleaning.  Make sure that you pull out the bottom "shelf" that collects all the toasted crumbs and clean that.  Then give it a good shake to force out the residual crumbs that are left inside.  (IF YOU ARE GOING TO CLEAN, OR REACH INSIDE OF THE UNIT FOR ANY REASON, PLEASE REMEMBER TO UNPLUG THE TOASTER FIRST!)  Give it a good cleaning on the outside as well.

*coffee pot - in order to have good-tasting coffee, the coffee pot needs a good cleaning (I would say once a month).  Fill the water reservoir with white vinegar and let it brew - do this at least a couple of times - and then fill and brew with clean, cold water (again at least a couple of times).  Then clean the outside.

*microwave - we don't use the microwave very often, but it still needs a regular cleaning (inside and out).  Hot, soapy, water will take care of it!!

*oven - to keep up with spills and keep your oven in good working condition, clean often.  Take care of spills as they happen.  I sometimes forget about doing this and pay for it later - the cleaning takes twice as long if I leave it and bake in it over and over again.  The stovetop should be cleaned every evening when you're in the kitchen doing dishes, along with remembering to wipe down the front of the oven too.  And once a month, the oven should be pulled out and cleaned behind and under and along the sides.  We are CONSTANTLY amazed at how dirty it gets under and back there!!

*refrigerator - as with the oven, we need to train ourselves to constantly wipe down the shelves and along the sides.  A good time for me to do this is at the end of the week and before shopping when the refrigerator is looking a little sparse as far as food is concerned.  Again, hot and soapy water or a spray cleaner of vinegar and water does the trick.  And as with the oven, we need to pull the refrigerator out on a regular basis to clean behind and under and wipe down all the surfaces (especially the top of the fridge, which I find gets pretty greasy from cooking).  Remember to vacuum the coils in the back and underneath to keep it from working hard and being inefficient.

*washing machine - to be honest I don't think about cleaning the washer very often except for the occasional wiping down of the top and front, but filling the washing with a solution of water and vinegar helps to eliminate the odors that can come from constant use.  We also have found that keeping the door ajar at all times so that air can circulate in it helps to keep it fresh.  

*clothes dryer -  it's SO important to pull out the lint "drawer" after every use!  It can build up and cause fires.  It's also important to get in there and wipe the surface of the tumbler often (and then, of course, keep up with the wiping down of the outside surfaces too).  

Those are some of the appliances in our home that need regular maintenance.  You may have others like a dishwasher.  Having never had a dishwasher, I don't know much about it, but I'm assuming you need to run a cycle of clean water/vinegar solution through it regularly to keep it fresh and wiping it down.  

Keeping these appliances clean also helps a lot in keeping the house smelling fresh.  And it just FEELS good.   And we are stewards of these "helpers" in our homes.  They do a lot of work for us so we need to maintain them.  I hope you can begin today and start with one of these and then keep it as a part of your regular homekeeping schedule!

Well, that's my first "A" of this series.  : )  Thanks for dropping by!  God bless your day and the upcoming weekend.

Thursday, October 11, 2018

All Because I Had Leftover Pumpkin

Again, opening a can of pumpkin sometimes means there will be leftovers.  After baking the Bundt cakes (which only used 1 cup pumpkin), I had a little over 1/2 cup left which meant that I could finally bake these DELICIOUS cookies.   I have had this recipe in my "to try" file for at least a couple of years so it was about time.  : )

These cookies also scream Autumn and will make your home smell wonderful.  Here is the recipe:

PUMPKIN MOLASSES COOKIES (this takes 1 hour in the fridge after mixing, so plan accordingly)

1.  In a standing mixer, beat together:

1/2 cup butter, room temperature
1/2 cup white sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar

2.  Add:

1 egg
1/4 cup molasses
1/2 cup canned pumpkin
2 tsp. vanilla

Mix till well blended.

3.  Whisk together the dry ingredients:

2 1/3 cups flour
2 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
2 tsp. cinnamon
2 tsp. ground ginger

Add to creamed mixture just until combined.

4.  Refrigerate dough for 1 hour.

5.  When almost ready to take dough out of fridge, preheat oven to 350 degrees, line your baking sheets with parchment paper, and put some granulated sugar into a bowl for rolling the dough in.

6.  Scoop tablespoons of dough, roll into balls, and then roll into the granulated sugar.  Place 2" apart on baking pans and bake in oven for 10 minutes.  Let cookies cool a bit on baking sheet, then transfer to a cooling rack to cool completely (although we love still-warmish cookies fresh from the oven!).

SO GOOD!!!!!!!!!!!! I hope you can try them.  😊  Also in looking at the recipe, I think this is another one where I can put the dry ingredients in a bag to sit on the pantry shelf for ease in making them next time (because there WILL be a next time).

I think that's about it for this post.  I have spent the whole day hand quilting something that I want to get into my Etsy shop but it's SO much work that it's going to take a while at the rate I'm going!  I needed a bit of a break from it, so I decided to post this so you can get busy and bake these treats for your family.  LOL  

Thank you for dropping by for a short visit - I do appreciate it.  God bless.

Tuesday, October 9, 2018

A New Bake!

Pumpkin Gingerbread Mini Bundt Cakes

While visiting in South Dakota this past weekend we visited a kitchen store (as mentioned yesterday) with ALL things kitchen-y and I have been wanting a mini bundt pan for a long time.  Found it!  : )  Now I have to say, a new bundt pan is expensive so be prepared if you want to purchase one new.  But as with the donut pan, I know I will use it a lot so it will pay for itself very soon.  The reason I like cupcake pans, donut pans, mini pie pans, and now this mini bundt pan is that, since I love to bake, I can bake miniature versions of recipes - we enjoy one right away and then I can freeze the rest.  So wonderful for sharing hospitality.  Just pull out how many you need and defrost and you have a quick dessert.

I now have been looking for all kinds of bundt cake recipes and I really wanted to try this one because it is such a rainy day and it's Autumn and this screams Autumn.  Your house will smell wonderful and will make it warm and cozy.  So, here it is:


1.  Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Grease and flour the bundt pan cavities.  Boil enough water for 1/2 cup later on in the recipe.

2.  In a large bowl, mix:

2 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. baking soda
1 1/2 tsp. ground ginger
1 tsp. cinnamon

Set aside.

3.  In the bowl of a standing mixer, mix on medium speed until well mixed:

1 cup canned pumpkin
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/3 cup dark molasses
4 Tbsp. softened butter

4.  After mixing, add 1 egg and mix well again.

5.  Add flour mixture alternately with 1/2 cup boiling water, beginning and ending with the flour mixture.  Pour batter into greased pan cavities 3/4 full.

6.  Bake 20 - 25 minutes or till toothpick comes out clean.  Let cool for 10 minutes in pan before inverting onto a rack to cool completely.

After cooling, I just made a glaze out of 1 cup powdered sugar with 4 Tbsp. cream (or desired consistency).

Enjoy!!!!!  If you try them, I'd like to know what you thought.   We thought they were yummy.  : )  I was thinking that it would be smart to make a pantry mix with the ingredients in Step #2 and have that part done and ready for a quick bake.

I also wanted to share a book that I'm reading right now.  I bought it at a book sale a few months ago and I'm glad I did.  It was written in 2009 but the information is and always will be relevant.  It was written by Nancy Leigh DeMoss (and I'm sorry that I don't know her married name).  It is:

I highly recommend it.  We are fast becoming a society that is not grateful for what bountiful blessings God has bestowed upon us.  I'm going to give you a couple of examples from what I read today -

Matthew Henry, the 18th-century Puritan preacher was once accosted by robbers living in London.  Here is what he wrote in his diary after the attack:

"Let me be thankful, first, because I was never robbed before; second, because although they took my purse, they did not take my life; third, because although they took my all, it was not much; and fourth, because it was I who was robbed, not I who robbed."

How often do we think that way?

And then the next example was this -

A man was in a church where a visiting church leader from India came to study.  In the midst of their conversation, he asked the man from India what he thought of Americans.  He asked if he could be honest - "You have no idea how much you have, yet you always complain."

SO true!  And how embarrassing.  

Can we try to do better with this?  I have posted about this before - about getting to the point where we can thank the Lord all day about something.  Think about how much we have and think about Who it is that gives.  Here is my own example:

After baking this afternoon I did the dishes and cleaned up the kitchen.  Okay.  First I was thankful that I had a kitchen to bake in.  I had two legs that brought me into the kitchen and two hands to clean up with.  The sink full of dirty dishes meant that I had the ingredients in this house in order to bake something enjoyable.  The sink full of dirty dishes also meant that I had everything I needed in order to bake something enjoyable (pans, a mixer, measuring spoons and cups, etc.).   We have a table in order to sit down and enjoy the new bake and a refrigerator in which to pull out a glass of cold milk.

I could go on, but I think you know what I mean.  If we could just break things down like this and fully realize the blessings God gives us every day, I think we could easily choose gratitude and therefore enjoy our lives more.  I think gratitude motivates us and helps us to look at things differently.  There are people in this world who have close to nothing yet show joy and gratitude.

Let's encourage each other in this!!!!  : )  Thanks for your visit - I really appreciate it.  God bless.

Monday, October 8, 2018

Making A Home

A country church in rural South Dakota.

We are home from our weekend family gathering in South Dakota. There is definitely a perimeter around our city and once you drive out of that perimeter you can feel the difference (in a positive way) and once you drive back into that perimeter you can feel the difference (in a not-so-great way).  But......attitude is the big difference.  Going out of the city (for us) means that we are getting away - a chance to relax a bit and enjoy the trip to somewhere.  Getting back into the city means that we are closer to getting back home - the home we've made for 30 years and where we raised our son and where friends and family have gathered during those years - and for THAT, I'm extremely grateful.  

On the road trip we enjoyed:

*the beautiful Autumn leaves
*seeing hundreds of pumpkins in a field
*golden cornfields
*old barns
*country churches (as above)
*friendly people 
*getting together with family and lots of laughter  : )

While on "vacation" we tend to walk into different shops or restaurants or even homes and I try to take something away from each visit to try and incorporate into our own home.  For instance, we went into a bakery/confectionery shop and oh, the aromas!  I've try to encourage all of you to make sure that good smells are coming from the kitchen on a daily basis whether that be baked goods or a good meal.  Then we went into a kitchen store and things were set up in such an organized manner and I'm encouraged to make sure that our own kitchen is organized.  We walked into a wonderful retreat center just to have a look around after being told that it would be something that we'd definitely want to check out.  I would try to explain what this place looked like and how it felt but words wouldn't do it justice.  But each and every room was decorated to make it feel like a home away from home.  From rocking chairs to rag rugs to chenille bedspreads to beautiful pictures to fireplaces to lamps appropriately placed just in case you want to sit and read, to a game table, etc.  I'm sure that whoever spends any time there would feel pampered.  But we can make our homes feel that way too.

*always have comfortable chairs
*always make things for your home - rugs, cloth napkins, curtains, pillows, quilts, blankets
*have beautiful artwork or pictures or photos up to always look at
*if your home doesn't have a fireplace, you can buy fireplaces now that look so real (that's what we have) - it's amazing that even if it's not real, it feels so cozy just to have it on
*make sure you have comfortable beds and bedding and that it's pretty
*sit in every chair and make sure it has a lamp by it
*set up season-appropriate puzzles for friends and family to work on - we have our Autumn one out right now!

Making a home is SO VERY important and we, as women, have the special job of making it so.  Keep the family traditions, but it's okay to make new ones too as family changes.  When Mom and Dad were still living, going home meant some things would be the same and there was great comfort in that and I try to do that for our son as well.  

When you go somewhere, what is it that captures your attention and makes you wish you could have it a home?  Smells are very important to me - I love craft stores that have candles or potpourri sitting around, so I like to emulate that in our home.  I like comfort and cozy-ness.  I like something to look at and something to do.  Can you think of what you like and are you trying to create that same atmosphere?  The hotel we stayed at always had fresh fruit out and hot coffee (and/or hot water for other hot drinks) out.  We can do that in our home!  To always be able to grab a warm drink is cozy.

With Fall already here and Winter coming up, we know that it is fast becoming time for holidays and get-together's.  How can you make memories?  Are you nostalgic - liking all the ways of days gone by?  I do.  I read as much as I can about those times and long to make it so.   I believe that now, more than ever, it's important for the health and well-being of our families.  How can we still keep the lights shining bright in our homes when the worldly stuff creeps in?  We owe it to our families to keep the home-fires burning, to have a safe place to go to, to laugh once in a while amidst the sober times, to break bread together.  

Turn the TV off, have times of no phones, no computers.  Those things only bring anxiety.  In the morning I get the quick version of the news and that's all I need - I don't need details.  I want to know enough so that I can pray about it, but no more.  We can't shield our families from everything but we can limit the time spent looking at or listening to it.  That's a part of homemaking as well.  

So, I would encourage you to think about what kinds of things you like as you go out and about that you could also incorporate into your home that will make your friends and family feel special and feel like guests (in a comfortable and relaxing way).

Thanks for dropping in and God bless your homemaking!!!!  It really IS a very important job.  : )

Wednesday, October 3, 2018

A Little Blog Break

As you can see, this is from 2016 but I like the picture - everything apple!!!!

The weather goes up and down like a roller coaster!  Today is warm and humid, but again the winds will turn to the north this afternoon and it will be cool tomorrow.  It IS, however, beginning to look like Fall around here.  Colors are popping up all over.  And we've been getting some nice rains - I don't think I've ever seen such a green October - which is a good thing to go into (should I even say it?) ....... winter.

The week so far has been very steady but nothing new to post about!  I haven't been cooking or baking anything new because I'm trying to use up what we have around here.  Like the post title says, I'm going on a blog break until early next week.  We are going to spend time with extended family and celebrate a couple of birthdays.   I'm looking forward to that.  

Our son and his wife, who are in Greece this week, check in once in a while to update us on how they are doing.  They made it through the hurricane (answer to prayers) and have been enjoying nice weather along with the Ancient sites.  It's SO amazing to know that they are walking where the Apostle Paul walked in the New Testament.  

So, during this break I will try to think of  something worth blogging about again!  Thank you for dropping by and hope to see you next week!  God bless.  : )