Sunday, November 29, 2015

Why I Believe We Need to Show Preference to Others

  The teaching of thinking of others as more important than ourselves is a hard teaching. It is not something that I can do easily. On my own I am selfish and self -centered. Only with the Holy Spirit working in me can I make progress on changing this.

  Here is why I believe we are to show preference (in other words - consider first what others want - not what you want) to others.

  Romans 12:10 "Be devoted to one another in brotherly love; give preference to one another in honor;"

Philippians 2:3 & 4 "Do nothing from selfishness or empty conceit, but with humility of mind regard one another as more important than yourselves; do not merely look out for your own personal interests, but also for the the interests of others."

 May God help us as we seek to live more fully for Him!

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Yummy Squash Seeds

 My parents are great at growing squash. God blesses them abundantly with squash i their gardens and they tend to share it with us. I love having it to use to make "pumpkin" pie, bread, muffins, bars and so on. But I also like using not just the nice orange part but also the seeds. I think they make a very yummy snack.

  It isn't very hard to prepare them. You just cut the squash open before cooking it and take the seeds out. You then pull most of the membranes off of the seeds. This isn't really that scientific. Then you toss them with some olive oil and seasonings (a little salt and you can be creative with other flavors or just use a seasoning salt. Then put it in a cast iron skillet in the oven at 350 degrees for around 1/2 hour. Stir it often and take it out sooner if needed.
Cool and eat!

What do you do with squash?

Sunday, November 22, 2015


This picture was taken some weeks ago - we recently got snow and the leaves have
fallen so things are looking a bit different around here now. I am thankful for
 the changing beauty that we can enjoy.
 We are blessed with Ken's parents visiting us right now and we have also been busily sewing this afternoon trying to get everything finished up so we can deliver our Operation Christmas Child boxes tomorrow morning so I did not manage to get a big post up but I did want to share a couple of verses on being thankful. I really think that learning to be thankful can be life changing. If you don't live life with an attitude of gratitude I would recommend starting. Just start thinking about, writing out, praying about all the things you are thankful for. If you feel frustrated with your husband start listing all the reasons you do thank God for him. If your kids are driving you crazy - start thanking God for them and list reasons. Your whole attitude can change when you learn to be thankful.

Here are some verses that I love:

 "Always giving thanks for all things in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ to God, even the Father." Ephesians 5:20

"Let the word of Christ richly dwell within you, with all wisdom teaching and admonishing one another with psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with thankfulness in your hearts to God. Whatever you do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks through Him to God the Father." Col. 3:16 & 17

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Operation Christmas Child Week

This is the week to drop of shoeboxes that are packed with all sorts of fun stuff to be sent to some needy child. This is something that our kids have enjoyed doing for many years now. It is a really fun way to cause them to think about others and to really embrace giving. If you didn't plan to do so already I just wanted to mention the idea in case it would be something you could do this week. I think your family plus the child would be blessed by it.

  Here are some links that could be helpful:

Operation Christmas Child -Packing your shoebox

A Missionary's insight into what is good for boxes.

Another post with insight from distribution.

Posts from various years about our Operation Christmas Child Shoebox packing:


2010 Bags for our boxes

2011 (Skirt and shirt tutorial)


Clothespin dolls could be a fun addition to a box.

Sunday, November 15, 2015

Why I Believe We Need to Confess Our Sins

  Admitting that I have done something wrong isn't naturally very fun. To let go of my pride isn't all that easy. But from my study of scripture I have come to understand that confessing is necessary. So whether or not we find it easy or fun it is something that we should practice. I think that we will find that even though it doesn't seem fun at first - there is relief that is found when we confess our sins.

  Here are the verses that make me realize that I need to confess my sins:

    "If we say that we have no sin, we are deceiving ourselves and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. If we say that we have not sinned, we make Him a liar and His word is not in us."  1 John 1:8-10

 " I acknowledged my sin to You, and my iniquity I did not hide; I said, "I will confess my transgressions to the Lord"; and you forgave the guilt of my sin. Selah. Therefore let everyone who is godly pray to You in a time when You may be found;" Psalm 32:5 & 6

 "Therefore, confess your sins to one another, and pray for one another so that you may be healed. The effective prayer of a righteous man can accomplish much." James 5:16

  We are to confess our sins to God but as we see in James we do also need to confess our sins to one another. We aren't supposed to be putting on this show of living some perfect life. We need to be honest and acknowledge our sins and then move forward from there with healing.

  I would love to hear your thoughts on this subject.

Saturday, November 14, 2015

Corn Husks, Acorns, Twigs and Leaves = a Pretty Cute Couple

My daughter Mara is an artist. Her favorite materials to work with are ones that she can roam around outside picking up from the garden or the woods. The outdoors was the inspiration for this sweet couple.

   My Sister and Brother-in-law gave her these cute (and big!) acorns that they had picked up down in Kansas (I remember picking some up when we lived there and thought that they were great fun to use for crafts also). Mara then promptly went to work creating some little people to go with the acorn heads. Aren't they quite adorable? She made another one today but I didn't get a picture of it yet. You might wonder about the purple on the outfits above - that comes from the husks of our Indian corn. It is fun to have a natural variety in colors.

   I was also in the creative mood today and had a blast cleaning the house and then decorating for Thanksgiving. I finally got the mantle varnished this week and then we set it in place (with construction adhesive to keep it there) and now I was free to decorate the mantle. This little couple is sitting there along with other fall inspired items. I will try to take more house pictures soon to share with you all.

   Do you enjoy decorating for fall? What is a favorite thing for you about this time of year?

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Aaron Rides a Horse

 Aaron wants to be a rancher someday. As long as I can remember he has loved animals with his dearest dreams involving horses and dogs (and NEVER getting married!). He has really wanted to ride a horse for some time but we hadn't found a good opportunity for that beyond the little pony ride at the fair (which doesn't really count because they are hooked up to a pole).

   Aaron's 12 birthday was last month and I thought that one of the neatest presents we might be able to give him would be an opportunity to ride a horse (since we cannot actually get a horse itself and the getting of a puppy was already in the works). I looked all over and called a bunch of places in hopes of finding a trail riding opportunity but that doesn't seem to be available in our area.

   I did however find some horse riding lessons and so we signed him up for one of those. The lady teaching the lesson was quite nice and Aaron had a nice hour of learning about horses and learning the basics of riding a horse.

   Above he got to brush the horse down carefully before saddling him for a ride.
 Aaron learned how to guide the horse around all the poles.
 It was a chilly and wet day so they had their lesson in the indoor arena.
Finally - up on a horse!

I found that I was indeed still allergic to horses and cats (which were also there in abundance). I spent the rest of the day sneezing and then feeling weary.

  It was fun to be able to give a gift that created a memory instead of just causing us to have more stuff. Have you ever given or received a gift of that sort which was a hit?

Sunday, November 8, 2015

We're Celebrating Today!

 Today was an exciting day around here. Megan after much thinking (for months), made the decision to be buried with Christ in baptism. She desired to have her sins washed away and to be saved. I am very happy about her decision!
 She is our youngest child and the last one to make this decision. I can't tell you just how happy it makes me that all of our kids have made this choice. That certainly doesn't mean their journey is completed - in fact it has just begun. But I do know that they have all decided to run this race towards the prize of eternity in heaven and I am excited to see their journey.

  I can very much relate to this verse:

" I have no greater joy than this, to hear of my children walking in the truth." 3 John 4

I am so blessed! 

Wednesday, November 4, 2015

All Sorts of Rag Rugs!

 This year we have been really having fun making rag rugs. You might question - "Don't you always have fun making rag rugs?" and I guess the answer would be "yes". It is indeed one of my favorite hobbies. But I think we have been doing it even more than normal this year. As we were unpacking boxes we started finding a bunch of old clothes that needed to be made into rugs and I didn't really have enough space for them all so we all got busy making them into strips and then into rugs and so was have gotten quite a lot accomplished and cleared up some shelf space as well. Yeah!

Here are some of our projects:
A rug for the kid's bathroom. I started this on our trip to Voyageurs National Park. I decided to use a kind of doily pattern for this rug and crochet it. It was fun to use rags that matched the decorations in the room.
 This is another rug that I worked on during our trip but it has grown quite a bit since then. In the picture it is not yet complete but it actually is now. I should take another picture of it in it's new home down in Ken's den. This is all made out of denim. Jonathan cut nearly all of my strips for me.
 This rug is one the Megan and I are working on to put in front of the sink in the kitchen. Aaron helped tear quite a few of the strips.
 This is Mara's current project - a rug she is working on for the girls' room.
 This is the rug that Mara made for the boys' room. It is made with a lot of old flannel shirts and some fuzzy fabric and it makes a really soft and cozy rug. A lot of the flannel used was what was left after I made the quilt which is on Aaron's bed (or mattress - we are wanting to get a bunk bed made).
That is a little of our fun with rugs. I actually have a new denim rug going now. We are really trying to use up all the old clothes and stuff that we have sitting around.

 Do you make rag rugs or use old clothes for any other purpose? I would love to hear what you do!

Sunday, November 1, 2015

Introducing the New Additions to Our Homestead

 Today was an exciting day around here! We finally got a puppy after some months of looking and years of wanting on the part of the kids - especially Aaron. The puppy is a male Golden Retriever and we named him Kitchi. He is adorably cute.

  His owners were coming to town this morning to get the puppies to the new owners and so we ended up getting him on our way to church so he went along too.

   Kitchi is an outside/garage dog which means that tonight Aaron made himself a bed in the garage so that he could be with him. Hopefully that all goes smoothly!
 The puppies owners wondered if we would like some rabbits too and they were wanting to downsize. We had been thinking about getting rabbits sometime in the near future anyway so we said yes (after some consideration). So now we also have a male and female rabbit. The female which Mara is holding above is named Esther and the male (below) is Shiboleth.
Our idea behind getting rabbits is that we will breed them and butcher them as we have heard they can be a very economical source of meat. We will see how that goes. We have them in some temporary cages and hope to get some hutches made soon.

  If anybody has tips on rabbit raising or dog training I would be glad to hear them.

  We now have mammals on our homestead - next step: a pig and maybe a kitten. We still have some figuring to do on the dairy cow that I would like. :-)

Why I Believe We Should Work

  I have heard work called a "Four Letter Word" - implying that it is something bad. But I disagree. I believe God gave us work as something to enjoy and something that we need.

  When Adam was created in the Garden of Eden God right away gave him the job of cultivating and keeping the garden (Gen. 2:15)  after the fall God did make it so his toil would be harder and he would have to deal with weeds and thistles and would sweat. So God's initial plan was not to have gardening as challenging as it can be now but even so I believe we can enjoy hard work like weeding too. :-)

  1 Thessalonians 4:10b-12 says: "But we urge you, brethren, to excel still more, and to make it your ambition to lead a quiet life and attend to you own business and work with your hands, just as we commanded you,  so that you will behave properly toward outsiders and not be in any need."

 2 Thessalonians 3:6-13 says: "Now we command you brethren, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that you keep away from every brother who leads an unruly life and not according to the tradition which you received from us. For you yourselves know how you ought to follow our example, because we did not act in an undisciplined manner among you, nor did we eat anyone's bread without paying for it, but with labor and hardship we kept working night and day so that we would not be a burden to any of you; not because we do not have the right to this but in order to offer ourselves as a model for you, so that you would follow our example. For even when we were with you, we used to give you this order: if anyone is not willing to work, then he is not to eat, either. For we hear that some among you are leading an undisciplined life, doing no work at all, but acting like busybodies. Now such persons we command and exhort in the Lord Jesus Christ to work in quiet fashion and eat their own bread. But as for you, brethren, do not grow weary of doing good." 

Titus 2:4 & 5 tells the Older women to "encourage the young women to love their husbands, to love their children, to be sensible, pure, workers at home, kind being subject to their own husbands, so that the word of God will not be dishonored."

 Proverbs 22:29 says: "Do you see a man skilled in his work? He will stand before kings; He will not stand before obscure men."

Proverbs 28:19 says: "He who tills his land will have plenty of food, but he who follows empty pursuits will have poverty in plenty."

The Proverbs 31 lady was someone who "worked with her hands in delight." She got up early and stayed up late to get the job done. She worked hard and her arms became strong. She worked to take care of her family and other in her household as well as the poor and the needy. She was not idle. She is praised for that.

 I really believe from scripture that work is something that we should pursue wholeheartedly and be thankful for. Those that are lazy should be reminded that God wants them to work. Yes we do grow weary at times but God does give us the strength that we need for each day.

  I hope you have a wonderful week of work!

 I thought it would be fun to share a couple of pictures today too:
This is the river of my childhood. It is steamboat river (though a little small for a steamboat to go down) and it is on the border of my parents property. We were over last month getting trees to plant not far from the river and I had to walk over and get a picture of it.
And the river of my life now. The mighty Mississippi as it looks going past our place. We had the most gorgeous sunset the other evening but I didn't make it out to take a picture until it was nearly gone. Sometimes the river has a very noticeable current and other times it is super still like the picture above. The picture at the top of this post shows a bit more current.

Putting the Garden to Rest for the Winter and Feeling Thankful for the Harvest

 Yesterday Mara, Aaron and I worked to clean up the garden after the end of the season. Jonathan and Megan were meanwhile raking down at a neighbors where we had arranged to haul away all the leaves so that we could cover our garden with them, use them as bedding in our chicken coop and also put a layer on our septic drain field.

   To get the garden ready for winter we pulled up the tarps that we had planted our tomatoes, peppers and various other plants in. We cut holes for the plants and then plant them through the holes. This really helps keep the weeds down in the summer, heats up the soil and retains moisture. It works very nicely. Mara also cut down all the corn stalks and we saved some for fall decorating and the others were placed in the chicken yard for them to look over. Aaron and I meanwhile mucked out the chicken and duck coop and spread the manure over the garden. Then as we picked up leaves that Jonathan and Megan had been raking we put them on the garden too. We also will be filling the chicken coop floor with leaves. I have read that you should not leave just bare dirt in the garden over winter so the layer of leaves will be very good. We will till that all in together in the Spring. All the organic matter will be a great addition to our garden soil.

    We weren't sure how well our garden would do this first year but we were very pleasantly surprised. We really had a pretty good year. We also were abundantly blessed by lots and lots of food that my parents shared from their large gardens and orchards. We were also given green peppers and a few other things from others and foraged various foods from the wild.  Starting at the end of August I decided it would be fun to keep track of all the food that we put up for winter and I set the goal of  putting something away every day. We did miss a few days in the last couple of months but not very many. Some of the days that we missed we were out of town so I think that is a pretty good excuse.

  I thought it would be fun to share what things we were blessed to be able to put away for winter this year.
 We canned:

  • Poultry Broth (Chicken and Duck- that we raised and butchered)
  • Applesauce
  • Apple Pie Filling
  • Apple Jelly
  • Dill Cucumber Pickles
  • Salsa
  • Dilly Beans
  • Apple Butter
  • Tomatoes
  • Beef Broth (From the soup bones from grass fed beef that we buy from a local farmer)
  • Spaghetti Sauce
  • Green Beans
  • Mince Pie Filling
  • Highbush Cranberry Juice
  • Tomato Juice
  • Chicken Thighs
  • Watermelon Rind Pickles
This list is only what we did from August 25th on so it doesn't include the jams and such that I made earlier in the summer.
 I like to can a lot of the food but we also have big freezers and freeze a lot of food as well.

 We froze:

  • Duck meat
  • Chicken meat and broth
  • Kale
  • Green Peppers
  • Apple Pie Filling
  • Fish
  • Corn
  • Shredded Zucchini
  • Salsa
  • Green Beans
  • Acorns
  • Cilantro
  • Pesto
  • Processed Tallow
  • Goat Cheese
  • Highbush Cranberry Juice
  • Whey
  • Yellow Peppers

 This year we decided to go outside for some of our corn processing again since I had my stove top filled up with canning.
 The fire really works pretty nice.
I sure was thankful for a sink to clean up with afterwards though!

We also like to dry quite a bit of things - mostly stuff for tea or medicinal use.
Here is what we dried:

  • Hyssop
  • Pineapple weed
  • Calendula
  • Mint
  • Parsley
  • Beans (dry beans for soup)
  • Indian corn (we use it to grind up and make corn bread etc.)
  • Lemon balm
  • Mullien leaves
  • Red Raspberry Leaves
  • Popcorn
  • Mullien flowers
  • Sage
  • Ecchinacia leaf and flower
  • Apples
  • Sunflower seeds (for the chickens this winter)
And other odds and ends of things that we harvested and stored away were:
  • Honey
  • Potatoes (the first year we have planted potatoes. It wasn't that big of a crop but it was fun to harvest and we have been enjoying them!)
  • Onions
  • Carrots
  • Black Walnuts (from our neighbors tree - they took like 5 and then said we could have the rest!)
  • Squash (from my parents as was a lot of the stuff that we canned and froze)
  This of course doesn't count the various things that we buy (like wheat and beef- both locally) that we also store away for the year. We are very blessed and super thankful to God for the ways He provides for us. In our storing away I believe we are following the Biblical admonition to go to the Ant though sluggard and consider her ways and be wise. However we also want to always bear in mind as well the Biblical principles of not "building bigger barns" and feeling like we have everything all taken care of and we no longer need to rely on God. We do rely on Him realizing that without him we would be and have nothing. I am thankful to Him for all that He has given us and hope to use it all to His Glory!

  I would love to hear about your harvest this year!


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