Saturday, December 31, 2011

New Years' Eve

One of our New Years traditions is having black eyed peas on New Year's Day.  We like to make the dried peas, therefore you can't wait until the last minute.  Today we got them started, so they will be nice and soft, yummy and delicious for our lunch tomorrow.

The first thing we do is sort through the bag to remove the items we don't want in our pot of peas.  Here is what we found! 
Here is what I thought was an unidentified pea or bean.  Charles is right - just baby black eyed peas.

Here are the little rocks we found - glad we didn't bite down on these!

These were just gross - I think it is mud goop on these - ish!

These were just ugly, deformed and didn't look healthy - out they go! 

Next we took our healthy peas and rinsed, tossed, rinsed, tossed, and rinsed them.
Then we put them in a pot and covered them with water and heated them to a boil.  You may be wondering why we do this - just a second, you will see!

Let them boil for a few minutes and stir them a bit.
Yuck - can you see that dirty scum coming to the top?
I usually take my wooden spoon and scrape that waste off and toss it in the trash.
Back to the colander we go - time for another rinse. 
I caught the water from the pot in the bowl to show you why it's good to boil and add that second rinse.
Nasty - I'm glad that dirty water isn't in with our peas!

They are cooking in the crockpot with all our little additions - veggies, spices and a big ham bone to flavor up that juice...Yum!

Making our black eyed peas healthy, took a little effort.  We needed to get rid of the garbage and clean them up.  The end product will be so much more rewarding and good.  Remember this in your life too - evaluate what's in your day.  Is it healthy?  Is it good?  If it's not - take just a little effort.  Clean it up and get rid of the garbage.  It will make your next day much more rewarding and good!  Sometimes it is not easy to break ties with that person you know you shouldn't be around, or stopping that habit that keeps getting a hold on you, but I know you can do it!  Ask for help if it is a struggle, I know you have someone close, that cares about you that will help you!  Don't forget that you can do all things with Christ's help - He tells us so in Philippians!

I can't believe it is the end of 2011 - this year flew by!  It's the perfect time to think about 2012 and the junk and garbage that can be thrown out in your life.  Let 2012 be good, clean and extremely rewarding!

This was kind of weird and silly.  Becca and I pulled up to a store and this is what we saw.  This lady was in the buggy.  Maybe she had it on her bucket list??!!??  I thought, that sure looks like a big kid to be in the buggy.  He bent over the buggy and she proceeded to climb onto his back.  The first picture is him setting her down on the ground.  The second is them walking into the store.  A couple silly big kids enjoying their last day of 2011.

Next we rounded the corner and Becca burst out laughing.  There was a "Mall Cop" patrolling the parking lot on his segway. 

Next we were off to turn in our donations.  We were not the only ones trying to get those items turned in before the end of the year.  It must be the busiest day of the year at the local charities.  Hmm - made us wonder if the thrift stores have some good finds and good prices in January. 

Charles is trying to lower his dairy intake and change over to goat milk.  I found him some goat yogurt today - hopefully it'll be a winner.  We ran by and saw Tim and Misti for a little bit.  It was nice to chat, we love them both very much and are thankful they live close by. 

Tonight is our New Years Eve tradition.  We spend time together - trying to stay up to see the New Year in - we don't always make it!  We are watching NCIS right now - which is Becca's favorite tv show.  Chuck's favorite tv show is - he says he doesn't know but I would think it is anything on NFL network.  Charles' favorite tv show is CSI.  I don't know what my favorite show is I like so many different shows.  We have snack foods to munch on through the evening.  Tonight's menu includes mini tacos, taquitos, poppers, veggie tray with lots of dips for each.  Pimento Cheese, Ranch, Guacamole, Queso and Chili.   

Friday, December 30, 2011


You'd think I would be writing some really good stuff since I've had more time lately-

Thursday, December 29, 2011


Wonderful Magic Erasers
Donations for Charity
Cream Cheese Tuna - Cravin it!
Chili and Cheddar Potato Soup
Applying for a job
Trying to Organize

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Soul Surfer

Today I watched Soul Surfer for the first time.  If you haven't seen it - I highly recommend it.  Bethany overcame her crisis.  If the movie truly depicts her reactions - wow - what character.  She didn't give up but overcame, what a conquerer.  She trusted Christ to strengthen her and delighted herself in the Lord.  Her desire was to surf again - He fulfilled that desire but also gave her so much more!  She has used her circumstances to strengthen herself, those around her and those impacted by her story.

Psalm 37:4
Delight thyself also in the LORD: and he shall give thee the desires of thine heart.

Here is the link to her website...

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Cleaning Day

Major woke me bright and early this morning.  Our neighbor across the alley must have bought a Collie for Christmas.  Major and his new neighbor play their little chase up and down the fence line - barking and trying to prove they are the "big" dog of the block! 
Misti came over today to hang out with us.  They all of course had a game day playing video games and chatting. 
I am trying to get some deep cleaning done this week.  The bathrooms are done!  Yeah!
I discovered something new - magic erasers for the bathroom and kitchen.
I got to see one of my favorite movies today- Ever After!
I love happy endings- don't you! 
I took a little nap this afternoon in my big comfy chair.  I don't usually nap because I wake up feeling like I'm in outer space.  I just conked out when I stopped.
The kids worked on their rooms a little more and were helpful with, laundry, dishes and taking out the trash.  Thank you for helping me!
We had tuna fish sandwiches and soup for dinner.  Two kinds of tuna - I made Charles' recipe and Collette's recipe.  I just had the craving for her cream cheese tuna.  Charles and Becca ate his tuna and Chuck and I ate Collette's.  Cheddar Potato soup with ham was the soup of choice. 
Our devotions this evening were from Psalm 46.  The emphasis was on being still and knowing He is God!  No matter the trouble, problems, chaos, disaster or anything going on around you - don't forget He is still God.  He hasn't gone anywhere.  He is right here for us.  There are times we walk away - but He doesn't He is right here.  He is our refuge, our strong tower, our strength, our deliverer.    Be Still and Know that HE IS GOD!  He will get us through any problem - nothing is bigger than HIM.
Praying for Chuck to get a Job
Praying for Becca's mission trip funds
Praying for loved ones going through some big things right now - just remember no matter how big they seem  - GOD IS BIGGER!  He will help you through it!

Yeah - Charles got his final Christmas presents - two books by Brother Rod - Treasures from Revelation and Treasures from Daniel!  He is already devouring the book on Revelation!

Monday, December 26, 2011

Relaxation Day

What did we do today?
Not much - just relaxed.  Another cold and rainy day, we chose to stay inside for the most part.  The boys took turns playing video games.  We watched a variety of movies. 
Becca and I spent some time cleaning our rooms. 
She spent a little time calling different stores to see if they had Little Big Planet 2.  She received a little money from both sets of grandparents and researched the price and availability on line.  She found it for sale in Garland.  She and I headed out and bought it.  She LOVES it and wants you all to know she is thankful for your gifts to help her purchase it.  We all are so pleased with everything we received from you all - a great big THANK YOU to you all!
The middle of the night was not so good - Charles woke with a bout of acid.  I was praying and know he was too.  Thank the Lord, He helped him through it and allowed him to have a good nights rest for the remainder of the night.

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Merry Christmas

We are so blessed!  We are so thankful for our Lord and Savior - first and foremost!  Thankful for this holiday which we celebrate His birth.  Today in the advent calendar we had a little baby Jesus with Mary and Joseph.  A sweet reminder for the reason of this season. 
We all received everything we wanted for Christmas and some added surprises too. One gift was a huge answer to prayer, so unexpected and such a wonderful blessing.
It was a wonderful day spent together with the four of us.  We had a feast for lunch.  A delicious honey ham, broccoli cheese rice, sour cream potatoes and peas.  Pies, Pudding and Ice Cream for dessert was a good end to the meal.   We watched another funny Christmas movie - Christmas Vacation. 
It was nice talking with family, sending Christmas wishes and catching up with each other. 
Our day was  full of love and fun.  I love my family both near and far and thank God for each and every blessing He provides.
Merry Christmas!

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Merry Christmas Eve

Merry Christmas Eve
We had a nice and busy day.  Becca and I spent the morning wrapping and packaging up our remaining gifts.
Then it was off to deliver them to our family, we visited with them for a few minutes.
It is drizzly and cold out today.
We compiled our grocery list and headed out.  It wasn't near as hectic at the store as I had anticipated.
Our afternoon was filled with baking.
I asked last night what the dessert preferences were and here is what I heard.
Charles - mincemeat pie (of course) ;0)
            -raisin pie (a Christmas treat his Mother seems to always make for this holiday)
Chuck - apple pie
Becca - cherry pie (of course)
Me - I spoiled myself with some homemade coconut cream pudding
The house smelled so good while we baked.
Charles made fried bologna sandwiches and blt's along with some delicious  homemade spinach artichoke dip.
Mother stopped by and we exchanged presents and hugs.
Misti came over for the evening while Tim attended a Christmas eve party with Kim.
We watched Miracle on 34th Street, which is one of our favorite Christmas movies.
Yesterday Becca found an angel and shepherds in the advent box for the day and today she found the wisemen.
The kids headed off to bed early.
I can't believe Christmas is already here - this year has flown by.

Friday, December 23, 2011

Non-Stop till you Drop!

What a busy day!
Woke up - Played with Major
Make some coffee - help Charles get his stuff together for his day
Started the day seeing Charles off to work
Gotta get the kids motor running - played a song to pep them up - Good Morning!!
Went to McDonalds to meet sweet friends for fellowship and encouragement.
Had to run back home - forgot the gift for Tracey
Talked with Misti on the way back- left Chuck and Becca with Collette at McDonalds to talk
Back to McDonalds - now we got to fellowship
Dropped Chuck and Misti off
Headed to Collette's to stamp it up with her and Becca
Shopping was next - ugh - don't like shopping 2 days before Christmas when the whole city is out shopping
Target, Lowes, Sonic -then home again
Off to drop something in the mail and to Big Lots
Back to the house again
Call my brother - ask a favor
Run Misti home - my brother helped me out
Jack in the Box
Back to Tim's grabbed Becca
Back to the house
Enjoyed dinner with the family and had a great devotion together discussing forgiveness, bitterness, blessings, and prayer - we talked about starting our own prayer journals
Off to Home Depot and a quick stop at Michaels
Back Home
In the Backyard Sanding and Spray Painting with Becca
Talked to Gramma - they received their packages today
Becca went back out to put on another coat
Typed my blog ;o)
Not bedtime yet - wonder what else can be squeezed into the day - ha ha

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Yeah! - Christmas Vacation

It always seems like the work week before vacation or holidays just drag!  I'm so thankful for a few days off to spend time with the family. 
Chuck went and got registered for his spring semester today and put in a few more job applications.  We are praying the Lord leads him to the right place at the right time to find that job He has waiting especially for him. 
Becca and Misti are Little Big Planet nuts! 
Thank you to my kiddos for always being great helpers around the house - It sure helps us out a lot and is so appreciated!
I can't believe Christmas is this weekend - where did this year go?
I'm off to journal a bit, watch some tv with my favorite guy in the world and have a nice hot cup of tea with cream.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

A Healthy Snack


Did you know you can pop regular popcorn in the microwave?  (I just learned this recently from one of my friend's blog)
Take a regular brown lunch sack...put a handful of popcorn and a little oil in the bag. 
Fold it over a couple times and cook it for 1-2 minutes depending on the wattage of your microwave. 
I like to use coconut oil!
But you can use any kind you like -
it's a great way to avoid all the preservatives and additives of store bought microwave popcorn.  

Let's add a little pizazz to that popcorn now!
Take your popcorn and dump it in a large bowl
(best if you remove any unpopped kernels)
Add a handful of dried cranberries (about 1/3 cup)
Add about a 1/4 cup of chopped pecans, walnuts or sliced almonds
Melt a block of white chocolate almond bark in the microwave
(in 20-30 second increments)
Pour the almond bark over your other ingredients and mix
Thank you to Anne Marie for this White Chocolate Cranberry Nut Popcorn Recipe!

The Christmas Party was so much fun today - my gift was a soft plaid blanket that Peggy brought.  The only gift that was stolen was a starbucks set - a pinecone mug complete with hot chocolate.  We had tons of delicious food.  Jan brought cream cheese topped with pepper jelly to spread on crackers.  I have never had this before, it was so good.  I'm definitely going to get some of this for the family to try.  Another thing she brought was an apricot cake- delicious - reminded me of the Starbucks lemon cake.  We had a few fun Christmas questions to share.  Here are a few that might be fun for you...
Can you name all the reindeer?
What is Frosty the Snowman's nose made of?
Which president was the first to decorate the White House tree?
Which country did the gingerbread house come from?

Here is a link to a Christmas Carol Trivia:

Ha Ha - I got a 72%

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Everlasting Love

Cleaning up and Catching up at work - looking forward to a few days off with my sweet family!

Charles never ceases to impress me with how he handles different situations.  Let's just say Chuck could have done a little better on his grades.  Charles just talked with him about success and learning from different situations.  I know his grades are going to be amazing in his spring semester.  I love my boys!

Little smokies are in the crockpot and we baked up some delicious cookies for work tomorrow.  We are having a little Christmas celebration which will include a chinese gift exchange, trivia, food, and games.  My co-workers are great!

Becca and Misti are having fun with their smashbooks.  I can't wait to see their new pages of inspiration and creativity.  I'm sure they will stay busy with them over their Christmas break.  I love my girls too!

I also love my God and am so thankful that He he has an everlasting love for us!

Jeremiah 31:3  The LORD hath appeared of old unto me, saying, Yea, I have loved thee with an everlasting love.

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Playing around with our journals

Becca's First Page

My First Page

Becca Finished a few more pages

Isn't she clever?- she painted stained glass nails!

Charles was just reading an interesting article about baby names.  It gave us one more reason we can be proud to be Americans.  As stupid as some of the names are that people come up with in this country - we do have the right to name our children whatever we want.  There are several other countries that govern what you may or may not name your children.  Some of them approve or deny your selections, while others provide a list of names which you must use to select your child's name.  The list is specific right down to the spelling - deviations are forbidden.  We love our America.

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Poor Unfortunate Souls

Whew - what a busy day!  It seems like it actually started last night!  As soon as I got home from work we decided it was a much needed dinner out at our favorite restaurant.  As soon as we got home - Becca headed off with Misti and Uncle Tim to see some Christmas lights.  While the boys were relaxing - I was surfin the web and found something interesting.  I was browsing pinterest and have seen some cool journal pages lately that interested me which prompted me to look a little more closely.  I found several references to smashbooks.  Have you heard of them?  Basically it is more like old school scrapbooks - kind of like a hands on pinterest.  It peaked my interest, so I shot over to Michaels and picked me up a few supplies.  I am looking forward to creating one of my own.  I will post a  few pages once I have a moment to stop and play around with it.  Before bed we watched one of my favorite movies - How to Lose a Guy in 10 Dates.  It's a cute little romantic comedy (wouldn't suggest for the kiddos to watch due to some inuendos).
The boys woke early and went for their Saturday breakfast that they occasionally do together.  I made me some chocolate, peanut butter oatmeal and a cup of texas pecan coffee for breakfast.  Yum.  Once they got home - we prepared our shopping lists.  We are trying to complete our Christmas preparations for the family.  Off I went to one store then delivered the goods back to the house.  Next, I was off to complete the next list and this is what I saw as I came down the road.  My initial thought is - ooohhh a garage sale!  I love going to sales - sometimes the best treasures can be found!  The closer I got, I realized it was not a garage sale!  Out there in the parking lot were a few people standing by the boxes and furniture, guarding of all their earthly possessions.  One was on the phone, trying to get a loved one come and help them out, I presumed.  Eviction - it must be a horrible feeling. 

When I drove back by it looked like they had someone helping them with a trailer.

Psalm 40:17
But I am poor and needy; yet the Lord thinketh upon me: thou art my help and my deliverer; make no tarrying, O my God

The Lord not only thinks about us, but also will help and deliver us. I have no idea what caused these people their misfortune.  There are so many possibilites - maybe a job loss, a sick loved one, maybe lack of responsibility letting their bills go a little too long...I'm not sure what happened.  It is so sad, especially this time of the year to see someone in that position.  Their need seems to be a financial need, but our needs can extend beyond finances.  So many, close to us are going through big things.  God knows how poor and needy they all are feeling.  He is thinking about each of them.  Isn't it amazing that our Creator is not only thinking about our needs, but that He wants to help us?  I'm so thankful for His power, His love and His care.  Our problems seem unfixable, hopeless, overwhelming and worse - beyond our control.  Be careful - Satan will use that to shift your focus.  Keep Looking UP - God IS in Control!  We may need to wait, we may not understand the current situation, or the timing, the reactions or responses...but keep looking up and doing HIS will.  He will help get each of us through,  He will heal and deliver.

One of my friends posted this song on facebook - I don't think I have ever heard it before today -
 It is encouraging and beautiful.
It is called Completely by Ana Laura

When I arrived home after a few more stops.  I helped the Cook! ;0)
Then Chuckie Duck decided he wanted his hair peeled off -
so we headed to the garage and trimmed him up.
How do you like Chuck's new doo?  I love it!

We cleaned up all that hair - seriously I could have made someone a wig! 
Then off to Tim's to pick up the girls and back to the house.  Clean up and Dinner.   I made chicken pot pie for Friday - but we went out to eat instead.  It was nice to have our meal already prepared for tonight - but the crust didn't seem done enough.  I tried something new by including rice in the filling - it was good but I should have cooked it longer or at a higher temperature.
Wrap some Christmas presents, write the blog, I'm listening to the football game,  the boys are watching it and the girls went to bed early after they stayed up a little too late last night!
I will be back tomorrow to add a little more about the poor souls with such misfortune so close to the holidays.
Night, Night, Sleep Tight, Don't Let the Bed Bugs Bite!

Friday, December 16, 2011

Just Being Still Today

Psalm 46

1God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble.
 2Therefore will not we fear, though the earth be removed, and though the mountains be carried into the midst of the sea;
 3Though the waters thereof roar and be troubled, though the mountains shake with the swelling thereof. Selah.
 4There is a river, the streams whereof shall make glad the city of God, the holy place of the tabernacles of the most High.
 5God is in the midst of her; she shall not be moved: God shall help her, and that right early.
 6The heathen raged, the kingdoms were moved: he uttered his voice, the earth melted.
 7The LORD of hosts is with us; the God of Jacob is our refuge. Selah.
 8Come, behold the works of the LORD, what desolations he hath made in the earth.
 9He maketh wars to cease unto the end of the earth; he breaketh the bow, and cutteth the spear in sunder; he burneth the chariot in the fire.
 10Be still, and know that I am God: I will be exalted among the heathen, I will be exalted in the earth.
 11The LORD of hosts is with us; the God of Jacob is our refuge. Selah.

Psalm 62
5My soul, wait thou only upon God; for my expectation is from him.
 6He only is my rock and my salvation: he is my defence; I shall not be moved.
 7In God is my salvation and my glory: the rock of my strength, and my refuge, is in God.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

He Hears and Listens

Isaiah 40:28-31
28 Do you not know?  Have you not heard?
The LORD is the everlasting God, the Creator of the ends of the earth.
He will not grow tired or weary, and his understanding no one can fathom.
29 He gives strength to the weary and increases the power of the weak.
30 Even youths grow tired and weary, and young men stumble and fall;
31 but those who hope in the LORD will renew their strength.
They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary,
   they will walk and not be faint.

He has understanding that is beyond our comprehension!

Proverbs 3:5-6
Trust in the Lord with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding.
In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths.

Trust Him - Don't lean on your own understanding!

Psalm 116

 1 I love the LORD for hearing me,
   for listening to my prayers.
2 Yes, he paid attention to me,
   so I will always call to him whenever I need help. 

Sometimes we are faced with things so big.
He will listen
He will hear
He will help

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

The Path

The preparations began weeks before their arrival.  Gramma and Grampa were very excited about seeing their sweet little grandchildren who were coming to visit next month.  They always planned special things to make the trip memorable and fun for the little tykes that would soon be running about their cozy home.  Each time they went to the store, Gramma would find some little something to surprise them with, extra baking supplies to fill their tummies with something yummy, or a fun little toy to make their eyes sparkle.  Grampa had a surprise that he was planning for this visit.  His project was something special he had in mind for that young man that would soon be bounding across their property. He had been clearing a few paths in the woods recently and thought he would make a special path for his favorite grandson.  He knew they shared that same adventurous spirit, and would have a great time walking that path in the woods.  Now keep in mind - the path really wasn't that long - sort of a horseshoe shape that started near the barn and came out  just a little ways down the field.  It was just long enough for a five year old to create his own little adventure as he walked it, and just deep enough in the woods that we could still almost make him out as he ventured round and round. 
      The day had finally arrived, I think Grampa was just as excited as Little Charles as they talked about the path.  As soon as we got in the driveway and parked, they were headed out back.  Grampa was talking about how important it was to stay on the path as they walked toward the woods.  Little Charles was looking up at Grampa as he talked but also keeping his eye toward that special walkway prepared especially for him. They walked the short route several times together, each time Grampa pointed out the simple markers he placed here and there to help him stay on the little trail.  The lead was progressively being transferred over to the young scout unknowingly, preparing him to venture the way on his own.  Eventually Grampa sent him on his way, waiting for him at the end of the trail - Charles running at a full sprint as he completed a few rounds on his own - shooting into Grampa's arms as he entered the field - both of them smiling from ear to ear.  After a few rounds - on his own, Grampa felt confident that Charles would stick to the boundaries of the trail they studied.  Round and round he went that day mastering his new path with great success. 
     The boys headed to the house, lunch was on the table and they had built up an appetite.  Charles was full of chatter.  "Did you see that squirrel, Grampa?" he said.  Gramma told him he better slow down and chew his food more carefully or he might choke.  The excitement was bouncing off of his little being as he told everyone at the table all about his new path and everything that he saw on it.  Becca, only about a year old at the time, just watched and listened to her big brother, whom she adored.  Quick as could be he finished his plate, and was eagerly asking to head back to the woods.  "Let's wait a little while, Grampa needs to do a few chores, Becca needs to take a nap, your Momma is over at a cousins house, and I need to stay inside for now because I have pies in the oven," Gramma said. "It's ok, Gramma - I know my path and will stay on it - I've gone around it a gazillion times and know which way to go - I won't get lost," said Little Charles.  Grampa talked with Gramma and said - "he has gone around it quite a few times and has followed it each time - I think he will do ok - let's just have him check in with us every few times around."  A little bit nervous, like Gramma's can get, she agreed.  YES! the boy yelled with great excitement!
     Bounding down the stairs and out the back door he tore ahead of Grampa.  You don't need to go with me Grampa - I can do this.  He watched as Chuck flew through the path and came back to him, not once but about five times around in less than five minutes.  "Ok, slow down a little bit, I see you've got it," laughed Grampa as he headed to the barn.  He'd  look out the barn door between his tasks and see his grandson going around the path wondering what type of adventurous thoughts were going on inside his head.  Gramma would come out on the deck between her baking, chores and peeking in on that sweet little dumpling sleeping so sound.  She just smiled as Charles saw her on the deck, grinning and waving as he ventured by.  The pies were finished and on the racks to cool filling the house with the most delicious aroma.  She tiptoed to the bedroom once more, still sleeping she decided to check on her rambunctious little fellow.  He must have just headed into the woods, she thought after standing there expecting the little adventurer to come bounding out into the field.  A few minutes passed, and he still did not appear- hmm, she pondered, I wonder what he is exploring.  Maybe he is kicking some leaves and seeing something on the moist earth underneath, or perhaps he has flipped a log to find some grubs or other creepy crawlies.  Could it be a little critter that has captured his curiosity....more time passing as she thought.  Where is he? she thought.  Now looking nervously at her watch, she realized it has been several minutes since he emerged from the woods.  Charles!  she answer.   CHarles!  yelling again - no answer.  JIM she called to her husband - as he came out of the barn.  What's wrong he asks.  "I've been standing out her for several minutes and I have not seen Little Charles coming or going."  she said trying not to panic.  "I'm sure he is fine, he has stayed on the path each time - I'll go check on him," Grampa said.  Gramma flew into the house to check on her sweet little angel who was beginning to stir.  She grabbed her up out of the crib and hurridely headed out back.  By this time she could see Grampa coming out of the other end of the path.  He was alone!  Her heart sunk!  Where is he? she said with a shaky voice.  CHARLES, WHERE ARE YOU, COME TO THE HOUSE, CHARLES!   They both ran closer to the woods, yelling for their little grandson and then listening desparately for his reply.  Becca just waking up, not really understanding what was happening, was looking at her grandparents who were becoming more and more alarmed.  The neighbors who were outside, heard the shouts and  wondered what on earth was going on.  Of course, they headed over to see if they could help.  Gramma in tears explained the situation, as Grampa headed deeper into the woods.  They all knew too well the dangers that were there.  The creek that he could come to if he headed to far in, the traps that local hunters set to catch local game, not to mention those creatures that were out their to be trapped. 
     It wasn't long before several neighbors were there all heading out to find this missing young man.  Prayers were flying up to Heaven, Please Lord, bring our sweet grandson back to us safe and unharmed.  It felt like an eternity had passed and he still was no where to be found.  Grampa came back to the path with some of the other men to try to find that spot on the path where he may have strayed.  There was no definite sign of where he left the path.  They gathered together and came to the concensus  that they needed to call 911 and get more help on the way.  It wouldn't be long before the sun would be going down.  As they headed to the house a police car pulled in the driveway.  The thoughts that must have run through their heads as they saw that cruiser turn in!  Did they think - someone else must have called them for us...or worse yet is it bad news?!?  They turned to walk toward the car as it approached and guess what?!?!?  There he was sitting in the front seat of that police car right along side the officer! 
    Gramma just let the tears pour, and I bet Grampa did too!  The relief that Little Charles was back safe and sound was overwhelming - God heard their prayers, not only did He hear them but he answered them too!  Praise the Lord - thank you for keeping our favorite grandson safe!  Grampa headed over to the officer to discuss what had happened.  Grampa explained their end of the story and then listened to what the officer reported.  His grandson had made it all the way through the woods, over the creek and out the other side to the street past their little forest.  He had come out on a property where a family happened to be outside.  They thought it was strange that a little five year old suddenly appeared from the woods.  They didn't recognize him, and of course they wouldn't, he was about 1500 miles from his home.  They asked him his name, he said I'm Charles and I need to get back to my Gramma and Grampa's house.  He provided these kind strangers with his grandparents names along with their phone number including area code and address.  They called 911 who sent the officer to deliver this young man back to the home of his grandparents.  They were all amazed that this young man knew not only his grandparents name but also their address and phone number.  He was prepared for that day.  He had been learning his numbers by using a little phone that was something like this one.  One way he was mastering his numbers was by dialing his families phone numbers and one of his favorites to call was Gramma and Grampa!

 That day you had a mighty adventure.  Not only did you have a path of your very own created just for you by Grampa, you also learned a valuable lesson.  You probably didn't have too much fear as you wandered through the woods.  There were so many dangers, of which you were not even aware.  Even though that creek in the woods wasn't that big where you crossed, there are parts of it that are deep, other areas with fast moving water where you could have been seriously hurt.  The animals that roam in the woods to name a few are beavers, woodchucks, raccoons, wolves, snakes and bear.  There are swampy areas, mucky-muddy areas, heavily wooded areas and various, holes and banks.  Traps, barbed wire fences, and who knows what were here and there.  We are so thankful that God protected you that day you lost your way.  As we have taught you - your actions do not solely affect yourself.  Your actions that day affected your grandparents with a fear and worry beyond words.  It affected the neighbors, the kind strangers who discovered you, the police officer who returned you and your parents who learned about this after the fact. 
    God makes many references to paths.  There are so many dangers in this world when we stray from His path.  He wants us to stay on His path and will direct us if we acknowledge him in all of our ways and trust Him.  He tells us to stay straight on the path and when you are not sure which way to go...go to His word.  He tells us it is a lamp unto our feet and light unto our path.  Sometimes life gets dark, unclear, it seems like there is no direction - He gives us a clear solution.  He will turn the lamp on which will light it up- making it easier to see - his word will give you the direction you need on which way to go.  Have you ever tried to do something in the dark - it is so difficult?  Picture yourself for a minute in the dark trying to go somewhere  - you can't see where you are going - you may bump into things, trip, fall, get lost or worse.  Now picture yourself trying to do something in the dark - how successful are you going to be?  More than likely you will fail without any light.  What if you add a little light - you may finish your task, but will it be your best - probably not.  OK - try turning the light on - not just a little glow but have the highest watt bulb that your lamp will handle - now you are seeing it all clearly!  You will master every task before you and walk the path He has for you with sure footing.  He tells us in His presence there is fulness of joy and pleasures for evermore.

Proverbs 3:5-7
5Trust in the LORD with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding.
 6In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths.

Proverbs 4:25-27
25Let thine eyes look right on, and let thine eyelids look straight before thee.
 26Ponder the path of thy feet, and let all thy ways be established.
 27Turn not to the right hand nor to the left: remove thy foot from evil.

Thy word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path.

Thou wilt shew me the path of life: in thy presence is fulness of joy; at thy right hand there are pleasures for evermore.

 There are plenty of warnings in His word about leaving the path.  The evil and wickedness are definitely alive in this world.  There are so many temptations and dangers that will try to pull you away.  Stay strong in the Lord!  He will direct you, guide you and keep your feet from slipping.

1 Peter 5:8
 8Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour:

Prepare each day as a soldier would - always wearing your armor!
Ephesians 6:10-20
 10 Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. 11 Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. 12 For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. 13Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand. 14 Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, 15 and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace.16 In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. 17Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. 18 And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the Lord’s people. 19 Pray also for me, that whenever I speak, words may be given me so that I will fearlessly make known the mystery of the gospel, 20 for which I am an ambassador in chains. Pray that I may declare it fearlessly, as I should.
We love you very much Little Charles
and pray that you stay on His path through your life!
Happy Birthday to the best son in this world!

Grampa & Little Charles burning brush

Grampa and Becca - The path is just beyond the tractor!

Your Dinner Choice - Firehouse!!!
They even had that cool futuristic new cola fountain machine!

Dinner's not complete without Dad's Delicious Homemade Salsa

Per your request - No cake this year - Just Tons of Ice Cream - YUM, YUM!!!

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Advent Calendar 2011

Our Advent Calendar for 2011
I was a little late in ordering all of the supplies to create our advent calendar and just completed it a few days ago.  That's ok - we will have fun with it for the last few weeks of December.  I love old-fashioned, vintage, and antique styled things.  I ordered the countdown calendar boxes from Joann and picked up the papers and stickers at other hobby shops around town.  It was fun putting it together and a challenge coming up with tiny things to put in the boxes for their daily surprise. I'm hoping to have one for each of us in 2012.   

Monday, December 12, 2011

Happy Birthday!

Happy Birthday to my two favorite nephews!  I can't believe you are eleven years old!  It seems like just yesterday that you were tiny little tots running around.  I will always treasure the few months that I got to spend my days with you.  We love you both so very much and hope you have an awesome birthday!!!!
Not Just Cousins - but Brothers and Sisters in Christ!

Here are a few verses for you...
Have your Mom sing them to you - they are verses that she and Uncle Charles learned to music when they were young.  I like to learn verses using music - don't you?

1 John 4:7-8
 7Beloved, let us love one another: for love is of God; and every one that loveth is born of God, and knoweth God.
 8He that loveth not knoweth not God; for God is love.

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Buckwheat and Milk

     One of Dad's favorite cereals is Buckwheats.  He found them online and bought them not long ago.  He said they are just as good as he remembered them being when he was a boy.  Many years ago, he would go to church on Saturday morning for visitation.  They would always have a pancake breakfast before they went out for the day.  He remembered the cook saying, "Ok, if we don't take up more money for our breakfast supplies - I will be making buckwheat pancakes."  Dad said - he wasn't sure why that was a bad thing - he actually like them very much.  Yesterday - Dad and I went to Central Market and found some buckwheat flour while we were there.  This morning, Dad made some buckwheat pancakes.  They were very good and yes - they were just as he remembered them.
    The purpose of our trip to Central Market was to look for new kinds of milk.  He read that cow milk can aggravate acid reflux.  We found some almond, soy and goats milk.  I will let you know which kind seems to set the best with him.  This is the first time we have ever tried goat's milk - it wasn't too bad.  It has a slightly different after taste but otherwise tastes like regular milk.  I am anxious to try that almond milk - it just sounds good.
     We buried super chicken today - poor little thing - he was loved to death - literally!  Becca found Major a new little duck - we are calling him Chuck the Duck!  We will see if he has a longer lifespan than the previous poultry!
     I am so fortunate to have had Mr. Fix-its in my life - I grew up with my Dad fixing what needed to be fixed, when I went to college - I had the priviledge of my brother's handiness, then I married my sweet husband who uses his skills to take care of me and fix my fixes.  Now I am experiencing -  my kind hearted son helping me out.  I am so thankful for a husband who teaches our son to be handy and caring always ready to help and take care of his mama.  I am so clueless when it comes to car repair.  I had a dead battery the other day.  Chuck let me borrow his car and charged my battery while I was at work.  They both changed my battery today and got it all charged up for me.  Thank you from the bottom of my heart to all my Mr. Fix-its over the years!  I love all of you!

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Never Gonna Steal My Joy

Ruth Ann was such a character.  I worked with her a few years back - she just had spice in her soul.  She was one of those so quick witted and fun to be around,  you never had to guess what was on her mind.  Now don't get me wrong - she could push my buttons like no other - and she knew it!  She always kept us on our toes. I just loved her so!  The sayings she would come out with always cracked us up.  One of the things she would often say was..."Their not gonna steal my joy!"  Well - today was one of those days that anyone's joy could have just flown out the window.  It was a day where everyone in the house was getting on everyone's last nerve.  I think sickness, lack of sleep, and hunger played a part - but all is well now.  It is so easy to say, "Their not gonna steal my joy!"...and another thing to actually live it.  Jesus wants us to have joy in our hearts.  In His presence is fulness of joy.  I don't know about you but I like to be happy much more than anything else.  If staying close to the Lord will fill up my happiness tank - then that is where I am going to try to go each day - to that pump that is gonna top off my tank with joy! 

John 15:11 (Jesus speaking) "I have told you this so that my joy may be in you and that your joy may be complete."

Ps. 90:14 "Satisfy us in the morning with your unfailing love, that we may sing for joy and be glad all our days."

Psalm 16:11 "Thou wilt shew me the path of life: in thy presence is fulness of joy; at thy right hand there are pleasures for evermore."

I had know idea Mandisa had a song about this very thing!  She is awesome -  she was my pick on American Idol!  Even though she didn't win Idol - I am so glad she is doing well in the christian music market.  She has some amazing songs! 

I have included the lyrics to her song below as well as the link to youtube - if you would like to listen to it.  Hope you enjoy!

Steal My Joy lyrics

I look at my life and I still can't believe it
How will I make it to where I stand now?
You don't understand, I was up against the whole world
And all I could feel was it breaking me down

But out of a hopeless situation
There came a song of redemption

Life may push my heart to the limit
But I won't let go of the joy in my soul
'Cause everything can change in a minute
And the world may try
But they're never gonna steal my joy

No, they're never, no, they're never

So get up, stand up and rise above it
If every plan that you made go so wrong
You don't have to give into the struggle
You may be down but don't stay there for long

In every hopeless situation
There is a song of redemption
Life may push my heart to the limit
But I won't let go of the joy in my soul
'Cause everything can change in a minute
And the world may try
But they're never gonna steal my joy

No, they're never, no, they're never

The world may say you're never gonna make it
The world may say you're not strong enough to take it
But I don't care 'cause of the joy of the Lord is real
And they're never gonna steal my joy, never, no, never

Life may push my heart to the limit
But I won't let go of the joy in my soul
'Cause everything can change in a minute
And the world may try
But they're never gonna steal my joy

Life may push my heart to the limit
But I won't let go of the joy in my soul
'Cause everything can change in a minute
And the world may try
But they're never gonna steal my joy

No, they're never, no, they're never
Never gonna steal my joy
No, they're never, no, no, they're never
Never gonna steal my joy

Don't let anyone or anything steal your joy!  It should be in Him alone!

Friday, December 9, 2011

Not Easily Broken

I love object lessons -learning a principle using common objects. 
Grampa was my Youth Pastor when I was in high school.  One way he like to present messages was by using object lessons. I am sure this is where I came to love this style of teaching.  One specific lesson that I remember was the lesson where he used a piece a thread and a piece of cloth.  He took one of Gramma's kitchen towels and cut it up into small pieces and also had some thread from the towel.  He gave each of us a piece of thread and a piece of cloth.   He then had us try to break the thread - it broke easily!  Then he had us try to rip apart the piece of cloth.  It would not easily break, unravel or come apart.  The principle of the lesson was about relationships.  God created us in a way that relationships are essential not only with other people - but also with Him.  It essential to have God at the center of any relationship.

Ecclesiastes 4:9-12 says:
"Two are better than one, because they have a good return for their work: If one falls down, his friend can help him up. But pity the man who falls and has no one to help him up! Also, if two lie down together, they will keep warm. But how can one keep warm alone. Though one may be overpowered, two can defend themselves. A cord of three strands is not quickly broken."

Relationships are so important, but always remember the most important strand is our relationship with Jesus.  He definitely is the strongest strand in our life!

Thursday, December 8, 2011

What a Great Comfort!

As you know I have had this stinkin cold all week - and I've been whinin and belly achin about it too!  Well - hopefully not too much.  I started out with a sore throat that lasted for a few days, which then turned to a stuffy nose, now its stuffy and runny with a bit of chest congestion.  The cough is on... which gets the throat hurting when it gets out of control.  My eyes are itchy and watery which gets the nose running which has gotten red and sore.  The other day I bought some tissues that were cool touch or something like that.  I did like them, but they didn't have lotion which led to the sore red rudolph nose.  As my day progressed it glowed brighter and brighter so I figured I'd head to Wally World to pick up the tissues with lotion.  I'm so glad I did - there was a great find on the shelf!  Not only did I find tissues with lotion - I found them with lotion and vicks! 
 Wow - why didn't they think of that years ago.  Well  - all that to say - what a comfort it was to my sore little nose.  It was so soothing and breathing them in opened up my sinuses - my nose is on its way to healing up.
     This was all just about my little nose - but I'm sure you know exactly what I was talking about.  We all have had little ills that need comforting.  It might be a cold, an ache or pain...something physical.  It might be hurt feelings, something that made you hurt inside....something emotional.   It might be doubt, distance....something spiritual.  So many different things in your life may need comfort or healing - well the Lord can provide it and He will.  He promises He will comfort us and He is faithful - not waivering in His love for us.   I know this is a long chapter - but it is good!  I have posted the Easy to Read Version and that it is!  It tells about how so many in the Bible just kept screwing up, failing, forgetting and being down right selfish.  But - it also reminds us that no matter how much we fail....Praise the Lord - His faithful love will last forever!  He is good and He keeps His promises.  Thank you Lord for being my best source of comfort!

Easy-to-Read Version (ERV)

Psalm 106

 1 Praise the LORD!
Give thanks to the LORD because he is good!
   His faithful love will last forever!
2 No one can describe how great the LORD really is.
   No one can praise him enough.
3 Those who obey his commands are happy.
   They do good things all the time.
 4 LORD, remember me when you show kindness to your people.
   Remember to save me too!
5 Let me share in the good things
   that you do for your chosen people.
Let me rejoice with your nation.
   Let me join with your people in praise.
 6 We sinned just as our ancestors did.
   We were wrong; we did bad things!
7 Lord, our ancestors learned nothing
   from the miracles you did in Egypt.
They forgot your kindness at the Red Sea
   and rebelled against you.
 8 But the Lord saved our ancestors for the honor of his name.
   He saved them to show his great power.
9 He gave the command, and the Red Sea became dry.
   He led them through the deep sea on land as dry as the desert.
10 He saved our ancestors
   and rescued them from their enemies.
11 He covered their enemies with the sea.
   Not one of them escaped!
 12 Then our ancestors believed what he had said.
   They sang praises to him.
13 But they quickly forgot about what he did.
   They did not listen to his advice.
14 They became hungry in the desert,
   and they tested him in the wilderness.
15 He gave them what they asked for,
   but he also gave them a terrible disease.
16 The people became jealous of Moses.
   They became jealous of Aaron, the LORD’S holy priest.
17 The ground opened up and swallowed Dathan.
   Then the ground closed up and covered Abiram’s group.
18 Then a fire burned that mob of people.
   It burned those wicked people.
19 The people made a golden calf at Mount Horeb.
   They worshiped a statue!
20 They traded their glorious God
   for a statue of a grass-eating bull!
21 They forgot all about God, the one who saved them,
   the one who did the miracles in Egypt.
22 He did amazing things there in Ham’s country [a]!
   He did awesome things at the Red Sea!
 23 God wanted to destroy those people,
   but Moses, the leader he chose, stood in the way.
God was very angry, but Moses begged him to stop,
   so God did not destroy the people. [b]
 24 But then they refused to go into the wonderful land of Canaan.
   They did not believe that God would help them defeat the people there.
25 Our ancestors complained in their tents
   and refused to obey the LORD.
26 So he swore that they would die
   in the desert.
27 He promised to scatter them among the nations
   and to let other people defeat their descendants.
 28 At Baal Peor they joined in worshiping Baal
   and ate sacrifices to honor the dead. [c]
29 The LORD became angry with his people,
   so he made them sick.
30 But Phinehas prayed [d] to God,
   and God stopped the sickness.
31 He considered what Phinehas did a good work,
   and it will be remembered forever and ever.
 32 At Meribah the people made the LORD angry
   and created trouble for Moses.
33 They upset Moses,
   and he spoke without stopping to think.
 34 The LORD told the people to destroy the other nations living in Canaan.
   But the Israelites did not obey him.
35 They mixed with the other people
   and did what those people were doing.
36 They began worshiping the false gods those people worshiped.
   And their idols became a trap.
37 They even offered their own children
   as sacrifices to demons.
38 They killed their innocent sons and daughters
   and offered them to the false gods of Canaan.
   So the land was polluted with the sin of murder.
39 They were unfaithful to him,
   and they became dirty with the sins of other nations.
40 So the LORD became angry with his people.
   He rejected those who belonged to him.
41 He gave his people to other nations
   and let their enemies rule over them.
42 Their enemies controlled them
   and made life hard for them.
43 He saved his people many times,
   but they turned against him and did what they wanted to do.
   His people did many bad things.
44 But whenever they were in trouble,
   he listened to their prayers.
45 He always remembered his agreement,
   and because of his faithful love, he comforted them.
46 Other nations took them as prisoners,
   but the Lord caused them to be kind to his people.
47 LORD our God, save us!
   Bring us back together from those nations.
Then we will give thanks to your holy name
   and joyfully praise you.
48 Praise the LORD, the God of Israel!
   He always was and will always be worthy of praise.
Let all the people say, “Amen!”