Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Chocolate Coconut Oatmeal "Health Food" Cookies!



These are about as healthy as a chocolate chip cookie can manage to get, I guess.  At least I like to think so.  I've been tweaking things around trying to come up with the perfect whole food cookie recipe and I think I finally managed it.  Please make these today!

Cream together:
1 c butter
3/4 c sucanat sugar
3/4 c demerara sugar

Mix in:
2 eggs
1 tsp vanilla

Add and combined:
1 tsp salt
1 tsp baking soda
1 1/2 cups freshly ground spelt flour (you can use plain whole wheat)
3 cups old fashioned rolled oats
1/2 cup quick oats (I'm sure you could use more old fashioned if you want)

Mix in:
1 3/4 c chocolate chips
1/2 cup chipped coconut (optional...but why would you opt out?)

Bake at 350* for 8-10 minutes
(This bake time is on a stainless steel sheet with parchment paper.  Darker, non-stick pans would be different - just keep checking them.)

Enjoy with a cold glass of milk! 

Monday, March 28, 2011

We Are Shehwees

We made a tent in the living room,
pretending we were "Shehwees" (???)
"ate" surprise candies & gum from a toy dish,
and whispered about being Shehwees.
According to the expert, 
Shehwees play dress up and dance.
So that's what we did,
spinning, jumping, clapping,
and falling down when we got dizzy.
Shehwees are eventually tired 
and have to get ready for bed.
But before Shehwees can sleep,
they must have a story read,
back scratched,
songs sung while being cradled and rocked.
Whispered prayers,
soft kisses,
big squeeze hugs.
We love being Shehwees.


Join us for Gratituesday at Heavenly Homemakers!

His Favorite Place

While Charissa liked to quietly look at the pictures, he prefers to turn the board pages furiously then throw it on the ground in search of another adventure.  I admit that this picture is posed, but he actually sat in the chair for quite some time obviously very proud of himself!


I think he prefers Mama's lap where I feed him bits of rice rusk and sing "Little Cabin in the Woods."

 

Little boys are so precious!


Friday, March 25, 2011

GOD WINS

Rob Bell's book "Love Wins" - I haven't read it.  I don't exactly intend to read it either, because I've heard enough from Mr. Bell to determine where he's coming from.  And I know where he's coming from - because I've been there myself.

I remember exactly when I rebelled against Hell and, consequently, God.  I was sixteen and our family was visiting the cliff dwellings of Mesa Verde.  I had separated from the group and climbed down into a kiva, the ceremonial room of the ancient cliff dwellers.  As I stood there and let my vivid imagination take me back hundreds of years...I suddenly shot back to the present with an almost audible shriek,
They didn't know Jesus, did they?

I was crushed.  As we left, my eyes streamed with tears watching the dwellings disappear around a curve.  What was I supposed to think?  Where they all in Hell?  This was not the first time I had wept about Hell. Ever since I was very young, Hell has held a startlingly clear reality for me and caused me to be very passionate about evangelizing others.  But this time, a whole new aspect had hit me.  And I didn't like it a bit.

Through my tears I asked my Dad where they were, this beautiful people, now that they have died?    He said we have to trust that God is good, He is loving, He is just and He is in control of the situation.  But that the Bible is clear: those that have not claimed Jesus as their Savior are condemned. (John 3:16-18; John 3:36; Romans 10: 9-10; etc.)

I wasn't okay with that.  Even though I wasn't as articulate, creative or verbal about it as Rob Bell, I came up with some of my own theories regarding who exactly was going to hell and what exactly hell was.  They made me feel a little better.  But only a little.  Because I knew what the Bible said, and the Bible is not what I was trying to believe.  It's not what Rob Bell is trying to believe, either.

Releasing my own ideas and surrendering them to God wasn't easy and it didn't happen for a while.  It took about a year, actually.  Once I hopped off the foundation of the Bible being all true, I rearranged the bricks.  Tossing out a couple that I found repelling, I hopped back on trying to smile and ignore that my once-firm foundation had begun to shake and crumble.  Praise God for His grace as He saved me from the impending collapse.  He lifted me, a sobbing crumpled mess at the foot of a wooden cross during summer camp.  It was so hard, but the release was beyond freeing.

You can't have Grace without Justice.

You can't have Love without Wrath.

You can't have Power without Holiness.

There are plenty of things I don't understand.  There are plenty of things I struggle to believe.  Thank God, He is helping me through that like He did the centurion.  But unlike what the world says,

making your own reality isn't an option.

Anyone that has ever looked at the reality of Hell shrinks back in horror.  I hate the reality of Hell.  Jonathan Edwards hated the reality of Hell.  Unlike the media's depiction of those freaky hellfire and brimstone people, Evangelical Christians are not jumping up and down saying, "Yay!  Hell!"   But it is a reality, a necessary reality because of God's awesome holiness.  Not one speck of sin is acceptable to Him.

I pray that no one would have to endure Hell, not Rob Bell, not Gandhi, not even Hitler.  I hope for every person that has died, somehow God would be gracious, and perhaps they have heard and will confess with their dying breath.  That they would hear is a major motivation to spread the Gospel.  Hell's reality is something we all have to struggle with, begging God for understanding, but -

His Word is not a self-serve buffet.  

I know where Rob Bell is coming from - because I've been there.  The reason he has been so adamantly opposed by many people is because we have all wondered about the severity of Hell and we know the perils of rejecting it.  It is a complete departure from the only true God of the Bible.

Rob Bell is confused, lost in the frightening forest of his own will.  Unfortunately, he has invited a lot of people to have a party there with him.  I pray that he will come around to a clear Biblical understanding and his charisma, conversational style and cultural sensitivity will be used for building God's True Kingdom.

It's amazing, the more I seek after God, ask, read and pray, the more I am given complete and total peace in knowing:

He is good.
He is loving,
He is just,
He is in complete control,
He knows what He's doing,
His purposes will not be destroyed, 
His Kingdom will come, 
And even the blasphemy of Rob Bell will be used for His own glory,

because 
the gracious, just, loving, wrathful, powerful & holy

God Wins. 
 33 Oh, the depth of the riches of the wisdom and knowledge of God!
   How unsearchable his judgments,
   and his paths beyond tracing out!
34 “Who has known the mind of the Lord?
   Or who has been his counselor?”

35 “Who has ever given to God,
   that God should repay them?”
36 For from him and through him and for him are all things.
   To him be the glory forever! Amen. 

Romans 11:33-36 

 Note: I need to make sure you don't think I'm making a call on where anyone is spending eternity.  All I have is what God has told me in the Scriptures and that's what I'm applying and acting upon.  I'm going to tell the Gospel and leave the rest up to my loving Heavenly Father.  He does a lot better job at ruling the universe and eternal destinies than I ever could.
 


 ********************

If you would like a more in-depth discussion from folks that have read "Love Wins" here are some great sites:


Kevin DeYoung, “God is Still Holy and What You Learned in Sunday Schoool is Still True: A Review of Love Wins,” March 14, 2011.

Albert Mohler, "We Have Seen All This Before: Rob Bell and the (Re)Emergence of Liberal Theology", March 16 2011

Thursday, March 24, 2011

"Check It Out, Woop, Woop!"

Don't ask me because I really don't know.  She was making a crown from a kit and started saying this phrase complete with bizarre facial expression :-)  Enjoy!

video

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

The Man-In-Training

When Daddy comes home, the Man-in-Training gets to wear his work hat.  


 They could be twins!


 Until the M-I-T decides to reveal the difference...


 Tada!  Blond curls!


The Man and Man In Training go to repack the wheel bearings.
Whatever that means.
I'm sure the M-I-T can explain it to you.

 

He was watching pretty intently.  
This is the "concentrating" face.

 
And now for a trick!
How big is Brandt?


"SO BIG!"

"Yup, I am!"

"Thank you.  Thank you vury much!"

He's such a charmer.
Learned it from the best!


Monday, March 21, 2011

Thank you, Sandra Boynton

 There are many reasons to love the children's author, Sandra Boynton.
 
Today, while reading Charissa "A to Z",
I think I discovered the reason I love her most:


Thank you, Sandra, for the creation of Uglybirds.

They make me want to learn the ABC's.


Saturday, March 19, 2011

Celebrating Everyday!


Recently, I've started explaining the meaning of Easter to Charissa, that it is a time when we remember the death of Jesus on the cross for our sins and then celebrate His conquering our death through the Resurrection!  Somehow she has become confused and thinks we are celebrating Christmas again.  It's about Jesus, too, right?  She will ask every morning if it's Christmas yet, has started singing Christmas songs and even "makes" and "decorates" Christmas trees.  This morning she put on Brandt's snowsuit (um...a tad short maybe?) and started singing "Angel's We Have Heard On High". 

Christ's birth, life, death and resurrection is something to celebrate everyday!  But I'm pretty sure wearing a snowsuit year-round isn't quite the way I'll do it...

Friday, March 18, 2011

Spring Time's A'Comin!

Could the weather be any more perfect?!?  My fingers are just itching to plant something but since we're moving in a month, that might be pointless.  Nevertheless, OTHER beautiful things are greening and budding and sprouting and springing forth from the brown earth.  I'm loving it.

The kiddos are loving it too.  We had a wonderful time out at the pond where Brandt discovered the fun of sliding with big sis gripping him firmly about the neck waist.


 Aw, best buds:-)


 So proud to be sliding!


 I was chasing her trying to get her face in a picture.
All the rest looked like this:


I try.

"Sis, you're such a show off.  Wait up!"

"I'm in a huge cloth diaper.  It constricts my movement."

"It's okay, 'lil bro.  You'll soon be as cool as me!"


 Missy enjoying the beautiful Spring air.
This is after Brandt tried to eat her face and she patiently let him.


Hello Spring!

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Small Town Mourning


A precious young life was lost in my small hometown.  With a population of 700 and a county of only 3,000, you are either family, a parent's co-worker, or his AWANAs comrade and if not, you know someone that is.  Our tiny village loses a youngster about once a year, and each time it's absolutely devastating to everyone.  He's not just someone's little boy - he's our friend's son.  He's not just a kid we see on the news - he's our child's playmate.


When I heard the news, my stomach heaved.  I couldn't grasp it.  Picturing his mother, my friend, holding her dying son as every beat of her mother's heart cried out, pleading for his life... my own heart screams against how fragile life is and how easily this mother could be me.

As tears fall here on earth, a young soul flies to the arms of Jesus.  And as I hug my children closer, in my heart I lift them up to the only One that can truly protect them from all the world has to offer.  Because while He may not choose to save them from physical harm, He covers them in His blood...

...and that is eternal Life.


"He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, 
neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, 
for the former things have passed away."  

Revelation 21:4

Monday, March 14, 2011

Changes


This past week was full of prayer, tears (on my part) and some big decisions.  I am so thankful God prompted my choice to have a relatively internet-free period.  He knew this week would be nuts-o-cuckoo-crazy and graciously gave me a time that I couldn't go spilling my freaked-out guts onto some public media.  I went to Him.  He has been more than faithful in giving me peace, even in the unknown.

On Thursday, we received an offer on our property.  We countered higher and our counter was accepted.  We signed the papers yesterday.  Our closing is set for around April 25th.  If all goes well, the closing will be after our two year mark in this home which will exempt us from the capital gains tax on the sale - something the previous offer would not have done.


Isn't God AMAZING???

Our plan is to move back to Colorado.  Both our families live within about an hour's drive of each other.  We are not finalized on our exact housing, but have some good options.  Doug has a few jobs lined up and since we will be debt free (yay!) we hope to make ourselves available to different ministry opportunities.  This would probably involve some road trips, volunteering and lots-lots-lots of prayer!

With the complications of bringing a nursing infant, providing childcare for Charissa, and now having to pack and move, we have decided not to attend the Village Missions Candidate School.  There will be another training in 6 months which we will be prayerfully considering.  By then, Brandt will probably be weaned and since our parents would be in the local area, childcare would not be as much of a problem.  We also feel that postponing would give us more time to decide if VM is exactly the type of ministry to which we want to commit.

I was very excited about the location of the training because my Mom's family lives in that area.   I was hoping to see them and introduce them to Brandt, their great-grandson.  Knowing how disappointed I was about missing that, my wonderful husband purchased me a plane ticket to Oregon.  I'm going to take Brandt and visit with my grandparents, cousins and aunts/uncles for a few days.  My Mom is flying out to see her family also!  It will be fabulous to have four generations together.

So, we have a lot of changes on our horizon, but they are good changes.  We are at peace with our decisions.  God is going before us revealing His will.  Although a great deal is still covered, we know He will show us in good time.  We have complete faith in Him and we even have each other for support along the way.


I know it will be amazing.

Discoveries

Yesterday, Brandt and I were having some bonding time.  This consisted of him standing in my lap while grabbing my hair in his strong fists and laughing hysterically as he yanked with all his might.  It also included me saying things like, "Oh no sir!  Little man-o doesn't graba Mama's hair-no.  It hurts Mama jus a wittle,"  and  "Oh my, dats so funny, huh?  *laughing*"

I try to expand my children's vocabulary and teach proper grammatical structure through example.

Or not.

Then we alternated tickled him and peek-a-boo with his blanket - something he has discovered recently.

During our little giggle session, I realized that Brandt now has a neck.  What had been little fat rolls is now a definable, almost smooth neck with little tanned lines where the creases had been.  He's such a grown-up.  I'm still in denial that he will be turning one next month.

Brandt, however, is enjoying the discoveries that come with maturity.  Toilet paper for instance.



I can't tell you how often this happens.  We had been putting the rolls on the back of the toilet but then it would run out and, without thinking, we'd replace it on the holder.  It is conveniently at the exact eye level of a particular paper muncher residing here.  He even has an older sister that opens bathroom doors for her own use then forgets to shut them.  What an excellent arrangement!


It's just barely surfacing, but he now has a second wee chomper.

"Oh Brandt!  What big teeth you have!"

"The better to chew up toilet paper, my dear!"

Saturday, March 5, 2011

Learning to Abide

My Mom tells the story about when I was little and fell over a curb in the grocery store parking lot.  A little old lady came and helped me up.  Once upright, I kicked my sweet helper swiftly in the shins.  

I always was "that child".

Little has changed since then.  So often I would rather drag myself around that parking lot trying to dodge cars on all fours, than to accept God's help to stand and be led to safety.  I often stand stubbornly before God and say, "I don't have to hold your hand.  I can stay on the sidewalk myself.  I can do it just fine on my own.  ME DO IT!"

But then something sparkles in the parking lot and because I'm not holding His hand, I'm running after it.  The sparkle, it's only a broken piece of glass.  Worthless and even sharp as it cuts me - but it's mine, mine, mine!  I found it on my own!  So pretty!  As I merrily skip around with my pigtails flying in the breeze, the inevitable curb of my own incapability trips me and I fall flat on my face.  Even then I try to make it on my own, sometimes even kicking clumsily at what I know will help me.  Even though I don't consciously think it, my actions say that I don't want to hold His hand.  I'm doing just find down there on the ground admiring my little treasures.  But then I finally start crying, realizing the pain I'm in, asking for help to stand and get back to the safety of His ways.

I'm so thankful God rescues me again, and again, and again...

The sparkles can be anything - affirmation from others, socialization, knowledge...things that could be considered good, but I am not holding God's hand when I grab them.  That makes them dangerous and worthless.  Dangerous because I begin to think I'm doing alright alone.  Worthless because they are not in His timing, and I'm not thanking Him for the gift.  And because they are in the parking lot of the world and not from His hand, they shatter even as I triumphantly wave them in the air. 

Taking captive every action for God's glory is hard. 
Taking captive every thought for God's glory is harder.

Without God's hands guiding me, it is impossible.

It's a daily struggle for me, this abiding in Him, and I'll be perfectly honest:

The internet has become my shiny piece of broken glass.

I am not seeking excellence in my housekeeping.  My children don't have their mama as much as they should.  My husband wonders why I'm on the computer so much.  Most importantly, I'm not spending the time I need in the Word.

So I'm saying goodbye for a little while.  I'll be checking my e-mails once a day so if you want to comment, I'll see it.  Please pray with me as I seek to abide, to trust, to hold His hand and walk even closer with Him.  I will be praying the same for you :-)

And if you feel led, we'd so appreciate your financial support.  Thank you!

"Do not be deceived, my beloved brothers.  Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights with whom there is no variation or shadow due to change."
James 1:16-17

"For though we live in the world, we do not wage war as the world does. The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world. On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds. We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ."
2 Corinthians 10:3-5

Behind our pond

Jammies - the new look

Loyalty

Gift - A Winter Bouquet

Friday, March 4, 2011

Dah Pwincess Says...

...dis week was a wittle cwazy and stwessful.


 But now...

IT'S FWIDAY!!!


So I get to eat pizza and watch a MO-vie wiff my famwy.
And den I get to eat ICE CWEAM.  


Dear God, Tank you for my famwy and for ice cweam.  Amen.

Almost Twins


The day I found out about Brandt's habitation in my womb was also the first of a three-day VBS at my friend  Angie's church.  I was helping out and we were carpooling back and forth.  The second day, we were driving back when she got a text from her husband.  It said "I had a dream that you're pregnant".  She laughed, "Not me!  Maybe someone else."  I sat there feeling nauseous and wondering if the pregnancy vibes were emanating from me like bluish tinted vapors.

A couple weeks later, Angie dropped by my house.  She said, "Hey, I wanted to tell you that I'm pregnant!"  Well, obviously I couldn't just sit there smiling, nodding and congratulation without sharing that I was too!  Our due dates were around a week apart.  She was the first to know - besides Doug, of course.  And maybe her husband knew before any of us???  He's a strangely intuitive like that.

I can't tell you what a blessing it was to have a prego buddy.  I could call and moan about my body falling apart and my desire to eat everything and I knew that she understood what I was talking about.  We could also share in the excitement, the little kicks and hiccups, our insane desires to nest.  She came and took pictures of Brand's birth.  Her little man was born 4 days afterward. 

Yesterday, Angie's three munchkins came to visit.  It was like having one older child and two sets of twins!  If they were as cute and well behaved as Angie's...I think I could handle it full time...I think.




(The tub is my classy way of making sure the gate stays put on the porch.)

Angie and I are still great friends.
Having the same Savior in common is the best part of our friendship :-)

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Village Mission Candidate School!

I am so excited to tell you that we received our official invitation to Village Mission's candidate school!  We are so excited :-D  The United States is becoming one of the most needy mission fields in the world today, especially in the rural areas without active churches. Read more at www.village-missions.org

Thank you so much for your prayerful support! We can't wait to see the ministry God has laid out for us!!!

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Someone is THREE!!!

Last Saturday, a very important person celebrated three years of life.  I'll give you some hints: 

- She loves baking, the color pink, and stringing beads.

- She thinks Daddy is the best person on earth.

- She prays for protection from thunder, wolves and "tings dat go 'ah-wooo'".

- She believes herself to be a Pwincess.

- Unless she is a kitten, in which case she refers to herself in the third person as "Dah Kitty".

- And if she isn't a Pwincess or Dah Kitty she is named "Sheh-wee" and can be any number of things.

- She kisses her brother, brings him toys, then sits on his head.

- She likes to snuggle bug, read books and have her back scratched.

- She has Jesus in her heart.

- She made me a mother.

- I love her.

Happy Birthday to dah Pwincess Kitty Snuggle Bug!

I don't know what I'd do without you!