Friday, July 29, 2011

Let the Little Children Come

I didn't do an Open Heart, Open Home post yesterday because I've been kicking myself pretty hard lately on this blog and it was just too mentally taxing to do more of it yesterday. But when you need a good kick, sometimes it's good to just do it. Makes you better and all. So here goes...

Chapter 7 - Telltale Marks
Linked with The Common Room's study of this book.

peaceful morning

Do you find that sometimes the people you love the most are the people you treat the worst? Maybe it is that level of comfort and familiarity that makes us feel like we can be rude and impatient with our family, but it ought not to be so. In addition to being hospitable and loving to guests, we must be hospitable and loving to our family. It starts at home.

And it starts with a welcome.

Preacher Man works from home. He leaves for Bible studies during the week, but his schedule changes so often that it is not always predictable. I have often read the advice that a wife should prepare to greet her husband when he comes home by freshening up, making the environment peaceful for him, and by welcoming him with a kiss. I think it is wonderful advice, but it doesn't work very well for the life we live. And really, that is ok. I adopt that practice for the occasional out of town trip he takes, but finally I tried to look for what does work for us on a day to day basis. For him, it is greeting him with a cup of coffee in the morning and refilling his cup when it's empty. He says this is the sweetest thing I can do for him, and how difficult is it to bring him a cup of coffee? It is my pleasure to do this small gesture for him. I enjoy pleasing him.

I used to work with a girl who told me that she brought her fiance a cup of ice water one evening and that he thought it was so sweet of her. She was taken aback by that and said, "I hope he doesn't think I'm going to do that when we get married!" I tried to gently advise her that it would, in fact, be a good practice once they were married, but I'm not sure how successful I was in conveying my thoughts. How backwards is our world if we are bombarded with the message from girlhood that you should serve your guests a drink with love and kindness, but don't you dare serve your husband a glass of water with a loving smile?

And how about our children? Do we serve them with a smile too? I have made a habit of greeting each child as they awaken from bed or from a nap with a hug and a smile, with a cup of water and a little snack soon to follow. I want them to know that I am happy to see them and be with them. Sometimes it is annoying if their waking times out when I am in the middle of something "important". I struggle with my attitude towards these interruptions in my life. I must remind myself daily that these precious souls are more important than any thing.

Proverbs 31:26 - She opens her mouth with wisdom, And on her tongue is the law of kindness.

Jesus loves the little children. All the children of the world.

We sing the little song, we remember the sweet story of Jesus welcoming the little children to come into His arms.

Matthew 19:14 - but Jesus said, "Let the little children come to me and do not hinder them, for to such belongs the kingdom of heaven."

To quote the wisdom of Charlotte Mason, "Children are born persons." Children are little souls made in God's image. Children are a heritage and a blessing.

This is such a Christlike quality, this hospitality toward children. It is not simply a matter of being open toward our own, difficult as that often is, but it requires that we accept, encourage, and want those born of someone else, whether we are married or not, whether we have children of our own or not. The story of Christ blessing the children is not only for the nursery but for adults as well. If He could welcome the interruption of His ministry by wiggling, wonderstruck, bouncing, impertinent humanity, can we dare do less?

If we would be like Jesus, we will be welcoming to children. We will welcome children with all of their impulsiveness, annoying habits, noise, energy, interruptions, laughter, tears, rudeness, and occasional yuckiness that is inherent in being a child. Now I am NOT saying that children should not be taught manners, self control and how to clean up after themselves. Those things are very important and I start working on teaching those things from infancy. But if we really think about it, we will see that children are not miniature adults. They are works in progress. They are learning, and how can they learn unless we take the time to teach them patiently with grace and love. Being annoyed and just brushing off children does not help them learn and mature, it just enhances our own selfish feelings. This goes for the children that live with us as well as the children we encounter throughout our lives.

This is not easy for me. You may have the impression that I have a natural affection for all children, but honestly, I am easily annoyed by childish behavior. It is a challenge for me to overcome my natural feelings, but I believe that I am called upon by God to do so. This lesson is as much for me as for anyone.

How often do we as adults expect our children to do in their world what we fail to do in our own?


Help me, Lord, to remember what little attention it takes to open the eyes of youth to the glories of the world and to the Kingdom which exists.

We are on the verge of the teen years in our home. I am tempted to draw these children behind the protection of our several walls, to raise my banner of isolation-ism against this crass society. Yet my head knows this is sin... I must swing open those hinges and allow my offspring to forage and explore. I only hope that we have made them feel so welcome in these early years that they will want to hurry home and bring the friends they've discovered home as well.

Since I am still in those early years, this passage strengthens my resolve to daily invest in my children. These are the years that really, really count. These years lay the foundation for our lifelong relationship. Lord, please help me to build a strong foundation for my children.

Proverbs 14:1 - The wise woman builds her house, But the foolish pulls it down with her hands.

What are some ways you show hospitality to those who live in your home?

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Surprises in the Garden

volunteer squash

I've been a little restless these past couple of weeks. I'm getting impatient. I'm still getting a bit of lettuce and kale thanks to my nicely shaded lettuce pots. I have a lovely host of fresh herbs, but I'm not getting any other large vegetables right now except for one or two little peppers a week. This just isn't cutting it.

I'm playing the waiting game, and I didn't realize that this is what would happen when I planted so many late summer vegetables. I also didn't realize that pole beans take longer to grow than bush beans. Maybe next year I'll plant some of both! Hopefully soon, the green beans will be ready to saute with a fresh tomato or two. I have to admit, I am green with envy when I see my southern friends feasting on tomatoes and watermelons! It's hardly fair!

The peas have been pulled out and brussel sprouts have been planted in their place for the fall. A few recent discoveries have kept me excited about our garden.

Do you like surprises? When it comes to the garden, I LOVE them! I love seeing the volunteers that come up each year. This year, I have a magnificent butternut squash vine growing out of my compost box! I also have several nice tomato plants both in the compost box and in other surprising places. I think volunteers are fun, especially the mystery squashes! Sometimes they have to be ripped out when they grow too near more important plants, but I like to make room for them when I can.

Here is another surprise in my flower and herb garden. Do you know what it is?

hidden treasure

Let's zoom in for a closer look:


It's thyme! I was pulling weeds around the cilantro when I caught a distinct whiff of thyme. I looked in my hand, and what do you know? I had a sprig! I looked closer around the ground and found a sweet little patch. I weeded around it and even sacrificed some cilantro to make more room. I actually planted thyme along with the other seeds, but I didn't think it ever came up. It was a happy surprise to find it nestled under the daisies.

Well, it's a sunny day that actually isn't scorching hot, so I'm going to go enjoy it! I hope your day is just as lovely.

This post is a part of the Busy Mom's Guide to Frugal Gardening linkup.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Letting Go

I am joining The Common Room's study of Open Heart, Open Home by Karen Mains.

peaceful morning

Today, I'm taking a look at Chapter 6 - "On Serving and Being Served", which I think is especially poignant for a preacher's wife. Notice "a preacher's wife" is lower case. Being the wife of a preacher is not a "position", though at times it is wrongfully treated as one. Wives of preachers have unique struggles, joys, and challenges, and this chapter hits at the heart of some of them.

One thing I believe I have in common with the author is that in our home, what we do as the preacher and family is very much a lifestyle. (I wrote about that some time ago here.) It is our choice and it is who and what we want to be. It can also get overwhelming at times.

The first sentence of the chapter says:

One of the unhealthy syndromes which often develops in the clergy is an unstated attitude of, "I'm here to help you, you're not here to help me." It is rarely that crassly stated, but is usually subconsciously communicated. Ministers, as well as their congregations, need to realize that ministry is a two-way enterprise.

(Note, we do not use the term "clergy". My husband is not "ordained". He is simply a Bible teacher and serves our local group of Christians in that capacity.)

My first impression was that this was not really a problem for me. After all, I could name off several times I have asked for help. But the further I read and the more I reflected, the more I realized that there is often a "great divide". I have asked for help on superficial things including projects for the church and physical tasks, but when it comes to anything beyond that, I have remained self-sufficient and admittedly fearful of revealing personal weakness. Mrs. Mains says, "Each of us at some time should experience the taste of weakness."

Now I don't think we should contrive a situation of helplessness just for the sake of the experience, but I know that for me personally, pride would very likely push me to the edge of my sanity before I would ask for help. I don't think I am alone in this. It is very easy for Preacher Man and I to take burden after burden upon ourselves and our family, both spiritual burdens and physical tasks. We take our burdens to the Lord daily, but perhaps we need to do a better job taking our burdens to our brothers and sisters in Christ? I am learning that I do a dis-service to my brothers and sisters here when I do not use them and work together with them. We want people to get connected to our family of Christians here and sometimes people need help doing that. People like to be needed. People like to use their God-given talents to help.

We must learn how to balance this as we read in Galatians 6:1-5 - "Brothers, if anyone is caught in any transgression, you who are spiritual should restore him in a spirit of gentleness. Keep watch on yourself, lest you too be tempted. Bear one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ. For if anyone thinks he is something, when he is nothing, he deceives himself. But let each one test his own work, and then his reason to boast will be in himself alone and not in his neighbor. For each will have to bear his own load."

We learned we need to let go of those things which can't be done. It is simple but difficult to realize that the Lord is the head of the church. We are stewarding on His behalf within it. If there are personnel or program gaps, it is His problem.

I was floored when I read that. Of course I know the Lord is the head of the church. But how difficult is it for me to just let go and leave things undone? SO HARD! How difficult is it for me to let go and wait for another brother or sister to step in knowing that there is a chance that no one will and that it may cause a problem? SO HARD! See, I am very much a forward thinker, I'm detail oriented, and I'm a doer. These are all useful traits. It means that I look farther ahead than most people and notice what needs to be done or notice a problem long before it happens. Being a doer, it is in my nature to just quietly solve that problem myself. But this is not always healthy for me or for the rest of the congregation.

Preacher Man is helping me to learn this. I think it will be good for my future sanity, and for our fellow workers, but it is one of the hardest things I have ever done. So I am learning this life lesson - sometimes I can help by fixing a problem myself, but sometimes the best way for me to help is to let God take care of the problem. After all, He is the head of the church. Not every burden is my burden, and I need to let go of the ones that are not.

The chapter covers more than just this topic, but that is what was the most useful for me. So I will end now with one more little gem of encouragement:

Our homes are used to build one another, to bind ourselves together - not to create barriers of needless competition or comparisons. We can provide healing when we offer to one another small refuges from the battle.

Monday, July 25, 2011

The Heart of the Matter

Remember how I blogged about doing an online study of the book Open Heart, Open Home by Karen Mains? Well... I got overwhelmed with life. But you can read about chapters 1 & 2 here if you wish.

Evidence of being overwhelmed:

my desk runneth over

I entitled this picture, "My Desk Runneth Over". You think that doesn't look so bad? Well, it got worse. Much worse. Anyway, I've kept up with the reading, just not the blogging. In order to make up for lost time and share some of the gems from the book, I'm going to devote this week's blogs to the study. I would share the schedule with you here, but I fear my train will get derailed again, so we'll just plod along, shall we?

peaceful morning

I've been using sticky flags to mark passages that have been particularly meaningful to me and as you can see there are plenty of them! As with any work by man (or woman), this book has required some sifting... some chapters more than others. But I am continually astonished by some of the convicting passages in this book. This book is about hospitality. But more than just telling us the hows and whys of hospitality, it is about the WHOs... or rather the WHOMs if we are being all proper with our grammar. (Right grammarians? Because I are not one!)

  • the Holy Spirit - the Word working in us, transforming us, conforming us into the image of the ultimate whom...
  • Jesus - hospitable even when homeless, our example of ultimate love
  • Others - because it is all about others and our service to them
  • Me - my need for an Extreme HEART Makeover
God is tearing me down and re-building my heart into a palace fit for a King... for our One Sovereign God. And once this is accomplished, Biblical hospitality will flow from my heart as naturally as a stream flows from a mountain. And I think that is what this book is really about. (Though I can't speak authoritatively because I have only read through chapter 8.)

So.... A few thoughts from Chapter 5 - "The Servant"

Early Friday morning my Master woke me with, "Who do you think you are, ordering your life? You're my servant. You've given yourself to Me. It is I who orders your days and brings order into them.

Maybe that is the problem. Perhaps I have not FULLY given myself to God. Perhaps I am still hanging on to my part with a death grip, wrestling for CONTROL in my life. I think this is an excellent bit to add to my daily prayers.

"Lord, order my days according to Your will and help me to use the time You have granted to me to bring You glory."

Often we aren't servants to one another because we haven't allowed the Spirit to sensitize ourselves to one another's cries of need. People say, "I need help," in many different ways. Sometimes these messages are barely audible, fragments of sentences, a look, a sigh. Hearing the meaning behind these whispers demands the highly developed antennae of spiritually mature people... The simple point is that even these articulate, loving, and sensitive women simply had not heard the cry of help in a way that demanded action.

This passage pierced my heart and made me think of all of the times that I may have missed someone's quiet whisper for help. Perhaps I have not been as tuned in to my sisters in Christ as I ought to be. I know that I have a tendency to be overly self-focused, and perhaps I am not noticing the bedraggled looks from a battle-weary sister. Perhaps I have listened to someone's plea, and thought that in listening, I was serving, but missed the fact that action was needed. This realization makes me feel rather hopeless to accomplish the task and I do not think I possess the "antennae" of the "spiritually mature". The only way I know to do better is to pray about it. After all, we are told in James 1:5, "If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask God, who gives generously to all without reproach, and it will be given him."

"Lord, help me to be more in tune with the needs of the people around me and give me the wisdom to know when I am called to action."

Stay tuned for Chapter 6 - "On Serving and Being Served", a particularly poignant chapter for Preacher's Wives.

Joining The Common Room's study of Open Heart, Open Home by Karen Mains.

Sunday, July 24, 2011

"Footprints of Jesus"

Sunday Hymn Post

Sweetly, Lord, have we heard Thee calling,
Come, follow Me!
And we see where Thy footprints falling
Lead us to Thee.

Though they lead o’er the cold, dark mountains,
Seeking His sheep;
Or along by Siloam’s fountains,
Helping the weak.

If they lead through the temple holy,
Preaching the Word;
Or in homes of the poor and lowly,
Serving the Lord.

Though, dear Lord, in Thy pathway keeping,
We follow Thee;
Through the gloom of that place of weeping,

If Thy way and its sorrows bearing,
We go again,
Up the slope of the hillside, bearing
Our cross of pain.

By and by, through the shining portals,
Turning our feet,
We shall walk, with the glad immortals,
Heav’n’s golden street.

Then at last when on high He sees us,
Our journey done,
We will rest where the steps of Jesus
End at His throne.


Footprints of Jesus,
That make the pathway glow;
We will follow the steps of Jesus
Where’er they go.

By Mary Slade

Isaiah 6:8 - And I heard the voice of the Lord saying, "Whom shall I send, and who will go for us?" Then I said, "Here am I! Send me."

Matthew 16:24 -25 - Then Jesus told his disciples, "If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will find it."

John 8:12 - Again Jesus spoke to them, saying, "I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will not walk in darkness, but will have the light of life."

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Times of Rebuilding and Refreshing

I think that many of us, when Christ has enabled us to overcome one or two sins that were an obvious nuisance are inclined to feel (though we do not put it into words) that we are now good enough. He has done all we wanted him to do, and we should be obliged if He would leave us alone.

But the question is not what we intended ourselves to be, but what He intended us to be when He made us...

Imagine yourself as a living house. God comes in to rebuild that house. At first, perhaps, you can understand what He is doing. He is getting the drains right and stopping the leaks in the roof and so on: you knew that those jobs needed doing and so you are not surprised. But presently He starts knocking the house about in a way that hurts abominably and does not seem to make sense. What on earth is He up to? The explanation is that He is building quite a different house from the one you thought of — throwing out a new wing here, putting on an extra floor there, running up towers, making courtyards. You thought you were going to be made into a decent little cottage: but He is building a palace. He intends to come and live in it Himself.

C.S. Lewis from Mere Christianity

Well you could knock me over with a feather after I read that passage!

Psalm 127:1 - "Except the LORD build the house, they labour in vain that build it:
Except the LORD keep the city, the watchman waketh but in vain."

Praying that I will learn to welcome this tearing down, rebuilding process.

And today I am thankful for "times of refreshing".
You can tell by my lack of posts that June and July have been very hard months in our home. The work is not yet done, but I can see the light. These weeks have been wearing on me physically and spiritually, but this morning was a gift. I awoke after a good night of sleep and had over an HOUR of quiet time before anyone else got up! Checking my e-mail, I had a happy answer to several days of earnest prayer on behalf of a friend. I savored the morning, my coffee, and the thick-sliced bacon we ate for breakfast with our eggs and toast. I had some quiet time for reading, meditation, and prayer and even dozed on the couch just a little bit longer while I waited for someone else to wake up. I may have some hard work still ahead, but I tackle it with renewed energy and spiritual strength. Thanks be to God!

Friday, July 22, 2011

Look What Preacher Man Made!!

zoomed jewelry frame

It's a frame to hold my earrings! Isn't it great? I wear mostly french hook earrings and I made most of these myself. This earring holder is PERFECT! I love that I can see all of my earrings at once and that I don't have to hunt for a matching pair.

It helped the top of my dresser to go from this overflowing mess:

messy jewelry

To this:

cleaned up jewelry

And this:

jewelry frame

How did he make it you ask?

back of jewelry frame
  1. Take a $1 garage sale wooden picture frame and cut window screen to fit it.
  2. Attach it to the back with a staple gun.
  3. Cover up the rough edge - Preacher Man glued on cut up cereal box. I suggested that in the future we could use felt.
  4. Attach a picture hanger and put it on the wall.
  5. Insert earrings!
Wouldn't this make a great gift? Especially with a pair of handmade earrings attached? You could paint the frame if you wish, but this one didn't need it.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Munchkin Munch Plate

munch plate

Isn't that pretty? I get so tickled when food looks pretty. Preacher Man thinks I'm a nut because of this, but there it is. :)

One of our favorite summer lunches is a simple "munch plate". The Littles love them, they can be so pretty, they are nicest with fresh fruit and veggies, you can use them to clean out odds and ends from the fridge, and they don't heat up the kitchen!

Sometimes I do themes, which is especially fun with toddlers and preschoolers. Orange is a very simple one: oranges (obviously!) or peaches, chunks of cheddar, goldfish crackers, carrot sticks

Most of the time, I just throw everything on a lunch plate, but if you have any sectioned plates around, that can be nice. Tiny bits in an ice cube tray is also quite fun.

You can use anything and everything, though finger food is preferable. Some inspiration:

  • nuts - we are partial to almonds
  • hard cooked egg or deviled eggs
  • chunks of cooked chicken or other bits of leftover meat
  • cheese cubes
  • hot dog cubes
  • rolled lunch meat
  • mini meatballs
  • apples
  • pears
  • mandarin oranges
  • sectioned oranges/grapefruit
  • peaches or nectarines
  • pitted cherries
  • grapes
  • banana chunks
  • mango
  • pineapple tidbits
  • raisins or craisins
  • strawberries, raspberries, blueberries, blackberries
  • chunks of melon
  • avacado chunks

  • fresh peas in or out of the pods (the ones in the picture were freshly shelled and uncooked)
  • bell pepper
  • cucumber
  • carrot sticks
  • broccoli florets
  • cauliflower florets
  • fresh green beans uncooked (surprisingly good!)
  • celery (my Littles don't like the strings though)
  • cherry tomatoes
  • mushrooms
  • radishes
  • sprouts

Carbs & Other:
  • dry cereal
  • cubes of bread
  • crackers
  • cooked pasta shapes
  • black beans or chickpeas (drained thoroughly)
  • pickles & olives
Do keep in mind that some of these are choking hazards and select and cut accordingly.

This post is a part of the Four Moms Lunch Menu Linkup.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Sun Tea...

...and other refreshing summer drinks.

Sun Tea

Oh how I love my sweet tea! But during the summer, I switch to making sun tea. It is such a cool, refreshing treat, and the little bit of caffeine seems to get me through the afternoon doldrums. It keeps my kitchen cooler since I don't have to boil a gallon of water on the stove and saves the cost of the electricity.

You've probably seen those sun tea jugs in the store - they are plastic with the nozzle on the bottom? I don't recommend them. It is very difficult to get the nozzle clean, and they will start to leak in a short time. I searched for over a year to find my current sun tea jug, mostly looking at garage sales for a large enough jar. I never did find one, but one day I stumbled across this jar at Target - the Ball gallon size jar, and it is PERFECT for sun tea. I paid $15 for it, which is much more than I would have liked, but considering my search has been going on for so long, I justified it and I'm very happy with my purchase.

How to make Sun Tea -
  • Fill the jug with about a gallon of water
  • I use 4 small tea bags of plain Lipton tea and 2 bags of mint
    (When I use mint, I don't need any sugar in my tea.)
  • Cover with some kind of fabric to keep bugs out. I recommend cheesecloth or a square cut up from old pantyhose. You can keep it snug around the top with a rubber band or the plastic ring that comes with the Ball gallon size jar.
  • Set your jar in the full sun for most of the day. (4-6 hours is good)
  • Remove the tea bags, serve immediately over ice, or chill it in the fridge
I am also fond of drinking my Luscious Lemony Water throughout the day. A sprig of fresh mint is nice in it too. In my original post, I said it cost $.06 per day, but I found a bag of a dozen lemons at Wal-mart this week for just $2.77. This brings my cost down to less than $.03/day! I also like to put a frozen lemon wedge in my sun tea.

For a special treat, reserved almost exclusively for company, I like to make strawberry or raspberry lemonade. I usually make lemonade from the frozen cans as I think it tastes the best, but admittedly, it is full of corn syrup. You can also combine 1 c. lemon juice (from lemons or from the bottle) with 1 c. sugar and heat it on the stove until it dissolves. Mix it with water until you have 2 qts. of lemonade. I run 2 c. frozen raspberries or strawberries through the food processor and add the pulp to the lemonade and it is as delicious as any fancy drink you could get at a restaurant!

Lastly, I sometimes enjoy an afternoon iced coffee. If I have leftover coffee from the morning, I mix in a little bit of chocolate syrup, milk and ice cubes. Don't bother paying the big bucks for a tasty treat you can make at home!

It's awfully hot out there! What drinks do you like to make at home to stay cool?

Tuesday, July 12, 2011


"creepers" going after a tomato plant

Weeding must be my least favorite job in the garden. It can be grueling. It's hot, it makes my back ache, and they just keep coming back. Like washing dishes and doing laundry, it seems like the job is never done. Still, it is extremely important.

Once upon a time, Church Mouse found out she was pregnant after planting the garden in the spring. Spending the first trimester of pregnancy (and all of the fatigue and nausea that goes along with it) in the heat of the summer meant that I did almost no weeding until August. What a mess I had on my hands! The weeds were as tall as the tomatoes, and it looked like the entire lawn had moved into our garden plot! I systematically cleaned things out, but I learned some lessons along the way.

First and foremost, I learned just how important it is to keep up with the weeds. Just doing a couple of rows a week would have made a huge difference. I also learned that there are many different kinds of weeds and each one likes to wreak havoc in its very own way.

  • My least favorite weeds are the "creepers". They are viney and trail along the ground, sending out runners with shallow roots. They entwine themselves around the plant. Disentangling them is very tricky and often causes damage to the plant. I can't tell you how many times I've pulled out a nice vegetable plant along with a weed, and that is always a sad moment.
  • A second type of weed are the ones with deep tap roots such as dandelions. If you pull them from their greens, they will snap right off and you may think you've gotten rid of the weed. The problem is that there is a deep tap root running down that will just sprout another weed top in a few days. It takes a lot of work to dig out the tap root, but it must be done if you want the weed gone for good.
  • Another nasty kind of weed are the pricklers. You may not realize what kind it is until you grasp it in your hand and OUCH! Pricklers make weeding a pain... literally!
  • Did you know there are weeds that imitate certain plant? Sometimes it is difficult to tell a weed and a plant apart. One year I lovingly tended what I thought was a tomato plant, giving it extra water and fertilizer. I felt both foolish and furious the day when I realized that it was a weed!

And finally, I learned a LOT about what kind of damage they can do. Weeds can kill a plant. They stifle and suck all of the nutrients away that should be going to the fruit. Weeds also shade and cover the base of the plants in a way that doesn't allow airflow. Plants are smothered and the cover from the weeds allows insects, larvae, pests, and mold to thrive, so you no longer just have to worry about weeds, but now you are dealing with a whole host of other nasty invaders. Yuck! Also, if the base of the plants aren't getting enough air and sun and remain too moist, they can rot out. And saddest to me is when the plants grow getting their support from the weeds themselves. When the plants and the weeds grow up side by side for too long and you finally decide to take the weeds away, the plant can be too weak to support itself. If weeds are not kept in check, the best case scenario is that your plants will not realize their full potential in bearing fruit. The worst case scenario is that the plant will die, being slowly choked out by the world. Oh did I say world? I meant weeds!

So now maybe you can guess what I plan to say tomorrow when I post "Wednesdays With the Word." ;)

The battle against weeds in your garden is a grueling one. Be vigilant! Be watchful! But more important,

1 Peter 5:8 - Be sober-minded; be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour.

This post is linked with the Busy Mom's Guide to Frugal Gardening.

Sunday, July 10, 2011

"Beyond This Land of Parting"

Sunday Hymn Post

Beyond this land of parting, losing and leaving,
Far beyond the losses, darkening this,
And far beyond the taking and the bereaving
Lies the summer land of bliss.

Beyond this land of toiling, sowing and reaping,
Far beyond the shadows, darkening this,
And far beyond the sighing, moaning and weeping,
Lies the summer land of bliss.

Beyond this land of sinning, fainting and failing,
Far beyond the doubtings, darkening this,
And far beyond the griefs and dangers befalling,
Lies the summer land of bliss.

Beyond this land of waiting, seeking and sighing,
Far beyond the sorrows, darkening this,
And far beyond the pain and sickness and dying
Lies the summer land of bliss.


Land beyond, so fair and bright!
Land beyond, where is no night!
Summer land, God is its Light.
O happy summer land of bliss.

By Mary Slade

Thursday, July 7, 2011



Today I'm thankful for Preacher Man and the way he helps out with house chores without my even asking. I don't realize just how much he does until he is gone and I have to do it all! He always carries out the recycling and garbage for me (often with help from a Littles). I'm oh-so-thankful for my Preacher Man.

I can't wait until he's home again and it isn't so I can have a garbage collector. I just miss having him around.

Well, it's off to bed for me. G'night!

Sunday, July 3, 2011

Come, Thy Long Expected Jesus

Sunday Hymn Post

Come, Thou long expected Jesus
Born to set Thy people free;
From our fears and sins release us,
Let us find our rest in Thee.
Israel’s Strength and Consolation,
Hope of all the earth Thou art;
Dear Desire of every nation,
Joy of every longing heart.

Born Thy people to deliver,
Born a child and yet a King,
Born to reign in us forever,
Now Thy gracious kingdom bring.
By Thine own eternal Spirit
Rule in all our hearts alone;
By Thine all sufficient merit,
Raise us to Thy glorious throne.

By Charles Wesley

Saturday, July 2, 2011

Open Heart, Open Home

I'm joining my blogging friends from "The Common Room" in a study on hospitality, reading the book Open Heart, Open Home by Karen Burton Mains.

Trade Books for Free - PaperBack Swap.
I actually got the book on Paperback Swap (it's more than paperbacks!) so it was virtually free. Paperback Swap is my favorite way to get books online! Click on the little button for more info.

So, I'm only two chapters into the book, but I am already inspired! Mrs. Mains encourages her readers to cultivate a heart for Biblical hospitality. I broke down the comparisons she made in chapter 2 between worldly entertainment and Biblical hospitality into a chart because that is the way my brain works. :) I found these ideas very humbling and they have caused me to re-examine my motives for hospitality. I'm afraid I have a bit more work to do to bring myself into line with true Biblical hospitality. Pride sneaks in all too often.

Come join in the study! Everyone is invited! Open heart, open blog. ;)

Worldly Entertainment

Biblical Hospitality

Seeks to impress

Seeks to minister

Puts things before people

Puts people before things

Works to hide our weaknesses

Allows people to see our humanity



Says, “This is mine”

Says, “What’s mine is yours”

Looks for payment

No thought of reward

Model is found on TV/magazines

Model found in God’s word

Friday, July 1, 2011

Toad in a Hole

aka - Eggs in a Basket


This simple breakfast is a favorite of ours. At a recent gathering, I was surprised to find out how many had never had this delicious treat. It is so simple to make - as easy as frying an egg!

Heat a seasoned iron skillet over medium heat and melt a Tbs. butter inside. When the butter starts to turn brown and nutty, cut a hole in a piece of bread with a biscuit cutter or just freehand it with a knife. Lay the bread in the skillet and crack an egg into the hole. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. When the bottom has set and begins to brown, flip it over. I like mine a little bit runny, so I cook them over-easy, but you can make you egg as well-done as you like it.

Cook your toast circles on the side and dip them in the runny egg. Mmmmm...

This dish goes by many names. What do you call it in your family?
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