No, this is not an announcement about any new additions to our family so just calm down already! This is about new additions to our church family. This weekend we had three baby dedications. It was awesome! They are a fun collection of little people. Two redheads and one brunette. Two boys and one girl. Two of them are the babies of the family and one is the firstborn. One has been as healthy as a horse, one has had many doctor visits, and one has been in the hospital so much that we are calling this one the miracle baby. Two of them were awake for the picture and one was sleeping like a log.
Don’t those mommies look beautiful? I think so, too. These three babies are unique and special in many ways. But seeing them be dedicated to the Lord made me realize what they all have in common. They are all loved. They are all a gift and a blessing. God has a great plan for all of their lives. And they will all be watching us, their church family, to model for them how to love and live.
Thank you, Lord, for this opportunity to watch them grow and to invest in their lives. It’s going to be such a great adventure!
Now that Thanksgiving has come and gone, our house is starting to look a lot like Christmas. And that means trees. We have three (so far). In the back room, there’s a little one that it all red and white. We call it the Coke tree because it’s the tree where Brent displays his collection of Coca-Cola ornaments. You’d be surprised how many different ways you can design an ornament with the Coke logo. They’re all cute and clever, and best of all, they all match. In the living room, is the tallest tree. All of the decorations for this one are gold and glittery and again, everything matches. It has the perfect balance of small, medium, and large ornaments. It’s right by the front window for all to see. We call it the Department Store tree, because it looks like we stole it right out of a fancy store, maybe in New York City. The last tree (until we somehow come up with some more) is in the family room by the kitchen. We don’t really have a name for this one yet. All of the ribbons match, but after that nothing matches. At all. Nada. It’s controlled chaos on a Christmas tree. Some of the ornaments were gifts. Some were homemade. Some were cute little things that I’d seen in the stores over the years and I just had to buy. Can anyone identify with this? But despite that chaos, this tree is definitely my favorite. It’s the most personal and represents the most memories. It’s the only one that actually has any evidence that a family lives in this house. If I had to get rid of all the other Christmas trees and could only keep one, I would the keep this one, the tree with no name. When I think about it, thought, it probably already has the perfect name: the Christmas tree.
It’s Thanksgiving! If I had to list all of the things for which I am thankful, this could turn into a ridiculously long post. So let’s keep it simple. I’m not going to get all mushy about the intangible blessings in my life, like relationships and love and feelings and all that stuff (including the people who read this blog). I am very thankful for those things, but for now I’ll keep my list to the concrete and practical. Three big things stand out to me. I am thankful that our family has:
a roof over our heads,
clothes on our backs,
and food on our table.
Everything else is just a detail. I hope and pray that I never get to a point in my life where I take these blessings for granted. Happy Thanksgiving to you all of you! Love, Heather
Almost every American family has some traditions about Thanksgiving. At our house, it all centers around a children’s book. When our eldest child was preschool age, we read Cranberry Thanksgiving by Wende and Harry Devlin. We love this little story so much that now we read it every November.
We use our homeschool curriculum to draw out lessons on the Pilgrims, New England, music, story structure, art, and so much more. But the best things about the story aren’t academic at all. The characters in the book are funny, flawed, and they learn a lot about hospitality and loving your neighbor. Using this book used to get a little tricky because it’s out of print and libraries don’t usually carry more than one copy. During the month of November, this book is in high demand. Sometimes the timing didn’t work out very well. Then last spring I found the book for sale online for a price I was willing to pay. And when it comes to shopping, I can be a tightwad! I felt like I had found a treasure!
The other “best thing” about this book is the cranberry bread recipe at the end. Not only is it an important part of the story’s plot, it’s a great chance to get everybody active and involved in the kitchen. We made a few loaves today to save for Thanksgiving dinner. It’s gonna be yummy!
measuring the ingredients
mixing everything together
Hot out of the oven!
Good morning, Lord. It’s Sunday again. I know that when this day comes every week, I have a job to do: pray for Brent. He’s my husband, my pastor, and my friend. I pray that he preaches your Word today in a way that is clear and effective. I pray that he is keenly aware of your presence, so that even if he’s the only person on the platform, he knows that he is never alone. I pray you’ll give him the energy he needs to fulfill this unique calling on his life. I pray you will give him discernment and wisdom as he interacts with people before and after the church services. Use him as your instrument to lead our church, to make disciples, and to be a servant for your kingdom.
Thank you for the opportunity and privilege to lift him up to you again in prayer.
Last week we took some time out to hang out as a family at Sun Mountain Fun Center. The kids really like the arcade. They enjoy collecting tickets for prizes and hanging out with all of those noises and lights. Am I the only parent who gets a headache if we’re there too long? Brent really likes the bowling. If you know him at all, you know that he likes to be competitive. He watches the game scores like a hawk and doesn’t enjoy losing. But that doesn’t stop me from trying to beat him! One thing we all love to do is the bumper cars ride. While we were there, Brent had some fun recording everybody on his phone to make a short video.
We like to involve our kids in what we do and make them a part of our lives. But we are learning that we need times, whether it’s a morning, an afternoon, or an evening, when the only agenda is to be with our children and give them our full attention. They are amazing people! We love them and we love spending time with them.
Nobody is more surprised than I am that we have a pet. And not just any pet, but we have a cat! We’ve really moved up the pet hierarchy from the days when all we had was a beta fish. And the only reason we had that fish was because someone left it in our bathroom sink while they were doing a prank in our house.
The kids have always asked for a pet, and this mom needed something low maintenance. Brent and I wanted the kids to be comfortable with animals and to have some added responsibility. So now we have a cat, adopted from the Humane Society. We named him Shadow because of his dark gray color and because for the first few weeks after we brought him home, all he did was hide in the shadows. He wouldn’t let anyone near him. It took a long time for him to shed his shyness with the kids. Now he lets them carry him everywhere! I’m amazed at how tolerant he is with them. Here’s a little video of Shadow’s adventures with a shopping bag:
At the beginning of the month, I said I was going to read one chapter a day in the book of Proverbs. Now that I’ve made it through the first half of the chapters, I’m realizing how much the Proverbs mention the importance of our words and how we use our speech. I’m sure we have all heard the saying, “Words are powerful.” Reading all of these verses in Proverbs has made me even more aware of what I say, especially to my family. If my words really are powerful, I want them to be a power for good. I think that maybe I needed to read all this wisdom about words at the beginning of my blogging adventure. Needless to say, it’s timely. Here are some highlights so far on the journey through Proverbs.
Above all else, guard your heart, for it is the wellspring of life. Put away perversity from your mouth, keep corrupt talk far from your lips. Proverbs 4:23-24
The lips of the righteous nourish many Proverbs 10:21a
The mouth of the righteous brings forth wisdom Proverbs 31a
A gossip betrays a confidence, but a trustworthy man keeps a secret. Proverbs 11:13
He who guards his lips guards his life, but he who speaks rashly will come to ruin Proverbs 13:3
And here’s a bonus selection that can give us some perspective in our current economy:
Better a little with the fear of the Lord than great wealth with turmoil. Better a meal of vegetables where there is love than a fattened calf with hatred. Proverbs 15:16-17
What are some Proverbs that have helped you?
Here is the recipe for my egg casserole that I brought to last Saturday’s meal. It’s from my “go to” cookbook, Stir Ups, which was a wedding present 15 and half years ago. I really like this cookbook because all of the recipes come from real cooks, whose kitchens and grocery budgets probably look a lot more like mine that anybody I might watch on TV. So this book is usually the first place I look when I need a recipe. I almost always double this recipe. And it’s great for company. Here you go:
2 cups croutons
4 oz. cheddar cheese, shredded
4 eggs, slightly beaten
2 cups milk
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. prepared mustard
1/8 tsp. onion powder
1/8 tsp. pepper
In bottom of buttered pyrex dish combine croutons and cheese. Mix remaining ingredients except bacon and pour over crouton mixture in casserole. Add bacon crumbles to top. Bake at 325 degrees for 50-60 minutes. May be prepared several hours in advance or overnight. Serves 6. Enjoy!
There are many ways to spend a Saturday morning. You could do yard work, laundry, run errands, or even watch cartoons. But on this morning, I was able to do something that I love: spend time with the ladies of my church. They are all so beautiful in every sense of the word. It’s always an encouragement be with them, listen to them, and share life with them. And a big thank you to all the ladies who worked hard to make the morning go so well. Here are a few snapshots.
A welcoming table