Wednesday, December 22, 2010

A Blessing for You This Season..

May the LORD draw us more and more unto Himself! May we meditate, not upon the babe in the manger, but upon the One who is everlasting, our Creator, the Great I AM, who came in the flesh to show us how we should walk, and to save us from our sins. May the Lord remove the taste of the world from our mouths. Let us strive to yield our will and our flesh to learn what His will is, and to perform it during this brief pilgrimage. His grace and peace be upon each of us who make HIM Lord!

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

The Apple of His Eye

I was singing a blessing over the children tonight, and part of it goes like this:

"May the light of His countenance always shine upon your way. May His Spirit be ever by your side. May He hide you and hold you in the shadow of His wings, always keep you as the apple of His eye..."


As I tucked daughter #2 into bed, she asked me how all of us can be the apple of His eye. Daughter #1 answered, "God has a REALLY BIG eye."

I thought that was so funny! But they got me to thinking about the apple of the eye. It is the most sensitive, most guarded and protected part of the body. Each eye is nestled in a boney cove of the face, covered by a lid and lashes which keep dust and other matter from touching it and causing irritation or damage. When something flies toward the eye, the reflexes are quick to defend it. What a lovely thought, that the Lord protects His own as the apple of His eye! Isn't that where you would like to be?

"Shew thy marvellous lovingkindness, O thou that savest by thy right hand them which put their trust in thee from those that rise up against them. Keep me as the apple of the eye..." ~ Psalm 17:7-8

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Restful Day

Today has been such a great day spent resting, reading and reflecting on God's Word. Today was the Sabbath day, yes, the seventh day that God established from the beginning to be a day of rest.

"And God blessed the seventh day, and sanctified it: because that in it he had rested from all his work which God created and made." ~ Genesis 2:3

For a long time I've wondered about the fourth commandment. When I would think about it, it didn't seem right that it is largely ignored. Do we not hold the Ten Commandments as the foundation of all laws, to honor God and benefit mankind? How is it that we have forgotten the one commandment which begins with, "Remember"?

"Remember the sabbath day, to keep it holy. Six days shalt thou labour, and do all thy work: But the seventh day is the sabbath of the LORD thy God: in it thou shalt not do any work, thou, nor thy son, nor thy daughter, thy manservant, nor thy maidservant, nor thy cattle, nor thy stranger that is within thy gates: For in six days the LORD made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that in them is, and rested the seventh day: wherefore the LORD blessed the sabbath day, and hallowed it." ~ Exodus 20:8-11

I've heard a few explanations why this one commandment no longer applies to us, or that the Sabbath day was shifted from the seventh day to the first day of the week, and yet I see no mandate in Scripture to make any such change. On the contrary, it was given as a perpetual sign of God's covenant with His people. Are you one of His?

"Wherefore the children of Israel shall keep the sabbath, to observe the sabbath throughout their generations, for a perpetual covenant. It is a sign between me and the children of Israel for ever: for in six days the LORD made heaven and earth, and on the seventh day he rested, and was refreshed." ~ Exodus 31:16-17

And, yes, it's even for those who are not born Israelites..

"Also the sons of the stranger, that join themselves to the LORD, to serve him, and to love the name of the LORD, to be his servants, every one that keepeth the sabbath from polluting it, and taketh hold of my covenant;" ~ Isaiah 56:6

"And if ye be Christ's, then are ye Abraham's seed, and heirs according to the promise." ~ Galatians 3:29

The Sabbath is not a hard commandment to keep, but it is a pleasure! And it brings God's blessings on the ones who observe it.

"Blessed is the man that doeth this, and the son of man that layeth hold on it; that keepeth the sabbath from polluting it, and keepeth his hand from doing any evil." ~ Isaiah 56:2

I hope that you observe God's day of rest, too. After all, it was made for your benefit!

"The sabbath was made for man..." ~ Mark 2:27

Vanity Cakes and Navajo Fry Bread

Our Little-House-On-The-Prairie-inspired experiment with "vanity cakes" was, as the preacher said, "vanity and vexation of spirit". They would not puff up, but ended up to be small balls of egg-y bread. Not what we aimed for, but they were edible. I think the next time we try it, we will not add so much flour to the batter. (It's supposed to be sticky.) If you've ever attempted making these, or would be brave enough to try, let me know how it goes!

...But since we had the frying fat hot, we made some Navajo Fry Bread! We like to make it from time to time. It's so yummy, and it makes for an easy meal, with whatever toppings you have available. We top it with refried beans, salad and either dressing or salsa. Good stuff! We used this recipe this time. The bread came out slightly crisp on the outside, soft on the inside, with a yummy, brown flavor. Very good!

Thursday, October 7, 2010

*Sneaking back in*

So, yes, I've been away on an unplanned respite from blogging. A lot has happened in the last four or five months; more than I can write about! There was the night I was bitten by a street dog, and the subsequent round of rabies shots. (That made me so sick.) Then something wonderful: my parents' visit! They stayed with us for a week or two, and we went to Peten for the first time to see the Tikal ruins. Then more sickness, a brief hospital stay and a seizure. I'm just thankful that the Lord carries us through these things, and draws us closer to Him. Isn't that what life is all about? Learning to walk with Him, and also encouraging others to walk with Him.

..There are so many things He has taught me that I want to share. In good time! For now, I'll just say I am glad to be back in Blogland.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Making Flour Tortillas

I've posted before about making homemade tortillas, but back then I had issues with making the tortillas come out round. My children were guessing the animal shapes (I wasn't making any on purpose), and while it's true that a homemade tortilla in any odd shape is just as yummy, they hold the veggies and the salsa so much better when they are round! So here is the technique I've learned, through much experience, on video just for you.

¡Buen provecho!


video
*Special thanks to my camera girl, Jessica!*

Points to remember (in case you can't hear what is said on the video):

1) Start with a smooth, seamless ball. You can spread the dough ball smooth over the top, pinching it underneath, and pat it smooth.

2) Roll it out flat a little at a time, in all directions.

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Free time?

So we had been invited to a special service at a sister church located about 45 minutes from here. Daniel is scheduled to preach, and our family to sing several songs. Tonight would be our fourth night being at church this week, and I could tell the children really didn't have their hearts in it. I couldn't blame them. We all get tired of being "out"!

Then my husband calls the pastor of that church to confirm the time we needed to be there. He said, "Oh, didn't I tell you? That has been moved to next week!" When their dad announced the news, the children rejoiced! Free time! Nowhere to go, nothing to do. Yeeeaaaah!

So what did they do with their free time? They went upstairs to sing and "play church". :o)

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

How many are too many?

These days are busy days, and things can get hectic with a household of nine. Not that I would have it any other way! My mother-heart smiles a thousand times a day at the sweet and funny things that happen at my house. Though I might complain a little from time to time, I would not have anybody think that I would exchange my family for a smaller one.

Sometimes people ask if we are "done" (meaning "done having children"). Some are critical, others just curious. I'm developing a tougher skin for the ones that make thoughtless remarks about us having too many children. (Which ones would they have us get rid of?)

We've decided to take our hands off the controls, and leave this matter of family planning in the Lord's hands. Since we made that decision, I admit I've gotten sort of panicky at times, wondering where this road would take us. I admire families like the Duggars, but I am no Michelle Duggar! I do not have it all together, and do not always have a sweet, low voice when dealing with the children's - well, childishness.

But I've noticed that with each child born we have grown, not just in family size.. but WE have grown. My husband adapts and becomes more and more wise about leading and providing for a larger family. I am becoming better and better at home management and, yes, a more patient mommy. My older children learn more about forbearance and yielding their will to another as we make room for the new little one. I notice my two older girls (9 and 11) are taking on more household duties willingly and even cheerfully. (I don't think I ever did that when I was their age.) We live frugally, and find cheap or free ways to have fun.

I love my large family! Things are not perfect, but they are better than they've ever been. There is so much grace available along the way, as long as we admit our mistakes, forgive one another, and keep on growing together.

I don't foresee being physically able to have more than twelve, though it will probably be less. But for us, there is no number that is "too many".

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

hope.

As difficult as it is to deal with the death of someone we love, the Christian has this important consolation: Death is not the end. Death is only the beginning of real living! Because we see things with human eyes, it is easy to think we are bodies with souls within. But is it not better said that we are souls with bodies? In light of eternity, our life in this body is but a "vapour, that appeareth for a little time, and then vanisheth away."

...Just a little while, and we will be with our Abba Father. What a precious time awaits!

"So when this corruptible shall have put on incorruption, and this mortal shall have put on immortality, then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written, Death is swallowed up in victory. O death, where is thy sting? O grave, where is thy victory? The sting of death is sin; and the strength of sin is the law. But thanks be to God, which giveth us the VICTORY through our Lord Jesus Christ." (I Corinthians 15:54-57)

Thursday, April 15, 2010

death.

Yesterday as we got ready to go to our midweek church meeting, I never imagined how the evening would turn out. I never imagined I would be holding and crying with a mother as she mourns the loss of her young daughter. Never thought I would find myself consoling my daughters over the loss of their friend. Life is so very fragile, and only God knows how much time each of us have in this world. I want to write about it, but words fail me now. I ache for her mother, Ruth, and pray for her constantly.

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Complete in Thee



Complete in Thee! no work of mine
Could take, dear Lord, the place of Thine;
Thy blood hath pardon bought for me,
And now I stand complete in Thee.

Refrain:
Yea, justified! O blessed thought!
And sanctified! Salvation wrought!
Thy blood hath pardon bought for me,
And glorified, I too, shall be!

Complete in Thee - each want supplied,
And no good thing to me denied;
Since Thou my portion, Lord, wilt be,
I ask no more, complete in Thee.

Complete in Thee! No more shall sin,
Thy grace hath conquered, reign within.
Thy voice shall bid the temptor flee,
And I shall stand complete in Thee.

Dear Saviour! when before Thy bar
All tribes and tongues assembled are,
Among Thy chosen I shall be,
At Thy right hand, complete in Thee.

Author, Aaron R. Wolfe 1821-1902
Refrain, James M. Gray 1851-1935

Thursday, March 11, 2010

On dancing.

Now let me begin by saying I'm a born and bred, independent, fundamental Baptist-to-the-bone, and I'm as conservative as they come. No, more so. But before I'm any of that, I am a Bible Believer, a follower of Jesus Christ. So as I read in my Bible, sometimes I come across passages that make me reconsider things I heard or thought as I was growing up. One of those things is that all dancing is sinful. In fact, a joke among us when anyone moves with a flourish is to say, "We're Baptist. We don't dance."

I was reading on a forum where someone asked advice about how to train their children, mentioning as a specific example, when to get them to stop dancing to music. I think people in my camp have been rather overreactive (made that word up) about dancing, thinking that all dancing is inherently wrong. Now there is no doubt that some types of dancing are sinful. But do we toss out all dancing because of that?

Reading the Bible, I see Miriam and the other women of Israel dancing for joy when God miraculously delivered them all from being slaughtered by the Egyptian army. I see David's exuberant dance before the Lord when the ark of the covenant was returned. There have been times in my life when I was fairly bursting to dance for joy a la Fraulein Maria in the Austrian Alps!

With children, I daresay it is well nigh impossible to squelch the dance out of them. Little ones naturally respond to music, and I encourage that because they are developing their sense of rhythm and timing, for one thing. But more importantly, they are learning to be joyful! Someday their understanding will awaken, and their joy-dances will be unto the Lord, and not simply a reaction to good music.

Speaking of good music, I've noticed that the way babies move their bodies is directly related to the type of music they are hearing. Melodious music causes them to make graceful, sweeping motions. Light-hearted, toe-tapping music does just that, makes the feet tap or stomp, and the head to bob back and forth.

An ungodly beat, however, seems to move the hips and shoulders more. I do not know why or how, but that is what I've seen. Someone gave me the link to a video that they thought was cute. It showed a child, perhaps a year old, dancing to a music video that was so wicked I was amazed that anyone would show it to their child, let alone encourage them to dance to it. The way that little baby moved further affirmed my suspicions about types of music and the body parts they move.

No doubt there are types of dance that Christians should not perform. Satan has his wicked version of all things godly, but we should not allow him to kill our expressions of joy and praise to our God. Did not our Creator put it in us?

I hope my children never stop dancing for joy! There are few things more beautiful to me than the sight of my children dancing. So as they grow, how shall we keep dancing pure, and not fall into sensuousness and sin? Simply by following the same guidelines of Scripture that apply to other areas of life:

1) Do it as unto the Lord, and not to be seen of men (as in, mankind). (Ephesians 6:6-8)

2) Men and ladies who are not married to one another should not come in physical contact. (I Corinthians 7:1-2)

3) Dance should not be performed in a way that arouses sexual desires in others, causing them to stumble. (Matthew 5:27-28)

I'm sure there are other guidelines that would help. Can you think of any more?

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Little Girls and Modesty

Well, my eldest daughter will be twelve this year. Last year she started to - umm, develop - and I'm trying not to PANIC! She has a very lovely, womanly shape already, and let me tell you I am more thoughtful of what she wears now than ever.

It occurs to me that T-shirts and other knit tops are no longer modest for her, unless worn underneath her dresses and jumpers. Why? Because those knit shirts show her form. Already. Before she is really even developed.

So now we are looking for tops that do not cling, but hang loosely down in the front, and do not fit closely.

Also, her skirts and dresses must not be made of a stretchy/clingy material (such as knit). Knits are for toddlers, ha ha.

My girls are such beautiful treasures! I want to teach them by example and by what clothes I buy or make for them, that the body is beauty to be concealed, and never exposed to the eyes of the general public.

I guess I'm a little nervous, yet excited as I recall the giddiness I felt when I was that age! I sense a peace and protection toward my modestly-dressed girls. Their fair skin and soft blond hair draws enough attention already. The LAST thing I want to do is to draw attention to their bodies by allowing them to dress immodestly. They are too precious, too sweet, too holy for putting on display so cheaply.

Monday, February 22, 2010

Picnic on the Mountain

The sun touched the top of the mountain almost an hour ago, and daylight is nearly spent. I am just sitting here, pondering the wonderful day we had!

After a good breakfast (everybody's favorite: pancakes), there was school all morning with my firstborn, whose object is to finish as rapidly as possible so she can devour another book of her choosing; my overachiever who wants to do MORE than her assigned lessons for the day; my son who says he can't read but when he focuses his mind on it, zips through a whole paragraph with very few mistakes; and my littlest student, for whom school is just a fun game.

At lunch time we all piled into the truck and headed out for a mountainside picnic, as per Daddy's suggestion. What an awesome school principal! ;o)




We drove up a road so steep I think all the color drained from my face. (Thank the Lord for four-wheel drive!)


We found a nice spot, ate our lunch, and then played and climbed around. The children collected all sorts of goodies from the forest, and some got their hands all sticky with fragrant tree sap. (I love that smell!)


Jessica's colorful collection looks good enough to eat!




(That's baby Jeannette, sleeping through it all.)


The sun was warm, the breeze delicious, and we were surrounded by God's creation to enjoy to the fullest! It was lovely.

Driving down the mountain was not as scary as driving up had been. Three of the children fell asleep on the drive home, and the rest of us needed a nap by then.


Slept pretty hard myself. ;o)

Baby Jeannette awakened from her nap ready to nurse. She is such a sweet, smiley baby, and a delight to her mama. Then we folded some diapers, did some general straightening around the house, and now it is supper time.

Today was just so refreshing! I felt the face of Jehovah shining down on us like the sunshine. Tomorrow may not be so perfect, and things might go "wrong". But a day like today reinforces my joy in the knowledge that God cares for us. I just wanted to share it with you.

Friday, February 19, 2010

J.B.'s birthday!


Four years ago the Lord gave us our John Benjamin. What a sweet, funny little guy he is! Always sensitive, a lover, not a fighter.. He defers to his brothers and sisters more often than not. When he opened some presents we got for him, he happily allowed his siblings to play with his new toys. I doubt I ever did that when I was four, ha ha!

So here are FOUR things I love about our J.B..

1) His sweet, kind nature.

2) His willingness to help with chores at home.

3) His sense of fun and adventure.

4) His amazingly limber little body. He jumps, falls, runs and climbs like a little spider monkey! LOL

I love you, J.B.! Happy birthday! :oD

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

To the Watchman..

This is not the first time I have dreamed of the last days. I believe they are coming (because I believe the Bible), and perhaps we are raising the last generation of Christians. How will we prepare them for the days to come? We must teach them to love Christ above all, to cling to Him when it has become dangerous to their person to do so. We much teach them to walk closely with the Lord. He will be their Guide and their Comfort in times of difficulty and distress. If we would have them stand and not fall, we must pray for them as the Lord Jesus prayed for us. We must train their minds and bodies to endure temptation and hold tenaciously to that which is right. we must teach them to be wise as serpents but harmless as doves. The day may come when the Gospel must be given out in secrecy where you are. (But given out, it shall be!) Will they be wise enough to find ways to accomplish the great commission when evil forces make it (almost) impossible?

Fellow missionaries, think not that you shall always be free to serve where you are. Think not that you have much time to accomplish His will for the people you serve. The world's climate continues to change, and being a carrier of the Gospel will not always be so easy or so popular. Watchman! what of the night? What is the state of your people? Are you preparing them for the judgment to come? Or will their blood be upon your hands?

Are your lamps trimmed and ready? The Bridegroom cometh! He does not come at a time that we think He will. We must watch and be ready at any time.

Fear not the persecution of the Church. History has borne out that the suffering of the saints is the seed of the Gospel, and the true Church will live on. Despise the facade of "religion" that only serves to temporarily soothe the conscience and lull people to sleep. But cling to Christ! Be faithful to the end. Read and memorize the Word, and learn Who will be victorious in the end.

Sunday, February 7, 2010

These critters in my house..

They run rampant, if we're not careful!



Luckily, I have a strong and brave hubby who can keep those critters under control. :o)

God and mothers.

"He shall feed his flock like a shepherd: he shall gather the lambs with his arm, and carry them in his bosom, and shall gently lead those that are with young." Isaiah 40:11

(Italics mine.)

As I try to ease back into the groove of things after adding a newborn to our mix, the reality hits that "the groove" has to change a bit. These last six weeks have had their stressful times, and some nights with less sleep than I like, but God's grace is always sufficient. I love this verse in Isaiah chapter forty! The Lord seems to have tender regard for mothers with young children, and there is a special grace available to us. In the midst of caring for my brood of seven little lambs I, too, am being shepherded with tenderest care.

There are some adjustments to be made still as everyone is scooting over to make room in the family for our sweet little Jeannette Abigail. I'm thankful for God's tender care, and for the rest He gives when we lean on Him!

I love our new little one. Isn't she beautiful?

Monday, February 1, 2010

Life with a new baby

Wow, it's February already, and our new baby is six weeks old. Time flies! (It's cliche, but it's so true!) And though I know the time was filled with valuable things like loving and caring for a newborn and making adjustments as a family, it almost feels as though January is missing from my life (just as it's missing from my blog, ha ha).

Recovery seems to be taking longer this time. I've learned that is so for two reasons: she was big, and she came quickly!

So anyhow.. I'm still here! Just wanted to reassure my readers. All two of them. ;o)

A little poetry..

The sky is blue, the clouds are few;
The mountains are bluish-green.

The trees are green, the grass is yellow,
And plowing yonder ground is a fellow.

The birds are singing, a baby is cooing,
And LIFE seems so pretty to me!

~By Jessica Coates, age 11