Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Be Not Weary

True progress quietly and persistently moves along without notice.
St. Francis of Assisi

Ever notice how some things suddenly seem to change overnight and then other times you can't notice that anything is changing? I've seen this in several areas of my life. In my Bible reading for one. Sometimes I feel like I'm really learning and applying the things God's teaching me and other times I feel like I'm reading and it's not doing much. The same is true for my piano playing. Some times I can note real progress in an area and other times I'm sure it's as dull and boring as the first day I started. (Maybe not quite that bad!)

So what do I do in those times when I don't notice any progress? When I don't feel like I am doing anything? I could stop but where will that get me? In ten years, I won't be able to play the piano. I won't know any more Bible and will have drifted away from God because I stopped reading when it didn't seem to be doing anything. I will have raised unruly children because I gave up on training them. That's a grim result. That is not the fruit I want from my life.

So I keep going. I keep going because I are not living life based on my feelings. I am keeping my commitments regardless of what the outcome is. I am not charged with the outcome, only my effort.

God's way always work. God's method will always bring about God's results which is what I want, right? And you know what God wants from me? Faithfulness. That's it. 1 Corinthians 4:2, "Moreover it is required in stewards, that a man be found faithful."

So I'll go plunk out those same three chords on the piano; read that Proverb again; repeat those same instructions to my toddler. I might not notice any change now but down the road I will see the fruit of my effort.

Galatians 6:9, "And let us not be weary in well doing: for in due season we shall reap, if we faint not."

Friday, February 24, 2012

Friday Favorites: Hospitality

I love having people over! I realize this is intimidating for a lot of people and sometimes it still is for me! But I've found some tips that help me get prepared and enjoy myself!

1. I'm not trying to impress anybody. (I'm not sure I could if I tried!) My goal is for our guests and my family to have a good time and be encouraged.

2. All my normal cleaning keeps my house up well enough that I don't have to freak out trying to get the place in decent order.

3. Pick easy meals. Have quick meals that don't require a lot of pots and pans or hands on work at the end. Crock-Pot meals, homemade pizza, subs, soups or pasta.

4. Do your prep work beforehand. Make dessert the night before or in the morning. Cut up your veggies or salads at lunch.

5. Clean as you are cooking. My goal is to not have a sink full of dirty dishes when we sit down to eat. Wash them as you are cooking. Then you just have to wash plates, cups, and serving dishes. Or use disposable dishes.

6. Training your children also allows them and your guests to enjoy the experience!

This picture doesn't really have to do with hospitality but isn't he cute? We were going outside to play in the snow on Monday!

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Precious Life

I'll be 12 weeks pregnant on Saturday. Life is so incredibly precious and we already treasure this small child. A Facebook friend of mine posted this picture and I was in awe at how perfectly tiny the baby is. You can google other similar pictures with the search "12 weeks gestation"; amazing!

It's totally beyond thought to me that there are people who believe that this is not a child. That it's just a clump of cells that you are within your rights to kill. What lies our generation have swallowed. How pathetic that there are those who would not only believe their own convenience is worth a life, even the tiniest life, but also entice others to walk that path. What burdens they must carry for the remainder of their lives.

Life is precious at all stages. Children are blessings; blessings that require a lot of work and sacrifice. But work and sacrifice make us much better people, teach us things we would never have learned if we chose an easier path. Children are a delight as well. Justin and I are continually talking about how much we enjoy Micah. God was so gracious to put him in our family.

The world needs to see something different. Children are not a nuisance, or a drain on finances, or the cause of your marriage problems, or the reason you don't get to fulfill your dreams. Those marriage/money/emotional problems were already there and you need to deal with them with your spouse and Godly counsel.

God says in Psalm 127, "Lo, children are an heritage of the Lord: and the fruit of the womb is his reward. As arrows are in the hand of a mighty man; so are children of the youth."
Reward: Recompense, or equivalent return for good done, for kindness, for services and the like. Rewards may consist of money, goods or any return of kindness or happiness. (Webster's 1828 Dictionary)
If we want to adopt God's viewpoints, let's embrace what He says about children. Psalm 119:128 states: "Therefore I esteem all thy precepts concerning all things to be right; and I hate every false way." God is always right. And the devil always has lies to combat the truth. Are we embracing the truth or the lies?

Please note that I am not saying that you need to have all the children you can. That decision is between you, your spouse, and God. I am saying that our attitudes about the children we do have should line up with the Bible.

Monday, February 20, 2012

Steak and Mushroom Pot Pies

I found a recipe in a Taste of Home magazine that I wanted to try. I adapted it a little and we loved it. Next time I would use about twice as many veggies and make more of it.

1 pound sirloin steak
1/2 pound quartered mushrooms
3 potatoes, cubed
3 carrots, sliced
2/3 cups frozen peas
1 can crescent rolls
salt and pepper
1 tsp. each garlic powder and onion powder
1 tsp. steak seasoning
2 tsp. flour
2 beef bouillon cubes
1 1/2 cups water
1/2 tsp. each thyme and oregano

Boil carrots and potatoes just until tender. Drain.

Cut steak into bite sized pieces. Season with salt, pepper, garlic powder, onion powder, and steak seasoning.

Cook steak in pan in small amount of oil. Remove to paper towels.

Saute mushrooms in the pan you cooked the steak in. Then add flour and cook for two minutes.

Add water and beef bouillon. Cook until bouillon is melted. Add thyme and oregano.

Add in carrots, potatoes, steak, and peas.

Remove crescent rolls from tube. Roll lightly to press together. Cut the dough into 16 slices (or however many you need.)

Reform circles.

Divide filling between ramekins and top with crescent rolls slices.

Cook at 400 degrees for 15 minutes or until dough is browned and filling is bubbly.

Yummy! You can also make this in one big pan and place the dough in designs on top. I'll probably try that next time! Enjoy on some cold winter evening!

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Big Boy Beds and Snow!

Justin's parents bought Micah some bedroom furniture for his birthday! We got it set up in his bedroom and he loves it! He adores that bed! He plays on it sometimes with Justin and he'll lay down and pretend to sleep!

Far side of his room. Still plenty of room to play!

New dresser

Bunk beds and his bookcase. We moved his guardrail down to that corner in the middle of the night the second night he slept in the bed. He always likes to sleep with his head against the bars of his crib and now he puts his head against footboard of the bed. The guardrail was centered in the bed previously but he shoved himself head first out of the bed and was dangling because his behind got stuck! We rescued him and he went right back to sleep.

See where the guardrail is there? That was before we moved it. I turned on the light as soon as he woke up to take a picture.

The light is the reason for his funny face!

He never tries to get out until I get in there. He can get in and out of the bed by himself around the guardrail though.

Justin fell asleep on the bean bag chair after lunch today. Micah couldn't figure out what to do with him!

We finally got snow today! They had been predicting six inches and it finally started falling right before church ended this morning. Justin went out to measure the snow about 6:30 and we had about 3 1/2 inches. And it's still snowing! The crazy thing is it was 60 degrees yesterday!

We haven't had hardly any snow before this! It's so pretty. And I'm very glad that the snow has not knocked out the power yet!

Friday, February 17, 2012

Friday Favorites: God's Provision

Even though we've seen it over and over and read it again and again in the Bible somehow it frequently shocks us when God provides in our own lives, doesn't it? We say all the words, "God can provide." "God can handle it." "Nothing's too big for God." And then we go on our way worrying about options and what we are going to do about the situation.

Thankfully, over the past few years, I've seen God work a few miracles in our family and I think I'm getting better about this. This story is little comparatively but makes me feel incredibly loved by God.

Justin and I are carriers of a rare metabolic disorder that Micah has and all of our children could have. Our babies will always have to be tested so that we can know if they have IVA and we can start treatment before they have a metabolic crisis like Micah had. Genetic testing is expensive. Justin and I needed to be tested so that they could narrow down precisely what they were testing for in the baby. We do not have an in network provider that does genetic testing and we haven't met our deductibles for this year. The cost was fairly prohibitive although we had not ruled out that option. It turns out that the prenatal testing that will be done on the baby includes the genetic testing of the parents! There will still be a cost for the baby's test but we aren't paying a separate fee for our tests! Isn't God wonderful?

God cares about all the details of our lives and is working on our behalf. Sometimes we forget about these stories that show how much God cares. It makes sense to write them down so that we can remember them when we are tempted to worry. How do you remember God's blessings on your life?

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Valentine's Day Travel

Yesterday my lovely family journeyed to Cincinnati. Micah's bloodwork was a little off our last visit and we tweaked his diet for a few weeks before taking him to be retested. He weighed 31 pounds and is 35.5 inches tall. He was also very amusing while we were there! Par for the course.

Looking at a book in the car

Justin and I also had our blood drawn. They are doing some testing on it to be sure they know exactly what they are looking for when they test the baby. That way we will know prior to birth if the baby has IVA.

Micah sat on my lap to get his blood drawn. He always does well with this; he cries until she's done and then he stops. But yesterday when she poked him with that needle he looked at her like he could not believe she had done that to him on purpose! It was really quite funny although I didn't laugh because he was crying.

I know I've mentioned it before but I am so thankful for Micah's doctor and the other people we work with at CCHMC. They are amazing!!

We stopped at Cheddar's on our way home to eat! I finally got those cheese fries I had been wanting for days! They were delicious! Cheddar's has the best cheese fries.

We put Mary Poppins on the iPad! Best thing we ever did. We didn't turn it on until we were almost halfway home but it made the trip so much nicer for Micah!

So I got to spend Valentine's Day with my two wonderful valentines! And we always enjoy our trips and have a ridiculously good time! I love my family!

Monday, February 13, 2012

Favorite Recipes from Around the Web

Obviously I'm not original enough to make up all our recipes. Why reinvent the wheel? So I thought I would start sharing some of our favorites with you!

Now I were really impressive I would have taken pictures of all of these as I made them so I had fun pictures for you. Sorry. I will try to do that next time. But in the meantime, take my word that these recipes are totally delicious! And you can follow the links and see the professional pictures.

Fluffy Pancakes
This is probably my favorite pancake recipe ever! They are very fluffy and super easy to make. They only take ingredients that I always have on hand and cleanup is a snap. I was really surprised that you only spray the pan with cooking spray but it works!

Oat Waffles
This is our go-to waffle recipe. It's a little healthier than usual (unless you drown them in syrup like my husband does!) and oatmeal adds a nice flavor. Sometimes if I'm in a real hurry I don't even process my oats; I just add a cup of oatmeal to the dry ingredients in place of the oat flour.

Blueberry Streusel Coffee Cake
I made this coffee cake for church a few weeks ago and it was a hit! Personally, I loved it. I may have commented that it was the best thing I ever ate. Yes, I did get ridiculed for saying something I baked was the best thing I ever ate :) But eat it hot. Or the next day at the latest. It's just not good a few days later. But then shouldn't last that long!

Cowboy Beans
Simple. Cheap. Tasty. What's better than that? I love this recipe; it's a cross between chili and baked beans and nice change from your normal bean meals! And check out Stacy Makes Cents while you're there!

Grilled Honey Lime Chicken Sandwiches

I think Rachael Ray designed this chicken just for me! Well, she would have if she knew me! Let's note that I left out the cilantro (can't stand the stuff!) and didn't put that slaw on it. We ate ours with spinach and it was tasty. The chicken is amazing! Totally could eat it all just by itself!

So there you have it! The first of all-around-the-web cooking! Now if I were really cool, I would create a Pinterest board, right??

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Blessings of Staying Home

You know one of the things I love best about being a stay-at-home mom? All the extra things I can learn to do! I would not have time to learn to play the piano if I worked outside the home. I would not be preparing to learn to sew if I worked outside the home. I would experience much more anxiety about managing another child if I worked outside the home. I am so thankful to be able to stay home and do some of my favorite things! There is so much variety in my work here at home. Certainly, there is never time to be bored!

I don't have to get out on cold mornings. I don't have to rush home, cook dinner, and have an hour with my child before he goes to bed. I'm not spending time cleaning when my husband is home! I don't have to stress about my job and the responsibilities there.

I'm thankful for the role God has given me and the support of my husband as I stay home and enjoy myself! Is work supposed to be this fun? :)

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Intramural Basketball

Justin has been playing IM basketball at the college where he works. Micah and I normally attend these games and tonight Micah really got into the team spirit!

He really wanted to go play with Daddy and that ball! Too cute!

New Church Livestream

The media team at our church (led by my amazing husband!) has set up a new Livestream project that allows them to play sermons around the clock whenever a live service is not in progress. Pretty amazing, right? And they also can do all kinds of other cool things during the live services. Go check it out!


Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Incorporating Toddlers into Cleaning

I read a statement out in blogland (that means I don't remember where) that challenged me to get Micah involved in what I was doing. Structured preschool is all about kid-appropriate activities that are new developments to probably our generation or the generation before. Before that moms just involved the kids in whatever was going on around the house. There was so much to do that they had no choice.

What I would truly love would be to spend a week with Susanna Wesley and watch how she managed all she did with all those children! But since that's not going to happen...

I've been working on involving Micah in my work. And yes, it would be much faster to do it myself but I don't tell him that! Instead I tell him how much I enjoy his help and what a good helper he is! And he loves to help me!

  • He helps me carry laundry baskets. He holds one side and walks forward and I hold the other and walk backwards and we carry the basket to wherever we are going.
  • I put the wet clothes on the dryer door and he pushes them into the dryer.
  • He helps pick up all his toys.
  • He will pick up and carry items for me.
  • When I sweep and mop he "uses" the opposite item. We don't have anything delicate low enough for him to break.
  • He helps me "fold" clothes. Obviously, he doesn't really fold anything but he thinks he does! So it's work to him.
  • When I make our bed, Micah carries the shams and decorative pillows from the corner and puts them up on the bed.

I have a few ideas in mind as he's getting bigger too. Soon he can carry his dishes to the sink and help me dust. As soon as he's out of his crib, he will start learning to make his bed.

This is a great way for him to learn to work! And we're spending time together and my work is getting done as well! Winner for everybody!

How do you include your small children in your work around the house?