A feeble light glows from my bedside lamp. Light is minimal so early in the morning. It just barely chases the darkness from the room.
My Bible, commentary, and journals lay open, spread across my bed. Wisps of steam from my coffee lazily filter up through the beams of lamplight.
It’s 5:00 A.M. I am NOT a morning person.
A year ago I would have told you NO WAY.
God had other plans.
A friend of mine challenged me by her example. She is on fire for God! Every morning she gets up at 4:00 A.M. to meet with the Lord. She worships, she prays, she studies, she listens, and she exudes the intimate relationship with Jesus that this special time alone with Him produces.
She is a light, strong and true for the Savior she loves.
This is what I want. It is what I am seeking. This is what pulls me out of my warm, inviting covers when my flesh just wants to sleep a couple more hours.
In the quiet I seek God. It’s just Him and I. I read. I write. I sing. I pray. I cry.
I commune with the one true God and I watch the darkness flee.
Minutes, half hours, hours, slip by and the sun filters its warm, glowing rays through the tree boughs. Orange turns to pink turns to blue, as the light moves higher.
Rays of light glitter off moisture and the world is transformed.
Darkness is chased away.
And the SON comes. His light fills my soul, heart and mind. Transforming who I am. Chasing away the darkness. He pours into me life, love, strength and understanding. He fills the empty places. He restores my brokenness. He heals my wounds. And he places in my heart a deep, unquenchable desire to share who He is with every one around me. This is true LIGHT.
Jesus, my Savior is not an artificial light. He is true and pure and holy. He is not feeble. He is not a small ray struggling to penetrate the darkness. He is a flood light, darkness cannot flee fast enough.
Jesus is the true Light that guides and upholds and carries. He wants to meet with you daily. Just you and Him.
He’s calling. Will you answer?
This weeks items: Yellow, Something that makes me smile, Ancient or Antique, Splash, In the sun
Macro shot of a Dandelion
Something That Makes Me Smile
Going on a photo walk with my favorite little girl makes me smile! She loves using my old point and shoot camera. And I love that she enjoys taking photos and finding beauty in nature, just like her momma!
My daughter loves these Holly Hobby dolls. My sister and I had these very same dolls when we were growing up. I was ecstatic when my M-I-L found these dolls to give to my daughter.
My faucet set to dripping and a blue plate placed in the bottom of my kitchen sink created this splash shot.
In the Sun
I took a bit of time one afternoon this week to take some photos of the flowers in my garden. These Forget-Me-Nots had there pretty little faces turned up towards the sun. I love these little plants! The flowers are small and dainty, just a bit more than 1/8th of an inch, but they pack a punch in the color department.
Linked up with Ashley Sisk
I haven’t posted any recipes in a while so I thought I would share a couple of our favorites with you today. Plus my days have been jam packed lately and I haven’t had a lot of time to just write. Wish I did…but I guess it’s not to be, for right now. All my writing strength is going into my most recent assignment for Union Gospel Press. Currently, I am writing thirteen fiction stories that have Biblical truths in them for the 1st-3rd grade Sunday School papers, for the spring of 2014. I have never done this before! Yikes! But, it is also good since it is stretching me to write fiction!
Joel loves to fish and more specifically, Walleye fish. Each spring he usually gets enough for us to freeze and then we enjoy it through the winter. This spring he hasn’t been able to fish as much as he usually does, but I’m really hoping he can get out more in a few weeks, because he really does love it. Plus, it’s a blessing to have fresh caught fish!
This recipe is a favorite around here and my mom absolutely loves it. She even requested it for the birthday dinner I cooked for her this year.
If you don’t have Walleye, I think this recipe would work with almost any kind of firm white fish.
1 lb cooked Walleye~ I usually just place it in a 9x13 with some melted butter and lemon juice, seasoned with salt and pepper. (350 degrees for 15-20min or until it flakes when pulled with a fork)
1 1/2 cups mayonaise
8 oz shredded cheddar
4 1/2 cups potatoes shredded
1 onion chopped
3-4 cups seasoned dry bread crumbs (These are so easy to make. I just take any leftover bread and crumb it in my coffee grinder. I place them on a cookie sheet and put them in the oven after I have finished baking something. It dries them out nicely. Just stir them a time or two to make sure they all get dried out. Then I place the dried crumbs in jars that I have in my freezer just for this purpose. When I’m ready to use them I get out the amount I need and season them up.
1. cook fish
2. par-boil potatoes and onion in boiling water for about 5 minutes. You want to soften them, but you don’t want them mushy. I always sample some to see where they are at. Not very technical , but hey this is country cooking! Drain the water off and your ready to go….or you can go for the easier route and use frozen shredded potatoes. (I just never have these on hand!)
3. Mix fish, potatoes, onions, mayo, eggs, and cheese together in large bowl.
4. Add in the seasoned dry bread crumbs starting with 2 cups. Then keep adding until you can make a patty that will stay together and not fall apart. Again not technical….rather a trial and error type cooking!
5. Fry in small amount of butter or oil. I use my electric skillet so that I can do 6 at a time. I use just a smidgen of oil with it. I don’t like anything that has been soaked in oil. YUCK! If your pan is non-stick it will only take a small amount. Fry till golden brown on both sides.
As for the amount this makes…..I’m going to guess about 14-16 patties….depending on the size you make. I keep forgetting to count the number of patties it makes….sorry.
Serve with tartar sauce or ketchup.
(altered from Simply Recipes)
Oh goodness these are SO good! Last summer we had a bumper crop of wild Blackberries growing out in my dad’s CRP fields. They were huge and they were ABUNDANT. Sadly he had to mow those fields and so this year I will be forced to forage in the fence rows for these black beauties. I am so thankful for the bags and bags of these that I was able to put into the freezer. Another freezer blessing! It seems this time of year when fresh fruit seems so scarce and if it is available it is yucky, is when my meals are majorly supplemented by what I was able to can or freeze from the previous growing season.
2 1/2 cups flour
1 Tablespoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 t salt
1/2 t cinnamon
2 large eggs
1 cup sour cream or vanilla yogurt (just make sure if you use the yogurt to reduce the amount of sugar)
1 cup sugar (You can definitely use less. I do!)
4 Tablespoons melted butter
1 teaspoon vanilla
4 Tablespoons milk
1 1/2 cups blackberries
Combine dry ingredients. In a separate bowl whisk eggs. Add sour cream, sugar, butter, vanilla, and milk. Add the wet mixture to the dry mixture and mix together with a few light strokes, just until the dry ingredients are moistened. Add the berries. (If you are using frozen berries, defrost them first, then drain the excess liquid, then coat them lightly in flour.) (I personally put mine in frozen…works for me, but you may want to follow the directions on defrosting and coating with flour) Do not overmix! Overmixing will cause the muffins to be dense, not fluffy. The batter should not be smooth.Add the wet ingredients to the dry.
Divide the batter evenly among the muffin cups. Bake in 400 degree oven until a toothpick inserted into the middle of 1 or 2 of the muffins comes out clean, 17-20 minutes (or longer). Let cool for 2 to 3 minutes before removing from the pan. If not serving hot, let cool on a rack.
Yield: Makes about 18 muffins.
And that girlfriends is all I have for now! I’ve got to get the veges put in with the roast and pull the bread out of the oven! Have a great evening!
This weeks items: Simple, Grain, Transportation, Stitch, Bubble(s)
A simple spring photo of a crabapple tree.
This shot did not turn out exactly as I wanted, but since I was short on time, I couldn’t re-shoot. So, this is what I got for this week…grains of sand.
This bee is in the business of transporting pollen.
Linked up with Ashley for Scavenger Hunt Sunday
When the weekend is long, filled with extra early morning risings and a jam crammed schedule that drains everyone, this is when I sing once again the praises of homeschooling.
There is no bus to catch on Monday morning. Praise the Lord!
There isn’t a strict, must-stick-to, rising time.
There is no rush and tumble scrambling in the early morning hours.
There is grace in homeschooling.
If everyone is drained and in need of some solid sleeping in time, we can do that! If someone has a sore throat and is feeling just a bit off their game they can sleep in for as long as they want.
(Peek-a-boo! Oh…. he loves me for this! )
Monday, this week, brought us just such a day. We were ALL worn out from Easter weekend. And a couple of the boys were recuperating for a pesky virus. There was a whole lot of nothing going on first thing in the morning. We were all trying to get sleep rubbed out of our eyes and our brains to put coherent thoughts together. Some of us were doing better than others! I just needed to stumble my way to the coffee pot. Hot, fragrant, liquid caffeine always gets these old brain cells firing.
We normally rise around 7:30 and have our Bible time together. Then after breakfast and chores are taken care of we start school at 9:00. But, here is true beauty. There is nothing to stop us from taking it easy and not starting school until say…10:30.
Because some days you just need to plunk away on the piano or work on your art project before you dig into 2+2!
And when the time does come to get down to it nothing warms this momma’s heart than to see her son who struggled 6 years ago to memorize his numbers helping his little sister!
I thought my heart was going to leap right out of my chest when I saw this. The memories of his struggle are still so fresh and prominent and I see some of them in his sister. But, there they were, working together, him teaching her! The boy who years ago I wondered if he would ever be able to remember his numbers. VICTORY! He’s learning and now teaching his baby sister! God is SO GOOD!
Homeschooling is full of grace, mercy, compassion, perseverance, hard work, companionship, and individuality!
In my mind there is nothing better!
Linking up this photo with Ashley Sisk for Tutorial Tuesday.
This weeks items: New, Life, Fragrant, Pink, Obvious
One night this week my daughter and I took a walk down the trail that leads along the field beside our house. On the edge of the woods we saw these Umbrella plants emerging from the ground. I love the grains of dirt left on the wrapped and as of that moment unfurled leaves.
This is my oldest sons pet rabbit. In this shot this bunny looks bigger than he is. He actually is a small rabbit, a Mini Rex. He is super soft. At first he didn’t know what to do about being in the yard until he smelled the dandelions….then it was ALL GOOD! This picture actually made me laugh when I edited it, because it looks like he is frowning at me and thinking, “Really lady, knock it off with the camera already!”
Wild Cherry blossoms
A Flowering Almond bud.
If you’ve stopped here at my blog a time or two it is probably obvious that I love nature photography!
Linked up with Ashley Sisk
Every March I begin my garden. I break out my trays, black seed starting cells, soil, and seeds. I’ve gotten the whole process down pretty well on how it works for me. It’s not perfect and probably not by the book, but I’ve had good success with it.
If you want to try your hand at it I’ll take you through the steps I use to start some of my garden plants.
The first thing you’ll need to know is when the last frost date is for the area you live in(you can find that info. here). And also what plants you should start indoors. Not all plants need to be started indoors some do great directly sown into the garden. These are the plants I start indoors: Tomato, Peppers, Eggplant, Cabbage, Broccoli, all my herbs, and some annual flowers, such as Petunias.
You will need the following materials: Seed starting soil, seeds, black plastic plant cells, trays or plastic tubs, spray bottle with water (make sure if you use tap water it isn’t softened or treated), tape and permanent marker.
Get all your materials ready and gather up any seed starting trays and black square starting cells you have on hand or you can use whatever you can creatively come up with. I have saved the black plastic seedling/plant cells when I have bought plants from our local greenhouse. I reuse them by placing them in plastic tubs. (The plastic tubs and trays are used to keep the water from going all over your table when you water the plants, anything that would hold water will work.) *Before you plant you will want to soak all these materials in a mild bleach solution to rid them of any diseases that could be harbored from the prior years plantings.
Rinse your materials well. Now your ready to begin filling.
I use a seed starting soil that I buy at the store it is light and not heavy like a potting soil. The lighter soil gives your seedlings a better start. I scoop the seed starting soil into a plastic container, add some water and then stir to make the soil slightly damp (you don’t want it soaking).
Next scoop your soil into the seed starting cells. I usually fill them about halfway. The reason I do this is that as they grow they can often get a bit leggy (or tall/long). I just add soil to the cells as they grow giving the plants more stability.
Now is the time to add your seed. I usually place 2 seeds in per cell then following the directions on the back of my seed packet I add the amount of soil it requires. Each seed requires a certain planting depth, so make sure you read the back of the packet for that information. Spritz the top of each planted cell with water making sure it is moist.
The next step is very important…LABEL your seeds!
I do this in a very high tech manner! I have found that masking tape and a permanent marker work great for this. Above you can see I have labeled that I have Cumin in 2 cells and Lemon Basil in 2 cells. This was a 4 cell stating pack and I did not want 4 cumin or 4 Lemon Basil…so I split the cell and labeled accordingly.
Finally cover your trays. I have one with a nice plastic cover, but the rest I use plastic wrap on. Covering the trays/boxes keeps the moisture and warmth in helping with the germination of the seeds. Set in a warm place. At this point they don’t require sun.
As soon as you see sprouts make sure to move them to a southern exposure. I start mine right in front of my sliding glass door. It is warm and super sunny there. When my plants get bigger I move them out to my mudroom. It is a bit cooler out there and it slows my plants down a bit so that they don’t get too leggy before I can plant them. But, it still has the added advantage of a southern exposure.
If you did like I do…you will end up with 2 or more plants per cell. At this point it’s decision time. You can either pluck out any you don’t want or you can transplant the extras to different containers. I often don’t have the heart to pitch all those baby plants, so I place them in other containers. Most often I give away all those extra plants to friends and family. I have found that a popsicle stick works wonders for digging up those extra seedlings. Just be careful not to cut or damage the roots.
Inevitably you will get some plants that will quickly outgrow the seed starting cells. For me it is usually my tomatoes and my dill that are the first to need bigger containers. Eventually I move almost all my plants to bigger containers. Here is my solution, Newspaper pots (tutorial HERE).
They are so easy to make and I’m sure your children will even want to help! What I love most about them is that you can place these pots directly into your garden. I just open the bottoms of my newspaper pots and them put the whole kit and kaboodle into the ground.
If you break out the camera and your kids are anything like mine you may even get a little bit of this. Which will just make you laugh and laugh!
When I first fell in love with my husband, Joel, some 23 years ago. I fell hard. I was crazy with love. It wasn’t a sensible love, but a love that tried to out do itself constantly.
I wrote long, gushing, love riddled letters. I talked to him on the phone whenever humanly possible. I would try to orchestrate possible encounters. Like the day after school when I just happened to be walking on the road with my girlfriends, the very road I knew he would be driving down at that given time in the afternoon. Nothing was too extravagant for my love. I spent a good portion of my time thinking up wonderful and unprecedented ways to show him how completely he had captured my heart.
I was enamored.
I was consumed with a wild, electrical, heart on fire kind of love.
Over the past year I have been learning that this is the kind of love I need to have for Jesus.
It is the kind of love He has for me.
Oh, you know, I have always known that I should love Jesus because that’s what the Bible says and plus He gave His life for me. But, that consuming love just wasn’t in me. I couldn’t grasp how to go about loving Him that way. And really should I? It does seem a bit radical.
All of these stumbling blocks were in my path. Too much head knowledge and not enough living from my heart was taking place.
As the months have tumbled over one another and the days have flown by it has been a year since I took a stand and made it my hearts cry to be hungry for more of Jesus, to know Him as He truly is, to clear away the religious and grab hold of a deep love and intimacy with Christ.
Oswald Chambers wrote: “If we have the idea that love is characterized as cautious, wise, sensible, shrewd, and never taken to extremes, we have missed the true meaning.” ( My Utmost For His Highest)
Love for Jesus calls us to extremes.
How about the woman who poured the very expensive perfume, made of pure nard on Jesus’ head, the cost of which was a years wages. The disciples were shocked and a bit indignant. But, Jesus said, “Leave her alone. Why are you bothering her? She has done a beautiful thing.” (Mark 14:6)
A beautiful thing. An out of the ordinary thing. A crazy, on fire, love thing.
And Jesus loved it.
I so easily can be complacent in my love for Jesus. But, I want to be like the woman who put perfume on Jesus’ head. An above and beyond, out of the ordinary love. I want people to know beyond a shadow of a doubt that I’m living for Jesus. I want to be extravagant with my love for Him. I want to spend hours talking with Him. I want to live my love for Him. Not in a safe, stagnant sort of way, but with a tear down the house, love out loud, shout it from the roof tops sort of way.
With a megaphone to my lips I’m going to broadcast, I’m CRAZY, IN LOVE, with my JESUS.