Friday, April 30, 2010

Thursday, April 29, 2010

A Wonderfully Successful Birthday Party! (Part 2)

A marshmallow catapult made from tissue boxes and pencils and rubber bands...

A "Food Storm" cake.....


And - oil, water, and salt faux "lava lamps"....

We couldn't have done it without the dads!

Happy Birthday to the best girl ever!

A Wonderfully Successful Birthday Party! (Part 1)

Angel was 9 on Wednesday - so this past Sunday afternoon we had her birthday party. We were brave, and hosted it at our house rather than Chuck E. Cheese's, a Jumping Party place, or some other venue...(we thought we would save money - HA!) But it was worth it for three DADs to say "This is the BEST kid's party ever!

We loosely based it on "Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs" - thus necessitating lab coats and science/invention type activities! Lab coats was Angel's idea, and it was up to me to achieve it - thank God for Thrift Town! And God sent me on the day that there men's shirts were on sale for half price! Yay! - lab coats were button down white men's dress shirts with the cuffs cut off the sleeves (and re-sewn to be the approximate appropriate length for tweeners) with an Angel-designed beaker and gooey lime green fluid emblem sewn above the pocket. Oh, and don't forget the name badge pinned over the heart!

Activities included the infamous Iowa State University "egg drop"...

The incredibly famous "Mentos in the diet cola 2-liter bottle" reaction...

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Here are two pictures for thought I am sharing...the trumpet vine display was the best ever this year!

April 27, 2010...

Outside my window...morning is rising!

I am thinking...that I need to get serious about exercise and eating right.

I am thankful for...the rhythm of the seasons!

From the learning rooms...doubling up on lessons in an attempt to get done with 3rd grade a little bit early.

From the kitchen...leftover birthday cake from the party on Sunday - mmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm,Red Velvet (Angel's favorite).

I am wearing...jeans, a lime green shirt, and a denim shirt jacket over that as it is a bit cool this morning.

I am creating...a cleaner house at the moment (smiles).

I am our home school group's curriculum overview tonight.

I am reading...Family Fun magazine for activity ideas as well as the CBD website for curriculum prices.

I am hoping...for the evidence of growing spiritual maturity in my children.

I am hearing...I can hear a bird calling. Her song sounds like she is saying "secret; secret; secret; secret!" I wonder if her eggs are just about to hatch and she is announcing her "secret" to the world!

Around the house...the comfortableness of quietness.

One of my favorite things...watching the flowers in the gardens take off and grow! I have always admired the "Bleeding Heart" perennials, and this year I planted some and they are doing wonderfully!

A few plans for the rest of the week: a day off from school tomorrow for Angel's 9th birthday and a trip or two to the museum before the CSI exhibit leaves (Angel's favorite)!

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Ham Balls - a good Easter Main dish

This recipe is so common up North, but really no one south of the Mason Dixon line seems to have heard of is so common in the MidWest that you can buy the mix in any grocery store! Here in Texas, we must grind the pork and ham in our own kitchens... (Sorry, no picture available!)


2 ½ lbs. ground ham

2 lbs ground beef

1 lb. ground pork

2 cups graham crackers (crushed)

3 eggs

2 cups milk

Mix and form into balls.

Makes 2 - 9” by 13” pans.

Sauce to put over top of balls:

2 cans tomato soup

2 tsp. dry mustard

1 C. brown sugar

¾ C. vinegar

Mix together and pour over ham balls.

Bake at 350˚F. for 1 ½ hours.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

The Simple Woman's Daybook

Here is a picture for thought I am sharing...what I have been working on over the Easter weekend (Check out the etsy shop later today to see the full picture.)

April 6, 2010...

Outside my window...the grass is finally green!

I am thinking...about how to greater influence my daughter to "love and good works".

I am thankful for...fresh air!

From the learning rooms...long vowel recognition.

From the kitchen...leftover ham balls from Easter (will be posting the recipe soon).

I am wearing...capris and a 3/4 sleeve black knit top.

I am creating...trees and angels...all being inspired by "sanctuary, home, rest, protection" still.

I am a concert later in the week - Rebecca St. James.

I am reading...John 15:1-5.

I am hoping...still for that secret prayer request to be granted.

I am hearing...the comforting rhythm of the washing machine.

Around the house...focus on constructive activity.

One of my favorite things...bluebonnets in the spring!

A few plans for the rest of the week: a field trip, more sewing, more cooking, more art!

Saturday, April 3, 2010

Step Five - The walk of death: Berith (covenant series)

Painting by Gwen Meharg: The Exchange

This step of making an ancient covenant could be very disturbing to our modern sensibilities; yet this particular step highlights the solemn nature of what a covenant truly is...and in grasping the depth and seriousness of covenant, we can embrace anew the incredible, indescribable gift that has been given to us through Jesus coming to earth in "the form of man" (Philippians 2:7).

Now, on to the graphic details...

The covenant is “cut” by taking an animal and splitting it right down the middle. Each half is laid to the side and the covenant partners stand between the two bloody halves of flesh, with their backs to one another. Then they walk right through the bloody halves, making a figure eight, and come back to stop, facing each other.

Their walk through the sacrificed animal is saying two things:

First, that they are dying to themselves, giving up the rights to their own life and beginning a new walk with the covenant partner unto death. (Each half of the dead animal represents the covenant partners).

Second, as the covenant partners walk, they point to each half of the animal, in effect saying “God do so to me and more if I ever try to break this covenant.”

As we think about this step of covenant, fear and anxiety might overcome us as the overwhelming truth strikes to the center of our being; the truth that we each are a covenant breaker! We are under the penalty of death for having broken the covenant! 

Covenant gives an even deeper understanding to my heart of why Romans 6:23 declares "the wages of sin is death"! BUT, the verse goes on to remind us that the covenant is restored through Jesus. In fact, Jesus is both covenant partners...He is God, making the Berith journey, and He is man, making the Berith journey. Being man, and a sinless man - was always His plan in restoring our covenant standing before God! 

 Are you grasping this? It is so powerful! So full of incredible truth! And when we really comprehend this reality, we never need to be ashamed of our failures in our Christian walk again...He knew we would fail, but He had a plan to cover this terrible paradox of being a spirit being that still can cave in to the flesh nature! A foreshadowing of Christ fulfilling both sides of this covenant is found in Genesis 15, where God makes a covenant with Abram and his descendants, and takes two separate forms to walk through the sacrificed animals.

As a sinless man, Jesus walked the covenant journey in our place and as a covenant partner with God, He paid the penalty of death of our covenant breaking in His own body. Now, when we receive Him as Lord and Savior, we are entering into covenant with both parties of a covenant already cut...we are joining with Christ in proclaiming that we are entering into a death and are journeying into a new life. He and we are declaring that we each are dying to living for our self-interests alone and passing through death to a new relationship of union with each other!

May this truth deeply penetrate your hearts and spirit this Passover and First Fruits season!

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Imagine What May Have Taken Place on That Day


He placed one scoop of clay upon another until a form lay lifeless on the ground. All of the Garden’s inhabitants paused to witness the event. Hawks hovered. Giraffes stretched. Trees bowed.
Butterflies paused on petals and watched.
“You will love Me, nature,” God said. “I made you that way. You will obey me, universe. For you were designed to do so. You will reflect my glory, skies, for that is how you were created. But this one will be like me.
This one will be able to choose.”
All were silent as the Creator reached into Himself and removed something yet unseen. A seed, “it’s called `choice’. The seed of choice.”
Creation stood in silence and gazed upon the lifeless form.
An angel spoke, “But what if he…”
“What if he chooses not to love?” the Creator finished. “Come, I will show you.”
Unbound by today, God and the angel walked into the realm of tomorrow. “There, see the fruit of the seed of choice, both the sweet and the bitter.”
The angel gasped at what he saw. Spontaneous love. Voluntary devotion. Chosen tenderness. Never had he seen anything like these. He felt the love of the Adams. He heard the joy of Eve and her daughters. He saw the food and the burdens shared. He absorbed the kindness and marveled at the warmth.
“Heaven has never seen such beauty, my Lord. Truly, this is Your greatest creation.”
“Ah, but you’ve only seen the sweet. Now witness the bitter.” A stench enveloped the pair.
The angel turned in horror and proclaimed, “What is it?”
The Creator spoke only one word: “Selfishness.”
The angel stood speechless as they passed through centuries of repugnance. Never had he seen such filth. Rotten hearts. Ruptured promises. Forgotten loyalties. Children of the creation wandering blindly in lonely labyrinths.
“This is the result of choice?” the angel asked.
“They will forget You?”
“They will reject You?”
“They will never come back?”
“Some will. Most won’t.”
“What will it take to make them listen?”
The Creator walked on in time, further and further into the future, until He stood by a tree. A tree that would be fashioned into a cradle. Even then He could smell the hay that would surround Him.
With another step into the future, He paused before another tree. It stood alone, a stubborn ruler on a bald hill. The trunk was thick, and the wood was strong. Soon it would be cut. Soon it would be trimmed. Soon it would be mounted on the stony brow of another hill. And soon He would be hung on it.
He felt the wood rub against a back He did not yet wear.
“Will You go down there?” the angel asked.
“I will.”
“Is there no other way?”
“There is not.”
“Wouldn’t it be easier to not plant the seed? Wouldn’t it be easier to not give the choice?”
“It would,” the Creator spoke slowly. “But to remove the choice is to remove the love.”
He looked around the hill and foresaw a scene. Three figures hung on three crosses. Arms spread. Heads fallen forward. They moaned with the wind. Men clad in soldier’s garb sat on the ground near the trio. They played games in the dirt and laughed.
Men clad in religion stood off to one side. They smiled. Arrogant, cocky. They had protected God they thought, by killing this false one. Women clad in sorrow huddled at the foot of the hill. Speechless. Faces tear-streaked. Eyes downward. One put her arm around another and tried to lead her away. She wouldn’t leave.
“I will stay,” she said softly, “I will stay.”
All heaven stood to fight. All nature rose to rescue. All eternity poised to protect. But the Creator gave no command. “It must be done…,” He said, and withdrew. But as He stepped in time, He heard the cry that He would someday scream: “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” He wrenched at tomorrow’s agony.
The angel spoke again. “It would be less painful…”
The Creator interrupted softly. “But it wouldn’t be love.”
They stepped into the Garden again. The Maker looked earnestly at the clay creation. A monsoon of love swelled up within Him. He had died for the creation before He had made him. God’s form bent over the sculptured face and breathed. Dust stirred on the lips of the new one. The chest rose, cracking the red mud. The cheeks fleshened. A finger moved. And an eye opened. But more incredible than the moving of the flesh, was the stirring of the spirit. Those who could see the unseen gasped.
Perhaps it was the wind who said it first. Perhaps what the star saw that moment is what has made it blink ever since. Maybe it was left to an angel to whisper it: “It looks like…it appears so much like…it is Him!”
The angel wasn’t speaking of the face, the features, or the body. He was looking inside at the soul.
“It’s eternal!!” gasped another.
Within the man, God has placed a divine seed. A seed of Himself. The God of might had created earth’s mightiest. The Creator had created, not a creature, but another creator. And the One who had chosen to love had created one who could love in return. Now it’s our choice.
Max Lucado, “In the Eye of the Storm”