Saturday, October 30, 2010

Filed Under Grace - October

It's the end of the month, already! Around here, this is the time to look back on the month and remember what we've been praying for and how God has answered. He always answers. But how? Did He surprise you with something different but better than what you asked? Or was his answer a peace in the midst of a continued struggle?  He deserves praise no matter what.


I'll make a list of God's gracious dealings, 
all the things God has done that need praising,
All the generous bounties of God…
— Compassion lavished, love extravagant…

Isaiah 63:7-8
The Message


Just yesterday, I was rummaging through my bedside table drawer, the one that holds miscellaneous magazines, journals, and books that got swept off the top to clear the clutter. I found an old prayer journal that I'd forgotten about since 2007.  A reoccurring entry was a prayer request for a friend who was in the process of pursuing the adoptions of three specific Chinese children. Now, if you know anything about Chinese adoption, you know what an impossibility I just stated. Three. Specific. Chinese. Adoptions.

For three years her family cried and waited and prayed.

We all prayed, knowing God COULD do it. But WOULD He?

They felt led. Yet who doesn't struggle to understand the will of God in waiting?

Sometimes we doubt we heard right. We trust His promises. We seek His will and not ours. We die to self and dreams and hopes. And then.

God's will is done.

Well, let me tell you what He did! NOTHING is impossible with God! Just this month (or was it last month already?) all three kids adoptions were completed in a whirlwind tour of paperwork. And if that isn't enough to make me excited, though they used to live across the ocean, they are now living near me!

I cannot wait to hug my friend's neck and meet her "new" kids and rejoice with her!

What is God doing in your life? Has he answered a longing of your heart? A prayer? Please check out the rules, link up and share! I'd love to hear your story!


A Bit O' Business

I have a bit of business to take care of this afternoon.

Oh, now, don't get all serious on me! This is fun business!

I have been considering offering advertising here on this little space for a while now, the benefits (uhhhh, moneeeyyyy) and the disadvantages (cluttered screen space.) This is a question many Christian bloggers eventually ask themselves. Does God want me to make money or ministry? Or both, possibly?

Now don't get too excited for me. My readership is humble, though growing.

I was pretty excited, though, when I got an email from a representative from DaySpring asking me to join their affiliate program. Because I already love their products and their blog and I'm acquainted with a few of their biggest partners. And I had already decided that if I could be a part of any affiliate program, I would choose theirs.

So, I have a couple of ads on my blog, and things are looking a little different. But I hope you think it's a good kind of different. I would love to fill my home with DaySpring's inspirational home decor, so I don't mind advertising for them and making a couple bucks (12%, actually, as long as you don't disable cookies!) if you happen to want to buy something. Like this:




Ever Grateful - 4 Piece Wasabi Place Setting

From: DaySpring Cards Inc


or this:




Wonderful Grace - Carved Wooden Serving Tray

or this:




Wood Carved Wall Hanging - Ask, Seek, Knock


I would love it if you would check out DaySpring's Store. They have some fantastic sales right now. Everything in the store makes me happy, and puts my soul at rest.

Also, take a peek at the DaySpring blog
(in)courage
It's a beach house of friends and faith and fun and is filled with the writings of some of my favorite bloggers!

Disclaimer: I promise not to hound you or annoy you or beg you to buy from DaySpring very often! I will share an occasional beautiful item I happen to be salivating over! The rest of the time,  there will just be a little ad hanging out on my sidebar and postscript.

And that concludes this little business meeting!

Happy Weekend!

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Pen Scratches


He sits with pen in hand,
and lined paper notebook.

How have I begged
and pleaded for scratches
of his?
A discipline
of the creative mind
held back
by the fears of the hand.

"You can't."
he hears.
"Not good enough,"
he thinks of his labored
left-handed scribbles.
And so he fought
and refused to write.

What changed from then
to now?

Perhaps the subject?

He thinks in battles
and loves stories
in the sky.

I think the story in his head
the words
and descriptions
and battle
fought to come out
and had to be written,
finally.

And so, in scribbly scratches,
words scrunched together,
he pens
his first epic.

And his accidental writer-mother
grins.

Because she knows.

Once begun,
an author
never ceases
picking up pen.

School in pjs today and prose at Emily's. Join us?

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Mostly Wordless Wednesday - "The Thinker"

We haven't studied art in abundance yet, so when she lay on the floor, posed and declared,



"I am The Thinker,



tipped over."



I laughed.

And was glad she knew at least one famous sculpture.

Monday, October 25, 2010

Listing Thanks, Fighting a War

I have declared war.

My tools: an old fashioned mouse trap and a glob of peanut butter. The critters have invaded my kitchen, and I'm ready for battle.

The proof of them litters a drawer of silverware, the dishtowels, the cutting board, under the sink, and the bread drawer with its chewed on loaves.

I'm done. I've had enough.

Everything that can be is washed, thrown in the dishwasher or the Maytag. Traps in empty drawers and disarray on counters, we wait. And wait.

So far the score is 4 for 4. Plus one. Four little beasties met their death, four traps cleaned by sneaky delicate snackers, and one thumb stung by it's own weapon. The same trap that did not snap on mice, snapped on me. Go figure.

I'm strung back tight like that trap, with contents of kitchen about me, and the regular mess of life too. I snap.

Isn't it often this way? The little nuisances, the extra bit of stuff to do, the unexpected battles in life set us taut. At the slighted pressure, we snap.

But it doesn't have to be this way. Pressure is released in praise and enables grace so we don't have to snap. Thank goodness, because there are always more mice.

So we continue fighting battles with hands stretched upward, in praise and surrender to the only One that changes hearts and reactions.

He reminds me to be thankful for my temporarily disorganized kitchen. And maybe even the mice.

Counting again this week for One Thousand Gifts.

21. neighbors offering combine rides - a first for our kids!
22. blue Mason jars - 3 dozen of them - free!



23. library books and the quiet moments they bring, especially in the van
24. homemade doughnuts
25. suede boots with long sweaters
26.  that my daughter wrote school on our One Thousand Gifts board
27. help with the dishes
28. seeing our friends' new house and rejoicing at every detail perfect for them
29. visit with great aunt and uncle from a far away state
30.  impromptu mosey with two friends through my favorite store
31. chilly rainy day for the chili feed. perfect and appropriate.
32. that a child of mine gives thanks for the Bible
33. fall rain storms bringing lightening and thunder and an excuse to pull the covers higher
34. rest

Friday, October 22, 2010

Get Ready for Saturday Breakfast - Homemade Doughnut Holes


Buttermilk Doughnut Holes


1 1/2 c sugar
1 1/2 c buttermilk, plus 2 T (I used 1 1/2 c milk plus 2 T lemon juice to sour it)
3 eggs, beaten
2 T shortening, melted
1 t vanilla
1 t soda
1 1/2 t salt
3 t baking powder
1 t nutmeg
4 1/2 c flour

Add sugar to buttermilk and let stand 1/2 hour. Add beaten eggs, shortening, and vanilla. Sift remaining ingredients together.

I recommend refrigerating the dough overnight. When I first tried the recipe I didn't expect the dough to be so sticky and runny, and I do not have a doughnut maker, so my methods turned out creepy monster doughnuts - little balls with pointy spines. I do not prefer to eat food that looks like a ancient weapon or spiked ball so I was more than happy that the refrigerated dough was much firmer and decreased the number of burnt points!

This dough stores well. I plan to keep this dough in my fridge for a quick and easy (and fun!) breakfast.

Heat oil, a few inches deep in a pot, over a medium heat stove. To guage when the oil has reached optimal temperature, I insert a  wet wooden spoon handle. The end of the spoon should form active, lively bubbles.

I used a cookie scoop to drop in the dough, but if you have a doughnut maker, that is super! Fry until golden brown, toss in a cinnamon and sugar mixture. 

Yum!

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Faith

The unknown looms near.
Waiting breeds fear
when not checked by
faith:

being sure of what we hope for
but cannnot yet see.

Minds create scenarios,
fictitious, short-lived peace,
as if we could really know
or tell God
what God should do.

Faith is not hoping
in our own ideal dreams
but trust
that what He gives
is grace.

Content to wait.
No fear.

Whatever comes
is from the hands
of a Father
in love

with you.
with me.

for Emily
and those who gather 
to share heart expressed, 
a bleeding of fragrance
to our Father.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Barn Renovation - June/July (Part 2)

As we looked at the structure and available space and thought about our options, we began to get excited. Envisioning a heated office/man-cave with access to all our business inventory in the barn, we contacted our landlady, discussed what we hoped to accomplish, and she was all for it. We love her family, they tolerate us kindly, *cheesy grin* so it's a great arrangement for everyone!

We have a good relationship; I have the ladies out for tea, Christmas visits, and photo shoots in the woods. They are welcome anytime. I love to hear the stories of the girls growing up together in this house, and all the history of the farm. And they love to share! We have a mutual love of these acres, and they are satisfied to see kids enjoying the farm. 

So, with their blessing, we began.

First the interior wall board was removed, along with the ancient insulation, wiring, drop ceiling and plumbing. The windows were removed, and the last thing to come out was the beast of a milk bulk tank. Much thought was given to the process of removing it, as it had to be lifted a few feet off the floor and slid on runners out the window. Without denting it. Because who wants a dented milk tank? All that shiny-ness marred? No thank you. Forget that it now sits in a storage building. It must not be harmed!

The bulk milk tank is removed.Without so much as a scratch. Thank goodness.

Of course, a renovation is never completed without the unexpected appearing. In our case it was a sporadically rotten support structure. Worse in some places than others, many of the boards needed replacing. We reused boards as we were able.

We also intended to reuse the siding, but as it was pulled off, much of it splintered or crumbled. New siding was in our future. But that was OK. It gave Robb the perfect opportunity to discuss the merits or lack thereof to pre-painting siding.

Larger windows were framed and purchased,  an interior wall was removed, and the project moved right along, notwithstanding a mosquito plague.  


 New support walls to replace rotten boards.

Things were looking up, and then we sold our business...
Barn : Before (Part 1)

Wordless Wednesday - Just Girls




Thanks, Carrie for the fun photo shoot!

Monday, October 18, 2010

Jumping

"I stood at my dishwasher and cried because I just want to be able to do simple tasks alone without my children around bickering." my homeschooling friend admitted. "My husband told me I should stop using public school as a threat, but it's the only threat I've got."

I understood. Sometimes this homeschooling life drives me to the edge of who I thought I was. I sob into my pillow regretting who I've become and how I've failed.  It's all too much and I just want to jump. And I remember what all moms used to say.

If your friend told you to jump off a cliff, would you?

Of course not, we all answered.

But what if that friend was Jesus?

What if what he asks you leads you to the edge and then He says jump.

Jump from doing this thing on your own and in your own strength. Jump from your idealistic ideas of what your life would be. Jump from thinking it's all up to you. Jump.

And He'll catch you.

Because " underneath are the everlasting arms."

Today I jump into gratefulness, the pursuit of joy, and join One Thousand Gifts. Endless thankfulness can be found in the midst of disappointment, regret, insecurity or any circumstance that threatens to rob joy.

"Consider it pure joy,  whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance. And perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything." 

Today, I give thanks in all circumstances, for this is the will of God.  Like Aaron and Hur and Moses at Rephidim, the battle is won when our hands are lifted.

1.  children playing outside at dusk
2.   stories around a fire
3.   fall color
4.   grandparents' visit



5.   photo shoot in leaves
6.   the guys going out to breakfast
7.   the girls going out to lunch
8.   new tools even if they're not mine
9.   peppermint mocha creamer
10.  bare trees
11.   harvesting combines
12.   friends around the table
13.   a church on its face in prayer before the Healer
14.   music that sets a soul right
15.   husband's amazing discipline and progress toward health
16.   that I sit at the King's table, loved though lame (like Mephibosheth)
17.   Mitchell's tears when Grandma and Grandpa left
18.   cream scones with homemade raspberry jam
19.   a friend scooting up to me right as church started and handing me my favorite Tazo tea concentrate that my Target no longer carries
20.   raindrops pattering on the metal roof during our prayer gathering reminding me of this song:

Spirit rain, flood into our thirsty hearts again. He'll come......

He'll show up in my everyday mundane as I thank Him for common graces. And He'll come in extraordinary ways as I yield to Him, and with hands raised in praise, jump ~ into his arms.

Blessed be His name.

    holy experience

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Family Time


Robb's dad and his wife Linda are here for the week, so we are celebrating them and enjoying our time together.

I also wanted to pop in here and let you know that {So}Sartina was featured over at LaunchHER today.  Thanks ladies! You rock! We are so thrilled with what they do to encourage and uplift women owned businesses! Go check them out!

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Barn Renovation: Before

 
See the little "house" protruding from the barn?  This building has been our most recent project. And by "our" I mean Robb and his friends that have have been hired to do all the work. This is to be Robb's space and I have been banned from even suggesting paint colors. Thankfully Robb has excellent taste and I am pleased with how the project is coming together. But I'm getting ahead of myself...

The main part of this space, the room with three windows, housed the milk room, the place where all the milk was stored in a huge stainless steal tank until a truck came to pick it up. If the calendar on the wall was any indication, it hadn't been used for it's intended purpose since 1993.

The door on the left opens to a storage space that is butted up next to the silo. You may remember we used this space as a temporary locker room for Robb's birthday party. A hallway leading to the cow stalls, still complete with name plaques for cows that were called Pizza, Lollipop, Bonbon, & Sowflake)  separated the silo room from the milk room.

The second level? Well, I'm not sure of the original purpose of that space. It only had a floor the breadth between the little windows, and a tiny, crawl through door leading into it from the hay loft.  When we saw it, and how easy the ceiling above the milk room would be to remove, our imaginations were captured and we began to dream of what this space could become...

Stay tuned for answers to questions like, "What's it to become? Aren't you a little crazy to remodel a rented space? I thought you sold your business; why do you need an office now? What colors did Robb choose anyway?"

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Twin Cities Harvest Festival & Maze {and Molly}

When I was in fourth grade my sister and I switched schools. We were a little afraid, going to a new place with new kids, kids that had probably known each other since kindergarten. We came in as outsiders.

 Skipping on the Hay Bale Maze

 Corn Pit

We found our lockers and desks and eventually found friends. One of them was Molly. She was crafty and artistic and kind. We were sad the next year when she did not return to school. Her family started homeschooling.

 
 Cutie Patutie

 Maze Entrance and Fun Stuff

We stayed in touch through snail mail, the only kind then, and an occasional phone call using my dad's metro line we had for his work. We had sleepovers and she introduced us to Anne of Green Gables and we dreamed of houses and kids and finding our "Gilbert Blythes".

  Mitchell leads us in following the map. Thad's got the girls. Sara's slinging it.

And then Sara and I talked our mom into homeschooling us too, just like Molly! (My mom would say there was much more to the decision than that, but this is my version!) We went to homeschooling conventions and conferences together, and dreamed some more of houses and husbands and kids.


 Made it!

It's been 25 years since we met, and our dreams have each come true, but we don't see each other as often as we'd like because life is busy with houses and kids and our "Gilberts" named Bert and Robb and Thad!



A couple weeks ago, our family trekked up 169 to visit Molly and her family at their Twin Cities Harvest Festival & Maze. If you have a chance, go visit them! They are a great family, and I love supporting family owned businesses!





 The Twin Cities Harvest Festival & Maze is located in Brooklyn Park right off 169 and is open Saturdays and Sundays for the rest of October. See their website for details, directions, attractions and pricing.

Disclosure: I did not receive anything for free for posting this. We paid for our tickets and mini doughnuts and roasted corn. I am sharing this with you because Molly is my long-time "bosom" friend and we had fun at her family's maze and I hope those of you who live in the area will go too!




Saturday, October 2, 2010

Taking {So}Sartina Out on the Town


Megan obliged and took my picture, you know, to show purse scale etc. for our shop. Not bad for a 9 year old, except I look pregnant. Ha! ({So}Sweet Purse pictured.)



 I'm going to enjoy an early (very early) birthday present tonight and join my twin sis and her hubby, and Robb, or course, to see "How to Talk Minnesotan" at the Plymouth Playhouse. I don't think I need any real help in that area, what with my Norwegian, Minnesotan heritage, but my Buckeye bred hubby may learn a thing or too. Based on our previous expereinces at the Plymouth Playhouse, we're in for some laughs. And perhaps at our own Scandinavian selves!

 And I almost forgot: It's time for The Saturday Evening Blog Post! I shared This Season because it speaks of the brokenness and death in the autumn and winter of soul and the hope of new Life. Spring will come.