This is Me!

This is Me! The good, the bad, and the bald. You get it all! But I have hair now. This spring I'll be rockin the pixie.

Friday, December 31, 2010

It's All About the Kids Today!

Friday - Today's agenda... it's all about the children of Haiti. Today they ask that we would specifically be praying for the little one's of Haiti, the next generation. The statistics show that 50% of children die before reaching the age of 5 in Haiti. I'm sorry, this number is mind boggling! 5 years old. I look at my kids and am so grateful that I was blessed to be born here. Another statistic shows that only 65% of the children there receive any form of education. Let's ask God to bring about big changes for the children there.

The PAP team is holding a medical clinic at another children's home. The will be ministering to an additional 100 children today. The Leogane team continues to work with the children in the orphanage they have been in throughout this week. By now they are probably forming relationships with these children. I pray God would use this closeness to further demonstrate His unending, unconditional love to these kiddos. I pray that this time of bonding and playing would begin a healing in some of these wounded hearts. Lord, we are asking for a harvest of mustard seeds in this place. You say if we have faith like a mustard seed, we can say to that mountain move, and it will move. Begin planting little seeds of faith in each and every heart that they come in contact with so that in time the harvest will be plentiful, reaching to older family members and beyond. In Jesus name, give us the mountain of darkness and voodoo to trample under our feet by your authority. You are doing something big in this nation and it's going to begin with the children who are learning to love and follow you.

The are preparing to shower these kids with FUN!!! tomorrow with a big New Years Day party. Let's ask God to make these preparations go smoothly. God bless them down to their toes and back. What a treat this will be. I pray the kids are blessed as much as the mission team members will be.

Thursday, December 30, 2010

Jesus Loves the Little Children of the World

Today's activity and prayer agenda includes "Play Time". The team in Leogane will be in the orphanage teaching English lessons to older kids and playing with and holding babies. What better guys to have down there loving on babies than Peter and Shon. I can't count how often I have seen Shon with a Bruland, Haechton, or Button baby in his arms. God is always in the details. This will allow the people who run the orphanage to have a bit of a break. Pray that God would give them abundant strength and energy to keep up with these kids. I am guessing many don't get to interact with people who are just there to see them and help them and they may be stoked and FULL of energy. Lets pray it is a wonderfully abundant day of Joy for everyone.

The Port Au Prince team will be returning today from the clinic work in the village. Pray that God would allow for some rest on the return voyage and prepare the team to help out in the service at Pastor Luc's church tonight. I pray tonight's service is not like any other. I pray God would show himself mightily in that place tonight. I pray this would be just another step towards a deeper healing walk with the one true God for these people on individual levels, which would speak into their church community, which would speak into their outlying communities, and in turn begin to change the face of the nation of Haiti.

As we are on the middle day of the trip day, God I ask you would be with the families back home. Both ours and the one's from Alabama. Many have spouses and children themselves and speaking from first hand knowledge, they might be starting to miss their mom's or dad's. God I pray you would settle hearts and bring peace. Help even the littlest children to stay focused on you their true protector and defender. Helps us all to stay the course with the 24 hour prayer watch. As the week goes on I think the tendency is for the urgency to diminish. I pray you would re-ignite the fire for the second half of this trip.

"Jesus loves the little children. All the children of the World. Red, and yellow, black and white; Their all precious in His sight. Jesus loves the little children of the world."

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Pray for the People of Haiti!

As you read this prayer update for Wednesday, I would challenge you to be vigilant in your prayer for the Haitian people themselves. I went to our churches weekly prayer time tonight. One of the elders had prepared some slides with facts on the country. They were startling to say the least. This was a hurting people long before this earthquake. Pray that God would begin to rebuild this country from the ground up, one person at a time. We need to be in prayer for Haitian Christians, that they would sense the presence of the Holy Spirit moving in their lives and their country and rise up to the challenge of re-creating in a sense who they are as a people. By the power of the name of Jesus give them spiritual authority over the darkness that rules that country through voodoo. Draw them into your word and a deeper understanding of who you are so they can call upon your mighty name for healing in their land.

Wednesday will be day two of the medical clinic. Pray for our team as this means long, hot days in the sun, tending to hundreds of people. Each person will have the opportunity to pray with a pastor after they have been helped. Pray that hearts would be soft to the call of God.

On the home front:

A young friends' mom has a kidney stone and has been in horrible pain. Pray that God would help this stone to pass and relieve the pain she is having.

Monday, December 27, 2010

Safely on Haitian Soil!

Today brings good news of already answered prayers. The team is safely on the ground in Haiti. Praise the Lord!

The kids and I took the 4 o'clock prayer time this afternoon and sat by the lighted tree, with our bibles and prayed for each team member from our church. Most of you know my kids, so I wanted to share with you how this time went and what I noticed from it.

I am familiar with group prayer and really enjoy it. I get really fired up to join fellow believers in praying spiritual warfare and covering. When you pray in unity with a brother or sister, and God confirms something in both of your hearts, this is really an encouragement. It is things like this in the past that have really bolstered my faith. Going into an hour of prayer with the kids, I think I had a slightly lower expectation. I was really just hoping they would make it through an hour of focused prayer time. Well was that ever a mistake and a humbling one at that. They were all joined in heart and spirit and practicing Ephesians. 6:18 "pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the saints." What a blessed time of prayer we had. Their young hearts were in tune to the details and I was blessed at the spiritual maturity they demonstrated. I look forward to more opportunities to enjoy this time with the kids this week.

Tomorrows agenda:
The PAP team is heading to the remote village of Forets-des-Pints. Pray that the set up and administration of the medical clinic would go smoothly. Pray that God would bless the children's evangelistic outreach. The Leogane team will be volunteering at a children's home and doing service projects for the local church - mainly clearing away rubble at house sites. Leogane was the epicenter of the Jan. 2010 earthquake and an estimated 90% of the buildings were destroyed. Pray that the God of Hope would encourage the hearts of those who have endured so much loss and experienced so much devastation.

God we ask that you would give the teams strength for the days tasks. We ask that you would protect their hearts and minds from the things they may see and experience. Allow them to see the need and respond as is appropriate.

Ryoichi, as of Monday evening is in Ft. Lauderdale and will be flying out very early in the morning to join them. Pray that his flight goes well and that the pick up transportation goes smoothly also.

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Travel Day

They left bright and early yesterday morning from Seattle to arrive in Chicago. From Chicago they flew into Ft. Lauderdale. The flight from Chicago to Ft. Lauderdale was a bit more interesting. They had someone pass out and someone get sick. Yikes! After making a safe albeit turbulent landing they arrived and made it to their hotel. They were hoping to get a good night sleep. They had to arrive at the airport at 5am this morning and will arrive in Haiti around 9am. The last word I heard was that the plane was taking off for Port Au Prince at 6:45 FL time.

We received an itinerary and prayer calendar from the Alabama team and I will be sharing it with you as well as any updates I may receive. We aren't to certain if there will be any or not.

Day one: The prayer is that the team would adjust quickly to the climate and surroundings and be able to hit the ground running. They will divide into the two separate teams and go in two different directions. Pray that the team as a whole would bond well in order to accomplish the will of God. They will be getting settled in and preparing for their outreaches the next day.

Please specifically keep Peter Smith in your prayers. As you may or may not know he broke his collar bone last week so he went with an injury. It won't prevent him from doing his job but pray that it heals quickly and properly.

Our church has also organized an around the clock prayer watch from 7 am our time til next Monday when the leave Haiti. Feel free to pick an hour or two and join in this constant covering.

Saturday, December 25, 2010

They're Off!

It is Saturday evening and the team is officially on their way to Haiti. They will stay in Seattle tonight so that they can be at the airport tomorrow morning at 6am. From there they fly to Chicago, then Ft Lauderdale, and finally Port Au Prince, Haiti. All 6 six team members plus Ryoichi, our pastor, leave feeling the peace of God on this calling and with their families support. Our family spent time together praying over Mark before he left as I am sure the other families did too. But I would like to challenge us all to not let it stop there. They are underway now and in the hands of God we know, but our job continues. Yes the busy preparations are completed, the shots, the packing but this is where our job really picks up. It's time for the prayer warriors to be on their knees. Let's continue together to keep these 7 from our church and 24 from Alabama in our prayers. Let's be sensitive to the voice of the Holy Spirit and be ready to pray in the spirit on all occasions, with all kinds of prayers and requests. Our mobilized team needs pray support from the home team. So while we are all enjoying this blessed time of year and celebrating the birth of our savior, lets remember to pray for thier safety, that they bond as a team, their assignments, and the hearts of the people our team will come in contact with, that their hearts would be soft to the voice of Jesus. Please keep the spouses and families in yours prayers as well. I will post updates as I get them.

Merry Christmas and God bless you.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

The Countdown Officially Begins!

Tonight Mark and I spent time with the other potential Haiti team members and the Elders of our church discussing the trip, the possible dangers, and then praying. We took some much needed time, in the middle of the hustle and bustle to stop and be still before the Lord regarding this trip and again, seek His will to go or not to go. The State Dept. still says essential travel only. Riots are a real possibility while they are there. They might get stuck in Haiti and not be able to fly out. They could simply get sick, with Cholera or Malaria. Or, they could, having heard and answered the call on their lives, be blessed beyond their wildest comprehension. They may touch a life with few days to live, with the truth of a savior. Children who have little to nothing might experience more joy than they have ever had an opportunity to feel. Orphanage children may receive a wonderful gift like a t-shirt, shoes, some toothpaste and toothbrush or their eternal salvation. God may use this 10 day mission to transform the hearts and lives of our team into something almost unrecognizable.

I know that His plans are not always our plans, and the way He chooses to accomplish His will, may not quite look right to us, but I also know that nothing is to dangerous or difficult for our God, for my God. It is with full joy and complete peace in our hearts that we are sending Mark into this unknown.

Again, we ask, actually beseech you to pray and intercede on behalf of this team. We cry out with prayers for safety yes, but we know and trust that you are the God of the impossible and beyond. We want to see God glorified in Mark's life and in the lives of the others as they respond in obedience and service. We ask that God super naturally covers this team and all of the members to accomplish His perfect purpose. Lord be their shield and defender. Holy Spirit, remind them daily to put on their full armor so that they will stand confidently with the truth of your word against the darkness that clouds the people of Haiti. Allow them to become light in a place of darkness.

Lord we ask these things for each team member in the matchless, Holy, and perfect name of Jesus. Thank you for giving us the Holy Spirit to reside in us and to give us wisdom to make decisions. I pray Isaiah 26:3 for each person going and each spouse and family member praying at home.

Isaiah 26:3,4

You will keep in perfect peace him whose mind is steadfast, because he trusts in you. Trust in the LORD forever, for the LORD, the LORD, is the Rock eternal.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Christmas Preparations

Have you ever noticed that this time of year always seems to catch us off guard? It is like somehow every other month follows the rule of the 24 hour, standard day, but come December, and all bets are off!!! December 1st arrives and we hit the ground running at break neck speed, like we might earn some prestigious award for accomplishing even more than we did last year and especially more than all our friends, combined!!! We must get ALL the right gifts for all the right people, attend ALL Christmas pageantry, put up the most and most perfect decorations, hand make, from scratch, batches and batches of the tastiest food and then deliver it to everyone we know and even some we don't, and so on. Seriously? I bet if your anything like our family, the conversations about Christmas preparations this year are similar to the one's taking place in our home. Take a look and see...
"Did you pick up the bug spray for me?" I had to return it and get the one with more Deet! "Really? More Deet?" Malaria is bad stuff. They said more Deet is better. "Okay, right." Have you started your Typhoid medication yet? "Yes. I started it today." Good. What are you taking for Cholera? "There is nothing you can take to prevent Cholera. We just have to be careful." Have you heard wether they are letting commercial flights back into Haiti yet or not? "Not so far. The violence is getting worse." I am sure it will all be cleared up by the time the team is scheduled to leave on Christmas. You packed toilet paper, right? "Yes! Again!" Just checking. Water purification supplies, bed roll, Imodium? "YES! I have it all!"

I know at least two of you that are right there with me. The majority of you however, probably think this sounds like plans for a really bad camping trip. And it kind of is, but it is what our Christmas preparations look like this year. Mark and his fellow teammates are scheduled to leave home Christmas evening. They will stay one night in Seattle, and then fly out early the next morning for Florida, where they will again stay one night before heading to Port Au Prince, Haiti to begin a 10 day mission in the ravaged and devastated country. Why on earth Haiti? Cause Jesus would have gone there. Why now? Why not? and if not now when? when it's "safe?" Why Mark? Cause God said so, bottom line. Will they be protected? Only by God. Will it be as dirty as it looks on TV? Most likely worse. Where will they be sleeping? On the ground in tents. Is it safe? Probably not. But as someone I respect very much said to me recently "The safest place to be is in the center of God's will." and that means no matter where His will takes us. Have you been brave enough to ask Him what that looks like for you? Scary question maybe. But truly what could be better than finding yourself in the very center of His perfect will for your life.
Are you willing to ask, even if it might mean something big? Are you willing to ask if it means giving up your precious holiday time with family? Are you willing to go? What if it looks like serving at an elementary school in the First Grade room? Okay the high school with the kids in detention? What about serving in the prison with gang members? Will you serve with a cheerful heart if it means one of your children contracts a major illness? When your flat on your back, with nothing left to offer after just receiving your most recent round of Chemotherapy, will you in your heart of hearts acknowledge Him and the position of service He has put you in? Will you find the strength in Him to say "Here am I, send me." It's easier to serve when it means staying home with your child or children to nurture and love them or when it means you go day in and day out to your job but, sometimes serving God isn't neat and clean. Sometimes it looks like Haiti, with violence, abandon children, destruction, and disease at Christmas.

The good news, these are all rhetorical questions. I can't check in to see how you answered. The bad news or well maybe the hard part is I am still challenging you to ask them anyway. Mark asked the tough question, probably for the first time, and I can tell you even though he hasn't left American soil, God has already been transforming his heart and working in and through him. He who created the individual grains of sand, who named and put each and every star in the sky, and who fashioned the very cells in our bodies, He wastes nothing! Are we willing to say to Him as Isaiah did in Isaiah 6:8 "Her am I. Send me!"? Will you give yourself over to being a worker in the field, pregnant with its' harvest? (Matthew 9:37,38) It could be life changing for us if we will trust Him with our everything.
He may never send you overseas, or take a child from you or strike you with an incurable disease but if He does are we willing to serve in that circumstance and still give Him the glory?

We would covet your prayers for this team as we head into the weekend before they leave and await the final decision to be made by the team leaders in Alabama. Pray that God would give them clarity of mind as they prayerfully consider the decision at hand. For now the team presses on as if the plans are unchanged. Ultimately, we want them to be in God's perfect will.

Friday, December 3, 2010

Jesus, Hope in the Darkness.

What do we do when we find ourselves in what feels like the deepest, dankest hole we have ever existed in only to discover that the walls just grew colder and harder, and the inky blackness somehow became darker and the fowl stench of doubt swirled around, stinging your nose. The darkness seems to be swallowing you alive and you find you are frozen, unable to call out for help, unable to breathe for fear of inhaling the blackness. If you could signal someone and let them know your dire circumstances, would you or would the possibility of ridicule and chastisement hold you captive in silence as you continue to slip into the depths of despair? Is God aware of this sinister dwelling you find yourself in? Does he know the fathoms of the pain, fear, and doubt you are fighting to survive through? Why has he abandon you to wade through this muck and meir without hope? Or has he?
It was to a young unwed mom, in a smelly vile hospital room, that we wouldn't even consider, that He chose to not only be there for her but to Be there for all of us. He came into our world to be hunted, persecuted, spat upon and mocked so that we could have the joy of our salvation made known to us. He came so that we may have life and life more abundantly, He died that we might live, and He rose leaving the Holy Spirit as a gift to journey with us each day on an intimate level that we couldn't have know before. He gives us friends to remind us what we already know, to whisper His words and comforts into our hearts that we may be encouraged. He allows them to bring His words of scripture back to our hearts as a healing balm when we haven't the strength to recall them ourselves and in His perfect timing, He moves us forward to uphold others.

It is one of those times when we are called upon to encourage and fight for a precious sister in Christ. Stephanie - the dear young mother of three that we have been praying for, desperately needs us to lift her up right now! She is feeling the weight of bitterness and despairing creeping in upon her. She has 4 weeks left of her second round of chemo and then radiation begins again. Her Thanksgiving felt empty and void of anything warranting thanksgiving. She is stuck in the pit, drowning in sorrow and fear, and feeling quite abandon by her God. Join with me in praying this enemy of darkness would be vanquished in Jesus name, and that the God of Light in the darkness would shine upon her face. God we ask that you would meet Stephanie in this cavern where she needs you most. Let your perfect peace wash over her like a warm summer wind. Friends, would you please stop now before you even read on and hold Stephanie up before the one who breathes life. Cry out to our Father on her behalf, that He may hear the cries of gathered saints and move swiftly to her aid.

Mark - He has been sick this past week. A bad cough and cold are keeping him down. Anyone who knows Mark, knows this is rare. He usually just plows through. He continues the search for work along with countless others. We are feeling as though God is holding off until after the trip to Haiti. We are trusting him each week for provision and he has been faithful. I would ask for your prayers for Mark's health as he prepares for this trip and I believe life changing experience. God would you bring rest and health to Mark's body. Give him strength now so his body will by strong and able when he goes to another country plagued with sickness.

Myself - I visited the doctor this week with some stomach and side pains. As it turns out, it looks like I may have ulcers and something else going on. Nothing he was overly alarmed about but bothersome and painful nonetheless. I ask for your prayers that God would reach down his hand of healing and touch my body. I desire to be strong for my family while Mark is preparing and away. I want to be able to take care of my kids and our home as well as others who need it.

Another dear one has had a miss-carriage. She loves the Lord and is pressing in but it is still painful to loose a life you already loved. God we pray you would fill this void in her heart with your love and compassion. Bring healing to the hurting family as well Lord.

Pray for Deb, Lisel, Dustin, Shon, Peter, and Mark as they prepare to fly down to Haiti to follow the leading of their heavenly father and bring hope and light to a dark and hurting people. Lord keep them all healthy and strong and give them protection, purpose and direction while they are away. Be with all the families that stay home. Cause us to remember to pray for both this hurting and lost country and it's people as we pray for our loved ones.


Kristy had a beautiful, healthy, baby boy. He came into this world last week, November 26 around 7 am. What a precious addition to this sweet family. I pray God would bless you all as you begin a whole new chapter of life with this little guy.

Theresa's baby boy Lukas is doing so much better now, eating, gaining, and getting cuter all the time. Pray for them as her husband has taken an additional job for a short time. This leaves her home alone with two small guys. Lord give her strength for each day, one day at a time. Also Lord, give them specific direction with regards to their house and decisions to make. Make the path abundantly clear and allow the choice to bring a wave of peace.

We are praising God for specifically answering prayer! Mark will be without any unemployment for the two weeks he is in Haiti and upon realizing this we began to pray. Four weeks before the need, God allowed provision in an unexpected way. Thank you for listening to God's voice in this and may He bless you abundantly more than you could even imagine. I pray your barns would overflow with blessings as you trust in the Lord.

Stephanie, this one is for you!

2 Corinthians 4:16-18
Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.

Friday, November 19, 2010

Praying for MIRACLES?

Do You Have Faith to Pray for Miracles for Yourself or Your Own Loved Ones?

It was with great joy and bolstering of faith that I reported to you last week about Cyrus. and life kept going. Tristan began to experience some higher than safe blood sugars without any known cause. We called his Dr. and made some adjustments to his pump and it helped a bit for a day. Then back up into the 300's he climbed. "Drink lots of water, go for a jog, add a little insulin." I would suggest. I did mom. It's not working. "Is the pump working?" Yes. It went from 355 to 328. That isn't really all that good. No key tones. "Well it's prayer at church tonight and bible study. We will ask them to pray for you. And tomorrow is Home Group. We know they will pray for you."

They crept higher. We overshot and dropped him like a rock. They crept back up and we did the same thing. Tired, frustrated, exhausted, he climbs into bed, down from previous numbers, a new pump inset in place, and hope worn thin.

Home Group night at last. Let's pray for him as a group. Better yet, they suggest. Let's put him in the "Hot" seat. This is an affectionate term for being placed in the vulnerable position to sit out in front of the group so they can come lay hands on and pray for you specifically. We begin to pray for complete healing and restoration of his pancreas or better yet, that God would just give him a new one. I believe with all my heart God is capable of this miracle and in fact this would be small beans for Him who sits on the throne. So... when and why did I stop praying this for my son? Do I think my family is less important to God to trust him with my pleas? Cyrus, with terminal cancer prayed in faith with nothing to loose and everything to gain. The woman in the bible who touched the hem of His garment and was healed, reached out with nothing to loose and everything to gain. I have that kind of faith for others. Am I afraid of how I will feel if He chooses not to heal him. Am I afraid of what others will think if God doesn't "come through" for Tristan? Am I afraid to be disappointed by a "NO"? Will it hurt to see my son realize that God said no or not now to him? Why not for my own son?

God forgive my unbelief as I join in fervent prayer for the total healing of my son. You know this is the desire of both his and my heart so we ask for a miracle for Tristan.

Into the Double Digits She Goes!



Miss T

T Leigh


Our girl turns 10!!! What a crazy bundle of girliness this one. From fashion and friends to family she is full speed ahead. We are blessed with the opportunity to have her in our home. She inspires thought with her insight into life. She thinks and loves deeply. Her compassion for those around her knows no bounds. She loves to be silly and crazy and yet she can be very bashful at times. She is sheer poetry in motion when she picks up her violin. God has put a passion in her heart for hurting people both those she knows and more recently those she doesn't. We give thanks at this time of year for blessings in our life and be sure we thank God for our children and today we thank Him for our precious Terin.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Praise God From Whom All Blessings Flow!

As amazing as the miracles of the bible seem, have you ever just stopped and tried to physically insert yourself into those scenes? Have you imagined yourself in the crowd when Lazarus came walking forth from the grave, still wearing his grave clothes? Once the fear, wonder, and aroma passed, what would your mind register after witnessing this miracle? Would you have words? Could you even manage a cohesive thought? What unspeakable joys might your heart have felt to be a friend of the woman who had bled for years, only to have her come to your home one day barely able to speak as she shares with you the news. "Finally! It's over!" Just think, this is not a man decked out in a black suit with tails, a red cravat, and cameras walking around doing street magic. This is a simple carpenter, sent here to bring an eternal miracle to you and me. We don't have to have tickets to see these "magic" shows. He brings his miracles to testify to the glory and majesty of His dad. And get this... we can call him friend, Abba, or savior if we choose to.

I write to you today, feeling like I am reporting on a miracle of New Testament proportions. I received an update on someone we have all been praying for, Cyrus. Just in case you are unfamiliar, I will explain. He was diagnosed with a brain tumor much earlier this year. They operated and were only able to remove so much. They said it was rapid growing and that ultimately it would win, in at best 5 years. We have been praying and journeying with them through this valley of the shadow of death. My spirit rejoices to report to you that he, Cyrus, just this last week stepped out of the valley. He received word from his physician that not only is this tumor not going to end his life early, it isn't going to end it at all because Praise be to God on high, the cancer is GONE! He is completely cancer free. I can only imagine how far reaching the tentacles of this miracle will be. He is good, all the time! To quote his wife "the only thing left to prove he had brain cancer is the hole in his head where the tumor once resided and the scar and lack of hair on his head." The family is asking for God to be moving in the lives of all the Dr.s involved. By name they are Dr. Manning, Dr. Smith, Dr. Han, and Dr. Zucherman. Let's continue to pray for the family and thank God for what he has done and ask God to continue to use them in this for His Glory.
To read more on this miracle for yourself, go to

We need to keep Stephanie in our prayers. She is still fighting her fight in a second round of chemo. She has been sick and is feeling so very week. Lord I pray that your joy would be her strength. That even in this pit of despair, her joy filled heart would be good medicine to her spirit and her body. Be ever present with her.

An Elder and a friend from our church has been in the hospital with pneumonia. It has been a real bugger for him to shake, but he was finally able to come home. God as he comes home and continues to recover, we ask that you would use this time to give him your perfect rest. Let him rest soundly in you. Allow him to feel the blessing of the body of Christ through out the next weeks, as he has blessed so many others through out the years.

Psalm 89:1 I will sing of the Lord's great love forever; with my mouth I will make our faithfulness known through all generations.

Apples, Apples, All Over the Place!

We have the fabulous fortune to know someone who's family has both an apple orchard as well as cherries in Yakima. We have digressed back to the days of creative acquisition. Bartering. He brings us boxes of the yummy fresh fruits and in exchange we give him the more durable canned form. It is a win win for both of us.
After trading and getting my goods, the arduous task of preserving this 100+ pounds of Cameo apples begina. Sadly, they don't stay fresh longer because they tasted amazing. Anyway, we canned applesauce by the quarts. This is where Gavin comes in handy. He has been known to to make applesauce taste like dessert with little effort. We all love it. We made and canned apple pie filling. Have you ever tried dehydrated apple rings with cinnamon and sugar sprinkled on them? Again, Gavin. Delicious! We did plain, healthy ones too. We had Carmel apple dip with our apples (so easy by the way and way better than the store bought stuff). French Apple Custard is to die for, apple crisp, apple crisp muffins, apple pie, apple cider.....

For applesauce: quarter and remove any soft spots or "friends" if your apples are from untreated trees. I also remove the cores. Put them in a big pot with several cups of water and let them simmer until they are tender.

If you happen to have one of these gadgets, scoop mounds of your apples, peels and all into the sieve and press it through to get the sauce.
Return the hot sauce to the stove and season. Here he used a combination of honey and brown sugar and a generous helping of cinnamon.

Ladle the boiling applesauce into hot prepared jars. Wipe the rims down and add hot lids and rings. Flip the jars upside down and they will seal. You can also hot bath process them for 10 mins. for a heavyier seal.

The apple pie filling has to be canned.

So, is anyone else ready for Pumpkin Pie about now?
Carmel Dip
1 Pkg cream cheese
1 cup brown sugar
1 T. vanilla

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

A Little Goes A Long Way...

Gavin and I went shopping recently with some of the money he has raised for his Haiti project. He discovered that a little bit of work would provide shirts, supplies, and shoes for many. At JCPenny's we asked if they would give any additional discount since the shirts were going to Haiti and they did. It was great! He got a huge stack of shirts for $45 ish. He was thrilled. Along with the shirts, he sends several pairs of crocs, tooth brushes and tooth paste, and bar soap. He isn't new to the heart of giving but something extra special about this gift is that his dad gets to deliver it. He isn't quite done with his shopping. He still has more money to buy supplies. His thanks to all who supported him by buying something yummy. We'll keep you posted on the delivery.

Friday, October 29, 2010

Blessed Abundantly

"I can't find my shoes mom" "Which one's?"
"Which car are you going to take to work?"
"What do you guys want for dinner tonight?"
"Do you all want to go camping again this summer?"
"This computer is so slow, I think it is time for a new one."
"Did you get me that new CD (book) mom?"
"Do you guys want to go see that new movie?"

Do any of these phrases sound familiar to you too? Do you know what they all have in common? They show the extravagant extent to which we are blessed. We have abundant choices in our lives, we have room for multiples and extras. Have you ever thought about it that way? When I get up in the morning the choices are never ending.

Alarm clock set to music or cd? What cd? cotton or flannel sheets? body wash or sugar scrub? What should I wear? Flat hair or curly today? What should I eat? What color of eyeshadow? Coffee or tea? Which shoes? Which car should I drive? and that only covers a few choices and gets me through the morning. I am sure you could add a dozen different choices from your routine. So, you see my point. We live blessed lives.

Mark continues to find himself in this uncomfortable phase of life where he is unable to be the financial provider and yet God is using this time to draw our attention to His form of provision. If you have never experienced this, I would highly recommend it. While we have been guilty of wanting to hold on to our physical dollars during this time, we continue to have friends and family over to share our home and food. What we are learning in this is that the more we give it away and share it, the more we have. Plain and simple. We have all heard this principle before, but have we ever really put it to the test? Ask our kids how this is working or better yet, come have dinner with us and see for yourselves. Our freezers, fridges, and pantry cupboards are abundantly overflowing with provision for daily sustenance. It has been a season of great faith building around here.
Another area of abundant blessing in our life is our family and friends. We are so grateful to have each of you in our lives. So many of you both know and unknown to us, have blessed our family during this season of unknowns. You have sent notes of encouragement, you have joined us on our knees in crying out to God, you have opened up your homes and dinner tables and shared from your baskets and you have walked beside us on days when there just aren't words. Our hearts of full of grattitude for your generousity and endless faithful petitions on our behalf. We pray God would be returning the blessing back to your home, ten fold.

God Bless as you pursue the Blessed Life. If you really want to go further with this, check out Craig Groeschel at and look for the series "the Blessed Life."

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

A Visit From Grandma's

So, what happens when grandma's come to visit?
We stay up to late playing games, watching movies, (sleeping for some of us), or chatting.

We go for walks in the brisk afternoon, get out of our dishes duty, and play more games.

We probably eat way, way, way too many M & M's and just go well crazy like poor Terin here.

We might enlist said grandma in manual labor cutting pounds of apples for canning sauce or pie filling

There is probably a concert or two or well I guess four. We need to get this act synchronized.

Overall, we have a really great time hangin out.

Thanks for the memories.
We love you!!!

Monday, October 25, 2010

Pumpkin Seeds!

I must confess that some years, my pumpkin carving enthusiasm is seriously lacking compared to that of an exuberant scrap booking mom. When the season rolls around and I have only one thing on my mind, THE SEEDS! I could do with out the glowing faces, fancy cuttings, and carved creations. Ya, they're fun, but really? It's all about the seeds.

This year we did pumpkin carving with our Home Group from church. This meant 14 pumpkins, opened, (with a power tool), scooped, scraped, and carved. It also meant a massive glop of pumpkin goobers to wade through for the treasured seeds. Yes, I did sift through every last ounce to get to the final seed. I am happy to report, the bounty was plentiful! and really pumpkin seeds are quite easy to make. Experiment with em too. That is how we ended up with the garlic.
After they have been pulled from the pumpkin, I rinse them off to remove a bit more of the goop. Then I put them in a bowl with water and garlic salt and let them soak over night.

The next day, I spread a thin layer on a cookie sheet and sprinkle them with salt or more garlic salt. Bake them low and slow. Set the oven to 250 and bake around 1 - 1 1/2 hours. Store them in a cool, airtight place.

Sadly, this season comes only once a year. Savor the seeds you get and then wait til next year to do it all over again. What a great seasonal treat!

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Little One's

After being asked "Who is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven ?" Jesus responded this way.

Matthew 18:2-6 He called a little child and had him stand among them. And he said: "I tell you the truth, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. Therefore, whoever humbles himself like this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven. "And whoever welcomes a little child like this in my name welcomes me. But if anyone causes one of these little ones who believe in me to sin, it would be better for him to have a large millstone hung around his neck and to be drowned in the depths of the sea.

Childlike humility and faith are unlike the faith you and I share. They have not yet been clouded with doubt, despair, corruption and unbelief.

There is nothing like the feel of a newborns skin to bring out that deep sigh from within. To touch something so new and perfect is a sensation like no other. Looking into eyes that have not yet experienced the pain of seeing a loved one die or the violence of the streets. Holding a tiny hand that hasn't walked someone to their grave. Feeling the strong beat of a heart that has not know heart ache. Caressing precious bitty ears that haven't heard the harsh words of anger, slander or lies. To see life in it's most perfect beginning, grabbing hold of each new breath in order to grow and become what God has pre-determined.

Take the extra time to hold a newborn baby or small child on your lap. Bathe in the beauty of their innocence and purity and ask God to restore unto you, the Joy of your salvation. And always remember to pray for these little one's who are so precious to God. Whether you are a parent, grandparent or great grandparent, friend, aunt or uncle, youth pastor or Sunday school teacher you undoubtedly know children you can pray for.
The requests I received this last week were delayed in being posted as I attended the memorial service for my sisters best friend, at only 23 years old. Oddly enough most of the requests are for children. So without out further delay...

Please lift up Zac, an 11 year old boy in North Carolina. He was in a small little accident like all kids where he scraped his skin. It was nothing mom couldn't handle with a little neosporin and hydrogen peroxide. Until 15 mins later he had a severe reaction and they discovered by the grace of God that he had some serious issues inside his body. First thank God for allowing this accident in order to discover the larger issues. God's timing is always perfect. Secondly, thank the Lord that this family is leaning on the strong shoulder of their Lord and Savior Jesus for strength at this time. Finally, lift up this little guys physical body to our God who holds this precious boy in his grasp. We are asking for a physical healing of his body Lord for your eternal Glory.

Evan - a 12 year old in Arizona - This poor young one was recently diagnosed with Leukemia and Lymphoma. Father God again we cry out to you for the life of this child. Touch his body, hold this family firmly in your grasp and walk them through this horrible experience and bring them out to testify of your goodness.

Some friends are in Colorado for the next two weeks for some training for the mission field. Their three boys, ages 5 and under, are with them and will be in day long child care. While it is a blessing that this care is provided, it will be the first time for these boys to be in childcare with complete strangers for full days, for two weeks. This is really burdening "moms" heart. Pray that God would bring her peace about this next two weeks and allow her to fully focus on the training and what He has for her there. I ask that you allow the kids to find friends and really enjoy this time and thrive in the situation with loving caregivers. Bring them home encouraged and feeling confident in your calling to the specific group of people you would have them ministering to.

My sister in law had her son. Lukas Asher Adams. Pray for healthy growth for this little guy. He seems to have his days and nights mixed up so Lord we ask that this would quickly get turned around so both mom and dad would get well rested. Thank you for this little life.
On the same day as this birth my sisters friend died. I would covet your prayers for her broken heart as well as the parents and sisters to this young life cut short.

Friday, October 15, 2010

Loaves of Love!

Sunflower Honey Bread with Plum Jam

All the yummy smells the boys have been baking up around here got me inspired too. I have always wanted to try this recipe so now seemed like the perfect time. It comes from one of my favorite cookbooks from one of my favorite sisters. If you are interested in purchasing one of these loaves with or without the jam, just let me or one of the guys know. It will go towards the Haiti fundraiser. I made two of them and we ate the first one. Can I just say, it makes amazing toast! It is a yeast bread so it isn't quite like the banana or zucchini. But it is delicious just the same! It would make a great gift with the jam. Let me know!

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Prayer Requests

It is late and I wasn't planning this one but it is necessary.

I was enjoying some family time with the kids tonight and missed a message from my sis. A dear childhood friend of hers passed away suddenly and unexpectedly. She was around 23 years old. Please join with me in prayer for the family of the girl. What a tragic loss. Please pray for my sis, Ashley, as she has to go and say goodbye to this dear friend. Lord give her peace in this storm. Comfort her heart.

At the opposite end of the spectrum, I would ask for prayers for my sister-in-law who goes in at 5:30 for a c-section. Pray that it goes without complication and that Lukas would arrive safe and sound tomorrow around 7 ish. I pray this would be a blessed time for the family.

Thank you for your faithful prayers for each other, for fellow believers, and for friends and family. What a gift that we can go confidently before the King and know he not only hears but cares about our lives and our concerns.

A New Look!

Little Miss Payton, during schooling last year, told me with great frustration, "Mom, I can't read the small words. They are too hard for me." In confusion and frustration I asked her "Can you read the bigger words?" to this she sadly replies, "Yes". Color me baffled. How is it that she could read larger words, but not small words? Reading has always seemed to be very difficult for her, so I worked extra hard with her on it and concluded that if it was still a problem next year, we would see a reading specialist. Even after three successfully reading, I was missing something "big" with the fourth.

Shortly after we began our school year, we discovered that low and behold, the same problem showed back up. I decided to talk to someone to get her some reading help. Surely this will fix this strange disorder I reasoned.

About two weeks ago, during reading, she got frustrated again almost to tears and said "but mom I told you I can't read the small words". I asked her to show me which ones she could read. She pointed to the story title. I asked cautiously, slowly realizing what she has been trying to tell me? "You can see the large print words but not the small print words?" "YES! That's what I keep telling you!"

Ah, now I finally "see" what she was saying. So off to the optometrist we went and sure enough, our little miss is severely farsighted. No wonder she couldn't read the "small" words.

These little readers are just to get her through until they get her new glasses are made. Wait til you see her in em. She is pretty darn cute. I think she feels a little extra cute in em. She was told she looks like someone she admires very much. This was a great compliment according to Payton. So she proudly wore her little glasses all day for school.

This story reflected a weakness in my ability to see something so obviously in front of me. It got me wondering how often I do this in my spiritual walk. How many times has God put something right in front of me and I fail to see it? I just needed to step back and look at life through the eyes of Jesus eyes. How much clearer would life be, if I would just slow down and look at things through His eyes. Like Payton with her new glasses, I would probably be shocked at what I would see.

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Daily Work Organized.

I realize I said I would get back to the notebook and planner concept several weeks ago, it's just that so many other things became "front burner issues". So, better late than never.

This little system has been a great tool for our family and the many others we have shared it with. Hopefully, you will find it useful for yours as well.

One of the really great things about home school, is that it is anywhere, everywhere, and anytime. This means doctors appointments, lessons, banks, meetings, you name it. Being able to take schoolwork with you is just part of the routine. This system allows you to take it all with you without taking it ALL with you. Even if you purpose to be primarily stay at home home schoolers, this system will have its advantages.

To get started you will need: a 3-hole punch, a large clip, possibly some hole reinforcement circles, dividers, the binder, and the planner.

It begins with the binder. I am a bit of a color coding nerd. Just ask anyone who knows me. Having four kids I found it easier to give them each their own color. In the binder you will need tabbed dividers for each subject your child is studying. It should look something like this.

For some of you this next step will feel very scary. Take a deep breath and repeat after me, "I can do this. It will be okay and I won't get in trouble." I want you to tear out a weeks worth or even two weeks worth of the worksheets for each subject and put them behind the correct tab.

Then you begin planning out the work and writing in the assignments. I usually do 2 weeks at a time. That way if we jump ahead I don't have too many changes to make. Likewise if we take extra time in an area. For the older kids, this is where the month at a glance becomes helpful. I use it to put in reminders of when they have tests, papers that are due, lessons and or appointments, or labs that need to be completed. This allows them to look ahead and begin planning their time accordingly. (in theory, these are pre-teens and teenagers we are talking about)

As you begin planning out your weeks, you may notice that Thursday is consistently a busy day away from home so your lesson plans for the day may be smaller like this example. You can see the math assignment and corresponding lesson.

The child will have most of the work they need right with them in their binders for two weeks out. You may need to bring along a reading book. Our older kids often have to bring along a textbook but, it still eliminates carrying all the work texts around. I have discovered another advantage to this system is that when it comes time to report in or create a transcript, you have all the information you need regarding what your child has covered quickly at your fingertips. By scheduling out your days, you are helping to create a routine of school for your children. Once established, this routine frees you up to be more hands on with the younger kids.

The clip is used simply to hold the at a glance month and the current week open. I am primarily using the month at a glance with my two older kids. The goal here is getting them comfortable with the idea of being responsible for commitments they have. I think it is important to teach them early on the value of their time as well as others. If they have committed to be somewhere for a lesson at 4 and then show up at 4:20, not only do they miss 20 mins. of their lesson which isn't very good stewardship of funds, but it doesn't honor the other persons time and obligations they may have. I am not talking about the occasional running late because you got caught at the train, behind the school bus parade, or your car got a flat tire. I think being good stewards of our time is just as important as being good stewards of our funds. They learn primarily by watching us so we have to try and set the example on this one.

When the kids have completed an assignment we mark it of with a highlighter. This allows me to easily see at a glance what work is completed and what things still need to be done. The paperwork gets turned in to a turn in box. It is collected here until the end of the month. At this time, I go through them all and type up my report. I have the older kids keep all their work in their binders until after a test so they can use it for studying.

If you have any questions or would like to see first hand what this looks like and how the kids use it on a day to day basis, please feel free to ask me any questions or give me a call. Good luck with it. It has been a great source of sanity for me.