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, July 30, 2010


An update from Stephanie came in this evening. This was her most difficult week. She doesn't do the couch thing well and is not looking forward to that. She is asking God to target the chemo to this cancer and completely destroy it with minimal damage to the rest of her body. Also, one of the drugs can cause heart damage as a side effect. Let's pray God physically and spiritually protects her heart.

In an update from our little adventures we like to call LIFE, this evening whilst enjoying my time with my precious daughters and in attempt to have a special pizza, movie, game night, we discovered that our oven is no longer heating up. This is not good since that is the primary function of the oven. I am hopeful that when my incredibly macho man returns tomorrow evening, he will have a simple solution and a rapid re-pare to this untimely issue. Thankfully, we have great neighbors who allowed us to cook our silly little pizza in their oven. Dinner may have been a little late, but it's summer. Who cares!

Ironically, the girls and I played the game of Life tonight... I lost! But we had fun.

Fortunately, I have Psalms 62:1-2 to cling to.

My soul finds rest in God alone; my salvation comes from him. He alone is my rock and my salvation; he is my fortress, I will never be shaken.

Trim Them Greens!

I have received a lot of questions about trimming the tomato leaves with no blossoms and just exactly how that is done. Here is my unedited attempt at photo instructions.

The branch to pinch is on the top left side of photo A.


You can use your fingernails or clippers and just snip it close to the main vine.


In this photo and the next you can see where the branch was trimmed off.



To recap, with visuals, we are trimming the leafy branch in photo E, and NOT the blossom and fruit filled vine shown in photograph F. It isn't necessary to trim them all. Just make sure you have the lower branches trimmed and some of the larger upper ones as well.



This is a tip I gathered from one of the head gardener's at Joe's in South Bellingham. He said that this was how to do it over here on the West side to get yourself some nice red maters.


PS. Another tomato tip from me: Crush up your egg shells and sprinkle them around your tomatoes to put calcium back in the soil and keep the tomato blossom rot away.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Bow the Knee!

Just in the last 24 hours I have encountered three friends who are hurting deeply and I wanted to bring them before you, my fellow prayer warriors, who know the power we have been given through prayer, and ask you to lift them up with me.

Due to the nature of the 3 I am omitting names unless I hear specifically that they would like names attached.

One dear friend has just today lost a baby for the second time in a matter of months. She isn't currently at home as the family was on vacation. Please lift her aching heart to our gracious heavenly father and pray he would continue to provide the comfort only he can bring.

Another dear friend thought she may be expecting and went from shock, to acceptance, to complete joy and elation only to discover it was a polyp or cyst about to burst. Her heart was broken at the realization. Pray for God to come in and speak to her weeping heart. God we ask you to speak to that unrealized desire for another baby. Help her find Joy today.

Still another friend (actually two separate friends this week) confided of marriage problems. For one it was hearts that had grown cold from being unattended and a complete disconnect of the two lives. The other is hurting from harsh words and unloving actions and I think feels like a doormat in some ways. God we know you are the author of miracles and sometime in marriage we feel like that is what it will take to love the person we once called soul mate, again. Connect these two marriages in ways that will bring you glory and be a testimony of your goodness and faithfulness to us in times of discouragement and despair.

All of these friends are Christians and love the Lord. All are trying to rely on God for answers and directions and yet each one finds themselves in a different and difficult season of life.

We can't always offer the right words or solutions to pain and problems, but we can be on our knees for them filling in the gap.

A praise report I wanted to share from a personal note was that we (my family) were blessed by two separate angels who brought gifts of food and necessities in the last two days. God is so good and faithful and to him even toilet paper matters. You may laugh but it's true. Thank you for hearing and responding my two friends. You know who you are. You blessed me immensely and gave me an opportunity to be a cheerful and gracious receiver. And even more than the physical needs being met your words spoke encouragement to my heart about how this grew your family in ways you don't anticipate when your in the thick of it. You shared things I hadn't considered so... Thanks for letting me call you friend.

Don't forget to pray for your two couples today. Don't know what this means? Check the last Prayer Warriors blog, and make time to be on your knees each day.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

He never sleeps, nor does He slumber

I always go into summer with grand and lofty goals. I will plant a larger garden than last year and buy no fresh produce this summer. I will completely organize my house and clean it from top to bottom. We will down size the junk in the garage, organize, and shelve it all, I will read through the bible, I will get caught up on my fiction reading, I will get caught up on all of the scrapbooks which are behind.... and yes the list goes on as does yours I am sure. In reality, summer seems to end up being plenty busy if not busier than the school year sometimes. It gets filled with projects that can't be done during the "school" year. People come to visit or come over for dinner more often. Yard maintenance takes much more time than we realize and as our kids get bigger, transporting them from either home and a job, or home and a friends can fill up the hours quickly. It is just full and usually that is a blessed thing.

In the middle of our crazy summer days, lets encourage each other to not let go of the prayer time we all so desperately need with our Abba father.

Prayer Requests:

Stephanie is undergoing her chemo and has lost a lot of her hair. At the same time this is a huge praise report. Her faith in God is abundantly evident in her blog updates. She is walking hand in hand with her savior and her hope is solidly in him. Let's keep her in our prayers. Her blog should be linked to mine if you would like to read and get updates not to mention be inspired by her walk of faith.

Cyrus - The update I have on him is that the tumor in his brain is the type with fingers which some of you may know is not good. He too is rock solid in his faith and trust of his Lord. His wife Joni is struggling. She is battling fear, anxiety, and probably some depressions with that. This can be a terrifying and completely uncontrollable feeling while you are experiencing it and it can quickly get out of hand and cause serious physical side effects. Let's pray that God would be her refuge and her strong tower. A place where she can run and find shelter from this storm.

Brian - My brother is still battling an infection and the anti-biotics don't seem to be kicking it. He is on his third round and is having some pretty scary side effects. This feels incredibly discouraging I can imagine as he has been really feeling the hand of God in his life. The spirit of doubt is a crafty one and weasels its' way in where ever it can. Lord we rebuke this spirit in his life and ask you to remove it and cast it back to the pit forever. Give him confidence in you as his Lord and Savior and ever present help in time of need. Help him to continue to minister to those around him in the ways only he can.

Mark - My Main Man Mark is still on the hunt for a job. We have a couple of local tips. One in particular that we are very excited to pursue. Please pray with us for God's timing in this and his provision.

Our family - We will be having our nephew come to stay with us for a little over 2 weeks in August. It will be a difficult time for all involved and yet we have no doubt this is of the Lord. We are going to be helping him out in a difficult time of his young life. Pray for God's orchestration on each and every detail of each and every day. Pray for softening of hearts and a miraculous work of the Holy Spirit. We are anticipating seeing God work in some really incredible ways with this one. This request partially piggy backs with the job one as I feel it would be a much better thing if Mark were able to be here during the visit. In fact, I feel like that is part of the reason for the timing of the layoff. The mysteries of God's perfect timing never cease to amaze me.

Praise Reports -

Gavin is getting baptized! We have never felt right about pushing our kids in this. We have waited until each one felt ready and this young man is ready.

Tristan continues to have opportunities to be a living sacrifice, something he really learned about in Mexico.

A dear friend has turned a hard heart over to the Lord to be truly molded by his love and grace. The path may be narrow but the mercies are abundant and at the end of the day, God is GOOD!

The youth pastor is starting to feel better. The cough is lingering but decreasing.

Terin and Payton have been "working" doing jobs for people and selling vegetables around the neighborhood to help our family out while Mark is without his job. What a blessing they have been to us.

Something I would like to encourage you to do is be praying for your friends and their marriages. The enemy seems to be working overtime on the destruction of this sacred union. Stand up with me and say "NO MORE!" I am tired and angry at seeing friends fall victim to the sleazy plans of the enemy. Pick 2 couples for each day of the week and whether they are experiencing troubles right now or not, pray for them faithfully on the particular weekday. If God gives you a specific verse for them, shoot em a text or an email to let them know you have been holding them up. I guarantee if we all did this, we would begin to see changes. I know I would love that kind of prayer.

We serve a big God who sees everything and wants to hear it all from you, so take some time out of your busy summer days and talk to Him.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Here it Comes!


Ah, the bounties of the garden come to fruition in summers golden, hot days. The beginnings seem so small and sparse. You spend the spring time preparing your soil, adding amendments to get the proper acidic levels and pulling out any leftover unwanteds. You til in the compost that you have been cookin up for just such an occasion. You labor lovingly over the precious albeit tiny seeds willing them to mature into the makings of a divine Chef salad. You water. You wait. You feed. You wait. The harvest can seem so far off. A little trimming, a little training, some weeding and some more waiting and then you begin to reap a beautiful reward.
This week I am seeing tell tale signs of just that. The red and green Romaines have been amazing this year. If you pick the leaves of the outside of the plants, the insides will keep giving you more.

The snap peas hardly have a chance to get fat without an eager hand snatching them off for a little sweet snack.

The tomatillas are going crazy and will be keeping me busy canning for sure. These plants are happiest in full sun and require little extra attention except for staking them securely as they get huge.

The wax beans too show signs of great yield, that is if I don't stop eating them right off the vines.

The Scarlet Runner Beans and Kentucky Pole beans are
climbing quite nicely up and over the garden trellis. Train them well and they will run and run and run which translates into more beans for you.
And the Sugar Baby Watermelons even show signs of producing a late harvest. I am experimenting with several of my plants as far as location this year. The watermelons are one of my experimental specimens. I have two plants in the garden and two in the greenhouse. The plants in the greenhouse are considerably larger. Moral of that story, they need lots of heat.

The sage and dill are ready for harvest and drying. Boy will the dill come in handy when it is time to start pickling.

I think the produce item I am most excited about is the tomatoes. For the first time since living in this area, I have red tomatoes before August. I am tempted to do the happy garden dance. (This date, time and location will not be posted.) Payton and I ate the red one this afternoon. It was so good, way more flavorful than any store bought tomatoes.
To keep your tomatoes producing nice red fruit, keep the leaves that have no blossoms pinched off. The tend to suck the plants growing energy from the actual fruit.

As the weeks move on, the production will increase and so will the work. The next season of the garden is harvesting and preserving. I am hopefully anticipating doing a lot of canning from the garden this year.

No truly great meal is complete without the aromatic flavor of garlic. Whether you prefer it minced up in chicken, roasted in mashed potatoes, stuffed into pickles and dilled beans, or just straight off the grill with a little olive oil, there is no replacement for this garden must. Extremely easy to grow, very resistant, and dries out in a few hot hours of sunshine, this little gem is an essential garden addition.
Enjoy your gardens if you have them and other peoples if you don't. What a great blessing it is to be able to sow and reap your own provisions and then share from your bounty what God gives you in abundance.

If you have any gardening questions, post them to the comment section and I will try to help.

Monday, July 26, 2010

Chicken Enchiladas

One of my favorite things to do in the kitchen is combine creativity with frugality. I hate wasting anything. This dish is not only authentic, it can make good use of leftovers. Pinching pennies in the kitchen does not have to be bland. In fact, I take it as a personal challenge to create the opposite. The filling for these enchiladas is negotiable if you will. Let me explain what I mean. If you have a whole chicken that you have boiled and de-boned just to make enchiladas, great! You can fill them with the chicken alone. Or if you are like me and want/need to make your meat stretch to more than just one meal, grab your left over rice (white or brown) and exchange it for part of the chicken. When you season it all the same way, it really just adds a different texture. You can also use navy beans or pinto beans in the same way. The real defining taste sensation in this dish is the sauce. Oh man, it makes you feel like your are somewhere south of the border eating to die for authentic Mexican cuisine. This recipe is relatively inexpensive to make and if you have the meat already cooked, prep time isn't too bad.

Sauce -

3 C. chicken broth
2 T chili powder
1/4 - 1/2 C. olive oil
1/2 C. flour
1/2 - 1 tsp salt
Cook in a sauce pan over med. heat until thick and bubbly.
Add more salt or chili powder to taste.

Chicken Filling -
2 - 3 C. cooked shredded chicken
or 1 C. shredded chicken and 2 C. rice or beans (we like rice the best)
1 1/2 - 2 tsp cumin
1 tsp seasoning salt
1/2 c. diced onions or 2 T dried onion
1 small can diced green chilies
1 tsp oregano
Combine all the ingredients in a large bowl and mix well to make the filling.
Additional ingredients: about 12 - 14 corn tortillas, 1/4 - 1/2 c., 8 oz. shredded cheddar cheese, olive oil, sour cream, salsa, and guacamole.

First heat 1/4 c olive oil in a small frying pan. Cook the corn tortillas on each side just long enough to soften them and then quickly remove them. You may have to add additional olive oil after cooking half of them. Place about 1/4 c of the chicken filling on the tortilla and spread it out in a line then pour a T of the sauce across the top of the chicken. Fold the sides over each other and place seam side down in a pan. You should be able to get two rows of 6 or 7 enchiladas. When you have used all the filling, cover the ends of the enchiladas with the sauce and pour a little bit down the center of the them. Top with the cheese and bake for 30 mins. at 350.

Serve hot with all your yummy toppings and some re fried beans or corn on the side.

TIPS: A great money saving tip is to cook your chicken in chicken broth then save the broth to cook your rice in if you don't already have leftover rice.

If you already have the rice, save your chicken broth in 2 C. increments and freeze it for future use. It gives rice a little extra flavor when it is cooked in the chicken broth.

When ever you buy those delicious and inexpensive rotisserie chickens at Costco, take the extra time to boil them for 10 minutes and then de-bone them. You might be surprised at how much meat you can get off. Then freeze the meat and the broth separately for future use.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Saying Goodbye

This last week, Mark's family came up for a visit. His sister Heidi and her two boys, Nick and Caleb came in from Wisconsin, and his mom, Sue, came from Spokane. The visit was a vacation. Time for fun and play and making lasting memories. This visit was also a time to say goodbye. Sue lost her husband of over 30 years in February of 2009. It wasn't completely unexpected. He had been pretty sick for several years. But really how do you prepare yourself for the loss. How do you mentally anticipate what it will feel like to say goodbye to someone who is and has been a fixture in your life for better and for worse.

We had a memorial service for him in Spokane last year of course. We joined together to support and love on his mom. We tearfully wept at the fresh pain and emptiness. We grieved with her, we remembered with her, and we sat together in the silence that no words can fill.

His body was cremated. Now it was time to finish the process of saying our goodbyes. Mark's mom thought it would be nice to get together as a family and sprinkle the ashes into the ocean, after all, we don't need a permanent place to go and weep over our loss. The bible is clear on Wil's new residence. Right now, his digs far outweigh our own. He won't ever have to repair another leaking faucet, roof, or drain field, mow another yard, clean out the garage, repair broken down things, or replace any old carpet. He takes his evening walks on streets of gold, he rests in the afternoon by rivers of peace where lions and lambs catch a bit of afternoon respite, together. He worships with multitudes we can't possibly fathom. His city has walls of crystal clear jasper and the king, our king sits on the throne forever.

So, while we may be here and experiencing a sense of loss, God is rejoicing for the sinner and saint who has come "home". My family was so grateful to get to be a part of this special time after all it is what we are supposed to do as family right? Rejoice in blessings, weep with those who weep, strengthen those who are weak, help out when one of us is struggling, and laugh at our own crazy selves.

Our family photograph won't ever look the same but, in God's perfect plan it looks exactly as it should.

Saturday, July 17, 2010

United We Stand, Divided We Fall

Sounds simple right? United we stand, divided we fall. So why is it so hard for us to stay on the united side of life? How is it that we are so easily divided? If I truly believe this, how would it change what my day looked like? How would it change where I spent my time? my finances? my gifts?

One way to stay united is through the common bond of prayer. We can stand united before the Holy God we serve in praise and thanks giving offering up our petitions to the one who wholly desires to see us live in unity.

A couple of praise reports are -

The youth leader went in to the dr. last week and found out his cough was viral. The prayer is that his weekend on Sucia Island allowed some restful play to continue healing him not making it worse.

Brian (my brother) is experiencing the amazing opporutnity to speak into lives of dear friends the way so many spoke into his and Jens for the last 12+ years. God has physically touched his body and given him some new freedoms from his meds. and has spiritually woken him up to a whole new level of living. Amen! I would ask us to keep praying for God's direction and continued health for him. His attitude has blessed soooooo many people. I pray God would dump blessings back onto he and his wife (my dear sister in law) Jen and their 3 girls.

As I requested prayer only last night for Mark's job loss, already today God has blessed us in ways only he could orchestrate. He does have the very best in mind for each of us. Thank you Lord for caring for our needs.


A friend is requesting prayer on behalf of her dear friend who is in the midst of an extremely difficult time. She has neck cancer. The treatment involves putting her into a face mask and bolting this to a table to ensure she doesn't move. Then zapping it with radiation which is causing her neck to be red and ooze. Her throat is dry and peeling and is so painful. Even eating liquid food is painful. She has to maintain her weight for the face mask to fit properly or they will have to put a feeding tube in. Her spirit remains good. Even as I write this to share with you I am inspired. I can only pray my spirit would be good. God cover this woman with your healing mercies. Shower down your spirit on her so she feels your presence each day. Be the very air she breathes in and out Lord God. We know you care for the lily's of the field and have the grains of sand numbered and the stars named and that you care for us soo much more. Allow her to feel this love to it's fullest extent.

Heidi - A 40 year old woman is experiencing some nerve tingling in her hands and is in the searching phase of trying to solve this mystery. They have done MRI's and recently a spinal tap to see if it is MS. Let's keep her in our prayers. I am all too familar with the "mystery" illness. It can be so discouraging and frustrating. Heavenly father give the Dr. wisdom as they look at her results and may the find it is nothing more than stress and anxiety or things of this nature that she can begin to work through and hand over to you one at a time. I pray that the physical symptoms would subside in Jesus name and she would experience life to the fullest extent in you her Rock and Redeemer.

Let's keep on keepin on together. Please let me know if you have a request we can share and pray for together and watch the list grow

Loaves and Fishes

Isn't it great to know that we serve a God who is bigger than all our concerns? He is mightier than any illness. He does not sleep nor does he slumber. And everything we pray about he is already aware of. He isn't shocked at the crazy mistakes we make. There isn't a sin he hasn't already seen a hundred times before. He knows the outcomes before the situations even present themselves. And we have the privelage, the call, and the responsibility to rise to the occasion and talk to Him directly on behalf of the people in our lives who are in distress, the families we know who have lost their jobs, the physical ailments that are hindering one or more parents from being able to see themselves in the future of their childrens lives.

As you read over the prayer answers and new requests, pray with confidence in the God we serve knowing that he hears our prayers and answers each and every one, not always how we might hope but always with what He knows is best.


A great answer to prayer that the little guys tubes in ears procedure went very well.

Another amazing answer to a personal request - We had company coming for 5 days and hadn't gotten paid yet and didn't really have a ton of food to feed everyone. The night they arrived we were blessed with a huge gift of food including hamburger, chicken, steaks, cereal, and many other things. It allowed us to divide it up and share it, feed our guests and have leftovers. God still divides the loaves and fishes to feed the hungry. He truly knows the need before we even ask but, boy does he delight in us asking anyway.


A recent update on Cyrus tells us that his tumor is a stage 3 for sure and is not encapsulated but is the finger type of cancer. He and his wife are requesting prayer for wisdom to know how to procede with their options. Lord give them the wisdom of Solomon and allow them to move forward confidently without any doubts or fears.

A young mother on vacation in S. California went to the Dr. for a suspected ear infection and got antibiotics. Two days later she didn't wake up. She is currently in a coma and they are suspecting meningitis. Her children went to the grandparents and the husband flew from Bellingham down to be there. Pray for a miracle!

Mark (my Mark) got laid off today. They don't have the work or the money right now to keep all of the employees and they have been consistently laying off. His number came up today. Pray for wisdom and direction as we seek God's will for our future. He has some options but they are not local.

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Pray in the Spirit on all Occasions....

Thank you for joining me in uplifting these people. Prayer is a mighty weapon given to us by almighty God, it is a direct means of communication to an ever present and always listening heavenly father, and a life line for us to cling to when everything else seems to fall away and hope feels lost.

I have updates from previous prayer requests as well as a few new one's.

Update - Cyrus had his second brain surgery a few weeks back. It was much more painful afterwards than the first one. Recently they visited with the doctors only to find out that the tumor is much more aggressive than previously thought. They are calling it stage 3 cancer. What a scary thing to hear. Let's continue to lift up this family. Lord we ask that you wrap your arms of protection so tightly around Jonie that fear has no room to take up residence. We join with the others who are praying for a healing touch from your hand for Cyrus. We know that this cancer is being considered terminal by the doctors but we believe that the God who made Cyrus is in complete control of his very life and has a perfect plan and will for it. Lord we pray for a miraculous work in his body so that people will see and join in praising your name. We pray for financial provision, emotional comfort and spiritual strength for this family.

Update - Stephanie, the young mother of 3 with breast cancer, has begun her chemo. Let's continue to bring her before the Lord for healing. Let's pray against discouragement and depression and ask the Lord to be her constant strong tower.

God we ask you to enable Damie(her husband) to accomplish more than his time or energy would normally allow. Give him abundant faith to be a physical as well as spiritual covering for his wife and family during this trail.

New prayer requests:

  • Mark hurt his back this weekend and is in a lot of pain and having difficulty moving around too much. He does go to work tomorrow. Let's just pray for a good night sleep and for no long term problems with this.

  • Justin (the youth pastor and Mexico trip team leader) has been sick since they got back and is having a hard time shaking it. He heads in to see the Dr. tomorrow.

  • Stacy's little guy, Micah has tubes put in his ears tomorrow morning. Let's pray that it all goes as routinely as it should.

  • A friend of ours, Ron, fell this last week and is trying to recover and his MS is seeming to get worse and he is loosing more feeling in his legs. He has an amazing attitude and trusts God completely with his life. If you spend any amount of time talking with them you would see this immediately. He is truly a living testimony to God. I would pray that God would just bless him in a really special way.

  • Theresa and Roy need a buyer for their house and God's direction for their future. We pray believing that God will provide and knowing he has something just around the corner.

  • Finally, let's continue to pray for all of the team that went to Mexico, that what they saw God do in their lives and the lives of others doesn't stop just because they came back home. I ask Lord that it would be only the beginning for them. Pray that God would continue to ignite the fire for serving others and giving of themselves. I also want us to pray that it becomes contagious to those around them.

Thank you Lord that we can come to you knowing you delight in hearing your children cry out to you. Thank you that you answer with your perfect will for our lives.

Friday, July 9, 2010

He's Home!

Sunday evening we packed into the van with banners and balloons and very excited siblings (and parents). Upon approaching the airport, we saw a plane beginning it's decent. "That's him, that's him!" Payton cried. We quickly found a parking spot and with only one balloon casualty, we raced to the outside windows to watch his plane touchdown. We were there only a minute or two before we saw it come speeding down the runway, decelerating to bring our team safely back to us. We anxiously watched as the passengers began to file out. Families, businessmen, more families and small groups, the pilot... wait what? The Pilot? Where is our group? We head inside to find out if this was in fact their plane. Upon pestering a disembarked passenger, we discover that yes, this was definitely the plane with "the kids returning from the orphanage." Apparently when the airline stewardess saw the team boarding the plane in their matching shirts, she asked a few questions, and then made an announcement about them over the speaker on the plane. They received a round of grateful applause. We continue our vigil, waiting for familiar faces to appear in the doorway when... "Here they come!" First was Ben, then it was Beau, and then TRISTAN! Oh it was good to see that guys smiling face. And it was smiling, from ear to ear actually. I think immediately, all was right in Payton's world. Her biggest brother was home safe and sound. We gave grateful hugs all around, heard quick little tidbits from a few, and grabbed up bags. We then quickly said our good byes to the others and whisked him off to home.

Bridget and her family, and Beau came to our house for a little late night partying. The kids had a ball lighting off bottle rockets and sparklers. They were at least last years leftovers but it was what the budget could afford this year. We had some snacks and a bonfire and got to hear some of the highlights for Bridget and Tristan. The theme seemed to be the kids. I was pleasantly surprised to here that for Tristan those kiddos had found their way straight to his heart especially a little guy named Augustine. He even mentioned the "A" word again (adoption). It was very emotional for him to leave his new friends. He found that his language studies paid off. He was able to communicate fairly well, especially with the kids. He is ready to get back to studying it too. The work projects went well. They accomplished a lot for them. They were able to clean out the drain ditch installed last year, build a sidewalk for a new house being added for more orphans, and clean the house up. He came home with a desire to become a bigger giver. He realized how a simple gift given from the heart can be everything to the receiver.

To say that this trip had a huge impact on his life isn't quite enough. To say the kids left lasting fingerprints on his heart would be true but, still not enough. To say that God moved in his life, while huge and true still does not capture the feeling of his heart. I think to sum it up in one statement that encapsulates it all he would and did say "I am SO going back!"

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Fresh Raspberry Cake

This Recipe is courtesy of my second mom. She always has a new and very delicious recipe for me. I love it. This one won't disappoint. Guaranteed!

1/2 c. margarine or butter, softened
1 egg
1 c. sugar
1 c. milk
1 1/2 tsp. vanilla
2 c. flour
1 T baking powder
1 tsp. salt
3 1/2 c. fresh berries

Beat the margarine and egg till fluffy, add in the sugar. Mix milk and vanilla and add alternately with the dry ingredients. Spread in a 13 x 9 and pour the fresh berries evenly over the top and lightly press into the batter. Bake at 350 for 35 minutes.

Icing - mix the ingredients together well
1 1/2 c. powdered sugar
1 tsp. vanilla
2 T. margarine
2 T. milk

Cool for 5 mins. then drizzle with the glaze.

Picture to follow as soon as I can keep the raspberries from disappearing.


There are many things that make it enjoyable to live here in Whatcom County, take for example the beaches. Birch Bay is probably the warmest beach along the Pacific Ocean at least certainly for Washington and Oregon. Then you have the eagles. We love to watch the eagles around here. Unlike other areas, you aren't limited to specific times of year. The moderate climate is another attractive feature of our area. We get a few really hot days in the midst of a pretty moderately hot summer, and just enough snow to keep the kids happy. But, if you were to ask most anyone in our home what is one of their favorite things about this area in which we live... you will undoubtedly here "the RASPBERRIES!!!"We went pickin the other day and all I can say is Yum! These are no regular berries either. For all of you friends and family not from this area believe me when I tell you these berries are huge and delicious. They are the best berries. We usually find ourselves out at Barbies to pick. When the season is correct you can pick Strawberries and Raspberries and sometimes even Bluberries all at the same place. The have good prices too. I just always hope they don't put anyone of us on the scales before and then after. Yikes! That would sure hike the price up a bit.

The first pickin of the year is usually just a pick and eat type of pickin. It takes until at least the second or third before I start freezing or making multi-flavored jams with them. And no summer would be complete without a fresh Raspberry cake or two. Check out this recipe that you can make with either blackberries or raspberries. Our favorite is with the raspberries. We did try blueberries for all you blueberry lovers. It looses some of its' appeal. If you havn't done it yet, grab your boxes and head out before they are all gone or the rain hits. One more thing, a tip for all you berrry pickers. If you get stains on your clothes like we usually do, boiling water does the trick. Just pour it from the inside of the garment to force the berry out.

Friday, July 2, 2010

Payton's Brownie Cups

2 large squares (1 oz each) unsweetened chocolate, chopped up
1/2 c (1 stick) butter
2 eggs
1 cup sugar
1 tsp vanilla
1/2 cup flour
1/8 tsp salt
1/2 cup semisweet chocolate chips

Put the chocolate and butter in a microwave safe bowl. Microwave on high for 30 seconds, stir the chocolate. If it isn't smooth microwave it again till smooth and melted.

In a seperate bowl, beat the eggs with a fork until thick and add sugar.

Add chocolate mixture and mix thoroughly.

Add the vanilla, flour, and salt. Stir in chocolate chips

We baked them in silicon baking cups.

Bake at 350 for 30 mins. Yields 12

Keepin Busy...

Payton woke up Wednesday and was missing Tristan from the moment she got out of bed. She said "mom, I miss him so much sometimes I want to cry. When I see him Sunday I am going to give him a huge hug and tell him how much I missed him." I think this was the hardest day yet for her. We spent time outside in the yard and the garden enjoying the fresh air. The kids played on the swingset forever. Several times throughout the day she came up to my side and would say something like "I am missing him again. I think I want to cry." I would squeeze her tightly and assure her that it was okay to cry. Wednesday evening is homegroup. We all looked forward to Wednesday nights in our house and tonight for her it was a very welcome distraction. As usual the food was amazing. It left Payton feeling inspired to set the date and time for her important cooking lesson. You see, several months back, the missions team had an auction to raise funds for the Mexico trip. Payton's first and only choice of items to bid on was a cooking lesson with Luc Button. If you know Luc, or see his facebook photos, you know this is a valuable lesson. I encouraged her to get out some of my cookbooks and find some recipes that had interesting looking pictures and then to write them down and we could talk to Luc about them.

Well, the next morning, she did just that. She was up before any of us looking through cookbooks in search of the perfect menu for her lesson. She looked and looked, and looked and looked. She took notes and wrote her ideas down. In the end, I am not sure if she got any closer to the actual menu but she sure picked out some yummy looking desserts.

While she was occupied with her books and notes... Gavin and I tackled he and Tristan's bedroom. This was a task not for the faint of heart. I went in armed with several dust rags, Lysol wipes, garbage bags, vacuum cleaner (and extra bags), safety goggles, and nose clip. We did not safely exit the cave until 5 1/2 hours later. NO JOKE! However, it now looks and smells clean and very non-cavelike. Gavin enjoyed spending what was left of his day hanging out on his clean floor with his legos. He even spent some extra time rearranging their many lights. While the process isn't fun, the product is sure enjoyable. Wow, do you hear a life lesson in there or is it just me?

After leaving the land of the lost, Payton eagerly approached me to help her cook one of the recipes she had found. It was brownies from scratch. That is not a request I was about to turn down. She made them completely by herself. All I did was tell her where to find the ingredients she needed.
We all got to enjoy a late night brownie cup while playing a little Mexican Train in honor of our missing guy. What a great way to end the day.

He What?

We received an update on Tristan from Mexico. I read it, and had to re-read it. I understood the words, but they seemed so far fetched, so foreign if you will. You can't be speaking of my son. Surely you are talking about Beau or Gavin right? So I read it one more time just to confirm I was passing on this information correctly. Tristan, our Tristan is eating all kinds of "cRazY" Mexican food. I know what your thinking. "This just can't be!" But, Yes, it's true. I know many of you who really know him are probably feeling the same denial I felt, but if Ann says it's true.... well I guess I believe it. To top it off, she said he wasn't even complaining about it. (giggling) This leads me to two possible conclusions.

  1. He actually is enjoying this new authentic cuisine that I would die to be eating.

  2. He is following our house rule, in a foreign country, without us present, all by himself, of not complaining about the food you are served. (which means we might have done something right in this crazy game called parenting?)
Either way, I think it shows what I have been fearing, praying for, watching all along... he is growing up.

The email was really to let us know that his blood sugars have been fairly normal and all his equipment is functioning as it should be. Thank you Lord. His throat was a little sore, from allergies maybe. They made him some tea (another new experience for our guy) and it seemed to help a little.

Let's keep prayin.
  1. Pray for the team's health. Several of them are experiencing allergy issues. They have been drinking lots of water and taking all their vitamin C's

  2. Pray that today their work time efforts are multiplied. They had a desire to work hard and get a lot done to bless these people.

  3. Pray that the final day of VBS yields a lasting harvest and lifetime memories for our youth.

  4. Finally, pray that God would bring them home safely to us.
Tomorrow is their play day, where they get to relax and go experience some of the local market life of Mexico. Key word, Barter, Barter, Barter! They will also be visiting the beach and then packing up to head back home. Sunday of course is the travel day. Hey, if you have nothing planned for Sunday evening, come help us welcome them home!