Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Virtue Training Bible *Giveaway*

I've been gone for quite a while from blogging. Part of it was because of a busy life with a newborn, canning season, school and just every day life. The other part of it is because I am still having issues with my computer connecting to Google.

While I've been away, I have been blessed with a copy of the Virtue Training Bible to review.

The kit arrived about a week before Ford was born. I ordered the Bible to use with the kit and it arrived just days before he was born so I didn't have time to get it all put together which delayed our use of it. Then, due to some difficulties and the above mentioned things that kept me busy, it took me much longer than it should to finish putting it together.

Once it was all put together, we started using it immediately.

The Bible is marked with the verses that pertain to 43 different virtues such as trust, self-control, holiness, and mercy.

The girls and I chose a virtue and then proceeded to read all the marked verses and discuss it. It was great to be able to read various verses on one topic to show not only how the Bible doesn't contradict, but also how important the virtue is based on how often God talks about it.

We started using it for our family devotional time and it is wonderful! The discussions we've had are priceless. Often times, the discussions of one virtue move into discussions about salvation and how to live a life for Christ. Our girls have really opened up in discussing their faith.

The Bible is great for the girls to do their own study as well because it already has the verses marked for whatever they want to learn more about. They can easily and quickly learn what God has to say on a topic just by looking at all the tabs marked for the virtue they want to learn more about.

I highly recommend the Virtue Training Bible for every family! And to help with that, you can enter to win your own copy! You will receive the kit with instructions for how to put it together and the double-sided tabbers. You will need to provide a 9" x 6" Bible of the version you wish to use, 7 colors of highlighters, 7 matching colors of post-its, double-sided tape and a pencil.

Enter by using the form below!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Thursday, May 2, 2013

Are You Burned Out Because You're an Introvert?

I'm so thankful for Kelly writing the following post! I am definitely an introvert and seeing it laid out like this helps me to understand myself all the more. Even if you don't think you are an introvert, please read so that you can better understand those around you who are introverts. There are many myths about introverts and she tries to explain how those are actually myths and the truth behind the misconceptions.

Are You Burned Out Because You're an Introvert?

Saturday, April 13, 2013

March Reading

My reading time really slowed down in March due to many family and church commitments. We had a baptism service with pot luck following, a family birthday, our yearly communion service in which we did a Seder meal, and then Easter. I felt like I never sat down for two weeks!

I finished Mere Christianity by C.S. Lewis. I was hoping to have time to write posts on things that stood out to me, but as I said before, that just didn't happen. I still might try to write a post or two. It is a great book for Christians and non-Christians to read. In fact, I think I will be adding it to my girls' reading lists for school. I just have to decide which year I would like them to read it.

I am still working on Family Driven Faith by Voddie Baucham. I'm taking my time and making notes. I would love to have my husband read it along with me, but time just hasn't allowed it yet. I read him portions and we discuss things, but I am hoping to read it a second time along with him soon.

Friday, April 12, 2013

Planting Potatoes

The following story was in one of our church bulletins and it was so good that I wanted to share it.

When I was a boy growing up we had several gardens around our old house. The largest one of all was used just for growing otatoes. I can still remember those potato planting days. The whole family helped. After my Dad had tilled the soil, my Mom, brothers, and I went to work. It was my job to drop the little seed potatoes in the rows while my Mom dropped handfuls of fertilizer beside them. My brothers then covered them all with the freshly turned earth.

For months afterward I would glance over at the garden while I played outside and wonder what was going on underneath the ground. When the harvest time came I was amazed at the huge size of the potatoes my Dad pulled out of the soil. Those little seedlings had grown into bushels and bushels of sweet sustenance. They would be turned into meal after meal of baked potatoes, mashed potatoes, fried potatoes, and my personal favorite: potatoes slow cooked in spaghetti sauce. They would keep the entire family well fed throughout the whole year. It truly was a miracle to behold.

Thinking back on those special times makes me wonder how many other seeds I have planted in this life that have grown unseen in the hearts and minds ofothers. How many times has God used some little thing that I said or did to  grow something beautiful? How many times has Heaven used these little seedlings to provide another's souls with sweet sustenance.

Every single day of our lives we step out into the garden of this world. Every single day we plant seeds that can grow into something wonderful. We may never see the growth that comes from the kinds words or loving acts we share but God does. I hope then that you always tend the garden around you with care. I hope that you plant only goodness, peace, and compassion in the lives of everyone you meet. I hope that everyday you hell miracles to grow.

Thursday, April 11, 2013

Delicious Gluten Free Pizza!

Pizza with venison sausage

2 cups Organic Tapioca Starch
2/3 cup real Romano cheese (real Romano cheese is made with sheep milk so it works for those of us who have dairy issues)
1/2 cup olive oil
2 Tbsp water
2 organic pastured egg

-Preheat oven to 390 degrees with stone bar pan in oven.
-Combine all crust ingredients into mixing bowl and stir/knead with spoon
 -Cut two pieces of parchment paper to fit your bar pan
-Place one piece on the counter, apply some oil to the paper, and place the dough in the center.
-Push the dough out as flat and apply some more oil to surface of dough.
-Place 2nd piece of parchment paper on top of dough and roll out with pin until the crust touches the edge of the paper on all four sides (or close to it)
-Remove top parchment paper (save it for next time)
-Use finger to push a crust up around the dough
I cut these into 8 large pieces
 -Apply sauce and toppings
-Transfer pizza (parchment paper and all) onto stone.
-Cook for about 20 minutes.
-Remove pizza (and parchment paper) onto cooling rack
-Allow it to cool, cut and serve!


Open jars of homemade tomato sauce or store bought sauce. Add Italian seasoning blend, salt, pepper, garlic powder, onion powder, olive oil and a little sugar to taste. Simmer on stove until thickened.


Whatever you desire--ground meat, sausage, veggies, etc. and shredded mozzarella (homemade mozzarella made with goat milk is great!) or provolone cheese (or combination).

I make four of these to feed my family of 11.  The first time I made these the girls asked me how I got gluten free store bought pizza--it's that good!

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Lemon Bars

2 c gluten free flour
1 c butter or coconut oil, softened
1/2 c powdered sugar
Mix the above ingredients press into a 9x13 inch pan.  
Bake for 20 min at 350.
2 c evaporated cane juice crystals
4 tsp grated lemon peel
4 tbsp lemon juice
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt 4 large eggs
Beat the above ingredients for about 
3 min or until light and fluffy.  Pour over
 hot crust. Bake 25-30 min at 350.  Cool completely on a wire rack, about
1 hour.  Dust with powdered sugar.

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Homemade Yogurt

I had a few people ask about how I make my yogurt, so I thought I would do a post on my method.


1 gallon milk (I use goat milk most of the time)
2 ½ tbsp plain gelatin
½ cup cold water
1 cup plain yogurt (I started with store bought, but now keep some from a previous batch)
1 ½ cup evaporated cane juice crystals (optional)

Heat milk in large double boiler to 180 degrees. Remove from heat, let cool to 110 degrees. I put the pot in a sink full of ice water to speed up the process. Meanwhile, soak gelatin in cold water. When milk reaches 110 degrees, stir in gelatin, yogurt, and sugar. Beat until smooth. Set back into double-boiler and cover with a towel and set aside
for 4-6 hours. When yogurt has set for 4-6 hours, beat again and chill for 4 hours.

Eat plain or add fresh or frozen fruit. Thicken any thawed frozen fruit you add by combining 1 cup cold water and ¼ cup arrowroot powder and whatever fruit and cook until thick. Cool before mixing in with yogurt. Make sure you reserve 1 cup of plain yogurt first for your next batch.

Saturday, March 23, 2013


I think I have it fixed! I hope to get some posts done this coming week so stay tuned!

Wednesday, March 20, 2013


I just want to let my readers know that I am having difficulties logging into blogspot on my home computer. I'll try to have posts ready for when I am somewhere where I can post while I look into why I can't do it at home.

Thank you for understanding!

Monday, March 18, 2013

Morality and C.S. Lewis

I just started “book” three of Mere Christianity by C.S. Lewis. I was intrigued with his discussion of morality.

“Morality, then, seems to be concerned with three things. Firstly, with fair play and harmony between individuals. Secondly, with what might be called tidying up or harmonizing the things inside each individual. Thirdly, with the general purpose of human life as a whole: what man was made for . . .You cannot make men good by law: and without good men you cannot have a good society.”

His definition of morality intrigued me. He mentions how most people only concern themselves with the first point, which makes sense, and seem to forget the other two points. I decided to look up morality in the dictionary to see what the “standard” definition is.

morality, n, 1 a moral discourse, statement, or lesson 2 a doctrine or system of moral conduct 3 conformity to ideals of right human conduct 4 moral conduct

I quickly realized that I also needed to look up moral

moral, adj., 1 of or relating to principles of right and wrong in behavior 2 probable though not proved 3 having the effects of such on the mind, confidence, or will

First, I wonder where evolutionists say that our sense of right and wrong come from. I, of course, believe that our sense of right and wrong come from God who placed it in our hearts. With that understanding, Lewis’ description of morality makes sense. We would then want to have harmony within ourselves as well as harmony in what we were created for.

Second, I wonder if the reason why most people only concern themselves with the first aspect of morality is because it is easier to find faults in other people instead of ourselves. We see much clearer how someone else is not harmonizing with others than we can see how we are failing not only others but ourselves.

In our society, people are taught to find someone else to blame for any of their problems and that includes problems with their morality. They will blame it on their upbringing, on their lack of having everything, on their lack of love, etc. No one wants to take responsibility for their own actions and their own lack of morals. They don’t want to admit that they are struggling within themselves. They truly know what is right behavior and what is wrong behavior, but when they aren’t worried about harmony within themselves, they will convince themselves of the opposite because they think it will be more beneficial. If they were concerned with harmonizing with the general purpose of what man was created for, they wouldn’t be concerned with what was more beneficial for only them, but for others as well.

Our society has tried to create moral men by writing more and more laws. As Lewis states, that just isn’t going to work!  You can’t teach men morals by giving them laws to abide. If they don’t have morals in the first place, they aren’t going to care if they break any laws. In reality, they are already breaking the most important laws there are—God’s laws.

The current gun ban proposal is just the most recent example of trying to create moral men. Some people in government believe that if they just make it illegal to own guns, or even certain kinds of guns, that the US will be a safer place for all men. Don’t they realize that the same people who are already hurting people with guns are the same people who don’t care whether they break a law or not. Making another law for them to break (because they are already breaking laws), isn’t going to make them one day just change their minds into obeying the law! People have to have morals in the first place before they even agree to be law abiding citizens.

This discussion on morality will hopefully continue as I continue to read this book. I know that if it is something the Lord wants me to share, He’ll provide the words for me to write as well as the time to write them.

Friday, March 15, 2013

Wisdom from C.S. Lewis

I started reading Mere Christianity by C.S. Lewis at the end of last month. I have found it to be a very through explanation of Christianity so far. My idea of the book from reading just the title was that he was saying that Christianity isn’t much of anything, but he is really describing what Christianity truly is.

I just wanted to share with you some of the nuggets I have pulled from the first two sections of the book (it’s divided into four “books”). You also need to keep in mind that the books within this book are radio transcripts (with minor adjustments for easier reading) that Lewis did in the early forties.

“There is nothing progressive about being pig headed and refusing to admit a mistake. And I think if you look at the present state of the world, it is pretty plain that humanity has been making some big mistake. We are on the wrong road. And if that is so, we must go back. Going back is the quickest way on.”

“[T]here is a difficulty about disagreeing with God. He is the source from which all your reasoning power comes: you could not be right and He wrong any more than a stream can rise higher than its own source. When you are arguing against Him you are arguing against the very power that makes you able to argue at all: it is like cutting off the branch you are sitting on.”

“A live body is not one that never gets hurt, but one that can to some extent repair itself. In the same way a Christian is not a man who never goest wrong, but a man who is enabled to repent and pick himself up and begin over again after each stumble—because the Christ-life is inside him, repairing him all the time, enabling him to repeat (in some degree) the kind of voluntary death which Christ himself carried out.”

“He does not think God will love us because we are good, but that God will make us good because He loves us; just as the roof of a greenhouse does not attract the sun because it is bright, but becomes bright because the sun shines on it.”

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

One Glass of Milk

One day, a poor boy who was selling goods from door to door to pay his way through school, found he had only one thin dime let, and he was hungry. He decided he would ask for a meal at the next house. However, he lost his nerve when a lovely young woman opened the door. Instead of a meal, he asked for a drink of water. She thought he looked hungry so she brought him a large glass of milk. He drank it slowly, and then asked, “How much do I owe you?”

“You don’t owe me anything,” she replied. “Mother has taught us never to accept pay for a kindness.”

He said, “Then I thank you from my heart.”

As Howard Kelly left that house, he not only felt stronger physically, but his faith in God and man was strong also. He had been ready to give up and quit.

Years later that young woman became critically ill. The local doctors were baffled. They finally sent her to the big city where they called in specialists to study her rare disease. Dr. Howard Kelly was called in for the consultation.

When he heard the name of the town she came from, a strange light filled his eyes. Immediately he rose and went down the hall of the hospital to her room. Dressed in his doctor’s gown, he went to see her. He recognized her at once. He went back to the consultation room determined to do his best to save her life. From that day he gave special attention to the case.

After a long struggle, the battle was won. Dr. Kelly requested the business office to pass the final bill to him for approval. He looked at it then wrote something on the edge and the bill was sent to her room. She feared to open it, for she was sure it would take the rest of her life to pay for it all. Finally she looked and something caught her attention on the side of the bill. She read these words:


(signed) Dr. Howard Kelly

Tears of joy flooded her eyes as her happy heart prayed: Thank You, God, that Your love is shed abroad through human hearts and hands.

“He which soweth sparingly shall reap also sparingly; and he which soweth bountifully shall reap also bountifully.” – 2 Corinthians 9:6

Friday, March 1, 2013

February Reading

I didn't read as many books as I had hoped for February, but February is a short month filled with Valentine's Day, my birthday, and the twins' birthdays so I've been busy.

I have started (but haven't finished) Family Driven Faith by Voddie Bauchman. I started reading a borrowed copy, but was then an anonymous giver blessed me with my own copy so I started over and have been making notes along the way which is taking me longer. I'm truly enjoying it!

I also started Mere Christianity by C.S. Lewis just two days ago. So far it is very interesting.

I read and finished Living More with Less by Doris Janzen Longacre. I had requested the library find a copy of Cooking More with Less by the same author. They haven't been able to find a copy of that yet, but they found this. I was quite disappointed at first, but then I really got into this book. It is filled not only with lots of ways to live a more frugal life, but also about being a better steward of what God has given us. It made me realize how financially  blessed I am compared to many in this world. (I'm sorry I don't have a picture of this book as I forgot to take one before returning it to the library.)

I also read and finished The Three R's by Ruth Beechick. At first I thought it might be filled with information I already knew (which is why it sat on my shelf for over a year before I actually read it), but I was encouraged to try some new ideas in teaching the younger girls and also reinforced that they know more than I thought they did for their age levels. Even though I was an English major in college and taught English, I was certified as a secondary teacher so I have always struggled a little with teaching things like phonics and simple arithmetic. A nice aspect of this book is that it gives ideas for a classroom teacher as well as a mother who home schools. I have incorporated some of her ideas and the girls (and I) are enjoying school so much more. I plan on reading her follow-up book, You Can Teach Your Child Successfully as well (maybe in March?!). The Three R's covers first through third grade while You Can Teach . . . covers grades fourth through eighth.

Thursday, February 28, 2013

Chickpea & Cucumber Salad

Thanks to some great sales at Meijer this week, I had some cucumbers and grape tomatoes in the refrigerator. The girls actually asked me to make this yummy Chickpea & Cucumber Salad that I created last summer. I was happy to oblige because it is packed with protein and vegetables. I had some corn tortillas in the refrigerator as well so I cut them, toss them with some olive oil, sprinkled with sea salt and baked at 400 for about 10 minutes to make them into chips to go along with the salad. Some of my girls had fourths!

Chickpea & Cucumber Salad

I first poured some olive oil, salt, pepper, and basil in the bottom of a large bowl. I then added a quart of chickpeas. I cut up 2 large cucumbers into chunks (I quartered and then sliced), 1 pint of grape tomatoes (quartered), and large diced a small onion. I mixed it all together and chilled for an hour before lunch.

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Prayers Would Be Appreciated

I first need to apologize for not being around and posting like I should. I've been keeping busy with homeschooling, preparing for the upcoming run of birthdays, extra work around the house, and extra responsibilities at church.

My husband took a second job in December and has been picking up 10-30 hours a week with that job. In addition to that and his full-time job, he has become the interim pastor at our church. Our pastor resigned quite suddenly a few weeks ago and since my husband had been preaching once a month already, it was natural for him to step in while we seek a new pastor. The pastor's wife used to lead our Wednesday night women's Bible study and I have taken on that role. Since my husband has been working so many hours, there is a lot more work around the house that I have picked up to ease his work at home and to give him a chance to get sleep.

In addition to all that, we had a goat give birth just two days ago. We have been been dealing with sick kids and have been struggling to keep them alive.

I could really use some prayers. I have been feeling stressed, tired, and at a loss for a number of things. I feel bad coming to my readers to ask for prayers, but I know that many of you are prayer warriors and I could just really use your prayers. I would love to get back to having the time to write posts, but my first priority needs to be getting back to properly ministering to my family. I know that you will understand.

Thursday, January 31, 2013

Growing My Mind

One of my resolutions for the new year was to read more. I used to love reading and would devour 1-2 books a day! Then, life got busy and my reading was teaching books, text books, children's books and of course the Bible with an occasional Bible study book. My bookshelves are lined with books that I want to read but just "haven't had the time."

I decided I needed to make the time. For the most part, I am watching A LOT less television. I haven't really watched much in the two years since we unhooked the television in our living room, but I was finding myself watching before going to bed at night. When my husband started working his second job and needed to go to bed earlier, I dove right back into reading because it's a silent activity and most nights I wasn't ready to go to bed when he was. Even on the nights he doesn't have to go to bed early, I still find myself grabbing my book instead of turning on the television.

I am keeping a log of what books I read. I am still reading teaching books, text books and Bible study books, but I am also adding in some "pleasurable" books as well. Of course, even my pleasurable books have an academic purpose because they are on my girls' reading lists for school at some point.

In January, I started off the year by reading Pride & Prejudice by Jane Austen. This is a book that I've been wanting to read for a long time. I have even started it a few times only to get side-tracked by a busy life. Since we fell in the love with the movie (thanks to a dear friend who brought it with her one time!), I wanted to read the book and see how it compared. I was mesmerized by the plot line and didn't want to stop reading because I was always searching for how it was different than the movie. I enjoyed knowing the characters more deeply and it helped me understand some aspects of the movie that had always perplexed me. It's definitely a great book to read! It did take me two weeks to read it, but in my defense, I had started three other books in that time and had finished one of those three as well.

I then received some books that I ordered with my Christmas money and started Love in the House by Chris & Wendy Jeub and McGuffey's Reader Parent-Teacher Guide by Ruth Beechick. I finished Love in the House in two weeks as well and am still working on the McGuffey's Reader Parent Teacher Guide.

Love in the House was an enjoyable book. Since large families are so rare this day and age, it's nice reading how other large families live and especially those who are doing so on one income and debt free at the same time. I did learn some tips to integrate into my life as well as a great biblical lesson on love.

I was gifted with a free copy of Finding Financial Freedom by Kelly Crawford. It is an e-book that I downloaded, printed out, and read. While most of the information in the book I already knew, I did find some new, interesting ideas to try out. This is a short read and I finished it in one afternoon.

The final book that I read this month is Made to Crave by Lysa Terkhurst. I have been wanting to read this book since it came out last year. A friend loaned me her copy this past fall. I started it when we were on our trip to Texas, but then it got put by the wayside. I decided she might want it back so I better get busy reading it! I really enjoyed it. It made me look at not only my weight loss journey in a new light, but also the emotional and spiritual entrapment of any addiction and to find true freedom, we need to deal with those issues and not just the physical ones.

I am excited to continue reading more and more books. I'm not sure what book I want to start next, but I will finish the McGuffey's Reader Parent Teacher Guide for sure. After that I have more books for school I would like to read, but I do want to pick another novel as well. Any suggestions for a great classic?

***edited to add on 1/31/13 at 8:12 pm*** I finished the McGuffey's Parent Teacher Guide tonight because I ended up with some extra reading time! That's five books in one month!

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Would You?

I have seen the following before, but it's so good, I had to share here.

Would You Consider Abortion in These Four Situations?

1. There is a preacher and wife who are very, very poor. They already have 14 kids. Now she finds out she is pregnant with her 15th. They are living in tremendous poverty. Considering their poverty and the excessive world population, would you consider recommending abortion?

2. The father is sick with sniffles, the mother has TB. They have 4 children. The first is blind, the second is dead. The third is deaf and the fourth has TB. The mother finds she is pregnant again. Given the extreme situation, would you recommend abortion?

3. A man raped a 13 year old black girl and she got pregnant. If you were her parents, would you consider recommending abortion?

4. A teenage girl is pregnant. She is not married. Her fiancee is not the father of the baby, and he is very upset. Would you recommend an abortion?
 scroll down 
If you have answered “yes” to any of these situations:

In the first case you would have killed John Wesley, one of the great evangelists of the 19th century.

In the second case, you would have killed Beethoven.

In the third case you would have killed Ethel Waters, the great black gospel singer.

In the fourth case you would have recommended the murder of Jesus Christ.

With U. S. aborticide deaths topping 55,000,000 Americans, only God knows what we have sacrificed in lost human talent and creativity.

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Is the Church Ready?

Currently, the number of Christian church congregations in America outnumbers children who are waiting to be adopted from U.S. foster care by about a 3 to 1 ratio. This means that if each congregation adopted even one child, there would be no orphans in America. God has given His church the charge to care for the oppressed, the poor, and the orphan. These statistics yield disturbing evidence that the church, as a whole, has not heeded His Word on this issue. Currently, the government is raising the fatherless, though the church was given the mandate. ~Sharon Karns

 Read the entire article at Is the Church Ready for the Abortion Law to Change?

Monday, January 14, 2013

Blessings for the New Year!

I would like to wish all my readers blessings for 2013! I know I haven't been around much, but things have been busier than I would like lately and I haven't had time to sit and write much. I didn't even have time to do Christmas cards this year and just recently found enough time to do a New Year card only to discover we don't have the funds to mail them out. I can at least share with all my friends and family who I connect with via Internet!

2012 was an eventful year with Tissa turning 1, Hava-3, Jaina & Martha-4, Cora-6, Sabra-7, Allyn-8, Eva-10 & Dara-12. We also had the opportunity to take a family trip to TX to visit friends. We were blessed to not only have places to stay, but also spend time with friends who opened their homes to us. It was a trip none of us will ever forget! We are excited for all the changes the new year will bring. Not only will we have a teenager in the house (Dara will turn 13!), but we will also, Lord willing, welcome a new little one into our home in July. May God bless you in 2013!