Zechariah 13:9

And I will bring the third part through the fire, and will refine them as silver is refined, and will try them as gold is tried; they shall call on my name, and I will hear them: I will say, It is my people: and they shall say, The Lord is my God. Zechariah 13:9

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

How Serious Is It?

Tuesday, 29 December 2009

  • How serious is it?

    I have had a "heart cry" for a long time.  I have felt that I have no right to talk about it, but an incident happened last night that makes me realize that I must share what has been on my mind.  If the Lord gives a burden we are to do something about it, so with His help, I will try to put it into words.  They are coming to you out of love, with no condemnation and with a humble heart that realizes I myself am still a work in progress.
    I am a 43 year old mother of 6 children, a wife to "my man",  a grammy and a mother-in-law.  Obviously, I have not always been at this stage in life, and many times I reflect on my youth.  Regrets? Many! Was it all bad?  Absolutely not!  But, I cannot help but think about the regrets as I witness the youth of today.   I continually think of what I was like at each stage that my teens go through and think of what I would do differently in my life if I was that age again.   Looking back, I realize that I have wasted so many tender years pursuing the fleshly or carnal things of the world.  It seems like todays society is promoting "me" more and more - it's all about "me" and how can I maniupulate all circumstances, events, etc. to satisfy and meet the needs of "me".   That is in no way what the scriptures teaches (not then or now) and we all can recognize the results of that way of  thinking.   There are so many distractions for our youth, due to the advancement of technology and general decline of moral standards.  It is very difficult for them and I spend alot of time contemplating this issue.  The youth stage of life is not to "have fun" and "live it up".  It is a time to prepare for adulthood.  A time to learn good work ethics, responsibilities and to realize that there are consequences to actions.  Also, most importantly, a time to establish a relationship with the One who makes all the difference in the world - Jesus!   The One who can guide you and give you strength to overcome temptations.   One of my regrets is not establishing that relationship in my young years and succumbing to the peer pressures of that time.   Oh, how can I convince you dear young people how serious it is to evaluate this time of your life?  Just 24 hours ago, Solomon and our friend, Tucker, were in a car accident.   When we stood at the scene and viewed the damage, a realization overcame us.  All people involved were ok, but it was only by a matter of seconds and it could've been very, very different.   Instead of an ambulance ride for everyone, a coroner could've been called.  Instead of  looking around in the E.R, they could've been opening their eyes in eternity!   Tears still flow when I think of  how our lives could be very different today.  This life is serious business and could be ended without warning or having a time of preparation!  It does matter what we are doing with our lives now.  It does matter how we are spending our time.  It does matter what we are listening to now, for it effects our thoughts and moods, which effects our actions and on it can go.  It does matter how we present ourselves now, for we are to represent Christ.  How we dress has a huge impression on how people view us.  Ladies, are we dressing modestly?  Are we promoting men to look at us with lust or respect?   Are we jealous or envious of others?   Are we developing cliques and leaving freinds out?  Or appearing superior to them?  Are the movies that we watch something we would want to be watching if Jesus walked in?  How about the words that are coming from our mouth?  Or the places that we visit?  Or the websites that we view?  The list can go on and on.  All these things effect our spiritual life and it does matter, for one of these days, we will die in some way and we will face the One who is the Judge and our destination will be announced.   Let all of us put aside the flesh, take hold of the things that are spiritual, the things that change our hearts and gives us strength to live the life that the Lord has for us.    To all the adults,  please let us take seriously our position as examples,  and encourage our youth of today to travel the high road, the straight and narrow way even if it means they have to stand alone.  It will be so worth it!!
    Until next time................

Friday, December 18, 2009

Merry Christmas 2009

Friday, 18 December 2009

  • Merry Christmas

    Merry Christmas to Everyone!
    When in the course of human events, it becomes necessary for our family to divulge to friends, the happenings of yet another year, and to inquire of the well being of those we have not seen for some time. A decent respect for the sanity of mankind requires that this correspondence not bore the readers with redundant details.
    We hold these truths to be self evident that all our family is created equal and endowed by their Creator with certain unconquerable desires, among these are chocolate, pizza and the pursuit of an extra hour of sleep.
    The following is a recollection of various happenings, etc. for our family in 2009:
    Most exciting news: the birth of Oakley Paige to the proud parents of Gordon and
                                                      Kelsey on October 3rd.
    Most troubling news: the new President that got put into office
    Favorite Holiday: Thanksgiving
    Family’s favorite meal: homemade pizza with homemade soda
    Favorite getaway: day at Camp Swatara
    Best Deal: the purchase of Solomon’s "96 dodge pickup
    Most thankful for: the freedom we enjoy in Christ and the liberties we enjoy
                                    In our country
    Most consumed food: eggs (about 28 at each breakfast)
    One thing uncles do not do: change poopy diapers
    Most mundane chore: milking cows and endless laundry
    Biggest endeavor – Dave teaching civics at our home-school group
    2 happiest outcomes: the boys heart checkups, good water from new well
    Addictions: computer, talk radio, music, and pursuit of the Truth
    Most played games: chess & basketball
    Most faith stretching: enduring the low milk price
    Most discussed topic: politics\world events from Christian perspective
    Most amazing realization: His mercies are new every day
    Favorite new song: The Promise
    Most awaited for moment:  passed driver’s permit test
    Toughest tongue twister: good blood, bad blood – say it 3 times real fast
    Goals not met: to lose 30 pounds (it’s all that pizza! )
    New names for Dave & Brenda: grandpa & grammy

    For the conclusion of this correspondence, we trust with a firm reliance on divine Providence your well being and protection throughout another year and pledge to all our love, thoughts, and sacred honor. (Hee Hee!! You can tell Dave has been studying the Declaration of Independence, can’t you?)
    May the Lord’s blessings fall on each of you! Dave, Brenda & boys

    Until next time...........

Monday, December 14, 2009

Sweet Oakley

Monday, 14 December 2009

  • Sweet Oakley

    She is growing so fast!  She is about 10 1/2 weeks old already and is smiling and cooing at anyone who looks at her.  This being a grammy is awful fun!
    Until next time.............

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Home-made Deli Roast Beef

  • Home-made Deli Roast Beef

    Finally, I got to try my hand at making deli roast beef yesterday.  I used an eye round roast, rinsed and patted dry.  I forgot to weigh it, though.  Next time I try this, I will weigh it so I could journal the roasting time.  The roast was coated with olive oil, including the ends.  On top of that,  it was coated with pepper, salt, garlic powder, & onion powder.   The spices get patted into the meat, and I discovered it is better to do this with a flat surface of a cup, for the spices stuck to my fingers.
    raw roast beef
    beef ingred1
    The roast gets placed on a baking rack in a pan and roasted at 500 degrees for 20 minutes, reduce the temp. to 300 for another 30 min.- uncovered.  Use a meat thermometer to check the inside of meat.  I followed the times mentioned above and the roast was still very raw (the inside temp. was 140 degrees), so I roasted til temp. showed between med. rare - well done (between 160 - 170).  We are not too thrilled to eat blood dripping meat.  Take out of oven and cover meat with an aluminum foil tent, or lid for 20 min..  It is then ready to slice.  It will have a dark, hard coating.
    roasted beef
    It needs to be sliced VERY thin and this can be done only if you have a VERY sharp knife.  I found it easier to use an electric meat slicer. 
    sliced beef
    The last step was the taste test and we found it was delicious!!    Other spices of your choice could be added, such as cheyenne etc, as long as it is powdered.   I bagged up the slices and put into freezer for weekend sandwiches. 
    Definitely cheaper than store bought deli roast beef and it was not difficult to make at all.  It was worth the time it took.
    Until next time....................

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Lump of Clay

Wednesday, 09 December 2009

  • Lump of Clay

    In the middle of the Great Potter's wheel lay a lump of clay, waiting, waiting to be molded into that beautiful pitcher.  Now for the Potter to work that clay, it has to be soft, pliable, and willing to be worked.  The process of molding that lump of clay can be lengthy, for all the air bubbles need to be worked out, or it will be imperfect.  This process is painful, for what lump of clay enjoys to be pounded, kneaded and then maybe pounded some more.  But it is for it's own good, it is the process towards perfection.  We are the lumps of clay in God's hand.  We are full of "bubbles" and need to be kneaded and pounded, but the Potter's hands work with tender loving care.  The process goes alot smoother if we choose to be soft and willing in His hands.  We need to yield ourselves to Him, and trust Him, for he knows the end result and will do what is best for us. It is not always an easy place to be, in fact rarely is it.  But, when I think of this analogy,  it brings me comfort and peace in the midst of  the workings.  In times when I want to rebel against the kneading (and those are more times than not), I am miserable and certainly not peaceful.  If we endure, the end result will be a vessel worthy to be used by the Great Potter.
    You are the potter
    I am the clay
    Mold me and make me
    This is what I pray
    In His love,
    Until next time........... 

Saturday, December 5, 2009

What a Fun Class

Saturday, 05 December 2009

  • What a fun class!

    Yesterday was our last class till after the new year begins, so we decided it was time for more of a fun time, instead of "lecture" time.  Mr. Dave had informed me that he & I would have the current events for this class.  I was able to find an interesting article in our recent Newsmax magazine on the decline of manners.  What has happened to the rules of etiquette?  Why are people rude and disrespectful?  It seems the decline began in the '60's and the reaction to the Vietnam War.  "Attitudes towards authority deteriorated and people simply began to live for the moment".  We live in a self-centered society and people wonder why they should care about others and "what's in it for me".  I think this younger generation's manners would turn the generation of our grandparents gray in a day!  I encouraged the children to treat others with respect, open car doors for the women, give a firm hand-shake while looking the person in the eye, carry that grocery bag for the elderly woman, call people Mr. & Mrs. or ma'am or sir.  We need to be the example!!  Dave's current event was on Obama coming to Allentown to talk about what the government can do to create jobs.  He didn't expound on that too much.  Will discuss in further details in an upcoming class.
    We then played the "civics' bee" game.  Boys, who wanted to be called Navy Seals, against the girls, who called themselves Ladies of Liberty.  Mr. Dave would ask questions, alternating teams, and if the answer was correct, that team got to move 3 spaces.  If it was incorrect the other team got a chance.  The questions asked were from all the notes that were given from classes up to this point.  It seemed everyone had a great time.  The Navy Seals won the game - sorry Ladies of Liberty!   Great effort!
    Ladies of Liberty
    Navy Seals
    The last part of class time, we put together grocery boxes.  Each family contributed food, enough of that item for 10 baskets.  The children had to wrap their boxes in pretty paper....
    Then they arranged food in boxes however their creative minds lead them to. 
    The box was finished off by putting clear wrapping over the top, attaching a snowflake that the student made and a card.
    The students are to give their box to a U.S. veteran and have an "interview" with him/her.  When class convenes in January, the students are to give a report on who they gave their box to, along with what war they fought in and any other information they gathered.   These men sacrificed much so we can enjoy our freedoms.  They deserve recognition and thanks.  As the card on box says "A Sincere thank you for your commitment and service in defending our freedoms.  Blessings to you during this Holiday Season!   With respect,....................."   The students did a great job and the boxes turned out really nice.   Thanks to everyone participation!
    Until next time............

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Civics Classes Continued

Tuesday, 01 December 2009

  • Civics Classes continued

    Dave is still teaching the Civics class at our homeschool group.  We have gotten behind in sharing the notes and pictures with you, so it is catch up time!
    Notes on Rome
    • Rome began as a village near the Tiber River in present day Italy.
    • 753 B.C. to 509 B.C. it was ruled by kings
    -Senate – men who advised the King
    • 509 B.C. to 27 B.C. Rome was a republic
    - elected 2 consuls annually
    - plebians – lower class
    - patricians – higher class
    287 B.C. plebians gained equal rights
    88 B.C. reforms needed – Civil wars
    49 B.C Julius Caesar became dictator
    44 B.C. he was assinated
    27 B.C. Augustus Caesar is declared Emperor
    27 B.C. – 476 A.D. – Rome is an Empire
    14 A.D. – Augustus Caesar dies and is declared a God
    106-43 B.C. – Marcus Tullius Cicero lived
    He was a Roman statesman, attorney, orator, former consul who defended the Republic and opposed dictatorship.
    November 6th Class Notes
Rome has fallen!!
2 primary reasons for the fall of Rome
1). Corruption- (massive bureaucracy, inflation, political law)
2). Multi-culturally over-extended (they forgot what it meant to be Roman)
we discussed what it means to be an American?????
Cicero – 106 BC – 43 BC - Roman attorney, orator, and formal consul, who opposed
Rome’s drift toward dictatorship. Opposed Julius Caesar.
  • recognized rules of "right conduct" from a Supreme Creator
  • believed that Natural Law is the Creator’s order in how the world should work
  • believed man’s ability to reason is from God and will lead to common sense conclusions in gov’t, justice and human relations
  • believed that the foundation of Justice is love for our fellowman
  • believed that what holds society together is love of God.
  • was murdered for his political ideas
What happens when gov’t passes laws that violate Natural Law?
Cicero was getting a glimpse of truth
1). That which corresponds to reality as perceived by God
2). Conformity to fact or reality in exact accordance with that which is or has been or shall be
We act on what we believe is really real
History can be rewritten and distorted (historical revisionism)
Examples: Matt. 28:11-15
Denial of Holocaust
If you believe a lie you can be controlled by others!
Absence of truth brings bondage and manipulation
John 18:37
Romans 1:25
Insanity – lose of touch with reality and believing the lie is real.
World leaders can lose touch with reality and disregard Natural Law
Examples: Hitler, Mao
Also discussed whether feelings about something is more important about God’s truth claims.
One of the students giving a current event...
Tabitha's current event
Student who gave a report on Athens...
Havy's report
Our November 20th class was so excellent, as was the Nov. 6th class.  I (Brenda) have been thoroughly enjoying being in Dave's class. 
November 20th Class notes
Europe falls into the Middle Ages or Dark Ages, after the fall of Rome.
Much of Europe develops a political and economic system called feudalism.
fiefs - tracts of land granted by powerful lords to loyal nobles called vassals (Prince, Baron, Duke or Count) in exchange for supplying knights.
  • each fief had a manor (self sufficient agricultural community)
Serfs peasant farmers who gave much of their agricultural products to the lord in return for use of land and protection.Some characteristics of the Dark Ages were:
  • little commerce or use of money
  • trial by ordeal
  • castles
  • poverty
  • lack of or no education
  • loss of the middle class
  • war, disease and famine
  • 30 year life expectancy
  • less then 20% of the population ever traveled more then 10 miles from place of birth
  • ***Although the Middle Ages are interesting times, I have chosen to study it only briefly. Before we get too far along in history we must go back to discuss the most influential person who ever lived and has directly effected American society and government. –Jesus!
    Jesus never did what most influential people in history have done. He was not:
    • a mighty military leader
    • was not born into nobility
    • did not write books
    • no great scientific discoveries
    • never traveled far from home
    • when he left the earth, He did not have an extremely large following
    • Yet He changed the world like no one else.
      Are all religions the same?
      Are religions different ways of comprehending the same truth?
      Can all be true?
      3 Characteristics that are unique to Christianity
      1. it teaches that it is impossible to satisfy our relationship with God by human efforts
      2. Christ claimed to be divine
      3. It is dependent on miracles (virgin birth, resurrection).
      4. Some teachings of Jesus that effect our society today:
        1.) One God for all men
        2.) "Render unto Caesar the things that are Caesar’s and unto God the things that are God’s" - this is foundational to the idea of separation of church and state and limited Gov’t
        1. Human dignity – Jesus reached out to the lowest classes of people (lepers, poor, etc.) Mankind could now have a meaningful valuable life. They could now see themselves created by God for a purpose and to have a relationship with Him, regardless of wealth, status, race, etc.. This is the foundation of true human rights.
        4.) equality of women – marriage was exalted as an intimate companionship, having high ideals of personal sacrifice and service to one another. Women gained more honor and respect under the teachings of Jesus.
        5.) service to others is noble – Luke 22:27, Mark 10:41-45. What a radical idea would have been for His day. Imagine Caesar viewing himself as a servant to others. This is the foundation of public servants.
        6.) all men are fallible; man has a sinful nature. Romans 7:19 Even people elected to public office or in roles of leadership have this sinful nature. All societies would do well to recognize the truth that the nature of man is sinful and the nature of gov’t is to become tyrannical. This is the root of the idea of balanced powers
        1. compassion – because of Jesus, throughout the centuries there was better care for the poor, sick and widows

        Atheists will try to undermine belief in God and claim to have science and reason on their side. They believe that it is foolish and unreasonable to believe in God and that miracles are impossible, but remember Christianity is dependent on miracles. There are 2 ways to confront an atheist, using reason.
        1. because something exists today, something would have always had to exist, because you cannot get something from nothing. Therefore, that something could reasonably be an eternal God.
           2.) Because even the most intelligent scientist would admit that they know only a small percentage of everything there is know. It is very reasonable to believe that God exists in what they do not know.
        A student presenting a current event...
        Adessa current event
        and another....
        sierra current event
        We have a class this friday, so I will update you on that later.
        Until next time.......

        Wednesday, November 25, 2009

        This & That

        Wednesday, 25 November 2009

        • This & That

          A while back I had blogged about our sunflower and cold-frame experiments.  We had cut the sunflower heads, put them in paper bags and put them in the basement to dry.  When we opened them to remove dry seeds, we discovered that most of the heads rotted. I am not sure, but maybe the heads were not dry enough when we cut them?   I read that we could've let the flowers dry in the garden by tying paper bags over the heads while they were still on the stalk.  The bags would prevent the birds from getting the seeds and from the seeds falling to the ground, but the air still could get through.(?)  If it would rain, the bags would have to be replaced, though.  I have my doubts on whether we will attempt that experiment again in the near future.
          The hay bale cold-frame experiment?  That has been interesting.  After about a week, the lettuce and onions started popping through the soil.  I was excited!   Then, I forgot to "open a window" on a hot day, and the lettuce went down hill fast.  Now, the only things that are growing are the onions and something else that I didn't plant.  The soil was some compost, and I believe the seeds were already in the soil before it made it to the cold frame.  The other issue was that the hay bales themselves started to decompose, which effected how the windows fit on top.  So, the lesson learned with this experiment is that we would rather have a hoop house.   Maybe next year......
          With this being the end of the season for broccoli, we ended up doing 3 banana boxes full the last two days.  The boys were big helpers once again.
          more broccoli
          I decided to try some brussel sprouts.  They were sold still on the stalk, so we had to cut them off, soak in salt water, blanch for a few minutes, then into the freezer they went.  Only Dave & I like them, so we only bought 5 stalks, which gave us about 6 quart.
          brussel sprouts
          We had about 6 head of cauliflower to either put into freezer or can.  Some of us love pickled foods, so I found a recipe for pickled cauliflower (vinegar, sugar, celery and mustard seeds and turmeric).  I canned 7 qt. and have 2 qt. in fridge to eat.  It is not as good as chow chow, so I am not sure how popular our pickled cauliflower is going to be.  It is fun to try new things every now & then, and sometimes we discover a winner of recipe that our family loves.  To top off the day, Ben brought home the hamburger from the beef we had butchered at the shop where he works.  Everyone always enjoys packing the burger.  First we weigh it into 5 pound "lumps".
          weighing burger

          Then it gets packed into ziploc freezer bags, pressed flat and carted off to the freezer.
          From the beef, we had as many roasts saved as possible.  The shop wrapped and froze those for us.  After Thanksgiving, I am going to try my hand at making deli roast beef and I will let you know how that all turns out. 
          May each of you have a wonderful Thanksgiving holiday!
          Until next time...........

        Tuesday, November 10, 2009

        Life of a Farmer

        Tuesday, 10 November 2009

        • Life of A Farmer

           A farmer's day starts before the sun rises in the morning, anyway the farmer at this home does.  Maybe I should mention here about the different farmers.  There are chicken farmers, hog farmers, crop farmers, beef farmers, vegetable farmers and all these raise what their name describes (and I don't know what time their day gets started).  Then we have dairy farmers.  These farmers milk cows and provide the dairy products your purchase at the store.  In the category of dairy farmers, we have some that milk 2 times a day, 3 times a day, some every 16 hours or less, and some once a day.  You have small family farms, like us, who milk anywhere from 30 - 100  cows.  Then you have what we call the cow factories, where they milk hundreds of cows.  Only on family farms, the cows will be milked in tie stalls.  There are stalls that the cows will go into and be tied and either remain there all the time or be left out to pasture between milkings.  In the "factories" the cows are milked in a parlor.  They are milked and immediately released back into a holding area.  Usually these cows never go out to pasture, they remain in this holding area where there are stalls that they can lay in.  Things certainly have progressed in the dairy industry, for now there are robot milkers, but to me that is not true farming, so I will not go into that.  I am only going to focus on what it is like here on our farm.  We milk 2 times a day, morning and evening.  Dave is usually the first one out of bed about 4 - 4:30.  Either Georgie or Ben will go to the barn with him at 5 - 5:30 to milk.  Everyone else goes out around 6:00ish to feed the cows, heifers and calves.    It takes approx. 1 1/2 - 2 hrs. to milk.  Each person has their responsibilties.  Dave, Ben & Georgie are the milkers, 
          Solomon feeds and does manure management.
          Uriah & Oliver (with my help) feed calves.
          We usually are all back in the house around 8:00 for breakfast.  Needless to say, everyone is hungry by then, so we try to have a nuturious breakfast of greek eggs and/or potatoes.  We also enjoy leftovers for breakfast or I will fry up vegetables with scrambled eggs.  Dave lays down for a nap, and we try to start school around 9:00.  Dave is then off to do his masonry jobs till late afternoon and then it is chore time again.  We try to have everything wrapped up by 6:00 -6:30, eat supper, and since it gets dark early, the children go to bed 8:00 - 8:30 and us soon thereafter.   This is a typical week day here at our home.   Weekends, chores are the same, but we are able to get projects done on Sat. and on Sunday, we go to church and either have a day of fellowship or have family time at home.  We have had people tell us that farmers are a special breed of people and after thinking about that, I think they are right.  Nobody understands a farmers life, unless you are or were a farmer.  It looks like a life of ease, just working at home with the family milking cows, but there is so much more that goes into it then what people realize.  Don't get me wrong, it is a good life and it brings alot of positives with it.  It also can be never-ending.  The cows don't stop producing milk on weekends or holidays.  For vacation, we try to do things very close to home or we do staycations, where we stay at home but plan a weekend  camping out in the yard with a campfire only doing necessary chores.  This past weekend, we went to Camp Swatara for the day, hiking, playing on playgrounds and sitting by pond.  It was fun and refreshing!  If you happen to have farmer for a neighbor or friend, tell him how much you appreciate his hard work and sacrifice to provide a product that is wholesome.  Nowadays, it is not a paying proposition, but that is for another blog.
          Until next time..............

        Wednesday, November 4, 2009

        Am I a Hypocrite

        Wednesday, 04 November 2009

        • Am I a Hypocrite?

          Are you? This has been brewing around in my mind for a very long time.  What is a hypocrite? The dictionary says it is:  "a person who pretends to be what he is not; one who pretends to be better than he really is, or pious, virtuous, etc. without really being so."  The question again is: am I a hypocrite and are you?  A hypocrite will "sound a trumpet" when he gives money or goods to gain attention for himself.  A hypocrite will make himself obvious when he prays.  When he fasts, he will make sure that people will notice. He will use himself as the standard of judgment for which he judges others.  A hypocrite will draw near unto God with his mouth, and honor Him with his lips, but his heart will be far from God.  He puts stumbling blocks in the way of the sinner who is repenting and being converted by being a false leader.  He makes a show of religion while extorting money from the poor and widowed.  With his mouth, he destroys his neighbor.  His outward appearance seems righteous to men, but he is full of hypocrisy and lawlessness.  He is very careful to keep all the "regulations", such as tithing 10% etc., but overlook mercy and faith.  Just go to Matthew and you will find all these references and more.  It is so easy to become a hypocrite.  We want to fit in, to be accepted, to be looked up to by others.  Isn't it heady when people compliment you on your spiritual insights, your wonderful Godly family, your educated children, your delightful marriage relationship, your ability to pray in front of people,  your ability to teach the Gospel and lead people to repentance, etc?  But, is it really as it appears?  Is your family really Godly?  Are you really praying publicly for God's approval, or is it to impress people?  Is your marriage really as delightful as it appears to others?   Are your posts on Facebook, or on your blogs truthful?  Or are we "beefing up" our words to make people think we are something? (I am asking myself these questions too and not meaning to target just "you").  Do we cave into all the peer pressures around us to find acceptance?  Am I a hypocrite and are you?  God has made each one of us exactly how HE wanted us, but for some reason we want to be the person who everyone else thinks we should be.  When we surrender to this temptation, we will find that after awhile we have no idea who we are and we have become a hypocrite.   We only need to look at the scriptures and God tells us what we should believe, how we are to speak and act, and how we are to present ourselves outwardly.  The only person we are to compare ourselves with and gain approval from is JESUS CHRIST and when that is done we will realize that we fall way short in all our accomplishments and have nothing to boast about except that He gave His life for us, out of His love for us.  He knows whether we are being genuine or not and He despises fakiness!  "Woe unto you......hypocrites".  Woe means: "great sorrow; grief; misery".  So, the question is once again:  am I a hypocrite?  The verdict is.... quilty!    I am VERY genuine when I say I HATE it in myself and am uncomfortable around others who are not "real" or genuine either.  The rest of the question is:  Are you?  And if your verdict is "quilty" also, join me in a journey to becoming a TOTALLY genuine and truthful servant before God and everyone we come into contact with.  May our lives mirror the life of Jesus. 
          Until next time.........

        Thursday, October 29, 2009

        Broccoli Anyone?

        Thursday, 29 October 2009

        • Broccoli Anyone?

          Broccoli is one of the vegetables that we like to put in the freezer.  Lots of it, too.  It is fairly simple to process and it holds up well frozen.  And it is very, very good for you.  The broccoli is sweeter if cut after a frost.  Tonight, I started our first batch for the season.  A friend of ours offered to pick up veggies for us at the local produce auction, and he came home with broccoli this week.  I start out with washing the heads in cold water.  I add Basic H (Shaklee) to help clean the veggie of chemical sprays.   
          broccoli heads
          Then I cut the heads apart into smaller pieces.  Some people throw away most of the stalks, but I save them, peel the thick "bark" off and include the tender delicious insides with the crowns, or we eat them raw.  They are great with dip.  Next, the pieces go into a steamer and steam just until the broccoli turns a deep green.  We do not like mushy broccoli, so I cut the blanching time.
          Let the broccoli cool on towel and them pack in freezer bags.
          My favorite way of serving broccoli is over baked potatoes.  I rub the potatoes with olive oil, bake on the oven racks until done.  The skins will be crispy, but very delicious.  We mash the potatoes on a plate, top with butter, broccoli, cheese and sour cream.  A very healthy, and dairy promoting, complete meal.  If you want to include meat, make a hamburger gravy for on top, but this is a great dish if you want to have a meatless meal.   Enjoy!
          Until next time.......

        Friday, October 23, 2009

        Friday, 23 October 2009

        • He is 16!

          Solomon is now 16 and is chomping at the bit to get on the road.  He is waiting to go for his permit and then, if he passes, clear the road.   No, really, he is a good driver.  He has had alot of experience with equipment and seems to have a real knack and talent for handling anything with wheels and a steering wheel.  I am always teasing him that he is going to have to drive this dump truck, because I know that it does not go very fast.
          He does not agree with me, of course!  He was able to find a 96 dodge pickup that he got extremely reasonable.  It needs some work, but nothing that he cannot handle and it will keep him busy over the winter.  We had a birthday party for him last Saturday evening and we had a really fun time playing games with friends.
          We also had a cake for a friend who was also celebrating a birthday
          Sol & Keith
          2 of the girls that were Kelsey's bridemaids were here, also, so I couldn't resist this picture.
          girls and baby
          Until next time.........

        Wednesday, October 21, 2009

        Tests & Surgery Outcomes

        Wednesday, 21 October 2009

        • Tests and Surgery Outcomes

          Three weeks ago, Solomon and Oliver had their annual heart checkups. Solomon’s checkup was real good. Oliver had an echo, which revealed that the left side of his heart was enlarged. The area where the surgery was performed when he was a baby showed narrowing and he has a bicuspid aortic valve, which was in question on whether there was some "backwash". The Dr. was not sure on the cause of the enlargement, so he ordered a stress-echo test to examine how the valve and narrowing would react to stress. The Doc mentioned that blood pressure meds would be the first thing they would try, depending on the findings of the test. Yesterday, Oliver had the test and today the Dr. called with the results. He said that nothing showed up, everything looked good, Oliver has no restrictions at this point and that he (doc) has no explanation on why the heart would be enlarged. They did not double check the measurements yesterday, just the function (makes me wonder if his heart is still enlarged?). He said that he would check Oliver again in 6 months. Now the most exciting part of all this….? Oliver was anointed this past Sunday and God had His hand in the test results, for sure! Why are we ever surprised when prayers are answered? God’s will was done and we have huge grateful hearts right now!! Thank you to all of you who have been praying!
          Georgie had his tonsils and adenoids removed today – another event that was prayed for by many - Thanks Much – he felt them!!. Georgie was so peaceful, calm and brave that the nurses could not stop commenting on it. They said he was doing better then some adults. The surgery went real well and the time in the recovery room was good. He did not get sick on his stomach like some people do and he was able to down some pops soon after he arrived there. Now don’t get me wrong, he has a really, really bad sore throat, BUT he is quite impressed with how easy he can breathe out his nose.  The doc said that his adenoids were so big that they blocked 85% of his nasal cavity!! No wonder he can breathe easier!! Now to get him through the next week…….
          geo in hosp

          Times like these are a test of faith and a time of wondering……would I give thanks and praise if the diagnosis is sad news? Would I give thanks and praise if the surgery did not go well? I want to think that I would and I told myself that I would, but when it really comes down to it, would I? Thinking about it, I came to the obvious conclusion that it is MUCH easier to react in thanksgiving and praise in times of good news and reports. In times of suffering, sadness, or bad news it is ONLY possible in God’s strength and power and a MIGHTY strong faith in HIM.
          Until next time………

        Wednesday, October 7, 2009

        Civics Class 1 & 2

        Wednesday, 07 October 2009

        • Civics Class 1 & 2

          On September 18th, the homeschool coop that we are involved in, called HIS, had it's first class day.  This is a fairly large group and the children are divided by grade levels.  This year Dave committed to teaching Civics/History to the older children.  Our (I am helping Dave) class consists of 11 students from the ages of 11-17, 6 boys and 5 girls.  For the first class we went over 2 class rules that Mr. Dave had established.
           1.) Do all you have agreed to do
           2.) Do not encroach upon another person or their property.
          We talked about how societies have changed all through history.  Man's social and economic conditions have changed - liberty and tyranny, poverty and prosperity, safety and terror.  What are the conditions that cause these changes?  A small example of this that was brought up was:  our grandparents never locked their doors at night.  Why do we lock ours now?  What caused this change? 
          We did a small representation of society by assigning each child a different role.  We had a farmer, banker, retired person, pizza shop owner, etc..     Then Mr. Dave gave a scenario of a severe drought.   We had a lively discussion as the drought effected more and more people besides the farmer.  Example:  price of food goes up, farmer can't pay bank, which effects retired person's investments, etc..       We had a good time!

          Class 2 - Talked mostly about how governments got started in the early days of mankind spreading across the earth.  How class distinctions arose among peoples.  Talked about man advancing from family-clan-tribe to village-city-citystates.  We began to talk about 2 of the most famous city-states, which were Athens and Sparta.  We began to discuss how some of the ideas of Ancient Greeks effect us today.   We had 2 students give current events and 1 student gave a report on Sparta.

          Next class is October 16th.
          Until next time............

        Sunday, October 4, 2009

        Sweet Baby Oakley

        Sunday, 04 October 2009

        • Sweet Baby Oakley

          She arrived into this world Saturday, October 3rd, weighing 6# 12oz. and what a sweety she is!  Kelsey is now a mama and I a grandma.  I am wondering if the reality has really sunk in to either of us?  I am confident that she will be a wonderful mama and I am still contemplating this idea of being a grandma.  From the bottom of my heart, I LOVE the idea!  On the other hand, my role is now different to this wee one then to my own children.  I always looked forward to having my babies, but in the midst of it, I realized that the full responsibility of this child laid on Dave and my shoulders.  We were the ones who would love, feed, clothes, discipline and raise this child how the Lord would lead us.  Being a grandparent is different.  I looked forward to the arrival of Oakley in a different way.  I was going to be a grandma, not a mother, and there is a difference.  Now Gordon and Kelsey will raise her how the Lord leads them, they will love, feed, clothes and discipline her.  My role is to be supportive, encouraging, and helpful wherever I am wanted, but to allow God to run their family and to give them room to learn the lessons that come with parenting - giving me freedom to TOTALLY spoil  (and then send home) this little person who is now a part of our family.

                                                                      Until next time...........

        Wednesday, September 30, 2009

        Wednesday, 30 September 2009

        • Heart Dr. Visit

          Almost 16 years ago, little Solomon was born.  The umbilical cord had only 2 vessels, instead of 3.  He was born 4 weeks early weighing 4 # 14 oz.  In my mother's heart I knew that their was something wrong with Solomon, but the Dr's. kept telling me it because he was 4 weeks early.  When he was 8 days old, he became VERY ill - extremely fast breathing, did not respond to me and his color was really bad.  By the time the ambulance got him to the hosp. they could not put any I.V.'s in him, for all his blood vessels had collapsed and he was turning more and more gray with each minute.  After what seemed like forever, they were able to stablize him at Reading and then transferred him to Hershey where they discovered that he had a narrowing (I'll use english language instead of all the med. terms) of the aorta, which was preventing blood from getting to his lower extremeties.  The next day, the surgeon went in through Solomon's ribs and patched it up, but by that time, his kidneys had shut down and he was still very ill.  He spent 13 days in Hershey and then was able to come home.  A few months after that, he needed to have the balloon done on that area, for the scar tissue prevented it from growing with him.  After that, he grew faster and seemed to do much better.  He still has a valve that has only 2 flappers, instead of 3, and he still is being checked by Dr. every 1 -1 1/2 years.   His visit today was a good one from the cardiac standpoint.  The worst part is that the Dr. reminded him that weightlifting and wrestling should be avoided!  Solomon loves doing both of those things.  I am trying to convince him to take up track, or something else.  We will see how successful I am.  We are thankful for the good report.

          solomon on tractor
          6 years ago this coming Feb., Oliver was born.  He was only 2 weeks early and seemed healthy at first.  After Dr examined him though, a heart murmur could be heard.  With Solomon's history, they did an echo right away and discovered that he had the same thing as Solomon.  They transported him by medivac to Hershey (he was not even 2 days old) and did surgery the next day.  Oliver was not near as sick as Solomon was and came home after 5 days in hosp..  Today, his visit was not as good to hear as Solomon's.  They did an echo and discovered his left side of his heart is slightly enlarged, the site of surgery is narrowed, and the tricuspid valve is creating a backwash, because it only has 2 flappers, instead of 3.  So, Oliver must do a stress test and depending on the outcome of that, there is a possibiltity of him having to take a blood pressure medicine.  The next step depends on the test.  This outcome was a surprise to me, for Oliver is full of energy and seems to not have any problems and I was expecting a clean bill of health.  I have to have time to digest it, I guess.  I am reminding my self that we have a Great Physician and our children are not really ours, but His.  It is this surrendering issue that I have to deal with........

          Thanks for your prayers!
          Until next time........