Saturday, December 18

Update

Just a quick note/update for those who read this:  I doubt that I will be on here much between now and New Year's weekend.  There will be so much going on!  But I want to wish you all a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year, and I'll pick up where I left off in a week or two.  Thanks to everyone who enjoys reading my silly, probably-oftentimes-irrelevant ramblings.  It's nice to know you care enough to want to know what I'm up to!  Have a great holiday!

P.S.  I've added the seven layer bar recipe and a bread recipe to the Recipes page.

Thursday, December 16

Christmas Events

Lights Before Christmas
We took our annual trip to Toledo last Friday to the Toledo Zoo's "Lights Before Christmas" display.  It's always a neat trip.  The animals are all in bed by the time the zoo opens at night, but walking through a zoo completely covered in all sorts of Christmas lights is so fun that you don't notice that the animals are not on display.  There were a few animals out (we saw a polar bear--gasp--you mean they didn't all die from global warming??), and the reptile house and aquarium were open to view the animals there too, but that was it.  It was okay though.  The zoo was quite busy, due to it being a Friday night, but it didn't take away from the awesome light displays.  Last year when we went, we saw these dripping icicle lights (for a YouTube video of what I mean, click here) and they looked so neat!  When we were able to locate them at a store, it was no wonder why we'd never seen them around before--besides being new, they were extremely expensive.  We first found them at Bronner's, a Christmas store located in the tourist town of Frankenmuth, MI, and they wanted around $140 for a string of 5, and add-on strings were about $120.  Needless to say, they won't be hanging from our eaves anytime soon!  Oddly enough, our downtown sidewalk trees are decorated with them this year...even though the city couldn't afford to have the leaf pick-up program again this year.  Ah, politics.

Christmas Program
Well, the McKinnis house had our annual Christmas program again this year.  It was a good time, and it is always a special treat to see the house lit entirely by candlelight.  There is a coziness about it that cannot be described, but has to be experienced.  We had live dulcimer music, baked goodies, Christmas carols, and a little Christmas tree, cut from the surrounding wilderness.  It was a great time, and everyone who volunteered had fun.  Please come out to see one of our programs if you are ever in the northwest Ohio area!

Christmas Party
The day after our Christmas program, we had our second annual McKinnis volunteer Christmas party.  Yes, it was a busy weekend, because all three of these events took place last Friday-Sunday!  It was held at the McKinnis house this year, and probably for the years to come.  We had fires going in the fireplace and woodstove, and it was quite cozy again, as a winter storm was dropping snow outside.  We had a gift exchange and carry-in lunch, with turkey, gravy, mashed potatoes, lasagna, ham, cranberry relish, fruits, and a full table of desserts.  Yum!  The gift exchange, which was a white elephant exchange, had all sorts of neat gifts.  I left with a gift basket of homemade goodies--caramels, applesauce, and cranberry-orange bread.  Very festive!  It was a good time, and I look forward to starting the new year of programs in early March. 

With Christmas always come New Year's Eve/Day.  I always wonder what the new year will bring--will it be good, bad, sad, exciting?  These past few years have been trying, but I feel confident in saying that it will be better this year!  But really, it all comes down to our perspective and the faith we have in our God.  We don't know what the new year, or future will hold, but God does.  Jeremiah 29:11 urges us to trust in God regarding our futures: "For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future."  No matter what happens, we should count it all  joy, because the Lord is in control of every situation.  What a comfort that will always be to me!

Thursday, December 9

It's Beginning To Look A Lot Like Christmas

Holiday Baking
I've begun my holiday baking again for this year.  (Look out, Mom, I'm bringing some with me!)  So far, I've made chocolate no-bakes, chocolate fudge, 7 layer bars (hubby loved these--I'll post the recipe soon), and a tweaked chocolate cookie to which I added peppermint extract and subbed M&Ms for the prescribed chocolate chips.  Not a bad experiment!  I still plan to make chocolate-covered pretzels and peanut blossoms, then give them all away.  I remember when I was young, my mother would spend days baking all sorts of delicious Christmas cookies, because she and the other neighborhood women would all exchange cookies.  No one seems to do that anymore.  Everyone is diet-crazed and acts like Christmas cookies are a disease on a plate.  It makes me sad, because it was such a neat tradition, and an excuse to get together and visit with others around the holidays.  Wow, seems like those days are looong gone.  I think I'm getting more nostalgic as time goes by.  Does this mean I'm an old woman already in an early 30s body??

Beautiful Snow

It seems as though winter has finally arrived here in Ohio.  As I type, snow is falling softly and silently outside of our office window.  It's beautiful, and so peaceful.  We have had small amounts and dustings of snow all week.  I feel like I live inside of a snow globe!  There is something about the purity and silence of the snow that is so attractive.  A snow-covered farm landscape or cozy home seems like the perfect setting to me...the snow covers the dead brown grass and bare trees with a striking contrast of dark and light and seems to make everything clean.  How I long to live in the middle of the woods, in the middle of winter!  There would be nothing more peaceful and perfect as being curled up in front of a blazing fireplace with a quilt and my husband and watching the snow fall outside.  To me, that would be heaven!

Christmastime 

Can you believe that Christmas is two weeks from Saturday??  Where has the time gone?  I love this season, but it seems to go by so fast anymore.  We are done with our shopping for this year, except for one more gift to purchase.  It's nice to have that done, because now I can sit back and relax.  I am not one for crowds anyway, so I try to get Christmas shopping out of the way early so that I'm not fighting crowds at the stores.  This year I finished later than usual.  I did a decent amount of shopping online too, which is something I don't do very often.  I just found some really good ideas/prices online this year.  Now we are free to enjoy the holidays, which includes a few Christmas parties coming up.  Should be a fun time, especially with the snow that is being forecast for this weekend!

This time of year is the best time, in my opinion.  However, it's easy to lose sight of the real reason that we celebrate this time of year.  When we celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ, we celebrate the real gift that God gave the world, and the ability to spend eternity with Him if we choose to do so.  So when the snow falls, and the presents are opened, I hope that everyone remembers the Gift that was given to wash away all of our sins and make us pure and worthy of a relationship with God: "...though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be white as snow; though they are red as crimson, they shall be like wool." (Isaiah 1:18)  Praise the Lord for the incredible gift He has given!  I hope everyone has a wonderful Christmas season, and that you carry it in your heart all year long!

Tuesday, November 30

The Holidays Are Here!

Turkey Day
Another Thanksgiving has come and gone.  I hope it went well for all of you!  We spent the holiday with my husband's family, and a good time was had, and delicious food was eaten.  A new vehicle was purchased.  A brother-in-law is healing.  Just your typical holiday.  Right now, it seems so busy.  I feel like I have no time at all to get things done!  I truly miss my housewife days.  I really enjoyed it, and I felt like I was good at it...probably the first time I felt that way about anything.  I miss having time to do my typical holiday baking, which I love to do so much.  Sigh.  Such is the life of a working woman...just have to trudge through the days and try to get to retirement, when I'll be happy again!  Really, though, there is much for which to thank the Lord, including our jobs.  We both have relatively good health, all of our family is still with us, we have a roof over our head, food on the table and in the pantry, and even the occasional toy.  Most importantly, I'm thankful for what God has given us all, if we choose to accept such a gift.  That's the biggest thing to be thankful for--the promise of an eternity spent with the One who created us! 

Date Night
We are seeing our first snows tonight.  I doubt it will accumulate, but it is still pretty.  The air holds that fresh snow scent, and it is refreshingly cold.  We went to a viewing of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, pt. 1, tonight, and when we came out of the theater it was sleeting pretty heavily.  It was a pretty good adaptation of the book, according to hubby--I have read all of the books, but it was a while ago and I don't really remember anymore!  Oh well.  It is not a movie I would recommend for younger children, but I think that teens and older would be fine.  Overall, it was an enjoyable movie date for us, and the second half of the movie should be the best half. 

Christmas Is Coming
We have our tree up, finally.  I used to look forward to putting up the tree on Thanksgiving, or the day after, but since we've been married I don't think we've ever done that, usually because we are gone visiting family for the holiday and don't come home for a few days afterward.  This year, we opted for a real tree--the first time for us as a couple.  We went to see what a Christmas tree farm had to offer about 20 minutes south of town, but the trees were waaay too expensive for us.  Instead, we visited with the reindeer, donkeys, calf and turkeys that they had for petting, and visited the gift shop where I purchased a front door decoration.  We stopped at a tree lot in town to check their prices, which weren't any better than the farm, but they had a huge tree on display, about fourteen feet tall, and I couldn't help but think of how fun it would be to have a house that would be able to accommodate such a large tree.  And it would be fun to decorate!  But we moved on to Lowe's to return something, and while we were there we found our Frasier fir.  It smells so nice in our living room, and it was half the price of the other trees we looked at.  I can't wait to decorate it!  I'll try to post some current pictures. 

Obviously, we think of what we are thankful for this time of year, and look forward to celebrating the Christmas in a few more weeks.  I try to give thanks to the Lord every day for what He has provided, because it can all be gone in a flash.  Psalm 100 is a psalm of thanksgiving: "1Shout for joy to the LORD, all the earth.  2Worship the LORD with gladness; come before him with joyful songs.  3Know that the LORD is God.  It is he who made us, and we are his; we are his people, the sheep of his pasture.  4Enter his gates with thanksgiving and his courts with praise; give thanks to him and praise his name.  5For the LORD is good and his love endures forever; his faithfulness continues through all generations."

Thursday, November 11

Here Come the Holidays!


Things Slowing Down 
Well, for the time being, things are slow here.  That will change soon, with the holidays fast approaching.  I'm very much looking forward to Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year's--I'm ready for the turkey, Christmas tree, Christmas music, and all of the other fun things that come around at this time of the year.  It's always been my favorite!  There's always something to do, whether it's shopping or baking or visiting, and I look forward to it all year long.  I have great memories of Christmas from when I was younger, and me and my family would go downtown to the annual nighttime light festival, where there would be a visit from Santa, Christmas music and carols that everyone there would sing, and then at the end of the festival, the switch would be thrown, illuminating a big city Christmas tree and dozens of other trees decorated with lights all throughout the park.  My mom would always decorate the house with all sorts of decorations, from strings of lights to bells, wax candle figurines, a Nativity that someone hand-painted for her, and so on.  There were always Christmas sugar cookies to eat and decorate, and I swear that there was more snow back then!  The tree would be assembled, and it seemed to just drip with all of the ornaments and decorations that we had.  A few presents were always under the tree a little early, just to tease us, and I admit that I would shake one or two when I thought no one was looking.  Christmas is such fun when you are a child.  We counted down the days to Christmas break, and we looked forward to playing in the snow with our friends.  I don't wish to be that young again, but I do wish that I could have that innocent view again.  Ah, the commercialization of Christmastime!  I really long for a Christmas devoid of material focus for a change.  I was in Kohl's last week (among other retail chain stores), and many of these places were already playing Christmas music!  While I don't mind it, it does seem to be a bit early for it.  I am guessing that the current economic state is prompting stores to try and get people in a spending mood earlier so that they can make their season goals this year.  But, regardless of what the stores want us to focus on at this time of the year, Jesus is and always will be the focus of my Christmas season (and all the rest of the year)!

Black Friday 
Well, now that you know how anti-materialistic I feel about Christmas, I thought I'd share with you a few websites that offer sneak peeks at Black Friday ads.  I don't--won't--go shopping on the day after Thanksgiving.  It's an unbending rule of mine.  Why on earth would I want to get up at the buttcrack of dawn--nay, before the buttcrack of dawn--to go and fight with a whole bunch of (fill in the expletive) women who have no concern for anyone around them, but just have to get the (fill in the hot toy/gadget/electronic fad) before you do, because if they don't, the world as they know it will end and the person for whom the gift is intended will, in fact, die if they don't receive it.  There is nothing that will get me out of bed that early to deal with that.  Ahem.  But for those who do enjoy the shopping experience, there are a few websites that post ads for many chain retailers weeks in advance:
Black Friday Ads-- they update their list whenever something new comes out.
Black Friday Info-- they offer several national chain store ads.
Black Friday--again, many chain stores. 
Black Friday 2010-- I think you get the idea.
Black Friday @ Gotta Deal--same as above. 
So, if early morning shopping is your preference, you can start planning now.  Hope this helps!  I'll be sound asleep, digesting waaaay too much turkey and stuffing.

White Fluffy Stuff
Well, I saw the first flurries last Friday.  What a thrill!  I was so excited.  I love snow, and I enjoy wintertime (for a while), and always eagerly anticipate the first significant snowfall of the year.  I love to have white Christmases and New Years.  It just seems to wipe clean the slate of the new year, and for many, a new start at accomplishing goals not attained the year before.  I don't really make resolutions at the beginning of the year; it seems too daunting.  If there is something I want to try and do, I just try to do it.  But others make resolutions every year, and that's fine!  Anyway, there's something great about watching the snow falling silently outside, while I am wrapped up nice and cozy in a big quilt drinking hot chocolate with a giant marshmallow on the top watching a movie with my best friend.  It's relaxing and a perfect way to spend a snowy day!

Where Did All of the Craft Shows Go?
I remember when I was younger that my mother, my sister and I would spend our Saturday mornings running around town to all sorts of holiday craft shows/bazaars.  You could find the neatest little handmade gifts at those things!  I loved to go to them.  I even sold something once, and did really well.  I have been going to a few craft shows in the area here, and what has happened??  There is nothing really to choose from, nothing original.  As someone who values hand-made crafts, as I am a crafty person myself, this makes me sad.  There is not the interest anymore that there used to be.  Everything is mass-produced and made in China as cheaply as possible, so no one is willing to pay for something made with quality and craftsmanship.  Half of the items for sale came from the Oriental Trading Company magazine!  So, I guess that if I want to give hand-made crafts this year, it looks as though I will have to make them myself.  Has anyone else noticed this?  Or am I the only dork that still goes to these things?

We celebrate Christmas in December of each year.  How this came about, who knows?  There is no evidence that Jesus was actually born this time of year; this is just when someone decided to make it a holiday.  Regardless, six weeks before the date of the Christ's birth, Mary must have been anxiously awaiting this event and His arrival.  Can you imagine what that must have been like?  What incredible excitement, and what a blessing, to be chosen to be the mother of the One who would die for our sins?  I can't!  Mary was indeed special for the Lord to choose her.  Joseph knew this as well: "21She will give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus, because he will save his people from their sins."  (Matthew 1:21)  This is the true reason for why we celebrate Christmas every year.  I pray that you will keep that in your hearts, not only now when the holidays approach, but all year 'round.

Monday, November 1

Birthday goodies!

Non-News 
Well, what's new?  I am a pretty boring person, I guess, because not a whole lot has happened lately.  I am enjoying that, though.  We have yet to carve our pumpkins, and so there probably won't be any pumpkin carving to come.  There will still be seeds, though, and some fresh pumpkin puree to freeze, so all is not lost.  

We just came back from a family visit in Michigan.  I got to meet my dog-niece, Ninja!  What a sweet doggie.  It was a short, but good, time while we were there.  We attended a benefit Halloween party for my sister's work, where we ate delicious food and saw all sorts of funny costumes.  I have to say, the most impressive costume was a group of three people all dressed like the cast of Dog the Bounty Hunter.  It was classic!  Poor hubby has been sick with a cold, or sinus problems, for a few weeks now, and I haven't been feeling 100%, and we were both party poopers.  We were so tired that we left around 11 that night, before the prize drawings ended and the costume contest winners were announced.  Too much excitement for this old bird! 

Jobs are still going well.  Thanks for asking.


It's That Time of Year Again
Well, another year has almost come to a close for me.  My birthday is a few days away, and my husband always dubs the week of my birthday as "Birthday Weekapalooza".  It's always an enjoyable time, even though I don't feel like celebrating is necessary.  I am old enough that I have to stop and remember my age!  Yikes!  Oh well.  I have to tell you about all of the birthday freebies that I get though!  There are so many restaurants that send you e-mail certificates for free birthday goodies that you must sign up for:

Texas Roadhouse is a great one (and my favorite restaurant!).  Sign up as a "VIP Roadie" and you will not only receive free appetizers for your birthday, but you will also receive freebies for your wedding anniversary, sign-up anniversary, and other events.

Cold Stone Creamery will e-mail you a certificate for a free Like-It size with one mix in for free if you sign up on their website.  Yummy!

Auntie Anne's Pretzels will send you a buy one, get one free certificate for signing up for their e-mails.  Great if you are near a franchise!

Dairy Queen will send you a buy one, get one free Blizzard coupon through e-mail if you sign up on their website.

Baskin-Robbins, if you are fortunate enough to still have one in your neighborhood, offers free ice cream on your birthday, just click on the name link and sign up for it.

El Chico, a Tex-Mex restaurant, will give you a free dessert on your special day, just ask.

Famous Dave's Barbecue offers a special birthday treat (rumor has it that it's a free meal) for signing up to be a PIG club member.  Check it out if you have one nearby!

Outback Steakhouse will give you a free dessert (I think a piece of cake) and embarrass you with a song, but you don't have to sign up for anything to get it--just go in and tell them it's your birthday!

Red Lobster will also honor your special day with cake and a tune.  Just mention it's your day.

Click here for a list of other places that might offer birthday treats.

Granted, not every restaurant will have these birthday surprises, so you should always check first before going.  Well worth it!  There are many more than this short list, it just depends on what restaurants you have nearby.  You won't go hungry around your birthday if you just do a little checking around.  Others celebrating with you will sometimes get to enjoy the benefits of your special day, too!

Celebrating birthdays is something that tends to lose appeal as we get older.  Maybe we look at aging the wrong way--we could be celebrating the fact that God Himself created us, and allowed each of us to be born on this day to serve His purpose.  Psalm 139:13-14 reminds us of God's hand in our earliest existence: "13For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother's womb.  14I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well." Perhaps instead of grumbling about getting older, and complaining about the new parts of our bodies that don't seem to work the way they used to, we should give thanks to the Lord for creating us and loving us every day of every year!

Tuesday, October 26

Frugality

Labor Saving/Money Saving
Now that I have to balance housework and a job, I've been looking into using items that will make housework faster, because I hate the idea of coming home from work only to do more work.  I also hate having to spend the weekend doing housework.  So I check regularly for coupons online that will allow me to pick up cleaning supplies and aids to help me out and leave some money in my pocket, too.  One such website is the Swiffer website, and by giving your address you will receive a coupon book in the mail for several Swiffer products.  I purchased a Swiffer sweepervac at Meijer a while ago for a grand total of around $8 (it was on sale, then I had about $15 in coupons for the vac), and I love it!  It runs on a rechargeable battery, and works great on hard surfaces (I have wood laminate flooring in our kitchen and linoleum in our bathroom).  I am also considering the Swiffer mop to replace the old Clorox mop that I purchased back in college and can no longer find refills for.  Another website that will occasionally offer coupon books is SC Johnson.  At the moment, the are not offering coupons, but they do have other tips for money savings.  While at Meijer one day, they had a display with SC Johnson coupon books, and I grabbed three!  Sometimes the opportunities are there when you least expect it.  Another website to check out is the Glade website--they are offering a contest to design a candle, and if your design is chosen, you can win cash prizes.  As in, up to $10,000.  So it's certainly worth checking out, and if you have time, design a candle!  Lysol, if you are a germophobe like me, is a great website to sign up for access to their product coupons.  You will have to create an account, and then you will be able to download and print out coupons for Lysol products (you will need to install a Coupon Printer program, like any online coupons).  Lots of great offers.  Proctor & Gamble often has a coupon insert in weekend newspapers, which is another good source for finding savings.  If you are looking for grocery coupons, check out these sites: RedPlum, SmartSource, CouponMom, Kroger (if you have one), and Coupons.com, among others.  They all have printable coupons that you can download.  (FYI: I have an e-mail account set up just for signing up for these websites.  I don't like getting spam, and don't want to use my regular account, so I set up a special e-mail just for this.)  Hope this helps!

Saving money is not just good sense, practiced through the ages; it is, like so many topics, talked about in the Bible.  The money we have is not really our own, but instead is a blessing from the Lord.  As such, we must treat it as something that God trusts us with to use for His purpose.  Yes, we have to use it to pay bills, provide clothing and food for ourselves, etc., but we are to use what's left responsibly.  Proverbs 21:20 says, "In the house of the wise are stores of choice food and oil, but a foolish man devours all he has".

Tuesday, October 19

It's the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown!...?

Pumpkin Patchin'
Well, this past weekend hubby and I made our yearly trip to the pumpkin farm to get the final touch for fall decorating: pumpkins!  Every year since we've been here we've tried a different pumpkin farm.  This year, we tried Lehner's Farm in Radnor, Ohio.  It was a beautiful day for a drive, and it took about an hour to get there.  It was a neat place!  When we arrived, there weren't many people there yet, but by the time we left, it was much busier.  They offer several activities, including a corn maze, pumpkin slingshot (you hurl mini pumpkins into a field with a twenty-foot-tall slingshot--very cool!), free hayrides and a pick-your-own pumpkin patch.  Well, I grabbed a wagon and went to town!  I browsed the small gift shop and the pumpkins that were available for purchase in the yard, already harvested, and then we were off to the pumpkin patch!  For as late in the year as it is, there was still plenty to choose from.  We bought two large pumpkins for carving, three pie pumpkins, five small pumpkins for setting out around the house, and a large bunch of Indian corn, all for $15!  It was a great deal, well worth the drive.  I will try to post photos of our carved pumpkins in the near future.  And of course, I will be saving all of the pumpkin seeds to bake, as I have done for several years now.  Hubby enjoys the treat.  Unfortunately, he didn't get any last year, because my batch baked for a little too long in the oven :( .  This year, I vow to watch a little more closely!

Updates With Our Jobs
My husband and I have now been at our new jobs for two weeks.  We both enjoy our new positions.  Hubby is under a lot less stress, and even gets to do a little traveling from time to time!  With his last position, he wasn't allowed to go anywhere during his twelve hour shift, including getting to take a lunch break or even going to the bathroom, so he greatly enjoys his new freedom.  He has also received his first assignment, and I'm sure he will do a great jobI'm getting much more comfortable in my new job.  This is the first week that I am on my own.  I think I'm beginning to get into a routine, and that is helpful.  I enjoy making bulletin inserts and Powerpoint slides for the services.  It's fun, and I get to be somewhat creative.  In the near future I will also learn how to enter and change things on the church website, which should be interesting.  I've been interested in learning about creating websites (but not as in-depth as writing codes--ugh), so this will be a good learning experience.  Praise God for the blessings He has given us!

Congrats Are In Order
Well, a few new things to announce: my brother-in-law has landed a new job, and my sister-in-law just had her fourth child, a girl.  Congratulations to both!

Things seem to be going well right now.  But even when things are not going well in our lives, we still have to give thanks for all that we have been given, because God can use even the worst situations for His glory.  So, "Give thanks to the Lord, for He is good, His love endures forever"!--Psalm 136:1


 

Tuesday, October 12

Faith, hope and charity

With the start of new jobs, my husband and I decided to clean out our closets and get rid of some "older" clothes before stocking our closet racks and stuffing our dresser drawers full of new garmentry.  We pulled out clothes that we didn't wear anymore, clothes that no longer fit, and clothes that we just never liked when we first bought them (what were we thinking?? purchases).  I even included some pairs of shoes that are in great shape, but that I rarely wore because after any length of time in them, my feet would start to get mad at me (nothing wrong with the shoes, but I have strange-shaped feet!).  So after filling a very large Kohl's shopping bag, the kind they reserve for when you purchase mega-items, I began to look into places that will take used clothing donations.  Now, I occasionally go through closets and pull out clothes, maybe once a year or less, and have given them to Goodwill in the past.  However, I have read stories and comments online that indicate that the reputation of workers at Goodwills are less than trustworthy when it comes to donations (i.e., keeping the nice donations for themselves in the storeroom).  Whether this is true or not, I don't know, but I would like to know that our gently-used items go to people who really need them.  This prompted me to look into various charitable organizations, and this is what I found out: there are few places that want to take these items and see that they get to the people who need them!

Salvation Army--Being a Christian organization, this non-profit organization has stores that sell donated clothing, housewares, and furniture.  The profits from these stores go toward funding the Salvation Army Rehabilitation centers and adult job training programs.  The Salvation Army holds to more conservative, Biblically-based stances on issues such as abortion and homosexuality.  What I don't like, though, is that my donations are resold, and not given to those in need.  I do like that they use the money for helping the community, though.

Goodwill--Also considered a non-profit organization, Goodwill operates stores that sell donated items as well.  They also use their store profits to train adults, some with disabilities or addictions, for jobs in the working world.  They do not seem to have a moral stance on the issues of today, but they do not claim to be affiliated with any sort of religious organization, so they would not be required to have moral standards.  Again, they resell the donations, instead of distributing them to families in need, but the money goes to a respectable cause.

PlanetAid--This one seems questionable.  We have several of these large yellow drop boxes around town, and I've always wondered about it.  In doing some Internet research (just do a Google search for "planet aid" and you'll see what I mean), there are about as many good stories as there are bad about this supposedly non-profit organization.  They do claim to donate profits from the donations received to various charities in places around the world, such as South Africa.  They also claim to aid in emergency and disaster relief, research, and natural habitat protection around the world.  However, several of the articles I have come across claim that the funds are sent to nonexistent charities and then used by the high-ups in the organization to purchase luxury items, such as houses.  I don't know if these claims are true, but I think I will personally steer clear of this one.  Do the research and make your own decision, though.

Red Cross--The American Red Cross is the famous organization founded by Clara Barton back in 1881.  They are famous for blood drives, of course.  They are known mainly as an emergency response organization, which is why I was so surprised to find out that they do not accept clothing donations at all.  I thought if anything, they would take clothing donations for families who lose their homes and belongings to fires and natural disasters, and this was the first place I looked.  They do, of course, take money, so I suppose that if you can find buyers for your items, you could donate that money if you want.  However, that's pretty much a rummage sale, and if I'm going to be doing the work, then I would probably be inclined to keep the profits!  I do think that they do great charitable work, but I'm a bit dismayed to find out that isn't exactly what I had thought it was.

Local missions and churches--Many of these places take clothing donations, but always call before packing your car with your giveaway goodies.  Some places may not need what you have, or they may have a special location for donating these items.  We tried to give away our couch several years ago.  There was nothing wrong with it, it was in fine condition (no kids or pets), and still we had a hard time finding any charity, church, or mission that would accept it.  They just simply had no need for it at the time.  To be honest, these places would be the first I would check with when it comes to wanting to give clothes directly to those in need.  Many people appeal to churches first when it comes to acquiring necessary items for living. 

If you have household items that can double as items for use by pets/stray animals, such as towels, blankets, or socks that could maybe double as scratching pads or chew toys, consider making donations to your local animal shelter, animal rescue or pound. 

With cold weather right around the corner, it's important to have warm clothing.  While I do not like the idea of giving to people who refuse to work and instead rely on welfare and the government every month, I am compelled, as a Christian, to care for those who have less than me.  That means that I am happy to give whatever I can to those who genuinely need what I have extra of in my closet or pantry.

Many people feel compelled to donate to charities, whether they are Christians or not.  I have to believe that most people have not completely lost compassion for their fellow man, although it is a fading feeling amongst us.  Christians, though, must not give in to the hardening of hearts that is going on all around them!  It is essential to take care of those around us because of our faith.  James 2:14-17 says this: "14What good is it, my brothers, if a man claims to have faith but has no deeds?  Can such faith save him?  15Suppose a brother or sister is without clothes and daily food.  16If one of you says to him, "Go, I wish you well; keep warm and well fed," but does nothing about his physical needs, what good is it?  17In the same way, faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead."  You never know when you might need to be on the receiving end!

Friday, October 8

New Beginnings

Our New Jobs
Well, it's been a long week.  Fortunately for me, I am done for the week, but hubby has one more day.  I want to say thanks again to everyone who kept us in your prayers--it was much appreciated, and certainly felt.  We are both doing well with our new jobs, which is a blessing.  Hubby has truly been enjoying his new position, perhaps partly because there has only been one or two other workers in the office with him for the week, but probably more because those people have been great to work for and with, according to him.  I'm really happy for him!  I have had quite a week, trying to learn my new job.  I will have someone there to train with me one more week, which is good--there is so much to have to remember to do on a regular basis!  But I do think that once I get the hang of things, it will be an enjoyable job.  The people are nice, and I'm working in a God-centered environment, so really, what more is there to ask for? 

Yay October!
I am truly glad that September is officially in the record books.  With the exception of our awesome trip to Gettysburg, I think I could have just done without it!  It would have been just fine.  I suppose life is like this all of the time--when it rains, it pours, so to speak, and it can apply to good or bad situations in life.  At least, that's how it's been for us!  But for everything that happens, there is a reason, even when we don't see it for ourselves, or at the time it happens.  Life is going to be full of Septembers, but what matters is how we handle them, together as a family!

One thing I do love about October is the fall-ish feel the air now has.  The chill even when the sun is shining , the smell of the leaves in the air, and the pure beauty of the world around me as the fields turn to a golden sea, waiting for harvest, and the spectrum of colors in the patches of trees along the roads and in the fields.  When skies are clear, they are the most brilliant blue, and when there are clouds, they are like puffy cotton balls, floating through the air, waiting for the sun to set so that they can reflect the final warm reds, oranges and purples of the evening before the sun disappears and brings forth another chilly night.  When the skies are gray and rainy, the thing I want to do most in the world is curl up with a steamy mug of cocoa and my best bud.  To me, this is the perfect time of year, as I wait for the first snowflakes to start falling, before I have to break out the heavy coats, gloves, and scarves, and before the hustle and bustle of the holiday season befalls us all.  I hope everyone is enjoying the beautiful fall weather.  To me, it is so important to stop and appreciate what is around me, and thank the Lord that I have the privilege to be amazed by His creations, because in the grand scheme of life, we are only here fleetingly.  Enjoy what is still good in the world, because what is still good becomes less and less as time goes by.

There are many times when I find myself wondering why things happen, but when all is said and done, it really doesn't matter why, does it?  I think that it's more important to handle whatever situation I find myself in with the grace and compassion that the Lord expects of me.  When and if I do so, I become stronger in my faith!  1 Peter 1:7-9 is a great passage for this: "7These (trials) have come so that your faith--of greater worth than gold, which perishes even though refined by fire--may be proved genuine and may result in praise, glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed.  8Though you have not seen him, you love him; and even though you do not see him now, you believe in him and are filled with an inexpressible  and glorious joy, 9for you are receiving the goal of your faith, the salvation of your souls." 

Sunday, October 3

Gettysburg!

We are back from our trip to Gettysburg!  It was wonderful.  We were there for three full days, and it took a day to get there and a day to get back.  Hubby has been there several times before, but I had never been there.  He took me around to all sorts of great places!  P. S. Click on any of the photos to see a larger image.

Day 1--Sunday
We started out around 7:30 in the morning, after a stop at Tim Horton's for a quick breakfast.  I love donuts.  Anyway, the drive was uneventful, with sunny skies and warm temps.  Even traffic wasn't too terrible.  The scenery improved dramatically as we neared Pennsylvania; I truly loved driving through the mountains!  I have decided that this area of Ohio is too flat for my taste.  I would like to buy a mountain and move it back here with me.  We took the toll roads in PA, and this was the bad part--we spent a total of $16.40 to drive on a toll road that was a construction zone for 75% of our journey.  We didn't care much for that.  However, after leaving the toll road, we drove through the mountains for an hour to get to Gettysburg, and it was a fun and beautiful drive.  I could easily pack up and move there.  Another thing that I loved about the drive was getting to see so many old farms.  As in, late 1700s to early 1800s homes.  I LOVE historic homes and farms, and there was no shortage!  I would love to live in one.  After driving through mountains and passing the old homes, we finally arrived in town around 3 p.m.  Our lodging was located right on the main street, but outside of the downtown district, which was good.  We checked in, met the innkeepers, and took our belongings up to our third floor room.  We were pretty tired, especially hubby, since he had driven to Indiana Friday to help his father tear out their kitchen cabinets in preparation for the new ones that were going to be installed, so we just rested for a while.  We decided to walk to a nearby Italian restaurant for pizza, and it wasn't that great, but that's what happens when you drive all day and still have to find something to eat when you get to where you're going!  It wasn't terrible, but we have had better pizza.  Oh well!

Day 2--Monday
We knew that rain was forecasted for Monday, so we thought we would get shopping out of the way and save the battlefield for Tuesday.  We drove out in the rain to an area with several shops that we wanted to visit, only to find that they hadn't opened yet for business, so we headed out to the Boyd's Bear factory just outside of town...it was AWESOME!!  The store has four floors total, with two full floors dedicated to Boyd's items, one floor with candles and Longaberger baskets, and the basement with three dining areas.  There was also a clearance barn accessible from the basement level.  There was every bear that you could imagine!  They had some cute Civil War-themed bears as well, but they were pricey, so none of them came home with us.  But I took pictures!  We spent about two hours there, and the majority of the time we had the store almost completely to ourselves, which was great...it was easy to look when you don't have to fight the crowds.  And yes, I did buy some bears!

After leaving the Boyd's Bears store, we headed back into town to find our shops open, finally.  It was still raining.  We went into several, then decided to get some lunch at a place called The Avenue.  We were seated at a booth that had a framed note and five dollar bill from Liam Neeson, who had apparently visited the restaurant back in 2005.  That was kind of neat!  The food was good, and they had Pibb on tap, which made hubby very happy.  After lunch, we spent the afternoon perusing the various stores and antique shops in town, and just enjoying the buildings and time together.  (By the way, two very neat antique stores are located in Gettysburg: The Union Drummer Boy and The Horse Soldier.  If you have time, check out their respective websites: http://www.uniondb.com/ and http://www.horsesoldier.com/)  We took a tour of the Shriver House as well (http://www.shriverhouse.org/Virtual_Tour.html), one of a few Confederate sharpshooter hideouts, and this was quite enjoyable.  By the later afternoon, the rain had stopped and things had begun to dry out.  We ate dinner at The Dobbin House, the oldest building in Gettysburg dating back to 1776.  The upper restaurant was pretty expensive, so we ate in the basement tavern, which is also original to the 1776 building.  It was so neat!  It was built entirely with large field stones, and had three fireplaces (none of which were in use when we were there), and was lit almost entirely by candlelight.  We had the chicken on a spit, with a garden salad, roll, and baked potato.  It's one of the dinners they are known for there...it was so good...I would love it if we could eat that everyday!

Day 3--Tuesday
Pickett's Charge Cyclorama, painting section
We took this day to explore the battlefield and new Visitor's Center.  We started in the Visitor's Center, which was built in 2008, and had purchased admission to the movie, cyclorama, and museum.  It was quite spectacular, but like most other Civil War-themed attractions, it revolved around only the slavery aspect of the war.  The movie was first, then we were moved to the cyclorama.  This was in a large round room.  There was a painting called "Pickett's Charge" that covered the entire length and height of the walls in the room, some forty feet high and almost four hundred feet in circumference, hence the term "cyclorama".  It was painted by a French artist in the 1880s and was on display in many places before coming to its permanent home in Gettysburg, where it belongs.  This part of the display consists of lights illuminating parts of the painting corresponding to the narration that is played simultaneously, so it becomes sort of like a light show in a way.  I think that was my favorite part of the whole museum.  The movie and cyclorama show took about 45 minutes, and we spent another couple of hours touring the museum.  After departing the museum, we decided to get some lunch and then head out to the battlefield!  Our innkeepers were gracious enough to lend us a CD copy of a narrated battlefield tour, and we listened to it as we went to each important battlefield point around the city.  There was a lot of information, and quite a few interesting facts.  We stopped several times while on the driving tour to get out and walk around, and hubby and I climbed a small observation tower together, then later I climbed a ten-story observation tower on my own (great view, but my legs hated me after that!), and we spent a lot of time at Little Round Top and Devil's Den, my husband's favorite places on the battlefields.  It was quite beautiful there, and the view was amazing!  My husband has been to Gettysburg several times, so he knew all of the places to go, and was so kind as to do all of the driving so that I would be able to see everything!  He's so sweet.  Another reason that I love him.  We spent quite a while there, and even returned Wednesday (more about that later).  We climbed a Pennsylvania monument, and eventually made it all through the battlefield, and it took us about five or six hours (because of all of the stops we made).  Thankfully, it turned out to be a beautiful day--the best day of our vacation, actually!  We decided eventually to eat at a restaurant called Old Eagle Grill, which I do not recommend.  It was extremely overpriced, and the food wasn't very good...I had salmon, which came covered in a tart, bitter mustardy-flavored sauce, and my husband's steak, which was supposed to be medium, was served to him very well-done.  And it was quite late by the time we went to dinner, so we didn't feel like sending it back, so we chalked it up to a bad experience and moved on.  We were exhausted!

Day 4--Wednesday
Wednesday morning, we took a trip out to a store about 20 minutes east of town called The Mannings (http://www.the-mannings.com/), which is a store for anyone who knows the arts of spinning, weaving, knitting, crocheting, or any other yarn or thread-related crafts.  While far out in the middle of nowhere, the drive was beautiful, with many old brick farmhouses, rolling hills in the distance, and a beautiful meandering stream, which the road followed.  We walked around the store for a while, looking at the looms, spinning wheels, and every imaginable type and color of yarn.  It was quite impressive!  I didn't buy anything, but it was still neat to see.  After that, we headed back to Gettysburg to meet up there with a college friend who was driving up from the Baltimore area to spend the day with us.  She arrived around 11 or so, and our first stop was lunch at the Dobbin House Tavern!  We dined on sandwiches by candlelight, and she fell in love with the basement area--I think it would have been just fine with her to stay down there all day!  But we took her around to some shops, then we took her out to the Little Round Top and Devil's Den area of the battlefield, and she enjoyed that.  She had never been to Gettysburg before, and so we wanted her to see at least a little of the reason that Gettysburg was so famous, and a turning point in the war.  We went up into a New York state castle-style monument, where I was violated by some kind of army bug or stink bug that flew down the back of my shirt and then fell down my pants, and came out of one of my pants legs!  I felt creepy-crawly for the rest of the day!  It was gross and I did not like it!  But the bugs were everywhere, apparently a new infestation all along the East Coast region, and while harmless, they were still big and yucky.  I survived, though.  We spent quite a bit of time showing our friend the area, and then it started raining around 5 that night.  We returned for dessert to the Dobbin House Tavern, and then sent our friend on her way home.  Later that night, we decided that we wanted something for dinner, but didn't want to go out anymore, so we ordered a pizza and had it delivered to the inn.  It was a great, and relaxing, way to end our vacation in Gettysburg.

Day 5--Thursday
Thursday morning, we rose and ate breakfast early so that we could get started on our long drive home.  We decided to take an alternate route back, to avoid the construction and cost of the toll roads, and the GPS unit said it would take only about half an hour or so longer to go that route.  That may be so, when one is not fighting the driving, pouring rains of a tropical storm!  Yes, Tropical Storm Nicole had timed her arrival for the same day as our departure.  Oh well.  My husband decided to start out the first part of our drive back, and the poor guy battled the downpours and hydroplaning through the mountains for a good three or four hours.  It was a tense drive.  He finally needed a break, and we stopped at a McDonald's not too far from the Ohio border, to use bathrooms, take a break, and get something to eat.  When we got back on the road, I took over the driving, and as luck would have it, it turned out that here we had found the edge of the storm.  I drove for about five minutes before the rains quit, and the rest of the drive was dry!  Good times!  It still took us quite a bit of time to get home, and we needed a break around 7 that night, so we stopped in Mansfield and walked around Target to stretch our legs, then get dinner and get back on the road.  We got home finally about 9 that night, after waaay too many hours on the road.  I loved our trip, and I loved spending that time with my husband, but the only thing I really didn't like was the long drive there and back. But even with the long drive, it was still great to see the beauty of the mountains, and the scenery was worth the time it took to get there.  I do hope to go again!

The Keystone Inn
We have always had great luck with bed and breakfast establishments, and this one was no different.  We stayed at the Keystone Inn Bed and Breakfast (http://www.keystoneinnbb.com/), which was on one of the main roads through Gettysburg, but just far enough from the center of town to be peaceful and out of the way.  It is a beautiful Victorian home, built in 1913, and it was comfortable and homey, with beautiful original woodwork, tall ceilings, and fall decorations.  The innkeepers, Mike and Marj Day, were very kind and hospitable, and were more than happy to answer our questions and offer their opinions about what attractions were worth seeing while we were there.  Every morning, at 8 a.m. and again at 9 a.m., they served a wonderful three course breakfast, starting with a fresh-baked muffin or breakfast cake, then a bowl of fresh fruit, then the main course that ranged from a delicious ham, egg and cheese casserole to blueberry pancakes with bacon to french toast with sausage, and a selection of juices as well.  It was the best breakfast that I've ever had at a B&B!  Everything was made fresh each day by Mike.  The Days would also come out and chat with whoever was eating, which was nice too.  We were staying there with several other couples, and they all seemed nice and seemed like they truly enjoyed their stay there.  If anyone is planning to head out that way, I highly recommend staying here.  I believe it to be, by far, one of your best lodging options in the area!

So, this was our vacation.  Now we have to head back to our work, and our normal lives, and that's always a little sad.  But this was probably one of the most enjoyable vacations that I've ever experienced, and I'm so glad to have had the opportunity to have such a great time with the man I love!

The friendliness and hospitality we encountered on our vacation was wonderful, and this was a large part of the reason that we were able to relax and just enjoy our time there together.  My husband quoted a verse while we were there, and it seems appropriate for ending our vacation story: "Do not neglect to show hospitality to strangers, for by this some have entertained angels without knowing it."--Hebrews 13:2




Saturday, September 25

It's Alive!

History Comes Alive!
Well, I've just completed a veeeery long week.  I participated in the Parks department's annual program, History Comes Alive.  We host several fourth grade classes from various area elementary schools, and have six hands-on learning stations for them each day.  The university here in town participates as well, by sending teaching students to help us man our stations and do some of the teaching along with us.  I don't think I've been this tired in a really long time!  It is exhausting to have to teach 6 sessions every day--and the classes were only a half hour long!  My station consisted of teaching the kids how wool would be turned into clothing, as well as how dyeing was done, and what kids their age would wear in the 1840s.  I am now entirely confident that I did not miss my calling as a teacher!!  I do enjoy sharing my knowledge of cultural history with others.  However, there is a huge difference between the attention span of children and the attention span of adults/families that visit the house for our programs.  Parents usually, well, parent their children.  I was surprised, and rather disappointed, at the lack of discipline and control that the teachers and chaperones showed during the class time.  There were some good teachers/chaperones who did pay attention to their class's behavior, but most teachers apparently thought that we were entirely in charge of their classes and they had a day off.  I even had a teacher who talked on her cell phone just outside of the barn building where we were having our class.  As if I needed any more reasons for supporting home schooling!

Finally, Some Good News!
Well, it's official...my hubby has a new position at work!  He found out this week.  He will finally have a normal hours, five day a week job!  Home at night and on the weekends, and it works out great now since I'll be starting my new job as well.  We both begin on Oct. 4.  It'll be wonderful to see him again!  And thank you to everyone who has kept him in your prayers.  It has been a trying month, to put it lightly, and we have both appreciated the prayers.  They have made a difference!

This Bud's For You
We had a unique opportunity to see something that you don't get to see everyday: the Budweiser Clydesdales!  They were at the local Oktoberfest here in town, which we had to chuckle at: it was at the local senior center, and it was just a large beer tent with the Clydesdales as the other main attraction.  I've never been to an Oktoberfest, so is there usually more to them than just a beer tent?  Anyway, the team was so impressive to see, and beautiful, too--they are huge but gentle.  A gentle giant, you might say.  They were all harnessed together, in their show attire, and impeccably groomed, as were the drivers and the dalmatian that sat with the drivers.  I was so glad that hubby and I were able to see them before they left town.  Check out the photos and video clip at the end of the entry!

There is always a reason for the trials in our lives.  God allows us to endure tests--some small, some large--to strengthen our faith in Him.  James 1:2-3 &12 says it best: "2Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, 3because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance...12Blessed is the man who perseveres under trial, because when he has stood the test, he will receive the crown of life that God has promised to those who love Him."




 

video

Thursday, September 16

What Is Love?

I have the urge to write about love, partially due to the movie Becoming Jane, but also because I feel so incredibly blessed every day to truly love another person and to know what that love feels like in return.  I cannot imagine my life without my husband, and I hope he knows it each and every day.  Love cannot be defined by any one word or phrase; even the Bible has many words that only attempt to describe it.  I believe it is, ultimately, undefinable by anyone but the lover, because it is different for each person.  But to me, it is an emotion as well as a commandment, and it is not the same thing as being in love.  To me, love is what I feel my entire life toward my spouse (or, at least, I should!), but being in love is more akin to the beginning infatuation with another person.  For me, love is being unable to imagine what my life would be like if my husband were no longer in it, and the thought of such a notion brings me to tears.  Love is knowing that his happiness is more important than my own, because we share joy and we share grief--when one is affected, the other is touched as well.  Love cannot be forced, although many have tried to do so over the years: royalty married for power, poor women were married to wealthy men for status and security of her family, wealthy men arranged the marriages of their daughters, and so on.  In some cultures, it still happens today.  Can you imagine what that would be like?  It's a horrible thought!  I'm so grateful to have been able to choose freely the one man who understands my personality, sense of humor, and mood swings!  There is nothing better.  No amount of money in the world can buy what God has created between me and my husband, and no amount of money will make our relationship stronger or better...that can only be done by hard work, as well as complete and total devotion to the other person.  Thankfully, we both have a relationship with Christ, and while that doesn't assure an easy, stress-free or "discussion"-free marriage, it does allow us to work through things upon which we may disagree.  I am blessed with the kind of relationship with a man that I always secretly hoped for but never dared ask God for, and I don't know why I was given such a great gift, but I know better than to ever take it for granted.  When I imagine what my life would be like to have never married, or to have settled for someone else, it makes me so sad...oh, all that I would have missed!  And, heaven forbid that it should all end tomorrow, I like to think that I would live with the comfort of the love that I had for a short time, content that I had experienced the kind of relationship that so many others can only dream about, being married to the best friend that I would ever know.  There is no other relationship that can be substituted for that!  Thank you, my husband, for the privilege and honor of being your beloved and devoted wife.

Wednesday, September 15

What A Weekend!

New job!
I was hired!  I won't start for a few weeks, but I'll be a part-time secretary for a Methodist church about 20 minutes away.  The people there seem really nice, and I'm looking forward to working again.  Not that I haven't enjoyed my time as a housewife, but housewifery doesn't pay well at all :)  There are three other part-time employees there, and besides assisting them, I will be doing basic secretarial tasks, like church bulletins, announcements, answering phones, filing, etc.  I am looking forward to earning a paycheck again!


Hubby's Interview
Well, now that I have a new job, I think my husband needs one too!  He had his interview on Friday.  He thinks that it went well, even though he had no sleep beforehand (he had just finished working midnights that morning, and had the interview at 3 in the afternoon).  We should hear one way or the other if they offer him the job in two or three weeks.  Please keep praying that it might be God's will for him to get this job!

This weekend has been a bit, well, trying.  There was a little of everything!  I know that everything happens for a reason, and that if looked at through the correct perspective, can be used to give glory to God--even when we don't see the beauty in it!  Romans 8:28 states: "And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to His purpose."  If that doesn't make me feel better about the good and bad events in life, then I don't know what will!

Friday, September 10

Sunny September

Finally, Cooler Weather!
It's so nice to finally enjoy some cooler weather.  It's been beautiful outside lately!  I keep hoping that one of these nights we will be able to enjoy a fire in our outdoor firepit.  It's one of those little things that I really like to do with my hubby--we sit outside as the sun sets and the fire blazes, playing cards or a board game, or whatever we want to do, and when it gets too dark, I bring out my oil lamp and we use it to continue our games.  I just love spending time like that with my hubby.  No television, no distractions, just a quiet night together by the fire!

Our TV Drama
Speaking of television, we finally have ours back!  It was a long and frustrating six weeks (that was supposed to only be two).  We purchased a warranty back when we bought the TV at Best Buy while still in Kentucky.  Lately we had noticed a problem with black/dark spots on the screen, which my hubby looked up online and found to be a defective panel.  The television being four years old, and a rare LG model, we doubted that it could be repaired or replaced, but we were told by Premier Electronics here in Ohio that they had ordered a new panel for the TV.  We were right, and the panel was unavailable, but Premier lied and told us otherwise.  It was the first of many problems we had with them, and so now we are spreading the word that they have horrible customer service there.  If Best Buy wants to use them for a repair, don't let them!  They service Ohio, Indiana, and Pennsylvania.  You've been warned!  The good news is that, because they weren't able to fix the problem, we got a brand-new television, which is actually bigger and better than the one we had.  But it still would have been better if we had not worked with incompetent repair people to begin with!

History Comes Alive
I have the opportunity this year to help the annual History Comes Alive program at the McKinnis house.  It is a week of 4th grade students from all around the area coming to the house to do hands-on learning activities about pioneer life.  I'm manning the clothing station, where we are teaching kids how to card wool, spin it into thread, and turn it into fabric that eventually becomes clothing.  I'm a little nervous about dealing with kids every day for an entire week, but I'm honored that they would consider me for help with the program.  We can't volunteer for it, we can only be asked to help.  It's coming up fast, so I'll fill you in on the details in a few weeks.  PLEASE PRAY FOR ME!!!

Fall Decorations
With the change in weather and holidays peeking out from around the corner, I'm looking forward to decorating for the fall and winter.  I love decorating and changing things around the house.  It kind of refreshes the look.  It's something I look forward to every year!  I think I get it from my mom, who also loves to decorate for the seasons/holidays.  Her house always looks so nice and festive.  Maybe part of the reason I love it so much is because it reminds me of when I was younger.

My Sister's Dog
I have to share with you a picture of my sister's new dog, Ninja!  She is so cute.  She is a Corgi, and apparently very well-behaved.  My sister and bro-in-law adopted her from a shelter in Mt. Pleasant, Michigan, and they can't praise adopting shelter animals enough now!  I'm happy that they got such a good pet.  I am looking forward to meeting my doggy "niece" hopefully sometime soon!

Reminder: Husband's Interview
Tomorrow is my hubby's interview.  Please be praying that God wants him in that new position!  I have also had two interviews now with an area church for the position of part-time secretary.  They are going to decide who will get a third and final interview over the weekend.

There are so many things in our lives right now that seem up in the air.  I know that God has a purpose and a reason for each one of us to be where we are right now and to be going through the things we are dealing with right now.  No matter how disappointing or difficult the events are in our lives, I always need to remember to praise God for what we are going through.  Nothing is impossible to deal with when we have a relationship with Christ.  I try to remember that praising God in the midst of our troubles, while sometimes very difficult to do, is essential, and I find comfort in the following passages, Philippians 4:6-7: "6Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.  7And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus."

Friday, September 3

It's Friday!

Happy Labor Day Weekend!
Well, it's the end of another week.  It seems like time just flies by anymore.  Where has the year gone?  I suppose it only goes faster with age.  I guess Fridays don't mean that much to me, especially when hubby works that weekend.  This holiday weekend marks the unofficial end of another summer...and I'm okay with that!  I'm really ready for cooler weather, sweatshirts, jeans, bonfires, and so on.  It will be a perfect weekend for anyone that has outdoor plans this holiday weekend, and if anyone is grilling, eat some for me and my husband!  Maybe we'll be able to grill on Monday.  Mmmm, steak on the grill!

 A Thank You To Men
My husband is working this weekend.  I always know to expect nice weather when he is working...it seems like that's the way it has gone this whole year.  Or, this past winter, he had to go in right after every snowstorm we had, but before the roads were plowed, of course.  Whenever he's had his days off, or vacation time, the weather has not cooperated.  I feel so bad for him.  He does it to provide for us, and we're both certainly grateful for a stable income, but I know that there are nights when he would much rather stay home, and tonight was one of them!  I want him to know, and I want all providing men to know, that your wife appreciates it more than you can know.  Having that dedication to do something that you don't always enjoy is, in my opinion, something that only God can give you.  It's a testament to your faith in the Lord, if you are a believer.  Even if you are not a believer, it's still true that God has given you the ability to go out and provide for your family, and they might not say it or even realize it, but they do appreciate it.  Thank you to all of the men willing to go out and provide for their family every day!

Last Garden Update For The Summer
Well, the garden has come to an end for the year.  It is, after all, September now (despite what the heat says)!  I will be pulling up the remaining plants this weekend and taking advantage of the beautiful weather that is forecasted.  I think I may leave my tomato plants until the frost gets them, but the beans, peppers, herbs, and border flowers will all be gone, and I will have to start prepping the beds for next spring.  I'm already looking forward to it!

Reminders
Don't forget to check out my Recipes,  Regional Events and Things For Sale pages.  Feel free to forward my blog address if you know someone who might be interested!


We've all had to do things in our lives that we have not really liked or wanted to do.  When times like those come along, my husband always reminds me of I Corinthians 10:31-33:"31So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God.  32Do not cause anyone to stumble, whether Jews, Greeks or the church of God-33even as I try to please everybody in every way.  For I am not seeking my own good but the good of many, so that they may be saved."  Whatever we do, we should do it to honor and glorify God!

Monday, August 30

What's New, Pussycat?

Where Did August Go?
Well, time sure flies.  It's hard to believe that a new week is starting again!  It's been a busy week, although it's been the kind of busy that your mind does not remember.  I know I've been busy, but I can't say what I've been doing because I simply don't remember!  Ugh, if my mind is already this bad, what will it be like when I'm old?? 

The Winds of Change
Hubby and I are discussing making some changes.  We have grown tired of living in a neighborhood, and all of the noise associated with it.  If the City is not making some sort of unnecessary repair to our road (and the repair location is always right in front of our house), then our neighbors are jackhammering their concrete porch to pieces during the day, which means that hubby gets little, if any, sleep before heading into work for the night.  We are considering putting the house up for sale and seeing what we can find out in the quiet of the countryside.  Although it's an exciting move, and a move that I hope will be our last, it's also something new that I have to try and adjust to.  I am finding that the older I get, the less I like changes.  I guess it's because at my old age, I'm getting set in my ways!

Upcoming Events
We have a busy month coming up.  I will go with my husband on a business trip to Missouri this month, and I have several events out at the house.  We also have a family member's birthday, which I won't be able to attend (sorry, sis, but Happy Birthday!), hubby has an interview for a new position on the 10th (keep him in your prayers), our long-awaited vacation (can't come soon enough), at least one quick trip to Indiana, and then whatever might come up in between.  I have a feeling that the month will fly by before I know it!  But I think that most of it will be enjoyable, so yay!  Hopefully by the end of September, I will have good news regarding the aforementioned events.  Until then, we just have to wait.

Reminder
Don't forget to become a follower and check my new pages!  I am adding recipes and have finished adding events to the Events page.  The recipe page is mostly going to consist of baked goods and desserts, with an occasional main dish.  I love to bake, and I have a lot of great recipes for cakes, cookies, and other treats that I would love to share.  I try to watch what I eat, but life is too short to not enjoy delicious treats from time to time.  I hope you like the recipes too!  I am also going to be adding things to my For Sale page, too.  

I find myself becoming easily attached to silly things.  I am very sentimental when someone gives me a gift of some sort that has a special meaning, and I know that it's partly due to the fact that I am a woman, and women tend to be much more sentimental then men.  I have to remember that my treasures are not found here on the earth, but rather the true treasure will one day be found in Heaven.  Mat. 6:19-21 is a good reminder that possessions are just temporary: "19do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal.  20But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moth and rust do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. 21For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also."

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