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.

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."

Tuesday, August 24

Updates on My Boring Life!

A Favor to Ask
I have a favor to ask of you.  If you like this blog, please become a follower!  The more followers I have, and the more visits the blog gets, the easier it is for search engines to find this site.  To become a follower, just click on the follow button to the right of the entry.  I would really appreciate it!

Costume Update
Hubby's Costume Shirt
Well, I've been working diligently on my sewing projects.  I have almost completed my husband's costume shirt.  I just need to get the collar right.  Too bad I sliced off a chunk of my thumb with the rotary cutter today!  It means I'll be taking a short break from sewing.  Good thing I still have a little time to complete the shirt and vest.  I'm a bit scared to start on the vest part of the costume.  I have also taken on the task of making a corset for a fellow volunteer.  These projects should keep me busy for a while!

 Balloon Fest, Aug. 14th
The only photo to survive :(
We got out and about last weekend when we went to the Balloon Fest here in town.  It's an annual event with hot air balloonists coming from all over to compete.  We went Saturday night to see the balloons light up.  It was a nice evening, though a bit humid, and the park was crowded.  But I got my lemon shake-up and enjoyed the time out with my husband.  I took pictures, but my computer ate the digital photos on the card, with exception to the one at the right.  I don't know what happened.  I had planned on putting photos on here.  They are just gone, though, and it made me sad.  :(

Garden Update

Some of my Yukon Golds
Mutated Serrano peppers

My garden is mostly done for the season.  The lettuce is done, the potatoes have been eaten, the onions cured, and the radishes long gone.  I'm still getting tomatoes, and my tiny mutated peppers, and occasionally a banana pepper or two.  I have been getting a good green bean crop, though, and we have those a lot with dinner.  I will miss having fresh green beans in the fall.  Overall I've enjoyed the experience.  It's helped me plan for next year too, because I've learned what grows well here and what doesn't.  I can't wait to try some asparagus next year--I wasn't able to harvest it this first year.  Should be good!  I always think of Jr. Asparagus when I look at my asparagus patch.

 New Additions to the Blog
I have added two new tabs for you to check out!  One is a page that highlights various fall activities in the Ohio, Michigan and Indiana region.  I will try to update this on a regular basis, so check it often!  Fall is my favorite time to get out and do things, with the weather being usually much more accommodating than the hot summertime, so I thought I would share things that I am familiar with in each region, as well as some events that I've never been to, but sounded fun.  Who wouldn't want to go to a Marshmallow Festival??  I am also adding a "things for sale" page.  I don't have the intention to try and pawn my junk off to my friends, but I do have hand-crafted items that I need to try and get rid of.  Right now I don't have anything on there, but I am going to be posting some cards that I made a while back. There is no pressure, but if you are interested in buying something that you see, send me an e-mail and we can work something out.  Or if you know someone who would be interested, send them my way!

This is My Venting Place
I need to vent a little, I guess.  If you don't want to read my opinions, then you might want to skip down to the end of the entry!  I heard a clip on the radio of Oprah saying (and I'm paraphrasing) that there are thousands of ways to get to heaven and that everyone has their own path to get there.  One of the oh-so-many reasons that I cannot stand Oprah.  I also hear people very confidently state that there is no God on a regular basis, usually on liberal-leaning television news shows and talk shows.  People seem to think that saying "there is no God" makes it so.  I don't understand this.  It's not like Tinkerbell, where the more you clap the more fairies there are, or like Santa Claus, where if enough people believe in him it gives the reindeer the ability to fly or something.  God still exists even if someone says they don't believe in Him.  Everyone is still free to have their own beliefs (so far), and are therefore free to believe that there is no God.  It's one of the things that has always made this country greater than any other.  Unfortunately, I also believe that this lack of belief has played a large part in the decline of our society as a whole.  People don't seem to want to be accountable to anybody or anything--in my opinion, it's why there are no manners, and decency has all but disappeared in society today.  Everyone only thinks of themselves.  If they thought they would be held accountable for the way that they treated those around them, they might act differently toward their fellow man.  However, being mean to another person doesn't mean you are destined for Hell.  What condemns many to a hot eternity is lack of faith and relationship with Christ, because "no man comes to the Father except through Me" (John 14:6).  Jesus is clear in the New Testament about this: there is no way to be in the presence of God with the sin that we are all born with.  We must first ask for forgiveness and accept the atonement made through the sacrifice of Christ.  People can be nice, and do "good" things, but those attempts to earn their way into Heaven are pointless without a relationship with Jesus.  Forgiveness cannot be earned; it is freely offered, and up to us to accept the gift.  Praise God for that!  So many people deny that there is a God, and think that they will earn a place in their "heaven" by saving trees, recycling plastic, and doing "good" things, and it makes them feel good.  Those things are all good to do, but they do not make up for our sins!  I guess I'm just tired of how worldly people have become.  Okay!  So there is my rant!

There is only one way to Heaven.  John 14:1-7 states, "1Do not let your hearts be troubled.  Trust in God; trust also in me.  2In my Father's house are many rooms; if it were not so, I would have told you.  I am going there to prepare a place for you.  3And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am.  4You know the way to the place where I am going."  5Thomas said to him, "Lord, we don't know where you are going, so how can we know the way?"  6Jesus answered, "I am the way and the truth and the life.  No one comes to the Father except through me.  7If you really knew me, you would know my Father as well.  From now on, you do know him and have seen him."  Basically, this passage says that a relationship with Jesus is the only way to get to Heaven.  If you don't have a relationship with Him, but would like one, please contact me and I can put you in touch with someone who can help you. 

Monday, August 16

The Joys of Marriage

Oh, the joys of marriage.  We've been married for six years now, and I'm still learning new things about my wonderful companion.  I suppose we never stop learning, really...I mean, the relationship would get really boring if you knew everything about the other person, right?  I'm sure my husband could write a really long entry about the faults and quirks he has discovered in me over the years, but he doesn't have a blog :).  With my hubby's current job position, I have had to get used to being on a different schedule than him for half of the year.  That includes not going to bed at the same time at night.  When he switches from night shifts to day shifts (and vice versa), I have to get used to either being alone at night or having someone next to me at night.  I was made quite aware of hubby's presence in bed when he switched back to days a few weeks ago, after having baked beans two days in a row.  Need I say more??  I seriously considered camping out on the couch!  And yet, we can both laugh about it.  It's funny the things that we inadvertently subject our better halves to, such as the repercussions of two days in a row of baked beans to frigid feet/toes/hands to snoring, having conversations in our sleep, and whatever else you can think of (I'm sure that there is much more that you can add to the list).  I think that it's great to have such a deep and meaningful relationship with another person that you can be so comfortable, and even vulnerable, with another person.  Marriage is great like that, especially when you have found that one person.  Yes, it is a LOT of work, you have to choose to love your spouse each day, hour, and minute, and you don't always agree with your spouse, but isn't it worth it?  I am amazed that we are capable of having such a devoted and intimate relationship, but God has always meant for marriage to be that kind of relationship--different and greater than any other relationship that you have in your life.  He created us to be with another person, to want companionship, and marriage is the greatest relationship we can have with a fellow human being.  I love it!  That's how we can put up with flatulence that wakes us out of a dead slumber.  That's how we can tolerate the cold feet.  That's how we can laugh about the conversation we had with our spouse, who doesn't remember any of it, from the night before.  It's an incredible blessing from the Lord, not to be taken lightly or entered into without a lot of thought.  And, hopefully my husband would agree, entirely worth it!

The Bible is full of passages referring to marriage, and what should be expected in a marriage relationship, but I find that I am always drawn to I Corinthians 13 4-7 to find what is expected of me, and what I should also expect:  "4.Love is patient, love is kind.  It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud.  5.It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs.  6.Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth.  7.It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres."  The passage does not just apply to a marriage relationship, though.  It applies to all relationships we have.  If you want something more marriage-specific, then perhaps you would like Colossians 3 18-19: "18.Wives, submit to your husbands, as is fitting in the Lord.  19.Husbands, love your wives and do not be harsh with them."

Friday, August 13

It's the Weekend!

McKinnis Farm Barn, Autumn

Hello all! I hope everyone has had a good week. I've been spending the week with my husband, who has been on vacation. We might have gone somewhere if it hadn't been for the car needing an unexpected repair, but that's okay. We've had fun spending the week together at home. We have mostly just done things around the house and relaxed. The week has really flown by! I didn't think it would be a busy week, because on Monday I didn't have any appointments for the week, but things seemed to start lining up and before I knew it there were things going on every day.

It's been very hot here. From what I hear, it's been hot everywhere! We've been fighting the heat with central air and frequent trips to the local ice cream places. It's a hard life, but someone has to do it! :) It's a terrible weakness for me during the summertime. I should probably be eating healthy summer treats, like watermelon, but watermelon doesn't come in chocolate with a waffle cone! We discovered a newer place on the other side of town that sells a local brand of ice cream, as well as Amish deli meats, cheeses, baked goods, and local produce. I think it's my new favorite place here in town. We've been there several times for ice cream over the last few weeks, and tonight we bought some deli meat and cheese. Should be good!

Egyptian Sarcophagus
I'm getting anxious for the weather to cool down.  It won't be long before we are on our way to Gettysburg for our vacation this year!  I am so excited to go.  I've had several people tell me that I have to visit all sorts of things while I'm there, which is fine.  I know that there are places that my hubby wants to visit again, and I just want to see it all.  I'm sure I'll have plenty of photos to share when I get back!  Unfortunately, we are not leaving for another month, so I will have to wait it out.  I love traveling, though.  I love seeing things that I've never seen before.  I think I've always learned more that way, as opposed to reading about places or facts in books in school.  I tend to remember things better.  The photo at the right is from our trip up to Toledo back in May, and they had an Egyptian exhibit.  I find Egyptian exhibits fascinating, partly because they are so old, but also more because of the Egyptian stories of the Old Testament.  The museum even had a commemorative cylinder of Nebuchadnezzar on display!  Museums could use more displays relating to Biblical times.  Maybe someday we'll make it to the Creation Museum.

When days and weeks get busy, it's hard to remember to give the Lord priority.  I admit that I haven't done a good job of that this week!  It's even harder when you become overwhelmed by what you are going through.  It's important, though, to remember to rest and find time to pray to and communicate with God.  A good verse to remember is Matthew 11:28-29: "Come to Me, all who are weary and heavy-laden, and I will give you rest.  Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest in your souls.  For My yoke is easy and My burden is light."

Thursday, August 5

Random Stuff

Time for a new entry! And I feel like I have nothing to talk about. This week has been pretty slow as far as events or activities. These are the dog days of summer, for sure! I've taken up a new project: making my hubby a 19th century outfit because he will be helping with a living history program in October. I usually make my own patterns for my clothing, but I entered new territory when I agreed to make mens' clothes, and have been working from a rough written-out "pattern" for a shirt. It's quite frustrating. I still have to try my hand at making a vest, but thankfully we are ordering pants for him, so I won't go crazy trying to make those.

With the weather too hot to enjoy being outside for very long, I like to stay inside and do housey things like kitchen work. So, would you mind if I share a recipe? One of my hobbies is baking, so I'll share a dessert recipe. The recipe at the end of this post is for some extremely delicious brownies, acquired from one of my husband's coworkers. It makes quite a bit, so it's best to have lots of friends over to share these with (as in, serious girl's night)!

I'm not sure what direction to go with this blog. My original intent was to tie Scripture into everyday happenings in life, but it doesn't seem to be very effective. Does anyone have any suggestions for improvements? If I like your ideas I will use them! I appreciate feedback. You can leave comments at the end of the blog entry or on Facebook.

I have found myself shorter with patience than usual lately. My sewing project is a great example of it. I don't know why I have no patience right now; however, I will admit that patience has never been a virtue for me! I came across this verse, which is a good reminder that patience is not a suggestion, but a commandment: "Therefore, as God's chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience." Col. 3:12

Cheesecake Brownies

1 box brownie mix, your choice
½ C vegetable oil
¼ C water
4 large eggs
2-8oz packages softened cream cheese (I use Neufchatel, because it has less calories/fat)
1-14 oz. can sweetened condensed milk
1/3 C lemon juice
1 tsp. vanilla extract
½ C seedless strawberry jam (optional)
¾ C walnuts (optional)
Preheat oven to 350*. Spray 13 x 9 pan with no-stick cooking spray.
Combine brownie mix, oil, water and 2 eggs in bowl. Stir. Stir in nuts if desired. Bake 20 minutes.
Beat cream cheese until fluffy. Gradually beat in sweetened condensed milk. Slowly mix in 2 eggs, lemon juice and vanilla until smooth. Pour over warm brownies.
Stir jam until smooth. Drop teaspoonfuls over cream cheese. Use knife and swirl jam gently into cream cheese filling to create marbling.
Bake additional 35-40 minutes or until top is lightly browned. Cool 1 hour. Loosely cover and chill in refrigerator for 2 hours or more. Cut into 16 bars. Store in fridge.
Other suggestions:
Layer strawberry jam between brownies and cheesecake. Do not marble.
Use caramel, either swirled into cheesecake or layered between, and add mini chocolate chips to cheesecake mix. Top with caramel and nuts for turtle cheesecake brownies.

Monday, August 2

The Changing Seasons

Welcome to a new week and a new month! I am hoping that with the beginning of this new month will also come the beginning of the end of summertime for another year. I find so much enjoyment in the changing of the seasons...and I love each season in a different way. Fall has always been my favorite, when the days get shorter, the air gets crisp and chilly, and the leaves change into vibrant colors against the backdrop of a perfect blue sky. I love going to bonfires on cool evenings and visiting the local apple orchards to buy fresh apple cider and apple donuts. Mostly, though, I love looking forward to the holidays and wintertime, with the fresh blanket of snow that covers the dead grass and gives character to the dormant trees. I love when every time there is a fresh snowfall, the sun comes out afterward and shines on the new frozen world, reflecting off of the individual flakes like millions of tiny diamonds and creating a brilliant brightness. Eventually, though, it has to melt and give way to the lush greenery of springtime, with the early crocuses and daffodils creating cheer in an otherwise cloudy and blustery world. Then come the rest of the springtime visitors, like bees and fireflies, as well as the leaves on the trees beginning to open and hyacinths and lilies blooming for Easter. Then, in a blink, it is hot out again, and the trees are full of leaves, their heavy limbs creaking and groaning in the winds of a mid-summer thunderstorm, while the flowers continue to provide us with happiness of sunflowers and Gerbera daisies, and then I realize that another year has passed.

As the seasons and years pass and I get older, it seems that life becomes more complicated and difficult. There are days when the full weight of the pressures of life are pressing down on me, and life seems quite unfair. But who ever said life is fair? Long before I was a Christian, I thought I had a plan for my life, and that I was in control of how my life turned out. Silly me! Isn't it funny how rarely our plans align with God's? We all have a reason for being here; we each have a path to travel. . Sometimes I find myself comparing my path to someone else's, and I've come to realize that this is a dangerous road. It's easy to find myself questioning God's reasons for whatever difficult circumstances I might find myself in, but then I realize that what I'm really questioning is God's wisdom. As if I could possibly know more with my relatively few years of wisdom than Him! I guess it’s just one of the many things that I struggle with. But thankfully, God has put many wonderful people along my path to try and keep me going the way I need to go. My husband is one of those people. He straightens me out when I wander off-course. I have great family and friends who are always willing to help, too! I am truly blessed to know the people I know during this lifetime.

How do you handle uncertainty and disappointments? Feel free to comment at the end of this post.

I always enjoy reading the book of Ruth. It's a wonderful story about devotion and loyalty when things seemed their worst for these women. I can relate to the deep devotion Ruth has for someone she loves, and her loyalty is revealed in my favorite passage in the book, Ruth 1:16: "But Ruth replied, "Don't urge me to leave you or to turn back from you. Where you go I will go, and where you stay I will stay. Your people will be my people and your God my God."