Sunday, January 29, 2012

the anchor holds...


I have journeyed
through the long dark night
out on the open sea
by faith alone
sight unknown
and yet His eyes were watching me.

The anchor holds
though the ship is battered.
The anchor holds
though the sails are torn.
I have fallen on my knees
as I faced the raging seas.
The anchor holds
in spite of the storm.

I've had visions.
I've had dreams.
I've even held them in my hand.
But I never knew
they would slip right through
like they were only grains of sand.

I have been young
but I am older now
and there has been beauty these eyes have seen
but it was in the night
through the storms of my life
oh thats where God proved his love to me.
The anchor holds
though the ship is battered.


The anchor holds
though the sails are torn.
I have fallen on my knees
as I faced the raging seas.
The anchor holds
in spite of the storm.


****

Thank you Wendy, for singing this lovely song this morning!  It was beautiful!

Monday, January 23, 2012

Who...ME?


Over the years, I have noticed that most of the people I know seem to have a tendency to define me based on something that I do or even the way I look.  I think that I've been called just about everything that there is to be called (thanks to my university experience), but there are some things that just seemed to stick:

"Oh, you're the girl that plays the piano."  -That would be me!

"You're one of those homeschooled kids, aren't you?"  -This one was always followed by a plastered smile and a hasty departure, or a torrential downpour of nosy questions that almost always began with, "So, what do you do about friends?"

"Oh yeah, you're the girl that sews her own clothes, right?"  -Well, not all of them.  Goodwill helps out some. :)

"Oh, you belong to that family that has all of the curly hair!"  It's true.  Some people we haven't seen in a while only recognize us because of our hair.

People have referred to me in these ways for as long as I can remember.  The homeschooled one got old, but for the most part, it never really bothered me.  It was all true, so why should I care?  However, over the past few years, people have started using a word in reference to me that I absolutely abhor.  This six-letter word haunts me.  I find it lurking in corners, plastered all over Internet ads, popping out in songs playing in the grocery store, it even found it's way into my own family's mouths.

What is this horrible, six-letter word?  Well, I'll tell you.

Single.

Yes, you read that right.  Single. 

Words cannot express how much I dislike this word.  Every time I hear it, it conjures up visions of a disheveled young woman sitting in a dark, lonely apartment, watching soap operas 'til the wee hours of the morning, clutching her box of Kleenex while pulling her hair and wailing about her lack of a man.  A little dramatic perhaps, but this is my concept of the word and how it is used.

Single is commonly perceived as synonymous with alone.  I think that every woman would agree that her worst nightmare is waking up one morning and finding herself alone.  So, when some well meaning, married individual comments on or asks me about my state of "singleness", I cringe.  I understand that they don't mean for it to be offensive, but it is.  People discuss "singleness" as if it is a horrible state to be in and then they go about trying to "fix you up" and make it all better.

If I were indeed "single" then perhaps I would appreciate the gesture.  However, I am most certainly not single.

No, I am not engaged.  I am not involved in a courtship, nor do I see the potential for one in the foreseeable future.

How then can I insist that I am not single?  I can because I am not alone. 

On my thirteenth birthday, my Dad presented me with a promise ring.  Along with it, I received a large frame that contained each of our promises and what they meant.  While my promise was to remain pure, in keeping with the Word of God, until my wedding day, this was Daddy's promise:

This ring represents many things to me:
First of all, it represents my promise to you -
That I will be an example to you of a godly husband and father
as the Head of our household.
That I will protect you physically, emotionally, and spiritually.
That I will raise you in an environment that is safe, secure, and nurturing.
That I will provide you with the tools to resist temptation.
That I will train you up in the way you should go, so that when you are old,
you will not depart from it.
And that I will pray for you and and your future husband regularly.

How then can I call myself single or alone?  I have my Dad standing along side of me every day and I know that he will continue to do so until he gives me away on my wedding day.  I am so thankful for him!  I know that I am not alone.  In addition to my Dad, I have my heavenly Father, in whom I give complete control of my relationship status.  That being said, why should I worry?  God has a plan for me.  (Jeremiah 29:11)

For a long time, I had my own plans.  Everything was figured out, right down to how old I would be when I got engaged.  I assumed that everything would happen for me the same way that it happened for my older sister (no one told me that it didn't work that way!).  Unfortunately, I found out the hard way that His plan did not include being married before I was nineteen.  His plan did not include being engaged or married as I watched the majority of my friends walk the aisle in their white gowns or hold their precious babies.  No, His plan didn't allign with mine, but you know what?  His plan is better!  For every thing that I thought went wrong, He gave me something ten times better!  I have have been given opportunities that I never could have taken advantage of if I had been married.  By choosing to remain at home, I also have the luxury of spending valuable time with my wonderful and loving family that I would not have if I were married.  I get to work with my parents.  I get to spend precious time with my sister and watch her grow up.  I have a flexible schedule so I can help others, or lend an ear when it's needed.  For these things, I am so thankful!

Do I want to get married?  Most definately!  Am I concerned that it doesn't seem to be happening any time soon?  I think about it occasionally, but it doesn't bother me. Why should it?  God is in control and I have a wonderful life right where He has placed me.  Until He sends Mr. Right along, please don't feel sorry for me.  I am simply an unmarried young woman who is enjoying living her life at home with her family and giving glory to God for every day of it.


Wednesday, January 18, 2012

leftovers

What do you do when you have leftover fabric that you absolutely love?


Isn't it pretty? 

Suddenly, I had a grand idea.  I've been holding out on making something that I need trying to find just the right fabric.  Well, I had the fabric, so I just added some batting, a bit of ribbon, and...


...I now have a compact wallet/clutch.


Those of you who know me well are probably snickering.  I am notorious for my "duffel bag" purses.  While I still like my over-sized bags, I've been wanting something small and compact that I can grab for a quick trip to town. 


I even put a pocket on the back for my cell phone. 


I love it!  It's absolutely adorable!  Next, I'm going to make a lanyard for it.  It'll be that much better if it's hands free.

Saturday, January 14, 2012

have I ever mentioned...

...that my Mama is the best cook in the world? 

It's true.

Growing up, one of my favorite things that she made was pizza.  Not the out-of-the-box stuff.  I'm talking about real, homemade pizza.  I'd mentioned a few weeks ago that we hadn't had it a while and guess what?  She made some today!

Warning: the following is a recipe for an extremely thin and crunchy crust!  This makes two pizzas.

Mama's Pizza Crust

2 1/2 cups of whole wheat flour
(If you can grind your own, that's even better!)
1 tablespoon sugar
1 tablespoon dry yeast
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup warm water (120-130 degrees)
2 tablespoons of oil

Sift 2 cups of flour with other dry ingredients together with a mixer wand.  Add water and oil - mix well.  Add remaining flour as needed to make a soft dough.  Knead a few minutes.  Let rest for 5 minutes.  Roll  out on a floured surface and then place on an oiled pizza pan.

Bake in a 500 degree oven for 5-10 minutes (until lightly brown).


We've been putting flax seed in everything lately.  It's a great source of fiber and it also reduces the risk of heart disease, cancer, stroke, and diabetes.  Just grind it up (we use a coffee grinder) and put it in with the other ingredients.  With breads, like this recipe, just take out a portion of the whole wheat flour and replace it with the flax seed flour.


After you're finished baking the crust, it's time for the toppings!  We use our special spaghetti sauce.  This time we added just a little bit of Rotel to the sauce for a hint of spiciness.  It was really good!


And of course, what pizza would be complete without a ridiculous amount of cheese?



Mozzarella, Cheddar, and a bit of leftover Pepper Jack.
Mmmm!  We love our cheese!



Pop it back in the oven until all of the cheese melts and then you have...


...melty, cheesy, yumminess!

Now, at our house, we can't have pizza without a salad.  That would be serving chili without small peanut butter sandwiches on the side (or is that something that only we do? ;).

I recently found this amazing salad dressing.  The original was ok, but after a little tweaking, we managed to make it even better!



 Salad Dressing

1 cup of olive oil
1/4 cup of lemon juice
1/4 cup of apple cider vinegar
1 tsp of parsley
2 tsp of oregano
1 tsp of dill weed
3 tsp of basil
1 tsp of dry mustard
1/2 tsp garlic powder

This is my new favorite!  It goes wonderful on a salad with sunflower seeds.  The seeds really bring out the nutty flavor in the olive oil.


Enjoy!

Thursday, January 12, 2012

for the love of reading...

Before I start my actual post, I just wanted to insert a quick note: Yesterday my prayers were answered.  After a rather impressive display of thunder, lightning, a torrential downpour and pea-size hail, the sun finally came out!  We were graced by it's presence for almost a whole hour.  Exciting!  Of course, after his little airing, Mr. Sun retreated back into the clouds and gave way to more rain, but I won't complain.  I had my one hour of sunshine and I am perfectly content!

****

Last night I made out a schedule for all of my reading.  Okay, I admit, it's taking things a little far, but having it all written out and being able to see "the end of the tunnel" is quite refreshing.  I take great pleasure in having an agenda down on paper.  Whether or not I actually follow it to the letter is another story.  But, I like to keep it around because it's nice to able to pinpoint a finish date on the calendar and begin looking forward to a fresh start.  I love to read, and turning that last page is something that I really look forward to.

I have a schedule for just about everything.  When and what to read, when and where to clean, when and what to cook, when and where to go, when to bake bread, when to wash my hair (if you had my hair you'd understand!), you name it and I probably have it scheduled out.  As I said, writing it out is one thing, but actually following it is another.  I have gotten much better at this over the years, but there are still times when I toss the schedule out the window.  I'd hate to become so focused on what needs to be done that I couldn't enjoy the day.

Anyway, back to the reading.  In addition to finishing up the Bible reading challenge (Yes, I got a little behind.  I didn't always keep to my schedule :), reading Idols of the Heart by Elyse Fitzpatrick (which I plan to re-read many many times!), and reading for Sarah's combined History, Literature, and Writing, today I am beginning another study.

I received the Great Christian Classics from Generations with Vision as a Christmas gift.  While I've been itching to pick it up for weeks, I really wanted to finish some of the other books before I really got into it.  Last night, I could stand it no more and I decided that today was the day.

This morning was spent copying pages out of the study guide so that I could write on them freely (and in pen!).  I wish I had done that with other workbooks when I was younger.  There are some that I would love to use again. 

This study contains excerpts written by St. Augustine, St. Patrick, John Knox, John Bunyan, and John G. Paton.  I have the Missionary Patriarch: The True Story of John G. Paton, but I've never read the entire book.  That might be a good one to begin at the end of this study.

I am so looking forward to working through this book!
 

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

rain, fog, and gray skies...


Day number four of gloominess.  I will be the first to admit that I love groggy, rainy, misty days (if I can stay indoors), but four of them in a row are beginning to wear on me.  I love curling up by the fire with a book, I love donning my lime green rain jacket when I have to venture out into the wet world, I love the sound of the rain pounding on the roof, and I even love the smell of rain.  However, I must admit that it is getting old.  I know, it's only been four days.  What can I say?  I'm slightly ADD...  I get bored very quickly!  Hence, the pile of unfinished projects in my sewing room.  It has been getting smaller though!

I keep praying that the sun will come out soon!  Warm sun rays coming through the windows are the perfect thing to sooth the winter blues away and they bring the hope that spring won't forget to come (though it always seems to leave before it's welcome is worn out).  Somehow, light bulbs don't have the same effect.

Oh well, maybe tomorrow. :)

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Blessed Sabbath


May my teaching drop as the rain,
my speech distill as the dew,
like gentle rain upon the tender grass,
and like showers upon the herb.
Deuteronomy 32:2 (ESV)

*******

“Shower, O heavens, from above,
and let the clouds rain down righteousness;
let the earth open, that salvation and righteousness may bear fruit;
let the earth cause them both to sprout;
I the Lord have created it.
Isaiah 45:8 (ESV)

Saturday, January 7, 2012

little things that make me happy :)

  • The smell of hot bread, just out of the oven.  It's smells up the whole house!
  •  Paper.  All kinds, I really don't care.  Scrapbooking paper, sketch paper, card paper, brown paper, butcher paper, wrapping paper... As I said, I just love paper!
  •  Pancakes for breakfast.  It isn't very often that we actually get up and cook breakfast, so having these this morning was a real treat!
  •  Groggy, misty days.  Perfect for snuggling up with a book.
  •  Fresh eggs.  For those of you who have never tasted a real egg, (and by real, I mean brown and delivered fresh from the back yard) I feel sorry for you.  You are missing out on something really delicious!
  •  The smell of leather.  Oh yes.
  • My little cuddle bug! <3
  •  Oh books, how do I love thee?  Let me count the ways...
  •  Scarves.  I have to admit that I do sometimes get a little carried away with mixing and matching colors, but I love it!
  •  Homemade brownies.  Thank you Sarah!!!!!!
  •  Piano music.
  •  Taking pictures (as you might have guessed).  No this is not my camera.  Mine is a bit more modern. ;)
  •  My lovely (and sometimes slightly crazy) friends.

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

back to normal

The holiday season is officially over.  We've all managed to consume two ginormous feasts, shop for gifts like money grows on trees, decorate the house, build a model of Mt. Everest out of wrapping paper hastily ripped of gifts and tossed aside, clean up multiple messes, relax and spend time with strange relatives, and stay up to ridiculous hours of the night to celebrate the first hours of the new year. 

Thankfully, the un-decorating process is over at our house.  It's an endeavor that everyone dreads.  The very mention of it produces groans and several irritated comments about the illusive house cleaning/decoration storing fairies.  They never show up when you need them.   We managed to complete the process quite nicely (without their help) and the living room seems empty after two months of having fall and Christmas decorations everywhere.  Then of course, there is the kitchen, where all of the boxes are piled up waiting to be carried upstairs. 

We can't be expected to do all of the work! ;)

And so, we get back to normal.  There's the daily cleaning regiment, laundry and ironing, lessons to plan, meals to cook (the leftovers have finally disappeared!), books with deadlines to be read, spring cleaning or new year cleaning to do, the beginning of the festival season to plan for, a garden to map out, herbs to study and seed, lists to be made for what we will be canning this summer, planning new projects for the new year and making lists of supplies, sewing projects to draft,  research to labor through...

Oh yes, we are back to normal!