Saturday, January 31, 2015

Spa Birthday Party Fun

My oldest wanted a spa birthday party.  So last night 5 girls and their moms filled our living room and dinning room as we celebrated her birthday in spa style.  It was so much fun and such a blessing to be with other moms enjoying facials and manicures with our girls. If you want to have a great mother daughter party here are some ideas for you.

Make facial paste for each mom and daughter pair and set it aside in a small dish.  For each pair you will need: 2 Tb plain yogurt, 1 T honey, 1 Tb cooled chamomile lavender tea, and 4 Tb dried oatmeal.  Mix it up into a paste.  Place 4 cucumbers in the dish, 2 for the mom and 2 for the daughter.  
You will also need to have nail polish, clear coat and stickers or glitter set aside for the manicure time.  

We found spa decorations at Hobby Lobby and the Dollar Tree in zebra and pink theme.  To keep with the theme we made a zebra head poster size, and little cucumber cut outs on green paper to play give the Zebra a facial.  The goal was to get the cucumber on the zebra's eye, just like pin the tail on the donkey.  The winner got a lovely nail polish decorating pen prize.  

We had lots of yummy treats like pizza, fruit and veggie trays, iced tea, cheesecake and root beer floats.  

After serving supper we began the facials.  Moms gave their daughters the facial and rubbed the gooey mixture into their faces.  They laid on pillows they brought as I talked to them about their beauty.  Then it was time to wipe off their faces, and wash them off.  Girls then gave their moms a facial and read what my daughter wrote for the moms.  Moms and daughters took turns doing manicures on each other.  Then the girls played the zebra game, had cake, opened presents and just goofed around dancing and having good girly fun!  

Here is the lesson for girls we did.
As you lay here with your facial on I'm going to read you what God says about beauty in the Bible.

1 Peter 3:3 says  "Your beauty should not come from outward adornment, such as braided hair and the wearing of gold jewelry and fine clothes. Instead, it should be that of your inner self, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is of great worth in God’s sight."

 You are such beautiful girls on the outside and the inside. You are slowly changing into young women. As you do our prayer for you is that you don't look to magazines, television, or even friends to show you how to be beautiful or to define your worth. Our prayer is that you always look to God. You are HIS and HE loves you. Is it wrong to look nice on the outside, of course NOT, God wants you to take care of your body, but true beauty comes from within. Your body will change and sometimes you'll feel awkward, maybe you'll get pimples or maybe you'll be smelly or maybe you'll just have a bad hair day, and none of your clothes will feel right or fit right. In those times remember that God made you and he loves you and your true beauty is when you have a gentle and quiet spirit. Your true beauty comes when you show God's love to others and when you spend time with him.So as you lie here with your facials on relaxing, think about God's great love for you, know that you are beautiful and precious to him. Think about how you can have a gentle spirit.
The lesson for moms while they laid with their facials on was written by my daughter.  She's now 9, but full of insights.

Here's her lesson for moms:
No need to be beautiful you already are. Moms are always a shinning star. What matters most of all is the inside. How you act, and that's about all. No need for make up and curling irons, cause God loves you how you are. Although it's fun to pretty up, your heart should be prettier. Read God's word and pray everyday, and help guide us, your daughter, along the way, so we can also be the shinning star, that you know we are.  
I hope you will be able to be blessed by doing a mother/daughter spa day either for a birthday party or just for some girly fun with your child or grandchild.  As you do remember that true beauty doesn't come from what you put on, but what's within your heart.  May you shine with Christ's love today and know you are beautiful! 

Thursday, January 29, 2015

My Weekly Menu

My husband and I are on a budget yet we want to make sure we eat healthy and gluten free.  I go shopping once a week after I meal plan.  I have found that meal planning and detailed shopping lists save us lots of money.  Of course, also not going shopping on an empty stomach helps!  I usually shop at Costco, Trader Joes and Natural Grocers.  Between the three stores I can get the best prices and a good selection of organic and gluten free foods.  We buy all organic and gluten free, so if it doesn't say it is below, just assume. We have a lot of the same types of foods each week.  For example, each week there is some type of pasta, maybe it's tuna noodle casserole, or cheeseburger pasta or spaghetti squash and meat sauce.  I always know I need a meat, noodles and sauce each week.  We also have baked chicken each week.  I might add different seasonings, it may be a whole chicken or just breasts, but I know each week we will have chicken and potatoes and a vegetable.  I thought I'd share one of my weeks with you so you can get ideas to create your own meal plan that is cost effective, and not full of things kids won't eat.

Here's my menu for one week:

 Breakfast- Gluten Free Puffin cereal.  On Sundays I need something quick so we can get to church on time.  I then brought slices of pineapple and melons with to church for their Sunday school snack.
Lunch- Taco Salad, with organic corn chips, organic ground beef, lettuce, raw cheddar, and red peppers, organic sour cream and salsa on the side.  
Supper- We had a breakfast for supper night and did turkey bacon, poached eggs, and home made gluten free cinnamon rolls
Snacks- carrot sticks and apple slices with nut butter

Breakfast- oatmeal
Snack- apples
Lunch- shredded chicken sandwiches on gluten free bread,  (the chicken was from a whole chicken I cooked on Sat. ) apple sauce, carrot sticks, and a gluten free molasses cookie
Dinner- Gluten free pizza using my recipe

Breakfast-left over cinnamon rolls and eggs
Lunch-almond butter and jelly sandwich on gluten free bread, apples, carrot sticks
Dinner- baked chicken, mashed potatoes and steamed mixed veggies
Snacks- yogurt with berries

Lunch- organic hot dogs, french fries, carrot sticks
Dinner- Cheese Burger Pasta: I use brown rice/flax noodles.  Cook the noodles, and brown ground beef.  Then in a casserole dish I mix 1/2 the noodles, 1/2 the beef, whipping cream, sour cream, salt and cheese.  I mix up another dish with the rest of the noodles, beef with whipping cream and spaghetti sauce, diced peppers, and covered with cheese. I bake both of these for about 20 minutes on 350.  One of my children are allergic to tomatoes so thus I make two separate dishes when we do a spaghetti type dish.
Snacks-apples and yogurt

Breakfast- eggs on gluten free bread toasted in the oven (we don't have a toaster).
Lunch- Left over pasta
Dinner-Chicken soup. I use organic broth from Costco, and add chicken, potatoes, cook until soft and then add frozen veggies.  I also throw in any left over meat or veggies.  
Snacks- apples, carrots, yogurt

Breakfast- Gluten free cereal with bananas in it.  We like puffins, or Kind granola
Lunch-Left over soup
Dinner- Tacos with non gmo corn shells, organic beef, shredded lettuce and peppers, along with raw cheese (I get mine from Trader's cheaper than Azure or other coops and it tastes good.)
Snacks: vitamin smoothie: which has mixed frozen berries, yogurt and milk along with vitamin green powder, and kind bar.

Breakfast- Gluten free pancakes, turkey bacon and eggs
Lunch-relish tray with carrot sticks, sliced cheese, turkey peperoni slices, olives, apples, cucumbers
Dinner-Gluten free chicken pot pie.  I buy a gluten free frozen two pack of pie crusts.  I then follow the recipe on the back, except I use potato starch to thicken the gravy.  I use chicken, potatoes and mixed veggies.  I use a bag of frozen mixed carrots, peas and corn.  I do sautee them in oil with onions before adding them to the gravy.  I use the second pie crust as a top, I have to re-roll it out after thawing it and then lay it over the top and vent it.  This meal takes a little more prep time but it has become a FAVORITE!  I usually have the most time to prepare dinner on Saturdays.  
Snacks- fruit, kind bars, and sometimes air popped pop corn for a family movie night or maybe even some ice cream.  

I do not usually make deserts with my meals, but I do usually bake a desert about once a week, either cookies, apple crisp, cinnamon rolls or something sweet.  I usually bring it with to events so we don't have the temptation of eating all of it ourselves.  We can literally do that in one sitting! 

I hope this list of menu ideas helps you.  I know when I first went gluten free there were all these crazy menu plans with foods I'd never heard of or tried.  I knew I needed to stick to basic things I knew my family enjoyed but tweak them to be gluten free, organic and healthier.  

Good luck in your menu planning!

Wednesday, January 28, 2015


I had a scare.  My children took off into the forest without permission.  They didn't take their older sister who could have helped them back.  They ran as fast as they could deeper and deeper into the forest. Trying to hide, wanting to stay longer with their friends, they disappeared.  I called for them and they did not answer.  The search began. My heart pounding, praying they were safe, they hadn't gone too far or gotten hurt falling down the sometimes cliff like terrain.  I prayed and wanted them safe, but I was also filled with anger.  How dare they run off without permission.  How dare they go deeper off the path, knowing it was forbidden.  The anger welled up more, as I called to them and they refused to answer, hiding, purposely not wanting to be found.  When I did find them my heart was filled with two great emotions; one of thanksgiving for their safety and one of anger.  I wanted to grab them and hold them tight, crying over them to never scare me like that again.  The other feeling of great frustration filled with disgust.  Angry they had disobeyed me and another adult and purposely forged deeper and deeper into the woods with no regard for their safety or obeying, just doing as they pleased.  These two emotions waged war inside.  How could I show them I love them and I'm so glad they are safe, and yet make sure they get the point that what the did was so wrong.

I wonder, how many times do we run from the path that God has for us, paying no mind to the possible dangers that lie ahead?  How many times does God call out to us, crying out in agony wanting us safe and we ignore his voice?  How often do we hide from God and his truth, his justice and his mercy because we rather do our own thing? Do we hide in the woods of cyberspace or our business?

I told my kids that just as they went off the right path and I searched for them, that God always searches for us.  Just as they had consequences for their disobedience, we too have consequences when we disobey God.  Just as I held them and thanked God for their safety and forgave them, so God draws us into his arms, and forgives us.

As I pondered the events of the day I wondered what God might be showing me.  God help me not to wonder from you, help me to listen for your voice calling me back to you if I do stray.  Thank you God that you protect me daily from things I'm completely unaware of.  The longer I parent the more parallels I see between our relationship with our children and God's relationship with us.

What are your children teaching you about Christ today?  If you are running, turn back to Jesus, he's searching for you, calling you and desires you safely on the right path.

Monday, January 26, 2015

Pass on the Blessings

God's timing and conducting of events is always so amazing to me.  For over a month I held on to a gift card wanting to go use it.  I wanted to buy myself clothes.  Day after day, week after week I'd get frustrated that I couldn't go shopping alone.  Let's face it bringing 3 kids along to try on clothes is not exactly fun or relaxing.  Well, finally, last week I was able to use that gift card.  I ended up alone, at night, heading home from dropping a friend off at the airport.  All of this was pretty unplanned, but NOT to God.  As I wandered around the store a women came very near me looking at clothes.  I could smell cigarette smoke on her being allergic, that normally makes me move farther away.  Yet in that moment God spoke to my heart.  He said, "I LOVE her."

I thought about God's words and let them sink in.  Of course we all know God loves everyone, but to feel it in that moment.  To think that he does not look at her and see what the world sees, he does not smell her and move away.  She is beautiful and fragrant to the LORD, her creator, and he LOVES her.  As I pondered that I nodded to myself thinking of all the ways God has recently shown me his love.  The many blessing he's poured out on me.  Just as he loves me, or my children he loves the stranger in the store.  Just as he wants to bless me, he wants to bless her.

As I tried on clothes I felt the LORD nudge at my heart again.  I felt as though he was saying to me, give your gift card to her.  I stood in the dressing room thinking, "Wait a minute God, I've been trying to get here for over a month.  I could use this and even if the only thing I need is jeans, I could always buy shirts for my husband or clothes for my kids.  Are you sure you are telling me to do this and it's not just some random thought in my own head?"  The thought came to my mind to put out a fleece, like Gideon did.  So I said, "Ok LORD, if you really want me to give her this card I will, but I want to know you are really telling me this, so if I am close enough to her to touch her, like I run into her, then I'll know you are actually telling me this, I won't purposely go looking for her God, but if you put her in my midst I'll know this is your desire."  I walked out of the dressing room fulling expecting to run smack into her.  I did not run into her.  I went up to the counter with my one pair of jeans, the only thing I really needed and purchased them.  I saw her across the store and wondered if I should go up to her.  Then I thought about what I prayed and I finished my purchase.  As I finished I turned around and she was right behind me waiting in line.  I could reach out and touch her if I wanted to.  So I handed her the gift card.  It still had just about $50.00 left on it.  I told her I really felt like I was supposed to give it to her.  She kept saying, "Really?" staring at me as if she was in shock. The cashier also seemed shocked.  She then said, "Wow, I just had most of my belongings stolen, literally almost all I own.  Thank you."  I nodded and walked out of the store and went about my business thanking God that he chose to use me to bless another daughter that he loves.

The next day as I went to check the mail there was an anonymous card telling me thank you for being used by God.  In it was the 50.00 I talked about last week.  God knew the timing.  It was no surprise to him that I wouldn't be able to go shopping till that night.  It was no surprise to him that I would give about 50 dollars and turn around and be blessed with it back the very next day.  It made me think of Abraham when he was asked to sacrifice Issac.  God knew he would provide a sacrifice and that Issac would return home with his father unharmed, but he was testing his obedience. 

When we are ready to obey God he uses us to bless others and many times we are blessed in the process.  Sometimes physically and sometimes our reward waits in heaven but either way the LORD delights in our obedience.  I want to delight Yahweh God, don't you?

May you be open to the LORD this day, listen to HIS voice and be ready to be used to bless others.

Friday, January 23, 2015

Obedience Leads to Blessing

God calls us to not just believe in our faith, but to act out our faith.  Faith without works is dead.  Recently God has been stretching my faith, and asking me and my husband to live our faith out in sacrificial ways.

My birthday was coming up and we had discussed going out to eat as a family to celebrate.  My husband was putting aside money for us to go to a nice restaurant with a live mariachi band. As the day drew near for my birthday, it also drew near to my hubby's coworker's last day of work.  My husband had felt the LORD nudging at his heart to give his co-worker a Bible before he left.  This co-worker was from India and not a follower of Jesus, but they had many wonderful conversations about Christ.  He was praying, unknown to me, about whether or not he should get this man a Bible.  I came to him as God placed it on my heart that he should give him one as a parting gift.  The only money available for the Bible was the money put aside for my birthday dinner.  I told my husband it was way more important to me to see this man have God's word, than to go out to eat. So faithfully we gave up a night out for a better cause.  After getting the Bible there was money left over and my husband thought, "I can still do something for my wife with this bit of cash."  As he was heading to work he came across a very cold, homeless man on one of the coldest days this winter.  He felt the LORD nudge at his heart again to give this man the rest of the money.  He wrestled with the idea asking, "Really God? I mean I don't know what he's going to do with the money."  He felt the LORD say to him, "Just obey me."  He proceeded to give this man the money and the man looked up at my husband and thanked him, full of gratitude and told him, "I'm going to go eat right now, really, I've been so hungry and I'm going to get some food, thank you."

It is not our job to question what God says, our job is to obey.  Sometimes it may seem crazy or it may cost you something you were looking forward to, but God's way is ALWAYS best. 

After our obedience God blessed us in many many ways.  In this week alone multiple things have happened!  I thought how nice it would be to have patio furniture and told God I knew if it was something we were to have he would provide in HIS timing.  Literally the next day I got a call that people were moving and would we like their patio furniture for FREE.  It was delivered that night. An envelope came in the mail with 50.00 cash in it, completely anonymous!  These are the types of things our AMAZING, ALL POWERFUL GOD does.  He knows our needs, he uses us to provide for others and he blesses us when we are obedient.  What a great God we serve.

May you praise him with your obedience today!

Samuel said, "Has the LORD as much delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices as in obeying the voice of the LORD? Behold, to obey is better than sacrifice, and to heed than the fat of rams"
1 Samuel 15:22

Thursday, January 22, 2015

Praise from the Mouths of Babes

As I was leading my children through our Bible time I thought about the importance of taking time to praise the Father with them. We have been studying the parable of the sower and the wise and foolish builder. We've talked about the importance of having the right type of heart before God, being the good soil and following his word like the wise builder.   After we finished the Bible lesson instead of moving on to math, I told them we were going to praise God together.  I told them that they could jump and shout and sing to Jesus.  We started singing and dancing and praying and shouting to God telling him we love him.  I put on some music, some was fast like Shake, and Take the Shackles off my Feet.  We also did a lot of Hillsong United Kids, like Jesus You're My Superhero.  I watched as my kids jumped and danced and sang and shouted to the Lord. 

My son, who's only 6 came to me while he was singing and praising and he said, "Mom, I feel like I'm the good soil while I'm praising God and my roots are going deep.  You know Mom this is more important than the other stuff we were gonna do today.  I could just praise God all day."  I wanted to cry as I listened to him explain this to me with enthusiasm. 

I thought of Jesus saying out of the mouths of babes God ordains perfect praise.  They get it.  They are not hindered in shouting and jumping and praising God.  We to should come to the Lord like little children knowing that what he has for us each day is better and more important than anything on our to do list. 

Thank you God for using my little boy to remind me of that.

But when the chief priests and the scribes saw the wonderful things that He had done, and the children who were shouting in the temple, "Hosanna to the Son of David," they became indignant and said to Him, "Do You hear what these children are saying?" And Jesus said to them, "Yes; have you never read, 'OUT OF THE MOUTH OF INFANTS AND NURSING BABIES YOU HAVE PREPARED PRAISE FOR YOURSELF'?"
Mathew 21:15-17

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Praise Him

I have seen the power of praise.  When you truly praise the LORD, and draw close to him nothing else seems to matter.  Your circumstance may not change but your heart will. 

I think of how hindered I feel sometimes in praising the LORD.  While in church surrounded by other believers I have worried more about what the people around me may think than desiring to please my God, and my creator.  There are times when my spirit moves within me and I want to shout, to dance, to jump up and down at the awesomeness of Yahweh.  Yet my flesh stops my spirit.  I think,  "wait a minute, I can't do that.  I'd look crazy.  People will look at me, what will they think." Why do I worry about what people would think.  Was I created to gratify people, or was I created to serve a mighty God.  Do I have a spirit to keep it trapped inside my flesh to only do what I desire to do, or do I have a spirit to be united with the Spirit of a Living God, to glorify HIM and draw near to HIM.  

I think of David returning with the arch of God, leaping and dancing in the presence of the LORD.  He wasn't down cast, he wasn't containing his spirit. He didn't sit, hands in lap, saying in a calm voice, "well praise the LORD we have the arch".  No, he was leaping for joy before the GOD he loved.  When David returns to the palace, to his wife, she rebukes him for dancing.  Being more concerned with the flesh she thought he looked foolish and was bringing shame to himself.  How dare he dance like that in front of common people.  She tried to dampen his joy and excitement in the LORD.  I don't know about you but I don't want to be like his wife.  I don't want to dampen the joy of those around me and I don't want to be so stuck in the flesh that I cannot be moved by the spirit.  I want to be like David. I want to dance and leap before the LORD. 

Will you praise the Lord today with dancing and shouts of joy?

Praise Him with trumpet sound; Praise Him with harp and lyre. 4Praise Him with timbrel and dancing; Praise Him with stringed instruments and pipe. 5Praise Him with loud cymbals; Praise Him with resounding cymbals.
Psalm 150:3-5

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Everything that has Breath, Praise the LORD

 I shared how at times I have battles in my mind, as many of us do, and must praise HIS name to break free from the lies and have victory.  I am reminded of David and how he wrote Psalm after Psalm many times beginning with the feeling of helplessness and ending with mighty declarations of praise.  I think of Jesus himself who healed and taught and then went away to the wilderness to pray, worship, praise Father God before going back into the daily grind of meeting the needs of those around him. We all must praise the Father.

Over and over the Bible talks about all creation praising him.  When Christ was entering Jerusalem and the crowd was yelling, "BLESSED IS THE KING WHO COMES IN THE NAME OF THE LORD; Peace in heaven and glory in the highest!" Some of the Pharisees in the crowd said to Him, "Teacher, rebuke Your disciples." But Jesus answered, "I tell you, if these become silent, the stones will cry out!" (Luke 19:28-40)

Did you hear that.  The stones along the sides of the road, the rocks, these inanimate objects would cry out to God if we were silent.  They would praise the LORD,  because even they know they were created by a great and mighty God, Yahweh. In Psalm 148 it talks about each thing, sea creatures, mountains, stars, all created things praising our amazing God.  I see the trees waving their branches to our creator.  I hear the birds singing songs daily.  Can you imagine the great orchestra of created things praising our God.

 I found a video of what the stars sound like when high powered satellites are pointed at them and what whale songs sound like, and it's amazing to hear the sounds of creation. To think of all creation praising the LORD. Watching the video and having the opportunity to sing along with the stars and the whales to our glorious God brought my heart joy today and I wanted to share it with you.

Cry out to GOD, cry out to our creator, for HE is good!  Praise HIS name.  As you Praise him your heart will feel his presence, the loads you are carrying will melt away.  You can come into the presence of God through singing, and praising his name and that is an amazing gift.

Serve the Lord with gladness! Come into his presence with singing!
 Psalm 100:2

Saturday, January 17, 2015

Battles of the Mind

I'm having a hard day today.  I want to to think on what is good and lovely and instead I'm replaying tapes in my mind of tough, bad and sad days.  It's ironic really, I sat at the breakfast table as my kids talked about nightmares they hate and I said, "don't dwell on those things, God wants us to think about what is good and pure and honorable.  We have to capture those bad thoughts and throw them out."  Yet throughout the day I was dealing with un-redemptive thoughts and it was very hard to take them captive.

On days like today I replay things that happened as I grew up.  I replay the day my mother told me she hated me when I was a brand new teen already unsure and confused about life.  I replay the call as an adult where I told her if she wanted a real relationship with me, she'd have to work at it and take time to talk to me and gain my trust again, and she replied, "I'm not sure you're worth that." and she never called again.  I replay so many heart breaks and memories that I wish I didn't have and my soul yearns to be free of that.  I want good thoughts God.  I want pure thoughts and honorable thoughts, but for half my life it was filled with people speaking negative into me, hurting me and using me.  How do I separate those memories from who I am in Christ, for how I've been redeemed.

I know the battle plan.  Take the thoughts captive, replace them with praise.  Replace them with truth. I am loved, I am worth it.  I'm so loved and so worth it that Christ came down to earth, left heaven with all it's glory and became nothing but a man and then died a horrible death.  He says I'm worth it.  He says I'm loved.  He died so that I could be free from sin, from death, from hurt and live eternally in peace and joy and love with him.  There are no tears there.  I pray the memories of hurt are gone too.  Yet the battle plan is hard at times.  It's hard to replace the thoughts with the truth.  It's hard to believe the truth when you've been told how worthless you are for so many years.  So then the battle plan is to praise.  Praise for the good.

I praise Him.  I praise Him because I didn't end up the way I could have.  I praise Him that he rescued me.  When I was cast out, when even my high school didn't want me, when I was considered too high risk, He rescued me.  I could have ended up on the streets like my mother.  I could have ended up in jail, like so many family members.  I could have ended up an alcoholic or in an abusive relationship.  I could have followed in the foot steps of my blood.  But instead HIS blood covered me.  I praise HIM for HIS blood, that gave me forgiveness, that broke the cycle of the past, that said no, that's no longer your history, I AM. I praise HIM that I can be different, I can learn how to be, how to act, how to live as I follow HIS footsteps.

On days like today I can still praise, for God has done amazing things, and given me a life that some thought impossible.  What can you praise God for today?

Thursday, January 15, 2015

Sick and Tired

Just being real today.  My eldest has been sick all week and I'm drained. Having kids waking up throughout the night coughing and feverish is a recipe for disaster.  Goodbye, good night's sleep.  I think about how a little cold completely changes our routines.  The focus shifts from growing in our academics to just keeping up with the needs of the day.  I feel like I run through the day getting more tissues, more tea, more drinks, more chest rubs, more medicines.  I love using natural remedies and herbs, so there is getting those to be taken at the right times.  Making soup, making vitamin smoothies or pop-sickles to help the sore throats.  It seems like I'm constantly taking out trash of tissues, or vomit and doing laundry trying to keep all the germs from spreading. All of this for just a little cold.

Then I think about those going through serious sickness.  Cancer spreading throughout their bodies.  Literally fighting to live daily.  I think of my best friend as she battles cancer and begins another new treatment.  Chemo today.  I think of her having to sit for 5 hours as the chemo is pumped into her blood and body.  She's fought so hard, and used so many more natural means hoping to avoid chemo. I think of her having to surrender all daily to God knowing that only He knows what the future will bring and only he can truly heal her.  I think how hard it is in that circumstance to focus on small daily tasks when thoughts can easily be consumed with the sickness.

I think of the children in Africa, that I read about in Kisses from Katie.  I think about the sick that are dying alone, without anyone to care for them.  I think of the children with no mommies to rub their aching bodies or to make them tea or to just cuddle them as they sleep.  The ones that have no money for the medicines that will help them feel better and get better quicker.  I think of those who have no friends to bring them a meal or a blanket.

Even in our sickness I see our excess, our blessings.  My kids may be sick and I may be tired, but I know it's temporary.  I know we have the resources to get better.  I know we will soon return to our normal daily routine.  I am blessed with friends who pray for us and people who pick up some groceries when I can't get out of the house with sick kids.  I'm blessed with friends that have brought over soup.  I see these blessings and feel so humbled.  I am not worthy. I am not better than those who are truly sick and dying around the world, yet I have so many blessings.  I do not deserve it, I just happened to be born in America and surrounded by excess.  I thank the Lord for my blessings and I thank him for reminding me that even when we are sick and tired we still have so much to be thankful for.

Whatever you are going through today may you see God's blessings in the midst of it.  May you know that you are blessed and may you reach out to those around you and bless them.

1 Thessalonians 5:18  In all things give thanks for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus.  

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Friend's Rock- From Buggins

I love friends.  They are fun, cool and funny.  We tell jokes and dance.  Mostly we sit and talk.  I think my friends are the best.  Sometimes when you are having a bad day friends cheer you up.  I know that I can count on my friends to keep secrets.  I love my friends and I hope our friendships never brake.

Well Good bye for now, and see you next time on Buggins Bable.

"Friends love at all times"  Proverbs 17:17

My almost 9 year old wrote the message above.  I hope you will be a good friend today, and remember that friends love at all times.  

Monday, January 12, 2015

Our Excess

I recently finished a book called Kisses from Katie.  If you haven't read it, I highly suggest you do.  It's a true story about a 19 year old girl who went to Africa and how her life was changed as she reached out to the people and children there.  Katie is now 26 I believe and she's still in Uganda changing lives as she says yes to Christ.

As I read her book the one thing that struck me over and over again was our excess.  I look around and I see toys scattered all over most of my house.  I see a fridge and freezer full of food.  I see piles and piles of laundry, showing me that I have plenty of clothes.  I see boxes in closets and corners full of stuff.  Stuff that we accumulate and carry around with us.  I know I am not rich by America's standards, yet I'm exceedingly rich compared to Uganda and most of the world.  I have always struggled within when I think about how much we have compared to most of the world. 

As I was reading my Bible the verse "And turning His gaze toward His disciples, He began to say, "Blessed are you who are poor, for yours is the kingdom of God." Luke 6:20 hit me in a new way. The truly poor, the ones with out excess are the ones in the world right now that are more on fire for God.  The areas of severe physically poverty are the areas of amazing spiritual revival.  The more I read missionary stories the more I see it.  Those who have much and are rich physically lack spiritually.  They are so consumed with their stuff, and taking care of their stuff they don't have time for what's truly important, spending time with God. I think about how busy my laundry, and dishes and toys and electronics keep me.  I'm constantly having to clean up something, check on something, take care of something.  Those things that call to me often call me away from God.  It creeps into my quiet time, it fills my day so that I'm too tired or have too little to give afterward.  Yet you look at these countries that have nothing physically, lacking clothing, food, basic needs being met, but the people are blessed and overflowing spiritually.  They are craving God, looking to him for all their needs.  It amazes me.  I see why Christ said Blessed are the poor.  I see why the kingdom of heaven belongs to them.

 I don't know anyone who desires to be poor.  Yet I do desire to be apart of God's kingdom.  I desire to press into God and to spend time with him.  I desire to grow and to change, and to be more like Christ.  I don't think I have to loose all my stuff to do it, or move to Uganda, but I do think I need to prioritize God over my stuff. I love missionary stories, LOVE them.  They are great at stretching my faith, at reminding me of who God is and at edifying me in my thoughts and my relationship with Christ.  

If you haven't read any missionary stories lately I suggest you do.  Start with Kisses From Katie, it will rock your thoughts and your faith if you let it.

Sunday, January 11, 2015

Gluten Free, Dye Free, Princess Castle Cake

After we went through the lesson on what makes us God's little princesses we had a lovely tea party and of course cake.  This lovely pink and purple castle cake is in fact gluten free and dye or food coloring free.  I used my chocolate cake recipe (that is my standard go to for cakes) but doubled it.  I made two 9 inch round cake pans and then I used two round Pyrex dishes.  I baked all the cakes at the same time.  I let them cool over night and then cut off the tops and sides with a bread knife to ensure the cake was nice and soft.  I made a standard butter cream frosting, using organic butter, powdered sugar, vanilla, cream and a dash of salt.

We do not use regular food dyes.  All the FDC #'s are forbidden in our house.  That's a topic for another day.  But what little girl wants plain old white frosting for a princess castle, none that I know. Just because we're dye free doesn't mean we're color free!  For the coloring I used freeze dried blueberries and cherries.  I made them into a powder in my magic bullet.  The cherries were a bit of a problem as they still had juice inside and became leathery, so I took those and dehydrated them over night and then powdered them in the magic bullet.  The powder mixed in to the frosting very easily and gave it a wonderful slightly blueberry taste.  The top was a light pink as was the frosting between the layers and the rest was purple. This was the easiest and tastiest way I have found to color cakes.  I've tried the $9.00 box of "natural" food coloring and it tastes awful and doesn't work that great.  Coloring the frosting this way was actually my dear hubby's idea and it worked awesome.

 I got gluten free wafer cookies for the door, dye free sun drops and fruit slices from Whole Foods made the windows and decorations.  The tower is 3 gluten free ice cream cones frosted and placed together.  The flags are fun crazy straws.  This was the easiest castle we've every made.  It's not super elaborate, but it was perfect for my little princess.

If you are in need of a good food coloring, with out the processing, coal tar and number signs attached try freeze dried fruit next time.

Saturday, January 10, 2015

God's Princess Lesson

Today we are having a princess tea party.  As my little one planed and prepared for the party we talked about how we could share God's love with the little girls who come.  I hope all of you will enjoy this.  You could do it for a party or as a Bible study with your little girls.

We purchased little crowns, clip on earrings, fancy rings and wands or as I like to call them scepters. Whether you are young or old this is a great visual to remind you of God's desires for you.

You are God's princess because he is the King of Kings.  All princesses need crowns. We all know crowns go on our heads of course and in our heads we have all kinds of thoughts.  As God's princesses we need to have thoughts that are good.  God says, "Whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable--if anything is excellent or praiseworthy--think about such things." Philippians 4:8  After sharing this with your princess, place the crown on her head as a reminder to think on good thoughts. 

Of course little princesses need jewelry too.  Beautiful earrings can clip on to their little ears.  What are our ears used for? Listening and hearing of course.  God wants his princesses to listen to his voice.  Deuteronomy 15:5-6 says, " If only you listen obediently to the voice of the LORD your God, to observe carefully all this commandment which I am commanding you today the LORD your God will bless you as He has promised you, and you will lend to many nations, but you will not borrow; and you will rule over many nations, but they will not rule over you."  We want God's blessing so we must listen to his voice.  The earrings will remind us to listen to God and obey.

All princesses have rings.  Place a ring on each hand.  We use our hands to pray.  The rings are to remind us to pray to God.  The Bible tells us in Philippians 4:6-7 "Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, 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"

And finally princesses have wands, or what is called a scepter.  A long time ago kings would hold a scepter in their hands and if a person came to the king to make a request or wanted to be seen by the king, he would have to hold out the scepter to allow the person to come.  Do you remember Queen Ester, she waited to see if she could come before the king.  He looked at her and had favor for her, he wanted her to come to him, so he held out his scepter and she touched the tip of it.  Our little scepters are to remind us that God always wants us to come to him, we are always welcomed in his kingdom because he loves us so much.  Even when we do wrong or don't act like a princess he loves us.  Romans 5:8  "God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us."

May we all remember we are the King's children and act like it today.  Be blessed as you think of his great love for you.  I hope you will do a Princess lesson with a little princess in your life. 

Friday, January 9, 2015

My ABC Book

I talked about the process of learning to read the other day.  I thought I'd share with you what I used with my kiddos as they were learning their letters.  Back in 2011 I put together an ABC book.  It's basically a letter a week book.  I found things from all over the internet to include, but I meticulously spent hours and days creating a publisher file.  I included what to do on what day and found composers and artists and bible verses to go with each letter.  Some of the pages I made completely from scratch. Other pages I found neat crafts and attached them to the page.  I have used this book with all my kids.  I didn't have it all together in a nice PDF for my oldest, but I used all the same things.  They have all LOVED it. 

I set it up so that you print it out double sided.  It's HUGE.  We printed A-L and had that bound and then printed M-Z and had that bound.  I took pictures of the things we did and added them to the "pictures of my week" page. The books became their ABC book/ and scrap book of their learning all in one. For Q week for example we made a mini quilt for my daughter's baby doll.  We took lots of pictures of her and put those in the book.  Sometimes I took a picture with the craft they made.  When we were on P week we went to the zoo and I got pictures of my kids in front of the Polar Bear and Puma and they went in the book.  All the pictures made it extra special. 

I have had multiple friends use this with their kids too.  I hope this will benefit you and your family.  It's full of fun crafts and a week worth of things to do for each letter.  I found a lot of the crafts or worksheets on DLTK website.  I decided to include the PDF I made here.  I hope you get as much enjoyment and use out of it as we have! 

 Letter of the Week Book!

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

The Process is Important

My youngest daughter really wants to learn to read.  She doesn't understand that learning her letters and their sounds is part of the process.  The other day her two siblings were reading their Bible study books on their own answering questions.

She comes to me and says, "I looked around and they are all doing it all themselves, and I tried but I read it all wrong and so you have to read it with me.  And you should really teach me to read already you know!"

She's all of 4! I couldn't help cracking up with laughter.  She's too darn cute.  I told her I am teaching her to read.  She responded with raised eyebrows and massive skepticism.  I took out our letter cards s, a and t and laid them on the floor.  I had her tell me their sounds and then I put them together and she read the word sat!  She was so excited.  She did sat, mat and at.  We had to video tape it and send it to daddy.  Now she has a new found excitement for reviewing her letter sounds and doing phonogram cards.  She sees the bigger picture!

I pray, I will see each  mundane task God has me do actually has a bigger purpose.  I pray that you too, whoever you are, will see you have purpose.  As you do the dishes and laundry over and over, as you pick up the same toys over and over  remember that all the repetition and seemingly dull work really is for a greater purpose.  May God give you glimpses at how important your work is.  While my daughter wants to open the world of reading and go places quickly, she has to take it one step at a time.  While I say things like God use me, I want to change the world, I want to do missions and make a difference he says, "Serve your family, one step at a time, and you will be changing the world."

Be blessed today in the process, it's important too!