Sunday, December 21, 2008
Have you ever been awakened by the sound of liquid being dumped on the carpet in your bedroom at 12:30 am?
Now I'm up, praying that everyone sleeps through the rest of the night.
Me: I'm so sorry you're sick, pal.
Him: I'm not sick. I just threw up a little.
Me: Oh good. Hey, next time, how 'bout you head straight for the bathroom if you need to throw up, rather than coming to my room to tell me first, 'k?
Him: Okay. Sorry about that.
Me: It's okay, just keep your bowl handy the rest of then night.
Ah. I guess I should be happy that it's been so long since he's thrown up that he forgot the procedure. Clearly, we were due.
The toddler just found me. I heard his delicious little footsteps on the tile before I saw his sleepy face.
Oh how I love all the parts of being a mom. Some parts are just a bit more lovely than others.
It's actually nice to be up this night. We're being hit with the second big, artic snow storm! It started snowing a couple of hours ago, just after we got back from town. The air is filled with the tiniest snow flakes imaginable and they sparkle! It's like it's snowing silver glitter. So beautiful!
We'll likely be snowed in for a few days, as this is supposed to be a much bigger dump than the five or so inches we had already.
Hopefully, I won't spend our snow days scrubbing carpet and washing pukey laundry.
Although, even pukey laundry is more pleasant with a clean blanket of snow covering the world.
Friday, December 19, 2008
Monday, December 15, 2008
The Ducklings have been having a grand time playing in it.
It's so very cold. Which means everyone stays delightfully dry.
However, I wonder how long I should let them stay out.
Ack! Uncharted territory!
We're finding our way and having a grand time of it.
I can't handle the cuteness of these pants!
The cute extra kids are our new neighbors and fantastic playmates.
Daniel and JJ are cut from the same cloth. They have WAY too much fun together!
Warming their hands around the "campfire."
We're staying warm and cozy and figuring out how to make all the parts fit together in our new routine.
It's all good.
Saturday, December 13, 2008
But, tonight it's supposed to start getting c.o.l.d. Hopefully, we'll wake up to a little snow on the ground. Enough to play in would be fantastic! We'll see. The forecast still holds out hope for more later in the week.
But, the more pressing issue:
We went to town yesterday and stocked up on groceries. Today, I realized that we forgot to buy chocolate! Ack! We have chocolate chips and cocoa powder, so, clearly, I will have to get to work and make them into something snackable. (Sure it's a word!)
Super Easy, Super Tasty, Quick and Simple Fudge
12 oz. (2 Cups) Semi-sweet chocolate chips
1 Cup Butter
Microwave for about a minute, until it's all melty
In another bowl,
1 Pound Powdered Sugar
Combine the contents of the two bowls and mix well.
Stir in 1/3 teaspoon Vanilla.
Pour the fudge into a wax paper lined 8x8 pan
Refrigerate at least two hours
Cut into tiny pieces and nibble away!
Friday, December 12, 2008
But take a look at this and tell me what you see:
Could we be headed for a white Christmas??
That would be a real thrill for this formerly coastal family.
Of course, I left out the part of the forecast that says the high on Tuesday will be EIGHT degrees. That may be thrilling in a whole other way...
We're off to Walla Walla (the town so nice they named it twice) this afternoon to get my Washington drivers license and get some groceries in anticipation of the week of cold/snowy weather ahead. The road into the ranch is not one that would be a fun drive in winter weather. We'll also go watch the Ranch Boys play a basketball game while we're in town.
I'm telling you. We are learning to get lots done when we're in town, now that we're out in the boonies. At least, we try... I think this is our fifth trip to the DMV. Ack!
Life is good.
Monday, December 8, 2008
I'm still toying with the title. What do you think?
The picture is of the sunset here, as viewed from the widows at the back of our house. Every sunset since we arrived has been amazing.
I have so much to tell, but I'm still in a daze with all the change and all the unpacking and organizing and all the finding places to put things.
It's a good daze, though. God is clearly in it!
I feel sure I'll be back soon with more details.
Monday, November 24, 2008
I write to you today with gratitude in my heart for all that God is doing for our family. I am truly exhausted with moving preparations - we load the truck on Wednesday! - but I wanted to take a moment to give you the Readers Digest version of our story, for those of you who haven't heard.
When Roger and I met, we were both serving full time in residential ministries to kids. After a time, God moved us away from that work, but we always believed we'd return to it one day. As time went on and the Lord moved Roger up into positions of greater and greater responsibility, we began to dream that one day we might even be blessed to lead a residential ministry to children. As we transitioned from one job to the next, watching the Lord prepare us for the next thing, we always looked for an opportunity to move back into professional ministry. The door never opened.
Last spring, Roger got a call, completely out of the blue, from an executive search firm. They were looking for an Executive Director for a ministry to troubled boys in Southeast Washington. Someone in Arkansas had given them Roger's name and they wondered if he was interested.
To condense the next six months: We weren't interested. We were content here in North Bend. We weren't planning to move again for at least five years. But God had another plan. He prompted Roger to continue taking "one more step" in the process. Finally, in early September, we traveled to Washington to visit Jubilee Youth Ranch. Even then, we didn't expect to take the job. Following that visit, God continued to make our path to Jubilee straight. Every time we had a question or a concern, it was answered before we asked. Every time we had a conversation about the reasons we wouldn't go, God would speak the very same words back to us through others, without their knowledge. He led clearly, He led gently. Ultimately, we realized that this is what we had been waiting for. It is an amazing opportunity!
The Ranch is located near Prescott, Washington, surrounded by wheat fields and 5,000 acres of apple orchards, near the Snake River. It was founded by a few families who wanted to start a ministry to troubled youth. They built the facilities and have been waiting for the right person to come and lead the ministry. Right now, there are about 25 boys there. Most of the staff live on campus. We will be provided with a beautiful home on the edge of campus. The Board of Directors are amazing people who love the Lord and are eager to do His work. There are foundations laid for housing for around 200 boys. We'll be attending church and shopping, etc, in Walla Walla, about 30 minutes away, and the Tri Cities, about 45 minutes away.
I'd be more than happy to answer any questions you might have! We are very excited about making this move and very eager to see what God is going to do. It is a thrilling task and a daunting challenge that reminds us constantly of our need to be completely dependent on God for wisdom and courage. Please, pray for us! We'll do our best to keep in touch and would love to see any of you come for a visit to our little spot in the country.
Saturday, November 8, 2008
Tuesday, November 4, 2008
Monday, November 3, 2008
Type "Brenda needs" into Google and see what comes up. I didn't expect much and found myself cracking up in front of my computer...
Give it a try with your name! Let's see what you need!
1. Brenda needs love and strength to pull herself out
-ain't that the truth!
2. Brenda needs her medication
-more on that later (see #11)
3. Brenda needs a partner
-who knows how to pack a family of eight for a a move to another state!
4. Brenda needs a $37000 DSLR
-wouldn't that be something! Think I'd take better pictures??
5. Brenda needs a chocolate chip cookie
6. Brenda needs a (ahem) supportive undergarment...
-got that covered, thank you very much.
7. Brenda needs to conduct herself as an adult woman
-um, yeah. I'll work on that... or not...
8. Brenda needs continuing medical care
-there are these bumps on my head...
9. Brenda needs lots of space
-to stack all of her moving boxes.
10. Brenda needs more from Sonny.
-who's Sonny? and what does he have to offer that I might want more of??
11. Brenda needs to stabilize those emotions with a little Zoloft or something
- need I say more?
12. Brenda needs help eating, dressing, bathing and going to the bathroom.
-actually, I have way too much help with all of the above!
13. Brenda needs moral support
14. Brenda needs to practise Decorum
-certainly not at Cubbies!
15. Brenda needs some prayers
-bring 'em on!
16. Brenda needs to know how the mystery ends
- so very, very true.
17. Brenda needs to get her things moved
-to SE Washington.
18. Brenda needs To Shape Up, Come Clean And Stop Feeling Sorry For Herself
- just as soon as I manage #17.
19. Brenda needs help
20. Brenda needs a makeover!
From Under the Pile,
Friday, October 24, 2008
Together, and with the angels, we are singing, "Hallelujah! God is good!"
Remember a week ago, when I posted this about my friend who was longing for her baby, who was waiting on the other side of the world?
Today, I can report to you with great joy that Amy has received her referral approval and is now the official (though not yet legal) mother of this sweet Chinese girl, Elisabeth.
For those of you who wonder, yes, this is Amy of the pie crust, Amy of the granola inspiration, Amy of the sweet comments.
She has waited 105 long days for this great news, which finally arrived this morning. Lord willing, she'll have her baby girl in arms before Christmas.
Congratulations to your precious family, Amy. Our prayers have been answered and your sweet daughter will be home before you know it. I can't wait to see her dancing with Abby in pink princess dresses!
"God sets the lonely in families, he leads forth the prisoners with singing." -Psalm 68:6
So glad Elisabeth will be with her family soon and that the prison doors of this long wait are swinging wide open at last!
I can't stop smiling!
Tuesday, October 21, 2008
It's funny how my "season of life" impacts my perspective on so many things, including my relationship with the Lord.
A few of you commented along the lines of how it takes purposeful work to go deep. To stay below the surface requires a concerted effort to swim down.
When I picture going deep and escaping the turmoil of the surface for the depths of His peace,
I picture... sinking. It's a complete, surrendered, letting go. I give up my will to survive and to keep myself afloat and then I find myself
down into the quiet, dark, calm, peaceful places.
I remember the seasons of my life when I would work hard to go deep. When I would dive and kick and swim purposefully toward the depths.
For now, I am content to surrender to gravity.
Surely, my season for vigorous swimming will come around again, in due time.
Monday, October 20, 2008
At the surface of the ocean, there are waves, and wind, and glaring sun, and the noisy voices of gulls and the pull of the tide. But as you go deeper, down far below the surface, the noise and the turbulence and the heat fade away. Down deep, there is peace, and calm, and quiet.
My heart's desire is to live below the surface. To delve deep into Christ and abide in Him in such a way that I am sheltered from the noise and the heat and the turbulence of circumstances, fully engulfed in His peace.
"...the peace which passes understanding will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus."
Sunday, October 19, 2008
Throughout this crazy process of turning our lives upside down, He has been so very kind and so very faithful and so very gentle. Each insurmountable obstacle is simply cleared away, making way for us to follow Him.
Today, it was the cats. My sweet friend, whom I've known since high school, texted me today to say that the kitties are welcome at her house.
I know, it seems like a small thing. But it's not.
All the shelters are full. All the animal rescues are full. No one wants to "freecycle" them.
"What," we wondered, "will we do with these precious pets?"
And, making the stakes so much higher, we have certain children who are attached to certain cats. Letting the kitties go into some uncertain circumstance was a painful thought for them.
Now, we can know that the cats reside with friends. And we can come and visit them when we are in town.
When I told the kids tonight, they all heaved sighs of relief and a burden was lifted from all of our shoulders.
God is SO GOOD. He is so very kind.
If He is for us, who can be against us?
Friday, October 17, 2008
She is loving and kind.
And a faithful blog reader. =)
Right now, her sweet baby girl is on the other side of the planet.
This is not the way it should be.
She has been so very patient
for so very long.
Will you please pray with me for her?
I'm praying that God grants her
the peace that passes understanding,
that He would keep her far-away little one
in the palm of His hand,
that He would fill her house
with peace and joy while she waits.
And, most of all,
that her little one would be
in her arms VERY SOON.
He is so good!
(It would be great if you would leave my friend a word of encouragement in the comments...
Wednesday, October 15, 2008
God calling our family to move to Southeast Washington, completely unexpectedly, has been such an amazing experience. I want to chronicle some of it here, but my brain is so very overloaded right now with keeping my daily life running and preparing to move. The balance between the important and the urgent has never been more challenging.
Here's a quick tid-bit on a busy Awana-Wednesday.
When the "executive search organization" first contacted Roger and sent a profile of the ministry and the job description, included in the many pages was this statement of the vision of Jubilee Youth Ranch. It touched my heart. Enjoy.The biblical vision of Jubilee focuses on the outsider - the weak, the defenseless, the marginalized and the outcast. It was a social ideal designed to prevent the creation of a permanent class of poor people. The ones on the outside were given the opportunity and tools for a comeback.
A society ultimately is judged by its attention to its weakest members, those with their unused potential on the outside of the common life. The goal of Jubilee is to bring the excluded inside, building a holistic supporting community in which the poor person can grow and gradually move from dependency to relative stability as contributing members of the families and communities in which they live.
Tuesday, October 14, 2008
small as it is.
However, just now, when I was writing about our sweet kitties, who need a new home...
I felt a little sad.
Ack! I love my cats!
We can't take them to Washington, as we'll be living in a really nice house, provided by the Ranch and wouldn't want to have pets inside. AND, they can't live outside, as cats are frequently eaten by coyotes at the Ranch. So, clearly, they need a new, safe, loving home.
I just didn't expect to miss them.
Anyone need a couple of beautiful kitties??
Monday, October 6, 2008
We're MOVING. Yes, it's strange, but true. Once again, we made plans.. and God LAUGHED.
It's a long and wonder-filled story, but I don't have time to write it all down right now. I just wanted to get the word out and to post a few pictures. We'll be moving to Jubilee Youth Ranch in Southeast Washington (near Walla Walla and Pasco/Kennewick/Richland) at the end of November. Roger will start work there on December first as the new Executive Director. Jubilee is a ministry that seeks to give a fresh start to disadvantaged boys.
Truly, this is a dream come true. Roger and I met when we were both working in these kind of ministries and always believed that God would lead us back into this work. We just didn't expect it to be now, when we're comfortably settled here. We've always looked for this opportunity whenever it was time to do something new. This time, the opportunity came looking for us.
Rejoice with us as we move back into full time ministry and make a new home in the corner of Washington.
I guess I'll have to come up with a new name for the blog...
These are pictures I lifted off the internet to give you a peek at where we'll be:
The Ranch is an oasis in a valley among the rolling hills of sage brush and wheat.
The founders planted lots of trees which will be great for shade as they grow larger and lend a picturesque quality to the place.
The buildings in this picture are administration/school and one of the dorms and some staff housing in the background.
This is a better shot of the admin building. In the distance, you can see the apple orchards that back up to the ranch. We'll be nestled among the largest apple orchard in the world (6000 acres.) I can hardly wait for the blossoms in the spring!
This is the house which the ranch has genrously provided for the Executive Director's family. We'll be moving in here and living on campus. All that green grass in the front yard... a driving range! I guess we'll all be brushing up on our golf swing.
I'd better stop putting off the start of this Monday. There is so much to do and the process and the future seem a little overwhelming some times. Surely, God will give us the grace to do what He has called us to do.
"We have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us." 2 Corinthians 4:7
Monday, September 22, 2008
I'm just now getting the pictures of that fantastic weekend up on the blog. Enjoy!
Micah fell hopelessly in love with my sweet friend, Susanna. Who can blame him? She is so much fun!!
There's nothing better than ice cold lemonade on a hot day.
There were two guys with instruments making great music all afternoon near the shade tree where we set up our headquarters in the grass.
Daniel sat down, first thing when we arrived, for an old fashoned shave.
The girls enjoyed making corn husk dolls with the help of patient docents.
Noah is slipping into the ranks of young adulthood, as evidenced by the fact that this is the only picture I took of him all day... rats. I'll do better next time! (He's making a candle.)
Anna made dolls, too.
Daniel's favorite part was running around with his good buddy.
They even tried their hand at the cross cut saw.
Everyone enjoyed the candle making. We came home with many interesting candles.
Mary liked the horse.
Here, Andrew and Mary are playing an old fashioned game where you try to pull the other person off of the box.
There was home made ice cream, too!
Andrew's favorite things were making candles (he made several) and washing clothes by hand... who would have thought?
All in all, it was a magical day full of fun and fellowship. Relaxing under the big oak trees with good friends on a hot summer day felt like the best vacation ever. The kids had a blast trying out all the activities and collecting souvenirs.
We are so blessed to be able to enjoy such bounty. And to come home with such great memories!
Saturday, September 20, 2008
This afternoon, Roger ran the peeler/slicer/corer for "thank you pies" for the lady who gave us all the apples.
Then, Anna and Mary insisted on doing enough more apples to make a pie for US.
I used up all the pie crust I had put in the freezer the other day and I ended up with this:
Which we ate after dinner.
And I made these:
Which are unbaked, frozen pies for the apple lady.
But the really important part...
Roger said the apple pie may have been the BEST HE'S EVER EATEN.
Y'all, Roger grew up in the South. I have learned, since marrying him, to make great fried chicken and mashed potatoes with the skins on and all manner of other yummy Southern food. But I've never, in fourteen and a half years, been able to get the pie right.
All I can say is,
Thanks again, Amy!!
(Oh, and I have resigned myself to the fact that pie is now part of my life... and I may some day weigh 300 pounds... but what a way to get there!)
Friday, September 19, 2008
Today, I had the joy of spending the afternoon with a godly, sweet friend who has that wonderful eternal perspective that is so rare and precious. We always talk non stop when we're together and then feel like there is so much more to say at the end of the day. And so very little, if any, of it is idle chatter.
On this particular occasion, we made apple sauce while we talked. I may have mentioned here before that our family is blessed with friends who share more apples with us than we know what to do with every year. I always try to get lots of the apples put up as sauce, so that we can enjoy it all year long. I also share lots of apples with my friends for their families. The dear friend who joined me today had not canned apple sauce before, so I had the joy of showing her just how easy it can be and then sending her home with beautiful jars of healthy goodness. It was a delightful day. Together, we made four gallons of apple sauce.
But, more importantly, we shared our hearts and spurred one another on toward love and good deeds.
I feel so abundantly blessed.
Thursday, September 18, 2008
I already told you about the blackberry:
Which was met with rave reviews by my toughest critics:
Today, an $.87 pumpkin from The Walmarts became this...
It's the best pumpkin pie I've ever tasted. In fact, it's so good that I decided to wait an extra day or two to become skinny again.
I made the mistake of reading the sweetened condensed milk can label.
TWO HUNDRED TWENTY grams of carbs from that ingredient alone. Wow!
I'll just have to feed the rest to my kids - QUICK!
Thanks again, Amy!
Oh, and by the way, I made the crust yesterday and I quadrupled the recipe, divided it into eight portions and froze them. This morning, I got one out and let it warm up a little on the counter and rolled it out between sheets of plastic wrap. It's just as fantastic as it was on the blackberry pie! I'm guessing you could keep it in the freezer for a while.
You know... just in case a small pumpkin falls into your cart at The Walmarts.
Wednesday, September 17, 2008
We managed to get started with swim team and flag football and Awana and the Boy Scout popcorn sale last week. In the middle of it all, we picked apples at a friend's house, so I've been busy making applesauce.
In all, it's been really a great week and I'm feeling like it's really good to be headed into fall and back into a busy groove of activities and home school and home making. We're all looking forward to STAYING HOME for a few weeks or even months!
Part of my flurry of activity has been spending LOTS of time in the kitchen. In the process, I've enjoyed some old tried-and-true recipes and discovered some new ones, too.
The most amazing and thrilling kitchen discovery came courtesy of my friend, Amy. The same Amy who inspired me to post my granola recipe, which has been the cause of the vast majority of visits to my blog. Thanks, Amy! [Waving]
Anyway, my super-duper husband goes to Amy's house once a month for church deacons meetings. And Amy always serves some yummy dessert. A few times, Amy has served PIE... mmmmmm... Roger is a pie lover. I don't make pie much because I've never been able to get a handle on making a good pie crust. I have tried very hard, but to no avail. [insert sad face] After eating Amy's pie, Roger kept reporting that she does, in fact, make the best pie crust EVER. I had asked her for her secret before and she'd told me, but I'd never really taken time to try it. And, honestly, I figured it probably wouldn't work as well for me. I had tried so many recipes and methods.
When we went to pick apples last week, our friend also allowed us to pick blackberries from the edge of her field. The kids were determined to pick enough to make a pie.
So, when I got home, I called Amy and asked for her super great pie crust recipe. She gave it to me... and she gave me permission to share it with all of you!
Let me just say, here and now, that this recipe makes the most tender, flaky declicious pie crust I have ever tasted. In fact, when I served it to my kids and asked them if they liked the crust, they actually said that the crust tasted better than the blackberry part of the pie! AND they ate all the crust, where normally they just eat the pie filling and leave the crust - even in restaurants.
YOU MUST TRY THIS RECIPE.
Amy's World Famous Pie Crust
With two knives or a pastry cutter or a fork or something,
1 C Room Temperature Shortening
2 C Flour
1 t salt
With a fork, stir in:
6 T HOT water
The dough will be very sticky.
Refrigerate or freeze the dough until it is firm enough to handle and roll out.
Really, it's THAT GOOD.
My Quick and Easy Applesaucing Method:
Quarter and core a giant pot of apples.
Add several cups of water.
Simmer until very soft.
Run apples through the food processor.
Can in a boiling water bath for 20 minutes.
I've done 28 quarts so far... I still have lots of apples to go...
I've also been making home made pizza a lot since I found this crust recipe on someone's blog...
2 1/2 C Flour
1 T Baking Powder
1 t salt
1 T oil
1 C Water
Roll to fit a large cookie sheet or pizza pan. Top, bake.
I found that baking the crust at 425* for about 7 minutes before adding the toppings and baking for another 15 minutes works well.
I've been using a pizza cheese blend, which I can get for a great price at Cash and Carry and Ragu spaghetti sauce from a giant container I buy at Walmart.
Most satisfying: I can make this pizza and serve it in less time than it takes to order and pick one up from Papa Murphy's and for a fraction of the cost... and it tastes great!
Today, I also used this amazing multi-purpose roll dough from Wintercreek to make Monkey Bread for Roger's object lesson at Awana tonight. This dough has never failed me and I've used it MANY ways! You must try it. It's easy and fool proof and yummy. What more could you ask for?? Tami is one of my oldest friends... I mean longest-lasting, not OLD... and her blog is well worth perusing for great ideas and fun stories.
I'm off to spend more time in the kitchen. Have a great day!
Tuesday, September 9, 2008
This week, we kick off the Boy Scout popcorn sale - an activity of epic proportions for Noah, swim team for Noah and Anna, flag football for Daniel, and Awana for all of us - I'm the Cubbies director, Ack!
Thankfully, it all starts tomorrow, so today is a glorious reprieve between the crazy road trip and the crazy home life. I'll be unpacking and laundering and organizing and cooking and cleaning and preparing for Cubbies and resisting the urge to nap.
"The earth is the Lord's and everything in it." - including me.
Tuesday, September 2, 2008
Roger called to tell me that one of his employee's house burned down and they lost everything. He asked if I could pull together some hand-me-downs for their four year old girl.
Of course, I didn't hesitate to jump in and start sorting things out for her.
The problem is that on my "list of things to do" it says: Sort Clothes.
This is because clothing has been multiplying like bunnies in every corner of our closets, and attic, and storage room. I've been needing to pull it all out and go through it and organize it into something useful and get rid of what we don't need to keep. Thankfully, there's less to go through and organize now. Unfortunately, finding everything and going through it took a few hours. Of course, being a wee bit swamped is a very small thing in comparison to losing your home and all you own.
We have so much to be thankful for!
I need to be packing for a road trip. There won't be much blogging here for a few days... those great pictures will have to wait!
Except for this one. I took it self-portrait-style at the beach on Saturday. I'm so happy with how it turned out! I didn't even cut our heads or ears or chins off!
See you next week!