Saturday, September 30, 2006

Setting Captives Free

Setting Captives Free is a website that has free Bible studies. They have several studies that deal with sexual addictions, substance additions and gambling addictions, but the one that got my attention first was one about food addictions. Oh my!! I'm not gonna tell you much about that study except that The Lord's Table does an excellent job in discussing what the true problem with food is- your heart.

The study I just started is a one called Glorifying God--A Practical Handbook. Wow. Just read this quote from Day 1...

"The kind of love that pleases God is the love that delights in God, that finds great pleasure in Him, that prefers Him over everyone and everything else. A man’s heart is set upon whatever he treasures, and to love God truly is to treasure Him supremely. True love for God is exuberant love, love that is more like a stream than a few drops of water. It is a superlative love, a super-abounding love, an overflowing love, a never-ending love."

Is THAT the kind of love that you have for the Lord? Be honest with yourself. Do I delight in God? Do I find great pleasure in Him? Do I prefer Him over everyone and everything else? Oh how I LONG for my answer to be "Yes!!!" to those questions.

Needless to say, I am enjoying this study. I long to know Him more and become more like Him and less like me.

Friday, September 29, 2006

Some new things for baby...

Okay, so I know that Elizabeth won't be here for a few more months, but I am getting ready for her slowly but surely. Mr. U bought me this diaper bag last week. The brand is called a Kecci Shanghai II and the color is chartreuse. I love it because it's not a typical looking diaper bag and it has that Asian flair to it that reminds me of Elizabeth coming from China.

Friday, Mr. U and I went to a children's consignment sale and they had a TON of things to buy and some really great deals!!! Since I don't know what size Elizabeth will be when she comes home, I have NO idea what size to buy her. But... I saw these three little dresses and thought they were FAR too cute not to purchase. I also bought some children's books for her. I love looking at children's things.

EDIT: To read more about Elizabeth, click here.

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

With all this talk about apples and apple butter...

Okay, I've read SOOO many blogs about people making apple butter lately. I LOVE LOVE LOVE apple butter and decided I wanted to give it a shot myself. I headed to the grocery store to buy some apples only to discover that they were VERY expensive- at least here in my part of "the South". Isn't this the time of year that apples are supposed to be coming in and they are on sale? Well, I couldn't find any on sale... So... what's a girl to do??

I found a recipe that uses unsweetened applesauce!!! I made this Friday and it made the whole house smell so scrumptious!! Very easy and INCREDIBLY tasty. I highly recommend this to everyone who can't find fresh apples on sale!!

Crock Pot Apple Butter

4 qts unsweetened applesauce
7 cups sugar
1 1/3 cup brown sugar
5 1/3 tbsp cider vinegar
5 1/3 tbsp lemon juice
2 tsp cinnamon
2 tsp allspice
1 tsp ground cloves

Combine all ingredients in crockpot. Cover and cook on High about 3 hours, stirring occasionally. Remove lid and continue cooking until excess liquid cooks away, on Low for about 5-8 hours. Seal mixture in hot jars and process about 10 minutes in a hot water bath. Makes about 9 pints.

Monday, September 25, 2006

Problems with Blogger

Well, as you've noticed, my site isn't so "pretty" anymore. I had problems with Blogger earlier today and finally just got a few things resolved. The only thing I can figure is that I deleted some of the coding on the template on accident. How? No one knows. But, it happened nonetheless. And so.... we move on.....

My apologies to anyone who was as confused by my blog issues as I was. Hopefully all will be well soon. :)

Making your house a dream home???

(Note- This is not my house.  This is a dream home!!!!)

How often do you sit around and dream about your "dream home"? After reading these posts (here and here) about dream homes, I'm starting to think a little differently.

I'm very guilty of whiling away the day being caught up in daydreams about the perfect home of my imaginings. Why? What's the point?

Girl Talk says... " As a Christian woman, my 'dream house' shouldn’t be one of mere aesthetic beauty, or luxurious comfort. Rather, I should aspire to have a home like the one Peter Marshall once described as possessing 'an atmosphere in which it was impossible to keep from thinking of God.' "

Oh, just go and read for yourself. Then, please, come back and share your thoughts about this with me. While we SHOULD make a house a home- a place where our family wants to be- we don't need to get caught up in trying to make our house a worldy "dream home".

Wonderful tea!!!!

Look what Annecourager sent me!!! She had been given a ton of it and wanted to give it away to others. She's so sweet!!

Chai tea happens to be my current favorite tea. It is basically a spice tea and you can read more about it here.

Thank you, Annecourager!!!

Saturday, September 23, 2006

What's up today...

Can you tell what I'm doing today by the picture I've posted? Yup, it's FLOWER TIME!! I know, these aren't a ton of flowers. I'm just getting started. HA! Mr. U would have a heart attack if I bought all the flowers I wanted at one time. So I'll just spread it out over a month or so and today's project is planting more daffodil bulbs and some pansies. Goodness gracious, I love flowers.

Mr. U asked me one day if I thought someone could ever plant too many flowers (was he hinting at something??). I just looked at him like he had two heads. Too many flowers? How DARE he!!!!

Yesterday at Lowe's when I was picking out these flowers, Mr. U said "So, I guess you want me to plant these, huh?" I replied, "You planting these flowers for me is like you buying an Xbox game and I play it for you." Seeing as how I've never played an Xbox game in my life and have NO desire to, he smiled and said "Oh, I get it."

Friday, September 22, 2006

Potato Leek Soup

I made the best and easiest Potato Leek Soup today!! I bought some leeks at the grocery store on Monday because I wanted to make this soup. But when I searched All Recipes yesterday, all the recipes I found were very fattening. So, I came up with this very tasty version on my own.

Leeks supply plenty of potassium, some folic acid, beta-carotene (in the green stems) and vitamin C. Although less beneficial than onions, leeks may help to reduce cholesterol levels and may offer some protection against cancer. Leeks also assist the body in the disposing of uric acid and so are beneficial to those who suffer from arithitis.

So, eat and enjoy!!!

Potato Leek Soup

3 medium leek(s)
4 medium potato(es)
2 Tbsp unsalted butter
2 Tbsp cornstarch
1 1/2 cup fat-free half and half
4 cup fat-free chicken broth
salt and pepper to taste

Peel and dice potatoes into bite-sized pieces. Cut dark green tops off of leeks, thinly slice leeks, place in a collander, rinse and drain. Add butter to dutch oven that is over med-high heat. When butter is melted, add leeks and saute until tender. Add potatoes and broth (reserve about 1/4 cup of broth for later). Cover, bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer for about 30 minutes, until potatoes are fork tender. In a separate bowl, add cornstarch and remaining 1/4 cup of broth. Stir together until incorpated and there are no lumps. Stir half and half into soup and then add the cornstarch mixture. Let it thicken (about 1 minute) and then taste and add salt and pepper as needed.

6 servings.

Thursday, September 21, 2006

What is THIS????

Do any of y'all happen to know what THIS is? Is it a flower? A weed? Is it poisonous??

This popped up in our flower bed late last week. The bud, before it opened, resembled a tulip bud, but then it turned into this. Very interesting looking, I should say.

If you have any idea of what it is, please let me know. If it's poisonous, I need to remove it. But, if it is just a flower, then it can stay and be the talk of the family!!!

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

September 19, 1989

What's with the date? Well, on September 19, 1989, the Lord in His goodness and kindness saved me from eternal separation from Him!! Praise the Lord!!!

I was in college and was miserable. It was the beginning of my sophomore year and before I had returned to college, my dad had asked me if I was 100% positive that I would go to Heaven when I died. "Of course I'm positive" I growled back at him. I had no idea why he was asking me that. I only knew that I wanted him to stop talking about "religious stuff" with me.

I grew up in a wonderful Christian family. I am blessed to say that both of my parents are born again followers of the Lord Jesus Christ. We were at church every time the doors were open. I was a "good" girl. But when I got to college, I wasn't so "good" after all. My freshman year, I knew I was living a very sinful life. I knew that not only was I disobeying my parents but also that I didn't really care if I was disobeying the Lord. I figured He was too busy to pay attention to little ol' me.

Shortly after my dad asked me about going to Heaven, I returned to college. I remember being invited to some "Welcome Back" parties and I went to one. Everyone was drinking and, for some reason, I had no desire to drink. My friends were confused. I was confused. I LOVED a good party... but not tonight.

The next day, classes started. For some strange reason, some people in my dorm had invited me to two different "Welcome Back" parties for two different Christian organizations. The first one was the BSU (Baptist Student Union). I remember sitting in the meeting and someone stood up and sang "Thank You" by Ray Boltz. It starts off "I dreamed I went to Heaven...". What??? I thought. Oh my!! My dad was RIGHT!! I am NOT 100% positive I'll go to Heaven. It's nothing but a dream to me!!!!!

I tried to put these thoughts out of my mind and went to the next "Welcome Back" party with Campus Outreach. The man stood up to talk and talked about the only verse that I knew even though I had been in church my entire life. He talked about John 3:16. He said "Put your name in the blank. For God so loved _______ that He gave His only begotten Son..." I heard nothing more after that. God loved ME? Sure, I knew God loved "the world", but ME? This was so new to me. I could barely think!!!

The man asked people to pray a prayer with him and I just sat and watched. I meandered back to my dorm room, desperate to escape all the confusing thoughts swirling around inside my head. I got in bed, pulled up the covers and just cried. God, in His mercy, had been showing me my need of Him. He showed me my sin. He showed me that I was nothing apart from Him and my goodness was nothing but filthy rags to Him. In my tears, I prayed "Dear Lord. I don't know what I'm supposed to say, but I need You. I don't know what I'm supposed to do, I just know that I am a sinner and I would like to ask You to forgive me. Oh, and if it's not too much trouble, would You mind sending me a Christian friend that I can talk to about this?" And that was it.

The next day, I awoke and thought "Well, I think I'm supposed to read my Bible". I opened it up (I have NO idea why I had my Bible in college - that was God!!!) and started reading and IT MADE SENSE!! The blinders had been removed and His Spirit began teaching me the ways of God through His Word.

I left for my morning classes and returned to my dormroom shortly before lunch. A girl that lived in the dorm next to mine was returning from classes, too. I didn't like her the year before because she was a Christian. You know what happened? She asked me if I wanted to go to lunch!! Whoa!! That was a quick answer to prayer- a Christian friend!!!

That began my walk with the Lord. I am not perfect by ANY stretch of the imagination. BUT, I know the One who is perfect. Daily He is showing me the areas of my life that are not pleasing to Him. I am so incredibly grateful that He chose to save me. I am blessed to be called a Child of God.

Lord, You are so good to me. Your ways are higher than mine and Your thoughts are higher than my thoughts.

Praise the Lord.

(Hey, y'all, go check out the "Bloggy Tour of Testimonies" at Created For His Glory!! How ENCOURAGING!! I LOVE LOVE LOVE seeing what the Lord has done in people's lives!!!)

What to do with an eggplant??

A sweet lady has given us an eggplant. I've had eggplant parmesan before but I've never eaten it any other way. Would y'all mind sharing your favorite eggplant recipes?? I would DEFINITELY appreciate it!!!

How to Clean Practically Anything...

We have the best book!! It's called How to Clean Practically Anything and it's by Consumer Reports .

Last night, Mr. U added ink to our printer. It's a messy job, but he is always so careful and never gets even a drop anywhere. Until last night. Two pretty large drops of BLACK ink made their way to our beige carpet. We didn't discover it until this morning. Not a pretty sight, let met tell you.

When I discovered the ink spots this morning, I sighed and figured they were there for life. Smartly, Mr. U grabbed How to Clean Practically Anything and looked up "ink" and it said to use rubbing alcohol. The description was for ball point pen ink but it worked magcially on our carpet!!! He poured some right on the spot and started rubbing. He didn't have to rub hard, either. It came right off!!!! What a blessing!!!!

I wish I had taken "before" and "after" pictures of the spot, but, frankly, I figured his trying to clean it was pointless. HAHA!! Guess I was wrong! If you were to see the area now, you would never know that black printer ink had just been rubbed out of the carpet.

Just wanted to share with y'all in case you ever run into the same problem.

Monday, September 18, 2006

Pumpkin Cobbler...

I LOVE pumpkins!!! Not only are they cute and round and sporting a FABULOUS color, but they are darn tasty, too!!

Today I received a catalog from Gooseberry Patch. Sure, they sell some really great products, but I found a delicious RECIPE in the catalog, too!!! I haven't made it yet, but I will. I just HAD to share it with y'all before I forgot about it.

If you try it, let me know how it comes out. Hooray for pumpkins!!!

Pumpkin Cobbler
3 eggs, beaten
15 oz can pumpkin
12 oz can evaporated milk
1 cup sugar
1/8 t salt
1 ½ t cinnamon
1 t ground ginger
1 T vanilla extract
18 ¼ oz pkg. yellow cake mix
1 ¼ cup margarine, melted
1 cup chopped nuts

Mix the first 8 ingredients and pour into an ungreased 9x13 pan. Sprinkle cake mix over the top and drizzle with melted margarine. Bake at 350 degrees for 25 minutes and then top with nuts. Bake for an additional 15 minutes. Makes 15 to 18 servings (or less if you are serving people that LOVE pumpkin and LOVE desserts!! LOL!!!).

Saturday, September 16, 2006

One busy day...

Mr. U and I have had a VERY busy and tiring day today. Family Life Today hosts an adoption conference called If You Were Mine. Today they held one at a church near us and our adoption agency (Chinese Children Adoption International-CCAI) asked if we would mind putting up a booth at the conference and talking with prospective adoptive families about the agency. We had the BEST time talking with couples about CCAI and adopting from China. We LOVE talking about adoption!!! The time flew by and before we knew it we were packing up to come home. While we did have a blast, it is amazing how tiring it is just standing there talking with people!! LOL!! We both pray that many families will want to adopt, whether from China or somewhere else. What a blessing it is to serve the Lord by helping others know how they can make the difference in the life of a child through adoption.

Thursday, September 14, 2006

My garden...

Fall is just around the corner. And today that corner seems awfully close!!!

I was pulling weeds in the garden earlier and noticed all my flowers are either dying or going to sleep for the winter. My big beautiful hydrangeas on either side of the front porch aren't lavender and cheery anymore. The petunias that grow with such passion are left leggy and in need of a visit to the trash pile. The lovely black-eyed susans have all lost their sunshine yellow petals. Sigh. As much as I love fall, I hate to see the happy flowers of summer go.

While pulling weeds, I realized that I don't have to be sad about my flowers. I can have a fall garden!! I've never actually planted any flowers in the beds for fall and the only flowers I know about for fall planting are mums!! I know there have to be many more flowers that I could plant for fall and I was wondering if any of y'all could help me out? What are some fall flowers that I could plant this year? Annuals, perennials, biennials, doens't matter. I just LOVE color in my flowers beds!!!

Please, if y'all think of any, let me know!!

Sunday, September 10, 2006

Where were you on September 11, 2001?

It was our first full year homeschooling. We had pulled the children out of a private Christian school in January, so this was the start of our first official full year of homeschooling and we were all very excited. Joshua was sitting on the sofa working on a subject and Danielle and I had just started working on Geometry. Mr. U was checking email. Breakfast was finished, dishes were done and the day was getting off to a good start.

While Mr. U was sitting at the computer I heard him say, “What in the world?” and he immediately turned on the TV. A plane had flown into one of the Twin Towers. “How horrible!!!” we all agreed as we gathered around the TV to watch. What happened? Perhaps something was wrong with the pilot? Was the plane having problems? What caused it to happen? As we were sitting there wondering all these things, it happened. The second plane flew into the other tower.

Two planes? Tears streamed down our faces. There’s no way that’s an accident. That’s planned. But by who? And WHY???

We sat spellbound in front of the TV all day long. The phone rang off the hook- some family calling to check on us and we were making sure they were alright as well. Mostly we had senior adult ladies in our church call. The sweet widows who had no one else to talk to. They wanted to understand what was happening. Were they going to be okay? Were we at war? They figured the pastor could help them understand.

At one point during the day, Mr. U had to go to town to get something from one of the stores. Joshua went with him and I remember thinking “PLEASE DON’T LEAVE ME!!!” I was scared to death. I was scared of war. I felt helpless, alone.

That night we had a special prayer service. Normally, since it was a Tuesday and not a typical “church” day, you would think there wouldn’t be many people at church, but there were MANY there!! People feeling unsafe. Wanting answers. Needing reassurance that God was STILL in charge. Desperate to be with fellow believers and lift their voices, together, to the only One who could fix the situation.

While crawling in bed late that night, I wept as I prayed. “I shouldn’t go to sleep”, I thought. “If I go to sleep, something may happen and I won’t be able to react quickly enough.” Silly thought considering we are in Georgia and the World Trace Center is thousands of miles away from me.

But the whole experience felt as if it was in my own backyard. As if I had personally been attacked. This is MY country. These are MY people. Land of the FREE, remember? Home of the BRAVE. I wasn’t feeling very free OR brave at that moment nor for days afterward.

Five years later, here I sit. Life is back to normal. For our family, anyway. We didn’t know anyone personally who died in any of the attacks. We hurt for those who did, though.

For the thousands of families that are missing someone so very badly, we will never forget. Your loved one WILL be remembered. While your sorrow is much deeper than mine, I still cry for your family. I imagine all the times you’ve thought of that day and replayed it over and over in your head. All the “what ifs”.

Regardless of what happened that day, God is still in charge. He IS good and He DOES good. Always. He had reasons for that day. Reasons we may never understand this side of Heaven. But, truth is, He knows best. So follow Him. Follow Him hard. Life is shorter than we realize.

Never forget.

edit: Visit Snannon at Rocks in my Dryer for more 9/11 stories.

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

When I originally wrote this post, I had just discovered Everyday Mommy's blog. There were some really good articles there, but the one that really caught my attention was the first one written entitled To Moms of Little Girls. In it, she shared what we've already seen- the clothing for young girls is not "little girl" at all!!! Where has modesty gone? Where has CHILDHOOD gone??

In this post, she was calling us to let our voices be heard!! We, as mommies, will NOT buy the horribly immodest, tramplike wear they try to sell to mothers of young girls. Not me, nu-uh, no way, Jose!!!!

Here, just read the mission statement...

Moms for Modesty Mission Statement:
-As a Mom for Modesty I believe in common-sense modesty for girls and young women.
-I believe in refraining from sexualizing our girls and young women.
-I believe that it is unwise and unfair to taunt boys and young men by permitting my daughter(s) to dress in an immodest manner.
-I believe that true beauty comes from within and I strive to teach my daughter(s) this truth.
-I will loyally shop at retailers that provide girls' and young womens clothing that is modest, affordable and stylish.

Let retailers know that you want your little girl to actually LOOK like a little girl. Let them know you stand for modesty. Let them know that you stand by what you say. And, most of all, let your daughters know that you love them by protecting them from what retailers are trying to make our daughters into- the image of a depraved, fallen world.

Your daughter is worth it.

Okay, so I sorta stole this from Tammy. Well, kinda sorta. My name DOES start with a letter in KNITTING IS FUN!!!

1. Are you craving anything and if so, what?
Diet Coke!!! I know, I know… this stuff is SOOOOO bad for you (believe me, I’ve read all the articles about it) but I just LOVE it!! So… I'm just opening a fresh can.

2. What is the weather outside, and do you wish it would change?
Slightly overcast and mid 80s. I wish it was a clear, sunshiny day and there was a crisp breeze in the air and I could hear the freshly fallen leaves rustle as the wind blew. (Yes, I’m ready for fall!! LOL!!!)

3. Do you wish you were somewhere else and if so, where?I wish I were in China with Mr. U getting Elizabeth and bringing her HOME.

4. Do you wish you were someone else, and if so, who?I really enjoy being me!!!! I wouldn’t change a thing about my life. Everything the Lord has allowed to happen in my life, good AND bad, has made me who I am and made me long for Him even more. But, I do wish to look more like Jesus and less like me.

5. Tag?
Okay, to copy Tammy (I’m so not original), I’m going to say that I tag anyone whose initials start with any of these letters – I LOVE MY HOME.

Saturday, September 02, 2006

Call me a glutton for punishment...

Most of y'all will remember my issues with taking YEARS (literally) to finish my son's crocheted afghan. Well, I have promised myself to never let that happen again. So, to prove it to myself (haha!!), I have started another afghan. This time it's for Elizabeth. Hopefully, by the time she gets here (I am praying we can have her here around Christmastime!!!!), I will be finished. But, with my track record... who knows???

The first pretty picture is a photo of the actual picture in a crochet book called Afghans For All Seasons (can you see my finger in the top left of the photo??). This is the afghan that I am making for Elizabeth except I am using Lion Brand Bubble Gum Pink and White. You know, fun, girly colors.

This photo is of the colors- Bubble Gum Pink and White. They look MUCH prettier in real life. Oh well. So far I have made the first two pink rows and the first two white rows. I just need to make 7 more pink rows and 6 more white rows and then I can start doing a weave in the crochet to make it look like a thick woven blanket!!

Friday, September 01, 2006

I just gotta brag!

Yes, I know that all babies are cute, but SOME babies are more cute than others!! Like this little one, for example.

This is my new little niece, Sarah. Is she beautiful or WHAT???? She is a little over 5 months old right now. I got to spend Saturday morning with her and I am just amazed at how she can be so gorgeous AND so sweet at the same time!!

She's a little bald right now (I LOVE LOVE LOVE bald babies!!!!) and hopefully her hair will come in red like my brother's (Sarah's dad) and sister's hair!!! I just love little redheads!! Congratulations my dear brother and sister-in-law!! I hope y'all have many, many more babies!!!!

Gosh, it's fun being an aunt!!!!! (I'm sure my sister would second that!!!)


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