Taking a Week Off

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Happy Monday, everyone!  Wow!  I had a wonderful weekend full of fellowship, old friends, new friends, family time, teaching from God’s Word, and lots of fun and laughter!  I can’t wait to share it all with you!

But…first a little rest. I’m going to take a week’s vacation from blogging, but don’t forget me!  I’ll be back next week with recipes, ideas, and pictures of what I’ve been up to!  If you’re not following my blog yet, you could hit “follow” and you’ll get an email when the next post is up.  My mind will keep coming here this week, but I’ll resist the urge to write and save it for seven days from now.

I pray you’re having a great day.  Stay refreshed, and I’ll see you next Monday!

Lovingly,

Denise Signature 150 px

Family Friday – Ten Things This Mom Would Do Again

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My mommy days are behind me now, and as I’m watching others in this special, yet demanding role, I have done some reminiscing over the years when my girls were young.  I have plenty of regrets, as all moms do, but I’m not going to dwell on those, because I can’t change them, and because doing so would not fall under the Philippians 4:8 things I should think about!  It’s in the past. But there are things that were so good about those days.  As I think back, I remember things that we did that I would definitely do again, if I had the chance.

Here they are:

  1. Be a stay-at-home mom.  I’m so thankful that I was there for all but 9 months of both of my girls’ lives.  The nine months I worked were the longest months of my life!  I hated being taken away from my family and my home.  I was under a teaching contract, and I kept my word to the prinicple, but when the school year was done, so was I!  My husband and I decided that it was best for me to pour into our own children, rather than someone else’s!
  2. Be relatively poor.  Does that sound strange?  I would have never anticipated saying that!  Our churches did the best they could to care for us, but when the girls were young, things were tight.  Very tight. As I stated above, I was a stay-at-home mom, so we lived on my husband’s salary alone.  We homeschooled, so we had book fees and satellite costs, which were a large chunk of money every year that we never had on hand.  We were in ministry all those years, and we needed time away – times to rest and refresh as a family and recharge our spiritual batteries and physical bodies.  We had growing girls and we entertained missionaries and guest speakers, so groceries were another cost that stretched us.  Where did we get the money for these things?  We prayed.  Our inefficiencies ran us to our all-sufficient God.  He provided for us in amazing, life-changing ways!  Had we had all the money we wanted or needed, it wouldn’t have taught us to depend on Him so greatly.  Being needy turned into a great blessing.
  3. Read aloud to my girls.  One way we entertained ourselves at bedtime, around the kitchen table, in the car, or on a blanket in the backyard was through books.  We read a varied kind of books, and they were carefully chosen, and opened a whole world to us, even while we stayed home.
  4. Use God’s Word in discipline.  We always sat down and talked with our girls in their bedrooms at discipline times.  We explained from the Scriptures what they had done wrong that God considered sin.  This kept us from acting quickly out of anger (we sent them to their room and we’d cool off before addressing the issue!).  They knew it wasn’t just that mommy and daddy didn’t like what they did, but they saw it in God’s Word, and it guided their thinking and changed their behavior.
  5. Laugh and have fun.  We had lots of laughs as a family.  I should have laughed at myself more, but we shared many fun times around games, out in the snow, in the car playing the alphabet game, baking in the kitchen, or building a fire in the backyard.
  6. Be faithful to Sunday school and church.  It’s not just because we’re a ministry family that we went to church.  We love being in God’s house and with God’s people!  Worshiping, singing, reading Scripture, giving our tithes, and fellowshipping with other believers helped all of us to grow!
  7. Show outward affection and say, “I love you.”  We’re a “touchy” family, in that we hug and love on one another.  Using words to express love between parents and children is so important.  Our children learn how to love by watching us.  The first place they should feel acceptance and unconditional love is at home.
  8. Leave the girls once in a while to go on a date with their dad.  We were making a stronger home for them, and they lived through the trauma of it all!  A parent can feel really guilty leaving a crying child, even though they’re in great hands with grandparents or other caring adults, but without those times away, your relationship will get stagnant, and you’ll only discuss things like empty milk jugs and unfinished homework!
  9. Spend time alone with God every day.  When the girls were small, this time was limited, but I would read what I could and pray over each of my family.  Sometimes it came a verse at a time, with interruptions in between.  Sometimes my prayers were while I was ironing their clothes.  It was then that I’d pray for the one whose clothes I was pressing.  I often left verses on cards around the house so I could meditate on that passage.  Those “little moments” fed my soul and kept my heart right with God so I could parent them and point my girls to Christ.
  10. Marry my girls dad.  I let them know often how much I loved their daddy and how God brought us together.  He had to be my first priority because that’s God’s order.  Why?  Because God knew that I’d be where I am today – an Empty nester, and He wanted my home to be just as fulfilling now as it was when our daughters were here.

And you know what?

It is.

What are you doing right now that you know you’ll be glad you’re doing as a mom?  Keep doing it!  What are you regretting?  Ask God how to change it and watch for how He steps in!  

Refresh your children by being the mom God will enable you to be by His grace.

With love,

Denise Signature 150 px

Chalkboard Pantry Door

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Maybe I love chalkboards so much because I taught school, I don’t know, but I do love them in every shape and fashion!  I have them in several places in my home, but I recently saw a place for a chalkboard that made my jaw drop…it was painted on the pantry door!  “How cute is that?” I thought. I decided then and there that I’d use my leftover chalkboard paint to create that in my kitchen.

But when I got to thinking about putting paint on that vinyl door, it made me wonder what I’d do when the chalkboard love had waned in my heart?  What would I do about that paint?  Another creative thought jumped in and I remembered seeing chalkboard vinyl that could easily be added or removed from a door!!!  This was my answer!

After much searching, I found just what I needed at Hobby Lobby (where else? I should have started there!).  So let me show you the simple process:

The before and after shots:

The vinyl has a grid on the back, making it super easy to cut a straight line, thank the Lord!  Try as I might, my lines wiggle all over the place without those patterns to guide me!  So I measured the width and the length and cut it accordingly.

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Then I took the vinyl with the backing still on it, and starting from the top, I placed the sticky part down,then slowly pulled the backing away, smoothing as I went.  This product went on super well.  It was easy to pull it off and straighten it, or push out any air bubbles,

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Here’s the finished project without any writing on it – all ready for my chalk!!  Woohoo!  It took me 15 minutes to do this!  It doesn’t get any easier.   It’s sticking really well and hasn’t pulled away, but when I am tired of it, it pulls right off. I tested it to be sure!

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I wrote our Easter Menu on the board for the weekend, but…

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it already has a new look on it!  I anticipate changing it out weekly!  Why?  Because I love chalkboards!!

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But wait, here’s another fun use for the vinyl!  Have you ever used the last of your cinnamon and forgotten to add that to your grocery list? Then the next time you go to make cookies you remember you’re out of  it?  Me too!  So I also added a small piece of the vinyl inside my spice cupboard so I could remember the ones I needed to purchase and also which ones were stored away in the pantry.

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Not only was this project fast, it was also very inexpensive!  I used my 40% off coupon at Hobby Lobby and purchased this for less than $5.  I didn’t even use the whole roll, which means two things:

  1. It cost me around $3 to do this fun project!
  2. I have more chalkboard vinyl to add to other places in my house!!!  Hurries off to find a place to use that leftover vinyl…

Do you have chalkboards in your house?  How do you use them?

Refresh your home with a cute chalkboard!

Denise Signature 150 px

 

I Recognize That!

 

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Floured hands are not the best way to answer a cell phone.  Ask me how I know!
One day my cell phone was ringing, and not knowing who it was, I ran to answer it, flinging pie dough into the bowl and the counter, and also leaving a trail of flour with every step I took.  It was a telemarketer (how do they find me even after I register my number on the “Do not annoy call” list?).  Grrr.

It was then that I started using a different notification and ringtone for each group of people in my life so I could determine, just by the sound, if this was a call that really needed my immediate attention.

My husband’s notification has an ukulele song.  My daughters have a harmonica (they know why!).  My parents and sisters have a nostalgic kind of song. My close friends have a catchy little ditty.  Everyone else gets a standard ring.  Now when I’m driving down the Interstate at 70 MPH, I know who is calling just by the sound, and I know whether this is an urgent call that is worth digging sideways into my purse to find my phone!  It’s all by the recognition of the notification that I know who’s prompting me to answer!

The Lord used that simple irritation and example to show me that I was not recognizing the Holy Spirit’s promptings in my heart throughout the day.  Oh, I start off right – I get up and have my Bible study and prayer time and give myself and my day to the Lord first thing and I hear from Him then.  But after I finish, I get going on my schedule and it seems the later it gets in the day, the less sensitive I am to the Spirit’s prompting and directing my heart and my life.  Pretty soon, I’m not aware of His conviction, His leading, or His speaking to my heart because I’ve tuned out the recognition of His Spirit.

But what if I stayed sensitive to His promptings all day, just like those notifications on my phone?  What if I was aware and recognized His nudging to witness, His conviction of sin, His warning to not speak that word of criticism?  I could “pick up that call” and be directed so that I might avoid the sin, or share the Gospel with a person who is lost.

I want to recognize God’s Spirit in my life greater than I want to know when I’m getting a really important phone call.  I’m asking Him to help me to be sensitive to His whisper and nudging in my heart, no matter where I am or what I’m doing.  It’s even sweeter than that loving text from my husband, and I think you know how much I like those!

Are you recognizing the Spirit’s nudging notifications in your life today?

Lovingly,

Denise Signature 150 px

(L)Oven Monday – Easter Dinner 2017 Recap

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If you’ve been reading my blog more than a week, you know how I treasure Sunday dinner.  It makes my heart sooo happy! But how does Sunday dinner get even better?  It’s when Sunday dinner is Easter Sunday dinner.  On top of good food, there’s the blessing of remembering Christ’s resurrection from the dead and celebrating that truth that He lives!

So, yesterday, we did indeed have a big Sunday meal, but we started with a wonderful church service where Christ was exalted! We sang of His resurrection and heard God’s truth about how to be sure you can have eternal life!  Then we came home for dinner and included our daughter and son-in-law and a couple of other special people.  We also incorporated a few family traditions, which brings memories and makes memories.  It was a great day!

Here’s the menu:

 Brown Sugar Glazed Ham
Ruth’s Chris’ Sweet Potato Casserole
Tarragon Asparagus – New recipe
Deviled Eggs
Caesar Salad in Parmesan Bowls
Bunny-Shaped Breadsticks – New recipe
Coconut Cake with Lemon Filling

Let me roll the pictures so you can have a peek into our day and see that I also incorporated all the principles I’ve recently shared about Sunday dinner!

I worked early in the week and got the Coconut Cake baked and layers put in the freezer.  Then at the end of the week, I made the lemon curd and the icing.  It simplifies the process so much!  By Saturday night here’s what was already prepped:

The cake, the rolls, the Sweet potato Casserole, Deviled eggs, and the salad ingredients were totally ready. The table was all set, too.  I also had the roasting pan for the ham set out and ready to bake the main entree.

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When I got home from church it only required to put the finishing touches on everything and bake the casserole.

Here’s how things turned out on Sunday~

Caesar Salad in Parmesan Cups –

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Sweet Potato Casserole – The best in my book!

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Terragon Asparagus – This was new, and it was pretty good.  My asparagus wasn’t as fresh as I’ve ever gotten, so I’m going to try this again before giving it a final verdict!

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Bunny Breadsticks – Another new recipe.  These were fantastic on Saturday when I made them, but they don’t really do well the next day.  Sooo, I won’t make these for Sunday any more, but I sure will use this recipe for other days when I have time to make them for that day.  They were delicious right out of the oven!!  And how cute are they???? They can be baked into regular bread sticks if you want to make them other times of the year!

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Coconut Cake

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One tradition that we’ve had for years is Easter sunrise service outside at home.  That was a challenge (and very cold) when we lived in Indiana, but we would don our coats and head to the tree house where we would have our own Sunrise service!  Then we would come inside and have Cinnamon rolls and scrambled eggs.  Now that it’s just my husband and me, we simply eat breakfast on the patio and read Scripture together.  It’s usually warm enough that we don’t shiver, thank the Lord!  Here’s what we had yesterday:

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We had Fresh farm eggs, Prosciutto, Cream Cheese Coffee Cake, Fresh fruit and Coffee.
It was a great way to start Easter Sunday!  This is a reminder that traditions aren’t just for when your kids are at home.  Keep those traditions going even when they’re gone.  It will continue to build strong home ties, and will also give your grown kids the security of knowing that you’re still making the most of your marriage!

So, another Easter dinner is in the (memory) books, and I’ll have to say, it’s a memorable chapter!  I thank the Lord for the blessing of celebrating our Savior’s life and getting to do it at church AND at home around the Sunday dinner table.

Did you have Easter dinner?  Did you cook?  What made it special for your family?

With love from my country kitchen,

Denise Signature 150 px

Family Friday – Keep Your Marriage Safe

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Recently in the late hours of the night, while a subdivision of residents was fast asleep, a thief entered the quiet of the street and began making his way up driveways looking for unlocked cars. All he was interested in was cash, and any he found was taken.

What the thief didn’t know was that a security camera was right on him, taking footage of his sinful deeds.  Aside from seeing him enter unlocked cars, one thing noted on the security tape was that when he approached one vehicle that was locked, he simply moved away from it. There was no attempt at breaking in.  The security of the car door locks, kept him from taking what was not his.

As I thought about the crime, the Lord brought a truth to my mind about my marriage.  No one can steal away from our relationship unless we leave areas unlocked.  So then, we must check to be sure that we’re keeping our marriage safe.  Here are some security locks that need to be checked regularly:

  • Keep your marriage vows.
    • Love
      • Love is a choice, not a feeling. If you’re not “feeling it,” pray and ask God to help you love your husband – He will. Keep praying about it and don’t quit!
      • Love him thoroughly, the way you want to be loved. Accept him and don’t have any expectations of what he should be or should do.  Would you and I want to be held to our husband’s list of expectations?  We must accept him in the same way.
      • Love him physically. Don’t withhold your physical love as punishment.  Doing so could cause ramifications that could cause the thief to come in and steal what is supposed to be only yours.
    • Honor
      • This is the same as respect. A husband doesn’t earn it as the world says he must – you give it because God commands you to.  Eph 5:33 Honor him as unto the Lord, or as you would the Lord!  Your words, your reactions, your decisions – your whole married life is to show the man you married honor – the highest esteem.
    • Obey
      • He has ultimate leadership for your home. Whether you like his decision or disagree, God says the husband is the head, and unless what he is asking is sinful, then you must come under his authority. Period.
    • ‘Til death do you part
      • Never should we use the word, “Divorce.” Nor should we threaten to leave.  Marriage is for a lifetime.  Considering divorce is leaving an open door for the right situation to enter so we have an out.  (I realize divorce for fornication is allowed, but often lesser things cause those words to be spoken.)

So, how secure is your marriage?  Are you leaving an unlocked door in any of the areas above?  There are many other safeties we could discuss, but I believe if we’re  honoring our marriage vows, most of the other scenarios will be safe from danger.

Marriage is a gift from God that is a beautiful picture of our relationship with Christ.  He keeps us secure for eternity.  I’m pretty sure I know a subdivision of people who will now be locking their car doors at night.  Don’t you wait until the thief comes to steal from your marriage before you do what is wise!  Keep it secure all the days of our life, “so long as you both shall live.”

Happy Easter!  Rejoice; He is risen, and that makes a difference in every area of life – even your marriage!

Denise Signature 150 px