....... A Journey through this life ... desiring to be filled with Grace, Mercy and Prayer.

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

God, Thou Art Love

Good morning, dear friends!

I am so thankful for today and for God's mercies that are new every morning. As you start this new day, what are you thankful for? Please do tell ....

I found this poem today and just had to share it. What a special poem by Robert Browning! I hope you enjoy it too ....

God, Thou Art Love
     - Robert Browning

If I forget,
        Yet God remembers! If these hands of mine
Cease from their clinging, yet the hands Divine
        Hold me so firmly that I cannot fail;
And if sometimes I am too tired to call
        For Him to help me, then He reads the prayer
Unspoken in my heart, and lifts my care.

I dare not fear, since certainly I know
        That I am in God's keeping, shielded so
From all that else would harm, and in the hour
        Of stern temptation strengthened by His power;
I tread no path in life to Him unknown;
        I lift no burden, bear no pain, alone:
My soul is calm, sure hiding-place is found:
        The everlasting arms my life surround.

God, Thou art love! I build my faith on that,
        I know Thee Who has kept my path, and made
Light for me in the darkness, tempering sorrow
        So that it reaches me like a solemn joy;
It were too strange that I should doubt Thy love.

Thursday, May 31, 2012

My Italian Garden

When I heard that we would be going to Italy for three months and staying through June, I have to admit that I was not liking the fact that I wouldn't have a garden. I love being able to plant something, watch it grow, and then eat and share the fruits of our labor. There is such a satisfaction to me in providing for my family in that way ... even though they don't always appreciate all the yummy tastes.

What an unbelievable blessing it was to me ... an unbelievable gift from God ... to find out that the place we would live would have a little courtyard AND in that little courtyard would be a little spot to have a garden. God didn't have to do that for me ... for us ... but He did!

When we first arrived, I went out and bought some lettuce, spinach and beet seeds. With some extra special help, ages 12, 10, 8 and 6, we got in as much seed as we had room for. It has been so fun to watch things grow ... even the neighbor has enjoyed it.

Here is one row of the lettuce and another row of spinach. I was able to get two rows each.

Here are the beets. We won't be here long enough to have the beets, but we really like to add the greens to our salads. A great way to get extra iron!

 After I had my seeds in, I noticed I had some extra room for a few herbs. Who could live in Italy and not have fresh oregano or basil?! I went to the garden store and bought parsley, basil, oregano and sage plants. They have been fun to have in the garden and maybe the next person who lives here, will enjoy them too.

As we have been studying Medieval Times, we have also been studying about the way herbs were used in that time period. Today we will learn about some of these same herbs and have Spaghetti with Herbs and Garlic Sauce for our supper. I'll share the recipe below....

Oregano, Sage and then Basil. The Parsley is behind it.

Spaghetti with Herb and Garlic Sauce

1 pound Spaghetti
1T butter
8T olive oil
2 garlic cloves, crushed
4T each, chopped fresh Parsley, Basil and Oregano
salt and pepper

Cook spaghetti in large saucepan of salted water. Meanwhile, heat a little butter in a smaller pan and add garlic, cooking very gently over low heat. Do not allow garlic to brown. When the pasta is done, drain it well and return it to the pan. Pour the oil, garlic mix and herbs in to the pasta. Season with salt and pepper. Mix quickly and thoroughly. Serve immediately with a little parmesian cheese if desired.

Friday, May 25, 2012

A Visit

Dear Friends,

My mom is here visiting and we are enjoying our time together. I hope you'll come back in a few days and I'll have another post written up.... maybe about our time together!

You are precious in Jesus sight!


Tuesday, May 22, 2012

A Planner at Heart - Part 2

To view the first part of this post, click here.

Because I am a planner by nature, I find that I have to plan something. As mentioned before, my life does not always allow me the luxury of planning too far in advance. Over the years, I have tried various ways to plan "within my limits" and have finally decided that my focus has to be planning the things that I know will happen. Things such as cleaning and eating!

One area that I have come to enjoy planning is our meal schedule. Once a month I plan out our dinner meals for the whole month. This has saved me so much time over the years! For several months this last year, I didn't do this. I finally had to start up again because of all the conflicts I had when I wasn't planning it out. You can read the specific details of how I plan out our menu here. In brief, I plan out our dinner menu for the whole month and for breakfast and lunch, I have a rotation schedule. This has been very handy for us! The biggest blessing is that when something changes in our month, which is bound to happen, I simply switch meals around to fit the schedule better. My shopping is easy too. I no longer have to run to the store to grab something that I didn't have. I know what to buy for a whole months time, if I want. Then I can simply run to the store for the fresh things. Our food budget is also much better.

Cleaning is another area that has to happen! Planning out our day hour by hour has not been something that has worked for our family. Even going so far as to say that we will clean from 9am - 10am has not worked either. When daddy is home or when something comes up, all schedules go out the window.... and without that consistency mom ends up being a nag more than anything else. I have found that our family does best with having a regular morning routine that happens every day and then we have a more flexible cleaning schedule in the afternoon. Our morning routine includes getting up, making our beds, getting dressed, eating breakfast, feeding pets and washing our breakfast dishes. After school work or whatever else is happening in our day, I write everyone's name on a dry erase board. Under each name, I write out their specific chores for that day. The child goes down the list and as each chore is done, he/she can then mark it off. Before they can have their free time that day, the child's chores must be done.... and done well. If this part of our day doesn't happen though, that's ok. The very basics have been done that morning ... the supper dishes get cleaned after supper .... and tomorrow is a new day. Now, granted, I can't let this go on for more than a day or two, but at least I know there is flexibility.

I may not be able to be the kind of planner that I'd like to be, but I think this allows me to see more of what God wants for my life. Learning to be flexible with long term plans has also helped me open my eyes more to see how God wants to use me in other people's lives... short-term or long-term.  My eyes have less tunnel vision and hopefully, more God vision. I am continually in awe of what God will teach us ... when we let Him!

Monday, May 21, 2012

A Planner by Heart - Part 1

God has made me a planner. I like to think ahead ... to organize what's coming up next ... I even see this personality type in some of my children. Several years ago, back before children, you would have said I was the Martha type!

Several factors contribute to the fact that I am not so much of a planner now. Oh, don't get me wrong! I still LIKE to plan, but it just doesn't come as first nature to me anymore.

First, my husband is not a planner. We struggled in our early years of marriage as I tried to make him conform, but I finely learned that it's just best if I change myself. Learning to be a little more flexible has been tremendous for our family life! It is also helping my daughters, who like to have a plan, learn a different way of doing things ... and know that it's going to be ok!

Secondly, my children took part of my brain! Ok, maybe not really, but it sure feels that way sometimes! I would love to say that I am as organized as I was when I worked as a secretary ... when everything in our house had a place ... when I could focus on several tasks at one time. This is not the case now ... but some of my children could do it! AND ... my focus has changed. Would it be better for me to have a sparkly clean house, everything in its place, with sparkly clean children sitting down doing there next thing on the list? I am slowly learning to put some things aside and focus on the time at hand. The time that my children need me to be there for them. The other, I hope, will come back... in due time.

Thirdly ... and the last, is that we move too much. Oh how I would love to have my own garden. I would love to plant strawberries and asparagus and know that I will still be there in three years to see the gorgeous fruits of my labor! I would love to know that my children's children may have the special places that there mom's and dad's had as they were growing up. This just hasn't been meant to be. Could I focus on this and try to change it? Should I put my foot down and tell my husband ... or God, that I won't move again? I think that would only make me more miserable. Ask me how I know! God's ways are not our ways! Again, I'm slowly learning to go with God's ways .... they are sooo much better!

Over the years, I have adapted the "planning personality" in me to take care of that particular need that I have. Tomorrow, I will post on the specifics of how I've done that in practical, easy ways.

Until Then ... God's Richest Blessings to your Day!


This post is linked to Raising Arrows

Saturday, May 19, 2012

Psalm 113:9

He maketh the barren woman to keep house, and to be a joyful mother of children. Praise ye the LORD.
Psalm 113:9

Friday, May 18, 2012

The Storms

A storm came through our house last night ....

No, not physically.

Words came crashing down, like waves hitting rocks.

No, we are not immune. We're not any more spiritual or religious than any of the other sinners out there.

How do I get through these storms ... they WILL come ...

I'm afraid that when all comes crashing down, my first response is to speak my heart.

There it is ... the truth ... my heart. My Heart ...

Jeremiah 17:9 "The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it?"

Just like all the other things that God is teaching me, I am slowly ... slowly .... learning.

To get through that storm .... to face the waves head on ... I must cry out to Jesus! He alone can bring peace and calmness to my heart. He CHANGES my heart. The storm may not go away, but inside me ... there is contentment! Oh the miracle!