....... 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!

Thursday, May 17, 2012


Do you ever have a picture in your mind of how you think things should go? I often have a picture in my mind of peacefulness, quiet, order and restfulness.

We were reading our story for homeschool yesterday and I showed them a picture in the book of one of the characters. Two of my children proclaimed that it was not what they had imagined!

Life is somewhat like that. We imagine it to be one way and sometimes it is not. Slowly, ever so slowly, I am learning to take one day at a time. The pictures in my mind so often change that it is better not to expect what the next one may look like.

Robert Gallon ~ A Village Scene
As I learn to trust the One who holds each day, I find that the reality ... instead of the imagined picture... is much better than I could have dreamed! Why does it take me so long to figure that out?

One of my most favorite songs is one that I love to sing to remind myself of Who holds each day. I pray it would be a blessing to you today as well.

~ Anna

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Gifts from Above

Daniel Ridgeway Knight  - The Washerwoman

 Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and cometh down from the Father of lights, with whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning.  James 1:17

I am thanking God today for His special gifts to me. Do you ever lose sight of those gifts in your life? I am so frail and I lose sight of them so often!

A special gift He has given me right now is friendship. I can just "feel" the prayers and love from so many ladies back home in the States. I am so full of gratefulness for that... I'm sure if I had each and every one of them right here, I would give them the biggest hug!

Sometimes I might dwell on the fact that they aren't right here.... that I can't actually talk to them as I would like to. Then... then... God in His mercy and love to me ... reminds me that He is here! He also sends me an email or special chat time on Facebook that reminds me of His extra special love to me through them.

Ladies, we have such a power in encouraging each other. I just love this picture above. Wouldn't you just love to wash your clothes with a special friend! We could chat for hours while doing that! Just think of the things we could share as God works in and through us! Laundry would take on a whole new meaning....

Today, I will focus on His many gifts to me.... Today, I will thank God for you .... and as you think of it, write me a comment and let me know what you would tell me while we washed clothes together....

Blessings to your Day,


Monday, May 14, 2012

Needing to be Kneaded

Homeschooling brings me such joy as I get to teach and learn and participate with my children. We all get to ask questions, to learn from each other and sometimes ... fail ... with each other.

Have you ever made Bannock bread? It's a new bread that we learned about as we study Medieval Times.

My daughter joins with me in making this quick and easy bread for our family.

My desire to mold her in to the lady that God would have her be brings us together to mold and shape this loaf of bread.

I can feel His molding of me too. Kneading, pulling, shaping. I need to be kneaded. She needs to kneaded.

Sometimes we both resist... these two people who are more alike than she or I would like to admit.

Funny how God keeps kneading me ... patiently, wisely. I long for that wisdom in kneading her.

We learn, we grow ... together. Lovingly making this gift for our family.

You too can make Bannock Bread ...

2 cups whole wheat flour
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 tsp salt
1 1/4 tsp soda
2 T butter, room temp.
1 1/4 cups buttermilk, room temp.
Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. Combine dry ingredients in a bowl. Work in butter with your fingers or cut with two knives until the mixture resembles moist bread crumbs. Add enough buttermilk to make the dough moist and sticky to the hand.... allow the flour to absorb the buttermilk. Knead lightly until the dough is well mixed and loses its stickiness, adding more flour if necessary. Turn into a 7 or 8 inch greased cake pan. Cover with foil. Bake for 30 minutes then reduce heat to 325 degrees and continue baking for 15 minutes. When done, remove bread and carefully turn out onto a wire rack to cool. The bread should not be sliced until it has set for at least 6 hours. Enjoy!

This post is linked to:
Raising Homemakers

Saturday, May 12, 2012



I wake up to it each morning.... with the intention of loving, serving.

Hugs, kindness and the day goes on.

At the end of the day .... the same hugs, kisses. Kindness comes and goes.

Do they know my heart? Do they know how much I love them, how frail I am? How I MUST walk with Jesus or I am not the mother I should be?

Thirteen years ago next month ... thirteen years ago? ... they layed this tiny infant in my arms. Oh, how he cried! I whispered sweetness in his ears... close to my face... and he calmed.

That moment I knew... I was a mother .... his mother.

What a feeling! What joy! What responsibility!

I am blessed. I need that reminder.

Even now, as I write ... interruptions, noise, uproars, frustrations. My heart beats faster. I want to go away to a quiet place ... the bathroom?

I am their example. God, please give me your love! your heart! your wisdom!

I am their momma and just like that first day, I want to draw them close and whisper sweetness in to their lives. They start to pull away at this age. Oh that they were babies again and I could start over! Maybe I could do it better, show them better.

I start from today. Each morning. "His mercies are new every morning". I go on ... praying, loving, praying again.

Friday, May 11, 2012

What is in a Name?

Certain things define us.

Styles we like, where we might live, our behaviour or lack there of .....

From the time I was young, I knew that my name meant "Full of Grace, Mercy and Prayer". Some books vary it a little and say "Graceful One".

Friends call me by name...Family also... It's what I've come to be known by.

When I introduce myself, I use that name.

Do I live up to that name?

Another name defines me....


The name means "Christ Follower".

Am I known by that? When my friends .... family..... look at me, do they see that?

What about the world? I might be saved and on my way to heaven, but does the world SEE that I'm a  .... Christian?

What defines ME ?