“Abide in Me, & I will abide in you”…

Another one of the advantages that I’ve had with having the whole month of July off from taking care of grandsons is more time for prayer, personal reflection and Bible study.  In all my years of living for God, many mornings I will awake with a song on my heart, but never has God awoken me with a scripture on my heart until this past July 15th.  But when I awoke July 15th and heard Him say, “Abide in Me and I will abide in you”…I knew that would be the subject of my bible study that day.

Now, I don’t profess to be a Bible Scholar by any stretch of the imagination, but I do love to read and study God’s word.  And so the 15th chapter of John became my focus…here are just a few of my written notes:

verse 1) husbandman? hmmm…God is the master of the house, tiller of the soil; his business is to cultivate the soil.

verse 2) He prunes me!

verse 3) The word will keep me clean; the word will keep me from sin.

verse 4) There it is! What I woke up with! I can’t do anything without God! I am unfruitful without God!

verse 5) God and I are directly linked! We are connected! I will bear much fruit with God –but without Him I am nothing.

verse 6) I envision picking up all the dead branches laying on the ground when my husband mows and throwing them into the burn pile.  That branch can be me – DEAD – if I leave God out of the equations.

verse 7) OMG! Thank you God! There’s that condition again! I’ve often quoted James 4:3, but there’s a condition! In order to receive what I ask I must first abide in the vine and He in me!!

verse 8) disciple? hmmm…If I am a disciple for God, I will be able to “pay it forward”.  I will be effective for the ministry.  I will be an example; a witness. People will see a true & sincere change in me!

verse 9) my love walk will be perfected.

verse 10) A condition again!  “IF” I keep His commandments!! OMG! I will be able to replicate the love of the Father and the Son!!

Which then took me to the Ten Commandments in Exodus 20:1-17   Remember…no Bible Scholar here….just my take on things….

1) No other Gods! He comes first!!  (TV, Sewing, Fitness – they can all be “Gods” if they become more important in my daily life then Him!!)

2) No idols! No images! Love Him and Him only – He will show mercy!

3) Don’t take His name in vain!

4) Sunday is an important day! Rest, relax, reflect on God. Don’t work!

5) Whether they deserve it or not, I MUST honor my mom and dad!

6) No kill

7) No adultery – stay emotionally and physically connected to your mate!

8) No theft!

9) Bearing false witness? hmmm…To lie or accuse without evidence.

10) Thou shalt not “covet”? to desire for things that are not yours!

Good stuff and much food for thought as I return to John 15….

verse 11) If I keep His commandments my joy will be full!

verse 12) Love!

verse 13) Love more!

verse 14) Obedience!

verse 15) A “friend” of God knows God and His ways!

verse 16) I am chosen!

verse 17) Love!

verse 18) Don’t fret over being hated! The Lord was hated first!

verse 19) When the world hates you that’s a good sign you must be doing something right!

verse 20) They will heed my words “if” I abide in Him. (That “if” is the condition, see it?)

verse 21) I will be persecuted for living for God!!

verse 22) It’s easy to remain in denial about my sin if I don’t walk in the spirit.

verse 23) They are ONE!

God the Father & Jesus the Son are one…and these words (if you looked) are written in red. That means he is speaking directly to us and although He is merciful and a just God – Yes, he loves us unconditionally, but IF we want the full and abundant life there are certain things we must do – there are some conditions.

This really benefited me.  I hope by sharing it, it did you too.  His word is so powerful and so enlightening and when I go there, I just want to go there more, and hopefully while I’m relaxing with my sweetheart in the New Mexico mountains we will both be able to spend some time reflecting on God’s goodness!

Vacation pics on the way!  Be blessed my friends!

 

 

Scrapbooking, recipes & more!

Well, when the month of July began I really thought I would be blogging a whole lot more than I have.  I’ve not had the job of taking care of grandsons this month (except for four days with Jackson, and one more coming up this Thursday).  But, because I needed to replace lost childcare income with sewing income I have been extremely busy sewing and selling baby quilts on e-Bay, Etsy and here locally.  I have also been busy making and selling cord covers and still monogramming kitchen towels for the two Realtors that I have as customers (one being my baby daughter).  Needless to say, I haven’t been online near as much as I thought I would be and in fact have been scanning my e-mails and deleting most of them on a daily basis.

If you have been following my blog you know that several months ago I expressed a concern over the fact that my baby quilts really weren’t selling very well.  That has definately changed recently and in June I believe I sold 6 of my unique, one of a kind Pillow Quilts….Pink & Green PQ closeupand in July so far, I’ve sold 7!!  I was very excited the other day when I discovered that I had sold my first quilt on Etsy!  That’s been my work/”duty” related stuff that I’ve been staying busy with.  But, because I had the entire month off from taking care of grandsons I had a few fun activities planned also.

A week ago this last Saturday, I got together with my older daughter, Theresa and we spent the entire day scrapbooking.  She and I were way behind on keeping up our scrapbooks and it had been three years for her and almost as long for me since we had done any.  We had been planning it for weeks and had gotten all our pics prepared.  I had even made a list of some of the pages that I wanted to get done.  I think I did 12 two page layouts and she did even more – and we still barely put a dent in it!  Theresa scrapbookingI have a large dining room table that seats 6 comfortably, so we spread out with a big old mess and had a ball!

I made white chicken chili in the crock pot so we wouldn’t have to take a break to cook and Theresa brought cornbread salad.  Yum!  Linda Scrapbooking 2I love the creative endeavors!!  I was so far behind!! I started at 8 am, and didn’t stop until 6 pm.  I left the mess out for 24 hrs. thinking I might try to do some more, but once household and church responsibilities got a hold of me – no more scrapbooking inspiration occurred!  Here’s a sample of my work:  Christian's graduationAnother:

 

Ethan & Kashand another…..

Hannah's scrapbook pageIf you haven’t figured it out yet, the focus was on grandchildren.  Although there were other photos, events, persons to scrapbook I always have more fun scrapbooking pages about my grandchildren.  Jackson's scrapbook page 2I like to journal on my pages and have somewhat of a “title”.  If I go too long without putting my photos into scrapbooks, I forget the details!!  Jackson scrapbook pageTheresa and I scrapbook the old fashioned way.  We do our pages with glue sticks, die cuts, stickers etc;  My youngest daughter, Tanya prefers digital scrapbooking to the old fashioned way.  She turns out beautiful pages just like the old fashioned ones, the only difference is that she creates her pages on a computer and then prints them out to put into albums.  It just personal preference.  The digital technique seems a bit quicker, less labor intensive and is especially great for someone who’s extremely busy as she is.

So, now you know one of my other hobbies that I enjoy a whole lot.   But, enough about scrapbooking!  

So, this past Saturday I had planned to have some of my sisters from church over for another “quilting social”.  Unfortunately, there’s been a lot of sickness going around lately and so my turnout was poor.  There were only three of us and so there was more “social” then “quilting”. One gal forgot her electrical cord for her sewing machine and the other didn’t bring her machine, so instead of actually sewing, I showed them how to begin a t-shirt quilt (a project I am currently working on) and also showed them how to make their own “Crazy Quilt” Christmas stocking.  We still enjoyed great food and fellowship and afterwards went to Hancock’s for their “Super Saturday” sale.  I had a request for the soup I made in the crock pot.  It was my own concoction (I love creating soups from the ingredients I have in the house.)  I will put this in my recipe tab as well…but for now here it is:

MEATBALL MINESTRONE

Start with 6-8 cups of beef broth (in 6 qt. crock pot).  Brown in a skillet about 18 small meatballs.  (Melon ball size)  I’ve made these meatballs with 93% lean ground beef before, but this time I used ground venison.  (lean and delicious!)  Season how you prefer.  I used Montreal Steak Seasoning.  Don’t overcook because they will cook more in the crock pot.  Just get a good sear on them in the skillet.  If they are still rare, that’s okay as long as they are browned on the outside. (Let them sit in skillet while you do the following):

Add to your beef broth, 1 – 15 oz. can of diced tomatoes, 1 – 15 oz can of tomato sauce, 1 – 15 oz can of green beans, 1 – 15 oz. can of kidney beans (I used white cannelini beans).

I diced up 1/2 a white onion and minced a couple cloves of garlic and added it to the pot.

I had about two cups of frozen mixed vegetables (peas, corn, lima beans & green beans) in the freezer that I also added. Now add your meatballs and season your soup.  I seasoned my soup with basil, oregano, salt, pepper, cumin, Italian Seasoning etc;   This again is about personal preference.  Just keep tasting until you get it the way you like it.  Don’t overdo it, because it will become more flavorful the longer it simmers.  This soup is also very good with some fresh spinach added, but I didn’t have any this time.  The last ingredient you want to put in the pot (the last hour or so) is pasta!  I prefer whole wheat elbows or rotini but I didn’t have any, so I added about two cups of no yolk egg noodles.  If you put your pasta in the pot too soon it becomes very soft and soggy and falls apart.  Don’t like overcooked pasta!!

About four hours total time on low should do it! Since your veggies are mostly canned and frozen veggies the only thing that would be crunchy would be the onion if it hasn’t cooked long enough.  So, this is a pretty healthy soup (other than sodium content) and one I originally created when I was working for Weight Watchers.  At that time it was about 7 POINTS for a 1 1/2 cup serving.  I can’t attest to that POINTS VALUE anymore but still feel that soup is a good choice when you are watching your weight unless it’s cream based.  

And that brings me to my next subject….Yes, I’m back on the bandwagon!!  My youngest daughter, Tanya (who tries to live a very healthy lifestyle and like myself is a lifetime member of WW) inspired me to get back to eating healthy and exercising this month while the boys are away.  She went back to WW to get 4 or 5 extra pounds off her petite frame (I can see your eyes rolling)  LOL and she suggested we be accountability partners.  I thought this would be a good month to tackle the extra 20 lbs I’m carrying around.  My other daughter, Theresa decided to work on her fitness a little too, so we meet at the gym twice a week to workout together.  The other three days (Mon, Wed. & Fri) I walk 3 – 3.5 miles with sisters from church at 7:30 in the morning.  It’s been fun and I’m seeing the difference in how I’m feeling.  Still extremely tired but I blame that on age and my insomnia problem but the scale so far has been kind to me.  I use my WW online tracking tool and I weigh in here at home very Friday morning.  First week: 3 lbs gone! Second week: 1 lb gone! This last Friday: I only lost 1/2 a lb.…but I’m not discouraged.  I had Chinese one day and I know the sodium didn’t  help matters.  4 1/2 lbs in 3 weeks is not too shabby!  I know for sure that it has been easier to stay away from sugary snacks without the boys here!  When they return – they too will be eating more fruit and less candy!!

In closing, I will leave you with the most requested recipe at the WW meetings I used to lead:  

WW Cake

For most cake mixes: 12 servings of cake = 4 points

24 cupcakes = 2 points each

Mix together the following and bake according to the instructions on the cake mix:

Cake mix (your choice)

I can of diet soda (your choice)

2 egg whites (the egg whites make the cake a little lighter in texture and does not change the points value.

POPULAR COMBOS:

Spice cake mix with diet Sunkist

Banana cake mix with diet root beer

Lemon cake mix with diet 7-up

Chocolate cake mix with diet coke

Lemon cake mix with diet ginger ale

Orange cake mix with diet mountain dew

Cherry Chip cake mix with A&W diet cream soda

Lemon cake mix with Sprite Zero

Yellow cake mix with diet Sunkist

White cake mix with diet peach

Strawberry cake mix with diet Big Red

Spice cake mix with diet ginger ale or diet root beer

Chocolate cake mix with diet cherry coke

Devil’s food cake mix with diet vanilla coke

Marble cake mix with diet cream soda

White cake mix with diet sprite or Sprite Zero

Red Velvet cake mix with diet cherry vanilla or diet Dr. Pepper

Pineapple cake mix with diet squirt

Since they are now on the POINTS PLUS system I cannot attest to the PP value of this, but back in the old days the POINTS VALUE was as stated above.  I guess, just to be safe I would count a cupcake as 4 PP (double it’s original value).  Still great bang for your buck if you are craving cake.

I would ice my cupcake with 1 or 2 T. of Cool Whip FREE.  (No more points added.)

Signing off for today – i hope you enjoyed my long post. I will try to get back to post at least once more before leaving for our anniversary trip next Monday.

The cycle continues…

I had a brief chat with a 30 something yr old young man not too long ago and he said, “When I marry it will be for life.  I will only marry once.”

Having lived a few more years than he had…and having experienced a whole lot more than he had – I was blown away by his naivety!  This young man “presented” himself as a bible believing Christian (that’s a topic for another post)…

Naturally, having experienced the heartache of divorce more than once I was also quite offended by his comment.  Politely, I replied “well, do you think it was ever my intention to marry more than once?”  “Don’t you think that everyone who marries only intends to do it once?”  “Do  you really think that anyone goes into a marriage thinking it will end in divorce?”  OMG!  

No, ladies and gentlemen – I never intended for any of my children to come from a broken home – even if I did!  And yet, 2 of my 3 children have experienced more than one divorce just like I have! As hard as I try to live right, do right and be a Godly example they still have to live their life and make their own choices, right or wrong.  I hate that!  I want them to learn from my mistakes, not to make their own.  But, I truly don’t believe we learn much from watching others make mistakes and bad choices.

I learned my lessons much later in life.  It wasn’t until I was in my 40’s that I began to see that I was the “common denominator” in a lot of my choices and that I was the one that needed to change – not them.  That’s also when my prayers changed.  Instead of praying “God make him the kind of husband I want him to be” it was “God, show me how to be the kind of wife you need me to be.”  I know it seems simplistic and my prayers often involved more words than seen here, but you get my drift.

So, why do I post on this topic, you ask?  Well, because I am witnessing the cycle continue.  My grandchildren now come from broken homes!!  My grandson, Kash is just one example.  He will be 3 in Sept.  He goes to Daddy’s for one week, then he’s at mommy’s for one week.  He’s at daddy’s the entire month of July – not to see his mommy, his four other siblings or his Maw Maw. I miss him.  But, more importantly, I’m sad for him.

No one really thinks twice about being from a broken home anymore.  Do they even use that terminology anymore?  It’s more the norm nowadays.  So many couples just live together now without the marital contract and bring children into that world as well.  If Hollywood says it’s okay then I guess it’s okay, right?  NADA!    I’m so sad about the direction our world is going.  

I know some will call me old fashioned.  Some will say what I desire is unrealistic.  Some will even say that I’m living in the dark ages.  I just hate that the cycle continues.

Cuddly, soft pillow quilts for baby…

Happy Independence Day to all!  I hope you are doing just want you want to do on this 4th of July. Unlike when we were younger & in years past, hubby and I have very little planned for the weekend. We have decided to enjoy the solitude of home and each other and just relax.

He and the baby son went fishing last night and this morning and caught 9 catfish – so he promised to fix me some tomorrow.  Not exactly “diet food” but I love me some fried catfish, french fries and hush puppies.  (Weighed in this morning and lost 3 lbs. my first week back to doing WW).  So, I will take at easy, but I will enjoy a little “treat” tomorrow – and then get right back to what I’ve been doing.

We had the 5 month old grandson, Jackson on Wed. and Thurs so this has been my first day to really have an opportunity to sit at the sewing machine & sew.  I have three orders for pillow quilts to make and deliver next week.  All three are for little boys…

I personalize them with the baby’s name and machine embroider butterflies on many of them.  

Baby Genius fabric, Disney fabric, Gingham, Dotted Swiss, –you name it!! I’ve been having so much fun making these and really come in handy for shower/baby gifts.  They are quick and easy to make and wash up really nicely!

These are pretty much all that I worked on in June, were pillow quilts, because they have been pretty popular locally and I’ve sold a few on E-bay as well.  (Etsy…not so much, not sure what’s up with that.)

I will be sewing like a mad woman in July while the grandsons are off visiting family. My daughter brought Kash by to see me today, because when he woke up he said he wanted to go to Maw Maw’s house.  Sweet boy, only been a week since I’ve seen him, but I got some hugs and kisses before he went off to the 4th of July festivities at the convention center.  

No DIY in July…

For the past three years I’ve gotten a break from taking care of grandsons in the month of July.  It’s nice to have a month off to catch up on some very much needed housework etc;.  It is also our anniversary month (the 29th) and so we usually plan a small celebration to recognize and appreciate each other.

This time last year I decided that while the boys were away I would “renovate” (I use the term loosely) our home office.  It had been an “eyesore” for far too long.  ImageReally all I had planned to do was give it a fresh coat of paint (you can see the two options I was trying to choose from) and paint all the baseboard and moldings a glossy white. Since I was “retired” (this is our insurance office), I was also going to eliminate one of three desks giving hubby a great deal more room.

It only took me about 3-4 days to complete – hubby helped a little, primarily with painting the trim and around the ceiling fan on the ceiling.Image

 

I had to tape and put plastic down everywhere because we had a good carpet on the floor that we wouldn’t be removing.  Anyway, I digress…as I sit here typing this – I sit in the final result that is still looking good after one year – 

 

 

I love DIY projects, especially home improvement.  ImageThen, two years ago (while still caring for Granny in our home & two boys)  I decided to tackle my kitchen cabinets!  I had a long Memorial Day weekend (5 days off) and thought it would be a great time to begin refinishing my kitchen cabinets.

They were hideous! What was I thinking when I painted them this horrible deep burgandy color?  You will notice from the picture that they were a “country blue” color prior to the burgandy. That was the color they were when we bought the house – I can’t take the blame for that one!!ImageI began the sanding process after I received an electric sander and Home Depot gift card as a gift.  

I tackled this task outside on my back patio in the Texas summer heat!  What a mess!! And I was truly thinking I could get this all doneImagein five days!  Boy, was I wrong!! When the 5 days had expired and the boys had returned to my mess – hubby kicked in and began to help.  We had to block the kitchen off with barricades so little fingers & feet etc; wouldn’t get hurt and when we got our break again in July our project was ongoing!  Surely believing that by Aug. 1st when boys returned we would be finished we plodded onward!!ImageOMG! Were we having fun yet?  It was a long summer of DIY that ended up being finished over Labor Day weekend.  But, being one that always completes a task she begins (no matter what it is) – the final result was well worth the wait! ImageI changed out all the hinges and knobs and added a little embellishment to the front.  I still want to change out the flooring and counter tops, but two years later I can still say we chose a good neutral color and a good quality paint that wipes clean easily.  It’s kinda like labor pains – it was rough going through it, but no regrets and an awesome present at the end! LOL

So, I said all that to say this —there will be no DIY in July – this year, at least!!  Although I’ve thought about for a year now re-doing a guest bedroom (mostly just paint again)…While the grandsons are away, I will be busy finishing one quilt a client ordered for her grandaughter’s birthday in Aug. and beginning work on a t-shirt quilt that a friend from church ordered to hopefully be completed by Labor Day. Stay tuned for my next post which will be all about the evening projects I worked on in June to produce some income for me in July.  I will also be filling you in on our plans for our anniversary celebration soon – so I hope you will keep reading.  Posts will be more frequent with the boys away – busy, busy, busy…but it’s what truly  makes me happy.  Love being busy but will enjoy some rest this month too!

Follow dancingthruyears on WordPress.com