Friday, December 29, 2006

Psalms 143:5

"I meditate on all Your works;
I muse on on the work of Your hands.
I spread out my hands to You."

Simple gratitude helps us experience God at work
in every moment of every day.
-H. Crosby

Christmas creativity

Tonight I had fun catching reflections in the glass balls on my Grandpa and Grandma's Christmas tree... as you can see, Charissa was very enthralled with all the pretty lights!

Wednesday, December 27, 2006

Small things

"I do nothing of myself."
John 8:28

The only way I will keep a pliable, obedient spirit in the larger decisions is to look to Him in the smaller ones.
-Catherine Marshall

Just that kind of day...

Don't ya'll think it was a good 'french braid' day today?! We seven sisters thought so! (Poor Charissa, try as we may, it just wasn't gonna' happen for her! [grin] )

Sunday, December 24, 2006

Merry Christmas!

For God -- the greatest giver

so loved -- the greatest motive

the world -- the greatest need

that He gave -- the greatest act

His only begotten Son -- the greatest gift

that whosoever -- the greatest invitation

believes in Him -- the greatest opportunity

should not perish -- the greatest deliverance

but have everlasting life -- the greatest joy.

Please pray

Our time behind the bars went very well -- for which we praise the Lord! Thank you to all who were praying. I know those prayers made a difference.

-- :: -- :: -- :: -- :: -- :: -- :: -- :: -- :: -- :: -- :: -- :: -- ::

Tomorrow will be a Christmas day for our family like one we've never had before -- we're going to prison! We are very excited about this opportunity that the Lord has given us, and would covet your prayers for tomorrow. My sister Rachel posted more details on our family blog, and instead of repeating everything she wrote, just go check out her post, and thank you so much in advance for praying. The body of Christ truly needs each other! Merry Christmas to you all!

"...the whole body, joined and knit together by what every joint supplies,
according to the effective working by which every part does its share, causes growth of the body for the edifying of itself in love."
Ephesians 4:16

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Christmas Bread

13-14 cups flour (we use wheat flour, grinding it ourselves)
2 tablespoons yeast
1/2 cup honey OR 1 cup sugar
1/2 tablespoon salt
3 cups milk
1 cup oil
6 eggs
3-4 cups raisins (or to preference!)

Mix the yeast with 5 cups of flour, set aside. Heat the milk and oil, dissolve the salt and honey (or sugar) in the liquid. Pour over flour and yeast; stir gently. Add 6 eggs, and beat HARD for 3 minutes. Add the remaining flour, and knead for 10 minutes, adding raisins after 5 minutes. If doing this by hand, let it rise for an hour, punch down and then form the dough. Our family uses a Bosch, and it eliminates this step.

To form, take the normal amount of dough you would use for your bread pans (sizes differ!) and roll it out -- long and narrow, making it's width slightly smaller than your bread pan size. Brush with a very light layer of butter and vanilla, sprinkling LOTS of cinnamon on top. Roll up tightly, place in pan and let rise for 45-60 minutes.

Bake at 350 degrees for 16-20 minutes, or until golden brown. After it cools, frost with a thick glaze frosting, sprinkling a hint of cinnamon on top. Slice -- and enjoy! Our family especially likes this toasted and buttered...if any of it lasts that long!!

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

No room

"...there was no room for them in the inn." Luke 2:7

No room for Joseph, Mary, and the baby soon to be born -- the Christ Child.

That sounds terrible! Yet how often do we have no room in our lives? There are some who don't want Jesus anywhere in their lives. Some of us have allowed Him partial residence, while still others have opened up all to the Lord but one tiny area. Then there are a few who have totally surrendered everything to the Lord, and He permeates every area of their life. They hold nothing back, but have truly invited the Savior to be the King of their life.

Where are you? Have you opened up your heart to the Lord Jesus?

"Behold, I stand at the door and knock.
If anyone hears My voice and opens the door,
I will come in to him and dine with him, and he with Me."
Revelations 3:20

If you haven't surrendered to Jesus Christ, I'm praying for you -- that you will realize your need for God, and that He will become real to you in a whole new way this Christmas season. If you have asked Jesus Christ to be your Lord and Savior, I'd love to hear your testimony if you'd care to share!

Monday, December 18, 2006

A sweet smelling savor

As the blossom cannot tell what becomes of its fragrance,
so one cannot always tell what becomes of his influence.

"Now thanks be to God who always leads us in triumph in Christ,
and through us diffuses the fragrance of His knowledge in every place.
For we are to God the fragrance of Christ

among those who are being saved and among those who are perishing."
II Corinthians 2:14-15

Friday, December 15, 2006

A face lift

Blogging Beth has a new look!

And no -- I didn't do it. (I wish I knew how, though!) For a while I've been hoping to do something more original with my template, but due to lack of time, I was getting no where fast. When I saw my friend Brittney's beautiful blog -- Aletheia Liberty, and read that she had done her own original template, I asked if she'd do mine -- and she agreed! I gave her a general idea, and this is what she came up with; isn't it beautiful?

To give a little history -- Brittney and I met through blog-o-sphere, and after reading her blog for a few months I realized that her sister had married a Nebraska boy (who we slightly knew) and they lived in the same town that we did! Isn't it a small world? When Brittney came down to spend some time with her sister, I was thrilled to finally meet them, which led to bike rides and picnics as the summer progressed. I'm so glad God created friendships!

Thank you Brittney!
There is no way I could have done this beautiful layout, and I know you spent a lot of time and effort on it. Your so sweet! God bless you!

Thursday, December 14, 2006

Grandma's sugar cookies

With Christmas coming, out comes all the family recipes and goodies to bake. The little girls and I did sugar cookies this week, using Grandma's recipe. (And no one can make sugar cookies like Grandma! They are so soft they literally melt in your mouth!) We had so much fun messing in the flour, sampling the dough (shhh---don't tell Grandma we did! [grin]), licking our sticky frosted fingers when we were all done, and last but not least, eating the final product!

Cutting them out

The frosting crew!

Alaythia displays her little 'gingerbread man'

Sugar cookie, anyone?

The Personal Touch

Thou Great I AM,
I acknowledge and confess that all things come of Thee --
:: life, breath, happiness, advancement,
:: sight, touch, hearing,
:: goodness, truth, beauty --
:: all that makes existence amiable.

In the spiritual world also I am dependent entirely upon Thee.

Give me grace to know more of my need of grace;
Show me my sinfulness that I may willingly confess it;
Reveal to me my weakness that I may know my strength in Thee.
I thank Thee for any sign of penitence; give me more of it;
My sins are black and deep, and rise from a stony, proud, self-righteous heart;
Help me to confess them with mourning, regret, self-loathing,
with no pretence to merit or excuse;

I need healing,
Good Physician, here is scope for Thee,
come and manifest Thy power;

I need faith;
Thou who hast given it me, maintain, strengthen, increase it,
Centre it upon the Saviour's work,
:: upon the majesty of the Father,
:: upon the operations of the Spirit;
Work it in me now that I may never doubt Thee
:: as the truthful, mighty, faithful God.

Then I can bring my heart to Thee
full of love, gratitude, hope, joy.

May I lay at Thy feet these fruits grown in Thy garden,
:: love Thee with a passion that can never cool,
:: believe in Thee with a confidence that never staggers,
:: hope in Thee with an expectation that can never be dim,
:: delight in Thee with a rejoicing that cannot be stifled,
:: glorify Thee with the highest of my powers,
burning, blazing, glowing, radiating, as from Thy own glory.

Italics added --
Excerpt from
The Valley of Vision: A collection of Puritan prayers

Though I had never before read this particular book, as I browsed through it last night these words jumped off the page at me -- such heart is seen in these old prayers of the Puritans. I personally was blessed and challenged, and wanted to share it with you today.

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Caption Contest

With the completion of our new CD, it brings back to mind the three days we spent in the recording studio. Even little Charissa went in for a day! We put some ear phones on her (they were bigger than she was!), held her up to the mic, and she sang right on cue!

Not bad for a 10 day old baby, eh?!

Any ideas to what she is singing or saying?! I'd love to read your captions or quips!

Instruction of wisdom

The highest mark of wisdom is not the ability to speak of great and lofty things, or to eloquently tell others the things I know.
No, the highest mark of wisdom is humility; it is submissiveness of spirit to God and others, that seeks advice, heeds good counsel, and takes to heart reproof.
The fear of the LORD is the instruction of wisdom;
and before honour is humility."
-Proverbs 15:33

Monday, December 11, 2006

His good pleasure

All God's giants have been weak men who did great things for God because they reckoned on God being with them.
-Hudson Taylor

"It is God who works in you
both to will and do for His good pleasure."
-Philippians 2:13

Saturday, December 09, 2006

The desire of my soul

O LORD, we have waited for You;
The desire of [my] soul is for Your name...

Isaiah 26:8

The more we know of God, the happier we are...When we became a little acquainted with God...our true happiness...commenced; and the more we become acquainted with Him, the more truly happy we become. What will make us so exceedingly happy in heaven? It will be the fuller knowledge of God.
-George Mueller

Thursday, December 07, 2006

Blessings in disguise

Answers to prayer often come in unexpected ways. We pray, for instance, for a certain virtue; but God seldom delivers Christian virtues all wrapped in a package and ready for use. Rather He puts us in situations where by His help we can develop those virtues.

-C. R. Findley

"Hear my prayer, O Lord!
...cause me to know the way in which I should walk."
Psalms 143:1, 8

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

I couldn't resist

I mean -- it has been at least two weeks since I posted any pictures of my darling little sister!

Those cheeks just keep filling out!

As you can guess, she never lacks for attention!

Those beautiful blue eyes filled with wonder.

O how she steals my heart!

John 15:4-5

"Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself,
unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in Me...
He who abides in Me bears much fruit; for without Me you can do nothing."

If my life is fruitless,
it doesn't matter who praises me;
and if my life is fruitful,
it doesn't matter who criticizes me.
-John Bunyan

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

My Bible

What you do with the Word of God
will determine what God does with your life.

IF --

you RECEIVE my words,
and TREASURE UP my commandments with you
making your EAR ATTENTIVE to wisdom
and INCLINING YOUR HEART to understaning;
yes; if you CALL OUT for insight
and RAISE YOUR VOICE for understanding,
if you SEEK it like silver
and SEARCH for it as hidden treasures,

you will understand the fear of the Lord,
and find the knowledge of God.
Proverbs 2:1-5