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Being Thankful in the Midst

Scalloped potatoes and ham
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I am sick. Ok, I finally have to give in to it. This sickness. I am not sure when I came to this conclusion: Whether it was yesterday evening when I couldn't stop coughing and I felt like my lungs were going to explode, or at 2:00 am when I had to wake up my Dearest and have him get me a mug of steaming salt water so I could breathe enough to use my inhaler so I could stop coughing. Or when I woke up at 9:15 and realized that I couldn't muster up the strength to drag myself out of bed, so I just laid there trying to call for someone to get me a drink of water, but had no voice. And on top of that, I have a HUGE fever blister on my upper lip. And one on the edge of my right nostril. I have given it, and I am now taking otc meds and lots of vitamins, minerals and using my inhaler regularly. I think I am going to live. However, the jury is still out for now.

  But when I actually woke up enough to realize it was 10:30, my hubby brought me a pot of tea. I was just mustering up the strength to drag myself out of bed to go fix some, and here he comes with a pot, out to the motor home for me.    And after I finished it, he took it back in the house, and walked me up the driveway and made sure I made it in. When I got in, I realized my sister had done all my laundry. All of it. I didn't even have to ask her to. And she was fixing lunch for my family, too.    Together, we made Ham and Scalloped Potatoes for everyone.     http://thepioneerwoman.com/cooking/2012/04/scalloped-potatoes-and-ham/   It is wonderful to have someone finish what you start, clean up after you, and take care of your family. I never want to leave. I think this is kinda like what heaven will be like.    We will  be serving our Beloved. I will not be a chore, but a joy. We will never get sick, never tire, and it will be with the people we love eternally. And we will all be working together toward one common goal: worshipping and loving our Savior. There will be no selfishness, no bickering, no waste, no pain, no end. We can't even imagine it, in fact, it seems almost impossible.    Thank you Father, for what you have prepared for us. For those that you love and have chosen and called to your purpose. And thank you for what you have provided now, so we will have a glimpse of what is to come, and for those who serve us on a daily basis and we take for granted. Thank you for my Dearest Husband, and my sweet sister, serving me and making me feel very loved. Their simple actions spoke volumes of love to me today.  In Jesus' name, Amen.    
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The Perfect Pancakes


I think I have found the perfect pancake recipe. Seriously, I think they will use this recipe in heaven. It came from my new favorite cookbook: The Pioneer Woman Cooks. If you have never been to her blog, it is time to stop reading mine right now and head over there. www.thepioneerwoman.comGo now. Do not read any further. You will be hooked. You will forget all about my blog, and never return. But thats ok. She has that effect on people. In fact, I am going to take a little break now and head over there for a while. Oh! I almost forgot....the pancakes!You won't find this recipe on her blog. Not there. Don't know why, but it is in the cookbook. And now it is going to be on my blog. Minus the beautiful step by step photographs. But thats ok. You can figure it out without pictures, right? So heres what you'll need to make these heavenly wonders:

1 C sour cream7 Tbsp flour1 Tbsp sugar1 tsp bkg. soda1/2 tsp salt2 eggs1/2 tsp vanillabutterchocolate chips if desired Now, heres what you're gonna do: Get a griddle or pan nice and hot. While it is getting hot, mix up the batter IN THIS ORDER: 1. mix the sour cream, flour, sugar, soda and salt GENTLY together in a bowl. You should not mix it together fully, but just almost. 2. mix the eggs and vanilla in a small bowl.3. mix the egg mix into the sour cream mixture, again, very gently. Don't worry about totally combining the mixture, as a little lumpy, swirly mix is fine.4. melt some butter in your pan, and take about 1/4 cup of batter and pour it into the hot butter. Cook it for about 1 to 1 1/2 minutes, then sprinkle a handful of chocolate chips on top. Flip and cook another 45 seconds or until done. 5. ENJOY! We don't use syrup, but you could certainly use some if you like.  These were the last three on the plate. I made a double batch and it made about 24 pancakes. AND, since I am now gluten-free, I made an additional batch with gluten free flour, and xylitol instead of the sugar, and they were perfect, too!! So, go make some for yourself, your family and the world. They will love you for it. You will love yourself for it. And you will love me for sharing this perfect recipe with you. And you will do the Pioneer Woman proud. And you will love her too!! 

 

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Enough Already!!

Lately I have been feeling sad. Not sad about one thing, but many. But mostly because I realize that my life of parenting little ones is coming to a close, and I am entering a new phase of life: Parenting adult children who are making life choices that I do not agree with. And it grieves me in such a deep way, that it has overshadowed every other thing in my life. And it sucks the enjoyment out of the things I used to really love. But, in some weird way, that is a good thing. Because I am learning to see the things that used to be really important as kinda trivial and a waste of time, and the things that I pushed aside are now taking a priority. Let me explain.I used to spend a lot of time worrying about how I looked. I spent time fixing my hair just so. I washed it every day, even in the winter. I permed, curled, blow-dried, and moussed the heck out of it. I shopped for fabric, clothes, shoes, and accessories whenever I got the chance.And I scrapbooked. I think I was addicted. I had to have all the latest goodies, and since I was a Creative Memories Consultant, I had to sell them to my customers, too. And when scrapbooking went mainstream, WOW! I amassed copious amounts of supplies.Then I started stamping cards. And the collection grew to astronomic proportions.And the china, tea pots, tea cups, and don't forget the tea itself.I loved me some stuff. And I loved me, way too much.None of these things are bad. None of them are wrong. But one day, I started looking around and realized that I had filled my life with so much stuff that I loved, that there wasn't time to use it. I had to spend all my time organizing and cleaning up my stuff. I hated to take anything out and make a mess because I had so much it was difficult to get it out or put it away. I had so much that I had to use up that I didn't have time to go out with a friend for lunch. It would take too much time to get ready, and take up time I needed to be doing something else.But, God is so good and he is teaching me to let go of stuff. It started by a sermon that our pastor preached about the needs in other countries, and how we have so much. I felt God was asking me to do something: Fast from buying myself anything for the next year.I am six months into it, and I am making some strides in the right direction. And the amazing thing is that, although I held my stuff loosely before this, I now let him hold it. And I have gotten to where I can go in a store and smile and say: "I don't need that. It will just take up space, and I don't want to clean up after using it, and think of how many people can be helped by the money I save!" I admit, I haven't been perfectly faithful. Just this past week I bought something I have to return because, I just don't need it. But as I seek him, he is faithful to help me see, little by little, that it is just stuff, NOT the STUFF of LIFE. HE is the Stuff of Life.And that is the best thing that has happened is that as I let go of the clutter, I have room for Him. As I stop the busyness, and be still, I am seeing things in His Word more clearly than I ever have, and I am falling deeper and deeper in love with Him. Which I never was able to comprehend before. People would say, "I love Jesus so much" and I would wonder how they got there. And would I ever? In fact, I often thought that I didn't love him at all. Now I realize that you never really know how to love someone unless there is sacrifice. Think about it. All real, deep love is borne out of sacrifice. You love your kids and have sacrificed who you were as a childless, free woman for them. Perhaps you even resent them a little for it. I know I do. But I love being a mom. And your husband. I can't even comment on that one. It is a willing and joyful sacrifice. And thats the way Christ wants us to treat him. After all, look at what he gave up for us. What a willing sacrifice he was for us.We can love, because he set the standard. He made the ultimate sacrifice for us. His life for mine. Yet, He hasn't asked me to go to my death for him. He has asked for me to go to my life for him. Living life with him and for him. And death to my ways, thought patterns and sinful desires. Easier said than done.Which brings me back to my original thought: (you thought I had forgotten that, didn't you?) Being sad.How do I not let this sadness take root and overshadow everything with its black canopy? By choosing to live in the joy of the journey and the hope of Him. Job said, "though he slay me, still I will rejoice in Him." Practically speaking,Psalm 46 lays it out:"God is our refuge and our strength. An ever-present help in trouble. Therefore we will not fear, thought the earth give way and the mountains fall into the heart of the sea, though its waters roar and foam and the mountains quake with their surging. Be still and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth."Theres more, but this is what I see:God is my refuge. But I have to be still to know it. And the more still and quiet my heart is, the more I enjoy him, and the less I need to seek pleasure in stuff. And as I am still and quiet, I can look at the nations for subtle signs of his movement. I can look for Him at work everywhere. I can see the ways he is exalted in the earth: the trees, the flowers, the seas, the lakes, the rocks. Everything shouts his praise. And the nations will one day, too.And my situation will change. At just the right time, in just the way HE wants it to. When and where. And not a moment to late, or too soon. So Enough Already! I am going to embrace the moment and live for Him here and now, and rip up the roots of that black weeping willow that has taken over the joy of my heart and forge ahead in the Hope of my tomorrow. Goodnight joy-sucker, Good morning, Joy of the Morning!

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For various rea...

The Hen House Mahomet, IL
Lake of the Woods Park Mahomet, IL

For various reasons, we decided to stay in Mahomet, Il. at the lovely Tin Cup campground and Driving Range (yes, I did say driving range...not that I would ever take advantage of it, but it was lovely to look at) for one more night, before heading to Chicagoland for the wedding of the couple Don and I had been privileged to mentor. They are getting married this afternoon, and we are so excited for them.  

Since we were staying an extra day, we decided to explore the quaint little town of Mahomet. First, we indulged in a delicious breakfast at the Red Hen. Then, upon the recommendation of our Campground Host, we went to the Lake of the Woods park. Oh My!! It was a beautiful park with a botanical garden that went on and on. We walked around just enjoying God's creation and then went back to RTJ (wondering what that is? read earlier posts) to rest.

 

 

A little later, everyone decided it was time to eat again. (I always wonder how this happens so quickly. I mean, do they really need food all that often? I can't figure out why, after a HUGE breakfast, 3 hours later they are hungry again. And they get real cranky if they don't get food. Especially the oldest one. Dad I mean.) So Don looked on Urban Spoon (his favorite for recommendations...mine too, especially in a little one horse town) and found an authentic Mexican place called Zarapes. Now I know you're thinking what I was thinking: "Mexican.....in Illinois??" But it had multiple positive reviews, so off we went. Well, we were all pleasantly surprised. The food was fantastic, service impeccable and cleaner than most places I've been. Josiah had the Burrito Mano. It was HUGE!! Steak and beans, cheese, sour creme, lettuce and covered with homemade queso. AND HE ATE IT ALL.

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Illinois: We Are Here!!

So, driving through Atlanta was frustrating, but made me realize that that is how life sometimes is. We inch a few feet forward, not making much progress, and then we do it again. And life is so daily. I get lost in the slowness and the "to do's" but miss the big picture. The progress. It is like I told my daughter once: You are looking through a microscope when you need to be looking through a telescope. 

 We have to make sure to look for God in the daily routine of life, or else we will miss the process, and the lessons we need to learn in this stage. Then we will have to learn them in another stage, when we should be further along and mature enough to handle learning something else. I know there are areas that I missed. And thats ok. For if you miss something important, something that you really need to see, God will teach it to you again, in a different situation.  I liken it to an onion. Kinda like Shrek. (not really like Shrek...just like the reference). God uses his scalpel to peel away our stinky human nature layer by layer. Every time you come face to face with how you handle a situation, you have a choice. It may not feel like a choice, but you have one. And the Holy Spirit is there as your helper. And as you make His choices your choices, you grow. And He gives you deeper challenges. Cutting deeper and causing your dependency on Him to grow and your love for Him to flourish....or not, depending on your choices. But He loves you so much that He is not going to let your screams of pain and your pouting and your whining to deter His plan for you. He may give you a reprieve, and let you go your own way for a while, but you are HIS. And He LOVES you. So He continues his surgery, carving you into the image of His likeness, for all the world to see. And I wouldn't trade that for anything. Even if I could breeze through Atlanta at 55 mph and get to my earthly destination faster. I don't want to miss my heavenly appointment, so I guess I am going to have to let Him take his time with me. I wish it was instantaneous, but if it were, I wouldn't have experiences to share, and joy in the JOURNEY. And I wouldn't need Him so desperately. Which I do. And my guess is, you do too. So as you crawl along, scratching and clawing for every bit of ground you attain, only to discover that you've only gone an inch, be grateful. For he is creating something beautiful in you. A life full of experiences you can share with others along the road. And I am grateful we are all motoring along together. 
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