Thursday, November 27, 2008

Happy Thanksgiving!

"Enter into his gates with thanksgiving, and into his courts with praise; be thankful unto him, and bless his name. For the Lord is good..."
Psalm 100:4, 5a

For the Lord is good.....

He gives me life and each breath I take; I will be thankful.
He has provided the one and only way for me to be forgiven and saved; I will give him praise.
He has given me a loving and self-sacrificing husband; I give God thanks for this undeserved gift.
The Lord has blessed me with four wonderful, miraculous children; I praise Him and ask for His wisdom in raising them to know Him.
He has surrounded me with loving family and friends; I am thankful beyond measure.

For this and so much more (so very much more), I enter His presence with thanksgiving and praise. I am thankful unto Him, and I bless His name. Yes, the LORD, the LORD, is good.


Thursday, November 20, 2008

The Red House - Finale!

Today is our last visit to the Red House. (Scroll down for previous posts.) Not only did we cuddle up in the house with it's cozy corners and fluffy warm down comforters, but there was plenty of beauty and fun things to do outside.

First of all, doesn't this picture just make you want to take a deep breath? I can imagine many a summer evening out in those lovely white chairs.
This lovely, little place is called, "The Mouse House" not because it houses mice, but because it is small. It is basically a studio apartment on the property. Another couple in ministry (from Mariposa) was staying here. The overhang is covered with climbing roses and I'm sure it is absolutely beautiful at the right time of year.
Now, this may look like an old, forlorn barn, but there is a sliding door on the left hand side that is barely noticeable, and when it is opened up, it reveals a thoroughly modern entertainment area (concrete floors, kitchen, bathrooms, skylights, artwork, plenty of seating, etc...). The family hosts big events for youth with YWAM and their church, so they created this great space.
One of the fun activities for the kids was riding this zip line.

There was also a tennis court with a cabinet that housed tennis rackets, an assortment of sports balls, and lots of roller blades in just about every size. There was even plenty of safety equipment for the kiddos to wear.
And of course, the trampoline was a big hit. :-)

I hope you enjoyed visiting this special place with me. Our visit there was a great time and we're thankful for this wonderful family's love and generosity. It was just what we needed!

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

The Red House - Part 4

(If you want to see the previous three entries, just scroll down the page)

Today, we'll look at some unusual aspects of this lovely and cozy home. Art and scripture are important to this family, and you'll discover that in these next few pictures.

The artwork below was painted by a family member. If you look closely, you'll see the scripture verse written in a curving line around the fruit. Beautiful!

Below is a picture of a carved scripture mounted in the mud room as you enter the house. It is definitely hand done, but since it is not signed, I don't know if a family member made it.
The following picture was actually inside a closet/passageway between two of the bedrooms. It is a charming and sweet surprise to come upon.
In the laundry room, there is this hand-painted artwork and scripture which serves as a good reminder.
And truthfully, this was one of my favorites. It is a picture drawn by one of the owners' grandsons. I'm not sure if the picture is of the owner or his son (Mattias's father), but it melts my heart and makes me smile. Isn't it priceless?
Tomorrow will be my last post on The Red House. Be sure to stop by to see what we found outside! You'll love it!

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

The Red House - Part Three

Today we continue with our little tour.  (Part 1 HERE, Part 2 HERE) Even with no electronic devices (computers, TV's, iPods, etc...), this place was filled with fun things to do.  It seems that the family that owns this old farmhouse/guesthouse values one of the things that we do: reading!  They have built in a little reading nook above the upstairs to the second story, and Kari (after her Daddy climbed on it to assure her that it was safe), climbed up to this cozy corner to read.
Peter also found a place to plant himself with his book:
And there was no shortage of reading material available.  Just take a look at the bookcases in this one guesthouse:
Number 1

Number 2 and 2 1/2 
Number 3
Number 4
Number 5
And finally, Number 6 (not to mention to books contained in the bookcase portion of the secretary in the living room).
There were so many great books to choose from that it was difficult to narrow it down to which ones we wanted read or at least look through.  I started one bood that really captured my interest, but there was no way I could finish it in the amount of time that we were there.  I'll have to see if I can find it somewhere else so that I can truly read it.

What will we find in The Red House tour tomorrow?


Sunday, November 16, 2008

The Red House - Part Two

Yesterday, I began our little tour of the Red House.  This house was built in the late 1800's and has had a very few updates since then.  Most of the modern conveniences were there (stove, refrigerator, microwave, indoor toilet, running water, washer/dryer, a wood stove, and electricity).  Missing was a phone, a TV, a computer, or a radio.   Bliss, I tell you!   Oh, and there wasn't a dishwasher which made my youngest very happy because she loved washing the dishes by hand.  Too bad that doesn't carry over to home!  And talk about clean; I couldn't find one spot of dust in the entire place!  They continue to take such good care of the house.  Today's tour will show you some of the inside of the house.
So, here's part of the kitchen: 
The living room:
One of the kid's rooms upstairs (all beds had down comforters in fresh duvet covers, along with flannel sheets- oh so comfy in a house heated only with a wood stove!):
And finally, two pictures of the stained glass windows in the house:


As previously mentioned, Dave wasn't able to run the half-marathon, but my two youngest were able to run their 3K fun run with Just Run!  I couldn't leave this post without showing your their perfect strides as they crossed the finish line:
and with their medals:

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

The Red House

We were blessed to be able to get away for a couple of days last week (for the half-marathon that Dave didn't run), and we stayed at the greatest place. It is an old farmhouse that is available for people in full-time ministry at a very (VERY) reasonable rate. The family that owns the land lives in a house next door to the house we stayed in. They feel that providing this peaceful place for people in full-time ministry is a ministry of theirs. How cool is that? The first evening we were there, the man who owns the farm came over to make sure we were okay and then he asked if he could pray over us. Oh my goodness! What a blessing that was! This couple have raised all of their children on this rural farmland. They have a son serving in full-time ministry as a missionary pilot in Brazil, so I'm sure they understand the blessing that they are able to be to those who serve.

Anyway, I took a lot of pictures, but none of them capture the coziness and peace that we experienced being there. Stop back by here because I will share some more photos over the next few days.

The house we stayed in is called, "The Red House." Aptly named, don't you agree?

We'll start with the fresh flowers that were placed throughout the home. This first picture is what was directly in front of us when we walked through the door.
As if that weren't enough of a beautiful and thoughtful surprise, look at all the other surprises we found. See if you don't end up taking a deep cleansing breath looking at these photos.




And I forgot to take a picture of the flowers in the center of the farmhouse dining table that had a package of cookies and a welcome card beside it. So, so thoughtful. We knew we were in for a special couple of days. Next up? You'll have to come back to find out.

Honestly, We're Not Trying to Steal Your Stuff!

Okay, I was doing laundry again today (well, what's new about that?), and I ran across a shirt that I have never seen before. I know it isn't a shirt that I bought for my son, and I know no one gave it to him, but here it was coming out of my dryer. I asked my son about it and he said he had worn it (I am most observant, obviously) and put it in the dirty clothes basket. I asked him where he got it and he told me, "I don't know, my drawer?"

I'm sure it was simple to my son - "I need a shirt. Shirts are in my drawer. All shirts in my drawer are mine. This shirt, although I've never seen it before, is in my drawer. Therefore, it must be mine. I will wear it."

And so, here I am folding a shirt that I've never seen before to put back in my son's drawer. I asked him if it belonged to any of the numerous kids who come over to play, but he said no. So, I'll put it back in his drawer and he'll wear it again. However, I have this fear that another mom (either at church or in the neighborhood) will see my son in this shirt and think that we just took something of theirs. So, I give you all permission to let me know if you ever see any of my children wearing anything that belongs to you child. It wasn't deliberate, honestly!

At my house, this same phenomenon is especially true during the swimming season with beach towels. I have beach towels that I know are not ours, but there is no name on them and no way to know who they belong to. So, same goes for beach towels; if you see one of yours when you're here, just let me know and you can have it back. And....I'll do the same if I see one of my beach towels at your house, okay?

And...you can thank me that I won't even go into the little kids' underwear that shows up from time to time! :-)

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Emergency Phone Calls

As many of you already know, Dave had surgery a week and a half ago to remove his appendix. He had been very ill on Tuesday but felt better on Wednesday so he went in to work. Later on Wednesday, when I arrived home in the afternoon, he said he felt better, but his side was hurting. After a visit to urgent care, we ended up at the ER and before long Dave was having blood tests and scans done as they were trying to figure out what the problem was. You can see how ill he was in the following picture:


Yes, that's right; he's in the emergency room with an appendix the doctors are hoping will not burst before they can do surgery, and he's talking on the phone! Oh, but I'm sure it is a serious conversation regarding his durable power of attorney should something unforeseen happen during surgery, but take a look at this:


It doesn't look like he's too concerned in this photo, does it? He actually had time to visit with a few people and even receive visitors before his surgery was scheduled, so I guess he figured he could multi-task while he was in the ER. Truly though, if a person is going to have surgery, this was the best possible way to have it - a leisurely wait for results and scheduling, a great surgeon, a friend who "happened" to be the OR nurse on duty, and a cell phone.

Sunday, November 2, 2008

I Voted as Though I've Not Voted

I found a short video clip from John Piper in which he discusses three important things for the Christian to keep in mind leading up to Tuesday's election. I think it is worth a few minutes of your time and perhaps your blood pressure will lower a few points.  

From John Piper's perspective, the three points to keep in mind as you enter the polling place (or mark your absentee ballot) are:
A prophetic perspective
The sovereignty of God
The gospel

Whether you're a die hard McCain or Obama supporter, or your vote shall be cast for another candidate, I encourage you to listen to his thoughts, for I consider them especially helpful for those who are of a kingdom that will never be shaken. This was originally posted on this blog.

Saturday, November 1, 2008

When the Heart Waits

The movie, "The Secret Lives of Bees" just came out, but I haven't seen it yet. I am re-reading the book (written by Sue Monk Kidd) once more before I go to see it. I have an extraordinary gift for forgetting the stories in movies I see and books I read. :-) Honestly, I can be a third of the way through a movie before I remember that I've seen it before. I can pick up a book a couple of years after originally reading it and not remember most of the story line. I think I'm fully engaged in the story when I'm reading a book or watching a movie, but after it's over, I simply close that door in my mind and move on to the next thing. I am always asking Dave, "Have I seen that?" when someone mentions a movie. Oh my, what will the future look like if I'm this forgetful now?

Anyway, I have read all of Sue Monk Kidd's books. She has written God's Joyful Surprise: Finding Yourself Loved, When the Heart Waits - Spiritual Direction for Life's Sacred Questions, The Dance of the Dissident Daughter, The Secret Lives of Bees, and The Mermaid Chair. The books were written in that order, and I am not endorsing all of her works.

I just finished reading When the Heart Waits - Spiritual Direction for Life's Sacred Questions. I had checked it out from the library, but it is one that I will be buying because I found so much that I needed to underline when I was reading it. (Note: it is not a good idea to underline in a library book! :-) There is just so much in this book that resonated with me that I don't know where to start. I thought I'd share one passage from the book in the chapter entitled, "Incubating the Darkness" to give you a taste of the richness enveloped in the pages of this book. This passage is from her journal.

August 12. Today is my birthday. It makes me think of the new life I'm incubating and the Birth-day (my note: when she emerges from the darkness) still to come. Sometimes it seems that life is a grace too severe, too vast, and too beautiful to receive. But I open my hands anyway. Today I'll talk to myself. I'll say, Accept life - the places it bleeds and the places it smiles. That's your most holy and human task. Gather up the pain and the questions and hold them like a child upon your lap. Have faith in God, in the movement of your soul. Accept what is. Accept the dark. It's okay. Just be true. I'll say to myself, You are loved. Your pain is God's pain. Go ahead and embrace the struggle and the chaos of it all, the splendor, the messiness, the wonder, the agony, the joy, the conflict. Love all of it. I'll say to myself, Remember that little flame on the.....candle. Cup your heart around it. Your darkness will become light." (page171)

This is a deep book and not to be read for sheer leisure. It required concentrated focus on my part to grasp and internalize the metaphors Sue Monk Kidd so masterfully paints, but it is a beautiful and powerful book - very much worth my time and attention. It's one that I know I will read again because, as I previously stated, I have a special gift for forgetting what I've read. Smile.

Soup-er Saturday

I love blustery, rainy days, so today has been a great day for me. Dave's on the mend (he had an emergency appendectomy on Wed. night), and my youngest is snuggled in my bed with a fever and the stomach flu, so we're taking it easy around here.

Today was the perfect day to make a big pot of soup. In 15 minutes, I whipped up one of our favorites. I thought you might want the recipe; it's fast, simple, and tasty. I always double the recipe and serve it with warm sourdough bread - Yum!

Just a side note, my oldest daughter just came out of her room and asked what smelled so good. I told her I had made Sausage Bean Soup (as we call it), and she said, "You are most wonderful, mother. I'm so happy!" Really. She said that; I'm not making it up! :-) See, I told you it's one of our family's favorites.


Quick and Tasty Bean Soup

In a large saucepan or dutch oven:
3/4 lb. bulk sausage

1/2 C. chopped onion
2 cloves garlic - minced
1 Tbsp. fresh basil (1 tsp. dried)

Brown and drain the above.


Add:

1 14 oz can petite diced tomatoes, undrained
1 14.5 oz can beef broth (low sodium)
1 15 oz can black beans, drained

1 15 oz can pinto, butter, or small white beans, drained

Stir. Cover. Cook over medium heat for 10-15 minutes.


Serve and top with fresly grated parmesan cheese.

If you decide to try this recipe, be sure to let me know what you thought of it. Stay warm and dry.