He fills the longing soul with good things. Ps. 107:9



I'm still here

.....I hate to admit it, but I guess I've been in a bit of survival mode for awhile. I'll spare you the gory details, but life has just been coming at me faster than I can bat it back. If' you've never been there, I wanna move wherever it is you live.

But I was just talking with my friend about wanting to know "Why" when life bats you a bunch of curve balls. There's just something about knowing the purpose - what in the world is going on - that helps me survive better and bat a little quicker.

If it's an attack from the enemy: I get mad. I'm ready to fight back and black some eyes. And I'm encouraged that there's a reason to bother with fighting me. Must be doing something right.

If it's a spiritual toughening time: I'm ready to learn the lessons at hand and move on (as if it works that way). I'm encouraged that the Lord would take the time to help me grow spiritual muscle.

If it's just life: I can quit trying to figure out what's going on, just chalk it up to The Fall, and brace myself.

But....since no crisis manual came with this particular set of months, I guess I'll just keep standing and being.

I have a fear of people saying of me: "She's always in survival mode. She's always in a crisis." But the truth is, sometimes life brings you a string of nighttimes full of asthma attacks and chronically sick kids and raging fevers and head banging babies and maxed-out marriages all at the same time. And I'm learning that it's okay to be where I am.

I've mentioned before that long-term sleep deprivation is usually a slippery slope to discouragement and depression for me. And I'm bracing myself. But so far the exhaustion has brought mostly frustration rather than depression (that's a lot of shuns). And I'm ever and ever so grateful. And the kid troubles seem to be subsiding into normalness (whatever that is)!

I'm enjoying this moment - with the two little ones miraculously still asleep - to live and not survive. That quiet space before the day hits. I'm resting in his enoughness. I'm remembering my blessings. I'm trying to figure out if there's anything I need to do about that lovely fight my beloved and I just had on his way out of the house.

Let me share an incredible verse my very amazing babysitter and friend (Shelley Carey) sent to me last night after we had a little talk-cry in my kitchen.

"You rule the raging of the sea; when its waves rise, You still them.” ~ Psalm 89:9

Once again, His Word feeds and calms and fills me.

Yep - I'm still here. Just the same as always.

photo: The coast near Donegal, Ireland (Near where Deanna lives)

St. Patrick's Breastplate Prayer

The Prayer
This Irish prayer is attributed to Saint Patrick and often referred to as the "breastplate" of St. Patrick--words that shield.

I arise today Through the strength of heaven;
Light of the sun, Splendor of fire, Swiftness of wind,
Depth of the sea, Stability of earth, Firmness of rock.

I arise today Through God's strength to pilot me;
God's might to uphold me,
God's wisdom to guide me,
God's hand to guard me.

Afar and anear, Alone or in a multitude.

Christ shield me today Against wounding:

Christ with me,
Christ before me,
Christ behind me,
Christ on my right,
Christ on my left,
Christ beneath me,
Christ above me,
Christ in me.

I arise today
Through the mighty strength
Of the Lord of Creation.


Photo: Dunluce Castle, just a few minutes from my Sister's home in Northern Ireland

Holy Week: Palm Sunday

He walked in my shoes. He knows my frame. He is royalty....the son of the Living God. My brother, my friend. He, whose hands power to raise the dead has the tender touch to calm my heart. He is the friend of the head bowed low. He views us all equally. He lifts our faces to look into His eyes.
He lives to love us, do dine with us. To sit in our home. He didn't stand on corners and preach. He lounged on living room floors and ate and talked and laughed. He brought hope. And understanding. And conviction.
He demonstrated His power over and over - and had patience when His best friends still did not believe.
(click link to watch video)

You are worthy! You are King! I'm Amazed That You Love Me (click link to watch video)
Praise, Honor, Glory to my King!
Around here, we think of Palm Sunday as sort of a parade for Jesus. But those people weren't cheering for a celebrity who kept them at arms length. They were rejoicing in the One who knew them, healed them, listened to them, taught them. An unbelievable mixture of Royalty and familiarity.
Gold and Purple - the colors of royalty
Palm Branches
A kingly crown
Lord, I praise You. I rejoice in Your Royalty. I gaze at Your beauty, and see the tenderness in Your eyes. Thank you for adopting me.

Observing Lent: Ash Wednesday

There is a Martha Zimmerman quote that influences many of the things we do in our home:

"Put something before your eyes to remind your heart."

And I need reminded this season. Of His humanity, His deity, His sacrifice.....His Love.

Our Easter Tree stands in the living room - made from some old landscaping boards the city wouldn't pick up - stuck into a flowerpot.

Ash Wednesday is about
preparing for the season to come....
listening for His gentle voice of correction and instruction and comfort......
praying that He will shine His light of Truth into my life....
and acting on the light that he shows me.

Jewish prayer shawl to draw our minds back to our seeking,
Red to remind us of the sacrifice this season brings,
Crown of thorns to keep the sacrifice near to our hearts

Some think it silly to "give up" some pleasure for lent. But for us, who have an abundance that leaves us needing little - maybe it isn't so silly. Someone has suggested that giving up something of value could be like a daily alarm clock....As the desire for that which is denied is felt, the heart is pricked and reminded to turn upwards for the fulfillment of all we need.

Dear Lord, I am painfully aware of my need for you this season. You have shined your light upon the rough spots in my heart. I have bowed, confessed, humbled, begged for your refining love and guidance. When Your Truth pierces me, it is not a muddled guilt, a foggy thought. It is clear and convicting. It reminds me of the sacrifice You made for me and my daily need for that Redemption. I accept it. I rejoice in it.

Continue to shine Your sharp and loving light into my life. And make me able to respond to it.


High Fiber Fun

Interesting - today's batches of play doh are whole wheat (didn't have any white flour in the house). They turned out fine....but with added texture. Today's flavors are Tropical Punch (red) and Raspberry Reaction (blue) - We use Koolaid packets instead of food coloring and essence to add fun colors & scents. One batch is actually enough for 2 colors. Today I doubled the recipe and used one color per batch. But it would have been plenty for 4 colors.

Here's our favorite recipe
It's a very quick recipe, and I think it keeps better than purchased playdoh. We keep it in plastic kitchen containers with lids. Sliced turkey tubs are the perfect size for a batch. You can also mix the dry ingredients and keep in small baggies. Then when you need a new batch, all you have to do is boil the water and oil and mix it together right in the baggie (after cooling, of course)!

Everyday playdoh
Mix 1 cup of flour, 1/3 cup of salt, and 1/2 teaspoon cream of tarter in a bowl. Meanwhile, bring to boil 1 cup of water, one tablespoon of cooking oil and a few drops of food coloring. A little flavoring essence could be added, too. Pour hot mixture into flour mixture and stir. Add more four if necessary.

There's nothing like getting your hands in to a fresh, warm batch of strawberry playdoh. I'm such a kid. What I need to be doing is getting my hands into a fresh warm sink of breakfast dishes!

(Recipe taken from Kidsparkz, a wonderfully huge downloadable preschool curriculum. After downloading and printing, I put the pages in page protectors in a binder. They have lasted perfectly through the years - through many playdoh batches! Looks like the website also has a lot of free stuff - I haven't been there for awhile. Wow! The cost has gone up to 50 bucks. It certainly wasn't that expensive when I bought it. But there are still some free pages available.)

Home on the Range

Helpful kitchen tips & hints!
(From my Crispy Oats box this morning)
  1. To determine whether eggs are fresh or not, put them in a few inches of water. If they're horizontal, they're fresh. If they're vertical, they're not.
  2. If you're separating several eggs, crack them all into a bowl and use your clean hands to scoop out the yolks. (Uh....think I'll stick with the half-shell pour method. Thanks anyway.)
  3. Partially frozen evaporated skim milk whips up like cream. (VERY cool tip! I very rarely have heavy cream on hand, but love fresh whipped cream.)
  4. Use a little soy sauce to salt and color gravy. (Hold the MSG, please.)
  5. For fluffier mashed potatoes, add a pinch of baking soda along with the milk and butter when mashing.
  6. Put a jar lid on the bottom of a double boiler. It will rattle if the water has boiled away.
  7. If mixing by hand, 150 strokes equals one minute of electric beating time.
  8. Never cook with wine you wouldn't drink. (I wondered why all my recipes weren't turning out. Must have been the cheap wine.)
  9. Drop a wine cork into a pot of stew. The tannin in it helps tenderize the meat. (Rats. I knew I shouldn't have thrown away all those corks from that cheap wine.)
  10. Homemade cookie dough is a welcome and thoughtful host/hostess gift. (Chocolate chip if you're visiting the Frys!!)
  11. Use a clear baking dish as a page weight for your cookbook. You can read through it.
  12. Slip your hand in a plastic bag to answer the phone while mixing meat loaf and other messy jobs.
  13. Microwave hard winter squash on high for two minutes to make it easier to peel and cut.
  14. Skin chicken when it's slightly frozen for easy skinning.
  15. To help keep a pan from boiling over, rub butter around the rim of the pan.
  16. Put a slice of bread in your cookie jar to keep chewy cookies soft. (One of my all-time favorite kitchen tricks. Did you know it can also help soften slightly overbaked cookies?)
  17. Use an egg slicer to cut mushrooms.
  18. To ripen a tomato, put it with an apple in a perforated bag.
  19. If you get mold on your cheese, just slice it off. The English agree that if the mold won't eat your Cheddar, it can't be very good. (Some health professionals actually believe that part of our health problems come from not having enough natural fermentation/good bacteria in our diets because of our refrigeration infatuation.)
  20. (This one's mine) I read somewhere that Americans are the only ones who wrap their cheese in plastic instead of cheesecloth or foil. I tried it, have found that a block of cheese keeps much better wrapped in foil.

Hope you have a happy day. I was up most of the night with my son, so I plan to be a bit of a zombie today.


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