Month: June 2008

  • Untitled.



    I’ve returned from a morning walk with my friend, Linda, her baby, and two other neighbors from church as well. We had been walking regularly but when it started getting so hot I thought I was doomed to stay inside the house the rest of the summer… But I started walking earlier in the morning, and the past two morning have walked with these lovely ladies, and it feels great! Get to have some adult interaction, and the babies have loved it too… And I have the 3rd load of laundry in the washer.  So I’m feeling virtuous already.

    THANK YOU THANK YOU  THANK YOU for all the wonderful ideas regarding the table and chairs!! I think I need TEN sets of table and chairs just to do all the great ideas! I shall have to think about what I will do exactly, so don’t expect a completed picture very soon, but oh, so many great ideas! It’ll be for Zoe’, and will probably go in her room, so that’ll affect the colors I decide on…

    I was doing some recipe searches yesterday for a while… I’ve been a big fan of for a while as well as some other recipe finder websites. But one of my friends recently told me that you can go online to Taste of Home, type in any ingredient (such as eggplant, zucchini, chicken, etc.) and have hundreds of menus to choose from! (Maybe this is common knowledge, but I had no idea). I’m a bigger fan of Taste of Home than I am of, especially because there are pictures sometimes. Pictures always sell me on something. Sooo, because we have oodles and oodles of eggplant and squash and such things in the garden, I was so happy to know about this! I love to try new food ideas anyway, so last night’s supper was mostly new things…

    AND, let me introduce a killer chicken recipe (not from TOH, just found it browsing). If you like Italian sort of food, and if you like to grill, this is for you. So very simple and easy, it’s amazing. And it tastes even more amazing than it looks…  The recipe called for boneless chicken breast but we just grilled ours on the bone and put the topping on after it was finished… Although we both agreed it would have been better as the recipe indicated. But -  can you say DELICIOUS!?!!



    The Recipe:

    serves: 4                     prep time: 5 minutes plus grilling

    1/4 cup Sun-Dried Tomato Dressing, divided (we used Italian because I didn’t have this on hand)
    4 small boneless skinless chicken breast halves (1 lb)
    1 medium tomato, finely chopped
    1/2 cup shredded Mozzarella cheese
    1/4 cup chopped fresh basil or 1 tsp. dried basil leaves
    (opt: we thought a little garlic would be good in here too, although we didn’t add it last night)

    1. Preheat grill to medium heat. Preheat oven to 350′.
    2. Pour 2 Tbsp. of the dressing over chicken in resealable plastic bag; seal bag. Turn bag over several times to evenly coat chicken. Refrigerate 10 minutes to marinade.
    3. Grill chicken 6 minutes. Meanwhile, combine tomatoes, cheese, basil, and remaining 2 Tbsp. dressing.
    4. Turn chicken over, grill an additional 8 minutes or until chicken is cooked through.
    5. Place chicken on a baking sheet and top with the tomato mixture. Place in oven just until cheese begins to melt (should not be melted much at all).

    Oh, and if this matters to you, it has only 200 calories!

    EVER so good! Ben and I both agreed that this could easily be a $12 plate at a restaurant… Let me know if you try it and what you think!


    We’ve been eating a lot of salads too… Sometimes the salad will be our main dish, other times a side…

    This is a ‘Marylou Wanna-be’  (I don’t know how to link to the page where she “built a salad”, so you’ll have to look)


    A Cobb Salad


    One of our all-time favorites – Grilled Caesar Salad. For those of you who live in Lancaster and have gone to the Belvedere Inn for a meal, you know how wonderful these are!!


    And yes, we are still enjoying our fresh blueberries – what remains after the birds feast on them!


    I’m really using this link feature, and hope it’s working correctly!! Or hope I’m doing it correctly! Let me know if it’s not…


    I was reading this morning in Strong Women, Soft Hearts (lent to me by my sister Ervina)  in the chapter about control… I don’t tend to think of myself as a controlling person, but some of the quotes in it really made me think, and I realized I have been dealing with some of these very things. Let me share them with you…

    “Control is the most subtle of dynamics, as natural as the air you breathe. It’s the insistence that your life follow a particular path. It’s about having an agenda for your life – a picture of some ideal that is shaped, usually, in childhood.”

    “We have our own personal versions of trying to arrange the pieces of life so that they make a beautiful whole – or at least keep things from getting worse. Often the mirages in our minds are not so much wrong – they’re just ours. Our own agendas. The faces of control take such varied and subtle shapes.”

    “[Control] usually takes one of two shapes. One looks anxious, overbearing, just plain trying too hard. The other is more a story of avoidance and self-protection.  However control is expressed in your life, the most important thing is to take stock of your own heart. What is the pain in your life that just sits there fermenting, expressing itself as control? And how would God lead you to deal with it differently, in a way that would express an active sense of trusting him?”

    “Control masquerades as strength, but it’s really not. It’s more like teeth-gritting determination, or white-knuckled fear with an edge to it.”

    “Our predicament is that we must have life – and we cannot make it happen. We long to be loved. We want our lives to matter in the scheme of things – and all these longings are legitimate. But we are hamstrung in really being able to bring this about in any significant or lasting way.”

    “‘You have to realize… that your dreams aren’t going to materialize in the way you have hoped – even the ones you thought God gave you. Some will turn out better than you could ever imagine. Some will go belly up. And hardly any will match the picture in your mind.’”

    “The amazing thing is the God follows us into the blackened ruins of our failed dreams, our misbegotten mirages, into the house of cards that has collapsed on us in some way; and he speaks, not with the chastisement we feel we deserve, but of all things, with tenderness…”

    And one last quote by C.S. Lewis:

    “The thing is to rely only on God. The time will come when you will regard all this misery as a small price to pay for having been brought to that dependence. Meanwhile, the trouble is that relying on God has to begin all over again every day as if nothing has yet been done.” 

    I’m at a loss for words after all that! So – be blessed today as you live in Trust with the Lord!


  • Antique Store Re-visited…


    She did it. She did it again. She revisited the antique store that is Beyond Description. Remembering a pair of child-sized chairs she saw tucked in a corner, and wondering if there might be a child-sized table in there somewhere too.

    It was a successful trip. The owner dug and dove and searched and found a little table underneath the Massive Piles of Stuff.

     To say she was tickled to get all three items for $30 is an understatement. She was positively thrilled.

    But the question remains… What shall she paint them??

    The table is a while veneer finish on top, wooden spindle legs. I was thinking about putting square tiles on the top?? Or just leaving it white?

    The chairs are very blue. Husband thinks they could be okay left like that, but I wasn’t thinking primary color blue. I was thinking more, um, maybe Pottery Barn blue?

    Ideas, anyone? Each and every one shall be appreciated! :)



  • Blueberries, and Musings about a Little Girl


    I guess I’m making up for lost time now. ;) Until yesterday I hadn’t been online for almost a week because of traveling/busyness, and wow, a lot of good posts and updates to catch up on!

     So I’ll write more, IF I can wrap my words together in sentences in-between running after my crawling daughter. Yes, she IS crawling now! When she hit the 10 month mark and still wasn’t crawling, I’ll admit I was getting a little worried. I mean, is that normal???

    [rescue internet phone line connection from baby's hand]

    But within the past week she has taken off, went from “swimming”/scooting about 2 weeks ago to hands and knees crawling all over  in one day. And now I wonder why I ever wanted her to crawl! This was the stage I was the most nervous about. Seriously, it’s a little scary having a child on the loose in my house! We’ve already had broken dishes in the kitchen from her little meandering, so I need to put the safety latches put on cabinet doors and other places that I want my stuff to stay safe.

    [feed begging child pieces of zucchini bread]

    So while she’s been slow with her mobility skills, I think she’s up to par in other areas. :) She’s been talking for several months already. When I say talking I mean one or two syllable words, and in a baby sort of way. But she knows what she means, and most times I do too.

    [feed begging child fresh blueberries and smile at her smacking her lips]

    She also started using Sign Language about 2.5 months ago, starting with words like “more,” “please,” “all done” and we’ve been trying to add a few little things when we think she’s ready. Sometimes it’s hard for her to get the exact sign down, but she does the basic idea and it’s been so great! It helps her communicate with us without screaming, and I have a hard time staying sane with screaming children. So funny, because sometimes she’s with other kids and will see a toy or something they have that *she* wants, and she’ll just sit on the floor and say please (signing it) with all she’s got! Has no idea that the other children don’t know what she’s trying to say!

    Oh, but having a baby is the most fun in the world! I never dreamt it would be so delightful! And I think this time of year, for the age child that we have, is just absolutely perfect. She’s old enough to realize when I show her a new thing and gets so excited about it. She loves being outside… It’s getting too hot for walks and bugs are really bad too, so I’m not sure what we’ll do the rest of the summer…


    Zoe’ loves just going along with me in whatever I’m doing. I was taking the ends off green beans last week and Zoe’ was sitting on the kitchen counter beside the beans, just having a grand old time throwing them all over the kitchen. I had always thought I want to include my children in what I’m doing, rather than just tell them to do a chore and I do something else – I want to work together. So I thought about putting Zoe’ on the floor with her toys, but thought that working together probably begins now! But all the beans over the kitchen didn’t seem like a good idea to me, so while I was on the phone with my mom, she suggested I put a beach towel on the floor and both sit on it to work. That was definitely a good idea, and the beans stayed in a more respective area. And Zoe’ and I had a blast working together! :)

    [stop and rock baby and sing lullabies. put baby down for a nap]

    Zoe’ makes me laugh more than I’ve laughed in a long time… Little things she does just trip me out! I’ve found her in her crib a few times where she had been playing after I put her down for a nap, but where she actually fell asleep sitting up! And I’d go and check on her, wondering why she’s still playing an hour later because she’s sitting up and swaying, but she’s actually fast asleep. Just makes me giggle.


    And now she’s a little jabber box. Just funny I tell you! Most times she’s not saying words she knows, she’s just jabbering. The cutest thing you ever have seen. She’s in the imitation stage now too – mimicking sounds, coughs, sneezes, facial expressions, body movements. We’ve got a little monkey on our hands!

    Sometimes I look down and her and wonder if she is actually *my* baby. Do any of you ever do that?? Like, I still feel like a kid myself, and then I’m amazed that I have a little baby! Can hardly believe sometimes that I am at this stage of life already! A wonderful stage, but one I always thought the “older, mature” people are always at. And how did *I*end up here??!




    We have a few blueberry bushes on our rental property, so last night when Ben was gone for the evening, we decided to pass the night by picking the ripe berries. I put Zoe’ in a sling because there are far too many fire ants around this place for a small child to go crawling around the grass. And she was thrilled to pieces to be up so close to all those wondrous berries.


    We picked in our little trick-or-treat bucket I got for free at the antique store and haven’t painted yet (so it’s not cute like Shelly’s! :) , but it was a perfect size for her little hands. At first she would pick the blueberries off the bushes with me – I showed her that we only pick the blue ones and she did really well. But then that wasn’t fast enough, and she went diving into my bucket. Frantically diving into my bucket. She stuffed her little mouth and had blueberry stains all over her hands. She absolutely loved it! On almost all these pictures she’s either eating blueberry or bucket-diving for more.

    This is when I put her on the ground for a picture. She looked at up at me, overjoyed, like, “You seriously going to let me loose in here??!” :)

    Just look at these darling baby blues… They melt me every time.




    Ahhhhh, the joys of babies and summertime!


  • Outer Banks, NC


    Okay, pictures are uploaded (over the period of a week), the baby is in bed, and husband is gone for the evening. So I shall try to update a bit… Trust me, when all you have is dial-up internet access, you think twice, sometimes more than that, about doing a picture update. Every picture is a labor of love, folks!! We hear news that DSL is going to come out of town the needed 8 miles to reach our house, so hopefully that will be in the near future… Until then, here are some of the pictures from our GLORIOUS family vacation!! Spending a week with these fine people was simply wonderful..

    We rented a house within walking distance of the beach, so as you can imagine, we were highly entertained by each other and the nearby ocean each day! There was not a chance for boredom, even though we stayed right at the house/ocean most of the time. This was our 2nd vacation there, and hopefully there will be many more to come!

    When Ervina and Claudia were at our house the week before OBX, Ervina had the brilliant idea of making chocolate croissants. She saw the idea in a LIVING magazine, and we enjoyed our little French breakfast of croissants and coffee each morning on the back patio!



    Most of us spent at least a few hours making sand castles or building “people” in the sand. James is an artist and actually made a man that looked like George Washington! It was the coolest thing, and no, I am not just prejudiced to my brother, because other beach-goers would go by and exclaim about G. Washington!


    Now does he or does he not look like G. Washington??


    Mr. Muscle Man Sir David with Large Stomach


    Equipped with an umbrella and an inflatable kiddie pool, Zoe’ was as happy as a lark all week. Of course, she had no other option. She was surrounded by doting uncles, aunts, and grandparents who picked her up the instant she squeaked.  How could she NOT be happy? :)



    Pointing is the big deal… She’s been pointing for a while, but now pointing is REALLY a big deal.


    This is what we’ll send out for our family pictures this Christmas. :) JK Amazing how you can photoshop the sky to look so much bluer than it really was…



    Growing up in a family of 6 was one of the greatest gifts I’ve ever been given! I love my big family!!



    The Sisterhood Complete


    The Handsome Brothers


    Love her expression here


    Daddy and His Girls (see Ervina’s site for the same picture 5 years ago!) (aha! I finally figured out how to do a link!)


    Never too big to be Daddy’s Girl!


    Marmie and Her Girls


    A few of our little family…




    Daddy’s Toes and Zoe’s Toes


    And some of the whole big family. This was a not-so-good night to take pictures – with lighting, moods and all!! But here we are, a big smiling family. You would never know that we had the camera on a tripod and I had to frantically rush from camera to family to holding baby to smiling in a few seconds flat. I wouldn’t recommend it. Actually, I’d recommend letting your single sister do it, who is good at photography, has no child to settle in arms within seconds, and can probably run faster than you. I had a little pride issue to repent of. :)




    And that concludes the brief summary of our wonderful vacation!

    Cheers to my wonderful family!!

    I am so blessed to have a tremendously rich heritage. My parents are such a role model for me, in their relationships with God, and in their parenting, just who they are. And I adore my brothers and sisters. No, we are not perfect by a long shot, a week together showed that up! But we love each other dearly, and I truly am blessed!

  • Two Belief Systems

    I’ve been pondering the verse in Hebrews recently..

    In the KJV, “For without faith is is impossible to please God, for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him.”

    In the Living Bible, “You can never please God without faith, without depending on Him. Anyone who wants to come to God must believe that there is a God and that He rewards those who sincerely look for Him.”

    It’s been several weeks now that I’ve been mulling over this verse… and have become increasingly aware of my lack of faith. If I can write this in the way it hit me: “He that comes to God must believe that God exists AND THAT HE IS A REWARDER OF THOSE WHO TRULY LOOK FOR HIM.”

    Sometimes, especially when I’m in a hard place, I feel like I have no other option than to believe the first part, “He that comes to God must believe that God exists.” Really, I feel like there is no other option. Of course I believe that God exists. All creation points to that. To disbelieve that is to disbelieve reality, to disbelieve truth, to turn my back on the obvious. Almost like I have to believe in God because I’m made on that default setting, it’s within every one of us, whether we like it or not.

    And in the hard times, believing that God exists isn’t very difficult. He exists all right, but sometimes I may view him more as a Deist God, or a God that exists but isn’t personal, that doesn’t truly care about all that happens to me, in me, through me.

    And, too often, I’ve found myself stuck in this first part.

    Ahhh, but there is a second part. When we come before the Lord, not only are we to believe that there IS a God, which I mentioned afore sometimes feels like it’s forced on us. But we are ALSO to believe that HE IS A REWARDER. Oh, there is so much that I’ve been thinking about with all this…

    1. We cannot come to God [in prayer, in time of need, etc.] believing only that He is a God. There is a two-fold belief system in this verse. We must believe that there is a God, and that He is a Good God.

    2. Believing in a God can make us feel like we are doing our Christian duty, doing what we were brought up to believe. Believing in a Good God makes me realize more of the God we serve than of us who serve Him.

    3. Believing in a God is relatively simple. Many people believe in “a God”. Believing in a Good God can be very difficult, especially when we find ourselves in circumstances beyond our control, or we could take control but it would be the wrong thing to do.

    4. Believing in a Good God totally changes my way of life. Not only is there a God that exists, but there is a God who cares. About me. About the things that happen to me, about the way I feel, about my disappointments, about my dreams.

    5. Believing in a Good God means that I will be rewarded for believing He is Good. For my life will be lived in expectation of His Goodness, that He will come through for me, that all things that come to me are first passed through His hands.

    6. Believing in a Good God doesn’t necessarily change my difficult circumstances, but gives me hope IN the circumstances. That there is a reason for it, that He will give me grace in it, that He will be there for me through it.

    7. Believing in a Good God makes me feel safe to go to God. That I can “pour out my heart” as did David the Psalmist, and God cares. That even if what comes out sounds silly and insignificant and I wouldn’t dream of telling anyone else, God still cares and loves that I wanted to tell Him.

    8. Believing in a Good God gives new purpose and meaning to life… for life is not just random events happening to me, but it is all a journey with Christ, walking beside Him, trusting His purposes.

    9. Believing in a God that rewards doesn’t necessarily mean I will be rewarded on earth. For in the very chapter that gives this challenging verse about believing in a God and believing in Good God, there are also verses about many people who all died in faith, not having received any of the things they were promised – in THIS life. That’s a huge point. Too often I think my rewards need to come now. And to think of dying without having received the rewards they were promised, that’s really hard for me. But if we look throughout Scripture, many of the great Giants of the Faith that we laud so highly died this way – without their reward being given to them on this earth.

    10. Believing in a Good God whose rewards are not always earthly requires an eternal perspective – living beyond right now, trusting that there is a bigger picture in all this…

    I’m reminded of something God showed me several years ago… I was going through a time of difficult decisions, of intense faith-stretching, of confusion, and wondering where my life would be headed, if I’d be willing to follow Christ on a less-glamorous path of life. Through a youth Bible Study I attended at a local church during that time, I was shown a mental picture of a wonderful master artist, a painter, completing his masterpiece up on an enormous stage. [I love the arts, so this was one way God spoke to me]. His canvas was huge, his work perfect. And I was allowed to see only a very small glimpse of his masterpiece – the very tiny corner down at the bottom left side. All I saw was brown earth. I couldn’t see anything else.

    And in that moment, I felt the Lord speaking to my heart… “Your life is like a wonderful masterpiece to me. I am the Master Artist, you are my canvas. Right now all you can see is one very small part of the picture, and it’s not very pretty. You see the hardships, the confusion, the difficult choices, the calling of a quiet faithful life vs. an adventurous one, and it looks impossible to you that this could ever be Beauty. But just trust. Just trust that there is a bigger picture, and that one day I will reveal it to you…”

    I thought that after that particular season I would be shown the Beauty, but it was not so. I still often find myself staring at that small corner of the giant canvas, wanting to be shown the rest of the picture. But there is such great hope in believing that what I see now is that all there is! That there IS more! And perhaps I must need to wait until Heaven to be shown the rest of the picture. That seems like a long time to me. But if then I shall see it, and the Master Artist shall reveal to me the hidden purposes and immense beauty that He is composing, then may He grant to my feeble heart this desire: “Lord, please help my unbelief…” May He grant me the faith to believe that He is a Good God, right here, right now.