30 November 2011

The 200 follower giveaway is closed.

As of now, 11:59 P.M. on the 30th of November in the year 2011, my 200 follower giveaway is officially closed. This means that from this point forward, no new entries will be accepted. 

Many heartfelt thank you's to all the young ladies who entered! The winners will be announced sometime in the next few days. 

Blessings!

me, me, me. or not...? [guest post]


I am so busy this week. So busy that it feels I hardly even have the time to breathe. But here I am, typing up a quick word of encouragement for the readers of Miss Elizabeth Rose's blog.

You will probably start reading this finding it quite boring--many times I come across spiritual-related articles and only skim them, if not skip over them completely and move on to the more interesting stuff. But right now, I want you to sit back, focus, and really drink in what I'm going to tell you--a little something Jesus has been teaching me this past month. 

photo by anna | 2009

How can we serve God? What can we do for Him? Typically, I'm asking the Lord to help me. To do something for me. To show me. To bless me. To guard me. To protect me. To answer my pleads. To hear my cries. To get my attention. To do everything, everything for ME. Me, me, me. Sometimes, I ask for everything I absolutely don't deserve. I beg, I rant, I perpetually bombard him with requests. Of course we are supposed to bring our queries and troubles before the Throne, but sometimes it can cause us to focus only on ourselves, our problems, on what we are and what we are not.
Here's a little alternative.  
I ask instead what I can do for Him instead of for what He can do for me. How I can render my love. How I can bless His name through the trials. How I can make a difference in my day by turning the limelight off myself and serving Him instead. 

Today, if you are feeling faint, overcome or maybe even selfish--serve Him instead of wallowing in regret, pain, and pity. Ask Him every morning, the minute you awake, how you can serve Him today instead of desiring everything for yourself, for looking out for your own personal needs to be met 24/7. Obeying is sacrifice. He is the One who gives you breathe. He is the One who gave His precious life so you could have freedom and forgiveness and eternal life. He is the One who keeps you alive--keeps you surviving. Let's give back by doing all we can. . . FOR HIM.

///

Anna is an eighteen-year-old homeschool graduate from Ohio who exults in living to the hilt, originality, singing, and making mental movies out of her dreams and imaginations. She loves coffee, the ocean, writing, photography, and a good book, among various other things. =) Her #1 goal in life is to make a change in the world through her testimony in Jesus Christ. 

27 November 2011

Sunday Blessings



{from the movie The Nativity Story}

O come, O come, Emmanuel,
And ransom captive Israel,
That mourns in lonely exile here
Until the Son of God appear.

Rejoice! Rejoice!
Emmanuel shall come to thee, O Israel.

O come, Thou Wisdom from on high,
Who orderest all things mightily;
To us the path of knowledge show,
And teach us in her ways to go.


Rejoice! Rejoice!
Emmanuel shall come to thee, O Israel.


O come, Thou Rod of Jesse, free
Thine own from Satan’s tyranny;
From depths of hell Thy people save,
And give them victory over the grave.


Rejoice! Rejoice!
Emmanuel shall come to thee, O Israel.


O come, Thou Day-spring, come and cheer
Our spirits by Thine advent here;
Disperse the gloomy clouds of night,
And death’s dark shadows put to flight.


Rejoice! Rejoice!
Emmanuel shall come to thee, O Israel.


O come, Thou Key of David, come,
And open wide our heavenly home;
Make safe the way that leads on high,
And close the path to misery.


Rejoice! Rejoice!
Emmanuel shall come to thee, O Israel.


O come, O come, great Lord of might,
Who to Thy tribes on Sinai’s height
In ancient times once gave the law
In cloud and majesty and awe.


Rejoice! Rejoice!
Emmanuel shall come to thee, O Israel.


O come, Thou Root of Jesse’s tree,
An ensign of Thy people be;
Before Thee rulers silent fall;
All peoples on Thy mercy call.


Rejoice! Rejoice!
Emmanuel shall come to thee, O Israel.


O come, Desire of nations, bind
In one the hearts of all mankind;
Bid Thou our sad divisions cease,
And be Thyself our King of Peace.


Rejoice! Rejoice!
Emmanuel shall come to thee, O Israel.

~"O Come, O Come, Emmanuel" translated by John M. Neale~

Awaiting the coming of the season of our Savior's birth during this time of Advent . . . Many blessings on your Sabbath, dear ladies!

"Therefore the Lord himself shall give you a sign; Behold, a virgin shall conceive, and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel." ~Isaiah 7:14~

25 November 2011

life's mysteries

Favim.com-4969_large

SONNET ON LIFE'S MYSTERIES

If I could glimpse the colors of the wind,
A rainbow spread oe’r ev’ry land I’d see
And if a tale for ev’ry shade was penned,
A scroll that spanned the wide world, there would be.
If I could count the sands of any beach,
The days would soon merge fully into one
For when at last the final grain was reached,
My life would be forever gone and done.
If I could hold tomorrow in my hands,
And chose within it all my future ways
I’d find my Vessel to be better manned
If One ordained the Captain day by day.
With wealth and myst’ries is the whole world filled
But none would have its place, had He not willed.


>> Copyright 2011 Lucia. Please do not use or copy without permission. Photo via this source.<<

{ABOUT THE WRITER}


Lucia (loo-SEE-uh) blogs at Umbrella Girl, where she writes about fashion, faith, photography, girl struggles, and strives to be a Light in this world of darkness. She plays the piano, writes poetry, watches chick fliks, designs blogs, and has the goal not to let a single day pass without a good laugh.

24 November 2011

Thankful

Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday.  The food, friends and family are all reasons why this sticks out as an amazing day.  But mostly I love it because I have so much to be thankful for.  In a parable Jesus explained that those who had the most to gain or lose are the ones who are most grateful for the gifts He has given.
There was a certain creditor which had two debtors: the one owed five hundred pence, and the other fifty. And when they had nothing to pay, he frankly forgave them both. Tell me therefore, which of them will love him most? Simon answered and said, I suppose that he, to whom he forgave most. And he said unto him, Thou hast rightly judged.  Luke 7:41-43
In the parable our Lord was speaking of the gift of salvation, but I think this applies to many different situations.  Once someone asked me what is the one thing I wish I could forget.  And the truth is, although my life has been filled with heartache and even though I have made many mistakes along the way, I wouldn't change a thing.  Because remembering my sorrows and miss steps reminds me of how much I have to be grateful for today.  As our Savior said, those whose lives have always gone according to plan, and those who have always had it easy, and those who have never made a mistake may not fully appreciate the gifts of forgiveness, mercy and salvation.


My home life growing up was anything but ideal.  Our lives were driven by my parents horrible marriage, violent fights, alcoholism, abuse and neglect. Even on what should have been the most joyous occasions, we knew no joy.  If both our parents were living at home and there was not already a brawl going on, we were all anxiously holding our breath waiting for a screaming match to break out.  I would have given anything to live in one of the happy households I witnessed when visiting my school mates homes.

Because I have known the other side of the story, I am daily grateful for the happiness I share with my husband and children.  Even in our trials, we have much to rejoice about in the family He has blessed us with.  How many people run from day to day taking for granted the family they have because it has always been within their grasp?

Growing up, we went to church every weekend and on the holy days. We observed the times of fasting and were careful to partake of all the sacraments. My brother, sister and I attended Catholic school where we were taught the doctrine of the church. It was unthinkable to lapse in any of these things. “What a nice family,” people would say. “What good children.” We were called Christians and believed we had earned the name. However, at home, we did not live as those who have claimed His name should.  We were working so hard to have salvation but all our works were in vain.  We could never do enough or be religious enough to have a right relationship with the righteous God of Heaven.  Today, because I have known the emptiness of a religious life, I am thankful for the free and effortless gift of salvation through the cross of Jesus Christ.

Even at a young age, I was always trying to figure things out, asking questions and getting frustrated that no one I knew could answer my “whys” to my satisfaction. I would read something or hear something in church or in our religion classes and it just didn’t work for me. Instead it just gave me more questions.  The day a teacher told us we must all be baptized or we can’t get to Heaven particularly sticks out in my mind. The toddler daughter of our friend had just dropped dead on the play ground so this children and Heaven thing was very fresh in my mind. When I asked the teacher about the babies who die before they are baptized she said, "Well they have to be baptized!"  She went on to explain if they are very sick and a priest can’t come to baptize them, anyone can do it. My mind wondered what would happen if there was no one who knew how to baptize properly. Would God really not allow this child into heaven? The teacher's answer was to tell us the steps to properly baptize someone should we ever find ourselves in that situation. But no one had an answer for those who never had the opportunity to get baptized before death.


We loved to sing when I was growing up. My mom sang us hymns and taught us hymns. We often would sing in the car on our way to and from school. One of the songs we sang was based on the scripture John 15:13 “Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.” One day Mom and I were working on something in the kitchen and singing this song when I realized, “Wow, this Jesus is pretty amazing.”

One spring, as Easter approached, and we fasted our way through the Lenten season I was particularly stirred by the teachings at church and in school about Jesus death on the cross. I had heard it plenty and been told that Jesus died so we could get to heaven, but it had never been so real to me before. This brought about so many more “whys”. If Jesus died so we could go to heaven, why do babies have to be baptized? Why do we have to go to church? Why do we have to take the sacraments? It was all so confusing. I talked to my mom. I spoke with my teachers. I questioned the priests. But every answer they gave only created more questions for me. And after a while it was made clear that my questions were impertinent.

So I did what I was told. Went to church. Took the sacraments. Volunteered. Tried to be a good enough person to make it to heaven one day.  But never knowing for sure if I would ever get there.

Today I have all the answers at my fingertips.  I have the Bible.  The infallible word of the God who created me, judged me and saved me.  In His book, He has given me the answers to every question I will ever need to know the answers to on this earth.  In our country we are so blessed to have this in our hands.  A Bible can be had by anyone in the USA who desires it.  Yet, if you ask most Christians they could not tell you the last time they opened their Bible and read it on a daily basis.  In fact, many people tell me they have never read their Bibles through even one time!  Sadly, this comes from ladies who have had the blessing of being in church their whole lives.  Today, because I have lived many years with the confusion and sleepless nights of unanswered questions, I am grateful for the undeserved gift of God's word.  I love to read it.  I love to study it.  I look forward to going to church and hearing it preached.  My girls asked me once how many times I've read the Bible through since I gave my life to Jesus.  The answer is, "I don't know."  However, this year I have read it through three times.  Today, I am grateful that, in His word, the Lord tells us that we can know for sure if we will spend eternity in Heaven.

By the time I was in Junior High school my father had moved out.  We scarcely saw him.  My mom, while she was at home, really had very little to do with us.  She drank more and more as time went on and spent most of her time watching television.  It was a very lonely time for me.  I worked very hard at school, at my job, and around the house in an effort to win approval from my parents that never came my way.

One night my mother announced she was done with raising kids.  She packed her bag and left.  We didn't even know where my father was living at the time.  After school the next day we called dad at work.  He said he would come home.  As I look back I don't think it was because he was really interested in being home with his children, but rather because he wanted the house and its contents.  I used to think he did as good a job as a father could in such a situation.  But now that I look back, I see his heart wasn't in it.  He was rarely home so we were left to care for ourselves, tend to the household chores and care for our brother who was 6 years younger than me.  In my teen years, I desperately wanted and needed a relationship with him.  But he was not interested in such things.  My brother who was 18 months older than me, had been coming and going for some time.  And at the age of sixteen, after an argument with my dad, he picked me up, set me on the porch and told me I was no longer welcome in his house.


Since then, I have always worked to secure this elusive relationship with my father.  Over the years I have seen it wax and wane.  As he loses interest and goes silent from time to time, even for years at a time, I always suffer great heartache and spend time beating myself up and wondering what I did to be so unlovable to my own father. It has been a year and a half since I last heard from him.  Yet today I rejoice for my Abba Father God, who no matter that I don't deserve it, and no matter what mistake I make, He loves me and promises to remain with me welcoming me with His forgiving arms and not just for a time but for all eternity.

I spent the next two years trying to finish my high school studies while working to support myself and dealing with ongoing health issues.  During this time I moved from one temporary living situation to another.  I stayed night to night in the homes of various friends.  I slept in my car.  After my car was totaled, I slept wherever I happened to be at the end of the day.  The stairwell of an apartment building, an empty house that was for sale, someone's front porch and on a particularly dismal night beside a pinball machine in a 7-11.

Today, because I have known homelessness, I am grateful for our happy little house the Lord has provided.  To most people, our home is too small or too simple to be worthy of a second glance, but to me it is a palace and I wouldn't want to be any other place.  What's more?  Today I live with the promise of a future in Heaven where my brother Jesus has gone to prepare a mansion for me.

Eventually, I came to live with a woman who offered me housing in exchange for taking care of her children.  I was there just a short time before I realized she slept with men in exchange for drugs.  Her children and I got along well and it provided me with a roof while I tried to finish school.  So I stayed.

That December, when I was 16, a fellow I had known who was in the Navy, came home on leave.  We dated throughout the month he was in town and committed to an exclusive relationship when he left in January to return to his duty station.  When he permanently returned home, a few months later, we were serious about each other.

In the meantime, my living situation became quite precarious.  My roommate was involved with her ex-husband again and now we all were living together under the same roof.  My room mate, her ex-husband, his girlfriend, their four children and me.  All three of them were heavy into drug use and alcohol.  The whole situation was so absurd.  However, in exchange for watching the children and doing the laundry I had a place to live while finishing my junior year of high school.  The husband B, lost his job with the post office when he failed a random drug test.  He became increasingly more abusive to his wife, the girl friend and the children.  It was not uncommon for either or both of the women to have a black eye.  However, he was always cordial to me.  Until one day, during yet another argument with the women, he cornered me in my bedroom.  That's when I started running and never looked back.


I have two cousins who grew up in a good home with a mother who loved them and our dear grandmother.  They went to a nice private school and had all their needs provided for.  Yet, both of these brothers gave their lives over to heroine addiction and all the horrors that go with it.  The older eventually lost his life in his early 20's and the other has spent most of the last 6 years in jail on various charges related to his drug addiction.  I often look back on all I was exposed to in the nine months I was living in that situation.  It would have been easy for me to fall into such a life.  Even though I did not know the Lord, I am certain that He was guiding me all the time.  I don't know why God chose to protect me, but I often look back on where I could be today and praise the Lord for where His goodness has brought me instead.  Because of what He did for me I am grateful for the opportunity to live this life for Him.  It is not the hindrance or duty that some see but rather my honor to do whatever is in my power to glorify one who has done so much for me.

With no other options for my future, I married J. shortly after turning 18.  The month of my 19th birthday I found out we had a baby on the way.  All the charm my husband had exhibited seemed to disappear overnight.  He started drinking heavily and started getting high with old buddies.  Then he was stealing from his family, from my family and even from his employers to support his habits.  He was fired from one job after another.  With a very troubled pregnancy, no income, and a husband who was becoming increasingly abusive, life was bleak.  But things would get far worse before they got better.  I know now that it was all part of God's plan for me.

One night, when my Kaitlin was 18 months old, J. took what money we had, our car and left to be with a girl he had been having an affair with.  I found out later that she was not his only indiscretion.  In those initial days, I was devastated.  However, in God's goodness it wasn't long before I came to see this as the best thing he ever did for me.  Although, this man was no good and I feared for our daughter's safety, I don't believe I would have ever left him.   And our divorce was the first of the very important steps to me finding Jesus, which was the turning point of my life.

The Bible tells us this kind of man, who does not care for or provide for his family, is no better than an infidel.  In wisdom would I have chosen this sort of husband and lifestyle?  No, but I am grateful for those years and those painful memories.  They cause me to daily thank the Lord for the many ways He provides for all my needs and even the desires of my heart.  Because of these experiences I am daily thankful for the good husband God has given me and for our commitment to our marriage and raising our family to the glory and honor of God.


My life and heart were so troubled with financial, personal and spiritual questions after his leaving, that I ceased to sleep at all. Every night was the same. I would tuck Kaitlin in bed and then crawl into bed myself completely exhausted and my mind would start spinning. What am I going to do about this? What about that? How can I this? And so it went until the sun came up. I was so completely exhausted, I would doze off sitting up and even while driving. I couldn't focus and my memory was suffering terribly. Of course at night, when I fell back into bed, the questions just started again. But never did I arrive at an answer. What I now know, is that I couldn't ever find an answer to those questions because I was looking in the wrong place. In my surroundings, in finding the right job, in whatever I would do. But the true solution was not within me but by turning to the God who controls all.

Do you take advantage of your ability to meet with the God who controls our every breath?  I remember acutely the long and sleepless nights without Him.  Today, I am thankful that God allows me to walk in fellowship with Him. What an honor that I can speak to Him in prayer at every moment of the day or night.  It is with joy and gratitude I remember how He was so good to provide the solution I needed in the dark hour.

In 1994, my brother invited me to attend a Bible study with him.  As we sat and listened to the preacher talk about the Lord’s word, retelling the stories of the Old Testament saints, I was in shock at the passion he had. His overwhelming belief in the truth he was sharing and the faith of those he was teaching about. The unquestionable fact that this was truth, written just as it happened, to be understood and interpreted just as the Bible said.  And here it was, in the Bible for all of us, everyone, to understand and KNOW for ourselves. That was such an amazing new revelation for me. Up to that point in my life, whenever I saw a conflict in what man said and what the Bible said, I was told that it was because I wasn't capable of understanding it. But here, for the first time, I knew that if there was a conflict, it wasn't my understanding that was lacking, but rather it was the understanding of the world being added to what God said. The bottom line?  I could believe, without a doubt, every word God has given to us.  That was when I knew if I could understand Moses literally called on God’s power to open the red sea and lead the Israelites across, than the other things written in His word were literally true, also. When the word said Jesus died to free all men who believe on His death as the full payment of their sins, then my sins had already been paid for.

I didn't know the lingo or even the steps to soul winning we teach others, but I will never forget the hot evening in 1994 when the Lord opened my eyes and heart to this truth.  I gave up my sin, worries and ultimately turned my life over to Him. It felt as though my heart burst open and immediately there was a freedom and peace which had eluded me all my life.


Today I am thankful for the trials to show us His perfect peace which passes all understanding.  When I look back I realize I could have been the prostitute, the woman at the well, a drug addict, a battered wife, the homeless woman on the street or even worse things I can't imagine.  And that is when my heart swells and I am fully grateful for what Jesus did in sparing me, a worthless, imperfect, undeserving sinner.  Without the difficulties I have faced I could not see the awesome ways my God has worked throughout my every breath.  Without dark moments, I would not be able to see the light of my Lord Jesus Christ shining to brighten each of my steps in this dark world.

And because of the many challenges He has given me along the way I am able to minister in so many areas of life.  My husband often tells me how much wisdom I have.  Any wisdom I might have is not mine to claim but because of the experiences He has brought me through.  If I had never walked this winding journey I would not be able to embrace the joy of reaching out to so many different girls, young ladies and women.  I am thankful God has given me a heart especially to reach young ladies.  Today I am thankful I was given the opportunity to share my journey with you.  I thank you for taking a few minutes to remember it with me.  It is my prayer that what He has done in my life will impact your life to make you a better servant for His kingdom.

Thankfully Yours,

Kat







My name is Kathleen Wachter and I blog about all I am Thankful for over at Art's Chili Pepper

23 November 2011

Guest Post - Book Review: Mere Christianity by C.S. Lewis

Hello! I'm Miss Rachel from Young Homemakers! :D I'm so excited to share about this excellent book I read a few months ago! C. S. Lewis is one of my favorite authors, but I'd only read his "Chronicles of Narnia" books and a bunch of his quotes before this. So I decided to read this very well-known book: Mere Christianity! :D


Mere Christianity
by C.S. Lewis

"Lewis seeks in 'Mere Christianity' to help us see the religion with fresh eyes...The Christianity Lewis espouses is humane, but not easy: it asks us to recognize that the great religious struggle is not fought on a spectacular battleground, but within the ordinary human heart, when every morning we awake and feel the pressures of the day crowding in on us, and we must decide what sort of immortals we wish to be." ~ Forward by Kathleen Norris


My Thoughts: C. S. Lewis has a way of explaining theology so that it makes sense spiritually, practically, socially, etc. :) He uses his analogies and comparisons so that God makes sense. The God of the Bible is real and He does care about you and me! Instead of explaining all of Christianity, Lewis takes a step back, ignoring the denominational differences, and gives us truth. He breaks things down and gives us the formula for following God (from the Bible) without all the baggage of the church in general. Taken from C. S. Lewis's 1943 radio broadcasts in the middle of a raging war, this book has great appeal. Here he addresses "the central issues of Christianity". I greatly enjoyed reading Mere Christianity!


{C. S. Lewis}

Pros: This book was excellent! It really helps to know what the foundation for our faith is and why we believe what we believe. Lewis helps to define what some of things are by taking you through a few different topics: marriage, singleness, moral law, and Christian behavior (to name a few). The biblical wisdom shared in this book was astounding! It's like he takes the bible apart and then puts it in a format where you can only come to one conclusion: God is *the* God and He does take great interest in how we live our daily lives! I like to write out my favorite quotes in a journal and I can say that after reading this excellent book, I had quite a few pages taken up with new quotes! :D


Cons: The only cons I had was that when speaking of morality, he had to be frank and so for me this was a tad bit uncomfortable to read at times. For younger reader's, there are a few "mature" words/topics mentioned here and there that might not be appropriate for you to read at a young age and there is a whole chapter on sexual morality as well that you might consider skipping too (that would be up to your parents and your discretion). :) I was okay for the most part, but then, I am 25, so I already know about these things to some degree. These things unfortunately do exist in our world, so having a biblical view of sin is always good and that is what Mr. Lewis gives us. Thankfully he doesn't go into too great a detail about this form of sin (except, in the one chapter), only making references to it, but as I said, younger girls may wish to skip some of the chapters or wait until they are a bit older to read this one. :)


My Rating: 5 out of 5 stars!!! I want to definitely read this one again and again! :D It was a great theological book with great arguments for Christ and what we believe as Christians and I loved getting a fresh look at my faith!


A Bit O' Reading For the Day: "We may be content to remain what we call 'ordinary people': but [God] is determined to carry out a quite different plan." (p. 204)

"God cannot give us happiness and peace apart from Himself, because it is not there. *There is no such thing*." (p. 52)
- one of my favorite C. S. Lewis quotes! :D

~~~

Thank you very much Elizabeth for asking me to be a part of this fun project for your blog! :D I pray you have had a blessed month in working on your writing for the NaNoWriMo!

In Christ,
~Miss Rachel~

*Miss Rachel is a 25-year-old homeschool graduate, delighting in the ways she can serve her family and her Lord from home. Some of the things she enjoys include cooking/baking, sewing and a myriad of other crafts, writing to friends, singing with her family, blogging with her friends and her sister, and spending time learning from God's Word.

21 November 2011

Autumn Apples...






The smell of spices and of fresh baked goods in the oven... these are the scents of fall.
One of the blessings of this beautiful fall season is the sweet apples that are in abundance. So many delicious things can be made from them, combining their sweet flavor with spices such as cinnamon and nutmeg. One of my favorite apple treats, which is also delight to make, is apple pie.
After trying a few different recipes, this one is certainly my favorite...

~Apple Pie~
 

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup packed brown sugar
  • 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 6 to 7 cups thinly sliced peeled tart apples
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • Pastry for double-crust pie (9 inches)
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 1 egg white
  • Additional sugar

Directions

  • In a small bowl, combine the sugars, flour and spices; set aside. In a large bowl, toss apples with lemon juice. Add sugar mixture; toss to coat.
  • Line a 9-in. pie plate with bottom crust; trim pastry even with edge. Fill with apple mixture; dot with butter. Roll out remaining pastry to fit top of pie. Place over filling. Trim, seal and flute edges. Cut slits in pastry.
  • Beat egg white until foamy; brush over pastry. Sprinkle with sugar. Cover edges loosely with foil.
  • Bake at 375° for 25 minutes. Remove foil and bake 20-25 minutes longer or until crust is golden brown and filling is bubbly. Cool on a wire rack. Yield: 8 servings.
{I found this recipe from Taste of Home}



I prefer "criss crossing" my top layer of dough, as I enjoy the style of it. I do this by cutting my dough into long, even strips, then one by one overlap and tuck them under each other.




Ready for the oven...







The finished project...



~Simple. Sweet. Pure Delicious.~
May this recipe be a blessing for you and your family, as you gather during this fall season and cherish the gifts that the Lord has blessed us with!

In Christ,

Photobucket


About the author...





Shannon is a 16 year young lady who loves the Lord with her whole heart, and strives to live every day for His glory . She has been blessed with a wonderful family, the gift of being homeschooled, and gives thanks for the wonderful life that the Lord has given her. Her desire is to be a homemaker {if that is the Lord's will for her life}, and strives to use each day to prepare her heart and hands for that task.She prays that the Lord would use her as a vessel for His kingdom and that her life would shine His love. She blogs at A Bright Light In A Dark World .

20 November 2011

Sunday Blessings

{painting by N.C. Wyeth}

We gather together to ask the Lord’s blessing;
He chastens and hastens His will to make known.
The wicked oppressing now cease from distressing.
Sing praises to His Name; He forgets not His own.

Beside us to guide us, our God with us joining,
Ordaining, maintaining His kingdom divine;
So from the beginning the fight we were winning;
Thou, Lord, were at our side, all glory be Thine!

We all do extol Thee, Thou Leader triumphant,
And pray that Thou still our Defender will be.
Let Thy congregation escape tribulation;
Thy Name be ever praised! O Lord, make us free!

~"We Gather Together" translated to English by Theodore Baker~

Reflecting on the many blessings which the Lord has bestowed upon me as Thanksgiving approaches . . . Have a lovely Sabbath, dear friends!

". . . but that also he should gather together in one the children of God that were scattered abroad." ~John 11:52b~

18 November 2011

{Guest Post} Book Review: North and South by Elizabeth Gaskell

I have always been fascinated by 19th-century literature, having read almost the entire canon of Jane Austen, as well as writing by Dickens, the Bronte sisters and other popular authors of the period.  At one point, I thought that I had found my "niche" of classic literature, and was confident of the quality of my favorite authors- then I was introduced to Gaskell.  Elizabeth Gaskell was the writer of the novel North and South, which was later adapted into a television mini-series by the BBC.  Other books of hers that have been converted into films include Wives and Daughters and Cranford.  Yet the story of North and South remains one of my favorites.

North and South
by Elizabeth Gaskell
*Summary based off of the summary of the mini-series adaptation.

North and South is an unlikely love story following an industrialist man and a middle-class young woman named Margaret Hale, who relocates with her family from England's cultivated and slow-moving south to the northern, fast-paced and largely illiterate town of Milton.  It is a factory town, where local mill-owner John Thornton rules his mill with an iron hand.   In Milton, Margaret must grapple with her new surroundings and the conflict inspired between her and the mill owner.  Can their differences ever be reconciled despite their vastly different upbringings and frequent misunderstandings?  


My Thoughts: North and South is one of my favorite novels and with good reason.  One of the great things about this book is that it is a social drama discussing the hardships known to places such as Milton, but the arc of its story includes much more than this.  The main character Margaret Hale can be easy to relate to.  She is headstrong, reliant upon her faith in God, and highly concerned about others.  Likewise, John Thornton is a character that it is hard to dislike, something that I think Margaret struggles with because despite their differing views of economy and justice, it is hard not to wish to be on good terms with him.  In regards to his success in business, John is self-made and a hard-worker, with a strong sense of justice and a great deal of charisma.  The story revolves mainly around these two characters, but unlike many stories involving romance, this story is well-rounded, and much more faith-based than most other classics of its kind that I have had the opportunity to read.  

Pros: The quality that I like most about this book is that in many ways it is a study on living while keeping your character intact.  Another neat aspect to the novel is that the author Elizabeth Gaskell lets us get into the heads of both male and female characters, lending a different perspective than you find in many classics.  I enjoyed this viewpoint!  God and aspects of the Christian faith are also made mention of in this book in a positive fashion (most of the main characters are Christians).  I found this refreshing.  Another great thing about this book is that it touches on many real-life issues that are surprisingly similar to issues we are facing in the current economy, politics, business and so on.  This is what helps to make Gaskell's writing so timeless- and all these topics I think will fail to be boring even to readers with less interest in them thanks to Gaskell's style of prose.

Cons: The story starts out a little slow.  I would recommend hanging in there, because the novel is well worth the effort of getting through the first few pages (or for some readers, perhaps the first chapter or two).  Another con is that the story has to end so soon!  Though it is likely that readers who are not familiar with reading classics may think the opposite and find North and South to be a bit long.  Another thing to note that is not really a "con" but ought to be mentioned as a forewarning is that the book does deal with dark concepts, such as death and hardship.

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars.
Due to its length and writing style, I recommend this book for ages 14+.

An Excerpt to Enjoy (from chapter 10) - 

“I would rather be a man toiling, suffering–nay, failing and successless–here, than lead a dull prosperous life in the old worn grooves of what you call more aristocratic society down in the South, with their slow days of careless ease. One may be clogged with honey and unable to rise and fly.”
“You are mistaken,” said Margaret, roused by the aspersion on her beloved South to a fond vehemence of defence, that brought the colour into her cheeks and the angry tears into her eyes. “You do not know anything about the South. If there is less adventure or less progress–I suppose I must not say less excitement–from the gambling spirit of trade, which seems requisite to force out these wonderful inventions, there is less suffering also. I see men here going about in the streets who look ground down by some pinching sorrow or care–who are not only sufferers but haters. Now, in the South we have our poor, but there is not that terrible expression in their countenances of a sullen sense of injustice which I see here. You do not know the South, Mr. Thornton,’ she concluded...

About the Author

Hannah Kingsley is 20 years old and loves to inspire people.  She desires to work in entertainment, because she believes that the creative arts and entertainment are two areas where far too many Christians withdraw, and hopes to help fill this gap.  She likes costume dramas and loves to sing!  You can visit her blog at Joyful Idealist- Living With Love and Grace.






16 November 2011

{Guest Post} She rises while it is yet night, and provides food for her household.

Proverbs 31:15 speaks of a woman who "rises while it is yet night, and provides food for her household."

It is a profitable thing for us as young ladies to be equipped to serve our future husband before we are married. If we are prepared, we will be able to bless our man each day with not only nourishing words and love but also delicious and nourishing food.

With that in mind, I would like to share a delicious and healthy breakfast recipe that will bless your family - and your future family as well. If you are reading this post, than certainly you are old enough to rise before your family, grab an apron, a bowl and a few ingredients and prepare for the joy that comes with blessing others!

Pancakes with Maine Blueberry Sauce



Ingredients:
2 Eggs
1 1/2 C All-Purpose Flour
1/2 C Whole-ground Buckwheat Flour
1/2 C Sugar
2t. Baking Powder
1t. Baking Soda
1t. Salt
2 1/4 C Buttermilk
4T (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, melted
1/2t. Vanilla
1-2T. Vegetable Oil (I prefer Grapeseed or Coconut Oil)
2C Fresh or Frozen Blueberries
Zest of 1/2 Lemon
1T. Cornstarch
2t. Fresh Lemon Juice

Directions:

Preheat oven to 200* F.

In a bowl, using an electric mixer, beat the eggs on medium speed until frothy. Add the all-purpose fand buckwheat flours, 3 Tbs. Sugar, the baking powder, baking soda, salt, buttermilk, butter and vanilla and stir just until smooth.

Heat a griddle over medium-high heat. Lightly grease the griddle with oil or spray with nonstick cooking spray (or coconut oil!). Scoop the batter onto the griddle. Cook until bubbles form on top of the pancakes and the batter is set, 1-2 minutes. Flip the pancakes and cook until golden brown on the other side, 2-3 minutes. Transfer to a baking sheet and keep warm in the oven while cooking the remaining pancakes.

In a saucepan over medium-high heat, combine the blueberries, the remaining 1/4 cup plus 1 Tbs. sugar, the lemon zest and 1/2 cup water and stir to dissolve the sugar. Bring to a simmer. In a small bowl, stir together the cornstarch, 1 Tbs. water and lemon juice. Add to the berries and stir until the sauce is thickened, about 5 minutes. Serve the warm blueberry sauce over the pancakes. Serves 4.

"Give her of the fruit of her hands, and let her own works praise her in the gates." 
Proverbs 31:31

Many blessings to each of you as you joyfully prepare and equip yourself for the high and mighty calling of wife and motherhood!
~Jenna

About Jenna:  She is a 18 year old young lady living on a small hobby farm with her family of ten.  She enjoys cooking and under the tutelage of her mother, Jenna is equipping herself to be a wife and mother, when the Lord wills. While combining femininity and the farm girl life, Jenna is passionate about pleasing the Lord and following His straight and narrow way. It is her constant prayer to learn true and joyful contentment in Christ. Jenna blogs at: Feminine Farmgirl.

14 November 2011

What really matters?

Is it the grade I have on my English midterm? The amount I earn in a week? What people think of me? How I treat my siblings? How I dress each day? How I talk to my parents? What really matters?

Obedience? Yes, I've been taught obedience ever since I could first open my eyes. But obey what exactly, Lord? What is your will for my life?




Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, in everything give thanks, for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you. - 1 Thesalonians 5:16-18

By the will of God I am called to rejoice, pray, and give thanks. This is obedience. This is what God wants of me. This is His will for my life.

I can type away all the words I want. But does that matter? Does it matter what I think and write?



But the only words that really matter? Are the ones I live. This convicts me. -Ann Voskamp
So true. It doesn't matter what I type, or write, or say. What matters is how I live. Rejoicing, praying, and giving thanks--that is how I'm called to live.

When I live that way, everything else in my life will be affected.
If I am rejoicing how can I talk disrespectfully to my parents or treat my siblings ugly? I will be rejoicing in all that God has done for me -- including giving me such a wonderful family and I will want to love them the way He loves them.
If I am praying how can I worry what others think of my or how I dress? I will be praying that I can encourage and help others, not what they think of me. 
If I am giving thanks how can I gripe about what I don't have? I will be giving thanks for all that God has given me.

Yes, I will struggle doing this. But has He not promised forgiveness and grace to me? Forgiveness to get over my mistakes and grace to begin again anew.

So I live. I live rejoicing, praying, and giving thanks. I live through His forgiveness and grace.

Living in Christ,


                                                                                             About the Author
You can call her Emily Grace.

It is her prayer and goal in life to "live a life worthy of the Lord." (Colossians 1:10)

She is a sinner saved by the grace of God.
She captures His grace with her shutter. She sees His goodness through her lens. She records His mercy and forgiveness with her pen. She shares His love with her life.

She blogs over at a life worthy of the Lord and Photography by Emily Grace.

13 November 2011

Sunday Blessings

{painting by N.C. Wyeth}

Jesus is all the world to me, 
my life, my joy, my all; 
he is my strength from day to day, 
without him I would fall. 
When I am sad, to him I go, 
no other one can cheer me so; 
when I am sad, he makes me glad, 
he's my friend. 

Jesus is all the world to me, 
my friend in trials sore; 
I go to him for blessings, and 
he gives them o'er and o'er. 
He sends the sunshine and the rain, 
he sends the harvest's golden grain; 
sunshine and rain, harvest of grain, 
he's my friend. 

Jesus is all the world to me, 
and true to him I'll be; 
O how could I this friend deny, 
when he's so true to me? 
Following him I know I'm right, 
he watches o'er me day and night; 
following him by day and night, 
he's my friend.

Jesus is all the world to me, 
I want no better friend; 
I trust him now, I'll trust him when 
life's fleeting days shall end. 
Beautiful life with such a friend, 
beautiful life that has no end; 
eternal life, eternal joy, 
he's my friend.

~"Jesus Is All the World to Me" by Will L. Thompson~

Reflecting on the many blessings which the Lord has bestowed upon me as Thanksgiving approaches . . . Have a beautiful Lord's Day, ladies!

". . . but Christ is all, and in all." ~Colossians 3:11b~

11 November 2011

A little pumpkin delight . . .

Awww...
      Pumpkin Cookies + Cream Cheese Frosting
=Fall Bliss

Pumpkin Cookies 

1 cup butter
1 cup pumpkin
1 egg
1 cup brown sugar
2 cups flour
1 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 tsp. pumpkin spice
1 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt 

Mix~ sugar, butter and egg.
Add pumpkin. Mix well.
Sift dry ingredients.
Add to mixture and beat well.
Drop (using a small rounded cookie scoop)
onto baking sheets.
Bake at 350 degrees for about 9-10 minutes.

Freshly Baked....

Pumpkin Cookies Hot out of the Oven....
When cooled frost with this delectable icing...

Cream Cheese Frosting
recipe courtesy~ Gayle's Bakery 

8 oz. cream cheese (at room temperature)
1/2 (4 oz.) unsalted butter (at room temperature)
4 cups sifted powdered sugar
1 tsp. vanilla

In the bowl of a tabletop mixer fitted with the flat beater, 
cream together the cream cheese and butter, 
scrapping down the bowl and beater twice, until fluffy. 
Add the powdered sugar, first mixing on low speed, 
then increasing the speed to high. Beat until light and fluffy, 
again scrap down the bowl and beater twice. 
Blend in the vanilla. The icing should be smooth and 
spreadable, if it is too thick add a wee bit of milk.
Enjoy!
"The torch of love is lit in the kitchen."
-Anonymous 

"Cookies are made of butter and love."  
~Norwegian Proverb

"For thou shalt eat the labour of thine hands:
happy shalt thou be, and it shall be well with thee."
-Psalm 128:2

Many Blessings to all of you!!
Hope you are having 
a wonderful day!

Meet Miss Jen . . .

I'm a young woman who is truly blessed. Blessed to be a woman, Blessed to be a daughter and Blessed to be a child of God. I have a passion for theology and anything that relates to homemaking! I blog at Blessed Femina. It is my desire to live a life depicted in I Corinthians 10:31 "So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God." 
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