An attempt to declare the Glory of God for what He has chosen to do with our lives. A legacy to leave to my children in the telling of it.

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

'Twas The Week Before Christmas

'Twas the week before Christmas
and all through the house
there was no sign of a Christmas tree
or blinking lights
or pretty wrapped presents
and the homeschooling mother even had the nerve to insist that
we are still doing math
and reading
and chores
and brushing our teeth.

Monday, December 10, 2012

A Homemade Christmas

Matchbox Cars Track

Christmas is fast approaching. Over the years we have battled to not turn our kids into selfish monsters during this festive month, but rather to somehow attempt to portray that the season is really about being givers. To take the focus off of ourselves, because really, looking around this old farmhouse, we are not in want of anymore material possessions, we try to focus our gift buying mostly outside of the family. For years the kids have all chosen gift box presents for Operation Christmas child, and this year we plan to spend a good amount of our Christmas savings to buy a gift from Compassion International. 

So, in light of the "thinking of others" mentality we are trying to impress upon our kiddos, and "it is more blessed to give than to receive" theory, we have (to the horror of some certain young folk around here) reinstated the ever popular homemade gift theme. Everybody got super creative when we did a homemade Christmas a couple of years ago.  There was a hand carved replica of the Narnian Dawn Treader ship, homemade board games and puzzles, chicken roosts, gift certificates for construction work, and hot chocolate and movie coupons.

There is a lot of whispering and hiding going on after chores and school these days. It will be exciting to see what everybody is creating. My own finished creations have included a jean quilt that Grace has desperately been wanting and some custom soap with Rob's favorite cologne scent. And now I'm off to forge a track through the snow to the wood shop to find some scrap lumber to attempt making a matchbox car track for Micah following the directions found here.

Sunday, December 9, 2012

Snowin' in Wisconsin

We are in the midst of a sizable Wisconsin snowstorm. The weather man is predicting 6-8 inches of snow within a twenty-four hour period. He didn't realize that we had two Christmas programs scheduled for today, or the consequences in our household of having to cancel them.

He probably didn't realize, either, when he was making his guesses, that for the past two years we have had snowstorms on the very day that these same programs had been scheduled. Or that the blowing winds and fast falling flakes would result in an avalanche of emotions for this grieving mother because, as if the holidays aren't hard enough, the last days of Trent's life seem to be relived all over again the closer we get to yet another anniversary date.

The same snowstorm, same programs, but all overshadowed by the missing of a child. I just couldn't endure going today. So I cried in the bathroom instead. And blamed the weather. The predictions told to us at the beginning of this journey are proving to be right: grief gets harder rather than easier. The second year is worse than the first. And I can only imagine that we have the rest of our lives to fight this unending battle.

My sister calls it Chinese water torture. Drip. Drip. Drip. Just like the faucet in our bathroom. Drip. Drip. Drip. It's all the little things that will drive you crazy. The old shirt that has been left in the hamper for twenty-two months. The bunk bed that the boys insisted on setting up again. Eating cheese puffs and reading a book before bed. The thought of taking pictures for Christmas cards. Or cutting a tree from the woods out back. Or buying only four pomegranates for the stockings on Christmas morning. Drip. Drip. Drip.

So I got out the Bible. And went to Ezra with the kids. The old people cried, and the young people rejoiced after building the temple foundation. I guess I'm lumped in with the old people because it seems crying is all I'm doing these days. After I cried some more, I sent everybody outside.

Sliding and snow forts brought smiles. Hot chocolate and cookies helped, too. And then Rob came home and announced that the roads were horrible. And we discussed heaven, and just how long eternity is going to be, and how good God is.

And I realized, in the end, that God had something better planned for this day. Something that couldn't be found in make-shift sanctuaries full of little boys dressed in bathrobes and tween-girls pretending their name was Mary. Nor could it be found in beautiful Christmas songs that have been rehearsed for months with good friends. It took many tears, and many snowflakes, to ultimately find Him.

Saturday, December 8, 2012

Good Job

I literally looked up today, out of the smothering of grief, and said out loud, "Lord, you're doing a good job." Defeat has ruled for so many days. I've forgotten that the victory has been won. God knows what He's doing.

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Five Years Later

Five years later, and finally I hear the words I've longed for, "I just felt like giving you a hug." Followed by the sweetest hug I've gotten in a long time from an eight year old boy. They have been five patient years as I have been waiting for this magical time in adoption that I didn't realize wasn't already here.

I remember that after Grace came home there was something special about that anniversary date. I wasn't concerned at all about Micah prior to that hug. He is not needy or overtly affectionate, but rather a very content, happy kiddo that doesn't require much physical attention. That's why the arms encircling me, and the need for a mother's embrace, overwhelmed me. There were tears of joy stinging my eyes this time instead of tears of grief.

One of the things I look forward to in heaven is the hope that all of my children will be there. We had such a short time of enjoying five kids in our home. I imagine an eternity of having all my kids together again. Nothing exotic, just simple things: horseback rides, camping by the river, sitting at the supper table ... for eternity. No death, no tears, no goodbyes.

I have found that my focus is more and more on heaven these days. Trying to imagine it has exhausted me, so instead I find myself planning for it. Painting the girl's room and the upstairs hallway found me telling God what kind of a mansion I'd like in heaven. I laughed when I realized He would probably give me an old, run down farmhouse to fix up because I would enjoy that the most. Poor Rob~ good thing there's no marriage in heaven. I think he's had about all the old farmhouses he can handle.

A big old farmhouse, with a wrap around porch, spiral staircase, and acres and acres of privacy to raise goats, kids and horses would make me content for an eternity. All this, and no sin, no curse, no enemy to destroy. Walking there with my Savior for ever and ever and ever.

News of another teen age death struck our community yesterday. I woke up nearly sick for that mother today. How long, Oh Lord? How long until you come to reign?

The tears of grief flow as I force  myself to feel the immense pain of losing a child. Words won't form for cohesive prayer, so I allow the Holy Spirit to pray them for me. I realized that I am resorting to stuffing again, thinking that not feeling the feelings as I force them to stay in their pit may help. It hasn't before, but who knows? Maybe it will work this time.

So I make myself write a blog post. Make myself vulnerable. Talk about Jesus again. Scare the enemy a little more. Like Martin Luther said, "Why give Satan a vacation?"

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Craft Fair Projects

 The weeks after Thanksgiving seems to trigger a craftiness in our household. Maybe it's the cold and snow that force us to become house bound, yet there is still a lot of energy to figure out what to do with. After a successful day selling our goat's milk soap at the Women's Expo earlier this Fall, Alexis and I were excited to try a local craft fair. She was anxious to get ahead on raising funds for her upcoming missions trip, so she spent a day baking cookies and putting together cookies in a jar.
Using our favorite cookie recipe, she layered the ingredients into quart jars and adorned them with ribbons and material.
Chocolate Chip Cookies
1 cup soft butter
1 tsp. vanilla
2 eggs
1/4 cup sugar
3/4 cup brown sugar
1- 3 oz. pkg. instant vanilla pudding
2 1/4 cups flour
1 tsp. baking soda
Chocolate chips
Bake at 375* for 8- 10 minutes

Wreaths, dolls and other odds and ends of sewing projects.
Of course we also brought lots of goat's milk soap and laundry detergent, too. The common consensus of the day from the "regulars" was that it was a slow craft fair. We did alright~ Alexis earned nearly enough to pay for her passport, I got to sell and give away several books, and we sold enough soap to ensure keeping the goats on the farm for a few more months.
We made some yummy scents: Lemon Swirl, Sugar and Spice, Sweet Pea, Cucumber Melon, Moonlight Pomegranate, Lilac, and the ever popular Almond.

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Princess Missions

For nearly half of my life my heart has been given to mothering. I can still remember the awe and the fear of holding that first newborn baby, seeing all at once this beautiful creation right here in my arms and, in a sense, all the way into eternity. As much as my concerns were for her immediate needs, of which I was pretty much clueless, they were moreso for her spiritual needs. It has not ceased to amaze me for the past decade and a half how one little soul could be used to transform me, when I was given the responsibility of shaping her.
With one child in heaven, another one living with one foot here and one foot there, and three that keep me on my knees, literally, begging for their salvation, I continue to understand my helplessness in raising them. But every so often, God reveals a glimpse of His work through us, His vessels of clay.
What started out as another entry on a local Fair form this summer turned into several late, late night sessions of drawing, editing and formatting and ultimately a grand champion prize. Alexis has been gifted in writing, and used that gift this summer to write her first children's book. First, because four months later, after many more late, late nights, she has produced her second children's book; a Christmas story.
Now, as if that wasn't enough of an accomplishment for a girl who isn't even finished with high school yet, she has gone on to aspiring in serving God in other ways. She lives with eternity in mind, always fighting for more godly wisdom, more serving opportunities, more growth; less of herself, more of Jesus.
After much prayer, Alexis signed up to be a part of a missions trip to Peru in the summer of 2013. For several days she will have an opportunity to allow God to stretch her, to serve in a foreign country, to be the hands and feet of Jesus. As part of this process she is required to build up a support team, both prayer-wise and financially.
Already she has earned a good amount of the required fee by herself. It is amazing how God provides when it is His work! Rather than committing her royalties to More Glory Ministries, book sale proceeds will be temporarily applied towards her missions trip. So, if you have a child on your list this Christmas, considering giving in two ways: the gift of the gospel wrapped in pretty paper, and the gift of helping to reach Peru with the gospel.
The financial aspect of missions is sometimes easier to raise than the spiritual. More than anything, this team needs prayer. As a way to keep her supporters informed, I encouraged Alexis to start a blog. I expected updates and pictures, but instead got a peek at her heart, and was overwhelmed again by this God I love. Check it out here (Princess Missions), I think you will be blessed, too.
What a joy it is when God rewards mothers on this side of heaven with answers to their prayers; prayers for children who will glorify Him.

All proceeds from book sales will go towards Alexis' missions trip.

An endearing children's book to introduce young hearts to trust their Heavenly Father, "Remember the Night" is an allegorical tale of a mother and child walking through the dark of the night which reminds us again of the God who walks with us until we see him face to face.

A mother soothes her child's fears of the night by turning the focus to the Creator and remembering to be thankful, hoping at last that her child will look in awe at the God who created all things and holds her in his hands.

$7.00 per book, plus $3.50 shipping and handling.

Click here to order books, or leave me a comment with your email address to arrange payment by check or money order.

Where Were You On Christmas Eve?

A little child discovers the true meaning of Christmas as she follows along the trail to Bethlehem to see who was found in the manger.

$7.00 per book, plus $3.50 shipping and handling.
 Click here to order books, or leave me a comment with your email address to arrange payment by check or money order.

Monday, November 12, 2012

A Good Swift Kick

The house is quiet. Too quiet for 8:32 on a Monday morning when there should be bustling kids getting their day started with Bible reading, school and chores. The boys aren't squirming in their bunk bed yet, starting the brotherly affections of headlocks and tooting contests. The girls aren't whispering and giggling, sharing secrets as the sun comes up.

But a quiet Monday morning house is nice. I see a few floating snowflakes out the kitchen window. The wood stove is going, the coffee has already been drank, the tears have been cried and my mind is overflowing with the word of God as my soul tries to comprehend the realities of it.

Everybody is tired out from a crazy schedule. The busy-ness is a defense mechanism. One that I am good at. Fill the days, keep your hands and feet moving, wait for eternity to begin. And then John tells me in direct answer to desperate prayers to work for the food that will last, not to invest in food that spoils (John 6:27). He reminds me that what Jesus said was true.

And I needed to be reminded. My natural tendency is that if I can't be busy, then I'll stay in bed and doubt, and whine, and complain. Against God. The God of the universe who has everything under His control and the God who only beckons me to press in harder, to hide in Him, to trust and wait.

I can still envision the scene in my mind from this summer when it first began. A camping trip with my sister, and only ten kids instead of eleven. The same campground, the same fishing boats, the same little sunfish ... The tears that haven't stopped flowing, and the indulgent baby steps of entering into the realm of allowing doubt to rule. I am entitled to my pity party. I have a lot to complain to God about. I am only human. My son is dead. So I ventured in, and enjoyed myself.

Like Job, who did I think I was to accuse the Almighty of anything, especially of making a mistake? I am but dust (Psalm 119). A vessel, made of clay of course (2 Corinthians 4:7), but a vessel none the less of a master craftsman (Isaiah 64:8). I cannot fathom how He works, I cannot fathom the glory to come, I cannot fathom the distance between His ways and mine (Isaiah 55:8-9).

I can also still envision the rebuke. The shower room where my heart doubted, the curtains separating the sinks and the shower heads, hiding two hurting hearts and the tears on both of our faces on opposite sides. "Don't ever indulge me in doubt," I finally proclaimed. I don't want to be encouraged to doubt God. His promises are enough. And, thank God, this sister of mine is good at giving swift kicks in the behind.

No, there is no room for doubt. Did Jesus doubt? What does doubt accomplish? For me it creates uselessness, for myself and my family. It creates despondency, and wastes the precious moments that I have been granted here, of the fleeting shadow of my days, which are already flowing as grains of sand through the hand, of which I will give an account for before this Holy God who has opened my eyes to Him.

If I say I believe, then I better be believing. There is much Kingdom work to be done, and it won't be accomplished while I am crying in my bed.

Jesus said, repeatedly actually, that He was telling the truth (John 5:19a, 5:25a, 6:26a, 6:32a, 6:47a, etc, etc, etc.). The prophets even testified to His promises and foretold of a time to come, a glorious time, when all would be made right.

Jeremiah 31:16
 This is what the Lord says:
“Restrain your voice from weeping
and your eyes from tears,
for your work will be rewarded,
declares the Lord.
The puppies are awake and the kids are getting noisy, which means Monday morning has officially begun. Here we go again, one day closer to eternity. What treasures shall I store up today?

Saturday, November 10, 2012

Poodle Pies

Normally all of our critters are contained in the great outdoors in some kind of shed or fence that is intended to keep them away from the corn fields. That was until several weeks ago when a couple of the barn cats decided to have kittens during the coldest week of the season, and Lady decided to have her pups within days of the little felines who were being kept warm on their heating pads in the dining room. Since then we've felt like we live in a zoo.

One momma cat comes in, another momma cat goes out. Lady Dog needs in, Lady Dog needs out ... for some reason always at three-thirty in the morning. And then the baby critters got big enough and started escaping their pools and laundry baskets ... and seven poodle pie pups need to go out, and seven poodle pie pups need to get back in ... several times a day. And then six various colored kittens need to go out, and six various colored kittens need to come back in.

Tomorrow .... tomorrow is the day ... the pups are ready for their new homes: Old Dan, Little Anne, Muscle Man, Ralph, Rosie, Ruthie and Rebecah ... unless of course I can talk Rob into keeping the little runt.

They have been a joy, but sleeping through the night and not waking up to poodle pie messes will be a joy, too.

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Chickens, in Sepia


I was going to do a post about chickens. Because we have a cute little chicken coop, with windows and curtains and a covered porch and fancy chickens to lay their brown speckled eggs in it. And those chickens perch on the recycled rafters and scare the heebie-jeebies out of me every time I go down too late in the afternoon to do chores and have to collect eggs underneath them as they decide whether they should send a little present my way, or if dive bombing the unsuspecting farmers wife in their quest for their supper would suffice.
But then Obama won, again. As we sat watching the polls, rooting out loud for our candidate, and then came back after some chips and a book, to the shocking announcement that we are in for a repeat of the past four years. Our hearts sank as we watched what America was celebrating, what she has chosen as her gods. Our "golden calf" has appeared from the fire after a day of electoral votes. Surprise, surprise.
And then my feathers were ruffled again when I read another sermon outline for our group of young students that focuses more on man than on God. I have been accused of being a little bit too passionate about the gospel; that I am only so fervent because my son just died.
I am passionate about the gospel because my son just died.
I don't think we will be disappointed in God's glory when we see it first hand. I don't think we will think that sin is a small deal when we face our Maker and have no where to hide and no good excuses to ignore Him.
We desperately need to know that we are sinners and will one day stand before a Holy God and give account for our lives, some of us sooner than others. Scripture is primarily meant to reveal who God is, and secondly to reveal that we as a creation are sinful and have no hope aside from Jesus' atonement on the cross. There is a great danger to focus on ourselves and primarily about living a good life here, rather than being prepared for eternity.
I challenge you to read some of the Scripture verses that God led me to, as I was in His Word studying for tonight's lesson, that talk about who we are as mankind:

We are sinners: Romans 3:23
We are dead in our sin: Ephesians 2:1
We are God's enemies: Romans 5:10
We are the ones who crucified Jesus: Luke 22:63-23:43
We would rather turn away from God than have Him: Romans 1:21-23

God said that He will not yield His glory (Isaiah 48:11), and that glory will ultimately be revealed through Jesus (Heb 1:3). If we are Christians our whole lives will be pointing to that glory, especially through the gospel message (the grace and forgiveness poured out on sinners through Jesus' sacrifice on the cross), as the Holy Spirit is working in us towards that same reason. If our lives are not portrayals of Christ, as seen by our longing for Scripture, obedience to God' word, and repentance of sins, it is because we are not saved and we have God's wrath to fear on judgment day. Salvation is only found in Jesus Christ and His work on the cross to forgive sinful mankind.
I was talking to a Christian friend the other day who looked at me like I have a hole in my head when I tried to convey to her my difficulty of living here, and how everything seems to be so insignificant compared to eternity.
What goes with us? What matters? How does that look lived out?
To live like we believed what God said, to store up treasures in heaven, to count our days ... I don't know how that looks. I know that Trent knows, and I know that God said His word will endure forever, and I know that one day I will stand before Him to give an account. Even as a Christian, He will demand an account (1 Corinthians 3:12-14).
The minas are His (Luke 19:11-27), the talents are His (Matthew 25:14-20), the days are His (Job 14:5). Even this election, and those chickens, are His.

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

The Books

Bear with me~ Blogger is being a bugger and won't let me into the template to change this crazy background of books. It can't be me and my technically challenged computer savvy-ness, I'm sure:)) I registered my complaint/request to the required parties and hope to be able to figure it out soon, after I tackle the laundry pile, make a few meals, and finish a couple of projects that are high on the list before the sunshine is gone.

While I'm working on that, check out this beautiful blog that so eloquently states what I only wish I could have said:

Follow up~ the book background is gone, the fancy header I stayed up way too late to create only comes up blurry, still can't get into the template changing thingy to even make the font bigger, and the laundry isn't caught up either.... eventually I'll get back to finish up here.

The Worth of Enduring

“It is worth it to endure all things for the sake of hearing the gospel.”

When I heard the words spoken out loud my soul resonated them as truth. And not only hearing the gospel, but knowing the gospel: The good news of a Savior who died for His elect, an atoning sacrifice before a Holy God, Jesus' precious blood poured out to cover disgusting sins that He never committed, all to reveal greater the glory of our Creator.

A few days later, after grappling continually with grief, those words came back to my tired mind again as I lay in bed wafting between living victoriously in the promises of Christ, or wallowing in pitiful sorrow for another day.

There are times when the rising of strength can almost be measured when the Word of God is remembered. Twenty months after Trent's accident, I have easily assigned heaven and being in the presence of God's glory as second choice to having my son here. It has become harder to conjure up the excitement of what he must be experiencing due to my own pain in what I am experiencing. I have forgotten the worth of the gospel. I have allowed my thoughts, like Eve did (Genesis 3), to rule.

But, if “it is worth it to endure all things for the sake of {knowing} the gospel,” then what a privilege it is to wake up every single day to knowing that my son will not be opening my bedroom door to come in and snuggle. What a privilege to cry every tear. What a privilege to want to battle with my heart for God's truth. Every day, every moment nearly, deciding who will reign.

I sometimes tend to think that I deserve better from my King. I have been spoon fed the same lie that most of us have been told: that the children of God won't/shouldn't suffer, that only what is seen should be considered, that eternity may not be such a long time, that God's glory may not be so glorious or His holy standards so holy. But had I read without my own version of interpreting the Scripture, I would hold unswervingly to embracing and enduring pain, knowing that every infinitesimal detail was from the hand of a Sovereign God; all for His glory, and somehow my joy (Romans 5:1-5). My heart would wholly be as the Samaritan woman's heart, who took even insult from her Savior, and saw the worth of begging for the crumbs, as a dog, in order to know Him (Matthew 15:22-28).

Jesus didn't tend to plead with people to know Him, He actually seemed to do the opposite (John 6:53-38). He warned people to count the cost before even considering following Him (Luke 14:25-35). He warned about the crosses to come; the crosses that would prove our allegiance (Luke 9:23-24). The Kingdom is not free for the taking, it is a Kingdom to be conquered, and it starts in our hearts. Our wicked, deceitful hearts that long for their own way rather than those of God (Jeremiah 17:9). Our hearts that demand our own comfort rather than discipline and submission, our hearts that trade truth as found in God's Word for pride, for ease, for what's on sale at WalMart.

So I sell my fields, as it were, for the greater treasure (Matthew 13:44). I lay aside my longings for my son, for God's Son. As Paul says, I count everything as loss for the sake of knowing Jesus (Philippians 3:7-11). If pain reveals my heart, and pride shows that sin really hasn't been done away with no matter how hard I try to cover it up, and shame puts me back on my knees, and my short temper causes regrets, and my un-gracefilled life finds me begging again for salvation as found only through Jesus, then it is worth it to endure all things for the sake of knowing the gospel. I continue to put myself where the gospel can be heard, enduring the temporal cost, for the eternal value.

Tuesday, October 30, 2012


What started out as a curious experiment has morphed into a small business which could easily reign more of my limited time if I could decide if I really want to be in the soapin' business or not. Three years ago, in an attempt to prove to Rob that those goats really could do more for the farm bank account than just sucking it dry by eating so much hay, I attempted to make my first batch of goat's milk soap.

Although the bars were far inferior to the current ones I've been creating, I was still ecstatic when I saw my creation. When a friend saw the soaps, he became ecstatic for me and foresaw a future to fulfill dreams that I never knew I always had. And after using the goat's milk soap during that first cold, Wisconsin winter the whole family was convinced that we would be goat farmers from here on out.

I continued to play around with different recipes, different additives, scents and colors all the while trying to find new guinea pigs to try them out on. As I am better at giving things away than selling them, many friends and family politely accepted these gifts and humoured me with their appreciation.

Since sales are not my forte, the brilliant idea came one day to attempt teaching a soap making class. As hard as it is to exchange four dollar bills for a bar of sudsy gold, I can easily lead close to a dozen individuals in mixing potential lye volcanoes. The response from our little community overwhelmed me! Alexis became my right hand assistant, and then people actually started asking me if they could buy soap. And then Trent died. And grief has taken over every facet of life for twenty months.

But people still kept asking about soap. So in an attempt to keep living while I'm here, I continued the soaping. Requests came in to host another class through the local community education program at the high school last fall, and private requests have kept me busy throughout this previous summer and fall again, so much so that I have had to turn some people down until spring because *someone* didn't freeze enough milk. Many of the ladies who have taken classes have thrilled my soul by telling  me of their continued soap making.

And then we were asked to host a booth at a local Women's Expo, and nearly sold out of our soaps and laundry detergent, which has us excited about some Christmas craft sales that we hope to be able to attend as well this winter. So, until I decide if I am going to have a soap business or not, I guess I have a soap business.

Monday, October 29, 2012

Playing at the Pond

The kids went out to play at the pond the other day, only to discover that there was no pond.

Friday, October 26, 2012

Copycat Krispy Kreme Doughnuts

Yum! Yum, yum, yum, yum, yum! When Cole's turn came to bring treats to confirmation the only thing he wanted me to make was Copycat Krispy Kreme doughnuts. A few hungry boys, a few dozen doughnuts, and requests for the recipe have proven again that these are delicious.

Copycat Krispy Kreme Doughnuts
4 1/2 tsp. of yeast
1/4 cup water (105-115 degrees)
1 1/2 cups lukewarm milk (scalded then cooled)
1/2 cup sugar
1 tsp salt
2 eggs
1/3 cup shortening
5 cups all purpose flour
canola oil for frying
1. Dissolve yeast in warm water in 2 1/2 quart bowl.
2. Add milk, sugar, salt, eggs, shortening and 2 cups flour.
3. Beat on low for 30 seconds, scraping bowl constantly.
4. Beat on medium speed for 2 minutes, scraping bowl occasionally.
5. Stir in remaining flour until smooth.
6. Cover and let rise until double, 50-60 minutes.

7. Dough is ready when indentation remains when touched. Turn dough onto floured surface; roll around lightly to coat with flour.

8. Gently roll dough 1/2" thick with floured rolling pin.
9. Cut with floured doughnut cutter.
10. Cover and let rise until double, 30-40 minutes.

11. Heat oil in deep fryer to 350 degrees.
12. Slide doughnuts into hot oil with wide spatula.
13. Turn doughnuts as they rise to the surface.
14. Fry until golden brown, about 1 minute on each side.
15. Remove carefully from oil (do not prick surface); drain.

16. Dip the doughnuts into creamy glaze and set on a rack, then when slightly cooled, spread chocolate frosting on top (if desired).
17. Dip in sprinkles or other toppings after chocolate (if desired).
Creamy Glaze:
1/3 cup butter
2 cups powdered sugar
1 1/2 tsp vanilla
4-6 Tablespoons hot water

Heat butter until melted. Remove from heat. Stir in powdered sugar and vanilla until smooth. Stir in water, 1 Tablespoon at a time, until desired consistency.
Chocolate frosting:
1/3 cup butter
2 cups powdered sugar
1 1/2 tsp vanilla
4-6 Tablespoons hot water
4 ounces milk chocolate chip or semi-sweet chocolate chips

Heat butter and chocolate over low heat until chocolate is melted. Remove from heat. Stir in powdered sugar and vanilla until smooth. Stir in water 1 Tablespoon at a time, until desired consistency.

This just might become an addicting habit.

Saturday, October 13, 2012

This Old House

Six years ago we had a dream: a dream to live off the land on a sustainable farm. So we bought an old, rundown farmstead and forged ahead, rose colored glasses and all. When the furnace started shooting out flames and the sewer, then the water pump amongst other major necessities, went out in the first year it was rather exciting to fix up the old place. Umpteen projects later, and the list only seems to be getting longer. We now have another dream: a dream to make the mortgage payments before something else breaks or all those sustainable farm animals run out of feed.
The latest project to rise to the top of the list was the girls' bedroom. We have successfully transformed most of the interior of the house into more modern accommodations, replacing the cool shag carpeting and deer paneling theme that the previous owners had worked so hard to achieve, by painting and wallpapering. But over the past couple of years the old lathe and plaster started to crack in one corner of the bedroom and then, soon after, it began falling onto unsuspecting victims in the middle of the night as they slept peacefully. The bed was eventually moved in an attempt to put off having to start yet another project until we could finish some of the current ones.
The plan was to remove the one section of lathe and plaster that was cracking with a piece of sheet rock and then texture it to match the rest of the room. But then there were complaints about the rough texture of the old walls, so Rob consented to scraping them all if the girls helped. Which led to exposing more cracks, which led to tearing off all of the old lathe and plaster, which led to an infestation of bees and multiple stings as two huge hives were discovered inside the walls, which led to discovering next-to-no insulation, and the need for new wiring, new insulation, and new sheet rock, which led to finishing the needed sheet rock work in the hallway and stairwell as long as we were going to have a big mess, which led to me working all the extra hours I got called in for to help pay for it.
The poor girls are still sleeping in the spare room, patiently waiting for a permanent place to hang their clothes rather than stacking them on the school shelves. Those images of vintage farmhouse bedrooms are still floating through their dreams as they wait for Rob to have the time to get back to working on their walls, but at least they're not interrupted by falling plaster.

Thursday, October 11, 2012

The Never Ending Post

The privelege of sitting down to actually finish a blog post just doesn't seem to make the top of the priority list these days. I have been trying to complete this one for a week now, besides the umpteen posts that I have swirling around in my brain. Life has consumed us with school, soap stuff, farm stuff and kid stuff.

The weather has been nice enough to sit out on the covered porch of the chicken coop and enjoy my coffee and Bible in the mornings this week. I can't say that it's a very serene place, as the goats refuse to be quiet once they see any living soul and insist on being fed, the poor starving critters. The chickens, too, won't leave you alone as they wander around scratching for goodies. And then there are the barn cats who think my only purpose in life is to pet them. But I know the days are limited before it will require three layers of clothing to stay outside for any given time, so I battle the critters. There are few other places that convey so much peace.

As the song goes, "These are the days to remember."

I want to remember Micah trying to convince us all that he can do his math problems with his eyes shut; Cole finishing the fort that he started with his big brother two summers ago; the constant weekly running with children to guitar lessons, choir practice, horse events, and three different church activities on one night, besides the shuffling of friends back and forth for visits; puppies being born at midnight and kittens sleeping on a heated blanket in the living room as Rob shakes his head at these animal-loving people that he gets to live with.
Seven tiny bundles of puppy sweetness were born in the middle of the night last week. Cole, Grace and I were able to witness three of the births, two had already arrived before we realized the excitement had begun, and Lady surprised us with two new babies after we gave up on any more and had gone to bed. One little black girl, with a white splash on her chest, affirmed, again, God's continued answers to our prayers. After five tan babies, Grace confessed that she wanted "a black girl with a white splash," so we prayed. I awoke on Tuesday morning to a smiling girl carrying her special-order puppy as she crawled into my bed to snuggle. 
I have decided that I don't like Trent being dead anymore. Maybe we could start a petition and see if God would send him back. But I can't find any doctrine to support the idea, and I can't imagine that Trent would be too happy about it. So I go on. I keep getting out of bed in the morning and wait for eternity to begin. Keep trying to process it all and live in the meantime. Grappling with the thoughts of living and believing the Promises, trying to figure out where heaven actually is so I can try to explain it to an inquisitive kiddo, realizing that it is not by my power or might that the battle will be won, but by the power that God gives me to struggle, and being broken beyond what I thought was capable as I read of others who are just beginning to walk a similar walk to know Jesus and be counted worthy of this Kingdom to come. (Shannon, Beth, Lara and Allie)

 Restore to me the joy of your salvation and grant me a willing spirit, to sustain me.
 Psalm 51:12