Wednesday, August 29, 2007

One of the difficult things about family devotions is trying to find a story/subject that you can make interesting for the entire age span. In our family, our youngest is 7 and our oldest is 20. If you include Mike and me, our oldest is 54 (Mike!), and there is no reason why devotions shouldn't be interesting for us as well. I keep hoping to find a book called, "Fascinating Devotions for the Entire Family."

Well, I didn't find that book, but I did pick up this book at the thrift shop last week. It is called, "Object Lessons from Pebbles and Paper Clips" by Joanne De Jonge. This link to Amazon was the cheapest I could find other than eBay.

I bought this book because Mike regularly gets called on at a moment's notice to teach a class or share a devotional, and this book has plenty of lessons that you can use for 5 minutes or 50 minutes.

My favorite lesson is the "Light Your Candle" (p 91) lesson: Before your family comes in for devotions, place 5 plain unlit white candles around the room. Don't hide them, but just place them so they would "fit in" with the rest of your room. When your children come in see how long it takes for them to find all 5 candles. (It didn't take my children long only because I have no knick knacks and the candles were obvious!) Read the lesson in the book and make the point that in our sinful world we need to make sure our candles are lit in order to be seen as lights for Jesus.

Now have your children close their eyes and you turn out the lights. Now open your eyes and notice how dark and sinful the world is. Do you see the candles? No, of course not. Close their eyes again while you light the candles. Open all eyes and talk about how the candles stand out against the dark when they are lit. Yes, there are so many different points you can make about this lesson which is why I think it is my favorite.

Be sure to do this devotional on an evening when you have plenty of time to talk with your children. What does it mean to be a "lit" candle? What can we do to let our lights shine for Jesus?

My children's favorite devotional is when my hubby made chocolate brownies and told them they could eat them but that he had to warn them that he mixed a little bit of dirt in the brownies. Just a little bit, he warned. No one would eat it. The lesson is that we should not be watching movies that are just a little bad, or reading books that are just a little offensive. (Actually, he really didn't put dirt in the brownies, but we had a hard time convincing my children!)

Last night for dinner we had another favorite (to eat, not to chop!) dinner. I made Garden Bars because I have a fridge full of fresh veggies that I need to use. I used the crescent rolls to make the crust, but I have to tell you there is no nutritional value in the crust. I have made a great tasting whole wheat flour crust, but I have to find the recipe again. It was in an issue of Keepers At Home. Anyhow, for the "white" part I used one container of Tofutti cream cheese with 2 Tblp Tofutti sour cream. For seasonings I used half of a spinach dry mix and 2 tsp Good Seasonings salad mix. This is enough to make 3 cookie sheets of bars. I topped the Garden Bars with black olives, red and yellow peppers, broccoli, celery, green onions, and carrots. I usually put twice as many veggies as you see above, but yesterday was very busy and I just wore out of chopping! Usually the girls help me chop, but even they were done for. Anyhow, it was delicious!

This morning Ruthie and I discussed the Psalm 119:11, "I will hide Thy Word in my heart that I might not sin against Thee." We were discussing the purpose of AWANA at our church. I wanted to let her know that the purpose of AWANA is not to see how many dollars or candy we can collect but learning to hide God's Word in our hearts. Such a simple verse, but it has given me a lot to think about this morning.

Only a few more days until school starts. I've decided that the problem with my children is that they never get bored! It would be nice if we got bored so that we could look forward to schoolwork. Even though I am probably the most relaxed Mom about schoolwork, there is still a certain amount to do. So I am concentrating this week on being thankful for the minds of my children. They are all different but intelligent and exciting!

Many blessings ~ Kathie

Saturday, August 25, 2007

Today for lunch, I made one of our family's all-time favorites, Green Bean Casserole. And to think that I remembered to take a picture before it was gone! Here is the recipe:

Green Bean Casserole

One large can green beans
2 white mushrooms
white sauce using chicken broth instead of milk
salt and pepper to taste
french fried onions

Diced the mushrooms very small (these are for flavor) and saute in some butter until done. Add the butter for your white sauce; finish making your white sauce. If you need this recipe to be dairyfree, make sure you use fake butter and Swanson's chicken broth (the only df broth on the market). Add your green beans and stir to mix. Place in a greased baking dish and cook for 15 minutes or until heated through. Sprinkle onion on top and cook 5 more minutes. Again, if you are making this dairy-free, make sure you use Durkins onion rings since French's contains milk.

For our family, we use a restaurant size can of green beans from BJs and put everything in a 12x15 baking dish. We never have leftovers with this dish, *so sad*.

If you need to make this dish wheat free, use cornstarch or arrowroot. If your children don't like the taste of mushrooms, then leave them out.

Today our temperature is 98 degrees with a heat index of 108! I am so thankful for air conditioning. Have a nice weekend, stay cool. Many blessings ~ Kathie

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Missions Camp at BJU

This summer, Maggie and Anna went to Bob Jones University in Greenville, South Carolina, for a week of Missions Camp. The Director of the camp sent a bunch of pictures that he had taken during the week. I thought I'd post a few of them to give you a glimpse into their week. This is the whole camp:

One day they all got soaked dodging between buildings. Typical Greenville weather! They spent a lot of time doing research in the computer lab:

Maggie enjoyed learning about the airplane at the local airport:

Anna enjoyed working with the puppets:
And this is the infamous singing trio making their veggie salad:

Maggie enjoyed the kitchen the most and said she could seriously consider majoring in Culinary Arts. So now they are home and have caught up on their sleep. Lack of sleep was one of their few complaints about the camp.

Anna has asked us to pray with her about getting a nursing degree to use on the mission field.

The girls learned a lot and made some new friends. The only bad part was Momma's homesickness for her girls:-)

Many blessings ~ Kathie

Monday, August 20, 2007

Fellowship Evening

About four times a year, our church cancels Sunday evening service and has Fellowship Evening. The purpose of this evening is to allow the folks in church to get together for fellowship in our homes. We enjoy these evenings a lot. Last night we had 24 folks over.
At first, most people were outside. The children played badminton across the front yard. (I have a dozen sets of badminton but no nets...which is better. The children just divide up into twos.) The boys were in the field playing BB guns and airsoft guns (with the Dads!). We women sat on the porch talking.

As it got dark outside, everyone came inside. We had ping pong, foosball and darts in the basement, air hockey in the toy room, and most dangerous of all, Rumikub in the kitchen.

The teens were funny. They played cards in the living room, but they sat on the sofas while the deck of cards was in the middle on the floor! Never mind the coffee table, lol.

As usual with any FBC event, there was plenty of food. My neighbor, Rick, brought chicken wings that smelled delicious. Charmaine brought boxes of Italian Ices, which was a real hit, especially with my children since they are dairyfree. Charmaine then left 4 boxes of them with us as a gift. What a sweetie!! There was plenty of cheese and crackers, veggies and dip, and cookies, brownies, and fruit.

At 9:30 everyone started wrapping things up and by 10 they were gone. Too bad today is a workday since we would have loved to fellowship much longer.

Enjoy the remaining summer days. Many blessings ~ Kathie

Friday, August 17, 2007

XYZers Visit!

Today our family hosted a special luncheon and mini-concert for the XYZers from our church. XYZ stands for X-tra Years of Zest and these folks sure have it! What a blessing we received. We put three 8-ft tables end to end in my kitchen, which seated 26 comfortably.
Our menu consisted of Grilled chicken (lemon pepper, barbeque and italian), watermelon, pasta salad, roasted baby yukon potatoes, rice, jello salad, and oven-baked green beans. For dessert we had cheesecake, carrot cake, chocolate brownies, and Aunt Marilyn's pineapple zucchini bread. It was all delicious and the XYZers are easy to please.
After lunch, everyone found seats in the living room to hear our little concert. Ruthie started off singing Ron Hamilton's "Hear Am I Lord."
Allen and Mike played their ukes and sang "Springs of Living Water." Then my Mother played a piano solo.

Lizzie and her violin teacher played a duet, then her teacher, Adina, played two beautiful songs. The way Adina plays the violin brings tears to my eyes. My Grandfather would have enjoyed listening to her for hours. Next in line was my daughter, Sarah, who sang "Speak Lord (for Thy servant hears)." I didn't get a picture of her, but there were two folks who declared that she should sing more often in church. When I was pregnant with Sarah, I prayed to the Lord that she would be given the gift of singing. I didn't care if she were pretty or smart, just that she be healthy and vocal. The Lord certainly blessed us because she is beautiful, intelligent and has a wonderful voice.
Aunt Marilyn played her piano solo, then accompanied Uncle Gene on his tuba. It is to Aunt Marilyn and Uncle Gene that I owe my appreciation for whom I am today. For I am thoroughly convinced that I would be totally the opposite of who I am today were it not for their prayers. I was a naughty, spoiled child and they must have feared the direction I was going. They took me to church and special events every chance they got so that I was able to hear the salvation message repeatedly until I understood it. Aunt Marilyn also held Bible clubs in her basement for years.
The girls and I sang one of our old songs. We haven't sung together for awhile, but the Lord blessed.

I think it says a lot about our church to have so many older folks, especially older folks who are active in church and are always offering encouragement to the rest of us. I was touched when Dick offered thanks for our meal and remembered to pray for the XYZers who aren't in good health. Our family will remember this day for a long time.

Before the XYZers left, we stood in a circle holding hands and sang, "God Be With You Til We Meet Again." It sounded wonderful.

After the XYZers left, we sat out on the porch with Aunt Marilyn, Uncle Gene, and Mom, and caught up on the latest family news.

So tonight we've invited our neighbor, Rick, to come over and help eat leftover cheesecake and coffee. Our whole family enjoyed today and look forward to having the XYZers back in the winter when we can sit around the fireplace and sing.

One of the funny things that happened this week was when Ruthie told my Dad that the old folks from church were coming for lunch. "I think they are inspectors," she told him, "because Mom keeps wanting us to clean the house." What will she say next?!

Many blessings ~ Kathie

Monday, August 13, 2007

This is a picture of my hubby with three of his friends who sing together as a quartet (my hubby is 2nd from left). They also sing as part of the Southern Mix Barbershop Chorus which has about 2 dozen guys, more or less. Our family enjoys listening to barbershop music as much as Mike enjoys singing it. The quartet practices in our home once a week but the chorus practices at the College of Southern Maryland La Plata every Monday evening.

We are still praying for rain. Enjoy these last few weeks of summer. Many blessings ~ Kathie

Thursday, August 9, 2007

Biblical Womanhood Giveaway!

This week Crystal Paine of Biblical Womanhood is giving away a $25 Vision Forum gift certificate. It's so simple. Click on this link to find Crystal's email address and send her your name and address. I've bought some good books from Vision Forum and would enjoy a $25 certificate! So give yourself a treat and enter. There's only one day left so hurry!

Many blessings ~ Kathie

Monday, August 6, 2007

Native American Festival

Thanks to my friend, Trish, we found out about the Native American Festival at the Jefferson Patterson Park in Calvert County this weekend. So we made a deal with our children to work diligently on Friday and Saturday morning then we scooted on over to the Festival. We had a great time! The above picture shows some of the seashell necklaces being sold by vendors. There were a bunch of vendors selling everything including drums and flutes, jewelry, clay pottery, indian dolls, etc. I was surprised to see only one rug and no native american quilts. One of the first things my children did was archery and atlatl. What is atlatl? It is a method of hunting and fishing whereby you insert your arrow into an atlatl so that you gain momentum when throwing your arrow. The best website I could find is here. This site has pictures that explain it best. It looked easy to throw the atlatl, but was much harder to actually do! The above pictures shows an atlatl with bows. I know, not a good picture!
I enjoyed going into the huts that were made the past few months to be part of a permanent display. It was surpisingly cooler inside. Saturday was really hot and humid, in the 90s. But there was a slight breeze coming off the Patuxent River that kept me comfy. I usually suffer terribly in the heat, but I have to admit I didn't suffer on Saturday. Thank you, Lord!
This is the little firepit inside the above hut. It reminds me of what an indian said in some western movie I watched, "Only white man make huge fire, sit far. Red man build little fire, sit close." I really felt for the volunteers who had to work with fire on Saturday. It was too hot for that.
I'm not sure if you can tell what this is, but it is a platform bed covered with furs. I was surprised to see this since I don't think I've ever seen one in western movies. Then I remembered what a missionary friend of mine who ministers on a reservation in Arizona said about the rats, mice and scorpions!
My Dad made one of these hide stretchers when I was a child. Dad and my brothers belonged to the local Y-Indian Guides. It was a group like the boy scouts that taught Dads and their sons how to live off the land and hunt, fish, etc. My brothers (and uncle and cousins) enjoyed it a lot. I googled Y-Indian Guides to see if they were still in existence. They are, but because they were offensive to Native Americans, they've been revised and no longer resemble the original Y-Indian Guides. What a shame.
There is something in me that really enjoys all the homemade things from natural elements. I would like to try making this bark basket.
I really felt for this volunteer who was making the canoe. He would put a bunch of hot coals on the log, then scrape the ashes out with oyster shells.

I was fascinated by their garden. Instead of rows, the corn was planted 3-4 stalks together with a little well built up around them. The garden had herbs, squashes, gourds, etc. I was suprised it did so well in our local drought which has been classified as severe.

This woman is playing the double chambered flute. It was beautiful. Very soothing. Because of their recent history of the past 150 years, it is also very haunting.

We also saw a pottery making, hide tanning, projectile point (arrowhead) making, basketry, as well as informative displays showing what the river looked like in 1600s and what it looks like now in its polluted state.

I came home with feeling very thoughtful. It is not a good feeling to know that my ancestors came and took this land away from the original owners, and then abused that land with over-harvesting, over-fishing, over-hunting, etc. My generation has only carried on this tradition. It's called conspicuous consumption.

I would like to have come back on Sunday to see the re-enactment of John Smith arriving in his shallop. Maybe next year!

I hope this gives you an idea of what we saw. Plan to go with us again next year. Many blessings ~ Kathie