8 Christmas Cookie/Candy Gift Recipes

 

Cookie lead photo

A memorable Christmas tradition in our family is to bring goodies to the homes of hurting people on Christmas Eve. Notice I didn’t say our favorite Christmas tradition but a memorable one. The kids didn’t actually like this tradition when they were little. Just this week I got a call from one of our grown daughters, Hannah and she said even though it wasn’t one of her favorite traditions as a child, it is as an adult. She wants to carry the tradition on in her family. Throughout the year we would make a mental note of those who had lost loved ones, endured cancer, lost their jobs or husbands. Then on Christmas Eve we would deliver goodies to their homes and pray for them.

I’ll never forget one year in particular. We went into the home of a family who had lost their only teenage son. We didn’t call before we came. it was a surprise visit. The dad was drunk and he wasn’t a drinker.  The mom was crying.  The kids were sitting by the Christmas tree with no gifts. Sadness consumed the house. We gathered them into a circle, held hands and prayed. They didn’t want us to leave, we brought not just food- but the joy of the Lord. Isn’t that what Christmas is all about? Bringing good tidings of great joy to the poor and brokenhearted; Jesus came to heal the broken hearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and open prison to those who are bound…To comfort all who mourn, to give them beauty for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning, the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness.  We are His ambassadors carrying His anointing to the lost and hurting ones, He loves. Let’s be His hands and feet and bring joy where there is none.

Here are a few of my favorite recipes  to make for your goodie deliveries.

susan bday, christmas cookies and dinner 180

Prepare your goodie containers. Save oatmeal, cocoa and coffee canisters throughout year. Wrap cans with paper you’ve saved  and have fun decorating with supplies on hand. The point is to spend the least amount of money and make it look better than anything you could buy.

Soft Baked Oreo Cookies

Soft Baked Oreo Cookies-GF

1 box of chocolate cake mix (we used a gluten free mix, any cake mix works)

1/3 cup water (depending on how many ounces the mix -you may need as much as ¾ cup)

3 tablespoons shortening or butter, softened

Mix all ingredients. It will be a little dry. If you can’t form it into a ball, you need more water. Add extra slowly. Dust the counter with a little cocoa powder, roll out dough and use cookie cutter to form circles.  If your dough is too sticky, form into silver dollar size patties by hand and flatten.

Bake on greased baking sheet for 6 minutes on 325 degrees.

Filling

3 ½ cups powdered sugar (organic)

1 tsp vanilla

½ cup shortening or butter

3 tablespoons hot water

Mix well. After cookies have cooled squish a heaping wallop of frosting between two cookies! YUM

 

Candied Oranges

Candied Orange

6 thick sliced organic oranges (non-organic orange peel shouldn’t be eaten, chemicals are heavy)

4 ½ cups sugar

1 ½ cups water

Wash oranges. Quarter and peel the skin and pith off. Slice peel into thin strips. Put orange peel into a pot of cold water, bring to boil over high heat. Pour water off and repeat 1-2 more times. This helps take  bitterness away. Remove orange peels from water.

Empty pot and now add your sugar and 1 ½ cups of water. Simmer for 10 minutes, bringing the temperature up slowly to 234. Add the peels and simmer for 40 minutes. DON’T stir, it can make sugar crystals in your syrup. Drain the peels and roll in a little sugar if you desire. Let sit for several hours.

I actually used fermented oranges on one batch- OH MY GOODNESS—it was better than anything I’ve ever eaten. The oranges were soft inside and the outside was hardened candy. It was like eating heaven.

susan bday, christmas cookies and dinner 196

Maple Walnut Fudge

2 cups organic brown sugar (all sugar not organic is genetically modified)

5 ounces whole milk (I used raw goat milk for my lactose sensitive family)

1 cup unsalted butter

2 cups organic powdered sugar

1 tsp pure vanilla extract (don’t use artificial, it cheats you of perfection)

1 tablespoon maple syrup

1 cup coarsely chopped walnuts

Butter a 9×9 inch square pan. Bring to a boil over medium high heat sugar, milk, butter and maple syrup. Boil for 10 minutes, stirring constantly.

Take off heat and stir in powdered sugar and vanilla. Pour into mixing bowl and beat on medium until thick—about 3 minutes. Fold in nuts and pour into greased pan.

Let cool overnight. Slice into 1-inch squares.

 

Pecan Toffee

Pecan Toffee- GF Not hard but a soft crunch- YUM

½ cup chopped toasted pecans

1 cup butter (don’t use margarine)

1 cup organic sugar

1 tablespoon corn syrup or maple syrup (if you can’t find organic corn syrup use maple syrup)

¾ cup semisweet chocolate chips

½ cup crushed toasted pecans

Line a 9 X 13ish baking pan with foil and grease. Sprinkle ½ cup chopped nuts into bottom of pan evenly. In pot add butter, sugar and corn syrup or maple syrup. Cook over medium high heat to boiling.

Clip a candy thermometer onto side of pot. Cook and stir over medium heat. Stop stirring after sugar melts.  Cook until candy thermometer reaches 290 degree. Watch carefully, it can burn after 280. If it starts to turn too dark after 280 turn off heat. Pour mixture evenly over chopped nuts in greased pan.

Let stand for a few minutes. Sprinkle chocolate chips evenly over top. Let melt on top for a couple of minutes.  Spread chocolate over whole mixture. Sprinkle crushed nuts on top. Cool, when firm lift out of pan and break into pieces. Store in tightly covered container.

susan bday, christmas cookies and dinner 189

Banana Bread Muffins- GF

1 ¾ cups self-rising flour (I use GF Pamela’s Baking Mix or dairy free Cherry

1 cup mashed bananas

½ cup milk ( you can substitute with yogurt)

1 tsp vanilla

½ cup butter

1 cup organic sugar

2 eggs

1 cup chopped nuts (pecans or walnuts)

If you use non-self-rising flour you’ll need 2 tsp baking powder, ¾ tsp baking soda and ¾ tsp salt

Mix all ingredients. Pour into muffin pan or loaf pan. Bake 350 degrees  for 25 minutes.

Muffin topping

½ cup sugar

½ finely chopping nuts

4 tablespoons melted butter

Mix sugar and nuts together in a bowl. Melted butter in another small bowl.

Dip cooled muffin top into melted butter, then dip into sugar and nut mixture.

Enjoy!

 Flourless Decadent Brownie- GF

24 oz semi-sweet chocolate chips, melted (dairy free if you’re lactose intolerant)

1 ½ sticks butter

5 beaten eggs

½ cup organic sugar

1 ½ tsp vanilla

¼ tsp salt

1 cup pecans

Melt chocolate chips and butter in bowl and stir. Add all other ingredients and pour into 9X9 pan. Bake on 325 degrees for 40-45 minutes or until done.

Serve with whipped cream or ice cream.

 

susan bday, christmas cookies and dinner 138

No Bake Oatmeal Cookies

½ cup butter

2 cups organic sugar

½ cup milk (lactose sensitive people most often can tolerate goat milk)

1/8 tsp salt

3 cups quick cooking oats

½ cup crunch peanut butter

1 tsp vanilla

Mix butter, sugar, milk and salt in pot. Stir and bring to rolling boil. Boil for one minute. Stir in oatmeal, peanut butter and vanilla.

Drop by tablespoons onto wax paper or aluminum foil. Work quickly it will start to harden!

Homemade Marshmallows dipped in chocolate are GREAT to giveaway.

Blondie’s -Gluten free and DELICIOUS!

Caramel Pecan Pie Cake muffins

FlourlessPeanut Butter Chocolate Chip- Gluten Free and Dairy Free

Marshmallow Fruit Salad- GF

Marshmallow Fruit Salad-No photo can capture the taste!!

Marshmallow Fruit Salad-No photo can capture the taste!!

Some recipes are so special that you use them only at  holidays and special occasions–this Marshmallow Fruit Salad  is one of those recipes! It’s a labor of love that’ll be passed down for generations. Serves 40 people-6 0z each or 20 people with leftovers for the next day.

Use organic ingredients when possible for longevity of your life.

2 cups of cooked Arborio rice

1 cup sugar

2 tablespoons flour (I use GF)

½ tsp. salt

3 egg yolks- beaten

1 20 ounce can crushed pineapple

2 15 ounce cans mandarin oranges

1 ¾ cup of juice from pineapple and mandarin orange’s

7 cups homemade marshmallows -Homemade makes a huge difference, but you can use store bought. I actually wouldn’t make this without homemade marshmallows. It’s what makes it special.

2 ½ cups Truwhip (homemade whipped cream is the ultimate ingredient but lactose intolerant people can’t eat it. Most tolerate Truwhip which is 70% organic w/ trace amount of sodium caseinate. Cool Whip is genetically modified- don’t use it)

  1. Cook rice according to package directions. Only use Arborio rice for this recipe.
  2. Combine sugar, flour, salt, egg yolks, juice from fruit- stir well and cook on medium until thick. Stir into cooked rice. Refrigerate overnight- to absorb all the goodness into rice.
  3.  Next day, stir into rice mixture; Truwhip, marshmallows, pineapple and mandarin oranges. Mix well.
  4. I make this for Thanksgiving, Christmas and Easter.
    While rice is cooking make fruit dressing in skillet--fruit juice, egg yolks, sugar and flour- cook till slightly thick

    While rice is cooking make fruit dressing in skillet–fruit juice, egg yolks, sugar and flour- cook till slightly thick

    Thickened

    Thickened

    Add to cooked rice, stir- refrigerate over night so rice absorbs all the yumminess

    Add to cooked rice, stir- refrigerate over night so rice absorbs all the yumminess

    Stir into rice mixture- marshmallows, Truwhip and fruit

    Stir into rice mixture- marshmallows, Truwhip and fruit

    Marshmallow Fruit Salad- refrigerate until ready to serve

    Marshmallow Fruit Salad- refrigerate until ready to serve

     

10 Nostalgic Fall Decorating Ideas-DIY

Let dry until no moisture is left and flowers are dried completely- few days

In the olden days people decorated their homes with homemade treasures, often with resources grown on their own farms. I’m excited to share with you 10 nostalgic fall ideas we made this year from resources grown(mostly) our property.  I hope you make a few for your home! If you have any  old-fashioned ideas for fall decorating–I would love to hear them!

An industrious woman always plans for the future. Pin this post so you can plan for the things you’ll make next fall.  In the spring you’ll want to plant  flowers that you’ll dry at the end of summer for your fall arrangement. You’ll want to plant gourds and pumpkins if you have space. Back in the day even those who had little money purchased a few basic items in town at a store, like cloves and a lemon. I spent less than $10 on everything I made in this post.  I’m not sure how much money a grapevine wreath is in the store. You may find one at a yard sale or thrift store for a fraction of the cost of a new one.  A good resource to find free treasures to decorate wreaths would be in the forest. Go on a nature hike and return with bags of possibilities.

#1 Dried Zinnia Wreath

My summer Zinnia's dried--now I can enjoy them all year!

My summer Zinnia’s dried and made into a wreath! I enjoy them all year! I’m giving away zinnia seeds to 3 people! Just tell me you want seeds in comment section! I’ll pick 3 winners next week–save them for next spring!

Picked fresh Zinnia's multiple colors-you can see them growing from the window.

I picked fresh Zinnia’s of multiple colors-you can see them growing from the window.

Pour silica crystals into a large bowl- set flowers on top

Pour silica crystals into a large bowl- set flowers on top.

Cover flowers with silica crystals. I've had my crystals for 18 years. They still work.

Cover flowers with  crystals. I’ve had my crystals for 18 years. They still work.

After the flowers come out of microwave- shake off crystals and hang with clothes pins on a drying rack

Put covered flowers  in microwave for a couple of minutes-shake off crystals and hang with clothes pins on a drying rack.

Let dry until no moisture is left and flowers are dried completely- few days

Let dry completely for a couple of days- these are ready!

Use a glue gun to glue the dried flowers into place

Use a glue gun to glue the dried flowers onto grapevine wreath

 

#2 Pinecone Tree- We have pine trees on our property, so pine cones are plentiful. If you don’t have any–ask someone who does to give you some. Most people who have pine cones have hundreds or thousands to share.

Dale made this beautiful pine cone tree for me! We're putting lights on it tonight!

Dale made this beautiful pine cone tree for me! We’re putting lights on it tonight!

Some pine cones are open, some closed. I put the closed ones in the oven to open them. *pumpkin grown on Glasgow Farm

Some pine cones are open, some closed. I put the closed ones in the oven to open them. *pumpkin grown on Glasgow Farm

Pinecones_in_bowls

 

Closed pinecones- put in 200 degree oven until they fully open- couple of hours or more

Closed pinecones- put in 200 degree oven until they fully open- couple of hours or more

Half opened

Half opened

Pinecones_in_oven_open

Fully open- you can turn heat up for faster opening or reduce to slow–they are dry and break more easily when to heated too high

 

Two large tomato cages from the garden served as the base of the pine cone tree

Two large tomato cages from the garden served as the base of the pine cone tree

Dale screwed screws into the bottom of each pine cone and then took a long piece of wire-wrapped each pine cone tightly around each screw and wrapped around base of tomato cage

Dale screwed screws into the bottom of each pine cone and then took a long piece of wire-wrapped each pine cone tightly around each screw and wrapped around base of tomato cage

Pinecone_Christmas_tree_DG_101413_Hartwood_VA_SG_inside_1186x890

Pinecone_Christmas_tree_SG_102113_Hartwood_VA

 

 

#3 Cornucopia I bought our basket- but baskets are easy to make if you’d like to be 100% authentic!

I've had this cornucopia for 20+ years- every year I fill it will fall produce

I’ve had this cornucopia for 20+ years- every year I fill it with fall produce

#4 Pine cone garland

Pine cone garland- string pine cones on twine and hang from nails at your kitchen window

Pine cone garland- string pine cones on twine and hang from nails at your kitchen window

#5 Stained Glass Dried Leaf & Flower Art

Supplies needed: Iron, flowers or fall leaves and wax paper

Supplies needed: Iron, flowers or fall leaves and wax paper

 

Stained glass dried leaf & blossom art- Pick fall colored leaves and flowers, place between two pieces of wax paper and press with hot iron until sealed all the way around and inbetween

Stained glass dried leaf & blossom art- Pick fall colored leaves and flowers, place between two pieces of wax paper and press with hot iron until sealed all the way around and in-between Can you guess what these are?

 

10 Nostalgic Fall Decorating Ideas-DIY 049

Pansy in the center

Fall Leaf Stained Glass

#6 Pomander- Clove Studded Lemon

Prick lemon or orange with nail and then insert cloves into the holes. Cover the entire lemon or orange if you want it to last years. Then sprinkle oris root over top of it and let sit in paper bag for a couple of weeks. The orris root preserves it. The cloved lemon to the left is 18 years old.

Prick lemon or orange with nail and then insert cloves into the holes. Cover the entire lemon or orange if you want it to last years. Then sprinkle orris root, cinnamon and ground cloves  over top of it and let sit in paper bag for a couple of weeks. Every few days I shook the bag around making sure the powder covered it well.  The orris root preserves it. The cloved lemon to the left is 18 years old.

The blue bowl holding the cloves was made by my sweet nephew Thomas Killian, he makes  handmade pottery and has an online store.

Pomanders are wonderful smelling.  You can decorate them in patterns, wrap a ribbon around them and place in a bowl or cover completely and preserve them for years to come.

Supplies needed: small or medium size unblemished fruit. (Oranges, Apples or Lemons)

cloves

Spice mixture: 1 tablespoon each: cinnamon,  ground cloves and orris root

Knitting needle, toothpick or nail

#7 Corn Husk Garland

All the corn stalks tied together and ready to hang over front door

All the corn stalks tied together and ready to hang over front door

I bought 15 regular corn cobs @5 for $2.  Pull the husks up over the corn--like in the photo

I bought 15 regular corn cobs @5 for $2. Pull the husks up over the corn–like in the photo

10 Nostalgic Fall Decorating Ideas_DIY_004_1186_890

Tied twine around each corn husk

I tried to hurry the process by putting in the oven on 200 for 10 hours. It wasn't perfect, it overcooked the husks. You're supposed to let them dry in well circulated space for several weeks

I tried to hurry the process by putting in the oven on 200 for 10 hours. It wasn’t perfect, it overcooked the husks. You’re supposed to let them dry in well circulated space for several weeks

After out of the oven I tied all the corn cobs together

After out of the oven I tied all the corn cobs together with twine

 

 

All the corn stalks tied together and ready to hang over front door

All the corn stalks tied together and ready to hang over front door

 

#8 Natural Wreath

Fall wreath- Fall weeds and produce on a grapevine wreath–whatever you

find interesting in your part of the world that dry’s well- stick in the wreath

and hot glue into place. This only last one season. Next year it will be an

entirely different look depending on what I find interesting in our field.

 wreath1186X890

Weeds growing in our field- picked for wreath

Weeds growing in our field- picked for wreath

Wreath_corn

#9 Pomegranate pumpkin face

Pomegranite is hard fleshed and easy to use like a pumpkin- Crave with small knife, let dry and enjoy

Pomegranite is hard fleshed and easy to use like a pumpkin- Crave with small knife, let dry and enjoy-

#10 Retro Art

 

I'm going to send a copy of this retro Thanksgiving Day card to all my subscribers next week! Mine is framed and sitting in my kitchen window. You can find vintage frames at all thrift stores!

I’m going to send a copy of my retro Thanksgiving Day card to all my subscribers next week! Mine is framed and sitting in my kitchen window. You can find vintage frames at all thrift stores!

I’m giving away some of my zinnia seeds! Tell me your favorite color flower below to enter your name for the drawing. I’m picking three winners for the seeds. I’ll announce winners next week.

If you are a subscriber to my blog I’ll send you the retro Thanksgiving Day art next week!

Winner of $40 Target gift card and devotion book  from last week is Mary T. you posted on2013/10/14 at 12:09 PM! email me your address!

He Rolled Out the Red Carpet for Our Guests

Our dining room table set for dinner guests

Our dining room table set for dinner guests

If you’re visiting from Proverbs 31’s Encouragement for Today devotion, welcome!

I prayed weeks for this dinner. The couple we invited was sweet but tormented on many levels —they needed Jesus. I wanted to roll out the red carpet and treat them like royalty; God knows they needed a big dose of His love.

Time got away from me—cleaning the house, making the dessert and all.  I still had to run to the store to get the filet mignons. I know, they’re expensive, but I wasn’t going to spare any cost for them—it would be a feast!

I sat the grocery bags inside the front door and then ran back out to light the fire in the grill. They would be there in less than half an hour! I ran back to the front door, grabbed the bags of gold, I mean—filet mignons—and laid them on the kitchen counter. I reached in for the first steak and pulled out an empty package. Puzzled, I pulled out the second package, it was empty, the third and fourth . . .all empty, not even a trace of steak, just perfectly clean empty packages!  “What in the world?  Where are my expensive delicious steaks?“ I cried.

About that time my large greyhound dog, Cuzi walked around the corner, with his head cowered. He wouldn’t look at me. I called for him but he lowered his head even more and ran behind the couch. I followed him, and not a trace of a steak did I find, just one guilty dog with a very full tummy. He had done this kind of thing before; eaten entire large pizzas, cakes and whole plates of fried chicken without a crumb left behind. Yep, he was the thief, alright. Guilty was written all over his face.

I heard knocking at my front door. They were early, I had no main course to serve and I couldn’t find the red carpet to roll out (you know my mood—it was eaten by the dog).

While we were welcoming them, I remembered that I had a homemade Chicken& Dumpling Casserole in the freezer. It was my only choice so with a groan I turned the oven on and popped it in.

I then excused myself to the restroom, closed the door and said, “Jesus, help me, help me get over my own expectations of what tonight would look like. I’ve asked You for weeks to lavish this couple with Your presence. You don’t need steaks to make it grand. Bring Your presence powerfully into our midst. Jesus, you are all we need to make this night a royal feast. Come Lord Jesus and fill this place with Your glory.” And I walked back out to my guests.

Oh my, oh my-The dinner (though, not the food) was spectacular as His glory more than filled our house while we shared Jesus that night. None of us wanted the night to end it was SO good.

Jesus rolled out the red carpet, brought us to His banqueting table and His love enveloped us. It could not have been any more royal a night.

I surrendered my plans for His, and His were better, ah Jesus!

 What hinders you from inviting guests for dinner? Tell me in the comment section to enter your name in the drawing to win a $30 Target gift card (something to help your entertaining) and Proverbs 31 Ministries brand new Encouragement for Today devotion book.  Winner drawn next Wednesday!drying flowers, hannah's house, chicken casserole, gnoii 113

For my Chicken & Dumpling Casserole recipe click here.  

I Peter 4: 9-11, “Be hospitable to one another…if anyone ministers (entertains), let him do it with the ability which God supplies, that in all things God may be glorified through Jesus Christ, to whom belong the glory and the dominion forever and ever, amen.

A Fairytale Love Story- Hardships

Who doesn’t love an epic love story?  In Genesis 24, Rebecca and Isaac’s story reads much like a fairy-tale.  It was a match made in heaven- literally.  It was love at first sight.  And God wanted us to know every detail about this couples love story…

Rebecca was beautiful, pure, energetic and had a servants heart.  Isaac was peace loving, easy going, and quiet. What could go wrong with such a perfect combination?

No doubt about it they were attracted to each other and loved each other.  In fact, the word “love” was used to define romantic love for the first ever time in the Bible- about them!  But romance or none, the storms of life blew hard on their home.  Rebecca was barren for the first 20 years of their marriage. That’ll put a strain on even the strongest couple!  Isaac was passive- to a fault, wanting peace at all cost, he lied about Rebecca’s identity as his wife!  Yep, he’s Abraham’s son.  You can be certain Isaac heard about this for a long time.

Rebecca wasn’t passive by any stretch of the imagination, she was the opposite. She quickly made family decisions without consulting her husband. Oh boy, the story gets a lot more complicated when their twins were born.  Rebecca and Isaac’s communication wasn’t what it should have been…

Even though it was a match made in heaven, the story shows us that life is full of human weakness.  They were normal, imperfect people.  Humans make mistakes every day and they were no different from us.  God wanted us to see that even behind the doors of a match made in heaven, there are many faults.   Yet, in our imperfection and desperately weak flesh, He loves us- and chooses to use us for His glory!  Generations later, He used this imperfect couple to usher in the King of Kings and Lord of Lords, Jesus Christ!

Who doesn’t love an epic love story?  And whether you’re married or not, your epic love story is being written.  Your story is being inscribed.  Every detail matters to God- Every choice we make, how pure we live, how we rise above the hardships, how we forgive and how we depend on Him every step of the story.

In Malachi 3:16 it says God has a book of remembrance of those who feared Him. That verse and others challenge me every day to rise above myself. God loves to brag about His children-what will He say about how I lived my life? I want my story to be an epic love story—choices I make determine the “epic.”

If you’re visiting me today from Proverbs 31 ministries devotion, Hidden Hardships behind Closed Doors– welcome! I’m glad you stopped by. If you’d like to subscribe to my blog, I would love to have you in the family!

2 Corinthians 12:9-11, “But he said to me, My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness. “Therefore, I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. That is why for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.”  

How Will We Be Remembered?

Leave a one word comment below telling a hardship you need prayer for to enter to win a vintage apron. Our family will pray for you! Winners will be drawn next Tuesday!

apron 1

One winner will win this white and purple vintage apron

The second winner drawn will win this vintage apron. Embordered at top of apron it says, " Main Ingredient is Love"

The second winner drawn will win this vintage apron. Embroidered at top it says, ” Main Ingredient is Love”

 

Vintage Decorating-Starched Doilies

Ironing starched dolies

Ironing starched doilies

If you are visiting from Karen Ehman’s Vintage Blog Hop, welcome!

People come to our house every week inquiring about our barn weddings. I think what  attracts so many is the vintage memorabilia. It lures the imagination to the past. People long to relive memories of days gone by. In the olden days, life was more simple and people depended on friends and family for the very essence of life itself.

Hence, vintage parties are a huge hit.  The cool thing is, you can create the old-fashioned look and food on a tight budget. When I throw a party I do most of my decorating shopping at the local thrift store. My budget is typically $1 and I rarely go above $3 for any given item.

Our daughter, Rachael who got married in May  came up with the idea to decorate our barn with starched doilies for her wedding. It turned out great! We borrowed doilies from friends, used ones we already had and bought some for less than a dollar a piece at thrift stores. We couldn’t have spent thousands of dollars and been any happier with the outcome.

I spent hours cooking up batches of starch and then starching the doilies.

Every  good party has to have homemade goodies. Back in the day you wouldn’t have had anything but- homemade. We spent days making truffles for Rachael’s wedding.  It took a long time, but the memories we made while making them will never ever be forgotten. They cost a fraction of what store-bought truffles  cost and people love them so much more.

Did you ever see the movie, Pollyanna? If you haven’t you must watch it. One scene in the movie they’re making cakes for a fair, the cakes are GI-NORMOUS! Who doesn’t want huge yummy homemade cakes at their party?

I write all this to say- people love old fashioned parties with authentic fellowship and yummy food.

The fall is a great time to have a vintage party. The goal is to spend the least amount of money, but make it special.  Ask  people to make and bring homemade goodies. Now all you have to do is, DO IT!

Simple + Family +Friends=Spiritual blessings!

“ The neighborhood bar is possibly the best counterfeit that there is to the fellowship Christ wants us to give his church. It’s an imitation, dispensing liquor instead of grace, escape rather than reality – but it is a permissive, accepting and inclusive fellowship. It is unshockable. It is democratic. You can tell people secrets, and they usually don’t tell others or even want to. The bar flourishes not because most people are alcoholics, but because God has put into the human heart the desire to know and be known, to love and be loved, and so many seek a counterfeit at the price of a few beers.” Charles Swindoll

1/2 cup starch 1 1/4 cups water 1/2 cup cold water Dissolve starch in cold water. Boil the 1 1/4 cups water, stirring constantly. Remove from flame, then slowly stir the starch mixture into boiling water, stirring constantly. Place back on flame until it thickens. As soon as the starch is cool enough to handle, dip doily and squeeze through it thoroughly. Wring out the extra starch. The doily should be wet with starch, but there should be no starch in the spaces or openwork. Pin center of doily in true shape and allow to dry thoroughly. After it is dry, press with a steam iron. If a regular iron is used, dampen the doily slightly before pressing. Pin folds of ruffle in position and leave until thoroughly dry.

Recipe for starched doilies: 1/2 cup starch 1 1/4 cups water 1/2 cup cold water. Dissolve starch in cold water and stir. Boil the 1 1/4 cups water and then pour dissolved starch into water.  Cook on medium low until thick. Take off heat. As soon as the starch is cool enough to handle, dip doily and squeeze through it thoroughly. Wring out the extra starch. The doily should be wet with starch, and be no dry places.  Press with  an  iron. Lay flat to dry.

Photo's from Sharon's iPhone Sept-July 1 1587

 Photo's from Sharon's iPhone Sept-July 1 1588

 Photo's from Sharon's iPhone Sept-July 1 1590

 View More: http://pinwheelcollective.pass.us/jonathan-rachael

 

We made 300 of these truffles inside of jewel shaped ice cube molds. I only had one mold that made 6 at a time. That's way it took so long. They are made with crushed hazelnuts, crushed hazelnut wafers and Nutella-YUM

Homemade truffles-made with crushed hazelnuts, crushed hazelnut filled wafers and Nutella- taste just like Ferrero Rocher Fine Hazelnut truffles- We made them inside jewel shaped ice-cube molds.  We only had one mold. One mold only made 6 truffles at a time. That’s what took so much time! We made 300 of these. The photo isn’t showing it well, but they have gold glitter on them.

Each of our daughters made and myself made deserts- This one is a 5 layer gluten free cake with buttercream frosting

A five layer cake is a hit at any party- 5 layer gluten free cake with buttercream frosting

Decorating set

I’m giving away a cake decorating kit and a $25 ebay gift certificate at Karen Ehman’s blog hop. Hop on over there to enter for a chance to win!

Is “Date Night” Mandatory for a Happy Marriage?

A cozy  campfire in our backyard

Date Night-talking by the campfire in our backyard

If you’re visiting from Proverbs 31 Encouragement for Today Devotions, welcome!

When Dale and I were raising our five children, we maybe had three official “date nights,” ever. I know, it’s hard to believe.  There were a lot reasons why we didn’t. I don’t think we ever discussed these things. It was just what we did because. . .

~ The cost

~ Where do you find a babysitter for five children- that you trust? (Family didn’t live nearby)

~ At home date nights were more romantic

~ He worked hard all day, he didn’t need to go out to be fulfilled- he just needed his wife-happy

~I just needed him fully present and my basic needs were met

~ I didn’t like leaving our kids-(I know, it’s crazy but true)

When we went out to eat, or saw a movie, the kids came with us. When we went anywhere, they were with us. But everywhere we went, Dale and I were always on a continual “date night.” Even while feeding and talking to all five daughters, Dale and I were totally engaged with one another. Always touching, watching each other, and listening intently to the others’ every move and thought.

Some nights after the kids went to bed we had work to do. We did it together. I sat right next to him and we worked, side by side.

Many nights after the kids went to bed (with phones, television, and computers off) we talked for hours on end. We never ever got tired of talking and we still haven’t.

Some nights we watched movies together, side by side. Often one of our girls would get out of bed and come to us because they couldn’t sleep and lay in our arms. We  loved it–aren’t they adorable when they’re sleeping?

Some nights we went to bed early and had a better “date night” than if went had gone to the finest restaurant and walked the ocean shore at sunset.

I never once regretted not going out on scheduled “date nights.” Raising a family is a lot of work. There are stresses that constantly threaten the family. So, believe me, you need date night but maybe just not the world’s idea of going out for your “date night.”  The greatest need of a happy marriage is Christ in the center.  Then living together with a oneness mind set, being romantically engaged, and loving each other extravagantly- every day.

Here are a few Date Night Ideas:

1. Make a campfire and talk about the deeper things of Christ (oh yeah)

2. Stargazing on a blanket (spring and summer) talking about future dreams

3. Read a book to each other in front of the fireplace (fall and winter)

4. Make your favorite desert (great cake recipe) and eat by candle light

5. Listen to worship music and worship Him together

6. Pray together

7. Write a letter telling him all the reasons why you fell in love with him and how he has fulfilled your dreams and read it to him.  (Then you can discuss how you’re going to pay the credit cards off… just joking or not!)

8. Cook his favorite meal, make it special and enjoy after the kids go to bed

9. Wear his shirt as a nightgown, then watch a good movie in bed.

10. Tell me your idea!

What would be your perfect date night? Tell me in the comment section below,  it will enter your name in the drawing to win my downloadable marriage message called Extravagant Love and a $20 gift certificate to Target for your date night!

Good Wife Recipe

 

Susanna Wesley’s Prayer Apron- Powerful Life Story

My vintage aprons hanging on clothesline

My vintage aprons and the winners aprons hanging on clothesline- behind the aprons a few  butternut squash, cucumbers and tomato plants

Hidden behind the door of many homes is the reality of hardship.  Secret things happen that few want the world to know.  Yet, from some people (presently and historically) we are given the inside story, whether they want it told or not.

A devastated home isn’t always apparent on first impression, is it? Susanna Wesley was married to a preacher.  They had 10 children of which, two grew up to bring millions of souls to Christ. That would be John and Charles Wesley.  It’s a powerful story if you stop there, isn’t it?

But, behind the door of her home, hopeless conditions were the norm.  She married a man who couldn’t manage money.  They disagreed on everything from money to politics.  They had 19 children.  All except ten died in infancy.  Sam (her husband) left her to raise the children alone for long periods of time.  This was sometimes over something as simple as an argument.

One of their children was crippled.  Another couldn’t talk until he was nearly six years old.  Susanna herself was desperately sick most of her life.  There was no money for food or anything.  Debt plagued them.

Sam was once thrown into debtor’s prison because their debt was so high, which doubled their problems.  Twice the homes they lived in were burned to the ground, losing everything they owned.  It was assumed that their church members did it because they were so mad at what Sam preached in the pulpit!  Someone slit their cow’s udders so they wouldn’t have milk, killed their dog, and burned their flax field!

When Susanna was young, she promised the Lord that for every hour she spent in entertainment, she would give to Him in prayer and in the Word.  Taking care of the house and raising so many kids made this commitment nearly impossible to fulfill. She had no time for entertainment or long hours in prayer!  She worked the gardens, milked the cow, schooled the children and managed the entire house herself.  So, she decided to instead give the Lord two hours a day in prayer!

She struggled to find a secret place to get away with Him.  So she advised her children that when they saw her with her apron over her head, that meant she was in prayer and couldn’t be disturbed.  She was devoted to her walk with Christ, praying for her children and knowledge in the Word no matter how hard life was.

One of her daughters got pregnant out of wedlock and the man never married her.  She was devastated, but remained steadfast in prayer for her daughter.

In the end, she knew that one day her hard life would be over and she alone would stand before the throne of God and give an account of how she lived her life.

We can be the best mom, wife, friend, person in the world and still have untold hardships.  We need to take Susanna’s example, flip our apron over our head and pray in the middle of it all.

Back to the beginning of my story…

Her son’s John and Charles were powerhouses for the glory of the Lord.  John Wesley preached to nearly a million people in his day.  At the age of 70 he delivered the gospel message of salvation to 32,000 people- without the use of a microphone!  He brought revival everywhere he traveled!  His brother Charles wrote over 9000 hymns, many of which we still sing today.

Hidden behind the door of my home, I want our children to find a mom who prays diligently- no matter how busy or how hard the circumstances.  I want to raise up John Wesley’s out of our family line!  Where’s my apron?

I’m giving away two Susanna Wesley inspired Prayer Apron’s.  Leave a one word comment below about what you need prayer about in your home to enter the drawing. (The book I read on John Wesley is mentioned in this blog post)

Flip your apron over your head- begin your prayer and close it with this verse from Philippians.

Get your apron out, flip it over your head–begin your prayer and close it with this verse

This is one of the aprons I'm giving away in the drawing. Tell what you need prayer for in your family in the comment section--that enters your name to win one of the two aprons.

This is one of the aprons I’m giving away in the drawing. Tell what you need prayer for in the comment section to enter your name to win one of the four aprons. Winner drawn Wednesday!

This is the second apron. This one is hand stitched, "

This is the second apron., it is hand stitched and fits a large

This is the biography about Susanna Wesley that I read. Moody Press is the publisher.

This is a good  biography about Susanna Wesley,  Moody Press  publisher

 

Retro Mint Patties

Retro Mint Patties

Retro Mint Patties

The most requested recipe from our  vintage barn wedding last month? The mint patties! They were a HUGE hit, here is the recipe!

RETRO MINT PATTIES

Ingredients

Filling:

  • 4 cups  confectionery sugar (organic confectionary sugar doesn’t perform as well in color but  non organic is genetically modified)
  • 3 tablespoons softened butter
  • 4 tablespoons milk ( I use raw with full cream top)
  • 1/4 teaspoon peppermint oil (don’t use imitation flavoring PLEASE)
  • 1 tsp pure organic vanilla extract (the better quality you use the better tasting it is)

mint_line

Coating:

  • 1 lb  white chocolate, chopped (the better the quality the better the taste)
  • soft gel paste colors ( for weddings and showers I use regular food dye. For all other occasions I use all natural dyes. The photo is representing the regular food colors)

 

Instructions for the Filling:

  1. If you have a Kitchen Aid mixer now’s the time to pull it out (with paddle attachment)! If you don’t, get your arm muscles ready for a work out.  In mixing bowl combine sugar, butter, milk, peppermint oil and vanilla.
  2. Mix for 2 minutes on medium high. My mixer started to overheat, if that happens turn it off and let it cool down. Don’t burn your motor up.  Cover and chill filling in bowl for about 30 minutes.
  3. After chilled, roll into 1.5″ balls and place on wax  or parchment paper lined cookie sheet. Flatten each ball with the palm of your hand to create a patty. Chill for another 30-60 minutes until firm and remove when your coating is ready.

Instructions for the Coating:

If you have a double boiler- use it. I don’t have one so it makes this recipe more difficult.  In a double boiler, bring water to boil. Once boiling, turn the stove to low and add your chopped chocolate. Stir until smooth. Stir continuously. We borrowed a melting pot for chocolate from a friend, they’re around $20- it helped a lot.

Divide your chocolate into 3 bowls. Add a couple drops of color to each bowl and stir. WORK QUICKLY at this point, once the chocolate is 80 to 84 degrees on a candy thermometer you can begin dipping the mints into chocolate. The chocolate starts to harden in the bowls when the temperature decreases.  Dip patties into chocolate, coat both sides. Set in a cool place but not refrigerator to set. After hardened you can refrigerate. You can make in advance and freeze.  They were WONDERFUL!!

*filling recipe adapted from Joy of Bakingmintjennifer_mint

 

Retro Mint Patties

Retro Mint Patties

Rachael and Jonathan’s Whimsical Vintage Barn Wedding!

Fireworks and sparkler's sent them off!

Mr. and Mrs. Jonathan Curry-the sparkler send off!

 

 

'For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh'? So they are no longer two, but one. Therefore what God has joined together, let man not separate."

On May 18, 2013 Jonathan and Rachael were married. “For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh. So they are no longer two, but one. Therefore what God has joined together, let man not separate.” Matthew 19:4-6

 

 

 

Bridal Party

Bridal Party

Front: Dale, Sharon, Rachael, Jonathan, Hannah, Ellie Back: Heather and Jennifer

The Glasgow Family

 

The Curry Family

The Curry Family

 

Rachael and her bridesmaids (sisters and and best friend)

Rachael and her bridesmaids

 

 

Jonathan with his Groomsmen

Jonathan with his Groomsmen

Jonathan Rachael- black and white dancing

The wedding favors-Homemade jewel shaped truffles-YUM! Recipe and directions to come

The wedding favors-Homemade jewel(treasure) shaped truffles-YUM! Rachael and I made truffles for DAYS!

“The kingdom of heaven is like treasure hidden in a field. When a man found it, he hid it again, and then in his joy went and sold all he had and bought that field.” Matthew 13:44

 

Homemade marshmallows coated in organic coconut held each name written in gold

Homemade marshmallows coated in  coconut held each name written in gold- The china plate is from the  complete set we bought at an antique store for $20. Dishes used at wedding were from our family collection and from thrift stores

View More: http://pinwheelcollective.pass.us/jonathan-rachael

Vintage dollies starched like great grandma used to do-hung all over barn on twine- Recipe and directions here.

We starched vintage dolies just like great grandma used to do and hung all over barn on twine

Table numbers- the frames are from thrift stores. No more than a dollar a piece- Rachael designed and printed the numbers inside the frrames

Table numbers- the frames are from thrift stores. No more than a dollar each- Rachael designed and printed the numbers inside the frames

View More: http://pinwheelcollective.pass.us/jonathan-rachael

Table runners- Bought bolt of sheer fabric- cut to size of each table and  dyed them warm pink. Clothe napkins- bought white and dyed them warm pink Books on tables- Antique books from our collection sat on each table. Rachael did have to acquire some additional ones- which she got for free at a couple of estate sales!

Table runners- Bought bolt of sheer fabric- cut to size of each table and dyed them warm pink.
Clothe napkins- bought white and dyed them warm pink
Books on tables- Antique books from our collection sat on each table. Rachael  acquired additional ones  free at estate sale!

Flowers- we bought the flowers at various places and our friend Beverly put the bouquets and arrangements together at the barn on wedding day

Flowers- we bought the flowers at various places and our friend Beverly put the bouquets and arrangements together at the barn on wedding day w/ help of Hannah

 

 

Rachael designed the delicious menu

Rachael designed this framed piece that announces the reception menu

View More: http://pinwheelcollective.pass.us/jonathan-rachael

All the food was prepared and made on the farm--except for the chicken. We prepared the stuffed chicken and our friend Jose grilled it for us

All the food was prepared and made on the farm–except for the chicken. We prepared the stuffed chicken here and  our friend Jose grilled it for us

Vintage China arch with hanging tea cups

Vintage China arch with hanging tea cups

Wedding cake- made by our friend and artist Beverly Toves!

Wedding cake- made by our friend and artist Beverly Toves!

Dale and Rachael made these tea cup light fixtures- Typically mason jar light fixtures hang in barn. Rachael wanted a sophisticated barn wedding so she bought these fixtures for $6 each, painted them white, drilled holes in bottoms of yard sale tea cups and wired them!

Dale and Rachael made these tea cup light fixtures- Typically mason jar light fixtures hang in barn. Rachael wanted a sophisticated barn wedding so she bought these fixtures for $6 each, painted them white, drilled holes in bottoms of yard sale tea cups (25 cent each) and wired them!

Our kitchen--a lot of creating took place here!

Our kitchen–a lot of creating took place here!

Each of our daughters made and myself made deserts- This one is a 5 layer gluten free cake with buttercream frosting

Each of our daughters and myself made deserts- This one is a 5 layer gluten free cake with buttercream frosting

Rachael Jonathan Curry wedding 51813 Morinda Moore photo1Rachael Jonathan Curry wedding 51813 Morinda Moore photo7View More: http://pinwheelcollective.pass.us/jonathan-rachael

The first dance

The first dance

The fullness of celebrating with friends and family

The fullness of celebrating with friends and family- this friend came  from Canada for the wedding

View More: http://pinwheelcollective.pass.us/jonathan-rachael

 

View More: http://pinwheelcollective.pass.us/jonathan-rachael

 

Vintage cast iron tub used for salad bar

Vintage cast iron tub used for salad bar

View More: http://pinwheelcollective.pass.us/jonathan-rachael

Barbara Curry mother of the groom in center with pink dress onView More: http://pinwheelcollective.pass.us/jonathan-rachael

Father of bride dance

Father of bride dance

View More: http://pinwheelcollective.pass.us/jonathan-rachael

View More: http://pinwheelcollective.pass.us/jonathan-rachael

View More: http://pinwheelcollective.pass.us/jonathan-rachael

It was a magical night

It was a magical night

View More: http://pinwheelcollective.pass.us/jonathan-rachaelView More: http://pinwheelcollective.pass.us/jonathan-rachael

View More: http://pinwheelcollective.pass.us/jonathan-rachael

View More: http://pinwheelcollective.pass.us/jonathan-rachael

View More: http://pinwheelcollective.pass.us/jonathan-rachael

 

Fireworks remind me of the throne room of Heaven. Revelation 4 says that from the throne proceeds lightening's, thundering's and the sound of many voices. Seven lamps of fire burn before the throne. The four living creatures around the throne never tire but every second get a new revelation of the glory of the Lord and day and night never rest saying, "Holy, holy, holy, Lord God Almighty, Who was and is and is to come!"

The spectacular lights and sounds of fireworks  remind me of the throne room of Heaven.  Revelation 4 says that from the throne proceeds lightenings, thunderings and the sound of voices. Seven lamps of fire burn before the throne. The four living creatures around the throne never tire but every second get a new revelation of the glory of the Lord and day and night never rest saying, “Holy, holy, holy, Lord God Almighty, Who was and is and is to come!”

Fireworks and sparkler's sent them off!

Conclusion to a perfect wedding day! The sparkler send off!

 

Mulberry Harvesting-10 Ideas of What to do With Mulberries

 

We have five Mulberry trees on the farm.

We have five Mulberry trees on the farm.

Who doesn’t love-making memories or recounting old ones? This past weekend 200 people came to our farm to enjoy family and friends. Dale and I had harvested mulberries the day they got here. Buckets and buckets  were waiting to be processed in my kitchen. My first thought was, I need to get this cleared out of here before all our company comes. But then they arrived before I could get to them and the mulberries became the focus of the night.

Many older people who strolled through the kitchen  mentioned the memories of seeing piles of harvest in their grandparents kitchens when they were growing up. They would bring the younger people aside and tell tales of their families mulberry picking and how incredulous it was! Even people who had no memories of mulberries were mesmerized by the mountains of produce in our kitchen. It must be something innate in mankind to feel the pleasure of a bountiful harvest.  I processed the mulberries that night and many who came through said they would never forget the wonderful memory made in our kitchen.

Mulberries are rather mild in flavor, but chock full of nutrients. God planted our Mulberry trees Himself, He knew we would need them. I’ve put up three bushels so far and we’ve only harvested for 2 days! That’s almost 30 gallons! Thank You Lord, You are our Provider!

Ideas for Mulberries:

1. Make a mulberry pie. Find your favorite blackberry pie recipe and substitute mulberries for the blackberries. Just remember–they’re not as sweet.

2. Make a mulberry cobbler. 1 cup of baking flour (I use Pamela’s baking mix it’s gluten free. You can use self rising flour), 1 cup organic sugar, 3/4 cup milk (I use raw), 2 teaspoons vanilla and 1 stick of butter. Melt butter in bottom of baking dish. Mix flour, sugar, milk and vanilla together then spread on top of melted butter. Mix 2 cups of mulberries in 1/3 cup of sugar- heat to melt sugar.  Pour on top of flour mixture in baking dish. Bake for 35-40 minutes in 375 oven–or until done (won’t wiggle when you shake it). Serve with homemade ice cream! Eat on front porch with family and friends. This is truly delicious!

Mulberry Cobbler

Mulberry Cobbler- I ran out of organic sugar so I used 1/2 organic brown sugar in this cobbler- hence the darker color

3. Make mulberry pancakes. Use my pancake recipe, add mulberries to the mix and top with whipped cream and berries on top.YUMMMMY !

4. Make mulberry smoothie. 1 cup of yogurt, 1/3 cup crushed or juiced mulberries, 1 tablespoon coconut oil, 1 tsps. raw honey and 1/2 tsps. organic vanilla- you can add nuts or flax seeds if you eat with a spoon.

5. Make oatmeal with mulberries. After my oatmeal is ready I add butter, honey, raw milk and a handful of frozen mulberries to the top. YUM!

6. Make mulberry granola.  4 cups walnuts, ½  teaspoon celtic sea salt, ½ cup water, 4  dates pitted and chopped, 5 dried apricots  chopped, ½ cup dried mulberries, 1 teaspoon cinnamon

7. Make your favorite salad and pour fresh or dehydrated mulberries on top.

Dehydrating mulberries in dehydrator

Dehydrating mulberries in dehydrator

8. Make homemade mulberry ice cream. I use 4 cups of raw milk, 1 cup organic sugar, 5 organic and free range egg yolks and 2 tsps. vanilla. Mix all and let sit in fridge for an hour or so. Pour into ice cream maker–use your directions for how long to process. Mine takes 25 minutes. In the last five minutes I add 1/2 cup of crushed mulberries. When I serve the ice cream I add more berries to top!

9. Mulberry Sorbet

Mulberry Sorbert- Super Hero Food

Mulberry Sorbert- Super Hero Food

10. Make mulberry muffins. Use your favorite recipe and substitute mulberries for any fruit called for in recipe.

IMG_0018

Unripe Mulberries

Make sure you don’t use the unripe ones, unless of course you’re in need of a laxative! After you harvest mulberries they deteriorate quickly. They’ll stay good for a couple of days, they keep longer in the fridge.

“Mulberries are very high in antioxidants, which help the body cleanse damaged cells which lead to many complications. They also contain large amounts of vitamin C as well as Vitamin K, Vitamin A, Vitamin E, really high levels of Iron, and Dietary Fiber which all help to give the body and mind incredible energy to live happy and healthy lives! They are also high in minerals like potassium, manganese, and magnesium and contain the B vitamins, B6, Niacin, Riboflavin, and Folic Acid.

Mulberries contain flavinoids and phyto-nutrients and are extremely high in anthocyanins which help to fight against cancer as well as reduce aging and neurological diseases, inflammation, diabetes, and bacterial infections. The berries also contain resveratrol, a powerful blood flow increasing antioxidant which you have probably heard promoted through the wine industry as their new claim to fame. Resveratrol is a powerful healer for many conditions such as aging diseases, inflammation, and a number one go to as part of an herbal protocol for the treatment of lymes disease.” Nutrition facts from www.ReturntoNature.us.

The Mulberry tree is directly behind everyone

The Mulberry tree is directly behind everyone

Dale harvested 30 gallons of mulberries  in two days! 4 hours of labor. There's a ton left to harvest!

Dale harvested 30 gallons of mulberries in two days! 4 hours of labor. There’s a ton left to harvest! He puts a sheet on the ground below the branches and then shakes the branches. The ripe ones gently fall onto the sheet. Easier than picking blackberries amongst thorns and poison ivy!

Mulberries make a great all natural dye for clothes!

Mulberries make a great all natural dye for clothes and fingernails!

Mulberry smoothie! Homemade plain yogurt, raw honey, mulberries and a little  organic vanilla-YUM!

Mulberry smoothie! Homemade plain yogurt, raw honey, mulberries and a little organic vanilla-YUM! We eat them on our salads too! Dehydrate, freeze or can the berries for preservation!

Making memories

And He said to them, “The harvest is plentiful, but the laborers are few. Therefore pray earnestly to the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into His harvest. Luke 10:2

Every time we have a bountiful harvest, I think of that verse and it convicts me of God’s harvest!  People are ripe for hearing the Good News of Jesus, we just need to do it! “For God so loved the world that He gave His only Son, that whosoever believes in Him, Shall not perish- but have eternal life.” John 3:16

Extravagant Love–Marriage Conference Call

Dale and Sharon

Dale and Sharon

I was SO mad, I thought I would explode! And the contents of that explosion would have been hazardous to anyone in my path—namely Dale!

Anger was emanating from every pore of my being. What was he thinking? How could he not see the obvious? The more these thoughts swirled in my head, the madder I got! And he didn’t seem to care about my feelings, either! He just looked at me. That was it! I decided to pack the kids up and leave.

And (the nerve of him!) he didn’t even ask where I was going! The suitcases said it all!

I wasn’t thinking rational thoughts. I just left in the storm of it all.

Oh, boy. Those were the days. I’m so glad that was then and now is now. It was many years ago. Yeah, he said a lot of things and did a lot of things that I didn’t understand. It was like we were from two different planets with totally different brain and emotion function.

If you read my blog post Love Potion, you’ll remember I said there was a turning point in my marriage. Within a year of God working on me, my marriage started to change.

If you’re visiting me today after reading my devotion To Have and To Hold from P31 or Crosswalk, welcome! If you haven’t read it, you should!

Truth be told, most marriages will struggle at some point. The real question is: How will you handle it when it’s yours that is struggling? I can tell you from personal experience, if you focus on your spouse’s faults, the conclusion isn’t marital bliss.

There were three key things that radically changed my marriage. It took time for me to adapt to the changes, but I felt God’s leading and His pleasure in it all. A perfect marriage isn’t forged in a day, but the time and energy invested in it will last a lifetime. It’s worth the effort, and YOU WILL reap what you sow—I promise.

Getting back to the story… After being gone from Dale for 24 hours, I couldn’t stand it any longer. I came home, and we made up.

I’m a bit on the strong willed side, so it probably took me longer than it will take you. But when necessary changes were made, our marriage radically changed for the good. I’m talking the highest happiness of wedded life here!

Colossians 3:12-25 basically says: Extravagant love is the bond of perfection. Love is merciful, kind, long suffering, forgiving, bears all things… Verse 23 says, “And whatever you do, do it heartily, as to the Lord…” So, if we love our husbands extravagantly (heartily), the reward is great. Christ loved us extravagantly. He didn’t love us because we deserved it. He sacrificed everything for love. Extravagant love can transform an ordinary marriage into an extraordinary one, induce greater love, ignite intimacy, help us live above our weaknesses, and spend less time quarreling!

On May 30, 2013, from 8:00-9:15 PM EST, I’m going to do a marriage conference call—Extravagant Love. I’ll share the three things that changed my marriage, and then you can ask me questions at the end of the call! Sign up today for the Extravagant Love Conference Call! (Sorry men, this call is for wives- maybe I could get Dale to lead one for the husbands? )

I’m going to give away 3 free Extravagant Love conference calls. Leave a comment below to enter your name in the drawing. Just tell me in one word what you need help with in your marriage. Winners will be announced next Wednesday.

Subscribe to my blog or RSS feed to get all updates about the upcoming call!

The Pink Couch–Disciplining Your Children

  We’ve raised five amazing daughters in the past 30 years. They’re a huge spiritual blessing, I can’t even tell you how much! The hardest part of raising kids is often the discipline part.   Most of our discipline took place on The Pink Couch in the living room. I want you to meet our  five daughters (on the pink couch!)as they talk about being disciplined when they were growing up.

If you’re visiting me from Crosswalk or Proverbs 31 Ministries devotion Parenting can be Exhausting, welcome! I’m glad you stopped by! If you haven’t read it, click the link!

What is or has been your greatest struggle in raising children?  Leave a comment to enter your name in the drawing to win my favorite book on parenting, marriage and homemaking– Home-Making by J.R. Miller-originally published in 1882. The tagline–What the Bible Says About Roles and Relationships In A Harmonious Christian Household. You’ll love this book! I’ll draw the winners name Friday at noon. Check back to see if you’ve won or subscribe to my blog!

Click here to read post-High Calling of Motherhood.

homemaking JR

No discipline is enjoyable while it is happeningit’s painful! But afterward there will be a peaceful harvest of right living for those who are trained in this way.” Hebrews 12:11 (NLT

A Legacy of Faith

barn. boardman wedding, bible 038

This week Proverbs 31 Ministries is focusing on women who have left a faith legacy in our lives. As you read about a woman who has inspired me, think about who has left a legacy in your life and whether you are leaving a faith legacy behind by the way you live.

The words we speak and the way we live can alter another person’s life for eternity.

I’ll never forget that night when I was 11 years old.  My aunt, uncle, and their four young children had traveled from Indiana to Virginia to visit with us.  It was a grand visit.  Right before they left, something happened that was grandest of all- forever engraved on my heart.

The night had come to a close.  I got into bed and my aunt came into the room. She looked very serious and made no small talk. “We’re leaving tomorrow and there is a verse in the Bible you MUST know. Bury it in your heart and never ever forget it.” She opened my Bible (which was lying next to me) to Luke 9:62. She read it out loud as if it was life and death to her.  And with a piercing look into my spirit, she left the room.

I got out of bed and read it for myself. “Jesus replied, “No one who puts a hand to the plow and looks back is fit for service in the kingdom of God.”  I knew this would be a defining scripture for my life.  I was just too young to understand fully what it meant at the time.

The next morning, they left before I woke.  That night in my room was the last time I ever saw my aunt.  Her heart stopped beating and her mortal body died soon after they got back to their home.

Countless testimonies were told about Aunt Helen and how she lived her life for Jesus. And the stories are still being recounted even after 40 years!  She was a shining light of His radiance and glory. She was the epitome of the Proverbs 31 woman.  From that day on, I decided I would emulate her and her walk with Christ.  I read that scripture she gave me every day till I went to Bible College (the same one she went to).  I determined in my heart to be a follower of Jesus at all costs, never looking back.

The verse she gave me had even greater meaning when I read the verses before it. Luke 9:57-62 are all about the cost of discipleship. Jesus is walking with three men here and tells them that to follow Him you must drop everything of the world.  When Peter, James, and John decided to follow Jesus- they literally dropped their fishing nets, got out of the boat, and followed Him. They didn’t look back!  That’s what He is telling these three guys to do if they are going to follow Him.  That’s what He says to us today.  To this day I am still convicted by that verse, the cost of discipleship, and the legacy Aunt Helen left to me.

What legacy will I leave behind to my family and friends?  What legacy will you leave behind? The words we speak and the way we live can alter another person’s life for eternity.

Proverbs 31 Ministries is doing a Legacy Campaign. Do you have someone in your life that has lived a faith legacy?  Proverbs 31 is giving you the perfect way to honor her.  Simply click on the Legacy button in my sidebar.  It’s that simple!

 

The Good Wife Bridal Shower

 Rachael with all her sisters, niece and me at her Good Wife Bridal Shower

Rachael with all her sisters, niece and me at her Good Wife Bridal Shower- Everyone was asked to wear an apron, bring a favorite recipe and piece of wife advice

We had a wonderful bridal shower this past weekend for Rachael(daughter). We had so much fun all together, I wish we could do it every weekend! Every time there’s a wedding or bridal shower I think about how important wedding festivities have been throughout the centuries. Back in Jesus’ time whole towns and villages would celebrate a marriage.  One of Jesus’ first miracles was at a wedding feast–just imagine Jesus coming to your shower or wedding! How powerfully amazing that would be! Isn’t it beautiful that the beginning of His miracles He did at a wedding? He manifested His glory at a party(John 2). . .let’s never forget to bring His glory to every party we attend and everywhere we go.

goodwife_display_poster

Cupcakes made in large cupcake pans with 1/2 pound of frosting on each! A sweetaholic's dream come true!

Cupcakes made in large cupcake pans with 1/2 pound of frosting on each! A sweetaholic’s dream come true! For Party Cupcake recipe click here!

Buckeyes streaked with white glaze and topped with pink frosted rose

Buckeyes streaked with white glaze and topped with pink frosted roses- Brought by sister-in-law Marianne

Homemade cupcakes made in large muffin pan with  1/2 pound of frosting on  each one! A sweetaholic's dream come true!

Homemade cupcakes made in large muffin pan with 1/2 pound of frosting on each one! A sweetaholic’s dream come true! Made by mother of the bride-me

Fresh flowers Hannah got from Trader Joe's and then arranged in tea pots

Fresh flowers Hannah got from Trader Joe’s and then arranged in tea pots

Homemade mint patties under glass dome-made by sister-Jennifer

Homemade mint patties under glass dome-made by sister-Jennifer

Chocolate covered strawberries and fresh flower arrangement- both made by sister, Hannah

Chocolate covered strawberries  made by sister, Hannah

Bridal Shower cookies- made by Grandma Marilyn

Bridal Shower cookies- made by Grandma Marilyn

Truffle cake pops-made by Chris

Truffle cake pops-made by Chris

Vintage tin cans Rachael found at thrift/antique stores

Vintage tin cans Rachael found at thrift/antique stores

 

Antique frosting decorating kit- I've had it for years and still use the kit! The donut maker broke a couple  years ago--I used to make donuts with it.

Antique frosting decorating kit- I’ve had it for years and still use the kit! The donut maker broke a couple years ago–I used to make donuts with it.

Guacamole mountain w/ organic chips, sliced veggies and dip and an organic rice casserole made by sister Heather

Guacamole mountain w/ organic chips, sliced veggies and dip and an organic rice casserole made by sister Heather

On the back table; Grandma Shanaberger's chicken salad sandwiches and Heather's organic party meatballs

On the back table; Grandma Shanaberger’s chicken salad sandwiches and Heather’s organic party meatballs – whoops where did the meatballs go? Punch on the buffet- Made by Mother of the Groom, Barbara Curry. Good Wife Bridal Shower Poster created and printed in our home the night before the shower

Pink and Cream colored truffle cake balls- seriously amazing

Pink and Cream colored truffle cake balls- seriously amazing- made by Chris

Vintage Aprons

Vintage Aprons- Dales great grandma made the one with pink embroiderer on it and his grandma made the yellow one

Game #1- Hannah had 20 kitchen items on her. She walked around the room pretty quickly letting everyone see her then she left and everyone had to write down the items they remembered. Who ever remembered the most won- Dawn won!

Game #1- Hannah had 20 kitchen items on her. She walked around the room pretty quickly letting everyone see her then she left and everyone had to write down the items they remembered. Who ever remembered the most won- Dawn won!

Everyone was asked to bring a recipe and a piece of wife advice

Game #2- Rachael told her and Jonathan’s love story and then everyone was given a piece of paper and asked questions to see who got the most answers correct. Chris won!

recipe card 2                                                                      Everyone was asked to bring a recipe and a piece of good wife advice

Game #3-Bridal Bingo- Everyone was given a bridal bingo sheet and stickers. They had to write items they thought Rachel's gifts would be in each box. Every time one of the things they wrote down was opened they got to put a sticker on it. First person to get a row finished called bingo-winner was Kim!

Game #3-Bridal Bingo- Everyone was given a bridal bingo sheet and stickers. They were asked to write items they thought Rachel’s gifts would be in each box. Every time one of the things they wrote down was opened they got to put a sticker on it. First person to get a row finished called bingo-winner was Kim!

 

 

Grandma Marilyn(dale's mom) and Grandma Shanaberger(my mom) with Rachael

Grandma Marilyn(dale’s mom) and Grandma Shanaberger(my mom) with Rachael

Mother of the groom to be-Barbara and Mother of the bride to be- me

Mother of the groom to be-Barbara and Mother of the bride to be- me

Present opening time

Present opening time

Present opening time!

Present opening time! Ellie is taking notes on who gave what presents

Rachael Glasgow Wedding Shower 4613_img_file (25)Rachael Glasgow Wedding Shower 4613_img_file (115)

Rachael and Bethany have been friends since they were 2 years old- Her mom (Beverly Toves) did  all the photos at the shower!

Rachael and Bethany have been friends since they were 2 years old- Her mom (Beverly Toves) did all the photos at the shower!

 

Rachael Glasgow Wedding Shower 4613_img_file (31)

 

Rachael with cupcake

Party Cupcake recipe here!

Jonathan had been working outside but came in for an appearance

Jonathan had been working outside but came in for an appearance

%d bloggers like this: