Monday, November 28, 2016

Healthy Living/Healthy Eating - Part 1 // Nourishing our Spiritual Lives & Relationship with God

A different post format today . . . a video!

(And one correction: a verse referenced as being from 1 Peter is actually 2 Peter.)

Thursday, November 24, 2016

Happy Thanksgiving

To all my American friends . . . may you have a very blessed and special Thanksgiving with family and friends!  (And to all my international friends, I hope you have a blessed day as well!)

May our hearts be full of thankfulness and praise to the Lord for all of His abundant blessings that He has given to us!

"Rejoice always; pray without ceasing; in everything give thanks; for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus." 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18

"Shout joyfully to the LORD, all the earth.
Serve the LORD with gladness;
Come before Him with joyful singing.
Know that the LORD Himself is God;
It is He who has made us, and not we ourselves;
We are His people and the sheep of His pasture.

"Enter His gates with thanksgiving
And His courts with praise.
Give thanks to Him, bless His name.
For the LORD is good;
His lovingkindness is everlasting
And His faithfulness to all generations."
Psalm 100

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Favorite Phone Apps

Having a smartphone has been so nice and for many reasons . . . from being able to check weather when we're traveling, keeping up with my Etsy store, texting, taking photos, and much more.

I also love a number of apps that I use and wanted to share with you all my top favorites . . . .

Scripture Typer

This first one is for Bible verse memorization, and it has been such a help! I am amazed at the ease of memorizing Scriptures this way, and I have been able to memorize many more since I first began using it.

You add the verses that you would like to memorize (and then once they are memorized, a check mark appears next to them, as you can see in the photo.) 

To memorize, there are three different 'steps', and in each one you type out the verse by typing the first letter of each word.

The three steps are:
1st: TYPING - every word of the whole verse is shown
2nd: MEMORIZING - Select words are removed (as it is in the above photo)
3rd: MASTERING  - No words are shown

When you mistype a word, the phone vibrates and the word is shown in red.

This photo is from the 3rd 'step' of memorizing which is 'mastering' . . . so when I began this one, there were no words showing. The passage was typed through (save for the reference which was typed after the photo), with the red word being one I missed.

Success! The verse was successfully memorized. Once you memorize a verse, it goes into the review section. The first review is done the next day, and each time you correctly review the verse, the days between reviews is lengthened. 

Once a verse or passage is memorized this way, I like to recite it occasionally separately from the phone as well, as I find that sometimes with using the app, I can get a bit of 'muscle memory' instead of really knowing the verse well.

Tecarta Bible

This next app is my top favorite, and one that I really love using when reading and studying the Bible. You can use the free version (which requires WiFi) or purchase it for a small fee which allows use without WiFi. Since the NASB is my favorite Bible translation, I selected that version with Strong's concordance.

I'll touch on my favorite feature of it here . . .

The entire Bible is on it, and you first select the book and then the chapter you would like to read/study.

The underlined words (which are hard to see in the photo!) are linked to the Strong's number and definition for that word and Thayer's definition of it.

Simply place your finger on one of the underlined words and hold for a second. Then click "Strong's" in the top right corner. 

 Then you get the definitions of it! This is SO helpful in study as it often gives a deeper and more thorough understanding of the words. And sometimes, a more accurate understanding as well! (And as a side note, the above word is not the same one my finger was on in the previous photo. :)

As mentioned, I love using this app when studying Scripture!

Hebrew Interlinear and Koine Interlinear (by stefankmitph)

These next two are interlinears of both the Old and New Testaments. They give the literal Greek words, the direct English translation of them, and then are also linked to Strong's. These are also quite helpful for gaining a better understanding of the words and their meaning.

The main screen where you select the book, chapter, and verse

 The first verse of the New Testament

The Berean Call (by Subslash Consulting)

And last but not least, The Berean Call app. I love this one! There is so much on it, and some of my favorites are their radio programs from 2015 and 2016, and then each week, their new radio program is added. They also have all the conference videos (or audio if you would rather just listen) from the 2015 and 2016 conferences. Such a wealth of excellent teaching right at your fingertips!

The current radio programs (at least at the time I took the photo :)

So if you have a smartphone, you might want to try these apps. I would highly recommend them!

Friday, November 18, 2016

Life Lately

What a busy last few weeks it has been here! The predominate theme has been business work (more on that in just a bit) with many other things squeezed in plus the pleasantness of daily life.

This week, it was special to have Leah join me at the nursing home. She and I took turns playing the piano, and then since there were two of us, we sang in harmony. Sickness has been moving through the nursing home, so sadly, many of the residents were not well and were in their rooms. Though after going back to see my dear friend, J., she wanted to come and join us at the piano. There were also a number of other residents scattered around - some leaning forward in their chairs listening with a smile on their faces. How I love the times spent there! It is always so good to see everyone and to spend that time with them!

One day last week, we had some company over who had been wanting to visit the antique store that is nearby, so we went there in the evening and spent a few hours walking through it. We had a great time! The 11 year old girl and I spent most of the time together looking at different things and talking which was fun. One thing that we saw was this . . . .

A cast iron standing, draining soap dish! Now to get it cleaned up, restored, and ready to use. :)

Another current project has been fixing website problems . . . we're not exactly sure how (it's a long story!), but somehow we lost our church website and couldn't access the admin sign-in page. After communication back and forth with our hosting company and hours of work for Dad and I on our end, it was finally accessible! But since the website wasn't backed-up by us (not sure how we overlooked doing that) and the hosting company holds its back-ups for only a few days, the website needs to be rebuilt from scratch. I started on that project today, though it will be awhile before it is finished!

Over the last month or so, in spare bits of time, I have also been working on my last custom-made doll order plus an extra outfit for a special customer. Since she didn't need them until mid-December, it has worked out well. Now everything is almost done!

The clothing nearly finished . . . one pinafore left to make! 

The face of the doll . . . and in need of hair. :)

It's kind of sad in a way to be finished making the dolls as it was enjoyable to do, but with my Niobrara Farms business growing so much, it's time to close that door. Plus, I enjoy the latter more anyway. :)

Speaking of that, over the last several months, I have been planning for a couple of new products, plus a number of gift sets. Work was slowly coming together on them and then the last several weeks, it began in earnest. Finishing researching and getting the rest of the supplies needed, making products, assembling the gift sets, photographing, editing photos, writing listings, and then listing!

It was exciting to see all the plans and work coming to fruition! So far, all the new items are listed on my Etsy store and I just need to get them listed on my website now as well.

Here are all the new products (save for four of the gift sets) . . . .

One of the five gift sets - this one is Lavender, and all the others are 'pick and choose' which varieties to include

The outside with the ribbon tied on

The ribbon color choices 

A new product for my stores! All Natural Lip Balm 

Bath Salts (and I am thinking I'll rephotograph them with the brown background instead - I think that would look better.)

Needless to say, these Autumn days have been pleasantly full!

And up until today, our weather had been simply gorgeous, and we had been thoroughly enjoying it . . . outdoor work for several of us, going for walks and runs, sitting outside and talking, and simply soaking up the warm sunshine while it lasted.

While we did have several frosts in the past week or so, overall the warmth of this beautiful Autumn had continued . . . until today! Yesterday was another warm day with the high around 80, but then that changed. As I type, I can hear the strong, cold winds blowing and the temperature has dropped a lot since a cold front is coming in. It felt a bit like winter outside tonight!

The sun setting last evening

Saturday, November 12, 2016


Just popping in to share about the month of giveaways (open to U.S. residents) that I am having over on my Niobrara Farms Bath and Body blog . . . the first one ends this Sunday night, and if you'd like to enter it, just visit the link for details!

Monday, November 7, 2016

Going Visiting

Last week, Leah and I loaded up the car and took a quick trip up to Nebraska to visit our Grandma and Aunt Marci. We had been wanting to do this for awhile now and were so glad it worked out!

We made the uneventful, 7+ hour drive and had quite an enjoyable time together. Road tripping with Leah is a lot of fun. :)

Anticipation was building as we got closer and passed by all the familiar surroundings . . . and then we were there! Welcomed with lots of hugs and smiles which was followed by hours of such good conversations and laughter.

From talking about world events, healthy eating/foods, to hearing what has been going on in their lives, to sharing about our own lives (which included a lot about trusting the Lord and seeing His hand working), reminiscing about childhood memories and memories of when Aunt Marci, Dad and their siblings were little (so fun to hear!), and much more.

It was so special to be able to spend that time with them and just be together again!

As darkness fell, Aunt Marci fixed us a delicious meal for dinner, and then we talked until bedtime. The next morning after enjoying breakfast, we had several more much enjoyed hours before we needed to head for home. First, though, we had to take a few photos!

Grandma and Leah

Grandma and me

Aunt Marci taking a photo of Leah and Shiloh (their sweet dog which ate up all the attention he could get!)

The hours during our stay passed by all too quickly, and then we began the drive home . . . .

Empty fields, recently harvested

About halfway home, we were ready for a break so we stopped, soaked in a brief bit of sunshine, and went for a quick run which was so refreshing! We also saw this giant snapping turtle . . .

Leah getting a photo of him . . . he wasn't the friendliest creature. :)

The remainder of our drive included a bit of a detour as thanks to an accident on the road we were on, we detoured through the heart of Kansas City (in pouring rain) avoiding the traffic jam on the other road.

Eventually, we made it home! Just behind a huge storm that left in its wake many downed branches, leaf and branch littered roads, and hail. Thankfully, we had just missed it!

What a wonderful trip it was and so special to be able to spend that time with our Grandma and Aunt Marci! Thank you both so much for having us and for the wonderful time with you!

We are already looking forward to our next trip up. :)

Friday, October 28, 2016

Chore Time

The sun is sinking lower in the sky, and there is a coolness in the air. You don't have to listen hard to hear the bleating of restless goats as they know what time is coming . . .

Dad feeding the girls and their kids 

We had another litter of baby rabbits born recently, and Leah removed the covering of fur to check on them . . . all eight are doing well!

They are so cute! It won't be long before their eyes will be opening. 

On my way to get water for the rabbits

In the evening light, I captured a few photos from around our place, too . . . .

My rose bush has continued its profusion of beautiful blooms 

A few remaining tomatoes on the vines . . . it's a bit unusual to still be getting tomatoes from our garden when November is just around the corner! It has been so nice to still have homegrown ones to eat.

Purple beans in the garden.
The fall bean crop has been excellent! In addition to putting them up in the freezer, we've been enjoying fresh beans sauted in a bit of butter with garlic which is delicious.

Brilliantly colored marigolds. Mom had planted a bunch of these for color and as a pest deterrent, and they have grown and bloomed so well.

Another beautiful Autumn day drawing to a close!

In other news, this morning Leah and I were able to meet a sweet woman I had met online through blogging (her blog is: Authentic Virtue.) It has been an encouragement to see her heart for the Lord and trust in Him, and especially as she and her husband have been walking quite a difficult path the past several months as they look forward to welcoming their precious son, Uriah, into the world. She is also someone who radiates joy, and Leah and I loved our time with her! (Thank you so much, Frannie!)

Tuesday, October 25, 2016

Rescue the Perishing

For some time, there has been something very much on my and my family's hearts and minds, and now, this post is a fruition of that and I'll try to put it into words . . . .

When watching The Berean Call conference in August, Carl Kerby's talks on evangelism really spoke to our hearts. Then as we watched the 2013 conference on DVD (which my Dad had gotten when he and I bought a bunch of materials from The Berean Call), the two sessions by Mark Cahill impacted each of us strongly. They, too, were on evangelism.

We have since watched several more of his videos both on youtube and ones that he sent us free on DVD when we got some of his materials and booklet tracts to give away. We have also been watching street witnessing youtube videos by Ray Comfort and Todd Friel.

(*as a disclaimer, we don't agree with all that these individuals teach or all of their methodology when evangelizing, but overall, the work they do and the example and teaching they have is excellent. We have learned so much from them and their examples!)

The following short video is one that nearly moved me to tears when Dad shared it with the rest of us . . . the message is so very powerful:

I do not think I can put into words how much we have been convicted by what we have watched and read by each of these men over the last few months . . . and how it has affected our daily lives. It feels like some of the 'fog' over our eyes has been removed, and we can see much more clearly how to fulfill Christ's command to each of us to:

"Go therefore, and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age." Matthew 28:19-20

This conviction and enthusiasm has spread not only to my family and I, but also to our church as these videos were shared with them as well. It is exciting to see how God is working in each of our lives and how He is opening doors of opportunity!

In the first conference video we had watched by Mark Cahill, he spoke about "Praying for B.O.B" which stands for:

Burden - Opportunity - Boldness

He spoke about each of these points at length, and it was so convicting and inspiring. (As was his second talk titled "Hey Stranger"- unfortunately I can't find the newer 2013 of this talk online.)

While the below video is not the same one we watched from the conference, the main talk is the same so they are quite similar . . . and while it is long, you won't regret taking the time to watch it!

Evangelism has long been something that has been on my heart (since I was a teenager in fact.) Yet while I and my family have always tried to look for and take opportunities to share the gospel and share about the Lord with others (and we are thankful for the many times we have been able to), there are a lot of times that we missed them simply because we didn't have the boldness or didn't know how to respond to the opportunity.

We're also seeing even more now that we need to make opportunities, not just wait for one to 'fall in our laps' so to speak. And it isn't as hard as one might think! (Though it's not exactly easy either. :)

Over these last weeks and months, it is exciting to see how all that we have seen, heard, and learned is impacting our daily lives and interactions with others. We're each working to grow in this together, are encouraging one another, are excited to hear about the conversations each of us is able to have with others, and then we keep practicing, praying, and learning.

Dad has probably made the most opportunities so far! When in town, he's been able to start conversations with a number of people, including a fairly lengthy one with an older gentleman he found to be a true believer in Christ . . . . Dad was sitting in a lobby and saw this man walking toward the exit door. Dad felt a strong urge to talk with him and immediately prayed for that opportunity. The man stopped right at the door, paused a few moments, then turned right around and went and sat down by my Dad! As my Dad began talking with him and also asking questions, it led into talking about God, faith, and the Bible. It was wonderful to see how the Lord answered his prayer!

Some of our conversations, though, have been quite brief, and we keep reminding ourselves, each one is practice! And as we keep doing it, it will get easier and easier, and we'll learn better how to respond in certain situations.

Mom has had a number of opportunities as well both in encouraging other believers, sharing about doctrine (such as Calvinism and its errors), and talking with and sharing many evidences with a friend/acquaintance who doesn't believe in God and who thinks the Bible is just a bunch of stories. We loved hearing her share about these conversations with us! It is so exciting to see how God is working and opening doors!

Leah, likewise, has been able to talk with a number of people about the Lord and His Word and to offer prayer for those in need.

I, too, have continued to have many opportunities online (about: how does on become saved and know they're saved?, Calvinism, and a number of other things as well) and also have had quite a few in-person conversations. One of the latter resulted from something Carl Kerby had said in one of his talks which convicted me: "if you miss an opportunity, go back."

I had missed an opportunity with an acquaintance/friend who isn't a believer in Christ and who believes in evolution, so . . . I went back. I brought up with her a comment that she had made about evolution and was able to then share that I don't believe in evolution, but believe that God created everything. I had printed out some information about creation/evolution that answered her question/comment and was able to talk with her for a bit. While it wasn't necessarily easy going back, I am so glad I did!

So while daily life and busyness has continued over the pasts months and things might 'look' the same as always, God has been working in each of our hearts and we are excited and eager to do much more than we had been with starting conversations and sharing the gospel with friends and strangers alike, taking opportunities and making opportunities, giving out tracts/booklets and books, making ourselves available for others . . . and all for one purpose . . . .

We so desire, as God desires, that not one person perish. We so want those we love and care about, those we meet on the street, our friends and our acquaintances . . . well, everyone, to hear the good news of Jesus Christ and to prayerfully, repent of their sins, surrender their lives to Him, and believe in Him as their Lord and Savior. As Mark Cahill says . . . each one of us is one heartbeat away from eternity. Ten out of ten people die, and who knows when that last heartbeat will come for each of us?

"The Lord is not slow about His promise, as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing for any to perish, but for all to come to repentance." 2 Peter 3:9

"But you, beloved, building yourselves up on your most holy faith, praying in the Holy Spirit, keep yourselves in the love of God, waiting anxiously for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ to eternal life. And have mercy on some, who are doubting; save others, snatching them out of the fire . . . ." Jude 20-23a

Monday, October 24, 2016

A Feathered Friend

Look what's been coming up to our birdfeeder!

A Red-breasted Nuthatch
(The photos were taken through our window with the camera handheld and then cropped, hence the blurriness.)

The Red-breasted Nuthatch is listed as an uncommon winter resident for Missouri, so we were surprised to see this little guy at our feeder! We have only seen them twice in Missouri before and both times in the winter. (Leah and I saw and heard a lot of them when we were in the Rocky Mountains, though.)

He began coming about a month ago and has become a daily regular. We often hear him in the trees, too, making its little call. It's such a cheerful little bird and has been a treat to see!

Thursday, October 20, 2016

Creek Play

A sunny Monday . . . temperature near 90 degrees . . . our sweet friend Molly . . . four of our favorite little people (her children :) . . . a picnic lunch . . . and a creek to play in. It was the perfect combination for a wonderful afternoon!

We began with a picnic lunch underneath the trees which was fun! After eating and while the children played nearby, Molly, Leah and I talked for awhile which was so nice. As we shared different circumstances in our lives, past and present, the conversation turned to trusting the Lord and promises in His Word. It was really an encouragement and also refreshing to talk with her.

Eventually we packed up the lunch things and headed to the creek . . . .

Molly and Sadie and Will and I throwing rocks in the creek

You might recognize these dear little friends :) . . . Will (who I work with at the therapeutic riding center) and his three sisters. These children are some of the sweetest, happiest, most fun, caring, and enthusiastic children. We always love the times spent with them and their mom, Molly!

Suzi with an armful of rocks to go throw in the creek . . . we threw in lots of rocks this day!

His expression after throwing one in and seeing the big splash

Leah and sweet Sadie
Photo by Layla (with some help :) . . . I had no clue what type of photos we were getting, but loved this one!

Another Layla photo

Molly with two of her girls, Suzi and Sadie. She is an amazing mom! Leah and I love watching her with her children.

More rock throwing

Layla wasn't so sure about the water at first, so we ventured across the creek together hand in hand looking for little fish swimming in the water. We made it to the other side and then explored for a bit.

Leah found a frog in the water and was showing it to the girls. Suzi wasn't quite sure if it was 'safe' or not so she climbed in Leah's lap to look at it!

Will eventually wanted to go into the water as well which was a new experience for him to go creek wading! We walked quite a ways down together and had lots of fun (and threw in more rocks, too) . . . it was so special to have his hands holding tightly to mine as we adventured together. How I love this sweet boy! (And his sisters!)

Darling girls all wet after running up and down the creek (and face-planting a few times!)

It was so fun spending this time with Molly and her children and watching the children thoroughly enjoy themselves in the water . . . and thoroughly enjoying ourselves along with them. :)

Plus enjoying hugs, smiles, laughter, good conversations, funny antics, and cute sayings. One question from the day was: "What is God's middle name?" :) The things children say and ask!

We certainly made the most of one of the last unusually warm days for this time of year!