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 from 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!

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

"The KJV . . . is it the perfect and preserved word of God?"

Posting today on my other blog Follow in His Steps . . .

"Recently I had both a good conversation and a correspondence with two different individuals who each hold to KJV-onlyism (one is a sweet friend, and the topic came up during a phone conversation.) It was interesting timing as both of these happened nearly simultaneously! 
For those of you who may be unfamiliar with KJV-onlyism, it can be summarized in one sentence as: the belief that the King James Version Bible is itself the perfect, inspired, preserved word of God, and the only Bible that should be used as the other translations are corruptions or perversions of God's Word. 
Since one of these conversations/discussions was an e-mail correspondence, I decided to compile many of my responses into one and share it here. While it only covers some aspects of KJV-onlyism, I hope that it will be enough to at the least, provide good food for thought . . . . " 
Read the rest here.

Friday, October 14, 2016

A Treasure Find

Last weekend after a very busy week, we decided to spend some time together walking through a nearby antique mall (as in, it's only about 5 minutes from our house.) It has changed a fair bit since we were last there with many more booths and antiques added. We had a lot of fun going through it together!

There was much to admire, some things to wonder about ('what in the world is this?!'), and a few treasures found their way home with us. Dad and Mom got an old three-pane window that they plan to put black-and-white photos in, and I found two books. The first was this one . . .

I already have an antique copy of In His Steps, but whenever I see favorite antique books that are reasonably priced (which is not very often as they are getting rarer), I like to get them. If I am ever blessed with a family of my own, I would love to be able to pass these books on to my children. If I am not, there are so many others that the books could be shared with.

While I was glad to find this book, of the two, the one I was thrilled to discover was this one (and for only $1.50!) . . .

It is now the oldest book in my collection with the copyright date of 1833 (the same year the first edition of the book was published - who knows, maybe this is a first edition!) Unfortunately, it is missing 21 pages near the beginning so I need to see if I can find the book online and print those out.

The book, written by Harvey Newcomb, is titled Letters to a Sister and is literally, letters to his younger sister. When she was left orphaned, she went and lived with him under his care until at some point, she left to go live with strangers (I am unsure why.) These letters were written then with the purpose to help her in her walk with the Lord, since he was no longer near her.

The letters are all instructional in the Christian life (save for a few on health/lifestyle which are a bit interesting given the time period :) and are overall, so good. From the love of the Scriptures and reading them, meditating on God's Word, studying God's word, prayer, denying self, service to others, the fruits of the Spirit, self-examination, and much more.

Here are several excerpts that stood out to me when reading it the other evening (emphasis in the original) . . .


"Searching [the Scriptures] is a difficult and laborious work. To induce us to engage in it, we must have a strong desire for something valuable. There is, in this blessed book, a treasure of sufficient value to call forth this desire. It contains the revealed will of God. All who love God will be anxious to know his will. They will make it the rule of their conduct. 'Thy word,' says the Psalmist, 'is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path.' 

"The will of God, as made known in this world, is like a lantern, which sheds a light on our path, and directs the steps of our feet. The sincere Christian will then search after a knowledge of God's will, with more eagerness than he would search for hidden treasures of gold and silver. He will set his heart to the work. This is what God commands . . . To set our hearts to any work, is to go about it in earnest, with all the energies of our souls . . . David says, 'Thy word have I hid in my heart.' But mark the reason of his conduct. Why did he hide God's word in his heart? He explains his motive: 'that I might not sin against thee.'"


"When you open this blessed book, let this always be the sincere inquiry of your heart: 'Lord, what wilt thou have me to do?' Come to it with this childlike spirit of obedience, and you will not fail to learn the will of God. But when you have learned your duty in God's Word, do it without delay."


"From the precious truths and promises which we have been considering, we infer the duty of contentment in every situation of life. If God directs all our ways, and has promised to give us just what he sees we need, we surely ought to rest satisfied with what we have; for we know it is just what the Lord, in his infinite wisdom, and unbounded goodness, sees fit to give us. 

"But the apostle Paul enforces this duty with direct precepts. 'But godliness with contentment, is great gain.' 'Having food and raiment let us be therewith content.' ' Be content with such things as ye have: for he hath said, I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee.' Here he gives the promise of God, as a reason for contentment . . . The child of God should cast all his care and burden upon him; and when he has made suitable efforts to accomplish what he considers a good object, he must commit the whole to the Lord, with a perfect willingness that his will should be done, even to the utter disappointment of his own hopes."


Aren't these excerpts good? I haven't read much of the book yet and am looking forward to reading it in its entirety!

Friday, October 7, 2016

Happiness is . . .

(at the therapeutic riding center) . . . 

. . . little arms spontaneously reaching over to give me a first-ever-from-her-hug tightly around the neck. When playing a game on horseback after much concentrated effort and many tries, a sweet little girl that I am working with successfully threw a bean bag through the hole. The hug quickly followed. :) So heartwarming!

. . . dear Will whom I have been working with the last two years, saying my name for the first time with a big, sweet smile on his face. I couldn't keep the tears from my eyes . . . such a priceless, happy moment!

Will and I - Spring 2016

. . . adorable little grins from a little boy who has grown to love horseback riding therapy!

He and I - Summer 2016

. . . the opportunity to talk about the Lord with an older rider there.

. . . working on letters and doing 'trick' riding (on her knees, backwards, sideways, etc.) with a precious little girl Leah and I have both been side-walking with the last two years.

Leah and I with our little trick rider. No tricks at this moment, though, since she was in a 'real' saddle this day. :)

. . . seeing bodies strengthen, words being spoken more easily, tears turning to smiles, focus improving, confidence growing, vocabulary increasing, and much more.

Our days at the therapeutic riding center continue to be so wonderful and a very favorite part of our week!

Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Fun Spontaneity

Last week, Dad and Mom took a trip up to Nebraska to visit Grandma and Aunt Marci (my Dad's Mom and sister) and had such a special and good time with them. Meanwhile Leah and I took care of things around here. We had busy days with things like all the animal chores and business work!

One day, though, we needed to run some errands in town (getting feed, mailing out orders, etc.) and decided to combine that with a hike at a state park right close by. While not quite the Rocky Mountains :), we had so much fun there! Even despite the mosquitoes . . . there were gazillions of them. And that's not much of an exaggeration. :)

The first part of the hike, they were so abundant that we walked quite fast as we found that prevented them from biting. We were only stopping very briefly to look at something, take a photo, etc. It was quite entertaining! As we went on, there were fewer and fewer of the pesky little creatures, and we slowed down our pace.

Sunlight filtering through the trees with the creek down below

The hike is 2.5 miles and is estimated to take 1 hr. and 45 min., but we did it in less than an hour. Largely thanks to the mosquitoes. :)

We had to laugh at this sign . . . great directions, eh? 
(By looking at the map, then we could see that the arrow pointing to the right was simply to a short exit/entrance trail to the main trail.)

There were so many pretty little wildflowers blooming! 


A terrible photo, but it shows the Pileated Woodpecker we were able to see! A rare treat. There were so many birds flitting through the trees and calling/singing which added to the enjoyable atmosphere. 

Mosquito haven :) 

There has been a lot of rain here in Missouri so the trail was pretty wet, places of it were washed out (making it a bit difficult to see where to go at times), and the creek that the trail crosses was higher than normal. Which meant taking off shoes and socks and wading!

Laughing, teasing and enjoying it all, we had so much fun here wading in the water, watching the little minnows, and more.

The water felt so good! 

Looking up the creek 

Colorful leaves floating downstream 

Eventually, we left the water behind and proceeded on our way . . . .

The rocky trail

Going up into the hills

Leah taking a picture of some asters 

More asters

We finished out our hike hot, sweaty, and happy (oh yes, and a little itchy, too!) It was so fun to squeeze in this much enjoyed little outing into our week! 

Monday, September 26, 2016

Recipes ~ Crockpot Basil Chicken and Sweet Potato Wedges

A delicious meal of basil chicken, sweet potato wedges, and fresh garden salad

When looking for more crockpot recipes several months ago, I had come across one for the chicken and made it, but . . . we didn't especially like the flavor. The method of making it was really simple and easy, though, so I experimented with various ingredients and came up with this recipe which is definitely a keeper!


Basil Crockpot Chicken

-1 1/2 to 2 lbs boneless skinless chicken breasts
-1/2 cup whole wheat flour
-1/2 tsp. lemon pepper seasoning
-1/2-3/4 tsp. pepper
-1/8-1/4 tsp. garlic salt
-1 to 1 1/4 tsp. dried basil
-3 Tbsp. butter, divided
-1 cup chicken broth

Prepare your chicken by rinsing it and trimming off the fat. In a shallow dish, combine the flour and seasonings. Coat each piece of chicken in the flour mixture. 

Melt 2 tbsp. of the butter in a skillet over medium-high heat. Once melted, brown each side of the chicken. You want them golden brown, but not cooked through. Repeat the process with the remaining butter, flour mixture, and chicken.

Grease the slow-cooker (coconut oil works great for this!) and place the browned chicken in the bottom. Add the chicken broth.

Cook on low for 3-4 hours and then enjoy!


And since the oven was free with the main dish being in the crockpot, baked sweet potato wedges were a great addition . . . .

Extra Crispy Sweet Potato Wedges

-2 large sweet potatoes, peeled or unpeeled and cut into wedges
-2 1/2 Tbsp. olive oil
-1 1/2 tsp. sea salt
-1 tsp. sugar (I used evaporated cane juice and less than what was called for)
-1 Tbsp. Italian seasoning
-1/2 tsp. black pepper

Preheat the oven to 450 degrees. Line a large baking sheet with tinfoil; place baking rack onto prepared baking sheet; set aside.

If desired, peel the sweet potatoes; cut off the pointy ends. Slice the sweet potatoes in half lengthwise, then cut each piece into wedges.

Place the sweet potato wedges in a large bowl and sprinkle the remaining ingredients over them. Mix well, making sure each wedge is coated with oil and spices.

Arrange the sweet potato wedges in a single layer on the prepared baking rack. Bake for 30 minutes then turn the broiler on and bake for another 3-5 minutes or until they are well-browned and crispy. Keep an eye on them so they don't burn!

Cool wedges on the pan for 5 minutes, and then serve at once.

I didn't have a baking rack, so simply greased a baking sheet and layered the potatoes directly on that. It worked, but the downside is that I couldn't bake them as long nor get them crispy that way. They were still delicious, though!

Thursday, September 22, 2016

Autumn's Arrival

The calendar says that today is the first day of Autumn, but summer weather is continuing. As in, it was 90 degrees yesterday! Yet the trees know what time of year it is and are slowly beginning to change color to yellows, browns, and reds . . .

The Autumn wildflowers are blooming in beautiful and diverse array, and the summertime flowers are going to seed . . . .

White Snakeroot
This is blooming all over in our woods this year, and I love its little white flowers.


An unidentified wildflower going to seed 

There is a lot to enjoy outdoors this time of year! The chickens think so, too, as they scratch around underneath the trees hunting bugs, seeds, and anything else they can scrounge up . . .

The garden is nearly finished, and it is time to dig the potato crop which Mom, Leah and I have been working on. After I dug more again last evening, we're now 2/3's of the way done! Some of what's left, though, needs to wait awhile longer as the plants haven't died back all the way yet.

There is a lot of dirt to move to get all the potatoes out of the ground!

Nearing the end of the row

And the result of an evening's work . . . more potatoes ready to cure before being stored

One of the last few things in the garden . . . a fall crop of green beans that Mom planted. They are just starting to flower so it won't be long before we'll have fresh green beans again!

Besides the outdoor work, it has been busy indoors, too, with things such as making lots of soap (and some other products as well like bath salts and sugar scrubs yesterday.)

Before we left on our trip, this is what the soap curing shelves looked like . . .

Around 360 bars curing 

Since then, the shelves have emptied out as soaps finished curing and are then boxed up for bringing to the market or selling online . . .

Part of the display at the market

And then I've been busy making more so the shelves are filling all up again!

Making more soap 
(Though not a current photo, it was taken back in August for business purposes. :)

In spare bits of time, I have also been reformatting all of the posts on my other blog Follow in His Steps. Several months ago, I revamped the site and didn't realize that one 'side-effect' of that was the formatting getting messed up on all of the old posts. So one by one, they are each being reformatted and reposted. As of now, I am well over half-way done and only have about 50 posts left to do!

It has been nice to squeeze in a bit of reading most every day, too. And with new books! During the Berean Call conference in August, they gave out a coupon code for a significant discount on many of their materials. With that, Dad and I each added quite a few books to our libraries. Some of these I had already read before, and the others I have now skimmed through, and so far, they all look really good.

Most of the ones I got

Currently, I am reading The Power of the Spirit  by William Law/edited by Dave Hunt, and it is excellent. The book was originally written in the 1700's, yet what is shared in it is still so true for today. It is very deep, powerful, insightful, and convicting!

On a different note, when going through photos, this recent one was found that I had forgotten to share. Do you remember the doe with the injured leg that had come up close to our house? Well, she came back, and this time with her half-grown fawn . . .

It was neat to see them!

And to bring this somewhat random post to a close, here is a bit of cuteness shared specifically with some children readers in mind (yours Sarah R. :) who like seeing photos of our animals :) . . .

Our baby rabbits are growing!