Sunday, November 30, 2008

The First Snowfall

This morning, I was up early in order to get some bread started, and as the sky began to lighten, I took a walk outdoors in the beautiful snow covered landscape. It was still snowing and was completely still out, so much so that one could actually hear the snow falling. It was quite a delight to wander around our property taking in the beauty that lay around me. There is just something about the first snow fall that is captivating. I know once spring rolls around again, I will be more than ready to say goodbye to the cold weather and snow, but for right now, I am quite content with it!

Here are a few photos that were taken today; the first two before the sun had risen and the last two later in the morning . . .

A portion of our woods

Our Driveway

The snow was a wet snow so it stuck heavily to the branches of the trees - especially the cedars and pines!

View of the pasture

What wonders has the Lord created! Even in the dryness and barrenness of the fall and winter seasons, the Lord can bring forth such beauty in His creation.

"O LORD, how many are Your works! In wisdom You have made them all; the earth is full of Your possessions." (Psalm 104:24)

Saturday, November 29, 2008

It's Snowing!!!

I just had to share . . . we are receiving our first snowfall (other than flurries) of the season!

The photos are certainly not the greatest (one reason being that it is quite dark out so my shutter speed had to be set quite low), but at least it gives you an idea what it looks like here in central Missouri right now . . .

How delightful it was this evening to stand at the window and watch the beautiful flakes falling to the ground!

A Special Thanksgiving

The delicious smell of baking turkey filled the air this past Thursday morning while we took care of a bit of cleaning and other food preparation. Once those tasks were completed, Dad had pulled out his guitar and was playing a few hymns . . . I asked if I could play my fiddle with him, and before long all of us were gathered in the living room - Mom on the dulcimer, Leah, Ryan, and Dad on guitar and I the fiddle. 

We first went through all the songs that we knew, and then once we had exhausted our (small :) repertoire, began 'experimenting'. We would choose a song, and Mom would play the melody on the dulcimer (she can play just about anything if she is familiar with how the tune sounds!), Leah, Ryan, and Dad would back up with chords, and I would attempt to play the melody with Mom. It was so much fun, and we all enjoyed that time together! I am not sure how long we played, but it was eventually time to head back to the kitchen to finish dinner preparation . . .

Peeling potatoes for mashed potatoes

Mom seasoning the green beans

Leah preparing to warm the rolls
Ryan carving the turkey

All of our extended family lives quite a distance from us, so Thanksgiving is generally shared by just our family, but even with 'just' us, it is always special! While sharing our meal together, we looked back over the year and shared some of the most memorable times . . . the Family Reunion . . . haying out at Ryan's . . . the birdwatching trip on Mom's birthday . . . and many more. We also shared different things that we are thankful for . . . some of the greatest blessings of this past year have been those we have been able to get to know through our family ministry and also through this little blog. So that is one thing that I am thankful for . . . all of you! :)

Our family so enjoyed the time of visiting and sharing together, but before long, it was time to put the food away and take care of the dishes. Sometimes dishes after Thanksgiving can feel, well, rather long and tedious, but this year was quite different than that! Mom was 'picking' the turkey at the table while Leah and I took care of the dishes, and we sang together the whole time.
Gospel songs . . . songs that we used to sing together when we were little . . . hymns . . . when we were singing, we were all trying different 'parts' which was so much fun! Though, we did have one song where we all started singing harmony parts and no one was left to sing the melody! Needless to say, that song ended on a rather interesting note! :) Before we knew it, the dishes were finished, and it was time to get ready to head to one of our friend's house for pies and fellowship. We gathered up our pumpkin, cherry, apple and chocolate pies and headed out . . .

Our time there was delightful, and we had a wonderful time visiting, teasing, sharing stories and the like. The couple that had invited us over are so fun, and we always love to spend time with them! (They are also one of the families that we meet with on Sunday morning). And as is usual with our two families, we started talking about some scriptural topics and before long we were pulling out the Bibles to do a bit of investigating on a certain topic . . .

Mr. M. reading a passage of Scripture

And then there was a word that we were not sure the meaning of so Mrs. M. found a dictionary and was our researcher . . .

Mrs. M. and Mom


Looking back on this past year, I rejoice to see what the Lord has done in not only my life, but my family's lives also. This past year has been a special one for all of us; one of much growth, learning, and joys. It has not been without its trials and struggles, but looking back, I can see how the Lord has turned those things into rejoicing. All of us are looking forward with anticipation to this next year . . . what journeys and paths will the Lord lead us on over this time? It will be exciting to find out!

Thursday, November 27, 2008

With Thanksgiving . . .

Praise the LORD!

I will give thanks to the LORD with all my heart,
In the company of the upright and in the assembly.
Great are the works of the LORD;
They are studied by all who delight in them.
Splendid and majestic is His work,
And His righteousness endures forever.
He has made His wonders to be remembered;
The LORD is gracious and compassionate . . .

The work of His hands are truth and justice;
All His precepts are sure.
They are upheld forever and ever;
They are performed in truth and uprightness
He has sent redemption to His people;
He has ordained His covenant forever;
Holy and awesome is His name.
The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom;
A good understanding have all those who do His commandments;
His praise endures forever.

Psalm 111:1-4, 7-10

Wednesday, November 26, 2008


As I type, an array of smells fills the air from pumpkin pie to freshly baked rolls . . . yes, we ladies have been busy in the kitchen today! Mom started in early this morning, and then Leah and I joined her later in the morning (after our animal chores and other tasks) . . .

Leah making her 'famous' rolls

The finished product . . . she even let us have one before tomorrow! :) They are so good straight out of the oven (though, they're good any other time, too :).

Making Pumpkin Pie

And in between putting together different dishes, Mom relaxed on the couch a bit . . .

The plans for the remainder of the day include finishing up the rest of the baking so that the oven will be ready and waiting for the turkey to take up residence there tomorrow morning. :) Thanksgiving is one of my favorite times of the year, and I am quite looking forward to the time tomorrow with my family!

I hope that you all have a wonderful, special, and blessed day with your families tomorrow!

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Look What Came in the Mail Yesterday!

It was quite exciting when going down to get the mail yesterday to find a package addressed to me in the mailbox! And then seeing who sent it brought a smile to my face . . . it was from a dear friend of mine (who I have yet to meet in person :). Imagine my delight when opening it and discovering the contents!

A beautifully put together package of an amaryllis bulb, a pot and potting soil. I had an enjoyable time planting it last evening, and now am eagerly looking forward to having flowers blooming in the winter!

The directions say that it should be blooming 6 to 10 weeks after planting which would fall at beginning to mid January . . . to think that we could have a blanket of snow on the ground while having flowers blooming indoors!

Friday, November 21, 2008

Making Sugar Cookies

What fun we had together with the girls yesterday making cookies!

First we rolled out the dough (Leah and I had made the dough in advance) and then used leaf, acorn, turkey, and pumpkin cookie cutters to make the cookies . . .

Then it was time for them to bake . . . while Leah took care of the baking of the cookies in the kitchen, I and the girls went into the living room for our lesson on the heart attitude of thanksgiving. Here is the lesson plan (which formed the basis of the lesson/discussion that we had yesterday) that Leah and I had put together:

-Do you think thanksgiving is just words that we say? (No; it is a attitude of the heart which is expressed through words and actions.)

Colossians 4:2 “Devote yourselves to prayer, keeping alert in it with an attitude of thanksgiving;”

-Should we only give thanks for the things we like? Only when we are happy?

1 Thessalonians 5:18 “In everything give thanks; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.”

Ephesians 5:20 “Always giving thanks for all things in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ to God, even the Father;” We are to be thankful in all circumstances; (in difficult situations we can thank the Lord that He is there with us, that He is our strength, etc.)

-Who are we to show thanksgiving to first and foremost? (The Lord)

Psalm 92:1 “It is good to give thanks to the LORD and to sing praises to Your name, O Most High.”

Psalm 26:7 “That I may proclaim with the voice of thanksgiving and declare all your wonders.”

-What are things that we can be thankful to the Lord for? [the girls shared many good ideas for this one! Here are a few: food, animals, family, Jesus, salvation, Bible, clothes, our senses, gardens, air, trees, friends, smiles, love, warmth, water, knowledge, etc.]

Colossians 3:15-17 “Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in one body; and be thankful. Let the word of Christ richly dwell within you, with all wisdom teaching and admonishing one another with psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with thankfulness in your hearts to God. Whatever you do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks through Him to God the Father.”

Once our lesson was finished, we frosted the cookies . . .

And then played two games to review the verse we had memorized two weeks ago. The first, was unscrambling the words to form the verse . . .

The second was similar to the first, but is a bit more challenging for the girls as not all the pieces of paper are right there in front of them so they have to think a bit more of what word should come next . . .

The girls each had a few of the pieces of paper, and they all needed to work together to hang them on the ribbon in order . . .


"So, as those who have been chosen of God, holy and beloved, put on a heart of compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience;" Colossians 3:12

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

A Baker's Dozen

Our hens' egg laying is beginning to pick up the pace a bit (three eggs today!) . . .

All the eggs minus one

Any guesses what's for dinner tomorrow night? :)
The weather here has been rather interesting the past few weeks in that we have a cold spell, and then one warm day. Today was one of those warm days with a high of 61 degrees, though, that did not last long once the sun began setting! This evening, Lassie and I were able to enjoy the beautiful weather a bit . . .

Tomorrow it is back to the cold with a high of 38 and a low of 20 which is a tad different than today! Though, the cold weather will fit perfectly with what we are doing with the girls tomorrow . . . baking! We will be rolling and cutting out sugar cookies, baking them and then frosting them. With all that it will be quite a busy afternoon, but we are looking forward to it!

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

More Arranging

The arrangement of goldenrod and mums that had been put together last year was beginning to look rather sorry, so I pulled out our box of dried mums (Leah had dried a bunch of them a few years ago) as well as the goldenrod that was dried earlier this year and went to work . . .

Rather simple, but it brightens up the bathroom a bit!

Monday, November 17, 2008

Opening Day

Early Saturday morning, Ryan and Leah were found hurriedly putting on warm clothes . . . it was still dark out, the clock read 4:15 . . . they finished getting ready and then headed out to Ryan's place. The reason? Saturday was opening day of rifle season for deer. The day was a cold one, overcast and with a freezing wind and occasional snow flurries (the first for the year!) . . . the temperature hovered in the low to mid-thirties all day with a strong Northwest wind that made it feel like 24 or so degrees out.

I spent the morning wondering how it was going for them . . . were they staying wa
rm? Were they seeing any deer?

Around 9:00, Ryan's truck pulled into our driveway, and I hurried to greet them. With smiling faces, they shared that no, they had not seen any deer, but what fun they had had! We were the only ones home at the time, and we sat around in the living room talking about deer hunting, and I enjoyed listening to them recount their morning. From seeing the day dawn as they sat huddled in the hay-bale blind, to having little mice scurry around their feet . . . and they had plenty to share about the cold! :)

The hours passed, and before long afternoon had come, as did the time to head o
ut again. This time, I was the one who was going to go with Ryan (the blind can only fit two people at a time).

The drive out to Ryan's was enjoyable (as always!), and excitement grew once we had arrived at his place.

We hurriedly pulled on the rest of our extra layers, the orange vests and orange stocking hats; gathered the gun and other necessary items and began the walk down to the blind.

We settled in and began the wait. The hours passed and no deer had yet been seen, though, we did enjoy a great deal of other wildlife! (Including the little mice friends . . . they were so cute!) A big ole Fox Squirrel provided some entertainment as he leapt from branch to branch, climbed down and raced around on the ground and then back up in the trees again. A few times we heard and saw flocks of Canada Geese and once, a large flock flew right over us . . . they were so low that we could hear the swishing noise made with their wings and the honking was quite loud. From my position, I had a rather narrow view, but it was fun to listen to the bird calls and then try to identify what they were. We heard Red-bellied and Red-headed woodpeckers, Blue Jays, Black-Capped Chickadees, Grackles, and a few more that I cannot remember now. We also had the opportunity to see an owl fly through the woods . . . what beautiful creatures!

The sky was beginning to get darker and the wind and air was feeling colder . . . I was beginning to wonder how much longer I was going to last! My toes were moving from being just cold to feeling numb as were my fingers, but I determined to stick it out. Ryan asked me occasionally "What time is it?"; with each answer, he would say how much shooting time there was left. We were down to the last 40 minutes or so, when I saw movement in the woods . . . yes! It was a deer! I hurriedly whispered to Ryan and tried to describe the location that I had seen it, but the deer seemed to have disappeared. We watched the tree line looking for movement and after a time, Ryan saw a deer back further in the woods heading the opposite direction. It was quite exciting to actually see a deer, but unfortunately, that was the only sighting of the night. Throughout the evening, we had not heard many shots (at least, quite a few less than normal), so we were wondering if the winds were keeping the deer holed up in the woods . . . that is where I would have been if I were a deer!

The end of shooting time had now come, so we gathered everything up, and headed for the walk back to the truck. Leah was right, the walk back did feel a lot colder and longer than the walk in! :) While Ryan put the gun away, he asked me to start the truck . . . my fingers were so cold that it was a rather difficult process, but I did manage to get it going and then we were able to turn on the heat! That sure felt good!

Upon arriving home, we were greeted by the smells of ham chowder heating on the stove (leftovers from the night before). Leah had also made muffins and the warm food did much to warm our bodies!

What a special day it was and with it, many more memories were made and lots of fun times had by all. I am so thankful that both Leah and I had the opportunity to spend some time with Ryan hunting. We greatly enjoyed ourselves, even with the cold! :) Now we're looking forward to when we might be able to go out again!

Friday, November 14, 2008

The Sunset

Yesterday was a bit of a different type of day as we were unable to have girls group. So, without that, the day was rather open . . . I spent some time in the morning cleaning dog kennels (hauling out old hay, doing a thorough spraying out, etc.), and also switched Lassie (my Collie) and Maggie (Ryan's Chesapeake) around (they each have the other's kennel now :). By the time that was finished, it was lunch time, and then I headed back outside to mow leaves and spread them on the garden. I managed to cover another section of the garden all in leaves (they still need to be tilled in), so we have two areas left to do. The trees in our yard are rather bare of leaves as is the ground underneath them, so I'll probably rake up and use leaves from down in our woods (there are some places where the leaves are several inches thick!).

And then at the close of the day, we had the pleasure of enjoying a beautiful sunset. D
ue to our location, we are not able to see sunsets very well from our place, but with most of the trees now bare, it is a bit easier . . .

"It is He who made the earth by His power, Who established the world by His wisdom, and by His understanding He stretched out the heavens." (Jeremiah 51:15)

Cinnamon Swirl Loaf

By request, here is the recipe for the Cinnamon Bread . . . :)

Cinnamon Swirl Loaf

--7 to 7 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
--2 packages active dry yeast (or 4 1/2 tsp.)
--2 cups milk
--1/2 cup sugar
--1/2 cup shortening
--2 teaspoons salt
--2 eggs

--1/2 cup sugar
--2 teaspoons ground cinnamon

--1 cup powdered sugar
--1/4 teaspoon vanilla
--Enough milk for drizzling consistency (about 1 1/2 Tbsp.)

In a large mixer bowl, combine 3 1/2 cups of the flour and the yeast. In saucepan heat milk, 1/2 cup sugar, shortening, and salt just till warm (115-120 degrees), stirring constantly to melt shortening. Add to dry mixture in mixer bowl; add eggs. Beat at low speed with electric mixer for 1/2 minute, scraping sides of bowl constantly. Beat 3 minutes at high speed. By hand, stir in enough of the remaining flour to make a moderately soft dough. Turn out on lightly floured surface and knead until smooth and elastic (5 to 8 minutes). Shape into a ball. Place in a lightly greased bowl, turning once to grease surface.

Cover; let rise in warm place till double (about 1 hour). Punch dough down; turn out on lightly floured surface. Divide in half. Cover; let rest 10 minutes. Roll each half into a 15x7-in. rectangle. Brush entire surface with water.

Combine the 1/2 cup sugar and the ground cinnamon. Spread each rectangle with half of the sugar-cinnamon mixture. Roll dough up as for jelly roll, beginning with narrow side. Seal long edge and ends. Place, sealed edge down, in 2 greased 9x5x3-inch loaf pans. Cover and let rise in warm place till almost double (35-40 minutes). Bake at 375 degrees till done, 35 to 40 minutes. (If crust browns too quickly, cover with foil for last 15 minutes of baking.) Remove bread from pans and cool on wire racks.

Combine icing ingredients. Drizzle on slightly cooled or cooled bread. Enjoy!

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Deep Cleaning

As there were not many tasks that were necessary to be accomplished today, I decided to spend the morning deep cleaning our living room. I enjoy deep cleaning (well, just about any cleaning I enjoy!), and today was no different. The first thing that needed to be done was to remove all the little things from the room . . . books, decor, music stand, instruments, etc. Then everything that was left that I could move myself found their temporary location in the middle of the room. The secretary and piano, however stayed where they were. Those are a little much for me to handle!

Once that was finished, it was time to wipe down the walls, and then what followed consisted of intensive dusting, vacuuming all the paintings and photos as well as cleaning the glass in them, vacuuming the couches, floors, and cedar beams on the ceiling, washing the windows . . . and then little by little, the other items were cleaned and put back into their places. The room had seemed rather clean before all of this, but now it looks brighter and fresher and it feels clean too.

Meanwhile, Mom was doing deep-cleaning of her own . . . she has already deep-cleaned the downstairs bathroom, the laundry room, and most of the kitchen, and today she worked on the dining room . . .

It looks so nice now! And while Mom and I worked on these projects, Leah was busy in the kitchen making cinnamon bread. It is just finishing up baking now, and oh! it smells so good!

While I had my camera out to take the above, I thought I would also take a few photos and share with you all some of our fall arrangements . . . this is one of our favorite seasons, and we love to make it feel fallish indoors also!

An arrangement that Mom (with some assistance from Leah and I) put together - it is on top of our old wood-burning stove that unfortunately is not able to be used due to all the cracks in it.

Once the living room was all put together again, I headed out to do the last of the garden clean-up (other than tilling in more leaves). Gardening season has reached its end, and I have to say, I am a bit glad about that! Now we'll have a few months' break before it is time to plan and prepare for next year's garden!

Well, time is ticking away, and I need to go start supper preparation . . . I hope that you all have a blessed and wonderful evening with your families!

Monday, November 10, 2008

They're Laying!

This past Friday, one of our hens laid our first egg . . . unfortunately it was a soft-shelled one, but with that, we knew that 'regular' eggs would be coming soon! Sure enough, yesterday morning one of our silver-laced hens laid a beautiful, brown (though, small) egg.

After sewing lessons were finished for the day, I checked the nest boxes, and we had another one. :) Needless to say, I am bit excited as now we can start eating our own eggs!

Friday, November 7, 2008

Finishing Scrapbooks and a Lesson on Compassion

The girls were quite excited to finish up their scrapbooks yesterday, and all that was left for them to do was to write in them, put the pages in sheet protectors and then tie them together with ribbon. Leah and I quite enjoyed reading what each of the girls wrote on their pages!



Before finishing the scrapbooks, we had our lesson which was on being compassionate. We first looked up the definition in the dictionary and found it to mean:

“Having a heart that is tender and easily moved by the distresses, sufferings, wants and infirmities of others. Inclined to show mercy; merciful” (from Noah Webster's 1828 American Dictionary of the English Language.)

As definitions can be difficult to understand sometimes, we explained it further and shared a few examples of what compassion would look like. We then asked the girls who they thought shows perfect compassion, to which they immediately answered: God. We looked up together and read a few verses from Psalms which spoke of this:

"He has made His wonders to be remembered; the LORD is gracious and compassionate." (Psalm 111:4)

"The LORD is compassionate and gracious, slow to anger and abounding in lovingkindness." (Psalm 103:8)

After reading and discussing these verses, we asked if any of the girls could think of specific instances where Jesus Christ showed compassion during His earthly ministry. After the girls had shared several of these, we looked at a passage in Scripture that showed a specific instance when Christ showed compassion. In Mark 8:1-9, we read the account of Jesus multiplying the loaves and fishes to feed 4,000 men. Prior to working this miracle, Christ shared "I feel compassion for the people” (verse 2). Once we had read and discussed this pass
age together with the girls, the Lord led us to also add to the lesson about Christ’s greatest work of compassion and love, that is, His death on the cross in our place. This again opened the doors for us to share with the girls about salvation, our sin, our need of Christ, and how to receive forgiveness of sins and thus eternal life and salvation – through believing in Christ. Once we had talked about this for a bit, we moved on in our study of compassion . . .

In Scripture, God has given specific instruction to us regarding compassion:

"Be kind to one another, tenderhearted [or compassionate], forgiving each other, just as God in Christ also has forgiven you." (Ephesians 4:32)

"So, as those who have been chosen of God, holy and beloved, put on a heart of compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience;" (Colossians 3:12)

We discussed about what it means to “put on” compassion and also that compassion can be shown through physical action, but it begins in the heart. Then it was time for brainstorming! What are ways that we can show compassion to others? The answers took awhile in coming, but once the girls started thinking of ideas, they had a lot of them! Some of them were:

--Giving hugs and smiles

--Writing a get well card

--Talking with them

And then through a bit of prompting with questions from Leah and I, they also added things along the lines of:

--Praying for them
--Asking if there is anything that you can do for them
--If a sibling is sick, offer to do their chores for them

Once we had finished with the lesson, we worked on memorizing Colossians 3:12 together. When first learning a verse, we generally will write it on our dry erase board and say it together with the girls several times. Once they become familiar with the verse, we start erasing words. Each time a new word is erased, the girls will recite the verse and Leah and I will be silent on the erased words. The girls love doing this and have fun trying to pick which word to erase next. :) Once it seems that the girls have the verse learned fairly well, we’ll ask them if they think they can say the whole verse with everything erased to which they generally
answer ‘yes’. Then with nothing to aid them, we’ll recite the verse together several times. Next week, to reinforce what they have learned, we will have a review game of the verse which should be fun!

And as usual, we finished our time together with cross-stitching . . .

Thursday, November 6, 2008

A Broken Sewing Machine . . .

This past Monday during the last sewing lesson that I teach for the day, one of our sewing machines broke, and I was unsure how to fix it so set it aside to have my Dad or Ryan look at it later. But then, I forgot all about it until this evening . . . I mentioned it to Ryan, and he took a look at it, figured out what needed to be done and then fixed it! What a blessing!

Now thanks to him both our machines are up and running again. :)

Wednesday, November 5, 2008


The past few days have been rather busy here and as shared in an earlier post, we have been taking advantage of the warmer weather and have been enjoying it while it lasts. Today will probably be the last warm day of the year, though, as a front is to move through this evening, bringing with it thunderstorms and colder weather.

Another change (besides weather) which always seems to happen rather rapidly, is the shortening of the days. With darkness
now coming much earlier in the evenings due to daylight savings time and the change of seasons, there has been more opportunity for inside projects such as . . .

Finishing the table runner . . .

I ended up deciding to forgo quilting leaves in the 'empty' spaces, as when I looked at it, it seemed like it would take away from the runner instead of adding to it. It worked out better anyway as now the table runner is finished before fall is over! :)

Another project that I have been working on is crocheting an afghan:

This one is a smaller one so it should not take much longer to finish it. Though, I ran out of yarn yesterday evening so will have to wait until we run errands again before I can continue working on it.

And on a rather different note, this morning, Dad, Leah and I butchered four of our roosters which was interesting, kind of fun and a bit gross. :) As we do not have the set-up to scald and pluck chickens, we skinned them instead. Never having skinned anything before, it was a new experience for me! Dad, Leah and I each had a chicken and as Dad skinned, we just followed along (with his assistance from time to time). Though, Leah has skinned lots of animals before (due to her doing taxidermy) so it came rather easily for her! After we had each finished skinning and gutting 'our' chicken
(the gutting was not as bad as what I thought it would be), Dad worked on spraying them off while Leah did the skinning and I the gutting of the last rooster. Once they were rinsed off, we brought them inside, washed them more thoroughly and packaged them up. Even though our chickens are not bred for meat (not like the Cornish crosses, etc.), we were pleased with the amount of meat on them. All in all, this experience could be classified as enjoyable, and it is rather satisfying to have a bit of meat in the freezer that we raised ourselves.

The rest of today looks to be rather busy with sewing, planning girls group, making dinner (this week and next are my cooking weeks again), and other such pleasant things!