Friday, December 30, 2016

A Hope That is Living - This is Not the End

This Christmas was different.

This Christmas there was the celebration and the joy,
the time with our families,
the excitement of the little ones.

There was also deep sadness.
There was the knowledge of profound loss.
Amidst all the activity, so many thoughts fluttered in.
Thoughts of my dear Aunt and my cousins.
Thoughts of my Uncle Henry going home to Jesus,
the day before Christmas.

These days come.
So unseen.  Unplanned. Unknown.
But we do not fear.

"Never be afraid to trust
an unknown future
 to a known God."
- Corrie Ten Boom

I grieved with my cousins and wondered.
I wondered, “why not me?”
How is it fair 
that I go home and my life continues,
mostly the same.
But suddenly, for them, life will never be the same.

But we know truth.
And we trust.

The preacher said:
“There is Saving Grace,
There is Living Grace,
And there is Dying Grace.”

Oh, God is good.

“Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ!
In his great mercy he has given us new birth into a living hope
 through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead,
 and into an inheritance that can never perish, spoil or fade.
 This inheritance is kept in heaven for you,
 who through faith are shielded by God’s power
 until the coming of the salvation
 that is ready to be revealed in the last time.
In all this you greatly rejoice,
though now for a little while you may have had to suffer grief
 in all kinds of trials.”
 1 Peter 1:3-6

 Just before the sun went down,
 I went to the grave.
A shadow fell in the shape of a cross,
on the fresh red dirt.

There is a LIVING hope!
By the power of Jesus and the cross,
this is not the end.
There is glory waiting on the other side.

 “Jesus said to her, ‘I am the resurrection and the life;
 he who believes in Me will live even if he dies,
 and everyone who lives and believes in Me will never die.
Do you believe this?’"
 John 11:25

Friday, December 16, 2016

Andrew Davis -- Those First Weeks

This week my baby boy turned three months old.
Andrew Davis.
And here I am, doing my first post since his birth.
 Guess that says something about life in those first three months, huh?
What a time of events and emotions all running contrary to one another.

 Such pain and joy,
such exhilaration and exhaustion,
such despair and gratitude. 
All mixed up together in the same days. 

Just born.

Just over seven pounds.

Talking to my mamma who was on a hunting trip in Colorado when Andrew was born!

Brand new sweetness!

Playing doll baby in the hospital. :)

Best room in the entire hospital with views of the Blue Ridge Mountains in two directions!

Flowers just picked and brought in by the sis-in-law.

A portrait of the family with the new addition, done by the eldest sister.

Little man with his Daddy.  Melts my heart.

There were so many times I looked at this baby and really 
couldn’t fathom that he is real and he is mine. 
So many times that my eyes filled up and the tears ran down. 
I can’t comprehend God’s goodness to me.

I look back on the pictures that we have of Andrew’s first weeks,
and I miss the tiny sweetness that was him. 
I know how quickly babies leave that newborn phase and there’s no way to stop it
no matter how badly I wanted to.
 The only consolation is that each new stage is captivating.
 Maybe a baby is God’s way of saying, “stop and enjoy today!
Back at home.  There's never a lack of arms to hold the little guy!

Never ending kisses.
You know how a sleeping newborn has a Sixth Sense
of when you’re just ready to eat a meal?  
Andrew has that sense in a very real way. 
He also has a Seventh Sense.
 It’s the sense that there is someone with a camera. 
My visions of my very own baby to play newborn photographer with,
kind of took a very bad nose dive and landed in a heap.
 Between his Seventh Sense and my exhausted new mother state of mind and body,
we got what we got photos when and where we could. 

Andrew seemed to have his great-grandfather Charles’ philosophy.
 I will share his quote:  
“Eating makes me sleepy, and sleeping makes me hungry.”
 In other words, anytime he was awake he was hungry! 
That creates photos like these.

I’m hoping to share some of the better pictures sometime after Christmas! 
Until then, Merry Christmas and God bless you all! 

"And Mary said, 'My soul magnifies the Lord,
And my spirit has rejoiced in God my Savior.
For He who is mighty has done great things for me,
And holy is His name.'"
Luke 1:46,47 & 49 

Friday, September 9, 2016

Pumpkin Swirl Pancake Recipe

It’s getting closer to fall
 and time for all that autumn comfort food!  
I’m jumping on the pumpkin bandwagon
with this Pumpkin Swirl Pancake recipe.

 We’ve picked a few of our “pumpkins” which are actually
 crookneck type pumpkins or winter squash. 
They’re huge this year!
I'm guessing I shouldn't have planted them in the little garden. 
The vines from two seeds, planted together,
have covered over thirty feet and completely outgrown
the small cottage garden out back. 
They’ve traveled over the boxwoods at one end
and up into the tall shrubs along the fence at the other.

 And apparently, while I wasn’t looking,
there was a marriage with the tomatoes which I can’t dissolve.

 I guess I’d better get in the mood
 for some baking this fall and winter.
There are a lot of pounds of pumpkin on those vines!

 If any of you are in the pumpkin mood,
 here’s an adaption to a basic pancake recipe that I came up with. 
It’s not difficult, and definitely something a little extra special,
 for a Saturday morning breakfast (or supper!).  
Hope you enjoy!

 (There should be a little red popup on the photos that will allow you
to save the recipe to a Pintrest board if you wish.)

 Pumpkin Swirl Pancakes

Basic Pancake Recipe
2 cups flour
1 tablespoon sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1 ½ cups buttermilk
2 eggs
¼ cup oil

Pumpkin Swirl
1 ½ cup thick pureed cooked pumpkin 
 (or pumpkin  type squash)
1 egg
¼ cup packed brown sugar
1 teaspoon cinnamon
½ teaspoon ginger
¼ teaspoon nutmeg

Mix dry ingredients for basic pancake batter.
Add buttermilk, eggs, and oil. 
Whisk until well combined.

In a separate bowl, 
whisk all ingredients for the pumpkin swirl. 
Put the pumpkin mixture into a squirt bottle.
(A clean syrup or ketchup bottle works fine!)

Pour amounts of batter into hot greased skillet
in the size you like your pancakes.
Squirt a generous swirl/spiral of the 
pumpkin mixture on top.
Fry until browned on the bottom and then flip,
and fry until browned on the second side.
Serve with butter and syrup 
or your own favorite toppings. 
(My mind’s thinking of a dollop of whipped cream,
some chopped pecans and a dash of cinnamon!)


Friday, September 2, 2016

Mantis Munchies

Here’s a post for the kids.
Or the kids at heart.

September is a great month for insects! 
Just listen when you go outside and hear all the chirping and buzzing.
 It’s like the creatures are making life count before it gets cold
and the frost puts an end to the summer fun. 

If you’re lucky, you might be able to spot
one of the coolest insects around  -- the Praying Mantis!

This Mantis is cleaning her foot.

It’s famous for being the only known insect that can turn its head and look over its back.
  That might be what makes it look just a little spooky!  
Their eyes are very sharp (this makes them great at catching prey),
 and they watch you as if they are extra smart.
 And maybe they are!

Here is a Praying Mantis on our front porch.

If you do get to spot a Praying Mantis, you may want to give it a little snack.
 It’s very easy, actually.
 (Watching insects eat is a fascinating thing!  Last year I wrote about feeding Ant Lions. 

We caught some crickets in this jar.

 First, you’ve got to do some hunting! 
Your prey is whatever a Mantis likes to eat – pick something that looks really tasty!
  Maybe not a stinkbug?!!  
We’ve found that they really like crickets and small grasshoppers.
 And those insects are usually fairly easy to find,
 just crawling or hopping around in the yard.  

Once you’ve captured a cricket (or something else) pop its head off to kill it.
  Then choose a skinny stick or extra-long stem of grass or weed
and poke the dead insect onto the end like this.

 Slowly crawl the dead insect toward the Praying Mantis, making it look as though it’s alive.
 I bet it will only take an instant before she will turn her quick eyes to watch the new insect. 
She’s hoping this might be supper!!! 
Creep the Mantis dinner very close, and she should pounce on it and start gnawing. 

Now just sit back and watch!!!  

Munch, Munch!

A cricket drumstick.

Cassia is making the cricket "crawl" along the arm of the bench.

 Mantises love to eat insects and are very helpful in the garden for eating pest insects.

Now there’s one thing about the Praying Mantis.
 Please, please, please, be careful with them.
 If you want to hold one, don’t scoop it up.
 Don’t grab it up. 
They can be damaged easily!  
Especially if they have large swollen abdomens.
 These big fat ones are females who are getting ready to lay their eggs
 in a special foam sack that’s like a tiny brown insulated cooler.
 This sack will protect her eggs all through the winter until next spring,
when the little green baby Mantises hatch out. 
So… if you do want to hold a Mantis, carefully put your hand in front of it,
 and gently nudge it forward so that it crawls onto you by itself. 
This way you won’t accidentally bend its legs or squish its soft belly.

If you’d like to see some more cool insects,

 Happy hunting!!!

 “But ask the animals, and they will teach you,
or the birds in the sky, and they will tell you;
or speak to the earth, and it will teach you,
or let the fish in the sea inform you.
Which of all these does not know
that the hand of the Lord has done this?
In his hand is the life of every creature
and the breath of all mankind.”
Job 12:7-10

Thursday, August 25, 2016

Brief Sketches From a Very Pregnant Woman

The Very Pregnant Woman is me.

It’s a little under three weeks until my due date,
and I’m certainly ready anytime this baby boy decides he’s ready.

We started school in full force this week and I did some quick sketches
while I was sitting at the kitchen table,
in between helping the girls with their lessons.

I believe all my pregnant friends will identify?

The girls took some quick photos of me this morning 
to remember these days.

“As for me, I am poor and needy,
but the Lord takes thought for me.
You are my help and my deliverer;
do not delay, O my God!”

Psalm 40:17

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