April 30, 2012

Crock Pot Enchiladas

I needed a dish for fellowship on Sunday.  Last week I asked Dawn what I should make and she said enchiladas.  But I couldn't figure out how to keep them warm.  So I googled crock pot enchiladas and came up with this recipe.  Which was oh so easy.  And oh so good.

I knew Saturday would be busy so I threw it together on Friday evening and put the crock pot in the fridge.  Sunday morning I took it out and let it come to room temperature while I was getting ready for church.  Then when we arrived at the meeting I plugged it up.  By the time the preaching was done (about two hours for service) lunch was bubbling away. This dish was a huge hit and I received requests for the recipe and returned home with an empty pot.

Notes:  I intended to serve it with sour cream and jalapenos to top it, but I left them sitting in the fridge at home.  I still think that would be a nice addition.  We are not salt eaters at all and I thought it was a little salty tasting.  Probably from the canned soups.  I would look for low sodium substitutes next time I make it.  I think this would be very good with chicken or pulled pork, also.  I doubled the recipe to fill my crock pot to the top.

1 pound lean ground beef
10 (6 inch) corn tortillas, quartered
1 (1 ounce) package taco seasoning mix (I used my home made taco seasoning)
1 1/4 cups water
1 (12 ounce) jar chunky salsa
1 (10.75 ounce) can condensed cream of mushroom soup
1 (10.75 ounce) can condensed cream of chicken soup
4 cups shredded Mexican cheese blend

1.  Crumble the ground beef into a skillet over medium-high heat. Cook and stir until evenly browned.
2.  Add taco seasoning and water; simmer for 15 minutes over low heat.
3.  In a medium bowl, stir together the salsa, cream of mushroom soup and cream of chicken soup. Mix in most of the cheese, reserving 3/4 cup for later.
4.  Place a layer of tortillas covering the bottom of a slow cooker. Scoop a layer of the ground beef over that, and then spoon a layer of the cheese mixture. Repeat the layers until you run out of stuff, ending with a layer of tortillas on the top.
5.  Top with remaining cheese.
6.  Cover, and cook on High for 45 minutes to 1 hour.

April 28, 2012

A Special Message and Call to Worship

No church home to visit today?  Stuck at home sick?  Wondering what it is those Christians do, anyway?  Join us in worship via live stream.  I have it on good authority there is a special message in the works for our evening study.  Follow the steps to check it out.

I enjoy hearing from those who take part in the live stream viewing.  I find it thrilling to discuss various viewpoints.  I welcome emails and comments from readers who wish to share their thoughts on the messages or politely debate different Biblical truths.  While I do not require you to agree with my opinions or those of our church, I do require you to state your position in the kind and loving manner befitting a Christian.  

In the post Romans 14:19 I have clearly laid out the purpose of this blog and the requirements for any correspondence from readers.  This blog is to be a place of edifying and exhortation.  I will not accept any comments or email intended to be argumentative or that shows unkindness. As with the very hateful comment I received this week, I will delete your comment.  

Furthermore, I have tried to keep this blog as open as possible so as to allow for free discussion and the sharing of minds and hearts.  I can not allow the work to be hindered by making this a place of ugliness.  I will not allow my family to be upset by hateful comments such as we received this week.  Additionally, you know who I am and it is only polite to identify yourself when leaving a comment.  I consider it nothing but cowardice to hide behind anonymity when leaving venomous comments.   Therefor from this point on this blog will be set only to receive comments from registered readers.  

One more thing to consider, this post is put up each Sunday as a service to those who want to grow closer to the Lord or enrich their spiritual life.  If you do not like what you hear, you merely need to hit that red "X" in the top right hand corner of your screen.


Sunday April 29, 2012
10:00 AM
No Evening Service

1.  Go here and click on the Live Stream tab.
3.  Click on the play arrow in the middle of the video box.  They usually have the live streaming up a few minutes before service starts.  If it isn't up when you open the page click on the arrow in a few more minutes.
4.  You can click the 4 arrows in the bottom right hand corner of the viewing window to make the picture full screen.  To return to the viewing box size, tap your computers ESCAPE key.

If you would like to learn more about VBC you can visit our website here and Facebook page here.

I'd love for you to leave a comment and let me know that you were here today.  Leave your questions and contact info and I will get back to you.  Or, as always, if you prefer a private discussion, click my email button on the side bar.

April 26, 2012

Weekly Whereabouts

Do you ever get to the end of a week and wonder what did you do?  This is one of those for me.  I know that I have been keeping active the whole time but I am sitting here thinking what did I do?  We thought we should update Pa on our whereabouts in his absence.

Monday was the tired day.  So much so, after playing dress up with Ellie in the afternoon I almost walked out of the house in this beautiful feathered tiara.  I knew there was a good reason we keep that mirror near the front door.

 And then there was four hours at the dentist on Tuesday.  While the kids cycled through their turns, I was able to slip out and drop Brianna off to help with a computer issue at church.  Emma went to babysit for a friend and she and I had a cup of coffee and some good talk on what the Lord has been doing.
We had a number of errands to do.  Including shopping for lamps in their new bedroom.  I am in love with their final choice.  Ignore the mess.  While we are working on redecorating, Allen is working on remodeling with new floors, trim and wainscot.
Shopping makes me tired and the kids hungry.
After lunch it was off to shop for a new handbag.  I love taking my boys for errands like this.  Most men would be bored to tears.  Not the brothers of five sisters.  They love to look and feel and help choose a good bag.  Ditto to shoes, clothes or any other thing we ladies may be shopping for.  The other week one of the girls got  a new pair of sandals from shoes.com.  All the boys ran to see them and comment on how nice they were.  Oh, one day I hope those skills will pay off in dividends with lovely daughters in law.
After shopping, and the dentist and a very long Monday, we didn't want to do anymore than collapse when we got home.  While the boys happily played outdoors, the girls and I spent two hours discussing a number of spiritual topics from our Sunday evening meeting. We solved all the problems of the church and the world, except no one took notes.  

The kids took turns sleeping in the closet.  A little weird, I know.  Since my big girls were little the kids have always camped out in my room when Allen travels.  They really look forward to this now and it makes it a little less bad that Pa is away.  They have long since outgrown the point where they can all fit in my bed.  They drag down comforters, mattresses and the couch cushions into my bedroom and set up an encampment.  But these days, there isn't even enough floor space to go around.  The other night they emptied the closets and made tents over the doors and clothes rods.  This was so cool that instead of calling dibs on who will sleep in the bed, they called dibs on who gets to sleep in the closet.  Elisabeth kept insisting she wanted the door closed so she could use her flashlight.  I wasn't comfortable with that so I told her she had to keep it cracked.  Then, when she had fallen asleep, we opened the door all the way.  Good thing!  After making such a big deal out of being able to sleep in the closet by herself, she woke up in the middle of the night screaming, "I don't want to sleep in the closet by myself."  ☺

Samuel brought me this lovely buttercup.
 The boat the boys made.   They asked me to call Captain Sonny and find out the name of his boat but when I told them later, they named it the Key Lime instead.
 Notice it is a sail boat?  But they added a motor just in case.  ☺
We also made several batches of chex mix for the men's meeting at church.  We haven't made this in forever.  Brother Dave requested something salty and I think this fit the bill.  The girls mentioned we should make a little extra for us.  We used old bay on one batch and dry ranch dressing on another.  After the kids went o bed we proceeded to eat an enormous amount of the leftovers.  Which I don't really recommend.  We were all dying of thirst when we woke up this morning and I can't get enough water to kill it.

Carmella and I fell asleep during a movie in girl time.  As tired as I was, it was tough to put her down to bed with her being so warm and snuggly.
Ellie and I played dolls with Carmella.  Isn't it funny how Winnie looks like a doll herself sitting there?
Oh, it wasn't all fun and games.  I am a responsible Mama.  We had school and cleaned the house in there, too.  I just didn't take pictures.  

April 25, 2012

Goings On

I know it has been too long since I posted when I open my computer, see a post and say to myself, "Is that still here?"  And that is just what happened when I opened my laptop to send an email this morning.  Yikes!  With Thursday just around the corner it seemed like a good time for a mom update.  

April has been a very full month for our family.  I have started many posts for the family journal, but haven't finished one all month!  I was almost finished putting up pictures about our super fun trip to Ohio, when blogger lost all my work.  I was a little irritated about that.  

Here is a brief photographic proof that I am not dead, even if my blog seems to imply otherwise.  
Four days of work and play with Dawn.  Hopefully, a  post will come, eventually.

Working with a group from our church family to visit 10,000 homes in our community each Saturday of the month.  

A super fun and posh (thank you girls) luncheon with friends for Easter.

Planting, weeding, transplanting, replanting flower beds and vegetable garden.  An unusual drought has also left us with the daily chore of watering. 

Visiting with friends.  I know it looks like Elisabeth is choking for little M, but I swear she was trying to hug her.  Ellie thinks everyone should like hugs as much as she does.

School.  The kids are loving joining Brianna in her Chemistry classes.

Morning tea parties and Bible study with Samuel and Elisabeth

Enjoying the very short season of blooming trees.  Note Ellie is wearing her coat.  Weather has been bizarre here all year.  One day it is in the high 80's and the next we are wearing coats.  This particular evening we had to bundle up to take our nightly walk and play a game of croquet.

And speaking of croquet... We spent a ton of time looking for Ellie's Rapunzel doll the week before Easter.  I finally gave up, fearing it had been left somewhere to be lost forever.  We had a little friend over for Easter who was playing in Ellie's room and found her.  I have no idea where because we searched high and low.  Anyway, we were out in the yard while the kids were hunting Easter eggs when I looked up and caught sight of something laying in the wicket.  After squinting a bit I realized it was our long lost Rapunzel.   When asked where she had found the doll and why she was in the wicket all McKenna could say was, "She was in the doll bed (where I had looked numerous times) and she put her in the wicket because it looked like a good bed for the Princess.  Next time we are looking for something, I am saving my energy and calling Kenna to come for dinner.   

Ellie was gifted a book of Princess recipes.  One Friday we spent the afternoon making this delightful pink lemon cake, topped with a tiara. 
Actually, in the beginning she decided to top it with this  tiny little doll tiara.   The girls convinced her she might want to go with a slightly larger one.

There was an afternoon hike with the kids.  

And playing dress up with Ellie.  Elisabeth LOVES scarves.  And right now she is really into kerchiefs, too.  We have a friend who wears a head covering to church and when Ellie sees a kerchief now she puts it on her head and says, "I am going to be Mrs. Schmidt and you be... fill in the blank with any princess.  The other day I was Mrs. Schmidt...
And Carmella was a bride.

Aedan celebrated his ninth birthday, which I hope to eventually post about.

And last, but not least, there is Sam's birthday quilt.  Which I hope to have finished by June 11th.  Although, the verdict is still out on that one.   I am completely crazy in love with his fabric choices.  It looks like I have another artist on my hands.

And by the way, Tony and Carrie, I got your email with the boys new beds and really have wanted to get back to you to say, how adorable is that???  It is consistently amusing to us Wachters how everything they do seems to be as polar opposite as their personalities.  ☺  Thanks for taking the time to keep us updated on their precious happenings.  We miss you all and hope to see you when time permits.

And what about the rest of you?  What have you been up to this spring?

A Little Help From My Friend...

... Jesus.

Last week I read a thought provoking post at my friend, Darcie's blog.  She shared a beautiful picture of the space shuttle getting a lift from a NASA plane.  She used this to illustrate how even the strongest among us need a little lift sometimes.

With some people it is often easy to see when they need help.  And some people have no trouble asking for help.  Some people are the people we can regularly go to for help.  Some people we know we can not count on.  And some people won't ever ask, no matter how much they need it.

In my pre-married years, I got used to relying just on myself.  For that, I am grateful.  I think it has made me a stronger person than I would have been if I had been able to lean on others.  But being a strong person has its down side.  One being people think you never need help because they are accustomed to you being the helper.  Another being it is hard to burden others when you know all that is going on in their lives.  This is not the same as people who are too proud to admit their humanness and ask for help.  What I am speaking of here is desire not to add to the day to day burden of others.

And then there is this.  When I need help, I usually don't know what to ask for.  I am used to knowing what to do, when to do it and how to do it.  If I am going to bother someone for help, I want to have some idea what to ask for.  And when I get to the point of needing help its because I don't know what to do.  An interesting paradox that can be incredibly frustrating when I get to that corner.

All that being said, when I read Darcie's post I thought, "Yes, we all need help.  But for those who struggle with seeking help, we need to observe and seek out the strong ones among us and watch for opportunities to minister to those who seem to not need it."

I read it, pondered it, commented on it and then jumped into a very full weekend and forgot about it.  But it wasn't long before the Lord would use this simple illustration in my life.

As I said, the weekend was a full one.  We have been part of an outreach this month to reach 10,000 homes in our community.  The two hours allotted comes and goes each week long before we finish.  Which is fine.  It is a blessing to be sharing the message with the world.  However, by the time we get back home mid afternoon, our only day for chores and rest and family time is gone.  This Saturday was particularly tiring because we popped back home for an hour or so and then popped back out to celebrate our friend's birthday.  It was nearly 10:30 Saturday night before our kids were even in bed.  Sundays are never restful with two services it is a challenge just to get the family fed and have time to do our family devotions and personal time with the Lord.  This Sunday was no exception and more so since, with Saturday full, we had to get Allen ready to travel.

And then Sunday night was a sleepless night.  That's what happens when my hubby is traveling.  And it happens to be the night before finals.  And it just so happens to be the night before my brother leaves to do mission work in Botswana.  (That's in Africa, in case you didn't know.)  Oh, and that's what happens when you realize, after waking from a nightmare, in the middle of the night, that you made a mistake and it affects the main dish for dinner to 20 or more people that night.  It was a long and painfully sleepless night.

I really wanted to get up with Allen and see him off for his week in Dallas, but I was kind of relieved when he encouraged me to stay in bed and catch up on the missed hours.  I rolled over and curled up under the comforter (it was only 35 degrees here) and contemplated the likelihood of me going to sleep.  Long time readers and real life friends know we have a very small home for ten people and you see every light and hear every sound from just about anywhere on the main floor.  My thoughtful hubby went to the basement bathroom to shave and dress so it would be quiet.

Then there was a knock at the door.

I knew who it was and I also knew Allen couldn't hear the knock from the basement.  But I wasn't dressed so I was not about to open the door to the stranger and our young friend who were due to arrive with Frank.  But it was pouring down rain.  So how could I continue to lie in my nice warm bed while they were on the front porch?  I debated for several minutes wondering how long it would take Allen to get upstairs and why on earth didn't my brother let himself in.  (He has a key and knows the electronic code.)  Frank didn't come in nor did Allen come up.  I considered how to get to Allen so he could get the door, but I have to walk by the front door and big picture window to get to the basement.  I even thought about calling his cell phone but figured it wasn't turned on yet this early in the morning.  Of course,  just as I started digging around in the dark for some clothes, I heard my Allen come upstairs and noticed the light come on down the hall.  Grateful to be spared the indignity of opening the door before putting on my face, I flopped back on the pillows.

Only, he didn't answer the door.  He came back to say goodbye to me.   I pointed out he may want to let his car pool buddies in out of the rain.  He did.  We said goodbye.  I curled up, again.  Except, the third fellow hadn't arrived yet, so the three men stood around the living room chatting about how to fit all the luggage in Allen's car.  *Eye's rolling*  Only a group of men could make it such a big deal, right?  Finally, I conceded there was no way I was going back to sleep and decided to get ready for the day and have my quiet time and maybe some time to study for my test before I got the kids up.  Yeah, right.  I don't know who I was kidding.

No sooner did my feet hit the floor, I heard the baby crying.  She never wakes up before 8 am.  However, Carmella's nursery is right off the living room and I guess the lights and people standing outside her door woke her up.  Mind you, I have not even brushed my teeth but on went the yoga pants and off I went to fetch her.

As the men continued to wait for the last gentlemen who was to ride with them, every one of my kids got out of bed.  Did I mention it was not yet 5:30 in the morning?  I knew for certain it would be a long day.

The girls and I settled down to do our Bible study and Carmella sat on the floor playing.  Now fully awake, I was juggling the problems of the day.

1- Do I cook the meal for class since I confused matters or impose on someone else?  I had no groceries in the house so that would mean a wrench in the entire schedule for the day and I was really thinking my family needed my undivided attention for the day.

2- A four hour family dental appointment on Tuesday and a change of plans for Brianna's Tuesday morning ride had left me with a logistical dilemma to solve.  This would be most easily handled by her going to class on Monday night with me and taking her final then instead of trying to get her to class on Tuesday morning.  (However class swapping is frowned upon and we didn't really want to ask for an exception to the policy if we could find another way around it).

As I sat there debating what to do the rain turned to snow.  Usually, I love snow, but quite frankly, it was a discouraging sight as I thought of the ten boxwoods sitting outside waiting to get in the ground.

Add to that one hour of sleep and it just wasn't a great kick off to Monday morning or a week as a single mom.  If I had been rested, I may have easily arrived at the solutions to both issues and set the kids to work on school since they were milling about.  However, my mind was too foggy to focus and I was feeling more than a little emotional about my hubby being away, again.

I arrived at what seemed like a good solution.  Sunday morning another lady from class had offered help with the meal.  I text her and explained the situation and asked if she could provide the main course.  Her answer made it clear that it would be an intrusion into her day.  For someone who doesn't  like to ask for help in the first place, it was a huge discouragement.  I mean, when you actually ask and someone makes it clear you are imposing.

So then I toyed with calling on the lady who I thought was supposed to provide dinner.  She didn't know because she was out last week and I had failed to notify her.  To complicate matters, I wasn't one hundred percent certain someone else wasn't on the list because I didn't have it with me.  I take full blame for the confusion.  I did not want to burden her at the last minute because she has a lot on her plate right now and I knew she would do it no matter how much of a trouble it was.  And someone else might have been bringing a main dish.   There is another friend who might have known who was signed up but I didn't want to bother her because she would feel responsible for doing it and I didn't want to impose on her.  Do you get the picture?   It is such a struggle debating when it is appropriate to bother someone else and when it is best to suck it up and do it myself.  It was a terrible turmoil for me that morning, even though it should have been a non-issue.

In the meantime, we tripped a breaker and could not get the power back on.  As I was flipping breakers (all of them... none of which worked) and we were trying to track down the correct one, I debated calling on our neighbor for help.  I know he would have come in a breath without thinking twice about it.  But who wants to drag someone out of their nice warm home on a cold raining morning for something so basic I should have been able to do it myself?

And that is where I was.  More confused and frustrated than was really reasonable but unable to do anything about it.  Have you ever been there?

Enter my best friend and helper, Jesus.

Allen sent me a text.

Attached was a picture.

The note said he was sitting on the runway at Dulles and look what he saw.  Normally, that photo would not have meant anything to me.  I would have sent him a message back saying something along the lines of what is it???   But just as the Lord prepared a fish and a gourd for Jonah, He had known this morning was coming. And he had been making preparations for me.

Aha.  I see, El Roi, my LORD who sees.  I see it so clear.  You want to give me a piggy back ride today.

A friend sent me a text and said she was praying for me.

I had a text from my memory verse buddy and let her know my day needed some prayer.

A third friend text me about something else and asked how I was doing and I told her I hadn't had much sleep and had finals that night.  She said she would be praying for me to be clear and focused.

And I had another text from a friend on a different topic who wanted me to know she had me on her heart for prayers that day.

I "suddenly" remembered a roast I had in the freezer.  We popped it in the crock pot.  It was a hit at class and my girls said they thought it was the best crock pot roast we had ever made.

I asked another friend to bring the noodles to go with the meat.

And another friend offered to bring green beans.

We got permission for Brianna to attend the Monday night class.

And we commenced with a day of lessons.

Exams went better than any I have ever taken.

And I didn't get the usual migraine and nausea that follow a sleepless night.

Allen arrived safely.

Frank arrived safely.

And all is was well in my world.

Once I remembered I had a lift.

April 22, 2012

Come To Worship

No church home to visit today?  Stuck at home sick?  Wondering what it is those Christians do, anyway?  Join us in worship via live stream.  I have it on good authority there is a special message in the works for our evening study.  Follow the steps to check it out.
Sunday April 22, 2012
10:30 AM
Evening Service  5:00 PM

1.  Go here and click on the Live Stream tab.
3.  Click on the play arrow in the middle of the video box.  They usually have the live streaming up a few minutes before service starts.  If it isn't up when you open the page click on the arrow in a few more minutes.
4.  You can click the 4 arrows in the bottom right hand corner of the viewing window to make the picture full screen.  To return to the viewing box size, tap your computers ESCAPE key.

If you would like to learn more about VBC you can visit our website here and Facebook page here.

I'd love for you to leave a comment and let me know that you were here today.  Leave your questions and contact info and I will get back to you.  Or, as always, if you prefer a private discussion, click my email button on the side bar.

April 19, 2012

Happy 9th Birthday, Aedan!

How very pathetic that this post is just now getting finished when Aedan's birthday was way back in April!  What's worse is that it was all but done before his birthday.  I was just waiting to upload the photos to publish it.  But you all know my favorite saying, "Better late than never!"

Oh, my word!  How can our Aedan be nine?  It was a day much like today, cold and raining, that he came into our world.  It seems like just yesterday, even though we have been blessed with his little brother and two sisters in that time.

With finals and a host of ministering opportunities going on right now, I assigned Herman, Herman and Emma, the un-party planners, to the task of making a special day for our little fellow.  We couldn't quite come up with a theme to get started.  Then Kaitlin hit upon a robot cake in Family Fun magazine and it really took off.

Aedan is usually the only one up with me in the morning.  I am completely amazed that the kids managed to get up and actually catch him sleeping this morning.

This cherry tree has always bloomed on his birthday.  We call it Aedan's tree.  We took a picture of the family with it in full bloom on the Easter morning we brought him home from the hospital.  Aedan was really bummed out that it bloomed three weeks earlier this year.  His spirits were boosted that there were still some blossoms left for today.
Aedan told the girls they could surprise him with the theme for his celebration.  They found some great robot ideas and ran with it.
As is our favorite birthday tradition, here are our family blessings for this little bit of sunshine God gave to us nine years ago.
Winnie: He reads to me. :)
The girls are rubbing off on the boys.  Nathaniel wrapped his package and decorated it to go with their decor.

Ellie: He's so cheerful.

You are always obedient for those in authority. Matthew 7:24

You have a beautiful heart that wants to serve and follow the narrow path. Always keep Jesus as your foundation. Love, Näna
I found a fun kit to make our own robot.  It took us a while but we got it together and the kids chased it around for a good part of the morning.

You are always exhorting others to grow. Hebrews 3:13, "...Exhort one another daily..."~Emma
These chocolate covered marshmallows were too cute to pass up.

He shares. Proverbs3:28 -Sam
I think this cake idea came from Family Fun magazine.  It set the tone for the whole party.

Aedan is always going out of his way to be helpful, and constantly giving of his time."God loveth a cheerful giver." II Cor. 9:7
In addition to playing cards, pinning various parts on robots and photography lessons with Brianna, Aedan celebrated with a number of robot themed party games.

Aedan I praise you for the way you allow the leading of God to direct you life.  Your willingness to put in the time and energy  into learning and studying the Word is an inspiration to us all.  Even more impressive is the effort which you put into helping your younger brother in his study.   It is truly a delight to witness your growth.  "May the Lord bless you and keep and make his face shine upon thee, and be gracious unto thee; and give thee peace all the days of thy life." (Numbers 6:24-26)-Pa
Part decoration and part lunch, the kids made these robot juice boxes.

Psalm 139:17"How precious also are they thought unto me, O God! How great is the sum of them!"Aedan truly treats the Lord's word as something more precious than anything else. His devotion to reading, studying and memorizing it is an example to all of us. And his love for the Word pays off as I see it growing and changing him. It is truly making him a wise man as he quietly points us to Scripture to fit most situations our family encounters. ♥ Mama
For the food... because you knew there had to be food... Aedan chose lox and bagels for breakfast.  Isn't that a favorite for all nine year old boys?

Lunch was baked macaroni and cheese with raw veggies and hummus
Dinner?  Steak, potatoes, asparagus and Caesar salad, with anchovies.
Beautiful boy, you are such a blessing to us and everyone who crosses your path.  Your cheerful heart that loves the Lord and desires to honour Him in all you do are a challenge to your family and the world.  Thank you, Lord Jesus, for giving this son and brother to us.
But the path of the just is as the shining light, that shineth more and more unto the perfect day.  Proverbs 4:18

April 18, 2012

Spirit Wind ~Casting Crowns

I have been so struggling with the laid back, apathetic, unconcerned attitude of most Christians.  Not long ago, I asked a friend of mine how she was doing.  She said, "Busy."  And that seems to be the standard answer I get.  But really, what kind of answer is that?

For one thing, we are supposed to be BUSY!  That is what we are here for.  If we aren't busy we might as well be dead.  And really, we are so busy God's people are at a stand still.  What exactly are we busy doing?   Because mostly what I hear is, "I am too busy to find time for Bible study... I am too busy to properly train my children... I am too busy to spend time with my family... I am too busy to be the wife God wants me to be... I am too busy for outreach...I am too busy to minister to others...I am too busy to come to church once in a while...I am too busy to disciple someone...And the list goes on and on.  

But somehow we find time for all our own needs, wants and desires.  Just look at food.  I look around and see a bunch of overweight people.  So one can assume we manage to find plenty of time to shop, cook and eat. Job said, "Neither have I gone back from the commandment of his lips; I have esteemed the words of his mouth more than my necessary food." (Job 23:12).  Listening to conversations around me we obviously find time to surf the web, watch television/videos, read novels and play video games.  We find time to tend to our cars, pets and houses.  We find time for shopping and acquiring stuff.  We find time to socialize and criticize.  Again, the list could go on and on.

But when do we find time for the things of the Lord?  I've got news, dear reader.  That's what we are here for.

I for one am frustrated.  I am frustrated at those who come for advice.  The first thing I always ask is how is your time with the Lord.  And more often than not the response is something along the lines of not having time to read the Bible... not having time to pray... not having time to come to Bible study... not having time to come to church.... Well, duh!  Why do you think your life is constantly derailed?  As a professed Christian, do you really think you will get anywhere if you are not getting God's fuel on a regular basis?  How far would your car go without gas?  How long can your body go without food?  Yet, we go day in and day out without fueling our soul.

If you are too busy for the Word and worship than you have no business doing anything.  It's that simple.  I don't want to hear about your job, house, kids or other responsibilities.  Because for one thing, the rest of us have them, too.  And guess what, if you are doing what the Lord wants you to do, He will give you the time to do it.  I don't want to play up what I do.  But guess what... I have a few responsibilities and yet I manage to find time to work on my relationship with the Lord, actively reach out to the lost and the brethren, show up for worship once in a while and minister in whatever capacity the Lord gives me.  You could, too.  If you wanted to.  If you put aside the things that aren't in His will.  And guess what.  You will be happier.  You will be less tired.  You will be more satisfied.  You will be less frustrated.  You will grow.  You will flourish.  Your family will grow and flourish.  It's really that simple.

I, for one, am sick of Christians who spend an exorbitant amount of time going on about what we should wear, read and watch.  We go on about where we should go, what we should do and who we should do it with.  We go on and on about our ideals, but never get around to doing anything for the Lord.  Just stop talking and get up and do something.  So you may be dressed just right and you may be listening to just the right music.  You may even show up for every church service and volunteer for every church function.  And suppose you even study your Bible daily and squeeze in some prayer.  But when was the last time you shared the Gospel message with someone?  When was the last time you sat down with a sister and opened the Bible and helped her learn something?  When was the last time you baked some cookies and reached out to a lost neighbor?  Guess what.  This business of learning and taking it in is for the purpose of sending it back out.  If you are doing all that and keeping it to yourself, you are as bad as the busy people.  You might as well be dead.  I for one will take anyone ready to get busy and wearing blue jeans over most of the Christians I see sitting in our churches these days.  What good are all our ideals if all we do with them is sit around edifying ourselves?

Last week I had a talk with a woman I have been working with for two years.  We discussed how for two years she has told me she doesn't have time for Bible study or prayer.  She wants a better relationship with the Lord but isn't willing to put the time into it.  And when I pointed out all the things she allows to distract her she was not willing to give any of them up.  I have known this lady since she was a teenager, when she gave her life to the Lord.  Ten years later she ought to be discipling other young ladies, like my daughters.  But she can't.  Because she has not grown any in her relationship with the Lord.  And guess what.  She has young daughters.  If she is not teaching the young ladies of today, who is going to teach her young ladies tomorrow?  Oh, that frustrates me!

When I was a young Christian I was blessed with a friend who discipled me and help me get started on a journey to a rich relationship with the Lord.  I felt like I knew nothing and would always be ignorant compared to my big brothers and sisters.  And, if you think about it, that's how it should be.  We should all be constantly learning and growing and getting stronger so that our "little" brothers and sisters can not catch up to us.  But, sadly, I look around and find that 13 years later, the people I looked up to are in the same place they were when we met.  They are spinning their wheels and going no where.   So, who do I go to for advice?  Who can I have a heart to heart discussion with?  With whom can I discuss what the Lord has been doing in my life?  That frustrates me.  

Allen shared this song with me Monday night.  It really spoke to my heart.  It sums up exactly where I am at this time.  But the beauty is, there is hope.  Are you the Christian I have described?  Then remember Ezekiel's valley.  Get up.  Ask the Lord for forgiveness and strength and guidance.  Then get busy!

Ezekiel stared down into the valley
Filled with dry bones baking in the sun
Remains that used to be a mighty army
To him it looked like their fighting days were done

But driven by a calling on his life
He spoke Gods words the bones began to shake
He stared wide-eyed as the flesh began to form
And as he prophesied to the wind
The soldiers began to wake

And the Lord sent His wind into the valley
And breathed the breath of life into their souls
And raised them again a mighty army
For soon these arisen warriors will battle again
For they have been filled with the Spirit Wind
Woah woah woah...

A pastor stands before his congregation
Once a mighty army for the Lord
But now he stares into the lifeless eyes
Believers leading carnal lives
He wonders what theyre fighting for
But driven by a calling on his life
He spoke Gods word like hed done a hundred times before
But this time he comes broken and weeping
With tears of a broken heart
And he cries out to the Lord

Oh Lord send Your wind into this valley
And breathe the breath of life into their souls
And raise them again a mighty army
For soon these arisen warriors will battle again
For they have been filled with the Spirit Wind
Woah woah woah...

Holy Spirit breathe on me
Breathe Your life in me


Oh Lord send Your wind into this valley
And breathe the breath of life into our souls
And raise us again a mighty army
For soon these arisen warriors will battle again
For we have been filled with the Spirit Wind
Woah woah woah...

Oh Lord we need You now
Breathe Your life into us
Lord we need You now
Our churches and our families
Oh Lord we need You now
Breathe life into this dry and weary land
Raise us up again
I included the lyrics because not everyone will appreciate the music to this song.  But if you enjoy more contemporary Christian music take a listen to the bluesy ballad from Casting Crowns.

April 15, 2012

Come To Worship

No church home to visit today?  Stuck at home sick?  Wondering what it is those Christians do, anyway?  Join us in worship via live stream.  Follow the steps to check it out.
Sunday April 15, 2012
10:30 AM
Evening Service  5:00 PM

1.  Go here and click on the Live Stream tab.
3.  Click on the play arrow in the middle of the video box.  They usually have the live streaming up a few minutes before service starts.  If it isn't up when you open the page click on the arrow in a few more minutes.
4.  You can click the 4 arrows in the bottom right hand corner of the viewing window to make the picture full screen.  To return to the viewing box size, tap your computers ESCAPE key.

If you would like to learn more about VBC you can visit our website here and Facebook page here.

I'd love for you to leave a comment and let me know that you were here today.  Leave your questions and contact info and I will get back to you.  Or, as always, if you prefer a private discussion, click my email button on the side bar.

April 14, 2012


Please be in prayer for a man named Mark.

In the name of our Lord,


April 13, 2012

Pumpkin Muffins


Here is the recipe I promised you.  These are a hit no matter where we take them or who we serve them to.  As you found out, they freeze great and are perfect for a quick breakfast or snack if you just pop it in the microwave for a few seconds.  I have two main recipes I use to make muffins.

This is our not healthy, but quick and easy and much cheaper version.

3 cups sugar
1 cup canola oil
4 eggs
1 teaspoon nutmeg
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 1/2 teaspoon salt
2 cups pumpkin
2/3 cup water
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
3 cups flour
Stir ins- I use a cup each of whatever I have on hand or whatever I am in the mood for nuts, craisins, raisins, dried blueberries, dried raspberries, fresh or frozen blueberries, coconut, chocolate chips (or other baking chip), oatmeal, rolled dates, carob chips... you can not go wrong here.  People love no matter what you toss in there.

Mix all ingredients well.  Bake 20 minutes at 350.  This recipe makes about 4 dozen muffins.  That's one Wachter breakfast with a few leftover for snacks.  You could make a whole batch and take some to work or to a neighbor or to church.  There will definitely be some smiles coming your way.  You could probably cut it in half, although, I have never tried.  ☺

This is the super healthy not guilt about it method.  Of course, this will have less carbs because of the whole wheat flour option.  We like the honey best but because it has become so pricey we use sugar more often than not these days.

3 cups milk, juice or water
1 1/2 cups mashed banana or pumpkin
1 cup honey
1 cup canola oil
3 eggs
3 1/2 cups whole wheat flour
2 Tablespoons baking powder
1 1/2 Tablespoons cinnamon
1 teaspoon nutmeg
1 teaspoon salt
3 1/2 cup stir ins... again you can use any or all of the items listed above.

Mix all ingredients and divide among muffin cups.  Bake at 350 for 15-20 minutes.

April 12, 2012

Kids and Family -Update the following week

Dear Readers, 

As promised, here is another update to encourage you as you seek Him in raising your family. This was the week following the initial post in January.   Stop by tomorrow for a four month update.  

I have to tell you, this email was such a blessing to me on so many levels.  God is good like that.  I was just sharing with a friend of mine how every time I think I am going to give it up here, I get another email like this one to remind me God has a plan and I am just a cog in the works.  I hope you will be uplifted as much as my family and I were.



I have to tell you that I wasn't totally honest with you. I do believe in God, but it is because of you.

You see, I grew up going to church every Sunday growing up, when I was in college, I even taught Sunday school. But I never really got it. I found God again because of your web site. I see how convicted you are and how well behaved your children are, how happy your are, etc., and I started to follow your blog every day. Even reading all your old posts from before I had started to follow your blog. I had gotten away from church. You see I went until I had our third and then it got too hard for me to go on my own. My husband will not go with me. While he believes, he still will not go to church. So I pray that he comes around.

 I grew up Catholic, but don't think that is the right fit for me anymore. So I have tried and been in contact with a few and am excited to try one not too far from us.

It was because of you that I started to pray every morning, read the Bible and pray at night (on my Kindle and now through the website you told me about, I have never owned a real Bible) and listening to Christian music. I cannot tell you what a blessing that has been. Things started to just fall in to place. And the funny thing is I pray  for lots of things. I even keep a list of people that I might hear about or know that are struggling with sickness or hard times and pray for them. When I got pregnant with my fifth baby, Gabe, I was asking God for a sign. A sign or answer to some things I was going through at the time. It was soon after that I found out I was pregnant. I firmly believe that Gabe is a gift from God, here for a reason and meant to be a part of our family. And our little miracle was all the sign I needed.

It has been such a positive change in my life. I don't know if you realize what an inspiration you are, what a voice you have been to me. I thank you for that. You reminded me of what is important and brought me back to it, made Him real again. Thanks from the bottom of my heart.

To answer your question, I am a web designer/graphic artist for a local insurance company. I have been there over 16 years, since I graduated from college. I have to work, you see my husband works for a small company and makes good money but and our health insurance is outrageous. We have multiple kids with asthma, food allergies and ezcema to name a few of our medical woes. So our insurance gets a lot of use and we shell out a ton for premiums, out of pocket, copays and prescriptions.

Like you, we live in a small home for our family size. I am fine with that, but it drives my hubby crazy (he grew up an only child). So that isn't a huge expense.

Sadly, we don't vacation very often, but have been trying to go somewhere every year, even if for a weekend. But we couldn't last year.

I look forward to reading the books you sent. I would gladly repay you.

These last few days have been so happy for us. Everyone is different. We all watched a family movie on Friday night, with popcorn (I even made the 11 year old. She protested watching the movie, but ended up watching it and enjoying it. My 6 year old said quite a few times this was the best night ever. Both my husband and I agreed Friday night is family night, for games, movies, etc.

I have even tried to get a few minutes to myself. Last night I took a bath after the youngest went to bed, but before the older two. I have worked a few other things into the schedule. Asking them to help with dinner, to help make cookies, etc. They have loved it. I also try not to react in anger, but use kind words. It has made all the difference.

Thank you.

Dear J.,

I am attempting to catch up on email and tie up loose ends on my blog.  I don't know how successful I am being but I hope this email is not too late to have any value.  I started it many times over and every time ran out of time to finish it.  But, in a way, I am glad because it has given more time to pass and see how many great things have been happening in your corner since January.

First off, I want you to know how much of a blessing this, and your other emails, have been to me.  God has used you to show us His will and you are good to allow Him to use you for that purpose.

I intend to use your emails (at least in part) in a series this week on my blog.  You may have seen the first this morning.  I believe your words could be a great encouragement to other moms out there who are struggling with their faith, their marriage and raising their children.  If you have an objection to that I am opened to hearing your input, of course.

I appreciate your frankness and honestly in sharing about your walk.  Sometimes, we can not move ahead in our relationship with the Lord because we are too prideful to admit where we are.  Pride is an awful stumbling block.

Also, what churches are you visiting and have you moved any further along in that decision?  It is such a difficult decision but an extremely important one that should not be approached carelessly but rather with great prayer.  I don't know if you know this, but I too grew up Catholic and over time the Lord showed us it was not the place for our family to be.  I do know women who are believers and raising their family in the Catholic church but it is my opinion that they teach too much heresy and that could create great confusion to our children.  Further more, it is so important to be in a place where you can grow in truth.  That will not happen in a place that is teaching things inconsistent with God's word.    

I would like to encourage you in regards to your husband, also.  When my Allen and I were first married he was not a believer.  He would attend church sometimes but didn't really have any interest in the things of the Lord.  This was often a great point of conflict for us.  He was, and is, such a good man.  At any rate, the Bible tells us, and I saw the truth, that as woman if we will live the way God tells us (especially in regards to our relationship with our husbands) and lead our children as He tells us, your husband will come around.  I know I saw this in my own life in the salvation of my husband.  And quite frankly, I don't know how well I did at living the way God told me.  I didn't really even know what that meant back then.  I was just stumbling around in the dark learning as I went.  Yet, God honoured that, and drew my husband to Himself. I have been blessed to watch his Godly example in turn lead each of our sons to living as men of God.

Thank you for your kind words.  As I said, it has been an encouragement to me to watch you progress.  It is such a blessing to hear of the changes God is making in your life.  I praise Him for that and for the gift of your son.  He is faithful that if we look to Him, He will not forsake us.  I have seen this time and again in my life.  Real.  He is, indeed, real.  And He wants to be more real to us with each and every breath we take.  We must only let Him in.

I do understand about insurance, as we too have allergy, asthma and eczema sufferers.  Perhaps some time we can swap ideas.  We can do rather well with controlling asthma, but allergies and eczema seem to have the better of us... especially these days.  There are so many times I can not imagine what we would have done without insurance.  Well, in fact, in the early days of our life together we had no insurance and it was nearly financial ruin for us.  But, God even saw us through that.  I am grateful to know that you have access to insurance and good medical care and that the Lord has given you good care for your children when you must be away from them.  It is not the ideal situation, as you well know, but He will see you through it as you trust Him.

Do you have to travel far to work?  Is there a possibility of working from home, even in part?  (Although, this may not be worth considering since it seems you are working things out well).  

Where do you all like to vacation?  When we were early married we couldn't ever go anywhere.  We just didn't have a penny to spare.  Later, as we followed God's will with our income, I was shocked at how inexplicably the money seemed to be there.  I can not reasonably explain how we support our family except that every month the books balance.  But that is a whole other discussion.  ☺  However, we have come to realize how very important this time is to our family and everyone is willing to sacrifice throughout the year to make it happen.  For example, the kids each contribute a third of their earnings and all their birthday and Christmas money to the vacation fund, I put $100 each month from our grocery budget in the fund (and everyone is happy to eat small meals or leftovers several nights a month for the cause) and certainly we cut corners where we can.  Of course, there are tricks we have found to make traveling with a large family less expensive.  But again, that is a longer topic and I have already rambled on a lot at your expense.  ☺

Well, at the risk of sounding like a broken record, let me again say, thank you for this email and the blessing it was to me and my family.  Also, at the risk of being repetitive, I apologize for my delay in responding.  

Love to you,