Archive for November, 2011

Thanksgiving Traditions and Family Bonding

I LOVE simple traditions, and Thanksgiving might be my favorite holiday for this reason.  So I borrowed the following excerpt from an email I received the other day from Keepers of the Faith…

Family traditions are one of the things that strengthen family ties or bond families together. A tradition is one thing that families can look forward to and enjoy together. They create wonderful memories, and are actually a great way to create future family togetherness and happiness within the family framework. Today there are many things which tend to divide families, but good traditions create warm bonds.

Regardless of the past, this is a new season for you and for your children. Give it some thought and prayer and see what you can begin doing this year to make your Thanksgiving a blessed one. Our traditions have changed through the years as is natural, but as grandparents, this is one that has been going on for nearly fifteen years. The grandkids wouldn’t miss it for anything. What do we do? Click here to find out!

One of our traditions is to serve a fancy breakfast (brunch) on Thanksgiving morning, with a white table cloth, candles, china and goblets!  (This was, of course, started by my mom.)  I might not have kept it up, since it is extra work, but my kids all look forward to it so much–partly because it’s such a sweet family time if you’re going to be with a large group for Thanksgiving dinner.

During the breakfast, we all go around the table several times and share something we’re thankful for–and place a kernel of corn in a dish for each item we name.  (Five kernels of corn are placed at each place setting and are to remind us to be thankful that we have more than five kernels of corn to eat!)  We begin and end with traditional Thanksgiving hymns, copied onto half-sheets of paper, with a Scripture reading printed on the back for everyone to read aloud.  It’s one of the highlights of my year! 🙂

Next time…our menu (with recipes)

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Recipe for Chewy Brownies with Fudge-Like Frosting

I’m almost positive that not a day goes by that I don’t think about my mom, who passed away almost 15 years ago.  But I especially think about her during the holidays, since she made such a big deal out of them!

So here is her recipe for brownies, which never fail to get rave reviews like, “This is the best brownie I’ve ever had!”

BROWNIES

1 ½ sticks butter
3 squares unsweetened baking chocolate
2 cups sugar
3 eggs, beaten
2 t. vanilla
Dash salt
1 cup flour

Melt butter and chocolate in large saucepan, stirring constantly (to keep chocolate from burning).  Remove from heat and stir in sugar, eggs, vanilla and salt, and then flour.  Spread in a 9×13 greased pan.  Bake at 350 degrees for 20-25 minutes.  (The brownies should still feel soft when you take them out!)

FROSTING

Melt ½ stick butter and 2 squares of unsweetened baking chocolate in large saucepan.  Remove from heat, and beat in (with mixer) 2 cups powdered sugar, 1 t. vanilla, and enough milk to make it glossy and spreadable.  QUICKLY spread frosting onto cooled brownies, and when it cools, it will be like fudge!

Simplicity, Clothes and Aprons

I just made a new denim skirt for myself because my current one is getting very faded and worn-looking.  This has gotten me thinking about my fall & winter season, at-home wardrobe, which I love because it is so simple!

For several years now, I’ve had a rule that I only buy what will go with black shoes and nylons.  So almost every day (remember, I stay at home), I wear a dark skirt, a turtleneck (I have lots of colors—although white is my favorite), and a full-length (full-body) apron—the old-fashioned kind.  Even my hair clips and headbands are black, since I’m always wearing black shoes!

It is so simple, AND I get to pretend I’m old-fashioned!  I’m sure everyone who comes to my door thinks I’m crazy, but I don’t care!  My next project needs to be another apron, because I go through them pretty quickly, and my November/Thanksgiving apron is beginning to fall apart!

Here’s an apron pattern I used a few years ago, and I loved it so much, I wore it out!

And below is the pattern I’d like to use to make aprons for my two daughters…

Adoption – Hard (Maybe), But Not Joyless

Our sermon on Sunday (and my subsequent post about it) made me think about adoption, and I’d like to encourage any of you who might be thinking about it to take the first step.  It’s a great way to “tend to things temporary with a mind on things eternal.”

For those of you who didn’t know, we adopted two of our seven children.  (And I bet you can’t tell which two from the picture…it’s the girl holding the boy–and the boy.)

Here’s a link to an article about adoption; I got it from a friend’s blog, Abilgail’s Leftovers.  Here’s an excerpt…

If you want your “dream baby,” do not adopt or foster a child: buy a cat and make-believe. Adopting an orphan isn’t ordering a consumer item or buying a pet. Such a mindset hurts the child, and countless other children and families. Adoption is about taking on risk as cross-bearing love…

Children are alive. Children are persons, with individuality that can’t ultimately be suppressed. Children, of all sorts, are, by definition, unpredictable. Children shatter your life-plan. Adoption certainly does.

It’s worth it…

If what you like is the idea of a baby who fulfills your needs and meets your expectations, just buy a cat. Decorate the nursery, if you’d like. Dress it up in pink or blue, and take pictures. And be sure to have it declawed.

BUT…if you want a challenge that also helps another soul in need, spreads the gospel, shows the love of Jesus, makes you trust God more, teaches you about yourself, AND GIVES YOU JOY, then adopt!  God will not give you more than you can handle.

“My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.”
2 Corinthians 12:9


The Results of Our Family Recording Session – John 14:2-3

Our family loves to sing together, and last week we recorded a Fighter Verse Song  we’ve been working on.  (I am SO HAPPY we now have a tenor in our family; we have a choir!)

It’s going to be tweaked a little more (mostly to hear the kids more than me), but it had to go online today because it’s our church’s verse this week.  Scott joins us the second time through.  THANK YOU to everyone who helped us with this!

Here is John 14:2-3…

“Hard Does Not Equal Joyless” and other inspiring quotes


“Hard Does Not Equal Joyless.”  

This is a quote from our sermon this morning, which I thought was very inspiring!

John Piper said that “nothing hard is done in vain” and that every “hard” thing found in John 12:20-26 also has a corresponding “glory.”

See if this doesn’t inspire you:

The seed DIES (it’s hard to die)… The seed BEARS MUCH FRUIT

We are to HATE our lives in this world…we get to KEEP our lives for eternity (not a bad deal)

We are to FOLLOW Jesus to Calvary/death… We are WITH HIM wherever He is (very comforting)

We are to become SERVANTS… Servants are HONORED by the FATHER.

In Pastor John’s opening prayer, he said something like, “Awaken in us a profound willingness to be dead.”  He also said, “There’s no such thing as ultimate self-denial in the Bible.”  Denying ourselves in this world means we love ourselves, because we’re thinking about eternity.

Doesn’t this inspire you to do something hard?  Something that the world would call crazy?

(This reminds me that when I was pregnant with our fourth child, a mother of four said to me, “Having four is REALLY HARD.”  Little did she know, I find joy in a God-given challenge, so now I have seven!)

“Children Thrive on Joy”

Here’s something I need to remind myself of A LOT!  I read the following in a book a long time ago, and copied it into my Prayer Notebook:

“Children thrive on JOY.  They will do anything for someone WHO ENJOYS THEM…Let your child look into your FACE and see someone DELIGHTING IN THEIR PRESENCE…SMILE your child into obedience…You won’t have to drive them if you give them SOMETHING WORTH FOLLOWING.”   (Emphasis mine)

Wow!  Wouldn’t it be nice if I could be like this all the time?  This scenario sounds SO NICE, but it is SO HARD to achieve!  In fact, I can only achieve it by putting things in the proper perspective:  MY agenda is not as important as GOD’S agenda.  In other words, I can only enjoy my children if I don’t see them as stumbling blocks to finishing my To Do List!  (And my To Do List is filled with mostly child-related items!  How’s that for irony?):) happy