The lines have fallen to me in pleasant places; Indeed, my heritage is beautiful to me. ~ Psalm 16:6 nasb

Friday, December 31, 2010

FFG -- Take Refuge

Plans4You

My amazing friend Lori hosts Friday Farm Girls @ Heart every week;
please click on her button to visit her blog
and to find out how you can participate!


My farm girl's heart just aches--along with my back!--this week because I am not able to do all the things I need and want to do.  When I think of this meme each week, I desire to share something I've done, or made, or baked, or accomplished during the week.  But this week, besides some laundry and a few meals, I have not been a woman of accomplishment.

I confess, when I'm healthy I can sit at the computer for hours, and I'm really good at procrastinating; however, I am essentially a doer.  My husband tells me, "Sit and relax with me."  And if we're not engaged in conversation, my mind is making lists--what's for dinner tomorrow night, I need to put garlic powder on the grocery list, do I have the money for the food co-op on Sunday...  My organizer/planner has space along the right-hand side for sticky-note grocery lists and to-do lists.  Sometimes I even add extra sticky notes on dates gone by so that I have room to write my notes!

Many of you have been praying for healing for me, and I humbly and gratefully thank you!  But for right now, the Lord has a better plan for me.  My Bible studies throughout this week have focused on healing, resting in His love, and acknowledging Him in my circumstances.  I continue to keep my focus in those places.  He is my refuge.

But let all who take refuge in You be glad,
Let them ever sing for joy;
And may You shelter them,
That those who love Your name may exult in You.
Psalm 5:11 nasb

How precious is Your lovingkindness, O God!
And the children of men take refuge in the shadow of Your wings.
Psalm 36:7 nasb


Back to life,
Christine

visit my photography blog!
captured by Christine Anne

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Tea Talk--It Will be Healing


Welcome to my home!
Sit and have a cup of tea with me and share a little time of relaxation and encouragement.
To join, click on Ruth's button above.

I'm having...Earl Gray in my Pfaltzgraff teacup (Ocean Breeze pattern).  This is loose tea that I've had for a long time.  I don't know why I haven't enjoyed this tea more recently--it is delicious and hits the spot on this chilly end-of-December day!


I'm feeling...the same as the past several days.  I continue to slowly recover from my fall up the stairs two weeks ago.  Afternoons and evenings are more relaxed, since I have worked out the stiffness by lunch time.  But when I first wake up, I'm so stiff and sore!  I'm trusting the Lord to work His healing in me, unless He has a better plan.  When I see the splendor with which He displays His creation--such as in the frosted trees in the photos below on our drive to the chiropractor this morning--I know without a doubt that He is working in me!



I'm thinking about...the few priority items to do this week--pulling together the rest of the special needs portion of our state homeschool convention (ICHE--Illinois Christian Home Educators) for June 2011; and getting our own homeschool lesson plans in order for the rest of the school year (mostly for Danny who will be graduating next June).  I also have to update my business accounts, and get some house cleaning projects completed.  The first two major items will be done by tomorrow--and I always say "Lord willing!"  :)

I leave you with...verses in Proverbs.  As I ask the Lord to heal me, I realize that He brings healing in various ways.  These verses in Proverbs have to do with healing:

Trust in the LORD with all your heart
And do not lean on your own understanding.
In all your ways acknowledge Him,
And He will make your paths straight.
Do not be wise in your own eyes;
Fear the LORD and turn away from evil.
It will be healing to your body
And refreshment to your bones.
Proverbs 3:5-8 nasb [emphasis mine]

Healing and refreshment come from doing these things:

  • Wholly trust in Him with my situation
  • Don't trust my own understanding of the situation
  • Acknowledge Him in everything I do (or try to do, or even can't do!)
  • Don't think that my wisdom is best
  • Give the Lord my reverent respect
  • Turn away from sinful desires

I'm asking the Lord for strength to do these things.  May you be blessed as you follow Him!!

Back to life,
Christine

visit my photography blog!
captured by Christine Anne

Monday, December 27, 2010

Simply Christmas

Our family went home for Christmas.  Home, because it is where I (mostly) grew up.  Home, because it really is a second home to all of us; it is a haven and a safe place where we can relax and just be ourselves.  This time it was for Christmas!

Christmas morning dawned, beautiful and promising.

The view through my kitchen window.

The gift for our family gift exchange was wrapped and ready.  This year we participated in a puzzle exchange.


What a blessed time we had to be able to focus on each family opening their gift!  No rushing through presents, not being able to see someone open that gift I thoughtfully chose.  Everyone shared in the laughter and mirth.




I had this puzzle made from a photo I took of them tubing last winter.

My (goofy) dad tries on his new bike helmet (a special gift from Mom).

Dad's gift to Mom--an artist's rendition of the church near their vacation home.

Time for our homemade Italian Christmas feast!

Back to life,
Christine

visit my photography blog!
captured by Christine Anne

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Open Heart, Open Home

What a special Christmas weekend!  Since our Christmas was much simpler this year, we wanted to do something special for Christmas Eve.  The Lord blessed us with the funds to purchase a huge turkey--20+ pounds of free-range yumminess!!


When both Fernando and I mentioned having another family over to share in His bounty, one name instantly popped into our minds.  That family said yes, and so we made preparations for the day.

Due to my still-aching  back, my chauffeur--Jacob the sweetheart--drove me on errands, one of which was to the grocery store.  We couldn't resist purchasing these tangerines, since the boys have an Uncle Matt.  How fun!


On Christmas Eve, early morning snowfall greeted my eyes as I came downstairs for a cup of tea.


Soon, our wonderful friends arrived; they greeted us with carols us before coming in to our warm house.  We joined in, singing with them in four-part harmony.  :)


We shared a day of games, laughter, dinner, laughter, dessert, laughter...  You get the idea.  :)










Finally, it is important to make sure that the family driver is well-rested for the nighttime trek home.  So we let him sleep.  But as I've warned in the past, if you fall asleep during normal non-sleep hours (in public, of course!), you will have your photo taken.  Thomas decided to have a little extra fun, and brought all of his singing birds down to keep an eye on the slumbering captain of the car.


As his sister gently nudged him back to consciousness, many hands happily squeezed the birds for a cacophonous wake-up call.  Birdsong and laughter--what a melodious end to the day!

Back to life,
Christine

visit my photography blog!
captured by Christine Anne

Friday, December 24, 2010

FFG -- Merry. 1. Full of cheerfulness...

Plans4You

My amazing friend Lori hosts Friday Farm Girls @ Heart every week;
please click on her button to visit her blog
and to find out how you can participate!


Today, I wish all my friends and family a very Merry Christmas!  I wanted to share a few photos of our home and its decorations...


Merry.  1.  full of cheerfulness or gaiety; joyous in disposition or spirit.


Merry.  2.  laughingly happy; mirthful; festively joyous.


May you have a merry spirit as you celebrate and reflect on the birth of our Savior!


All blessings from my heavenly Father to you and yours!!

Back to life,
Christine

visit my photography blog!
captured by Christine Anne

Saturday, December 18, 2010

WWU--This is My Comfort

Photobucket

Thank you, Mary, for hosting Weekly Wrap-Up!
It's time to reflect back on my week, to store up memories in my heart,
and to acknowledge the Lord's ways in my life.
To participate with us, please click on Mary's button above.


This Weekly Wrap-Up is going to be short and sweet.  Well, short, at least.  I need to get to a couch to give my back a break.  It is really aching now, but oh, how I've missed blogging this week!  The Lord had other plans for my life, however, and I am content in that.  Without further ado...


Home Life

The Lord allowed my back to "go out" on Wednesday morning, to the point I was in utter agony by that evening, and immobile until some time on Friday.  When I could focus, I spent time in Psalm 119.  God's Word is a balm.

My view from the couch as my guys made Wednesday dinner.  :)

Jacob and Danny finished college classes and finals by Tuesday.  Everyone is happy.  :)

Danny is happy.

Jacob is happy, too.


My Kitchen and Garden

I baked whole-wheat peanut butter cookies on Tuesday, right before injuring my back.  God's timing is impeccable.  :)  (They turned out yummy, by the way.)



My Project Desk

...sits empty for the time being.


Behind the Lens

My first piece of official mail for my business!


The hilarious thing is that this particular piece of mail was from the county clerk's office, who returned my assumed business name application.  Apparently, they do NOT accept temporary checks.  Now that I have my "real" checks, I have to re-submit the application.  *rolls eyes*


Heart Thoughts

My heart has focused on the Lord this week.  That focus always gets keener when I'm experiencing trial, for which my back pain definitely qualifies.  As I lay in bed Thursday morning, wondering if I'd ever be able to get up to take a shower, I carefully read Psalm 119.  Here are a few verses that stuck out to me, and that I leave you with (all from the NASB).

My soul weeps because of grief;
Strengthen me according to Your word.
verse 28

This is my comfort in my affliction,
That Your word has revived me.
verse 50

It is good for me that I was afflicted,
That I may learn Your statues.
verse 71

I know, O LORD, that Your judgments are righteous,
And that in faithfulness You have afflicted me.
O may Your lovingkindness comfort me,
According to Your word to Your servant.
May Your compassion come to me that I may live,
For Your law is my delight.
verses 75-77

Back to life,
Christine

visit my photography blog!
captured by Christine Anne

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Prayer Request

God is good.

I have a prayer request for my dear online friends.  This morning I woke up with a slightly sore back, but by the time I had taken a shower and gone downstairs, I could barely move.  Thank the Lord I already had a chiropractor appointment scheduled this morning.  Plus baking cookies is out of the way.

I had fallen "up" the basement stairs yesterday, wrenching my left arm and "rug-burning" my right hand.  It may have been the cause of my back going out.  But whatever the cause, I am in considerable pain.

We had recently defrosted our two freezers, and all the ice packs--including the squishy one we use for "ache" issues--were still lying on the floor of the basement.  It's now getting cold in the freezer, so I must wait for some relief.  Thank you to those who will pray for me; I deeply appreciate it.  I'm going back to the couch to lie down now...

God is good.

Back to life,
Christine

visit my photography blog!
captured by Christine Anne

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Counting My Blessings #2



Branch Of Wisdom


Join us at Tamara's blog by clicking above!!

Food Report

We have been blessed in our grocery budget lately--meaning that we haven't had to spend as much as we normally would!  The Lord has seen fit to bless us in two ways:  1) through food stored up either by canning or in the freezer, and 2) through others.  We have thanked Him (and them!) more than once as we enjoyed tasty meals and side dishes.  And once again, several potential big bills are looming, and my mind wonders how we're going to pay for them, even as the Holy Spirit reassures my heart that I am His.  Do not fret, dear child.  You are mine.

We enjoyed blueberry muffins for breakfast once last week, with blueberries picked this past summer and stored in our freezer.


We used this tasty hors d'oeuvre as a topping for our spaghetti one evening.  It is a cream cheese, pesto, and dried tomato molded dip for bread or crackers.  Boy, was it tasty on our Italian!  Danny and his dad "fought" over the last portion for tonight's leftover pasta dinner.  :)


We made the usual two pounds of spaghetti, a mixture of regular organic and whole-wheat organic.  My five men can eat a lot!



We also pulled out of the freezer a package of fresh-sliced mozzarella cheese to use as a topping for our pasta.  We were blessed with a number of packages, and this was the last one.  Since I'm part Italian, I savored every bite of this; there is nothing like the taste of fresh mozzarella.  :)


Below is the finished product on my plate, sans the cream cheese/pesto topping. 


I was also able to add some sliced hot Italian sausage to the spaghetti sauce, part of which came from my canned supply of sauce.  Every time I looked in the freezer, I found another package of this wonderful sausage from Nature's Choice Farm.  It reminded me of the account of the widow whose jar of oil never ran out.  I remember purchasing a few packages of the sausage, but we've eaten it once a week for the past month.  Either way, God is good.

Thank You, Lord, for feeding our family with good food!

Back to life,
Christine

visit my photography blog!
captured by Christine Anne

Saturday, December 11, 2010

WWU -- Contented Celebration

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Thank you, Mary, for hosting Weekly Wrap-Up!
It's time to reflect back on my week, to store up memories in my heart,
and to acknowledge the Lord's ways in my life.
To participate with us, please click on Mary's button above.


Saturday, 11:24am--starting this post.  (I want to see how long it takes me to get this posted!)


Home Life

As I listen to Jacob's less-frequent cough, I thank the Lord for health.  No one else has caught his cold, which is a good thing since next week is finals week for Jacob and Danny.  Will I ever be especially glad when Danny walks through the door after completing his Rhetoric final.  He agonized his way through the class, and obsessed about every essay paper assigned.  But he's pulling an A so far, and as long as he gets his outline prepared for the final exam, he should be fine.  (The students are allowed to bring an outline for the in-class essay final.)

Jacob is an excellent student, and rarely asks for my help--except for commenting and making suggestions on his papers, proofreading them, and typing them for him (he can't stand typing!).  He offered me Trader Joe's dark chocolate peanut butter cups to type his final Psychology essay.  That was a no-brainer "yes" for me!!

Joseph likes to read through his brothers' papers, too!

Christmas decorations are all up, or at least the ones I'm willing to put up!  If you step into my home, you'll be greeted by a cheery Christmas-y foyer, and you'll see the tree--with my grandmother's manger set nestled at its base--in our front living room.  If you step beyond the hallway, however, the rest of the house is as it appears each and every day.  I just don't have storage space for lots of decorations, and I'm also way too practical to have lots of decorations!

It has been a peaceful season, since we aren't shopping for gifts this year.  We, along with our extended family (a small crowd at 11 people), decided to celebrate Christmas differently this year.  There is no hustle and bustle, and so far our outside activities have been minimal.  It's very nice.  :)


My Kitchen

I've been enjoying cooking a bit more, because it warms the kitchen and I can fend off feeling cold for a little bit.  (I'm almost always cold all winter long.)  I have a Nutri-Mill recipe for whole-wheat peanut butter cookies in my plans for the next few days.  That might be the only cookie recipe I prepare this month!  We'll see how it goes.

We've been blessed with some fresh vegetables and fruits, and a few other food items, over the last few weeks.  We have used them to create and enhance some delicious meals, and we are still in the mode of giving thanks for what the Lord has provided.  God is good.  He has blessed us beyond measure, and we need to remember Him in this abundance.

Enchiladas for dinner

I turned my portion into Enchilada Salad!

Though my vegetable garden is "closed," I still have a few little purple onions in the fridge, and I slice them up for salads and things.  Though they are little, they are strong!  Plus we continue to enjoy the various salsas, jalape├▒os, tomatoes, and apple products that I've canned this year.



My Project Desk

I actually altered a blouse this week!  I have hooks/eyes to sew on between the front buttons, but I have taken in the sides.  I found this blouse at a resale shop some friends took me to a few months ago, and it was brand-new with the tags still on!  It is a very tailored, very well-made blouse, and I hope to wear it for a long time.  Photos soon...


Behind the Lens

I have been busy getting my ducks in a row with Christine Anne Photography.  I now have a business checking account, and have filed my business name with the county.  Once I hear back from them, I have to publish a notice in the local newspaper for three weeks, then make sure the newspaper files (I can't remember what document) with the county.  Then I'm official!  It seems like a long process for this little business.

I try to take pictures of something every day, but life happens, and my business is not my life.  It really is a hobby, and a passion, and I don't want to lose the heart of my love of capturing people and things on film.  I do have some upcoming business opportunities, about which I'm excited and nervous all rolled into one!  I'll tell you about it soon.  For now, enjoy this photo of a cinnamon-oat muffin to which I added blueberries.



Heart Thoughts

Since we're wrapped up in the Christmas season (hey, that's a nice pun!), I thank the Lord for His peace and His perspective during this time when our culture has mega-commercialized the greatest event in history and in our faith.  But we are to enjoy this season of reflection, waiting, and celebration, no matter our circumstances.  We are to be content in the current situation in which we have been placed.  For truly the Lord has led us here--or has allowed us to walk here--and we need to remember to celebrate with joy and contentment.

...for I have learned to be content in whatever circumstances I am.
I know how to get along with humble means,
and I also know how to live in prosperity;
in any and every circumstance I have learned
the secret of being filled and going hungry,
both of having abundance and suffering need.
I can do all things through Him who strengthens me.

Philippians 4:11b-13 nasb

I frequently quote "I can do all things..." when I am faced with a challenge, but it is interesting that in context, it is linked to contentedness.  Contentedness is the secret to the knowledge that I can indeed do all things through Him who strengthens me.

End Note:  It's only 12:26pm!!  I thought I'd be working on this post over a couple of days--thank You, Lord!!  :D

Back to life,
Christine

visit my photography blog!
captured by Christine Anne