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Archive for October, 2008

It’s that time of year again when I pull out the Christmas music.  I have lots of Christmas CD’s and I like to buy one or two new ones each year to add to my collection.

Here’s a list of our favorites, if you’re looking for a Christmas CD, any of the CD’s on this list are FANTASTIC, and most of them can be purchased inexpensively on ebay.

*Josh Groban NOEL (Absolutely FANTASTIC, Josh has a FABULOUS voice.)
*Phillips, Craig, and Dean Repeat the Sounding Joy
*Avalon JOY
*Amy Herbster Piano Solos: Star of Wonder (VERY Beautiful piano arrangements, she’s so talented)
*Chris Rice Christmas Living Room Sessions
*Michael W. Smith It’s a Wonderful Christmas (GORGEOUS arrangements with the London Symphony Orchestra)
*Veggie Tales A Very Veggie Christmas (a MUST if you have a child under 5)
*Take 6 He is Christmas (awesome a capella vocalists)
*Celine Dion These Are Special Times (even if you don’t like Celine, this is a great CD)
*Point of Grace A Christmas Story (FABULOUS recording)

Please share your favorites……I LOVE Christmas music!

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Have you ever heard this phrase?  I used to hear it a lot from people as I was growing up.  In those days, I never stopped to think about what it’s really saying.  I think it could be better phrased as “God blesses those who put forth some effort to accomplish things.” 

I know that sometimes, we have to be patient and wait for God to do things, but there are other times that I see people who complain about things and don’t try to do anything to fix their situation.  I once had a co-worker (single) who was always complaining that she didn’t have any money, but I also observed that she ate out a lot, didn’t spend her money wisely, and she didn’t want to WORK (Heaven forbid) for the money, she wanted God to drop it in her lap (or someone to give it to her.)

Now I know that God could, if He saw fit “drop” the money in her lap, but on the other hand, when God looks down and sees people making unwise decisions about their money and not wanting to work to earn their money, I really doubt that He’s going to “drop” some more down to that person for them to spend frivolously and then want more.

On the other hand, God blesses those who put forth effort to accomplish things.  When she came to me telling me that she didn’t have the money for her car payment, instead of loaning her the money for her car payment (as I knew she wanted me to do) I talked to her about ways that she could save money in her current budget and ways to earn more money so that she wouldn’t be in this spot again.  She didn’t really like it that I wouldn’t give her the money for her car payment, but I don’t think that anyone else she knew gave her the money for it either, because within a couple of weeks, she started working a 2nd job………wow, do you see how God provides? : )

I think you need a balance of praying to God about your needs and using some common sense and hard work to obtain what you need.  I’ve never found a time in my life that God hasn’t provided for me or for Grace and I if I’m doing what I’m supposed to do.  Even now that I’m self employed.  Before I quit my job, I was SCARED that I wouldn’t make it being self employed, but I knew I needed to obey God and that He would take care of the rest.  Then the economy started falling apart, and for 1 minute, I thought…..oh no, maybe I made a wrong decision when I quit my job, but then I knew that God is in control and He knew what would happen with our economy before I quit my job, so He will handle it for me.  (That’s one of the best things of having a Heavenly Father, He knows things ahead of time and He takes care of the details for me.)

In the last 7 weeks, I’ve started 7 new students.  I’ve set a goal to start 3 students a month until I get the number of students I need.  Then, I pray about that goal and ask God specifically to provide me with 3 new students for that month.  I also pray about ideas for ways to get new students.  I got  the students I asked for in September and October (plus 1 extra!) and now I’m working on November. 

Last night I was praying and I said “God, please provide 3 new students for me for November, and Lord, I don’t know where those 3 students are going to come from (I don’t have any leads right now or people who have called me recently.) but I know that you can provide them for me.  I posted an ad on our community website stating that I have openings for piano students and this morning when I woke up, there were 2 emails from people inquiring about piano lessons!  I don’t know yet if both of them will start, but I know that God will provide the 3 students I’ve asked Him for this month.

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I don’t know why, but this time of year, I get hungry for certain things.  One of them is corn muffins.  Here’s my recipe.

1/2 Cup Butter
2/3 Cup Sugar
1/4 Cup Honey
2 Eggs
1/2 tsp Salt
1 1/2 cups flour
3/4  Cup Yellow cornmeal
1/2 tsp Baking Powder
1/2 Cup Milk
3/4 Cup frozen corn

  • Preheat oven to 400 degress
  • Cream together butter, sugar, honey, eggs and  salt in a large bowl
  • Add flour, cornmeal, and baking powder and blend thoroughly.  Add milk while mixing
  • Add corn to mixture and combine by hand until corn is worked in.
  • Grease a 12 cup muffin pan and fill each cup 3/4 of the way with batter. 
  •  Bake for 20-25 minutes
  • Makes 12 muffins

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Yet I Sin…..

I came across this prayer written by a Puritan and I wanted to share it with you.

Eternal Father,

Thou art good beyond all thought,
But I am vile, wretched, miserable, blind;
My lips are ready to confess,
but my heart is slow to feel,
and my ways reluctant to amend.
I bring my soul to thee;
break it, wound it, bend it, mould it.
Unmask to me sin’s deformity,
that I may hate it, abhor it, flee from it.
My faculties have been a weapon of revolt against thee;
as a rebel I have misused my strength,
and served the foul adversary of thy kingdom.
Give me grace to bewail my insensate folly,
Grant me to know that the way of transgressors is hard,
that evil paths are wretched paths,
that to depart from thee is to lose all good.
I have seen the purity and beauty of thy perfect law,
the happiness of those in whose heart it reigns,
the calm dignity of the walk to which it calls,
yet I daily violate and contemn its precepts.
Thy loving Spirit strives within me,
brings me Scripture warnings,
speaks in startling providences,
allures by secret whispers,
yet I choose devices and desires to my own hurt,
impiously resent, grieve,
and provoke him to abandon me.

All these sins I mourn, lament, and for them cry pardon.
Work in me more profound and abiding repentance;
Give me the fullness of a godly grief
that trembles and fears,
yet ever trusts and loves,
which is ever powerful, and ever confident;
Grant that through the tears of repentance
I may see more clearly the brightness
and glories of the saving cross.

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Here is a recipe for a DELICIOUS harvest dish that a friend of mine calls “Winter Vegetables”

You will need:

Parsnips
Turnips
Sweet Potatoes
Yams
A Yellow Onion

(You can add as many or as few of each above item as you prefer)

Slice them thinly and layer them in a baking dish.

Drizzle them with Canola oil, garlic salt and ground sage (As much or as little as your taste prefers.)

Cover with foil and bake for 1 hour at 350 until they are soft.

This dish is PERFECT for potlucks, Thanksgiving, Christmas or any special occasion.

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My apologies for disappearing from the blogging world for a few days, I came down with a bad cold on Sunday afternoon, and I’ve spent the last few days taking vitamin “C”, eating chicken rice soup, going to bed early, and taking a nap before piano lessons.  We also had special services at church this week, so my days have consisted of:

  • Wake up
  • Get Grace and I dressed
  • Take vitamin “C’s”
  • Snuggle up on the couch in some cozy sweats, turn on a show that Grace likes, and sip some chicken broth, and drink orange juice
  • Make lunch & Take more vitamin “C”
  • Take naps
  • Get dressed, do hair and make up
  • Drop Grace off at Grandma’s
  • Teach piano lessons
  • Go to Church
  • Come home, take baths, and vitamin “C”, sip some more chicken broth and orange juice
  • Go to bed
  • Get up and do it all over again…….

Usually, I can function with a cold, but this one was NASTY, with a terrible sore throat, congestion, fever, aches……you name it…….the good news is that I set my daily “To Do” list aside (a rarity for me.)  and took care of myself for once, and the benefit is that in just a few days, I’ve nearly kicked this cold, just a little congestion, and I didn’t even need a nap today. (YEA!)

Needless to say, I haven’t gotten anything accomplished this week, so I decided to stay home today and catch up on a few things.  To celebrate my feeling better, Grace and I went out for lunch today (I felt bad that she’s spent most of the week at home with the the exception of going to Grandma’s and Church, so I thought it would be good for her to get out today.)

I love days where I can just stay home and work on things around the house, so I got a lot done today.  Don’t worry, I have a lot on my list for tomorrow that includes running some errands, so I won’t permanently become a hermit, but I have to tell you, it felt good to just put everything on hold and stay home to rest for a few days.

In other news, Grace entered two “drawings” in the state fair and got red ribbons on both of them!

I am starting new piano students every week and am officially self employed! (YAHOO!)  I LOVE being able to focus the majority of my time and energy on Grace and just teaching a few hours a day.  God is SO good!

Gas prices are steadily going down……mid-grade is now 3.22 here and regular is 3.12!  That’s down over a dollar since the 4th of July. (Thank God!)

Grace is VERY excited about the possibility of snow (still a ways away for us, but she’s wearing her winter coat, hat and mittens just “Hoping” that it will snow!) and is singing “Jingle Bells” as if Christmas is tomorrow. 

And, last of all, Grace starts her music class next week!  I’m very excited about it and can’t wait to see what kinds of things she will learn. (It’s very cool, it’s like a music class for preschoolers, they just go one day a week for an hour, but it will be lots of fun and I can’t wait to see how she likes it.)

I hope you all are doing well and are staying healthy!

-Beth

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When I first left Jake, I stayed with friends of my parents who lived in the same town I was living in.  I stayed with them for a day and since he is a Pastor, and Pastor’s schedules are a little bit hectic on the weekends, his wife asked me if I would like to spend the weekend with some friends of theirs.  I didn’t know what to expect, but I gathered the few belongings I had with me and went with her over to their friends house.

I was very nervous, I had so much on my plate, I was all alone and about to stay with some people for the weekend that I had never met and had no idea who they were……I decided to take things one step at a time.  I knew my dad would be in town to help me soon, and ANYTHING was better than going back to Jake.

When we arrived at the house, Mrs. Jones (yes, we have the same last name…..what are the odds of that?) greeted us, took my bags and showed me to my room.  I followed her down the hallway, and we entered the most inviting room I have ever seen.  The carpet was a WALL TO WALL rag rug….not only was it beautiful, but SO cozy on your toes……….the bed, oh the bed was queen size, the head and foot boards were antique wrought iron (the kind with the swirls and the tall bed posts)  and the mattress…..are you ready for this?  The mattress was a luxurious, plush, overstuffed feather bed.  I had never slept in a feather bed before, and as soon as I saw this room, I wanted to curl up on the bed and take a loooooooong nap…….this place was divine.  The bathroom had an old fashioned tub that has feet on it.  The entire room looked like a place that Anne of Green Gables could only DREAM of sleeping in.

As soon as I was settled in, Mrs Jones showed me the rest of the house and asked me to go to lunch with her.  The house is sooooooo beautiful.  It’s only a couple of years old, but they had it built to look like an old farm house, complete with a porch that wraps ALL the way around the house, and their cute little potting shed matches the house.

Mrs Jones and I headed to lunch at Subway.  This woman who is probably close to 70 is a lady in every sense of the word, she carries herself graciously and engages people in very interesting conversations without being too nosy.  We ordered our subs, mine came to $6.00, and let me tell you, making the decision to spend $6.00 on lunch without having to ask Jake if it was OK to spend my money was one of the BEST feelings I have ever had.  I enjoyed that lunch so much, just talking and listening to Mrs. Jones and making decisions for myself without fear of being punished……..it was incredible.

After lunch, Mrs. Jones took me to the supermarket and told me to pick out whatever I wanted to eat while I was at her house.  I picked out some Juice, soup, and some chips, she kept asking me about things that I like and was putting more in the cart for me.  She sent me to the candy aisle to pick out a treat for myself.  We went to check out and the Easter items were on sale, so Mrs. Jones told me to pick out an Easter bunny for my little one that was on the way.

During our conversation, she uncovered my love of sewing and creating things, so she stopped at the fabric store on the way home and encouraged me to pick out fabric to make some things for the baby, she helped me choose the fabric and thread and then insisted on paying for them.

For three days, I spent time with Mr. and Mrs. Jones, and by the time I left, I felt like I had known them forever and honestly, I didn’t want to leave their house when it came time.

Mrs. Jones served me breakfast in bed and my toast was on crystal and my juice was served in stem wear.  I couldn’t believe that she was literaly treating me like a Queen……..for months, I had been treated like a slave, and this woman was spoiling me and treating me like I was a Queen.  I felt so undeserving, but I enjoyed every minute of it.

I accompanied Mrs. Jones on all of her errands, to the bank, to the hardware, to the grocery store, helped her drop things off at a thrift store, we went to Target, and the dollar store (she had never been in a dollar store before and couldn’t believe that everything was only $1.00!)

In just three days, I felt like I knew this woman, she taught me so many things……she carries a tape measure in her purse so that while she’s shopping, she can measure items that she likes and pick the perfect one for her house without making extra trips home to measure and back to the store.  She taught me how to drive a golf cart.  She made me three different kinds of Chicken salad sandwiches (they were all delicious)  She has three sinks in three different places in her kitchen, one for dishes, one for preping food, one as you come in the kitchen door to wash fresh produce from the garden.  She has a bathroom in her garage so that she can use the restroom while she’s cleaning in the garage or doing laundry….this woman amazes me, she thinks of everything.

The first morning as I was getting dressed and doing my hair, she walked past the restroom and said, “That blue is so pretty on you.”  I thanked her and started crying my eyes out……I hadn’t had compliments about my appearance for months.  When I was with Jake, I wasn’t allowed to cut and style my hair, I wasn’t allowed to wear my makeup attractively and I wasn’t allowed to wear clothes that looked nice on me. (They day after I left him, my co-worker took me to the store to buy the 2 pairs of jeans, 4 shirts and the curling iron and make up that I had with me, and then I promptly cut my own hair in the bathroom that evening.)

Mrs. Jones asked me lots of questions about my hobbies, my family, my baby, and my dreams.  This woman had no idea what I was going through, but somehow, she had the ability, the GIFT to take my mind off of all the hurt, control, abuse, hateful words, fears and stress that I was going through.  She was able in 3 days to show me more love and concern than I had been shown in months by someone who claimed to love me with all of his being.

Although I was sad to leave, I was so glad that God brought this woman into my life and granted me three days to spend with her.  She didn’t know what was happening in my life or why I needed to stay with her for the weekend, but somehow, this woman was able to encourage me, to mentor me, to empower me, and love me like a daughter.  She’ll never know what a blessing she is to me.

I think about Mr. and Mrs. Jones a lot. Grace has the Easter bunny in her toybox and everytime I see it, I’m reminded of a lady whose kindness, love and big heart blessed me at just the right time in my life.  I send her Christmas cards every year with pictures of Grace and I and an update on our lives.

Mrs. Jones is truly an angel, and I believe that she is someone that I would have never been blessed with meeting, had I not needed to escape from Jake.

Those three days were some of the best days I’ve ever spent with someone, and they were exactly what I needed in the middle of all of the stress, burdens, fears and chaos at that point of my life.  I pray that someday, God will use me in someone else’s life to bless them the way that Mrs. Jones has blessed me.

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