Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Watch it Wednesday

This is a very moving, short video. Click here to watch.
It reminds me of what Christ did for all of us.

If you liked this video, go to for more.

Monday, March 29, 2010

Another Recipe

Here is another recipe, this time made by Dancer Daughter. Yum. Sorry, I do not have a picture to go along with this but, trust me, it was beautiful coming out of the oven. My dad gave me this recipe and has asked multiple times if I had made it yet. He thinks it is that good.

After cleaning off the kitchen counter and finding the recipe, Dancer Daughter made it. With out further babbling delay, here is the recipe that is that good.

Crescent Chicken

2 (8 oz) pkg Crescent Rolls
1 (10 oz) can Cream of Chicken Soup
1 c grated Cheddar Cheese
2 (6 oz) can shredded chicken
¼ c milk

Mix shredded chicken with cheese. Place 1 T mixture into each crescent roll and roll up. Place in 9x13” baking dish. Mix milk & soup together and pour over the crescent rolls. Bake, uncovered for 35 minutes in a 350 degree oven.

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Thank You, God...

"Thank you, God, for being so good to me.
Thank you, God, that I am not forgotten.
Thank you, God, for always, always loving me.

From the sermon today....dying to self, hope and
following God no matter where He leads and
what is happening in our lives.
Very powerful indeed.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

New Concept, New Recipe

We are trying this new concept at our house. Everyone in the family has a night where it is their turn to cook supper (our evening meal...some apparently call it dinner....but that is for another post). Our youngest is to help the others so he can learn. He will then graduate from sou chef and have a night of his own....should become interesting at that point! :)

How did this come about? I blew up one evening (it seriously was not pretty, people!) when I came home from work, no one had started or even thought about supper and had the nerve to ask what was for supper. I KNEW things had to change for my sanity especially but for them to learn about this thing called helping out! Don't get me wrong, they help a lot. They really do...but it was this one little thing....

Good has come from my explosion. We have experienced a multitude of first time recipes. Most for the good, It has also made me ask myself, Why didn't I do this sooner?!

Here is a recipe Writer Daughter made last night. She found it on Paula Deen's website. She made it exactly as the recipe reads and it is good. We might tweek it the next time.

Chicken Empanadas
1 1/2 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon ground cumin
1 jalapeno, seeded and chopped
1/4 cup chopped red bell pepper
4 ounce cream cheese, softened
1 (8-ounce) package shredded Colby and Monterey Jack cheese blend
3 cup chopped, cooked chicken
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1 (15-ounce) package refrigerated pie crusts

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Lightly grease a baking sheet. In a large bowl, combine chicken and next 7 ingredients. Unroll 1 piecrust onto a lightly floured surface. Roll onto a 15-inch circle. Cut out rounds, using a 3-inch cookie cutter. Re-roll dough as needed. Repeat procedure with remaining piecrusts. Arrange 1 piecrust round on a clean, flat surface. Lightly brush edges of crust with water. Place 1 heaping teaspoon of chicken mixture in center of the round. Fold dough over filling, pressing edges with a fork to seal. Repeat with remaining rounds and chicken mixture. (Up to this point, the recipe can be made ahead and frozen for up to 1 month). Arrange empanadas on prepared baking sheet. Bake for 15 minutes. Recipe Courtesy of Paula Deen

Warning: Writer Daughter had a lot of filling left over and even made more than the 15 pie crust circles. We froze the left over filling for another time but I think you could get away with using 1/2 of the filling ingredient amounts. The empanadas didn't stay "closed" which did not alter the taste, just the looks.

Those who gave this recipe a rating on the website offered advice on how to make it tastier. One suggested to use bread dough instead of pie crust. While the pie crust is okay, it is fairly bland. We ended up using some salsa and/or red sauce with sour cream mixed to dip this little morsals into. Or you could perhaps sprinkle some sort of southwest seasoning on the outside right before baking? Others suggested sour cream instead of cream cheese in the filling and other spices.

My dad always said a recipe is a have fun!

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Story Time

"The last time I was here I told my kids how I drove here for doctor visits when I was pregnant with them." my friend relayed as we drove in the city. "They've never listened so closely and wanted to hear more stories like that."

I agreed with my friend because I, too, notice that when we tell our children story which we may think boring or have little to do with anything, they are all ears. Especially if it has anything to do with them. There is a natural curiosity that is exposed when stories are told about them or a family member. It is part of their history that I, as a parent, just take for granted.

Them: "How do you know all the words to that song?" Me: "Uh, the 80's?"

Them: "When I was little......?"

What ever happened to story-telling? When is the last time I told our kids a story? Not one written by an author and bought in a store. A story that comes from something experienced. I believe we may have lost something in this age of technology and busyness.

A few years ago, our adult Sunday School class studied the book, God's Story, Our Story by Michele Hershberger. It is an introduction to Christian faith from an Anabaptist perspective. To me, it reinforced the importance of sharing my faith story, my life story. What happens in my life shapes my faith and visa versa. But, I need the courage to be real---the good, bad and the ugly real.

Do yourself a favor. Tell a real-life story to your kids. It doesn't have to be fancy, just real. And if you start by telling a story about them, your chances of eye-rolling will diminish significantly! :)

Monday, March 22, 2010

Chocolate Chip Cookies...

A local bakery was recognized for one of the "6 Best-Ever Chocolate Chip Cookies" in the Midwest. My tummy has had the pleasure of being introduced to the cookies from the bakery. How could I pass up finding the recipe and trying them?

Lesson learned? If you run out of oil (this recipe calls for butter and oil), don't use olive oil. Yes, I knew I should not have used it because of its strong taste, but what is a girl to do? I reasoned that I only needed a little bit to top off the canola oil, so, why not?! My family couldn't taste the olive oil. I just know I have olive oil in there and that is probably why I can taste it.

This cookie tends to spread out (I think it is because of the oil). It will come out of the oven looking like the middle picture above but will flatten when cooled as seen in the picture on the right. BUT it is a good cookie.

Are you hungry yet? Here is the recipe:

Doughbox Bakery Chocolate Chip Cookies

Makes 80 cookies

1 cup butter or margarine, softened
1-1/4 cups vegetable oil
2-1/4 cups packed brown sugar
1-1/4 cups granulated sugar
2-1/4 tsp. baking soda
2 tsp. vanilla
1-1/2 tsp. salt
5 eggs
5-1/2 cups all-purpose flour
2 12-oz. pkgs. (4 cups total) semisweet chocolate pieces


1. In a very large mixing bowl, beat butter with an electric mixer on medium to high speed for 30 seconds. Add oil, granulated sugar, brown sugar, baking soda, vanilla and salt. Beat on medium speed until mixture is combined, scraping sides of bowl occasionally. Add eggs one at a time, beating on medium speed after each addition until combined. Add flour one cup at a time, beating on low speed and adding as much of the flour as you can with the mixer. Stir in any remaining flour with a wooden spoon until combined. Stir in chocolate pieces.

2. Drop dough by rounded tablespoons or by using a rounded #40 ice cream scoop 2 inches apart onto ungreased cookie sheets. Bake in a 350 degree F oven for 9 to 11 minutes or until edges are light brown and centers are set. Cool on cookie sheets for 2 minutes. Transfer to wire racks and let cool. Makes about 80 cookies.

Since I wasn't sure how this recipe would turn out, I cut the recipe in half when I made them. I would suggest the same thing for you if you want to just try them.

Happy baking!

Friday, March 19, 2010

Boy, am I embarrassed!

I feel like the posts have been down-right serious lately. It's time for some my expense of course! Here are some of my most embarrassing date.... (sad!)
  • Riding my new bike before the kindergarten bus arrived only to find myself becoming quite familiar with a mud hole as the bus pulled in the drive.
  • Getting pushed from behind by some "friends" in Jr High while climbing the stairs to the second floor classes and falling on top of one of the cutest and coolest guys in school. He turned around and gave me a look like it was all my face was beet red for years!
  • How about the time I couldn't get out of the bathroom at a friends lake house. Oh yeah, that was a great time. The knob turned but didn't release the door. I started to contemplate jumping out the window but was afraid my rear would get stuck in the window. Finally, finally, I got the door open ONLY to find a woman staring at me. She said, and I quote, "Did you have some trouble getting out?" In my horror I only warned her not to lock the door....I really wanted to slug her! I mean really, what kind of person wouldn't try to help you or at least ask if you are okay if they hear/see you trying to get out and you can't....shesh!
  • Having your children watch you being chased around the yard by a tiny mouse while your screaming hysterically is right on top of the list...yup, too bad you weren't here to witness that one!
  • Birds. Did you know I am terrified of birds? Yup. I love to hear them sing but fly too close to me and I will sing a song of my own in deafening screams! We had two chicken coops growing up and one of them had a floor (not cages) for the chickens to roam freely inside. Roosters were always the trouble makers and felt the need to follow me and try to peck me. Traumatized me, it did. Flash forward to mowing lawn and having barn swallows swoop AT ME. Or the times they swooped at me while I was just minding my own business crossing the yard. And I am known to use one of our children as a shield....I'm not proud of that...just self-preservation.
  • Birds -- part 2: Location: a beach in FL. Objective: to eat a nice picnic lunch on the beach with my friend. Suspects: fowl, creepy seagulls with very pointy beaks (shiver). Long, long story friend and I had to stealth-ly eat our sandwiches...first her then me. Well, apparently the ugly suspects thought I was getting a little too cocky with my sandwich. I only had two bites to go when the thief came in for the steal! It. Was. So. Gross. (shiver, again!) Well, the embarrassing part is when I was out of my head with fright and screamed, "I hate birds!" and proceeded to walk to the ocean to wash off any traces of what the thief could have given a major disease or something!! I had a few people look at me like I was possessed or something! Ugh!
  • The Thief is the white bird in the back (right side). The dude in front (left-side) is the look-out!
  • Do I have more juicy stories of embarrassment? You bet...but I'll spare you. Because some are just not pretty!
Your turn: do you have a really juicy story of embarrassment to share? Let's hear it in the comments! I'd love to laugh at with you!

Have a great weekend!

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Thankful Tuesday on a Wednesday

The title says it all....I really was thinking about this on Tuesday but some how Tuesday turned into Wednesday...go figure! :)

I've been thinking about a lot lately. Life contemplating things. Having something wrong with your health will do that to you.

For the last six weeks, no one knew what was wrong with me. Monday, there was a light at the end of the tunnel. I'm still waiting for some test results but a couple medications have me feeling so much better. (thank you very much!!)

While I have been struggling just to function, friends and family have upheld me with prayer. They have called, emailed and simply been there.

One family member sent me an ecard one day. I hadn't told her what I was going through. It was one of those days when the pain and not feeling well was really weighing heavily on me. That ecard was like a message from Heaven. I emailed this family member and told her what has been happening. How her obedience to God's nudging was like a soothing salve. I felt so blessed. And I felt it was important for her to know what may have seemed like something small and insignificant felt so big to me.

That is just one example. Others have equally blessed me. Praying, emails, phone calls, opening & doing things for me when my body was betraying me... Those are things that I can't even begin to express my thanks. And let me not forget one stubborn friend who insisted on going to the specialist with me even though that day was her only day off of work and she could have been home with her family. Gotta love her.

Oh, and I can't forget the friend who asked if we could meet some where to talk. Even though I didn't feel the best, I knew after meeting with her, I'd feel better. So I thought I'd surprise her with coffee. She thought she'd surprise me with chocolate! She even called my hubby after I left to find out "milk or dark".  See, I told you I'm blessed!

Through all of this, I have seen a purpose. Not a purpose for this condition...yet...but for a support group of family and friends. Too many times I think I can do "this" on my own. (I'm a little stubborn sometimes!) It's not until something happens that you realize why God sends certain people into your life.

And I appreciate every single one of them more than they will ever know!

"And we know that in all things God works
for the good of those who love him,
who have been called according to his purpose."
Romans 8:28 (NIV)

Friday, March 12, 2010

Senior Moment

It started last year at a movie. Dancer Daughter and I had a date and, of all things, the movie was High School Musical 3. (Don’t judge me people.) The movie was centered on the last year of high school and moving on. I will tell you, I cried a little. I mean, hello, these kids were leaving their parents behind!

Next the movie, The Blind Side. (loved) At the end (spoiler alert), the parents are dropping off their son at college. The mom quickly says good bye and hurries to the car to wait for the rest of the family to say their good byes. Can we say major tears?!

Our Writer Daughter is graduating from high school soon. High. School. And although, as of this moment, she will commute each day to and from college, our family dynamic will change.

Time has flown by. We are planning Writer Daughter’s graduation party. Did you hear me? Graduation did this happen?! When your child is an infant, parents who have teens tell you to enjoy it because it flies. Do parents of infants ever believe that? I know I didn’t at the time. After all, sleep deprivation does that to you! Now, I wonder, “Where has the time gone? My (oldest) baby is an adult. Surely I haven’t gotten old, have I?”

Parents of adults have told me for years, “This is why we raise our children…to fly away and be on their own.” Or, “You have to cut those apron strings”. Honestly, I don’t like those little lectures. Don’t get me wrong. I don’t want them living with us forever. Seriously. However, I just don’t find these statements very positive.

I guess I never felt like we were raising our kids to leave us. Instead, I felt like we were trying to prepare them. Prepare them for their own home. Prepare them for their future spouse. Prepare them to love others. Prepare them to support themselves and one day a family. And yes, prepare them to be productive members of society who won’t be living with us forever.

Oh, I have concerns about each of those “prepares”. Have I done enough to prepare them? Have I done too much for them? Then I take a look outside of myself. God is the ultimate parent. What we haven’t been able to “prepare” them for, God will. I haven’t a doubt.

One day you’re sitting in a rocking chair softly singing her back to sleep. The next thing you know, boom, she is an adult. Now she flies as she was meant to fly…with God as her guide.

May God richly bless you, Sarah, as you take this world on with Him. May you always seek Him in everything you do. May your words, both spoken and written, be forever beautiful and worshipful to Him. And always, always dance only for Him and with Him. We love you.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Encouraging Young Woman

I sooo stole (er...I mean borrowed) this quote from another blogger, Libbey. When you get a chance, go peek at her blog. This young and amazing woman has battled pain for years. Yet, when you see her in person (she attends our church) you'd never know she was living with pain. Her attitude and smile are precious and contagious. She is a real encouragement when I think I have it rough!

"The next time you face difficulty, the next time you face hardship,
the next time you feel misunderstood and abandoned,
remember that Jesus already has experienced those things.
You have someone who understands you, sympathizes with you,
and is there to strengthen you."
Greg Laurie

Monday, March 8, 2010

don't try to figure out everything on your own

Below are several readings I have read the past few weeks. Ever have quotes just jump off the page at you and speak so loud you have to pay attention or else insert earplugs? Yup, these are it. Enjoy.

Trust God from the bottom of your heart; don’t try to
figure out everything on your own.
Listen for God’s voice in everything you do,
everywhere you go;
he’s the one who will keep you on track.
 Prov. 3:5-6 (MSG)

"Whatever you're going through, there is a purpose. It might be to learn to be still. It might be to minister to others. We aren't called to understand all of God's purpose (as if we could!); we're just called to trust Him." What wisdom from a young will-be-published author, Debra Weiss


"Contentment is being so absorbed in dancing for God and trusting him so fully that you realize you have everything you need for this leg of the dance."~from the book The Divine Dance by Shannon Primicerio


"What are you dreaming of today? Or maybe the last decade? Perhaps all your life? Like me, are you hiding behind safety? Are you living in your comfort zone? Don’t you want to be thriving? What is God asking you to do today? What dreams have lingered with you that won’t leave you alone? Take your eyes off the raging waters, off all the logical reasons why not, and reach out your hand and slip it into God’s. He’s been waiting for you. He says, “Have courage. It’s me. Don’t be afraid. I’ve got you, kid. I’ve got you.”

Now you just have to meet him there." ~devotional post for Proverbs 31 by author Jenny B Jones


"Allie looked up too, and her face lit. She let go of my hand and shot forward as fast as her little feet would take her. “Daddy!”

Her father’s face immediately formed into a smile, and he dropped the clipboard and notebook and knelt with his arms stretched in front of him. “My beautiful daughter!” She mashed her face into him, rather ungracefully, but her father was not dissatisfied. He took her in his arms and held her tight.

I watched as he picked her up and spun her around. In my mind, I thought of my Heavenly Father. I search for Him, but sometimes I can’t find Him. I skip down hallways that don’t lead to where He is. I become discouraged and wonder if He’s even here.

Then He reveals Himself to me. I want to run into His arms with abandon. I want to let go of everything I’m holding on to. He doesn’t care how clumsy or uncoordinated I look. He calls me His beautiful daughter." ~by our beautiful writer daughter

Friday, March 5, 2010

Teaching Our Sons

I was recently at a blog I've never visited before. To be honest, I'm not sure how I found Stephanie but I'm glad I found her. Stephanie had a guest blogger recently and I was so touched by the guest blogger's post, I just had to "borrow" it. So here it goes:

"Sometimes love is displayed best when it's tested the most. When life, as we know it, seems to be crashing in around us, our opportunity to demonstrate the depths of our love is magnified. For better or worse, for richer or poorer, in sickness and in health...til death do us part. That's what marriage is all about.

Today, author and speaker,Suzie Eller, unviels a very personal and captivating story revealing the beauty of love. This truly is a love story that will not only leave you speechless, but will challenge and inspire you to passionately love your spouse.

Berry Mauve or Muted Wine
T. Suzanne Eller (Suzie)

He found me weeping bitterly in the hospital room.

“What’s wrong?” Richard asked, knowing that we both had reason to cry.
In the past forty-eight hours, I learned that I had a cancerous lump in my breast that had spread to my lymph nodes, and there was a possible spot on my brain. We were both thirty-two with three young children.

Richard pulled me tight. Our friends and family had been amazed at the peace that had overwhelmed us. Jesus was our Savior and comfort before I found out I had cancer, and he remained the same after my diagnosis. But it seemed to Richard that the terrifying reality of my situation had finally crashed in on me in the few moments he was out of the room.

“It’s all been too much, hasn’t it?”

“That’s not it,” I held up the hand mirror I had found in the drawer. Richard looked puzzled.

I had stared in shock at my reflection in the mirror. I didn’t recognize myself. I was swollen. Betadine stained my neck, shoulder and chest and it was too soon for a bath. A tube hung out of my side draining fluid. My left shoulder and chest were wrapped tightly in gauze where I had lost a portion of my breast. My long, curly hair was matted into a big wad.

More than one hundred people had come to see me over the past forty-eight hours, and they had all seen this brown-and-white, swollen, makeup-less, matted-haired, gray-gowned woman who used to be me.

Richard left the room.

Within moments he came back, his arms laden with small bottles of shampoo and conditioner confiscated from the cart in the hall. He pulled pillows out of the closet and dragged a chair over to the sink. Unraveling my IV, he tucked the long tube from my side in his shirt pocket. Then he reached down, picked me up and carried me – IV stand and all – over to the chair. He sat me down gently on his lap, cradled my head in his arms over the sink and began to run warm water through my hair. He washed and conditioned my long curls. He wrapped my hair in a towel and carried me, the tube, and the IV stand back over to the bed. He did this so gently that not one stitch was disturbed.

Next came the mascara, blush, and lipstick…

My husband, who has never blow-dried his hair in his life, dried my hair, the whole while entertaining me as he pretended to give beauty tips. I laughed as he bit his lip, more serious than any beauty-school student as he fixed my hair. He bathed my shoulder and neck with a warm washcloth, careful to not disturb the area around the surgery, and rubbed lotion into my skin.

Then he opened my makeup bag. I will never forget our laughter as he tried to apply my mascara and blush. I opened my eyes wide and held my breath as he brushed the mascara on my lashes with shaking hands. He rubbed my cheeks with tissue to blend in the blush. With the last touch, he held up two lipsticks.

“Berry mauve or muted wine?” he asked. He applied the lipstick like an artist and then held the little mirror in front of me.

I was human again. A little swollen, but I smelled clean, my hair hung softly over my shoulders and I recognized myself.

I started crying again, this time because I was grateful.

“No, baby. You’ll mess up my makeup job,” he said and I burst into laughter.

During that difficult time in our lives, I was given only a 40 percent chance of survival over five years. That was eighteen years ago. I made it through those years with laughter, God’s comfort and the help of Richard. Last November we celebrated thirty years, and our children (who were in elementary school) are now married and young adults. In fact, I’m expecting my first grandbaby in July!

I will always be grateful that Richard understood what must have seemed like vanity and silliness in the midst of tragedy, and helped me feel like me again.

Everything that I had ever taken for granted had been shaken – the fact that I would watch my children grow, my health, my future. With one small act of kindness, Richard gave me normalcy. I will always see that moment as one of the most loving gestures of our marriage.

I love you, Richard Lee Eller. I always will.

To learn more about Suzie Eller, her ministries and her books, visit her website at"
May we be able to teach our sons what being a “real man” is really all about. It isn’t about “toughness” and who can score the most points in a game. It is about caring for those whom you love and compassion for those you’ve never met. May you be touched by this real story as much as I was and be inspired to teach our boys what real love is. And I pray that our daughters will marry a man who will treat her with love and respect and like the gift from God she is. (end of sermon!)

Wednesday, March 3, 2010


So, I’ve been thinking…. (For those who know me personally, I’m sure that statement racks your body with fear as you flee the country!)


I have told our children, “If you have one person you consider a great friend, you are truly blessed.” I am blessed to have many friends. Not just acquaintances but I’m-there-when-you-need-me, hey-let’s-go-out-and-just-hang friends.

One friend, who is more like a sister (I don’t have a sister so she is stuck with me!!), and I go out often and have a “teacher work day” (wink, wink) since we both teach at home. We go to a local 50’s style diner ordering onion rings and chocolate peanut milk shake every time. She listens to me and I her. If someone has “done her wrong”, I’ll offer to go punch them out…and visa versa. And we laugh. She is my “go to” person when I can’t “take it” any more. She is my cheerleader. She is there to wipe many tears and calm me down. She respects me and just “gets me”…well, sometimes. I love her.

Another friend lives many states away. I wish she were closer. But the funny thing is she used to live right down the road from me. Sure, we’d talk and do things together but it wasn’t until her and her family moved away that made us close friends. Neither of us has figured out how that actually happened, but it has. And I won’t question it. I had the great privilege of flying to her state and staying with her for three days. We had so much fun. Mega portions of “girl time” and it was GREAT. We laughed. We listened to each other. We just enjoyed being together. The day before I was to fly home, my hubby called to tell me my dad’s heart had stopped beating numerous times and needed a pace maker. Surgery was scheduled the next day—the same time I was flying home. She was such a comfort. We talked and we were quiet. Not that awkward quiet but the quiet that says “I’m here when you want to talk.” I love her.

Other friends are equally supportive. They will either call or email to see how I am. Some give wonderful hugs and just seem to know when I need one. Others know—just know—when I need some chocolate! And most are ready to hang out for much needed girl time. And when my mom died, many brought us food and asked how they could help.

I pray I am or can be as wonderful of a friend as others have been to me. I am truly blessed. I love you all!

If you are reading this thinking, "I don't have friends", look around you. I bet you have more people in your life who consider themselves your friend than you realize. Ask God to reveal to you a friend that "gets" you. God will bless you with friends.

“A friend loves at all times…” Proverbs 17:17

“Dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God.
Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God.” 1 John 4:7