Sunday, May 9, 2010


"Behold, children are a heritage from the Lord, the fruit of the womb is a reward." Ps. 127:3-4
"He grants the barren woman a home, like a joyful mother of children. Praise the Lord." Ps. 113:9

My study Bible states in the notes, "No image better conveys human emotional suffering in biblical times than that of the barren woman. In that time and culture, a barren woman was without significance and without joy. Note that God stoops down to bring her the joy for which she craves--happy children. Salvation is like that. Not only does God fill us with significance, but also with joy."

I agree, even though there may not be the same social stigma now as there was in biblical times, that not being able to have children is intense human emotional suffering. I've been there, I've walked that road. I've spent Mother's Days in grief and left church in tears. I know that joy for which that barren woman craved. I craved it myself. And then God gave me that for which I craved. I prayed for one, and then just one more. God doubled what I requested of him, he filled my cup to overflowing, and he filled my heart with the unique joy of motherhood.

This was the joy that greeted me this morning. Four handmade Mother's Day cards from my babies. There's nothing sweeter than a card made just for you. I love 'em!

Me and my 4 guys. Aren't I blessed? I don't merit God giving me the privilege of being their mom. They are truly gifts!

And just like the gift of my children, my salvation in Christ is a gift, unmerited, undeserved, and unearned. And, like the gift of my children, it brings joy. I'm thankful that God didn't leave me without children. Even more I'm thankful that God didn't leave me without His love, His sacrifice, His forgiveness and His JOY.
Happy Mother's Day!
A special wish for my Mom, and thankfulness for her love and guidance and care, and for introducing me to Jesus.
And for my Mom-in-law, with gratitude for shaping the heart of my man, and for her love for me as a daughter and friend.

Saturday, May 8, 2010

Finding Inspiration

I received at my door a wonderful surprise on Thursday. My husband ordered 15 tulips and a vase to be delivered to me. I love flowers, and tulips are one of my very favorites. In fact, I really wanted to have them in my wedding nearly 13 years ago, but the florist discouraged me that they would not survive well in a hot August wedding. My 6 year old used to call them "kiss-lips". You know, last year, before he was a kindergartener and was so wise. I love those little mispronunciations and slip ups kids make. So cute. Anywho, when they arrived, 3 days before Mother's Day, "Big E" got all concerned. "Oh no, Daddy's not going to be happy." He had this distraught look on his face. "They were supposed to be a surprise on Mother's Day!" I tried to explain to him that ProFlowers (shout out to them for sending beautiful fresh flowers!) couldn't deliver them on Sunday. And it is okay to get your Mother's Day gift early. And I'm sure Daddy knew they would arrive before Sunday. I had to dial the phone and let him tell Daddy so he could see that it was all ok. I've been enjoying having these beautiful colors gracing my table.

Well, I went to check the mail yesterday, and lo and behold there was another ProFlowers box on my step. Huh? Some one else sent me flowers, too? But who? I opened the box, and there lay 15 more beautiful tulips, and the exact same message card that came with the previous delivery. We checked with ProFlowers and apparently, they made a mistake on their end, and only have record of one order and shipment. So, I got a second set of tulips for free. Rarely do you get more than you paid for, so as the customer service rep said, I'm just going to enjoy my table full of tulips!

I took some pictures of my lovely blooms because I just love the colors. As I was loading them on my computer, I realized they could be just the inspiration I need. I just finished last weekend with a painting project in our bathroom. I painted all the woodwork white and the walls gray. Soon, the old vanity and medicine cabinet will get a facelift with a coat of black paint and satin nickel hardware. For some reason, I've been stumped as far as what to do with the window and the shower curtain, and rugs and the blank wall. Looking at these pictures I think I saw my inspiration. If I take some of these pictures and blow them up, I could make a collage of them on my wall. I could use the colors of the stems and the blooms in my room. Imagine how beautiful and bright that will make the room, which previously had natural wood trim and cabin red walls, and was very dark. What do you think? Good idea or bad?

I saw a similar idea at Target recently, one large piece of art stretched over a wooden box. It was $20. I wonder if I can create my own look for less. And have a personal touch, always being able to remember when I walk into my bathroom of the 5 men in my life who love me and whom I love dearly, and for whom I'm thankful to have the privilege of being the woman in their life. Even if it costs the same, it would make every dollar matter. I like that idea!

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Make Your Own

Today, I made my own thin mint cookies. They were easy, frugal, and delicious. Easy means I didn't have to spend alot of time on them. Frugal means I didn't spend alot of my family's resources on them. Delicious means....well, that just means I will have to spend alot of time working them off! The boys will enjoy them. It's so much more lovely to hand your child a homemade snack than to pull one out of a plastic package inside a cardboard box. And at 80 cookies per batch, they'll go a lot further....I hope!

My tip for the day. Try something new. Make something you haven't thought of having handmade before. It will be fun, it will save money, and you just might find you like your homemade version much better than what the stores offer.

Bonus....I only covered the top of the cookies, rather than completely dipping them (which I think is fine....tastes just as good, and maybe less messy for the boys to eat and saves a few extra calories), so I had left over melted chocolate. I knew I needed to think fast, or it would be wasted. I had some Snyders Peanut Butter Pretzel Sandwiches on hand. I don't buy them often, because they aren't cheap for a smaller size bag, but Target sends me coupon booklets, and most times there is a coupon for Snyders in there, and Target has them on sale from time to time as well. The first place I found them though was Aldi. When I can get them there or on sale and with a coupon at Target I pick them up, because my family members all enjoy them. I took the mini sandwiches out of the bag, and topped them all with the left over melted chocolate. I have dipped them in chocolate before, so I knew this would be yummy. The only down side is, that they will disappear much quicker!

If these slim mints sound like something you'd like to make, here's the recipe, thanks to Jonni McCoy of Miserly Mom's. This recipe was in her cookbook Healthy Meals for Less. All my ingredients came from Aldis, except the peppermint which I already had on hand.

Slim Mint Chocolate Cookies
Makes 80
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Chilling Time: 2 hours
Cooking Time: 10 minutes/sheet
18 oz. devil's food cake mix
3 T. butter, melted
1/2 c. flour
1 egg
1/4 c. water
1/4 tsp. peppermint extract
1/4 tsp. peppermint extract
6 T. butter
4 c. semi-sweet chocolate chips
(I cut the coating ingredients in half, because I only had 2 c. of chips. And I only coated the tops of the cookies, but still had left over melted chocolate. So, if you only want to coat the tops, halve the ingredients listed above.)
In a large mixing bowl, combine the dough ingredients. Mix by hand until a crumbly dough forms. Roll the dough into 4 logs about 1 1/2 inches in diameter. Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate for 2 hours. (I actually did this step last night while I was already in the kitchen whipping up supper. Then today, all I had to do was pull them out and bake them.)
Remove wrapping, and slice logs into 1/2 inch cookie rounds. Bake on a greased nonstick baking sheet at 350 degrees for 10 minutes. Remove the cookies form the baking sheet immediately after removing from the oven, and cool on a cooling rack.
Place the coating ingredients in a double boiler over medium heat, and melt, stirring frequently. Add a bit of water (1 T. at a time) if it thickens too much. (I don't have a double boiler, so I placed the ingredients in a bowl and used the "melt" setting on my microwave, stirred, added a little water, and repeated until it was just right.) Once melted, remove chocolate from the heat and dip cookies one at a time into the chocolate (or just coat the tops), then place on a cooling rack to dry. Placing the rack in the refrigerator will speed up cooling time. Once dry, store in an airtight container.