Tuesday, November 25, 2008

The ungrateful debtor

Give thanks to the Lord, for He is good. His love endures forever.

I was recently looking for a few books about thanksgiving to read to Iain in preparation for this wonderful holiday and I found nothing suitable. The books I saw were either about the somewhat dubious historical origins of the holiday or about eating or at best about "giving thanks". But of those few books that actually talked about thankfulness, even fewer mentioned who we were supposed to be thankful to. Most read like "A List of Things I Like". I like my house, my car, my food, my toys, my family. So thanks, whoever is out there, for giving me some things I like.

But what about people who have nothing? Or have a terminal illness? Or have lost something they value deeply? Are they called to thankfulness?

These things I remember
as I pour out my soul:
how I used to go with the multitude,
leading the procession to the house of God,
with shouts of joy and thanksgiving
among the festive throng.

Why are you downcast, O my soul?
Why so disturbed within me?
Put your hope in God,
for I will yet praise him,
my Savior and my God.
My soul is downcast within me;
therefore I will remember you
from the land of the Jordan,
the heights of Hermon—from Mount Mizar. Psalm 42:4-5

I am in pain and distress;
may your salvation, O God, protect me.

I will praise God's name in song
and glorify him with thanksgiving.

This will please the LORD more than an ox,
more than a bull with its horns and hoofs. Psalm 69:29-31

What are we truly thankful for?

Give thanks to the Lord, for He is good. His love endures forever.

I'm thankful for his unshakeable love that chose me before the world began. For the heartache He has saved me from and for the heartache He has led me through. I'm thankful for His almighty power which can never ever fail. I'm thankful for His goodness. He is purity itself. How lovely to look at unadulterated good. There is not even the tiniest flaw in Him, and if I think so it is because there are deep flaws in me. I'm thankful for His lovingkindness that loves me, the covenant breaker. The murder, the adulterer, the idolator, the thief. I'm thankful that though this world is broken, it can not break me, because of the One who died and shed His immortal blood for me. Thank you God!

And can it be that I should gain
An interest in the Savior’s blood?
Died He for me, who caused His pain—
For me, who Him to death pursued?
Amazing love! How can it be,
That Thou, my God, shouldst die for me?
Amazing love! How can it be,
That Thou, my God, shouldst die for me?

No condemnation now I dread;
Jesus, and all in Him, is mine;
Alive in Him, my living Head,
And clothed in righteousness divine,
Bold I approach th’eternal throne,
And claim the crown, through Christ my own.
Bold I approach th’eternal throne,
And claim the crown, through Christ my own.

And Can It Be, Charles Wesley

Dear Father, Please fill my heart with the true spirit of thanksgiving, this week and always. In Jesus' name, Amen.

Monday, November 10, 2008

For I am with you, says the LORD.

I took you from the ends of the earth,
from its farthest corners I called you.
I said, 'You are my servant';
I have chosen you and have not rejected you.

So do not fear, for I am with you;
do not be dismayed, for I am your God.
I will strengthen you and help you;
I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.

Isaiah 41:9-10

These verses have been a big encouragement to me lately-- how much more I need to think on them!

Life is never predictable, and it is my first reaction to begin to worry and fear whenever there is uncertainty in my life. So I'm worried a lot. And that's a sin. I can't begin to describe how harmful worry is to my soul. When I cling to my fears, I rebel against the Lord. Clutching my concerns to my chest, my mind races with how I'm going to deal with it-- how can I fix it? No wonder I'm afraid. I'm trusting in myself.

Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.

Philippians 4:4-6

So today I want to cast my cares on Him. He is capable and He is wise. Why cling to my stress and worry? He is my loving heavenly Father.

We have some big decisions facing our family-- as always it seems! Please pray for us if you have a moment and are reading this. We would love to see our family grow, if that is the Lord's will. There are many factors that play into this and due to the much more public nature of blog now than 3 years ago, I think it is the better part of wisdom to leave it at that. If you want to know more for the purposes of prayer and encouragement, please feel free to come to me and ask me privately.

Dear Heavenly Father,
I trust You. You are good and holy. I know that what you do is right. Please help me to remember this each and every day, especially on days that seem dark and scary. I cast my cares on You Father. If You are for me, who can be against me? I know that I am valuable because of You and Your love for me-- and that Your love doesn't wax and wane depending on how well I'm doing at a given moment. Help me to find my security in You. I love You Lord and I thank you so much for Your covenant faithfulness and lovingkindness. Bless Your holy name. Amen.

The Promised Menu Plan

Ok, so here is the menu I came up with. I'm just listing the dinners because I'm too lazy to type it all out! For breakfast we generally have cereal or toast, and I plan on making some granola this week. For lunch it is usually leftovers or a sandwich.

Friday: Foccacia bread to share at our friend's house
Saturday: Dinner out! :)
Sunday: Pot Roast (we had a lovely visit with some new friends while sharing this meal)
Monday: Sausage roll (thanks Sarah!!)
Tuesday: Beef Strogonoff with leftovers from pot roast
Wednesday: Chicken curry with rice
Thursday: Jacket potatoes topped with leftovers or tuna

There's the sausage plait that Sarah recommended. It looks great! I made it on Friday and froze it. It is defrosting at the moment. I also had enough left over filling for another plait, butI was out of yeast, so I froze it in a baggie for later use.

In other news, I'm feeling woefully discouraged today and am thankful for the prayers of my mother and the encouraging words of my dear friend Christina. It is amazing how much power the tongue has-- to build up or to destroy. I'm going to continue to prayerfully plug along and trust that the Lord knows all that is happening below the surface. Though I see little progress in my life, He is at work, and He never fails.

Friday, November 07, 2008

Rejoicing in the little things

Those of you who know me know that I am not a seamstress. Yet I had an old body pillow with no pillowcase. I love having a body pillow-- they are so comfortable. When I was pregnant with Iain, a body pillow helped me sleep at night. Anyway, I was pricing pillowcases and I keep seeing them for $10-$15, which seems unreasonably high to me. And the selection wasn't particularly nice. So I dug out my sewing machine and made this pillowcase last week. It cost me a significant amount of aggravation, but it is the right color and made from a soft flannel that it is nice for snuggling. I bought two yards of fabric at Wal-mart for $2.50 a yard and I already had the thread, so it cost me $5 plus my time. So I'm very happy with it.

Thursday, November 06, 2008

Maddening Menus

To make the most of resources, I always plan what meals I'm going to have for the week before I go shopping. Every week I spend at least 30 minutes looking through cookbooks, searching online, or staring into space trying to conjure up meals utilizing what I have on hand and what's on sale. Don't ask me how it is possible for a woman who has been cooking dinner every night for almost seven and 1/2 years to be stumped every week when it comes time to plan a menu. But there it is. So I was wondering if anybody wanted to help a bit this week? :) I actually don't have to cook tomorrow night since we're going to a friend's house. So I could possibly do some baking or freezer cooking to get ahead.

At any rate, I'm pretty well stocked at the moment thanks to a buy one get one free meat sale at Albertson's. We don't eat a lot of meat, especially beef or pork since it is expensive, so this is very exciting.

Here's what I've got:
2 packages bratwurst
1 package ground sausage
1 whole chicken
1 beef roast
2 packs of chicken breasts
2 packs of pork chops
Lunchmeat (also a treat!)
fresh spinach
curry paste
cream of mushroom soup
diced tomates
canned veg
tomato soup
chicken broth
monterray jack cheese

So what should I make? I left off some staples and I can go to the store to fill in a few items, but we have plenty of food and we need to eat what we have. If you've got an idea or recipe, I'm all ears. I'll share my final menu plan after I figure out what it is.

Pizza Parlor Fun

Earlier this week I had the blessing of going on a little "mommy date" with Iain. We went to Flying Pie Pizzeria with the Idaho Mom's Network for a tour and we got to make our own pizza! Flying Pie is considered to be the best pizza place in Boise, and I must say that I agree. Here we are waiting to get started.

They had all kinds of fun hats for the kids to wear while they constructed their pizzas. Iain choose the crown, but it was so big that it looked like a royal rasta hat! He didn't leave it on for too long.

After washing our hands, we got to spread sauce and sprinkle cheese on our pizza dough.

And of course, there was some quality-control testing to be done.

Next came the meat and the olives. Yum, yum! It was very hard for Iain to be patient and not eat his pizza uncooked. I'm actually not sure if he is adding ingredients or taking them off in this picture!

Next we named our pizzas and gave them to the staff to be cooked in the oven. We called ours "Iain's Sampler". Then they gave us drinks and breadsticks and showed us the massive dough mixer. I couldn't believe the size of it. It makes enough dough for almost 200 pizzas, and they make the dough fresh every morning.

Next we saw our pizzas cooking in the oven. Then we got to eat them!

Iain and I both really enjoyed our morning at Flying Pie. If you are ever in Boise, you have to check them out!

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

Free Snacks!

I have a ton of things that I'm looking forward to blogging about, but I just have a minute, so I'll share this quickie. I got these for .68 cents today! Woohoo! I really like these fruit leathers for Iain (and me too!) because they're 100% fruit. Sadly, they're also a bit pricey. But I wrote to the company complimenting their product and requesting some coupons and they gave me some coupons for free fruit leathers. So I only had to pay tax on these. Writing to your favorite companies really pays off because you can get coupons for the stuff you love-- and maybe even a few freebies. What a blessing!

Saturday, November 01, 2008

First American Halloween

We took Iain to a trunk-or-treat party on Wednesday night, and being the frugal mama that I am, I decided to make Iain's halloween costume. He is a train-- and a very sad one-- if you can't tell from the pictures.

He actually refused to wear this costume on Wednesday, so we transitioned to a backup. Iain the builder!

Here he is wearing a fireman's hat that they gave him that night. Costume # 3! It was at about this point, while admiring the candy haul, that Iain decided dressing up was ok.

So on Friday he wore his costume without too much complaint.

This was our first time taking Iain trick or treating, and it was such a blessing. I wanted to have a child for so long-- it is such a joy to get to do kid stuff with our son. He did very well saying thank you to everyone. We had dinner with our friend Melody and then walked around the block trick or treating. We all had a really nice time.