Saturday, December 28, 2013

For Experiencing Christ is Life (hymn)

I stumbled across this today, and thought I'd share the encouragement.  

Art thou hung’ring for the fulness
  Of the blessing Christ doth give?
Longing now to learn the secret
  Of the life He bids thee live?
In His word thine answer standeth,
  “Christ who is our Life” it saith;
Open now thy heart, and trust Him,
  There to dwell, henceforth, by faith.

Christ, the Lord’s Anointed, reigning
  O’er the life He died to win,
Daily shall reveal more fully
  His great power, without, within.
What thou never could’st accomplish
  Shall His Spirit work through thee,
While thy soul this witness beareth,
  ’Tis not I, but Christ in me.

In Him dwelleth all God’s fulness,
  In Him thou art made complete;
Rise, and claim thy heavenly birthright,
  Kneeling at thy Father’s feet.
He will never disappoint thee,
  Praise Him that the gift is thine;
Then go forth to live each moment
  On sufficiency divine.

Lord, I come, and simply resting
  On Thy faithful, changeless word,
I believe the blood doth cleanse me,
  And that Christ is crowned Lord.
Grant henceforth a ceaseless outflow
  Of Thy life and love through me;
Reaching those who sit in darkness,
  Winning priceless souls to Thee.


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Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Merry Christmas from the Abellas

It is Christmas morning, and all is quiet in the Abella home.  2 of our 3 children are upstairs, as is hubby, all snuggled deep under covers.  They don't smell the fresh made cinnamon toast from homemade breads and the warm bread pudding with homemade buttercream frosting sitting in the kitchen awaiting them, or if they do they're not ready to stick a toe out into the chilly air.  The coffee is ready, as is a pot of fresh brewed pumpkin spice tea to warm us up on this cold morning.

Today is Christmas, the day we celebrate Christ's birth.  Without His birth, He couldn't have lived a sinless life, preached and lived out the Gospel, and allow Himself to be our sacrifice, our propitiation...  Without His birth, there wouldn't have been the Cross.  I know, we don't know His exact birthday, and we can surmise different days in the fall...that's fine..until He tells us exactly what day, our family will continue to celebrate on the traditional day, with that reminder of what He came to earth to do.

This year has been a difficult one for our family.  The last half was completely stressful, with numerous hospitalizations for my biological son Kevin, a rotator cuff surgery for hubby, and a move to a new home for us all in a short amount of time.  It has been a faith builder, a tester, and a strength builder.  It has made us appreciate more the love of Jesus, His grace and mercy, and made us lean upon Him for everything--rather than just paying lip service, actually doing it.  He has shown us He will take care of all of our needs, even some wants, and to Him be the glory!

Right as we needed it, He provided us a house larger in size than our old one, when the landlord chose not to fix a rather major plumbing issue (raw sewage overflowing in the basement for weeks)...we chose to move due to the health issue, and was blessed with a 4 bedroom 2 story home 4 blocks from hubby's dad and mom...right where he wanted to be.  Each child has their own room now, they are no longer cramped into tiny rooms to share.  Our heating source is different, and it is a bit harder to keep the house warm, but it is a teaching tool to use layers of clothing, blankets and comforters, to eat more of my home baked goodies that I make in the night during the coldest of nights (to keep the pipes from freezing and bursting in the single digit cold I stay up and bake and keep space heaters going--I can sleep during the day and it prevents a huge problem with water). The move was hard, as we decided to move on a Friday, I started packing on Saturday, we put deposits on this house on Monday, and started moving in right after.  Hubby had his rotator cuff surgery the following Friday, repairing a total tear that had left him unable to use his dominant arm.  Family and church family rallied with us and helped us get moved, and it was mostly accomplished in a matter of days.  The unpacking is taking a little bit longer--there's still one room left to tend to, but with 9 rooms and some large closets, cleaning and tending to family needs, and handling issues that arise with special needs children, it could be much much worse.

With the move came larger bills associated with the expedition.  Much higher electric bills (the heat is electric and it's been bitter), a raise in most other monthly bills, and seemingly tiny incidentals that come from left field all take a larger bite of our small income.  We didn't have the funds for Christmas presents, let alone much of the bare necessities.

But God came through in a way only He can do.

He moved 2 agencies to take on our family for Thanksgiving and Christmas, without us applying or asking for anything.  One group, who is close by family--hubby's sister led the way--filled our pantry, fridge, and freezer with enough food to last so far a month and a half.  It freed up funds to purchase flour and baking necessities to work with as well.  Another group, who is close by life long ties to hubby's family, adopted the kids with an "angel tree" type thing, and loaded them with more presents than we buy in 3 years or more.  The kids don't know they were not going to have any presents, or 1 or 2 at the most, this year.  They see the overwhelming abundance under the tree, and on each tag, they see only the "to".  They keep asking if we bought those all...we keep telling them that God provided for them...and leave it at that.  We know God moved these Christian folks to do what they've done to help us, and we're very appreciative of them, that they also are close to the Lord and able to hear when He speaks to them.  I still tear up seeing the amount, knowing where they came from...and how people could love others so much to do what they do. :)

In my own way, I've tried to give of what I have.  I bake a lot, homemade breads from whole grains, sourdoughs, all from scratch, and when I bake I make for an army.  This lets me give away to others.  I've been enjoying sending loaves of pumpkin bread, apple cider bread, homemade cookies, etc with Mr. Kevin's in-home attendant (who may or may not know the Lord, but praying we can be a witness), loaves of bread to church family, friends, family.  It isn't much, but it's what I have, given of my time, heart, and hands.  I wish I could give more....

I wish you all a Merry Christmas and a wonderful holiday season!  Take a look at your blessings, and remember Who is the giver of all things!


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Sunday, December 22, 2013

My Preferred Way to Read the Bible

My Preferred Way to Read the Bible

Jim Elliff presents a different way to read through the Bible in the coming year.  This may well be the method we go to this year, in order to absorb more of the Word!

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Thursday, November 28, 2013

Happy Thanksgiving!

It has been about a month since I've had chance to sit down and write again...but this will be short and sweet.

Today we're to set aside the day to give thanks to the Lord for all He has done for us, to us, through us, with us, without us, basically everything.  He deserves the thanks and praise for all that He does day in and day out that we oftentimes overlook and completely miss.

What are you thankful for today?

Me, I'm thankful for a new house, though rented, it's larger, with more space for the kids to have their own rooms and "safe" areas.  I'm thankful for the new washer and dryer, which has let me do mountains of laundry in a short amount of time.  I'm thankful for the past experiences I've had, as it has developed strength and faith that is needed to handle the current set of experiences that seem to grow harder each day as the children get older.

I'm thankful for God's gift of salvation, that He sent Jesus to die for me and my sins, so that I may be with Him forever rather than apart from Him in hell.

Take the time today, every day, to tell God how thankful you are!

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Saturday, October 26, 2013

Beautiful Backroads

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Sunset over the Kansas prairie
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It's autumn again, and the colors are absolutely beautiful!  Here in Kansas, at least in the little rural area we live in, this means even the yard itself is turning different shades.  Yes, some parts of our yard are turning shades of light reds and yellow, similar to the trees!

Here in South East Kansas, the sugar maples are blazing in crimson, orange, fiery yellows, and still hints of greens.  Smaller bushes are deep in reds, and leaves are starting to fill the yards.

Lately I've been travelling from the SE part of Kansas to Topeka to handle home visits with my son while he is at a psychiatric residential treatment facility (PRTF) for a short while.  We're talking approximately 180 miles one way, through the flat prairies and the edges of the Flint Hills.  This drive has been beautiful as the seasons change and colors turn from greens to a whole variety.

The photo above, from, shows a typical scene I see on the drive north on Hwy 75 between Yates Center and Topeka.  The land is still covered in fescue and other grasses, some baled for hay, some left standing, and lots of rolling hills.  This is what I imagine when I read the Little House books, where Laura describes her time in Kansas.  We live not too far from the area the Ingalls family travelled through and lived back in the late 1860's or early 1870's, so it is fun to imagine what it looked like back then.  There are many old Victorian houses and towns built along the trails from the early days of the territory and then state, and honestly some of the scenery and buildings I see along the more rural route to Topeka looks as though it hadn't moved along with time.  Old barns and sheds, outhouses, big beautiful unpainted Victorians, old smaller farm houses stand lonely and open in the fields along the way.

Bourbon County, KS (my own picture)

Log cabin in Lyndon, KS  city park on Hwy 75, courtesy of Capitol Journal of Topeka

Piqua, KS, St. Michael's Catholic Church (my own pictures)

What impresses me the most are the old buildings still in use.  One town I drive through a lot lately, named Iola, has kept their old buildings in working order, some as museums, some as commercial businesses, and many beautiful homes standing proud along the main streets of town.

Iola, KS, my own picture

Iola, KS, my own picture

  Another little town, Ottawa, has a gorgeous train depot museum complete with "incoming" train that never moves, as well as stunning old Victorians.

Old Burlington Flour Mill, Burlington KS

When you get a chance, take the rural route to your destination!  While these pictures were linked to sites, these are what I see driving each time I travel to Topeka.  I didn't have shoulder room on the highway to safely pull over and get pictures of everything I'd love to share.  There's so much beauty in the rural areas, little things you miss taking the interstates.  God created a lot of beauty, in the changing trees, in the fields of fescue and beans and other grains, the rolling hills, flat plains, and it's a shame to miss what He has created!

While it takes a little longer travelling the back ways, you'd be glad you did!

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Wednesday, October 23, 2013

What Is Craftsy? Your Questions Answered!

What is Craftsy?
Craftsy is a worldwide craft community offering online classes. It also has a patterns marketplace where independent designers can sell their patterns; a supplies shop with great deals on yarn, fabric, and class kits; and a projects section where members share pictures of their latest craft successes. With over two million members and counting, Craftsy has something for just about everyone, in categories ranging from quilting, sewing, knitting, painting, photography, cooking, and more. 

Why should I take a class online?
Online education isn’t just for schools and universities anymore. Craftsy courses provide you the convenience of a world-class instructor in your home, whenever you want to learn. Online education, no matter what subject, is a great alternative to in-person classes for a number of reasons. 

With many online learning opportunities being on-demand, you are able to learn at your own pace, anytime. Online learning is a fantastic alternative to in-store craft classes for people with busy schedules or who have difficulty leaving the house. It also allows you to watch a troubling section over-and-over again, so you can see exactly how a technique is carried out, or refer back to your class for relevant concepts before beginning any new projects.

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Learning to Quilt--Hand Stitched Quilt Top

I finally did it.  I began working on a quilt.

This is something I've been wanting to do for years, using fabrics that I've held on to for a good 10 years.  I wanted to make something to hand down to the kids, but never thought I could do it.

Then I stumbled on to this little beauty--English Paper Piecing.

I really don't like using rotary cutters, and I have not learned how to make exact seams, even though I can make dresses, skirts, pants, you name it, with ease.  The exactness of quilting befuddled me.

With paper piecing, it is much different.  There's no machine.  No rotary cutter.  Just a hand needle, thread, scissors, and pieces of paper cut to the template you choose.

And fabric.  Lots and lots of fabric.

I dug around out in the shed and found the stash of clothes I'd saved from mom's possessions.  She had left behind clothing still with tags, and some that had cigarette burns and such (yes, she was a smoker).  She had an array of prints that reflected a 1930's to 1950's era, and although these were reproductions, they worked.  So, I added these to the stash to make a quilt to hand down.

I found a site that talked about Grandma's Flower Garden, and how it worked to make it, and the site had many links to other areas that discussed this as well.  So I made a hexagon template and went to work making the little pieces that go into this "block".

Actually, I cheated and traced this pattern to cover a sheet of regular paper, and copied the page multiple times onto card stock and basic paper, to get a few hundred of these babies.  It sure beats tracing it over and over and over and over and over and over again.  If you *do* want to trace over and over and over again, you can use up note cards, scrap paper, etc.

Basically you take this template, pin it to a piece of fabric slightly larger than it is, fold the fabric over the template, and baste the fabric to the paper.  All the instructions I've seen have the seam allowance at 1/4 inches, but as I mentioned before, I can't do exact seam allowances...not even in the ball park on this one...but the extra folds over just as nicely and leaves plenty of room for the stitching to come.

When you get some of these together, put them right sides together (pretty fabric sides together), and whip stitch them at the edges, catching fabric and preferably not the paper/cardstock.  If the sides don't match up perfectly, you can ease the longer side to the shorter side using the hand stitching, making the pieces work.  Isn't that a great thing of working by hand--you can fix errors with little to no effort beyond what you're already doing!

When you have your pieces stitched together, remove the papers from the "block".  Remove the tacking stitches that you put in the papers to hold the fabric in place before you pieced them together, and then slip the papers out.  Then, you can reuse these papers for more piecing.

Folks in the older days used papers from letters and such to make these, and sometimes left the papers in for extra insulation.  If you want to do this, by all means go for it.  I will pass this time around.

I have yet to go around mine in a solid color, like white or beige, to create the "walking path" that goes around the colored "garden" blocks.  i haven't decided which color I'd like to do for that at this point.

My plan for this quilt is to put the solid color "walking path" around the blocks, then put them together.  For the edges, rather than leave them as hexagons, I plan to make more of the templates, and cut them in half, so that when they are put in place on the edges, it creates a solid line, which will make it simpler to quilt layers of the top/batting/back and then bind it.  I'd like to make matching shams to go with this as well, using up pieces from loved ones, scraps from my scrap bag, well loved and worn clothing, reusing what is here already.  I'd like to make one for each child and pass them down through them to their kids.

So, if you like to work by hand on crafts, this is a good one to try!

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Monday, October 21, 2013

Axiom At Home: Mint Extract

Mint has taken over my little herb garden, and I've been seeking ways to use it besides the traditional tea.  I stumbled across this today, and thought I'd share!

Axiom At Home: Mint Extract:

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Fresh Baked Apple Cider Sourdough Bread

It is that time of the year, fresh apples, apple cider mills running full steam, pumpkin patches, pretty fall leaves, and fresh hearty breads baking.  (insert Tim "the Toolman" Taylor grunts here)

Hubby brought home a gallon of cider from the Louisburg Cider Mill, which is around 60 or so miles away but sells their cider here at a locally owned grocery store.  It's wonderful!  He requested some hearty bread made with this cider, and so I obliged.

Now, this is a recipe I threw together on the fly.  I have no real recipe or name for this.  But, if you're used to a "pinch" of this and a "bit" of that, you'll do just fine.

This recipe calls for sourdough.  Why?  I have half of a stock pot brewing in the fridge that needs used, so I threw some in.  It's a rye/white brew I started a year and a half ago, froze gallons of it, made hundreds of biscuits, breads, cakes, cookies, you name it out of it.  I poured in 1 full cup of the sourdough brew in a big mixing bowl attached to the Sunbeam Mix Master.

I let that warm up, as it's been refrigamarated for a long while and had a cold.  While it was warming up I added in 3 tablespoons of bulk yeast, 1/4 cup honey, and a cup of warm water.  It made the sourdough burp and pass gass, and the bulk yeast was pretty happy too.  I used the dough hooks to kinda mix it up a little and spread things around, and let it set a few minutes so it can burp and fart proudly in the bowl.

Then add in 3 cups of flour.  I put in some whole wheat first, and then worked that in to the liquid.  From there I put in a cup and a half of apple cider, and worked that in with the hooks.  Let me tell you, the yeast in the sourdough and the bulk yeast love apple cider and all that sweetness as much as it does honey.  I drizzled in some olive oil for grins, just a smidge, and then put in 2 to 3 cups of white flour.  Basically use as much as you need so that when it is all mixed it will make a ball on the hooks.  You'll have to use your judgement on that one.  I put in flour in 1/2 cup intervals just to test and make sure, and usually end up around a total of 5 to 6 cups of all flour combined.

Once your hooks have mixed this up and made a nice ball of dough, put the dough in a bowl that is well oiled.  Again, I used olive oil--it's a staple in our house, but use whatever you want.  I'm not picky, if we don't have olive on hand, I'll use vegetable, no biggie.  Cover with a towel, plastic, whatever, and let this baby rise til at least double.  Depending on the heat/humidity in your house, could be a half hour, an hour, somewhere in between, who knows.

When it grows to at least double, punch it down and pop it into a greased pan or two.  I like the long French bread pan hubby gave me for my birthday, and one batch makes one long loaf.  It will also make 2 regular sized ones nicely.  Or a dozen or two rolls.

Let this rise again, and then put into a preheated 350 degree oven.

Tip:  put some water, like maybe 1/4 cup or less, over the top of your loaf/loaves.  It will make a crispy crust as it bakes.  Or, put in a pan of water in the oven alongside the pans of bread.  Bake for 20 or 30 minutes or until it's golden brown on top.  YUM!

This makes a loaf perfect for slicing!  I was able to make slices the same size or slightly thinner than store bought bread, and make toasted sandwiches for supper with plenty left over.


Shared with:  Jam Hands, Make Ahead Meals For Moms, Keeping It Simple Crafts, Skip to My Lou, Flour Me With Love, The Better Mom, The Modest Mom, Creating My Way to Success, Say Not Sweet Anne, Growing Home, Time Warp Wife, Sugar Bee, Lady Bug Blessings, A Wise Woman Builds Her Home, Deep Roots At Home, Raising Homemakers, Walking Redeemed, Buns in My Oven, Someday Crafts, Ducks'n a Row

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Friday, October 18, 2013

Does the Bible Condone Polygamy--Part 4: New Testament Marriage

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Health to the Bride, Published 1933
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In the previous portions of this series, we've examined various marriages in the Old Testament and how God dealt with them.

Today we take a look at what God says about marriage in the New Testament.

Husbands and wives are a large topic in the New Testament.  Both have their own commandments, and are a topic in multiple books within the New Testament.

First we look at Matthew 19:4-6

(4) And he answered and said unto them, Have ye not read , that he which made them at the beginning
made them male and female,
(5 )And said , For this cause shall a man leave father and mother, and shall cleave to his wife: and they twain shall be one flesh?
(6)  Wherefore they are no more twain, but one flesh. What therefore God hath joined together , let not man put asunder .

Our leadership within the church has some pretty strict guidelines for marriage.  You'll see that there is no sign of more than one spouse in these verses that give requirements.....  

This is a true saying, if a man desire the office of a bishop, he desireth a good work.A bishop then must be blameless, the husband of one wife, vigilant, sober, of good behaviour, given to hospitality, apt to teach;Not given to wine, no striker, not greedy of filthy lucre; but patient, not a brawler, not covetous;One that ruleth well his own house, having his children in subjection with all gravity;(For if a man know not how to rule his own house, how shall he take care of the church of God?)Not a novice, lest being lifted up with pride he fall into the condemnation of the devil.Moreover he must have a good report of them which are without; lest he fall into reproach and the snare of the devil.Likewise must the deacons be grave, not doubletongued, not given to much wine, not greedy of filthy lucre;Holding the mystery of the faith in a pure conscience.10 And let these also first be proved; then let them use the office of a deacon, being found blameless.11 Even so must their wives be grave, not slanderers, sober, faithful in all things.12 Let the deacons be the husbands of one wife, ruling their children and their own houses well.13 For they that have used the office of a deacon well purchase to themselves a good degree, and great boldness in the faith which is in Christ Jesus.14 These things write I unto thee, hoping to come unto thee shortly:15 But if I tarry long, that thou mayest know how thou oughtest to behave thyself in the house of God, which is the church of the living God, the pillar and ground of the truth.16 And without controversy great is the mystery of godliness: God was manifest in the flesh, justified in the Spirit, seen of angels, preached unto the Gentiles, believed on in the world, received up into glory.
Our pastors and deacons are held to a high standard, in marriage, home life, public life.  They are husbands to one wife, not many wives.  We are also called to be ministers of the gospel, each individually under the leadership of a pastor in a local church, it is our job to go out and get the gospel out to as many as we can...are we not to hold to a high standard as those who are put in leadership over us?  Why would God give such a standard to those He chooses to preach His Word in the church, but not expect those of us in the pew to do the same?  That would be hypocritical of our Lord, and that isn't in His nature.  

The New Testament shows where our marriages are one man and one woman.  It's spelled out directly in I Timothy.  Titus, I Corinthians, and other books give husbands and wives commands on how to treat one another, how to work with one another, but never is there mention of how to treat multiple wives.  

What are your thoughts as we pause here at I Timothy?  Do you believe the Bible condones polygamy?

Day 4:  Old Testament Examples
Day 3:  The First Polygamous Marriage
Day 2:  The First Marriage
Day 1:  Introduction

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Thursday, October 17, 2013

Homemaking on the Homestead: Frugal Grocery Budget Tips

Need ideas on how to make a grocery budget stretch?  Stop by Homemaking on the Homestead for a frugal grocery budget tip list!!  You won't be sorry!  These are great ideas, and we do many of them already--they are very effective in making budgets stretch.

Homemaking on the Homestead: Frugal Grocery Budget Tips:     How do you save money on the grocery budget and still eat as healthy as possible, especially in this day of rising grocery costs...

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