Friday, February 27, 2009

Fun Animals

Joel took the day off on Wednesday so we could go to Fossil Rim south of Ft. Worth.
You can drive through the park (9 miles long) and pet the animals that walk right up to your car (zebra, giraffe, deer, ostrich, emu...). You can't get out of your car, but you still get a neat experience.
The kids were a little timid at first. Jenna was downright SCARED of the ostrich. But, she and Rylee eventually fed the animals out of their hand. Asa might have done it once.
My favorite was the giraffe eating from my hand, for sure! Well, that and when the zebra nipped Joel's arm. (We were told NOT to feed them by hand because they'll bite! You can tell which one is the rule breaker.)
The weather was beautiful, though a little windy. We were glad for the breeze since we were moving very slowly and were inside our car with the sun shining down on us.
About halfway through, there is a stopping point. There's a restaurant with overpriced food, a picnic area (highly recommended!), a gift shop, bathrooms (yeah!), and a petting zoo area. Joel had packed us a lunch, which was wonderful. Then, the kids enjoyed the petting zoo. Rylee brushed the kids (baby goats) for a very long time. She was really enjoying it. Jenna and Asa were having fun playing on the wooden ramp built for the goats (they don't use it apparently).
We ended up spending a LOT more time there than we had planned. They say it takes 2 1/2 to 3 hours to go through the park. We were there for 5 hours. But, it was a great day!
I just realized how few shots we got of the kids feeding the animals. We were so busy trying to help them that photo ops were passed by, I guess. I do have a few cool videos. Hopefully I can edit them together and post it soon.

Thursday, February 26, 2009

More About Food

Recipe organization is still underway. Feel free to still comment and help me out with it!

Next topic I want to throw out there is this--recipes in general!

I always feel "stuck" when it comes to menu planning. I feel like we are always eating the same things over and over again. I've also come to realize that half the battles we have as a family (between parents and kids) over eating good-for-you foods comes when I haven't planned well. In other words, I can handle some objections if I've been planning what we'll have for dinner all day. It's when my confidence is low that this battle becomes more difficult.

A friend recently introduced me to some freezer cooking. I'm liking that option. I will probably supplement it with some of what I've always done. But, the biggest thing that MUST change is the PLAN!

Well, I should say "I need to start planning."

I'm actually meeting with two friends who are in the same place of life with young kids and we're going to work on getting our acts together. Menu planning, cleaning schedule for home, holding each other accountable for daily QT with Jesus, less computer time, etc. I'm excited.

I need to be more organized...with my time and my home. Gotta get some order here!

So, what do you do for recipes/meals? Chicken breast, pork chops, and hamburger tend to be staples around here. We're a meat, veggies, starch family. Both grew up that way. We're trying to venture out, but it's hard to get used to.

How do you menu plan?
How do you keep from getting in a rut?
What is a favorite meal of your family's?

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Organizing Things

I've been cleaning out around the house. I have many piles.

I have sold quite a few things in the last several weeks (thank you, craigslist!), but I still have many items left to go. I will eventually have a yard sale, but I'm waiting for warmer weather. Seriously, this is my dining room table full of stuff to sell.
This picture doesn't even show the stuff on the floor in front of the table!

It's mostly stuff from the baby phase of our life (when we had lots of double items, too). Other things are just not used, so they need to go. It's so wonderful to be de-cluttering our house and garage.

But, the reason for my post today is actually RECIPES!

As I have been cleaning out my house and just living life, my recipe collection has been haunting me.

I sold quite a few recipe books in yard sales before moving from Pennsylvania. So, my cookbook collection isn't that crazy. I will probably get rid of a few more in the months ahead, but right now that part is okay.
What's haunting me is a pile of recipe cards that are stacked up and lots of recipes torn from magazines.
Just look at the pile!!!

I have tried to think of a way to organize my recipes so it works best for my lifestyle. I really like having the 4x6 card in front of me by the stove. Our apartment had a magnetic backsplash above the stove and I would just clip the recipe in a magnetic chip clip. I loved it! I have yet to figure out a good thing here at our house.

Also, I was gifted with a very nice recipe book from some special ladies. You can slide your 4x6 recipe cards into the sleeves and organize them by category. I loved it (being able to fully see the recipe as I flip through them) and immediately took out all my 4x6 cards to organize. Problem--not enough pages. And, I can't find refills. (The only ones online are not very inexpensive. So, they're not for me!)

I've been scouring the web for recipe organization. You wouldn't believe how popular a topic it is!

I think I've come up with two options.

The first one came to me while I was shopping at Wal-Mart yesterday. Punch a hole in the top left corner of each 4x6 card and put it on a ring. Have a ring for each food category (I don't get too detailed on categories.)

The second one came today while I was browsing the web. Get a 3-ring binder and page protectors. Slide recipes from magazines or print-outs from the web in page protectors. Get some protectors with 4x6 photo holders and use those for my cards. Only drawback to this method is just how many cards I have and the fact that those photo sheet protectors aren't super cheap either (they are cheaper than the refills for the smaller book I was gifted).

Both these options will allow for expansion and are flexible. They both will allow me to remove my 4x6 card. The cards on rings will require all my magazine recipes to be written on a card--maybe. The binder would allow me to have a pocket page where I can slide recipes yet to be tried.

So...what do YOU think? Come on, my friends! Please, please leave a comment and a suggestion. Even if you just say "I like idea #2" or vice versa. Let me know you're reading. Help me get organized!!!

And, no posting is truly complete without a shot of adorable cooks!

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Amazing Better Half

Happy Birthday Joel!

It was February 4. But, better late than never!

He's so amazing.

He loves Jesus. He loves me. He loves his children. He loves his family. He loves our friends. He loves the church (the people). He loves the lost.He is a hard worker. He is a giver. He is smart. He is creative. He is funny.

I'm trying to think of just one or two neat things to tell you about my great husband, but it's hard to narrow it down. He consistently leads our family with dependence upon the Lord. He is constantly seeking to serve others. He loves having people in our home and is a great host. He's a good cook, helps with housework, and has probably changed as many diapers as I have. When our children were babies he was always right beside me to meet their needs. Now that they're older, he reads to them, plays with them, and is always trying to find ways to make life fun for them.

I just can't put into words how great he is!
Happy Birthday, babe. I love you!

Friday, February 13, 2009

Anger

I really struggle with anger sometimes.

I have come a long way. It's not nearly the struggle it was just a year ago.

But, I still have a lot to learn. And, I still need to grow.

That's why this post by Heather really hit a chord with me.

It's honestly what I've been looking for. I've been thinking that I need to memorize some Scripture specific to the problems I face.

Years ago I did a Beth Moore Bible study. I think it was Breaking Free, but I can't remember exactly. I've done quite a few of her studies. She taught us to use index cards that are spiral bound and write Scriptures on them for areas of weakness.

I have my spiral bound index cards.

They have some Scriptures written down.

But, I never really used them like I should have.

Now, years later...

I have kids.

I get impatient.

I get angry.

A year ago, I would have said I was struggling with how to parent, particularly how to discipline.

Because I was struggling with what to do, I let anger have a hold.

But, then I participated in a parenting study. I highly recommend the book to every parent I know. It's called Shepherding a Child's Heart by Tedd Tripp. And, I definitely recommend the study guide that goes with it.

Joel and I read through the book with a group of other parents and we learned a lot. It really helped us define how we would discipline and raise our children. We set goals. We have ambitions.

But, I still struggled with anger.

The anger subsided once I had a plan. I think having a plan is at least half the battle, if not more.

But, I still have my flesh. You know, my flesh that wages war against God's Spirit, which lives inside me. Paul's words in Romans ring way too true in my life!

Romans 7:15, 18, 21-23 The Message
What I don't understand about myself is that I decide one way, but then I act another, doing things I absolutely despise. ... I obviously need help! I realize that I don't have what it takes. I can will it, but I can't do it. I decide to do good, but I don't really do it; I decide not to do bad, but then I do it anyway. It happens so regularly that it's predictable. The moment I decide to do good, sin is there to trip me up. I truly delight in God's commands, but it's pretty obvious that not all of me joins in that delight. Parts of me covertly rebel, and just when I least expect it, they take charge."

Praise be to God! Jesus Christ is the answer! And, I now have His Spirit living in me!

Romans 8:5,6 The Message
Those who trust in God's action in them find that God's Spirit is in them--living and breathing God!

So, now that I have a plan and have been encouraged to memorize Scripture again, I'm dusting off those spiral bound index cards.

I've just copied down at least a dozen Scriptures to help me know what to PUT ON each morning (as opposed to just saying "help me not get angry").

I'm on a journey.

The Lord is going to help me be more gentle (1 Tim. 6:11), using words of wisdom (Ps 37:30). He will help me restrain my tongue (Prov 17:27) and use words that bring healing rather than words that pierce like a sword (Prov 12:18; Prov 16:24). He will help me have pleasant words that promote instruction (Prov. 16:21), rather than too many words (Prov 10:19; Ecc 6:11). He will help me have words that are pleasing in His sight (Ps 19:14).

My God is able.

Feel free to hold me accountable!

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Free Jewelry!

My friend and our supporter, C. Beth, is having a jewelry giveaway on her blog!

The piece is absolutely adorable and anyone can enter to win!

Just click the picture and you'll be taken to C. Beth's blog (which is cool to read all the time!) and you can enter to win. Make sure you mention that Go Fletch sent you so I can get an extra entry! And then, feel free to refer your own friends.

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Loving Those With Leprosy

Did you know people still have leprosy?

Call me foolish, but I had no idea. Until last October, that is.

A team from GFA went to India for a tour last fall and returned with pictures and stories that broke my heart. One Tuesday during our prayer meeting I saw pictures of GFA missionaries cleaning the wounds of lepers and sharing the love of Christ. I came home that evening and cried. Saying to the Lord, "I just want to meet these brothers and sisters", I imagined being able to give them a hug and tell them Thank You.

The next day Joel and I were asked if we would be willing to lead a team tour in January!

During the first few days while we were in India, we went to West Bengal. I met some of those precious brothers and sisters I saw in the pictures. I gave them hugs. I told them Thank You. They are the hands and feet of Christ. They are serving in a way I cannot. They speak the language, know the culture, and are giving their lives!

I am so humbled to serve as their supporter.

We joined a group of lepers who were meeting for their weekly gathering. When we arrived they were singing worship. I have never in my life seen people with no hands clap. I will never forget what that pure worship looked like.

I'm including a story from the GFA website about the leprosy ministry. You can read more by visiting www.gfa.org and typing "leprosy" in the search box. I've been on staff for a year and had no idea our missionaries were doing this amazing work. God is doing so many things throughout Asia! What a joy to be part of His work!

*****

Gospel for Asia native missionary Garud Badal touches people with leprosy every day in West Bengal, India. He isn't afraid. He used to be one of them.

Carefully dressing a leprosy patient's wounds, Garud remembers back to a time when he suffered greatly and needed someone to help. He found out he had the disease when he was just nine years old.

Garud's family lived in poverty and had no means to pay for treatment. With his condition quickly deteriorating, Garud met a local church pastor who told him about the power and salvation of Jesus. But he only sneered at the pastor. His family fervently worshipped the traditional gods of their village, and he didn't believe Jesus could make a difference in his life.

Several years passed, and Garud was on his deathbed. The leprosy had become so bad, it was about to take his life. And it was when he was at his weakest that Garud remembered the words of the pastor who told him how Jesus healed many people with leprosy during His time on earth.

"Jesus can heal my sickness," Garud repeated to himself. And a new faith developed in his heart.

With tears in his eyes, he prayed and asked the Lord for forgiveness. Soon, Garud was singing songs of praise to Jesus right from his bed. Miraculously, the Lord completely healed Garud of his leprosy in only two weeks.

Garud dedicated his life to serving Jesus, and soon, he entered Bible college to prepare for his future ministry. After graduation Garud began serving as a Gospel for Asia native missionary, reaching out to those with whom he can relate most: the leprosy patients.

Today, Garud goes around his village helping those with leprosy by cleaning and dressing their wounds. Their eyes light up as he cares for them and touches their disease-stricken bodies.

Deeply moved by his acts of kindness, they desire to know the Source of his incredible love. And Garud shares with them his amazing testimony and about the power of Christ.

Many of the leprosy patients have received Jesus as their Savior, and as a result, Garud now leads a Christian fellowship. And more than 80 children are attending Sunday School classes he has started in a leprosy colony.

Garud requests prayer that many more people with leprosy will come to know Jesus after seeing His love demonstrated in a practical way. He also asks for prayer that the Lord will send healing to those with the terrible disease.

Monday, February 2, 2009

Riding Camels

While we were in northern India we had the opportunity to ride a camel. Very neat experience. It was quite bumpy. And, camels don't bend down all that gracefully. They also stink. But, the experience is still cool. And blog worthy!
While I missed my kids, many people were praying for us to have God's peace while away. And, I have to say God delivered. In fact, the last day we were in India I asked Joel, "Is there something wrong with me? My kids are halfway around the world and I'm fine! Totally fine. I mean, I would like to see them, but I'm okay." I guess when it says He will give us peace that surpasses understanding (Phil. 4), that's what it means! I didn't understand it. But, I'm so glad He gave it. I was really able to focus on why we were there. And, I learned a lot.
Our return to Texas
More to come...
video