12.31.2013

Happy 2014

Happy New Year 2014!!!! Early.

Our family will be having the rest of their Christmas this week so I am sending out prayers and loving new year blessings a day early.

Abundance House blog thanks you dear readers for your faithful support and encouragement. Each and every post has at least one view thanks to each and every one of you. Now maybe that isn't much when compared to some blogs out there, but I don't care about that here. I am just unbelievably honored that someone takes the time out of their busy life to click on the blog and read the words they find there. Thank you a million times over. Thank You.

Easing our way gently into a soothing rhythm during the coming months is how I hope to be moving through the brisk refreshing season of winter. One never knows though so I'll refrain from stating anything definite. There is just too much unknown.

However the coming season flows, it is my prayer that you learn more of God and become more closely acquainted with Him than you ever dreamt possible. That's my prayer for me too. Perhaps we should pray it for each other? Have a Happy Happy New Year! Do Not Fear! God Is Near!

In His love,
Abundantly Blessed

12.30.2013

Kids - A Mama Never Knows

A mother never knows what a day will bring. Honestly, a mother never knows what will happen from moment to moment. In the flash of an eye, or faster, everything can change. All might be going blissfully well then turn to traumatic tragedy without warning. Then again, it can happen the other way around too. Tragedy can turn to triumph in a miraculous moment too. Consider Joseph being in prison one minute and standing before Pharoah the next. Before the day's end he found himself second in command only to Pharoah. Now that's a suddenly turnaround type moment.

That's the adventure of being alive, not knowing what the next moment will hold. Being an individual who finds security in steady rhythms and routines, it has taken many years for me to see the unpredictableness of living as adventure. I haven't always found it such a pleasant reality. Honestly, I haven't always found reality pleasant. Pretend was much more satisfying to a shy little chubby girl growing up in the Midwest. No wonder reading was a favorite way to spend my days. How wonderful it was to read the non real adventures found within the pages of novels. Novel characters are much less risky to engage than real live living human beings a.k.a. people.

Escapism was a means of coping for years and years. Reading was perhaps one of the greatest avenues of escape I used throughout my growing up years, through part of my adult years too. When reality became too messy, a book would chase away the bad or at least provide a temporary refuge of fiction to hide behind for a few hours.

Please don't misunderstand. I still enjoy a good novel. They are a welcome change of pace, and I enjoy learning truths from God's Word through a carefully told story in a book written by a Godly author. I learn best from stories. Guessing most of us do since Jesus told so many of them when He taught.

Since it isn't the novel itself that was the source of me not engaging reality, the issue turned out to be much more close and personal. Me. I was the one at the root of that nasty escapism habit. It was a choice. An unknowing one, but a choice nonetheless. Thankfully, God gently leads and instructs. He is transforming me by the renewing of my mind, just as His Word says He will.

Now I appreciate the adventure of real life and am gradually learning to embrace the unknown, the unpredictability of this life God has me living. Notice, I said gradually learning. Life is a process after all. Learning to be actively engaged in living life for real has been another unforeseen result of choosing intentional realness. 2013 is drawing to a close. Unlike last year when there was a definite urging towards intentional and real, 2014 hasn't whispered anything in my heart's ear yet. I'll be listening closely these next few days though. Certainly don't want to miss the new of the New Year.

Maybe the new is already here. Maybe it is going to be a continuation of being actively engaged in living. Living life for real, so to speak. Maybe that's where intentional and real take a person, to living actively for real. Faith is known by its works. Faith without works is dead. So, maybe this being actively engaged in life is the works of choosing intentional and real by faith. Definitely thinking on this some more.

Thinking on real living as the year ends and another begins anew,
Abundantly Blessed @ Abundance House

12.28.2013

Pray Mama, Pray

When attitudes flare and hormones they rage, pray Mama, pray.
When smiles are sweet and behavior a treat, pray Mama, pray.

When teenagers rant and preschoolers rave, pray Mama, pray.
When dogs and kids are best buds and play all the day, pray Mama, pray.

Meltdowns wax hot. Tempers skyrocket. Sometimes there's very little money in the pocket.
No matter what comes.  Never mind what goes. Always pray Mama. For it is God alone who knows.

Old years go. New ones come. The moon rises with the setting of the sun.
Stars run their course. Clouds scuttle by. Every single time God hears a Mama's cry.

So attitudes, hormones, teenagers, and tots all can make a Mama to her knees weary drop.
When all seems awry and oh so very loud, shut yourself in with God. Don't be too proud.

In grey skies or blue, sunshine or rain, God is still God. He knows and understands your deepest pain.
So down to your knees dear mother beloved. God hears you pray and answers you too.

His love knows no bounds. His mercy no limits. Just pray Mama, pray. Every time. Every where.
Pray Mama, pray is your task without fear.  Yes pray Mama, pray. Then pray some more. It never will hurt to pray still the more. Pray Mama, pray.

12.23.2013

Bad or New?

Good Morning! Tomorrow is Christmas Eve! Perhaps everything isn't as you would like it to be this year. Maybe that is because it isn't like it normally is. As we enter into the Holy Days, reconsidering our desires and wishes might be the greatest gift we can give ourselves and those around us. Are things really as bad as we think they are or are they just different from what we have come to expect? Change isn't always bad. Often it is the open door into new. New isn't always bad either. New keeps us from getting stinky and stagnant. Adventure requires new.
 
Many are tired, weary, just plain worn out with fighting. What are we fighting though? Change? A new way of doing and being? Multitudes of prayers to God petitioning Him to heal and yes, change, the course of our nation, the hearts of people, and the plan of governments have gone forth. I can't help but wonder if much that is being fought against because it appears "bad" might be the very shaking and uprooting that has to take place in order for our prayers to be answered. We seek God for a  renewal of world systems then worry and fear when those systems teeter and begin to fall. Is this not the very thing we have asked of the Lord?
 
The following Word was in my email inbox this morning. I have read it more than once and see something new each time. Be encouraged dear ones. God is alive and moving. He is good. His mercies are new every morning, and He has not forgotten His children. It is time for us to entrust ourselves completely to His care.
 
Abundance House began a journey into the new, real, and intentional a bit over a year ago. During that time, God has spoken many things to me. Relax. Be intentional. Look at Me. See as I see. Trust I am who I AM. Worship Me for Who I Am - not who you perceive Me to be. Give Thanks. These are the words He has been giving me throughout the past year. This year is closing, a new year is coming. As you travel the remaining few days of 2013, know you are every one of you loved and
 
Have an honest to goodness, really truly
 
Merry Christmas
and a
Happy New Year!
 
With loving prayers from Abundantly Yours
@
Abundance House Blog
 
 
 
Theresa Phillips: Christmastide of Visitation and Change
by Theresa Phillips
Dec 23, 2013

As I was sitting near my garden window, I was noticing that a shift had taken place in the Spirit realm. I was sitting very still, just looking out, when I felt the Lord's eyes looking through me. I could sense something...something prophetic coming. I was looking past everything...everything that was close. All the leaves that didn't get cleared up and the gardens at rest and the empty ponds. All those areas that give me vision I could not see.

I was looking into the future and didn't realize it at first. As I felt the Spirit of the Lord embrace me, I became overwhelmed by a love that I had not felt in a long, long time. A love for everyone and beyond. I was loving more and more.
This love was so endearing to me that I actually wept. Then I sobbed uncontrollably. This lasted for several moments.

I had flashes of American traditions go through my mind. I also felt a change had come. I had flashes of people famous and not famous; rich and poor. I also saw so many people who were weary, and I wept for them. Then, how I loved them!
I saw old fashioned winters and blissful summers; fragrant springs and fire-at-night falls. All had gone before me...

Then He spoke, and my heart was alive with passion to not only listen but to receive with great pleasure. "Show me, Lord. Show me!" I cried.

Fresh, New Anointing Over This Holiday Season For Miracles, Provision and Change
 
"Theresa, I am going to pour out of My Spirit a fresh new anointing over this holiday season. I am releasing a glory that has not been seen for generations. This glory is filled with revelation and miracles. Yes, miracles to raise the dead and heal the sick, and miraculous provision.

"I am going to restore the years the locust has eaten (see Joel 2:25). You will see and hear of more people raised from the dead. Bank accounts will change; investments will pay off. A spirit of generosity will emerge. You will see reconciliation be a huge part of this holy day season.

"I will ignite hearts for evangelism. Yes, many will go out and win souls at Christmas this year. I will change hearts and attitudes. At home, in the marketplace, and in the Church I will release new enterprise. Yes, new ideas will come forth.
"It's My gift to the Body of Christ. I am sending this gift from Christmas Eve through New Year's Eve. Be ready to receive.

"Many will start to have dreams and desires to go and work with Me. EXCITEMENT in My houses of worship will increase, for the songs of worship will be lifted up in abundant praise. A radical praise is about to come forth. This sound will shake the timbers. The dancers will dance with all their might. New songs with a new sound will come forth. These will have the sound of victory in them!

"I am about to call forth men and women into the political arena who can stand the course of testing and change the course of personal and corporate destiny. They will say with confidence, 'America is loved and America is good. I am proud to be an American. I am proud to be the Church.' This will resonate across the nation to other nations.

"Yes, even on Christmas Day I will send out PROMOTIONS to many who have felt discarded. They will begin to see how valuable they are.
"PRODIGALS are coming home. Wayward children, and for Churches wayward parishioners. The days of wandering are now being reconciled. Welcome them home, for I brought them.

"I will also restore many marriages through this holiday season. I have touched their hearts, and many will be delivered through their forgiveness and prayer. And many will ask their neighbor and friends, their leaders as well, 'Will you forgive me? I was wrong.'

"I am sending a fresh angelic visitation Christmas Eve...to minister helps to My people (see Hebrews 1:14). This visitation will bring many back to their knees, and intercession will grow in churches across the nation.
"For this is why I came: that man could be saved. What pertains to your needs, concerns, and desires all are in My eyes," says the Lord. "For it is My good pleasure to give you the Kingdom (see Luke 12:32).

"Christmas Day I will clamp the mouth of the Lion shut (strife will not raise its head). For I have heard the prayers of My people; I hear you even now. Pray for peace on Earth, goodwill toward men.
 
"Family will love once again; churches will develop more charity than ever before; cities will be transformed by the generosity of the Church. For even now I am preparing an angelic host to move into cities for the sake of My Body there.

"The bell ringer, the postman and the policeman, teachers and civil servants, spiritual leaders are out and about. Remember how you treat them, for they may be My servants in disguise (see Hebrews 13:2). Even the dog walker may be My servant. Honor them.

"Yes, two Christmas gifts I am sending into the world. They are called Revelation Distribution and Fresh Start. So get ready," says the Lord. "The season ahead looks bright, and all that was gone before us is fading away..."

Prayer For Revelation And a Fresh Start
 
Let us pray: Dear Jesus, we give thanks in this season! Thankful for Your birth, thankful You reign supreme. Thank You, Jesus, You have given us joy this season and a renewed hope. Make us steadfast and strong to do our part. Teach us the stillness of the Spirit as He begins to hover. Let us see and sense what You are doing. Change us, O Lord, from negative to positive in our thinking and speaking. Let praise be on our lips. Grant us all Revelation and Fresh Start. Jesus, I will welcome any fresh start in my life You have for me now.

Loving You is all that counts, especially when You love through us for the sake of the sick, lost, infirm, and in prison. The widow and the orphan. Our neighbors as well. That love is what I pray for all of us now. Fill us with grace to embrace the unlovely and lonely, for it is a complement to You when we do. I passionately ask for this in Jesus' name, Amen.
 
Theresa Phillips
Chicago Prophetic Voice
Email: info@ChicagoPropheticVoice.net
Website: chicagopropheticvoice.net

Dr. Theresa Phillips is senior pastor of Praise Ministries Church and dean of Praise Christian Seminary in St. Charles, Illinois. Theresa is dedicated to helping you encounter the living God and be filled with His never-ending glory. Pastor Theresa and her husband Robert have started an online publication called Chicago Prophetic Voice. This online publication is intended to help you see and hear the unseen and unheard realms of God as they are portrayed in the written Scriptures of the Holy Bible.

Theresa Phillips' Itinerary:

Note: Events are subject to change at the ministry's discretion. We suggest you always check first with the event contact listed here and/or directly visit their website for latest updates on each event.

December 31, 2013 (9pm)
Prophetic New Years 2014
PMI Glory Institute
761 N. 17th St, Saint Charles, IL, 60174
Bring a dish to pass and have fun!
Contact: 630-377-5355

Every Sunday 10:30am and 6pm Healing Services
 PMI Glory Institute
761 N. 17th Street Unit 1, Saint Charles IL 60174
Contact: 630-377-5355

Each Wednesday 7pm Prophetic Worship
PMI Glory Institute
761 N. 17th Street Unit 1, Saint Charles IL 60174
Contact: 630-377-5355

Permission is granted (and you are also encouraged) to reprint these articles in hard copy form, as well as sending them to your own email lists and posting them on your own websites. We ask only that you keep Elijah List website, email contact info, and author contact information intact.


Elijah List Publications
528 Ellsworth St. SW
Albany, OR 97321
www.elijahlist.com
email: info@elijahlist.net
Phone 1-541-926-3250

What People Really Want and What We Really Need

Words, words, and more words flowing through my heart and mind. So many I long to share. So many left unfinished, not fully formed. When my youngest Victorious Man of God is nursing and I am rocking along in a state of hormonally relaxed bliss, they are perfect, just exactly right, beautiful. At the computer, however, they are nonexistent. Where do they go? Where do those perfect words that fill my heart during the quiet of the nursing hour go? Only God Himself knows.

Today is the eve of Christmas Eve. The last day before Christmas is officially here is this day. This is the day where I get to put everything God the Holy Spirit has been teaching and revealing to me into practice. Today is a day of gingerbread baking, oreo ball dipping, marshmallow creating, chocolate ganache stirring, laundry scattered throughout, and hopefully, before day's end, Christmas nail painting with daughters. It is a day I long to stretch out and make last and last and last and last. I want to be happy, to laugh, to overflow with joy, with grace. But one day for all of that? Oh yes, there are gifts to make and wrap too.

One day? Only one day? What have I done with all of the other days? Oh, those. I rocked a sick baby through several days and nights of them. Then I tried to catch up on the missed sleep from the baby rocking for several more. More than I would have liked were spent trying to stay warm while the most frigid of frigid temps attempted to enter our home. Children were read to. Some numbers were learned. Words were read to me. The house was decorated for Jesus' birthday. And through it all, I have been intentionally focusing on Jesus and revelling in His Grace.

Ready or not, today is the last day before Christmas Eve. If guests are coming to your house, please stroll by for a visit to Life in Grace blog and read the following article.  http://www.lifeingraceblog.com/2013/12/the-anatomy-of-a-guest-room/ This is a yes article. Yes, all who love Jesus could name this as a must read before serving guests during the holy days. The title comes from it.

May we all prepare Him room in our hearts and homes,
Abundantly Blessed @ Abundance House

12.19.2013

A Christmas Visit

Good Morning dear friends! I have just come from Susan Branch's blog. Have you been there? It is a delightful place to drop in for tea! All of your senses will be treated. Every time I visit I want to run over here and have a visit with all of you, just like the one I had with Susan. Time spent soaking in the loveliness of home with Susan makes me want to come back to Abundance House, rip everything out, put in all new, and start completely over.

I could. It wouldn't be hard. Writing like a girlfriend chatting about home things over something yummy would be as easy as breathing, but I know that sooner or later the intense, serious side of me would slip in and then where would we be? 42 years of living have well proven that copying someone else rarely works out the way one hopes. So, for now, I'll leave the drapes and other things just the way they are. I'll whisper about the sweetness of Susan's website and blog in your ear instead. This way, you can visit me here and still be blessed by the loveliness and girlfriend fun at her house.

Oh yes! girlfriend fun reminded me. That is why I am talking to you right now! Oh my. Susan Branch is sending out a wonderful Christmas gift to one of her girlfriends. It is a china tea set for 6, pot and everything included, with some delicious homemade almond brittle tucked in. Leave a comment at the end of the post in the link below to be included in the drawing. Even if china tea sets aren't your thing, you might know someone who would love, love, love a gift of one? And the almond brittle...the recipe is in the post. Christmas love is in the air! Here's the link so you don't miss out on the goodies and fun: Christmas Giveaway

After visiting Susan Branch's house and experiencing her gracious hospitality you will find yourself putting the kettle on to make something hot to drink. Music will begin to fill your home and delicious goodies may even show up on your counter. The cute smudge of flour on your cheek and the vintage apron you're wearing will testify that you have been visiting. You will find yourself smiling at the scents wafting through the house as you peek out the window hoping to find a winter world of white dotted with the red of cardinals. It's a possibility anyway. It depends on how long of a visit you get to stay for.

I'm off to put my own kettle on dear readers! It is a white, frosty day perfectly tuned to a tea kettle's cheerful whistle and a warm fire's coziness. And, if you are in our house, Colonel Redeemed's room-cleaning, a major undertaking that will need the bracing strength of Russian tea, many cups I'm sure. Have I ever shared how much I enjoy having children old enough to do their own work? Yes, I do. I surely do. Having children young enough to snuggle with over a good book at the same time is goodness untellable. Is untellable a word? It is here!

Merry Christmas blessings to you and may your tea kettle whistle the happiest of tunes!
Abundantly Blessed

12.18.2013

Blessing Tree

There's an empty tree at the back of the church sanctuary. It's not a Christmas tree. It's a blessing tree. There are ornaments to drop a note into, maybe money, for a family in church. The family had illness and no insurance. Bills are coming in.The blessing tree is for this family. A sort of encouragement in visible form.

Not wanting to barge in on their blessing time but going to slip in here quietly and share the encouragement our own family recently received. Last February Victorious Man of God joined the family. With this sweet little guy came a pile of bills, large bills. Totally relating to the no insurance situation of the family at church as we don't have any either. Anyway...a few weeks ago, a letter came. It was our encouragement. What did it say? Largest bill in the pile taken care of. One of the hospitals says we no longer owe them anything. AT. ALL.

The letter remains tacked up on our bulletin board. It is our visible encouragement, and visible encouragement goes a LONG way. As we chip our way through the rest of the bill pile, this letter testifies that there is miraculous provision and we. are. loved. Thank You, God most of all for Jesus. Thank You also for the biggest bill gone.

Soaking in Him, the greatest gift, this Christmas,
Abundantly Blessed@ Abundance House

12.11.2013

We Wish You a Merry Christmas!

Christmas

These children look so very sweet! I couldn't resist tucking them on the page along with prayers that you will be blessed with Joy to the World for our Lord has come as you Deck the Halls and learn of that Silent Night long ago when Jesus our Savior came Away in a Manger. It was on that night the shepherds were telling of Angels We Have Heard on High in O Little Town of Bethlehem. O Come All Ye Faithful and join us in worshipping Jesus and singing of The First Noel.

That's all of the carols that I could fit in at the moment so until next time, keep Jingle Belling all the way as you dash through the snow towards your White Christmas. And in the middle of the world's busyness stop, quiet your heart, breathe deeply of Love, God, and smile thanks to Him for being the best gift. ever.

Abundantly Blessed in Jesus @ Abundance House

12.10.2013

Free Christmas Tours From Home

"Oh the weather outside is frightful, but the fire is so delightful. Since we've no place to go..."

If the weather in your neck of the woods is too frigid to get out and stroll about on Christmas tours, consider getting a holiday house tour fix online. Numerous bloggers post tours of their homes decorated for Christmas. With so many bloggers blogging, rest assured there are tours featuring any and every style of decorating. Simple, rustic, elegant, homey, sparse, extreme, it's all out there somewhere. Best thing about touring online? The ability to do so in one's pjs while sipping hot chocolate as strands of favorite Christmas music floats through the air. A little man tugging on the shirt tails puts the icing on the proverbial cake.

11.27.2013

May I Be Excused?

Every year there has been a Christmas season series of some sort on the blog(s). When it was A Mother's Rewards and Living Large on Less, there were games, daily questions, ideas, recipes, and more. This year, well, there's nothing. Oh, I'm sure there will be assorted random posts that might be applicable for Christmas, but a major party with games and prizes? Sorry, no, at least not that I am aware of at this moment.

This year I am asking to be excused from the traditional Christmas craziness. I don't have the time, energy, or desire for hooplah. All I want is Jesus. That's it. Just Him. My heart is hungering to linger at the manger soaking in God's gift of Love, Him gifting Himself, more than rocking around the Christmas tree. The question of what I can give Jesus is foremost in the thoughts. What kind of Christmas does God want us to have? What decorations will He delight in? How can our celebratory traditions bring Him glory and honor?

Want to know something a bit unexpected? The more I focus on Jesus, the sweeter and more delightful Christmas becomes to me. The more I want to celebrate. Decoration ideas increase. Everything about the season amps up. Whenever people become intentional and purposeful about their worship of God, they begin living as they were created to live. When life is lived as it is meant to be, everything amps up. Intensity, sweetness, focus, purpose, enjoyment, delight, strength, joy, peace, it all grows. Trials bring their revealing giants too, but the Truth of Jesus changes every nasty "fact" the giant(s) hurl at us. 

Want to know something else God showed me? When I am in the position of worship, whether that be at the feet of Jesus or the manger, trials and giants aren't nearly so threatening. Positioning myself in the posture of worship puts the rest of my life in perspective. Truth changes fact. "If God be for me, who can be against me?" "With God, all things are possible." "If God be on my side, what can man do to me.?" Truth after glorious truth from the Word of God rises up within me conquering the fears, doubts, and struggles that threaten as I sit in the presence of the King of Kings.

As Thanksgiving arrives tomorrow with Christmas soon to follow, Abundance House is raising it's hand and asking to be excused from the hustle and bustle, the stress and struggles of a holiday gone wild. We are excusing ourselves from the madness this year. Any who wish to join us in our intentional pursuit of Truth, our sojourn at the manger which will find us at both the cross and empty tomb, may. All are welcome to worship the One who came as a babe, left a man, and lives eternal. The heart of this blog and its author is crying out for holidays to be returned to their meaning "holy days". All who want may come.

From the heart of Abundance House,
Abundantly Blessed

11.26.2013

Making Your Own...Playdough

Homemade playdough. Can you feel the grainy frit on your hands just thinking about it? Me too. If you recall bygone days of childhood where the smell and grit of homemade playdough stayed with you for hours, then you will be as pleased as I was to find the following recipe for a no-cook, smooth-textured playdough. If there will be children at your holiday celebrations, this may be just what they need for playtime fun. Do keep in mind that playdough can be messy so may not be ideal for extremely small children or those who are a bit on the excited side of life.

PLAYDOUGH

2 c. flour
1/2 c. salt
2 T. cream of tartar
2 T. oil
1 1/2 c. boiling water
desired add-ins - glitter, coloring, scents

Mix dry ingredients and oil together. Stir in boiling water and food coloring. Add needed flour or water in small increments as needed to reach desired consistency. Knead in add-ins. Dough can be played with for long periods of time without getting dry. Store in airtight container. Would make nice gift.

Side notes: Dough can be mixed by hand. I used stand mixer for ease. Some have used food processor successfully too. One person dissolved salt in boiling water first. I didn't and dough was smooth. I did add food coloring to boiling water before mixing in. This was a good plan. Glitter and other items can be added as desired. I also made two batches then created third color by combining small amounts of the other two colors and blending together. My kiddos want to make more playdough in other colors now. I didn't tell Giggle that adding glitter was an option. That's something I'm saving for possible stocking stuffer ideas.

Holiday Relationships

The holidays. Oh what bliss. Yeah, right. Sometimes that may be a somewhat accurate description, but not for everyone, every year. Blog author Gary Morland describes coming together with relatives as possibly being  compared to driving a gas truck over a campfire. If completely honest, there are situations in all of our lives that fit Mr. Morland's description.

If your holiday gatherings have explosive potential, and not in a good way, then the 7 tips in the article linked above will provide assistance. Please enjoy them and don't forget to leave a comment expressing your appreciation while there.

While pondering on the seven tips Mr. Morland shared in his blog article, the thought came to me that the way a person relates to another is greatly influenced by their perspective, focus, and outlook, both of others and  themselves. One consistency noticed when thinking on these suggestions is that each suggestion is from the perspective of how to make the other person feel comfortable, welcome, and at ease. None of the suggestions are on how to make one's self feel better.

Serving. Considering others first. This can only be done when a person is secure in their own position. AND can anyone be completely secure in a position other than that of being in Christ? As the mental ponderings continue, I feel the quiet excitement that accompanies transforming revelation begin to penetrate. Serving others. There it is! That's the answer. The scripture confirms it. The one who wants to be great in God's kingdom must be a servant. (Matthew 20:26) One version says a servant "of all". Oh, of all. All is a very big word. God is a very big God.

No matter the situation we find ourselves in this holiday season, God's Word contains every answer. Join me in thanking Him for His goodness and grace?

Abundantly Blessed





11.22.2013

Thanksgiving, Am I Thankful?

Thanksgiving is one week from tomorrow. One week until Thanksgiving means a mere five weeks until Christmas. Before Christmas, however, there is Thanksgiving. Those words soak into my consciousness with a soothing warmth "Before Christmas, there is Thanksgiving."

Yes, every thing must be led by a "before". Something always comes before. More accurately, Someone always come before. God. God always comes before. Before everything, there was God. "In the beginning God created..." (Genesis 1:1) "In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God." (John 1:1,2) Sometimes I forget this. Sometimes I forget who He is, who I am. Sometimes I forget it all.

I forget. Wait. Do I? Do I really, truly forget or do I choose not to remember? Not sure I want to go here, but pressing on still. Oh sure, I'm busy. Husband, seven children, homeschooling, it's a given my days are full. Yet busy doesn't excuse me. Every day is filled with decisions. Every word, each action and attitude, all of them are choices. Whether they are chosen intentionally or by default, all are decisions, decisions I have made. Sobering thought that it is, I alone am responsible for every single one of them.

Thanksgiving. This is about Thanksgiving. Intentionally thankful decisions of word, thought, and deed are a refreshing consideration to be sure. Especially this year when the house is ringing with the loud and full sounds of a large family. A tired, hungry baby vents frustration at being left behind as brother and sister run out to play while hormonally influenced sisters unknowingly lash sharp. Yes, Before Christmas, Thanksgiving must come.

Thankful for Much,
Abundantly Blessed

11.21.2013

What to Do What to Do

Ever wanted to encourage someone who was struggling and after doing so realized they weren't in the least bit encouraged? That not only were they not encouraged, they were inwardly making themselves a promise to not ever share with you again? Yeah, me too.

How does this happen? I silently wonder. I did what I would want someone to do for me. That's what God says to do. Isn't it? It is. So why wasn't it encouraging? I would love it if someone would do that for me.

Perhaps that is why God tells me in His Word to walk in the Spirit.(Galatians 5:16) Without being led by the Holy Spirit, I can only operate in my human understanding. My human understanding is incapable of knowing what is needed in every single situation. Only God the Holy Spirit can perfectly lead and guide me in the perfect way. (John 16:13,14)

True as it may be that God says to do to others as I would have them do to me, (Leviticus 9:18, Matthew 7:12, Luke 6:31) I don't really want others to encourage me in the way they would like to be encouraged. What I honestly want others to do is listen to and follow the leading of the Holy Spirit and then encourage me as He instructs them to. Only then will they be able to successfully minister encouragement specifically to me.

So that's where the breakdown happened. Instead of asking, listening, and then obeying God's leading, I did what I would want done for me. That would have been perfect, if they were me, but they aren't. Therefore, mission encouragement was unsuccessful. Despite my honest, sincere, love-filled intentions, no encouragement was received, none at all.

Now what? The question comes from a heart humbly quiet. Quiet that rises from the ashes of failure is heavy inside. Heavenly Father has lovingly shown truth. Ah, now I see. Like a penitent child, I am thankful for and amazed by His undeserved love and acceptance. Once more He has extended grace towards this girl woman of His when she rushed on with more zeal than knowledge, more eagerness to help than wisdom for how to do so.

Amazing Love from an amazing God, who is Love. (1 John 4:7,8) Thankful for God, Love and bowing my heart in worship this day and the ones to come.

Abundantly Blessed @ Abundance House


11.19.2013

Whatever You Call Them

It seems as if every people group has a variety of buns filled with meat and cheese. I grew up with the ground beef, cabbage variety called Bierocks. Whatever you call them, pockets of dough filled with meat and cheese are delicious to eat and easy to make. Possible combinations of meat, cheese, and other ingredients are almost endless. Our family has made them with pizza flavors, taco, ham and cheese, as well as traditional beef and cabbage. The recipe for a cheeseburger version is below.

CHEESEBURGER RUNZAS

Filling:
2 lb. ground beef, browned with onion, seasoned to taste
thickening mixture, as if making gravy
cheese, desired amount and kind

Dough:
4 C. flour - can do 2 C. white & 2 C. wheat
2 1/4 t. yeast
1/4 C. oil
1 t. salt
1 1/2 to 2 C. hot water (110-120 degrees)

While ground beef is browning, mix together dough ingredients in mixer with dough hook attachment, cover and rest.

While dough is resting, finish browning ground beef. After beef has browned, stir in thickener and add any necessary liquid until mixture is just moistened. Don't want mixture to be too runny as it is being placed in dough. After mixture is thickened and any flavor from thickener has cooked out, add cheese and stir until melted through. Add any desired seasonings at this time and stir in.

Divide dough into 8 sections. If smaller buns are desired for children, divide into 16 sections instead of 8. Make each section into ball and roll out flat. Place desired amount of filling on dough, bring up edges and pinch shut to seal.

Place on baking sheet, and bake at 400 degrees for 30 minutes. Can brush tops with melted butter and sprinkle with seasonings, if desired. May want to use a baking sheet with sides as filling juices sometimes leak out a bit.

The only thing left is to enjoy! Oh yes, always plan on making more than you think you will need, and don't be concerned with having any leftover. If there are any left, they freeze and reheat beautifully. Doubtful there will be any though. There seldom are at Abundance House. Just a little sidenote: these meat pockets lend themselves perfectly to picnics and other on-the-go situations. They also stay warm long enough to accomodate traveling. To avoid condensation which causes soggy bread, wrap in clean tea towel before placing in traveling container. The buns can also be made ahead, frozen, and baked later.

Now I'm hungry. Until next time!
Abundantly Blessed @ Abundance House

11.12.2013

Popcorn Balls - The Gooey Variety

The other day I was pondering what meal to make for a family who is celebrating the recent arrival of a new baby. The meal was for a Friday night supper. It didn't take long for my train of thought to hop on the Friday night track which led to ideas for a fun, fall Friday supper. At our house, popcorn balls from Grandma are a fall tradition. 

Guess I shouldn't have been too surprised when the thought of making popcorn balls as the dessert for the new baby meal came to mind. Immediately, my thoughts were off! A fun, fall meal for a Friday night! There are small children! Popcorn balls with colorful candy scattered throughout and pizza! Uhm, scratch the pizza. This meal has to travel a bit before arriving at its destination. We want it to be hot when it gets there. Pizza won't make it. Hmmm, runzas! That's it! Pockets of dough filled with meat and cheese. Those would travel well and still be hot enough to eat! Yea!!! A lettuce salad would round out the meal nicely.

As I was making the popcorn balls, I wondered the same thing I wondered the previous weekend while making homemade crispy treats. "These things are so easy. Why don't I make them more often?" Why do I think homemade treats have to take a ton of time and use the oven? Quick and easy tastes just as good and less rush makes for a more relaxed mama, which everyone enjoys. Sometimes, the ease and speed of preparation is worth any extra expense. A quick mental breakdown of costs in my head reveals that these quick and easy goodies don't cost more than others. It just seems as if they do because they are made from ingredients, marshmallows, I don't keep stocked in my pantry.

Because our family prefers gooey popcorn balls over the crunchy version, popcorn balls and crispy treats are made the exact same way. The only differences between the two is that one uses popcorn, the other crispy cereal, and the crispy treats are smooshed into a pan while the popcorn balls are shaped into round, ball-like shapes. Well, least they are supposed to end up round. Here's how it went down yesterday. No one wanted to help make them, but it was still lots of fun. OK, correction. Two small somebodies wanted to help make them until they saw how sticky the mixture was. That's when it became a solo event:)

POPCORN BALLS:
6 C. popped popcorn, preferably free of unpopped kernels
40 large marshmallows
3 T. butter

Melt marshmallows and butter together. Pour over popcorn. Stir together. Butter hands and shape mixture into balls. Wrap individual balls in plastic wrap or place each ball in sandwich-sized plastic bag.

Possible additions: Candy, nuts, food coloring(add this to marshmallow, butter mixture before stirring into popcorn), vanilla or other flavorings.

I think that making popcorn balls might become addictive, if a person let it. If getting your hands all buttery and gooey isn't your idea of fun, the mixture can be pressed into a pan, just like crispy treats. If you really want to bump it up a notch, press the mixture into a bundt pan to create a popcorn cake. This is really, really easy and lots of fun! The addition of colorful candy and nuts really gives the cake a fun, party appearance. Chocolate and/or caramel can be drizzled over the top of the popcorn cake too, if desired. Yum, right now I'm thinking of how tasty a chocolate drizzle sprinkled with hazelnuts might be. Ooh, what if it were a caramel popcorn cake with chocolate drizzle and chopped pecans or walnuts? Yum, yum.

Popcorn balls, popcorn treat bars, and popcorn cake all make yummy treats that are super easy to make. They are ideal for last minute desserts and are good sellers at bake sales too. Popcorn balls or treat bars can be sweet tucked into a Christmas stocking. Balls that have been colored with green food coloring can be stacked on a platter to form a Christmas tree. Colored candies can be the ornaments. My mom adds orange coloring for fall treats. All of this can be done with crispy treat mixture as well. Whatever's on hand works. Imagination and creativity make it fun.

Remember those pockets of dough stuffed with meat and cheese? Those ended up being cheeseburger flavor. They smelled delicious cooking, and the filling that leaked out onto the baking pan was so good. That's another easy recipe, one for later.

Off to play with playdough - another recipe for later,
Abundantly Blessed @ Abundance House

11.09.2013

Words of Life And Truth

"Do not think that you know everything! Do not think that you know everything because of the present."

These are words a modern day prophet shared from God. These words the prophet shared captured my attention because they are the same words God has been impressing upon me for many months, maybe a year or more? "Do not think that you know everything! Do not think that you know everything because of the present."

Over and over and over I have been hearing the words "There's too much you don't know." Situation after situation has threatened my peace only to be met with the words "There's too much you don't know". Time and time again this one sentence has been quietly dispelling threatening emotional disturbances with a gentleness that can only come from God. The inaudible reminder receives voice as opportunities to share it with others come with greater frequency.

These words from God are living. They breathe life to situations that are dying and in decay. They also put to death worry, anxiety, and fear, those contaminators of faith that attempt to steal trust and peace with their threats. When joined together with the reminder that what I DO know is greater than what I don't, the desposit of faith inside is set free to soar. Impossible with man is no longer noticed in the shining greatness of the omnipotent God's omniscience.

Voices crying out death, destruction, and hate are rendered silent in the light of God's love and supernatural protection and care. (Psalm 23, 91, and many more) Nasty may be a fact, but truth changes fact. Truth, God's Word, is what I need to be feasting on. I must be intimate with Truth if the deceitful voices working against God and His kingdom are to be recognized and overcome. Gentle reminders continue to softly speak God's Words of truth inside. "Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good. Be excellent at what is good. Be innocent of evil." (Romans 12:21 and Romans 16:19)

Abiding and listening close to Love,
Abundantly Blessed @ Abundance House

11.08.2013

Wood Pulp in my Cheese?

Lumber-yard


While reading a healthy food publication recently, a fact reached out and caught my attention. The article stated that the anti-caking agent used in shredded cheese has an official name but is in reality wood pulp. What?! For real? Let me tell you, that was just the clincher I needed to make a complete switcharoo from shredded to chunk. The few minutes spent shredding a chunk of cheese are not only really fun because it just seems so "gourmet", they are healthier.

When you quit laughing at the fact that shredding my own cheese seems "gourmet" to me, feel free to do some research of your own about this. Please don't take anything you read as gospel truth unless it is the Gospel, of course. I confess that I haven't taken the time to look into this fact any further. I wanted to make the switch anyway because chunk cheese I shred at home melts so much smoother than already shredded does. Price wise, chunk cheese isn't any more expensive either.

Continuing on to talk some more about cheese...after watching a show on a food channel, My Beloved stretched our cheese wings and purchased some new varieties to try on our pizza. They were yummy. Did they make our pizza taste enough better to justify regularly purchasing of them? The verdict isn't in on that yet. It was, however, really fun trying something new. If we have to be in the kitchen , and we do, we might as well have fun. Hadn't we?

So, what do you use or do in the kitchen that seems extra fun or "gourmet"?

Someone's in the kitchen,
Abundantly Blessed @ Abundance House

11.07.2013

Remembering This


LIVING IN THE SPIRIT
Part 1

" Not by might, nor by power, but by my Spirit saith the Lord of hosts"
(Zechariah 4:6).

Every once in a while, okay, frequently, regularly, reminders are needed so that focus can be maintained. Above Rubies devotion for ladies was just such a reminder for me on this first day of November. As we continue on into Autumn splendor, perhaps this devotional is good for us all. You can read it at http://aboverubies.org/ It's in the devotional section.

11.06.2013

Christmas Time's A Comin'

Christmas time is indeed coming. Abundance House is putting forth serious effort towards being ready, early. Being ready might not mean every gift purchased or made. It might look a lot more like all of the lists and plans written out and plotted to perfection. Then again, being ready this Christmas season might look more like intentionally planning on doing less thereby freeing time to enjoy more.

This brings us to another pondering question.

"If you could only do one thing to celebrate Christmas, what would you do?"

Oh my. This may be the most difficult ponder yet. Only one thing? Seriously? OK. I'm in. I'll do it. I'll answer the question. Who knows? I might surprise myself at the answer.

Letting you ponder too,
Abundantly Blessed @ Abundance House blog

11.04.2013

Yes Do - Recommendations from Abundance

I know I recommend A Holy Experience blog. a lot. But please, take some time to read the 31 Days of posts Ann Voskamp has written for the month of October. Please do. So many of these posts have words to ponder and chew on. You won't regret the time spent there. Ann Voskamp, author of A Thousand Gifts also has a new book out, a book that is on my Christmas list.

Also, Emily P. Freeman from Chatting At the Sky blog and author of God's Grace for the Good Girl has written another book: A Million Little Ways. This one is on my Christmas list too. You might want to check it out and add it to yours as well.

One more recommendation then I am finished, I promise. Well, finished for today:) Sarah Hart Pearsons has a new worship CD out. If you haven't heard her, I can only say one thing about this woman. Anointed by God. CDs can be found through Kenneth Copeland Ministries at kcm.org. There may be other sources. This is the one I know of.

Alright, I'm out of here. Baby has moved from crawling to standing up at tables etc. Magazines, books, papers on coffee and end tables are extremely exposed and vulnerable right now. Babies love the sound of paper crinkling and tearing. They also adore watching and listening to older bros & sis go into high gear hollering and running to rescue their favorite books, mags, etc. Nobody can wail "Oh, ba-a-by!" like an older sister. And no one's eyes can twinkle so delightedly as a baby brother's when making an older sister wail either.

Rescuing the magazines @ Abundance House,
Abundantly Blessed

11.01.2013

Antlers

Antlers show up frequently in rustic and/or country decorating styles. While reading a post on another blog recently I realized that there are quite a few people who are uncomfortable decorating with real deer antlers because they think that an animal has been killed to obtain them. Seeing all of the comments left on the aforementioned post left me feeling sorry for all of these people who recognize the beauty but are unable to fully enjoy it due to a lack of knowledge. Wanting all to freely appreciate God's beautiful handiwork evidenced in an antler's coloring and shape, this post is my feeble attempt to be helpful. Maybe it will be of assistance to someone.

Here's the scoop: deer shed their antlers and regrow new ones annually. Antlers that have fallen off are referred to as sheds. These sheds can be found lying on the ground wherever they fell off of the deer. It is not uncommon to stumble upon several sheds in a single location. If one has permission from the landowner, sheds can be freely obtained. Most landowners are happy to have them gone as they can be damaging to vehicles and equipment. Unless they want them for themselves that is. Hence the recommendation to obtain permission. Also, not every animal's death is the result of a killing. A full or partial skull mount does require the death of an animal. Animals do, however, die of natural causes. Finding an entire skull with antlers attached is not as common, but it does happen on occasion. There. That's the fact. Antlers can be freely obtained without a deer being harmed in any way.

Now, before signing off, I do want to add that just because I want people to know the truth regarding shed antlers doesn't mean I am anti-hunting. I respectfully support hunting and the right to bear arms as granted by the United States Constitution. They are both essential freedoms that ought never to be infringed upon. I simply can't see people being denied the privilege of appreciating an antler's beauty because of an unknown fact regarding the annual antler shedding.

Digging out my stash of sheds,
Abundantly Blessed @ Abundance House

10.31.2013

Giants That Expose and Reveal

Remember David and Goliath, in the Bible? Did you know the name Goliath meant "expose; reveal"? Neither did I, until I just read so. The giants in our lives, you know what yours are, expose and/or reveal who, what is on the inside of us. When giants show up and spew their ugly taunts, it is just like the game show where the host would say "Will the real ________ please stand up!"

The real Abundantly Blessed? Does she have to come to the party? Seriously? Doesn't anyone know how much more fun life is without her? OK, I'll be serious, now that I look back at seasons when giants threatened I can see that it is so. Giants do expose and/or reveal the real.  Oh how vitally important it is to be connected to the vine, God, and for Him to be real in and through me. Me transformed by Him is ever so much better than me, myself, and I. Like David, I want to come "in the name of the Living God."

Aiming for a God reveal,
Abundantly Blessed @ Abundance House

P.S. - Yes, it is completely by accident that a post about revealing the "real me" was written and posted on halloween:)

10.30.2013

What Would I Do?

Vintage Dog Image ScruffyThis little sweetheart reminds me of one of my childhood loves, Cuddles. Not an exact likeness but close enough to make me smile and want to love on a furry friend, preferably one of the canine variety.

Idea after idea for the blog has been whirling around my thoughts. However none of those ideas have found their way onto the blog. Funny how that works out sometimes. Often it seems that when I have the time, there aren't any ideas; when the ideas are there, time is full. Oh well, everything will work out eventually.

Until the myriad of thoughts have formed into actual posts, little snippets will help tide us over. At least I hope they will. Today's little snippet is something for us to ponder as we go about our days.

"If I weren't afraid of (fill in the blank with your own answer), what would I do?" 

There are many ways to complete the above question. I personally could complete it several different ways. It is the answer to this question that we're going to ponder. What would I do, if I weren't afraid of..............? What would I do? What would you do?

We'll share our answers next week. That gives us six whole days to ponder on what we would do. If anyone wants to share their answer(s) before then, please feel free to leave a comment below or send an email to amothersrewards@gmail.com.

Talk to you soon!
Abundantly Blessed @ Abundance House blog

10.28.2013

Significance

It’s here. That stage when baby is no longer an itty bitty baby. Victorious Man of God just saw the cat and slipped off of my lap to crawl to the window to see her. Of course he got distracted by some little something on the way there and is playing with that instead, but still, he’s at the age where he does that. He slides off of my lap to get to something else that looks better. Mama no longer holds his interest exclusively. Sort of kind of like a baby version of oldest brother leaving for town; the realization gently whispers across my mind.

Over 21 years of parenting has taught that no matter what their age or season in life children grow up and move on to another “stage”. Some of those changes find a parent cheering and rejoicing. Others leave a sting like a resounding slap across the heart. Makes a mama realize how important the minister’s message in church was this morning. The message was about significance, how everyone is significant. If a parent doesn’t know his/her significance, he or she might feel like shriveling up and shrinking back a little bit when children slide off of their lap or leave the proverbial nest. Mamas need to remember this truth, that they are significant.

Significance. We’re all pieces in a puzzle and therefore important. Sometimes it’s one person’s time to shine forth brightly. Other times the limelight belongs to another. No matter who is most noticeable, each and every person is significant and vitally important to the whole. Oh my, another many parts working together to form a whole situation. This theme is showing up all over the place.

Meaningful, vital, notable are all synonyms of significant. During times of transition, if one isn’t purposeful with their focus, he/she might lose sight of his/her meaning, his/her significance. This is especially true for individuals who may not know exactly what their significance is to start with. Whatever an individual’s significance is, everyone is important, meaningful, notable, and vital to everyone else. It matters not whether we have met or never will meet. Everyone is a piece of the puzzle of life. Everyone is significant.

Traveling through life’s seasons, in His Grace,

Abundantly Blessed @ Abundance House blog

10.25.2013

The Removal of Herself

There is a challenge that was recently issued. This is a personal challenge sent forth from one woman to herself. Can she write without using I, me, my, or mine? Hmmm. Could she? The author wonders if it is possible to write blog posts without those words. After all, a blog is a personal space. Personal spaces usually include references to one's self. Hmmm. Somehow, the woman knows she must try. There is a tiny little flutter of something deep inside that stirs up the depths in her being. Yes, the woman has to try.

Challenges must be met, but how? And why? Why must the I, me, my, and mine be removed from her words? The author wonders long yet gently begins removing herself from the story. More and more personal references are taken out of the writing equation; phrases are reworded to include all who might read them. How surprised the writer is to realize she focuses so much on herself. As time goes on, the author realizes that the less of herself she includes, the more pleasant and relaxed living is. Yet everything is inexplainably more intentional as well. How is this possible that relaxing increases the intentional?

Not wanting to lose the relaxed state of mind, the writer continues on gently. She knows that the One who stirred her to accept the challenge is the One who will give her understanding into all of the whys and hows. Striving for answers in her own strength produces nothing of value. It is as God, the One who knows all, has said in His Book. Trust in Me with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge Me, and I shall direct your paths. (Proverbs 3:5,6) God has also said in His book of James that He gives wisdom to all who ask. Not only does He give wisdom, He gives it liberally and without reproach.

Wanting to be complete and lacking nothing (James 1:4), the writer continues on with patience. She has served her Heavenly Father long enough to know He is Truth, so is His Word. Everything God has said in His Word, the Bible, will tell her everything she needs to know. She must remain faithful in the study of it, just as a miner faithfully mines the depths of the earth in search of hidden wealth. The wealth that the author is seeking possesses value far greater than that of the earth. True Truth must be not only discovered but lived. When lived fully, truth, not fact, will set free. It will also heal, reveal, expose, loose, bind, restore, renew, complete, finish, provide, encourage, fill, teach, lead, and guide. The Word doesn't merely contain the Way, the Truth, and the Life, the Word is the Way, the Truth, and the Life. (John 1:1) (John 14:6) (John 17:17) (2 Timothy 3:13 - 17)

Continuing on while persevering in faith. The road is narrow. Few travel it. The journey isn't complete. The challenge is but one of many. More will issued. All of this the woman knows. Seasons will change. People will come then go. Storms will arise then abate. Bare branches will produce green leaves that will revert to their true colors before falling to the ground. Snow will fall and cover that which lies fallen. What seems to be impenetrable cold will melt to water the earth that in turn soaks into the roots of the tree which again produce green leaves. Over and over cycles of life, living, dying, and living again testify of the One who made them. His wisdom is revealed in every cycle of life being lived on the earth.

A challenge was issued and accepted. It remains in the season of being met. A woman heard the great I AM and is following where His still small voice is leading. Can intentional living get any more intentional? Can it be more real? Listening, hearing, accepting, willingly doing, unknowingly becoming, listening still, hearing yet more, this too is one of life's cycles. Seasons of living full arrive then depart while a woman moves to the beat of love's pounding heart. Love begat life, and life lives love full. Little truths turn out to be what the big truths are made of. Little parts joined into the larger whole. It's a pattern oft repeated for sure.

A woman wonders. God answers. She wonders some more. His answers come still. Giving thanks to God who is life, love, and all good. Relinquishing her control to His loving way. The way to intentional realness stretches out in a forever love journey of challenges, rhythms, seasons, and grace. Always grace. A song runs through the woman's head. It isn't a song known as a God song, but it's words ring true just the same, "I don't know much, but I know I love You, and that may be all I need to know." Yes, knowing I love Him may definitely be all there is to know.

Dancing to the rhythm of Love's grace,
Abundantly Blessed @ Abundance House






10.23.2013

Homemade Dulche de Leche

Free Vintage Dog Image

Isn't this guy just too cute? Those sweet eyes are irresistable the way they are begging for a luvin. Something warm, cozy, and fall like was the original idea, but one look at this fella, and all plans changed. Sweet Rascal dog had to have some extra loves too, just because this cute dog makes me think my very own sweet canine needs some huggin and luvin. Isn't that what sunshiny  Saturday afternoons are for? Well, that and making homemade dulche de leche in the crockpot. Right?

There is a cookie/bar recipe that calls for dulche de leche. Not wanting to stand at the stove stirring for hours on end, unopened can(s) of sweetened condensed milk were placed in the crockpot and covered completely with water. After placing lid on, it is now cooking on LOW for 8 hours. After which time the cans will be carefully removed to cool for 45 minutes on wire rack. The mixture will then be added to a new recipe we are experimenting with. Will share later, as in AFTER Christmas, if they are good. If they are good, and we know you, they might end up in a gift basket coming your way. If they aren't, we'll just eat them and know not to do that ever again.

Colonel Redeemed is home for the "weekend". Technically, he is home for Saturday. He gets home Friday evening and on Sunday he goes home after church. So, he is really only home for one day. That has proven to be not quite long enough for him to do his laundry and eat a couple meals worth of mom's cooking while squeezing in some hours of ranch work to try and help his dad. It is long enough, however, for him to share some of the stories from his week and us to try and fill him in on ours. This is only the second weekend though. Hopefully the process will become more streamlined as time goes on. Hopefully he keeps coming home, even if for only one full day. Hopefully, there will be some weekends of enjoying each other more and working less, at least for the weekend. Not holding my breath on that last hopefully, but hey, a person always needs hope.

The tang of woodsmoke is drifting on the crisp autumn breeze, and bright sunshine is whispering in my ear that it wants me to come outside and play in it. There are also three children upstairs that need some time exploring and running on this lovely day. At least their conversation sounds as if it needs refreshing. Even though this recipe won't arrive in your inbox until next week, the love and prayers it brings will be just as heartfelt then as they are today. When this message comes, it will be part of a Wednesday Blog Hop at http://joyousnotions.com/. Hope you are ready to hop on over and join in the fun!

Have a great week in Jesus!
from Abundantly Blessed @ Abundance House Blog









10.21.2013

You Need to Wash the Floor When...

Oh my. I am laughing and laughing and well, I'm laughing still! Horsegirl was out in the utility room scrubbing the floor. This action was totally her own doing. I hadn't told her to. She was super excited to find something that worked at getting the dirt out of all of those indentions on our tile, the indentions that we love so much, until cleaning day.

Finally, I had to ask her why she was scrubbing the floor. Curiosity got the better of me. She said that there had been more than one sticky spot by the trash can that she stuck to everytime she went by. Oooooooh. She thought it was pretty sad when rubber boots stick to the floor. Rubber boots are kind of known for not sticking to our tile floor. Inward ooooh.

And the best part of this story is that I laughed. No guilt about those sticky spots. No inner voices condemning me for being a trashy housekeeper. Just laughter. And a blog post. After realizing the victory and freedom in laughing, I had to celebrate. Blog friends are the ones to celebrate with! Maybe laughter is the freedom gift we need more of today, and every day. Maybe instead of turning things into mountains of disaster and despair, laughing is what will bring release and relief most quickly. Maybe this is why God said "A merry heart doeth good like a medicine." Proverbs 17:22 and "A merry heart makes a cheerful countenance." Proverbs 15:13.

Below is a free printable download for some refreshing Fall fun from Jones Design Co. Signing up for the archives is required, but that too is free of charge. The printables available for signing up more than make up for the few minutes required to sign up. Seriously. They do. Hanging out for a while at Jones Design Co. blog might be a fun little day trip to consider as well. A comment left thanking the blog's author for her delightful free gift would be even nicer. Don't worry about the trip being a time waster. It won't be. You will be glad you stopped in. It is like a delightful fresh breeze. It just might get those creative juices flowing.

Have a super blessed day in Jesus!
Abundantly Blessed @ Abundance House


http://jonesdesigncompany.com/decorate/autumn-essentials-freebie-art-print/

10.18.2013

Love the Sacrifice

"Love can only be what communion is — a pouring out, a breaking open and a passing around, a sacrifice.
And if love is what makes itself into a roof around a heart to absorbs all the storms, love is the only real dwelling place, and communion with another is all we have to offer and it’s all we have to crawl up under. When I don’t live love, others live homeless. When I don’t love like Christ, I evict souls.
Christ is love embodied and no matter where we are, He and His body are Home."
 - Ann Voskamp, A Holy Experience blog

Did that reach out and smite your heart as it did mine? Or am I the only one who needed a reminder of love?
"When I don't live love, others live homeless. When I don't love like Christ, I evict souls." Oh me, oh my. Dear Lord, please, may I never evict souls or leave any homeless.

10.17.2013

If the Acorn Had Been a Pumpkin

Man Thinks Himself Wise, till God Shows Him His Folly
"A philosopher, seating himself under an oak tree, and viewing its massiveness, could not understand why so large a tree should produce such small fruit. 'There,' said he, 'is the pumpkin, growing on a slender vine; how much better it would be, if that vine bore acorns, and the great tree the pumpkins; then there would be some harmony and fitness in nature.' As he was meditating on this subject, and examining some ancient theories on the works of creation, an acorn dropped on his head and broke up the train of his reflections. 'How foolish and short-sighted I am, to question the wisdom of Providence,' thought the philosopher, 'if the acorn had been a pumpkin, my head would have been broken.'"—Barber, 1857

10.15.2013

Place to Visit

J.M. Cremp's Adventure Store. Google it and go there. Seriously, if you have a boy, know a boy, old or young, this is a place to go. Thought I knew what I was getting my nephew and son for Christmas. After visiting their site, rethinking it all. Definitely worth a visit.

10.09.2013

Words for Wednesday

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Can't remember the last time a list went out of the books currently in the "to read" pile. Well, that pile has now become something akin to a small library of its own, and the majority of the books on the last list sent out are still on it waiting to be read. Somehow, the entrance of a new baby seven months ago cut down on reading time. Cuddling and snuggling babies are much more important.

Now that said wee one is getting older and crawling e.v.e.r.y.w.h.e.r.e, the books to read just keep growing. The time to read them, however, is also growing thanks to the shortening days of fall. Autumn evenings are lengthening just enough to provide a spare hour here and there perfect for sneaking in a brief read while baby enjoys playing with older brothers and sisters.

The start of school earlier this fall also provides read aloud times for Giggles, Mighty Man of God, and I. How we adore learning through literature. Learning the parts of speech while visiting the pages of Grammarland is much more enjoyable than through a boring lecture and memorization alone. We are also devouring the pages of the What You Want Your Kindergartener....1st grader....2nd grader....etc. series edited by Ed. Hirsch. These aren't the only sources of learning we read, just the ones we are using most often during this first quarter.

On a personal note, I have one recommendation today. You Are Not What You Weigh by Lisa Bevere. Written concerning weight, this book is not about weight alone but anything that takes the place of God in our lives. Biblical, short, concise, loving yet candid. I consider this book to be a must read for one and all, no matter what one weighs. If wanting more to read concerning weight issues, consider reading Weigh Down Workshop written by Gwen Shamblin or its follow up book Rise Above also written by Gwen Shamblin.

For the men and/or the women who care about them, Loose that Man and Let Him Go! by T.D. Jakes is a revelation of true freedom seldom addressed. I could barely put it back on the shelf to go fix supper. I think it might be screaming to me to finish it everytime I walk by the shelf too. Of course after I read that I will hear Healing the Wounds of the Past by T.D. Jakes calling my name. At least I imagine it will. The Three Battlegrounds by Francis Frangipane is one of the first I want to read this season.

And there are more, many, many more that have caught my interest as well. Those will provide a list for another visit, another time. It's time for me to be fixing supper. Keep reading and please feel free to share via comment or at amothersrewards@gmail.com.

10.07.2013

He's Leaving

He's Leaving. Colonel Redeemed is leaving the proverbial nest. While he isn't going far, he is still going. My oldest son has a new job and will be looking for a place to call his own, his own place of dominion.

The process of getting him out of the door has been "interesting". I don't know why, but I have found myself crying at odd times for no reason. It isn't like I haven't known he was going to go. His original departure was set for almost a year ago. I have complete peace about it. So, why the tears? I honestly don't know. Whatever their reason, they have come.

Will he be gone long? Yes and no. Yes, he is going out on his own. No, he is not leaving never to return. He will come back on weekends and for other visits. Perhaps, after a season, he will return to the ranch. Then again, perhaps not. This man loves his family. Younger brothers and sisters will guarantee visits. Mama's cooking might provide good reasons too.

Is he ready? Only God knows. I don't know. Colonel Redeemed says he doesn't know either. How is a young man who relies on his sisters helping him find necessary items on a regular basis going to take care of himself? None of us knows. He'll do it though. Mama has faith in the God who will keep and guide him.

Mama also has faith in her son, this man who loves his mama. When Colonel Redeemed was two-years-old telling me to "just pray for 'em, and let's go to bed" after being awoken by his siter's cries over sore legs, I knew this child possessed more faith than I had expected him to. This was the child to whom I would nightly remind he was created by God to fulfill a destiny noone else could fulfill, sometimes just to remind myself. This is the one who for so many years stood alone as the only manchild with his father in a home full of women.

My ability to rarely, if ever, get embarassed is a result of being the mother of this young man. As my oldest son grew, I never knew what words would escape from his lips. The only surety I had concerning Colonel Redeemed's speech was that it wouldn't be boring. Whatever he said, it wouldn't be the "norm". Outrageous? Probably. True? Hmmm, if a person looked at it from Colonel Redeemed's viewpoint, yes. New? Often. Fresh? Definitely. Until recently, this child alone held the record for phone calls made to grandmothers to tell what new thing had been said.

A natural born storyteller, Colonel Redeemed can take a mundane trip to the grocery store and turn it into a tale worthy of a stage and audience's applause. Know what? Jesus told stories. Jesus loved his mama. Jesus had passion for justice and right. Jesus lived every moment as fully as he could. Colonel Redeemed is a young man who desires to live full of Jesus.

Is Colonel Redeemed ready to be on his own? I don't know. It doesn't really matter since he won't ever truly be "on his own". As long as there is breath within him, this oldest son of mine will always be with Jesus, and with Jesus in him he is ready for everything God has for him. Mama's tears may fall some more, I may need to hug this sweet Victorious Man of God a little more tightly and often for a while, but Colonel Redeemed is ready. With Jesus, he is always ready.

 
A Mama's Prayer
 
Stay true, my son
Never quit the fight
The fight of faith
Will always turn out right
When to Him who died
Your eyes always turn
Stay true, my son
The battle's already won
 
When evil whispers
When temptation calls your name
Stay true, my son
Tis why Christ came
To rescue from wicked's deadly snare
Stay true, my son
Sin's path leads to nowhere
 
Remember His love
Remember the cross
Remember you are His
In Him you're never lost
Also, please don't forget
your parents love you so
and to Jesus, son
To Him may you always go
 
And God forbid, if ever you should roam
Return, my son
Return your heart to home
To Him Who loves you
To Him Who died
To Him Who has risen
To Him Who is alive
 
Stay true, my son
Your mama knows you will
My prayers ring out
Sweet blessing now for you
Stay true, my son
Through sunshine, wind, and rain
Stay true, my son
God is love; He will not change
 
 






10.05.2013

Weekend Reads to Share

Wild and wooly weather out there people! Snow is flying around while wind is whipping the grass and trees ferociously. Thanks are being offered up for the warm fire in the woodstove. Homemade pepperoni pizza and football on the TV put the finishing touches on a cozy homefront as winter storm Atlas blows through. Before I snuggle in for a short nap, there are a few links I would like to share. Each of the following articles caught my attention in a different way. The post entitled "She yelled and called me names" was a timely reminder of who I am in Jesus and that others around me need me to be different. We all need to be different.

Weekend blessings to you as each of us seeks to be Jesus' hands and feet reaching out to those who need us,
Blessed Mama

She Yelled At Me and Called Me Names
It's Blog Eat Blog World, Baby
Information on Production of Chocolate

10.03.2013

Honour Your Spouse; What Does God Say?

"Instead of asking the Bible to talk to us about what we’d like to hear — what we need is to be led to the Bible to hear what God has said. " - Scott McKnight - Northern Seminary

Honour your spouse? In a society that knows little of honour, honouring anyone is a foreign concept. Little is known of honour; less is experienced. The following scriptures are God's view of honour within a marriage. Since I am a wife, I am sharing those relating specifically to a wife. Husbands are instructed to honor their wives also. Some of the following verses are for followers of Christ in general. Because this would include wives and husbands who are believers in Christ, I have listed these verses too.

There is no room for personal opinions or interpretations when applying the Holy Scriptures. Either we believe what we read or we instead choose to read what we believe. A subtle shifting of word order instantly changes the entire meaning. I personally have made a commitment to believe what I read in God's Word and adjust my life to fit His way. Period. That's the end of the story for me. There isn't any debating or arguing needed. I believe what God says. If what He says differs from my own personal opinions or desires, I change mine to match His. Everyone will make their own decision as to how much of themselves they will devote to honouring God's Word. This is a working of the freewills we have been given by God Himself. It is also another aspect of honour.

For now, though, we'll focus specifically on wives honouring their husbands. However...if we were to really break this topic down, as followers of Christ we are being made into His Bride. This would make God the Son our husband. The book of John tells us that Jesus is the Word. Therefore, if Jesus is the Word, then honouring the Word of God is also honouring our future heavenly husband Jesus. I think we'll save this for another day though. Without further adieu, here is what God says about honouring our husbands:

Romans 12:10
Love one another with brotherly affection [as members of one family], giving precedence and showing honor to one another.
 
Ephesians 5:33
However, let each man of you [without exception] love his wife as [being in a sense] his very own self; and let the wife see that she respects and reverences her husband [that she notices him, regards him, honors him, prefers him, venerates, and esteems him; and that she defers to him, praises him, and loves and admires him exceedingly].
 
Hebrews 13:4
Let marriage be held in honor (esteemed worthy, precious, of great price, and especially dear) in all things. And thus let the marriage bed be undefiled (kept undishonored); for God will judge and punish the unchaste [all guilty of sexual vice] and adulterous.
 
1 Peter 2:17
Show respect for all men [treat them honorably]. Love the brotherhood (the Christian fraternity of which Christ is the Head). Reverence God. Honor the emperor.
 
1 Peter 3:2
When they observe the pure and modest way in which you conduct yourselves, together with your reverence [for your husband; you are to feel for him all that reverence includes: to respect, defer to, revere him—to honor, esteem, appreciate, prize, and, in the human sense, to adore him, that is, to admire, praise, be devoted to, deeply love, and enjoy your husband].
 
 

9.30.2013

Monday's Mental Meandering

It is Monday! Monday morning to be exact. Only the second day of the week and my mind is already meandering here and there. Mental musings twist and turn at a fairly relaxed pace, but they're still on the move. Being Abundance House there are also live, physical going-ons too. Seven-month-old Victorious Man of God is chasing the broom while 5 year-old Mighty Man of God is attempting to sweep the floor. Anyone else see disastrous potential here? Thankfully both of them are now laughing at each other. Brotherly love and affection is a most welcome contrast to Giggle's desperate attempts at getting out of her part of breakfast cleanup. Real house here.

Due to the loving bit messy that is quite normal, I'm not going to visit very long this morning. Just going to throw out a few thoughts for pondering. Honour. That's the big topic. How important is honour? Also, what does honour look like in everyday life?

The other biggie is on having a servant's heart. For several years I have been wondering at the lack of servant hearts within believers of Jesus. God says in His word that if we want to be great in His kingdom we are to learn to be the servant of all. So, why are there so few servant hearts? Hmmm. How does the servant heart connect to honour? This was finally answered for me at church this weekend when it was shared that without possessing and walking in honour one cannot have a servant's heart. Aha! Honour is a key.

After mulling this over at odd times throughout the past couple of days I am definitely leaning towards conducting a full blown study of honour. Wow. Full blown study looks really impressive in type. In reality it is a far different picture. Real life study around here looks like a concordance, Bible, journal, and pen in a pile on the coffee table, dining table, bar, counter, anywhere handy to use when I can grab a few minutes.

Anywho...honour. It's what we're pondering on this "mental Monday." Whoa. Mental Monday looks a little intense. Doesn't it? OK. Maybe it wasn't the best term. Yet, somehow, with little ones scattered here and there, tired outbursts randomly thrown in accompanied by giggles, laughs, and teasings, maybe it isn't that far off:)

Happy Monday from our house of abundance to yours!
Blessed Mama

P.S. Did you notice that I didn't say what our house had an abundance of this morning? HAHA! It may be Monday, but I am not surrendering or retreating. Of course I may have to do something radical and silly like pretend to be an old grandmother from "the old country" or something.

Confession time. I am confessing to "Granny from the old country" showing up in our home during potentially stressful moments. I am also admitting to having come up with this rather odd distraction technique all by myself approx. 12 years ago when the four oldest children were young and My Beloved worked out of town. (Yes, this is what happens when I am left on my own, without supervision:) Hey, it's better than breaking down in a sobbing heap in the middle of the floor in a sleep deprived torrent of emotion. Don't you agree? Being real isn't always pretty. It is often messy. Somedays it is very very messy. Those are the days we sing or read. We sing and read most every day, by the way.

This is supposed to be a post script. I'm going to go feed the baby. I might be back later. If I am, I just might be escaping the reality of real. Then again, I might be scaling Mt. Washmore aka the laundry. Real is definitely messy. Thankfully, it's a love mess.

Hugs! Sorry about the baby spitup.
Blessed Mama

9.25.2013

Loud & Amazing

Crawling for only two weeks and already Victorious Man of God is attempting to stand up on his own. Oh my! This boy is a go-er. He travels throughout the entire house lickety split investigating anything that catches his interested eyes. At seven months of age, almost everything catches his interest. Every nook and cranny, the smallest to the largest bit of anything must be investigated, thoroughly scrutinized, and slobbered on if possible. All bedroom doors now remain closed during waking hours, bedroom doors too.

If you were to visit our home, one of the first sites to catch your eye would be the dining room chairs laying on their sides throughout the house. When not in use at meals, the chairs become protective fences and gates. They are protecting our crawling explorer from dangers yet unknown to him. Right now Victorious MOG is dragging around a large wooden cooking spoon Mighty Man of God gave him to bang on metal buckets with. They have a regular bucket brigade drum set assembled on the floor. The "music" they were making together was the sort that only a loving God and mother can tolerate, and the loving mother can only endure their joyous symphony a few minutes at a time.

Thankfully, now that older brother has gone to play with big sister the music has been replaced with baby chatter. However, even tiny chatter is loud from this child. Yes, this youngest one is loud. Happy, sad, angry, whatever the emotion, it is expressed at the fullest of full volume. A redheaded man child, my Victorious Man of God does not hold back. He frequently screams his emotions out free for the listening pleasure of the entire universe.

A family of nine, our home is seldom without noise. Add in VMOG's loud voice, and it's enough to send the thoughts of even the most concentrated individual running. I am certain the thoughts that fly from my mind are fleeing for their lives, really they are. There are moments I wonder if we all ought to join them. That was an attempt at humor, just in case it was mistaken for seriousness.

Even though the noise level has increased, significantly, I am delighted by this little one. He is like no other. This little boy and his siblings reveal the amazing miracle life is. Seven children, all of them unique individuals created to live life full and free. Each child individually crafted by the One who created the universe to live as only he or she possesses the talents, personality, and giftings to live. Isn't that a wondrous miracle?

Know what else is a wondrous miracle? That every single person living is one of those wondrous miracles created by God to live a life like none other, you and I too. Yet even as we are individually crafted and granted life individually, we are designed to fit and function together. In the Bible God uses the human body as an example for this all separate yet functioning as one design. I'll say it again, it is amazing.

God is amazing. The longer I know Him, the more amazing I realize He is. If I were to begin sharing every thing about Him that amazes me, I'd be blogging for eternity. Each day there is something more to amaze me. Never changing yet always new. All powerful yet gently leading His children. Sends rain yet wipes my tears. So amazing. Sent His Son as a sacrifice for mankind's redemption yet trusted one woman to raise Him. Calls the stars by name yet knows mine. On and on I could go.

Amazing. The words of an old hymn say it best.
"That God should love a sinner such as I
 should yearn to change my sorrow into bliss
nor rest til He had planned to bring me nigh
how wonderful is love like this

Such love, such wondrous love
Such love, such wondrous love
That God should love a sinner such as I
How wonderful is love like this"

Another song flows on:
"Amazing grace will always be my song of praise
For it was grace that bought my liberty"

Another flowing still:
"Amazing Grace how sweet the sound
Amazing love now pouring down
From hands and feet that were nailed to the tree
His Grace flows down and covers me
IT covers me
It covers me
It covers me
And covers me"

As the autumn winds blow strong this evening won't you join me please? Join me in this thanksgiving praise to the One, True, Almighty, Amazing God? Don't know Him well enough to know if He is amazing or not? Find a Bible. They are available online for reading free. Start reading. John is a good place to start. Not able to read? Then talk to Him. Tell Him that you don't know Him, but would like to. Tell Him that the world doesn't represent Him very well, but you want to know the truth. Ask Him for the truth. He will tell you. He will show you. You will be amazed.

Just as my baby is exploring every inch of our home, I have spent my life exploring God and His Word. Yes, I have heard the words of others regarding Him, but I have done more than that. I have found Him for myself. I have asked Him for truth. He has revealed it to me. After 30+ years of exploring He is even more amazing to me than when I began. I have regrets, but learning about and getting to know God isn't one of them. Receiving the gift of salvation provided through Jesus isn't a whacked out notion of religion. It is a relationship with God Himself, the One True God, the Great I Am. Oh, the Great I Am. That's another something to visit about. We'll do that another day. For tonight, we're talking to the One who is amazing. We're being amazed.



Fall - ing in the Garden

Oops! Just realized the title looks like I fell down while in the garden. Nope. Sure didn't. Glad about that too since the garden in on my side porch. The porch is cement. I meant that I am doing Fall-type things in the garden. Then again I am also Summer - ing in the garden as my plants are just now producing their harvest:) OK. back to business.

Fall is coming. Time to start getting the garden ready for winter. My remaining soup bean and pea pods are dry on the vine waiting to be gathered for use as next year's seed . I will shell them, place them in storage bags/jars, and label for next year. How sweet and good the peas were this year. We only planted enough plants for us to pick off the ripe pods and eat straight from the plant. Nibbling beautiful green peas straight from the pod is a fun, inexpensive summer indulgence.

Since my garden consists of containers on the side porch this year I am able to easily remove spent plants from their containers. For ease of gardening, my container garden was perfect. With a small baby in the house and older children needed for work elsewhere, this was the only way a garden would have worked for us this year. Had the garden been in a location with more shelter from both the wind and sun it would have been a complete success. As it is, the southern exposure was too intense for most of the plants. My cucumbers grew, produced many blossoms, but in the end the sun was just too much for them.

Due to sun, wind, and bugs, peppers, peas, lettuce, spinach, and carrots did the best this year. Tomatoes have kept right on trying. The few fruits they did produce have had delicious flavor, the best of any we've had all summer. The corn is still alive, and the brussel sprouts are still working at it too. We won't even talk about the green beans that were devoured by bugs. The three beans they did manage to produce were very tasty. Too bad they didn't make it into the house.

Somewhere amidst the tall grass on the island in our pond are pumpkins. So far, none of us are brave enough to face the bugs to find them. Maybe this week? I am going to put the tomato plants out of their misery and pull them before week's end. The corn will be left to dry then used for exterior decorations and next year's seed. Carrots will be left as long as possible before harvesting too. The lone producers remaining will be the peppers. Peppers are being declared the overwhelming victor of the summer garden this year! Beautiful, productive plants were a delight to my eyes and taste buds. Once I remembered that I had planted Purple Beauty variety and didn't have a blight that is.

What's going on in your Fall garden? How did your garden fare this year? Looking forward to hearing in a comment or email sent to amothersrewards@gmail.com. Feel free to share any plans for next year as well.

Final fall analysis of this year's garden? My container garden allowed me to have a garden when I wouldn't have been able to otherwise. Containers located right outside the door made it possible for me to hop out and work for snippets of time here and there. This permitted me to do the majority of my own watering, weeding, etc. Something my children are extremely grateful for. A larger harvest would have been really, really nice, but I am still abundantly thankful for the blessing of being able to have a garden and actually work in it myself. A less windy, shadier location would have benefitted tremendously. Well, that and more attractive containers. Don't you think less unattractive containers would make the veggies grow better and produce more? haha. Not really. Having them in a less noticable location might make My Beloved feel better about the garden though.

Even though this year's minute harvest found me contemplating whether or not a suitable location for a garden exists in our yard, the sense of satisfaction at having a nibble or two of fresh vegetables grown ourselves and seed for future gardens won out. Consequently, next year will find me continuing my quest for the perfect garden spot here at Abundance House. My Beloved and I are already discussing some possibilities. Pretty certain next year's location won't be visible when people drive in. At least it won't be if we're using the same bright blue plastic containers, not if My Beloved is involved anyway. Those tubs were really difficult for him to see filling his porch everytime he came home.

Thankful for a husband who notices and understands my desire for our place to look nice. I don't do a very good job of making it look nice yet, but I will. A little bit every year will eventually bring an overall positive result. I just have to be patient. What thankfulness has your garden inspired this year? Did you have a garden? If you didn't, would you like to? Is that a "someday, I would like to..." dream? We'll be happy to read about it in a comment or an email sent to amothersrewards@gmail.com.

Don't forget to drop in for another visit one of these days. We love it when you come over. Sometime soon I'll tell you about a new use for our sage and rosemary. It isn't anything we have ever used them for before. The woodburners on our gift list will be thrilled about this new use. Come back over when we talk about it.

Until next time - love, hugs, & prayers, Blessed Mama