12.29.2014

A Lovely End

Good Morning! Here, let me help you get that snow off. The wind is coming up now, but it was such a beautiful Christmas card like snow last night and earlier this morning. The weather man is saying it will get a bit wild before day's end. So we'll need to hold on to our memories of last night's beauty. Won't we? Last night the snow fell as if it were auditioning for the perfect winter movie. It performed beautifully by the way. It is a rare thing indeed for snow to arrive all by itself without a ferocious wind as partner. Whenever it visits without the wind I savor every glance out of the window.

Thanksgiving and Christmas have both passed us by. Only a few days remain in the present year before the beginning of a new year arrives. The present followed by a new beginning, such a fine line of preparation to walk. Remaining fully in the here and now while adequately preparing, as best we can, for what is to come is a challenge at times to be sure.

Scripture verses have been going through my mind more than usual lately. It seems as if every situation brings another to mind. A wondrous treasure to revel in, one I ponder with wonder. Would this be possible if these same verses had not been first read and then learned? Could they be brought to remembrance had they never before been seen? Such are the ponderings of my soul.

One thing I know, no matter what the weather outside, or in, the hunger for God's Word is never satiated. The more I read and learn, the more I want to read and learn. The greater the revelations of truth, the deeper I want to study. More and more and still, it is never enough to satisfy this unquenchable desire for more, more of God, more of His Word, just more. The more I know, the more I realize how little I know.

As the remaining days of this year pass, the prayer of my heart is to remain hungry for more of God and His Word. Storms come in, they blow icy drifts, and artic blasts batter everything in their path, but God is always good. His Word is always true. No matter what the storm or firey trial, there is peace and safety, comfort and the warmth of grace in His loving embrace. Would you join me in this prayer my friend? Will you come alongside and together with me strive to fill the hunger of your heart and soul with God and God alone? Will you dedicate yourself to a commitment instead of a revolution?

I know it is time for you to head home now, but you have to get a hug first. Here's your coat. It's nice and toasty warm; it was hanging by the fire. Oooooh, feel how warm your mittens are! And your hat and scarf are just as cozy! Okay, all bundled up? Just let me tuck in this thermos of spiced cider and a little bag of cookies made from my great-grandma's recipe. They are the perfect accompaniment to a snowy blowy day. Well, they and a favorite movie along with a nap about mid-afternoon. Okay, maybe a good book beats out the nap around here. If it snows and blows enough an early bedtime makes up for the lack of a nap.

Oh! And DON'T forget the tea! A closeout sale at a local store added two new little pots to the cupboard here. We can barely wait to use them! Both of them will add a fun new touch to our winter teas. One of them is a sweet little snowman just large enough to hold cocoa or cider for one. The other little gem is a tea-for-one pot and cup combo. The simple beauty of it's Winter Berry pattern perfectly matches the regular-sized pot that sits on the shelf above the stove all winter. A pot for the family and another for just one. We're ready for all.

Good-bye dear friend! See you in the new year! Until then, praying more of Him for us all!
Abundantly Blessed @ Abundance House

12.14.2014

Outside of the Waffle Iron Box

Hi! Isn't a cold, wet Sunday evening the perfect time for something hot and crispy from the waffle iron? I agree, completely. Sit down anywhere. Don't mind the clutter. Last weekend was a long weekend spent out of state at the wedding of My Beloved's niece. On the second day home, one by one the family got sick. By noon, everyone except Victorious Man of God was down. Five days later all are well again, still moving slow and sore but well.

Every day I say we are going to finish decorating for Christmas. We are going to finish tomorrow. Ahhhh, let's sit down here where we can see the fire and the lights from the village and tree. Would you like a cup of tea? The water's still hot. So, back to the waffle iron. Have you ever tried cooking anything other than traditional waffles in one? We hadn't until last year. One day close to lunch I realized we didn't have any crackers to eat with our chili, nor bread, nor corn chips, nor anything. There wasn't time to bake cornbread. Then, whoosh, this wild hare thought of trying cornbread batter in the waffle iron flashed through.

Not of this World and I decided it was worth checking out. Cornbread batter was thrown together while the waffle iron heated. The result? Nothing short of delicious. Tender insides with crispy outsides covered in little squares that were perfect for catching pools of melting butter and honey. Mmmmmm, I can almost taste it right now. I think we'll have chili for lunch tomorrow. Oh, yes we have tried other things besides cornbread. A waffle made from leftover holiday stuffing served as the perfect base for an open-faced sandwich of meat topped with a scoop of mashed potatoes, and don't forget the gravy on top. It was one of the most delicious ways to clean up holiday leftovers I know.

For one of my birthdays there were waffles made from chocolate cake batter, and tonight we had grilled cheese sandwiches cooked to perfection. Though we didn't have any tomato soup with our sandwiches, I can't help but imagine that the squares made by the waffle iron would catch tomato soup in the most delightful way. Little hands love holding the tiny squares each sandwich divided itself into. Of course the adult cooking the sandwiches needs to pay attention to where they place the bread on the waffle iron or the sandwich may end up dividing rather oddly. Experience is a good teacher. My favorite thing about tonight's sandwiches is that I could leave each sandwich in a little for a lightly crispy gooey mess of cheesy goodness, a long time for a totally crunchy cheese crisp experience, or somewhere in between.

Currently I am wondering what an unbaked cinnamon roll would taste like or what about chocolate chip cookie dough? Hmmmm, there are definitely more waffle iron cooking worlds to explore. Winter may be cold and sometimes long, but it will also be tasty, very very tasty. What's that? You have to get home and heat up your waffle iron? I know. It's calling out your name. Make sure you try the chocolate cake batter someday. You'll need some vanilla ice cream and hot fudge sauce to eat on top of it when you do and whipped cream. Promise you it's a dessert that will warm you clear through to your toes. Not only is it delicious, it's decadant and pretty enough for company too. All of that rich chocolate practically begs for the very best coffee you can find. Well, coffee or a cold tall glass of milk. Take your pick. And if you don't need dessert, it makes an incredibly extravagant breakfast or brunch.

Just now thoughts of banana bread or lemon poppy seed or gingerbread or pumpkin or oh my. So many possibilities! Did you hear that? It's sleet! Sleet in December! Can you believe the warmth after such extreme cold earlier? The lake is almost thawed in December! Thinking it won't be thawed long by the sounds of that weather. Love having you, but you'd better scoot before it gets any nastier out there! We don't want you caught out in a storm. Mmmmmm, thanks for the visit and hug! Here's hot tea in a mug to go. Love you! Praying for you! Hope to see you soon!

Loving You Because of Jesus!
Abundantly Blessed @ Abundance House


11.27.2014

Father, We Thank Thee

Happy Thanksgiving! I'm sitting here with the meal in various stages of preparedness. With a cup of hot chocolate in my hand, I decided to set the cup down and spend some time at our bench together, just you and I. The meats are cooking in the roaster. The rolls are raising on the ledge of the stove. We've got time to visit for at least a while before its time to make the gravy and put the green bean casserole, sweet potatoes, and dressing in the oven. Of course, if you wanted to come on inside with me, we could continue to visit while the meal is finished. Well, we could visit until I needed to go change my clothes and put makeup on anyway. We might get distracted by the aroma of the food as it cooks though. It's a hazard of the day.

A hazard of the day. Seems there are many hazards of the day for many people on this Thanksgiving Day. As I have been reading the historical account of the first Thanksgiving Day in America, I can't help but think of the freedom dreams our forefathers carried in their hearts for us. When I hear of the rioting across our nation, I hurt at the thought of how much it would hurt, and possibly anger, those men and women who sacrified, fought, lived, and died that we might live in peaceful freedom. They gave everything that we might live free. Some would say that the rioting is freedom in action. I disagree. Freedom doesn't hurt others. Freedom releases people from the smallness of hurting, looting, and killing. There is a better way. There is God's way. Oh, I know, I know, few feel that God belongs with talk of a nation. Our nation's founders didn't feel that way. In fact, the more I learn and read of their original writings, the more the history I was taught in school is found to be in error. The Puritans and Pilgrims not only felt God to be an essential part of this new nation, they dedicated this land to Him and the furtherance of His Gospel. This nation was intended to be ALL about God.

God who is left out of government, and practically everything else, is the reason the first celebrators of Thanksgiving in America came to this land. As the smells, sights, and sounds of this Thanksgiving Day weave their way in and through me, I pray my heart is not distracted from giving thanks to God, the reason for the celebration. May I be ever centered in Him and allow His way of living, doing, and being to guide and control all I do and say. May the thanks I offer be me living truly free. May others too live free, and may freedom's song rise up in a soaring symphony of truth ringing loudly across the land for all to hear. May smallness and evil be conquered while healing grace and love reign strong.

I am thankful dear friend, thankful for Him and thankful for you. Whether Thanksgiving dinner is turkey with trimmings or takeout, together we can be thankful, and thankful we will be. A poem from one of our children's books is running through my thoughts. May I share it with you before you go home? The poem is shared from the book Poems and Prayers for the Very Young. This book has been a beloved favorite of all of my children.

Father, We Thank Thee
Ralph Waldo Emerson

For flowers that bloom about our feet,
Father, we thank Thee,
For tender grass so fresh and sweet,
Father, we thank Thee,
For the song of bird and hum of bee,
For all things fair we hear or see,
Father in heaven, we thank Thee.

For blue of stream and blue of sky,
Father, we thank Thee,
For pleasant shade of branches high,
Father, we thank Thee,
For fragrant air and cooling breeze,
For beauty of the blooming trees,
Father in heaven, we thank Thee.

For this new morning with its light,
Father, we thank Thee,
For rest and shelter of the night,
Father, we thank Thee,
For health and food, for love and friends,
For everything Thy goodness sends,
Father in heaven, we thank Thee.

Until this book was given to my oldest daughter, I didn't think I liked poetry. After reading this to my daughter, I realized that reading poetry is almost like singing. The rhythm and musicality of the words are a delight to the soul. How happy I was to be wrong and discover I do like poems. They are much like reading the Alice in Bibleland series of books with rhymes that flow from the tongue in a rollicking rhythm. 

Happy Thanksgiving dear friend! God's mercies to us never end. He leads and guides us through the day and shows us all His loving way. Hugs and loves wrap you up. They carry you home to drink and sup. Good-bye, Ta Ta, So long for now. Put on your hat. Tie up that scarf. It looks like it might snow. And always, always, always know You're loved wher'er you go.




11.25.2014

You're Going to Want These, You Will

Hi! It's nippy out! Come on in and grab a cuppa. We're pouring ourselves some too. Happy Thanksgiving two days early! We are SO ready for Thanksgiving around here. I really have enjoyed being thankful more than just one day. Being thankful ahead of time has prepared my heart to fully celebrate and live thanks big on Thursday.

Then on Friday...because we ahve been thankful all along, our heart are so thankful for Jesus that we can barely wait to begin celebrating his coming to us at Christmas! Before you go, take some time to print these sticky notes for the advent season out. They are available at A Holy Experience blog. Here's the link: https://s3.amazonaws.com/a.voskamp/TheGreatestGiftPrintableStickyNotes4x4.pdf. You will be SO glad you did. There are gift tags, gift boxes, and other printables to enjoy there as well.

Thanks for the visit! Here's a hug! Don't forget your stocking cap, it's cold out there! Love & Thanks in Jesus!

11.22.2014

Thanksgiving - I'm Thankful

Good morning! Only a few days left until Thanksgiving is here! I love Thanksgiving, everything about it. I love the cooking. I love having people eat the food. I love the fire in the woodstove, the football later, the naps full tummies bring, afternoon walks outdoors, reheating leftovers for supper, even having leftover desserts for breakfast the next morning. I'm smiling as I think about it. An entire holiday devoted to giving thanks to God and thanking Him by celebrating His abundant goodness. Ahhhh, did you hear my blissful sigh of joy?

Come on in and have some tea with me. There is a brisk breeze this morning. The weatherman says it is blowing in some weather. Cattle working might be a bit chilly next week if it gets as cold as they say it might. At least it will be cool enough for a fire in the stove on Thanksgiving. What are you doing for Thanksgiving? Anyone coming over? Oh, you are going? That can be fun too. You are right. I do love having guests over, especially for meals. I really truly do. Not everyone enjoys cooking for a lot of people or having people come over, but I looked forward to having gatherings in my home for years. Now that family and friends do gather in our home, a long-awaited dream has come true for me. What about you? What's your holiday dream come true?

Is it time for you to go already? I understand. It is a busy season. While we were visiting I thought of several things I need to get done or find. I'd better start making a list so they don't get forgotten. Yes! Let's do give prayerful thanks together before you leave! Thank you Lord for this dear friend and how they bless me with their visits. Thank you for the many evidences of Your goodness that surround us each day. I pray that we have eyes to see, ears to hear, a mind to understand, and a heart that knows every evidence of You every day all day through. In the name of Jesus we pray, Amen. Thank You for Jesus! We are so excited about celebrating Him during the Christmas season!


11.03.2014

Good News & Snow

Hey There! You came out in the rainy snow! Come in! Come in! The fire is going if you need to warm up. Have a seat right there. I'll put the kettle on for tea, or something. Don't you just love the first snow? There is just something exciting about the first true snow, even if there isn't enough on the ground for a six and eight year old to make snowballs with. There is something or other being worked on inside the house today. I won't chat long here on the blog as My Beloved is here. I want to have tea with him since he is inside this afternoon. We don't get the opportunity very often.

Still no pictures of the chalkboard. I am having a bit of an issue getting the paint to be even. I have one last thing to try before saying "That's it!" and leaving it as is. Then maybe we will get it trimmed, hung, and in a picture before Christmas! Wouldn't that be loverly?

Just wanted to let you know it snowed. Somehow that seemed worth sharing. At least it did at the time. Also, as we head into the holiday season, here's a quick mention of possible resources for holiday ideas: Pinterest and magazines. Yes, there are still the real deal paper magazines available, so thankful for that! When the paper magazines have shared all they have to share, Pinterest is there too. Have you ever sat and "pinterested" with your spouse? Loads of fun! Well, My Beloved and I have fun. We have found a number of things to try while scrolling our way through. Watch our Colonel Redeemed! We're going to get you!

Before I go pour water for our tea, just a quick share from my heart. Mark 16:15 says "..."Go into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature." The word gospel means Good News. Good News. Not Bad, depressed, evil, wicked, look what the devil did or is doing to me news. G-O-O-D N-E-W-S. News of the "Be of good cheer for I have overcome the world and I have come that they might have life and more abundantly" variety, that's the good news of the Gospel. For several weeks now there has been an insistent whispering in my heart for me to obey the Word exactly perxactly and preach (speak, share, and declare) the Gospel, the Good News, just as God has commanded. Since being made aware of the lack of Gospel being shared, I have caught myself almost speaking out news that isn't true Gospel more than I like. Dear Jesus, thank You for providing Good News. I pray it and it alone is shared in the way you have instructed. May it be our heart's desire to share only You for You are good. In Your name, Amen.

Ready for that cup of tea, dear friend? Me too. Let's go get us a cuppa something and share more of God's Good News with each other! We can meditate on God's Good News as we finish out the day with our loved ones.

Sharing and Declaring the Gospel aka Good News,
Abundantly Blessed @ Abundance House blog

10.24.2014

HOPE

Hope. Have been seeing and reading that word a lot lately. Hope & Grace. Over and over and over those two keep popping up alongside the call to pray, pray, and pray some more. If God repeats those things that He wants us to get, then this girl needs to be paying some serious attention to Hope, Grace, & Pray because those three are EVERYWHERE I look!

What about you? Have you also been running into Hope, Grace, & Pray? Thought so. They're all over right now. And I am all kinds of glad to see them too. Praying you are too.

10.20.2014

The Brave

There it was sitting in my inbox, an email from a blog writer I follow daily. As a matter of fact, the article was one I had read on her blog before. But today, today it was as if it were the very first time. Today the words came straight from the heart of Father God to mine.

"I've been rejected for my size -- but Jesus, Jesus takes all of me."
The singer on the stage, she says this, her eyes welling, her skin bare right there in her hands.
Then she raises her hands and she sings --
because the brave always keep singing on their own song --
unconditional acceptance always being the one size that fits all.
Quote from Ann Voskamp's post @ A Holy Experience blog

Here's the link for reading the entire article:
http://www.aholyexperience.com/mymail/136041/5bc7707c10485b1f264bc2013d116bc9/aHR0cDovL3d3dy5haG9seWV4cGVyaWVuY2UuY29tLzIwMTQvMTAvd2hhdC10by1kby13aGVuLXlvdS1kb250LWZlZWwtbGlrZS15b3UtZml0Lw

"because the brave always keep singing on their own song" We're singing our songs loud here today. So many words to share that this mama doesn't quite know where to begin sharing her heart. If the plug ever comes out, there may be a word flood of epic proportions:) Also finishing up the book Captivating by John and Stasi Eldredge along with a book by Linda Dillow, What's it Like Being Married to Me? Still plugging my way through the series on A Thomas Jefferson Education. Those Thomas Jefferson education books are taking me a while to digest and get through.
 
Singing the praises of Jesus even as I take stickers out of small hands,
Abundantly Blessed @ Abundance House

10.15.2014

Church?

Hey There! It's super windy outside. Want to come inside and chat? Great! Just a second, I have to get Victorious Man of God out of the pantry. He's probably going after the marshmallows. Oh, guess not. He got some dogfood out for our sweet ole dog. Well, that's better than throwing toy arrows at him. Those two are funny together.

Anyway...where were we? Can't remember? Neither can I. Haha. Oh yeah. Church. Lately, well, longer than lately, I've been thinking about church. What does God's idea of church look like? Not man's thoughts and beliefs about it, God's. Wanting to know God's idea of church, I have been paying extra close attention to scriptures that mention the church, especially those that reference the early church and what it looked like. Have you ever done that? Thought about how the first church and the church of today differ? Or how they are alike?

Until the past couple of years I hadn't devoted much thought to the subject, some but not much. Now, however, I am experiencing a hunger rising up within. This is a hunger of desire. This particular desire is not born of the flesh, but rather this hungry longing is of the spirit. Deep within is an aching desire to gather together in the name of Jesus and worship Him in spirit and in truth with brothers and sisters in Christ who too long to be united through God's love. More than ever I want to gather with other Christians, not to go to church but rather to be the church.

I'm done with getting up on a certain day, traveling to a specific building, singing some songs, and hearing a message that is just like so many I have already heard then traveling back home to go through the week just like every other week before. I want More. More thanking Him. More praising Him. More fruit of the Spirit. More God. More Jesus. More Holy Spirit. More miracles. More giving. More healing. More testifying of God's goodness. More being. More unity. More of the Gospel, it is good news. And less. I also ache for less. Less me. Less doing. Less clockwatching. Less going through the actions. Less religious observance. Less flesh. Less human intellect. Less world viewpoint. Less personal opinion. Less hurting. Less talk of the devil's badness. Less complaining. Less taking. Less being proud of less. Less churchy-ness. Just less of this earth and more of God, all God.

Please don't misunderstand. I am not complaining about how church currently is. I am merely attempting to express this longing that seems to grow with every passing day. New wine in new wineskins is something mentioned in the Bible. Maybe that is what I am hungry for? Maybe something else. All I know is that this hunger will not be denied much longer. Soon, very soon, it will demand to be met. What about you? Do you find yourself hungry for more, and less, all at the same time? Is there a deepseated longing rising up within you that longs to be His hands and feet every day, not only on Sunday? Is there a song of worship bubbling up out of your belly? Is there a Holy roar rising up on the inside of you? Are you sensing the call from the Father to a life of greater? Greater because He is the One in control instead of you?

Yes? You aren't the only one. Neither am I. More than one person I have visited with lately is experiencing it too. More, we are SO hungry for more, and less. Maybe we'll pray together? Pray that together in Him we rise up and allow His Holy voice to roar out of us in a glorious wave of healing, loving power straight from the throne of God. Shall we? Shall we unite our hearts together in Him and allow Him to be and do any and everything He desires? Good! Let's do!

In Jesus' name,
Abundantly Blessed @ Abundance House blog

10.09.2014

Sitting Here With You. Just That.

Hi. Been a long week already? Me too, in some ways. In other ways it has flown by. Everywhere a person turns lately they come in contact with another someone who is hurting, someone who is lonely, someone who is struggling just to make it through this very moment. What do we do when a whole world full of hurt surrounds us? What do we say? How do we help? Aren't these the age old questions? They have been for me. An interview I read this morning helped me answer some of these questions. Maybe it will help you too: http://www.chattingatthesky.com/2014/10/09/leeana-tankersley/#comment-587850.

Can't resist it. I've got to stop and watch these three youngest rewards of mine getting themselves ready to gather eggs. Now for the parade of hens that will pass by the window following them. Oh how sweet it is to be loved by God. Daily moments like these are true treasures for the soul for sure. And if anyone doesn't believe in miracles, they haven't watched a six-year-old Man of God swing a bucket of chicken scraps around on his way out the door without losing any of the contents. I'm serious here. There is no way those kitchen scraps should have stayed in that bucket. No. physical. way. All of this, even buckets of scraps being swung in little boy haste is a treasure of love, a present straight from God. May I never forget to tell Him "Thank You".

The egg hunters have returned with their bounty! A tale of a visiting turkey hen joins the daily number of eggs report. Our roving turkey friend Gertrude appears to have returned. I wonder if she will like having new hen friends to chat with during her stay? A family or two of swans have stopped for rest and refreshment on their fall migration route. They along with ducks provided real live nature observation for learning this morning.

Thankful for God's gifts each day,
Abundantly Blessed @ Abundance House




10.07.2014

Found This Food Blog!


Hi! Come on in! Don't worry about the dirt. Just slip off your shoes and leave them out here by the washing machine with everyone else's. How is your morning? Maybe because it's windy. Maybe because it's cloudy. Maybe because it is the fall season and fall seems so warm and homey to me. Whatever the reason, this mama is into making goodness for the tastebuds lately. Not sure how that explains why I went a little bit gaga over a food blog this morning. *insert sheepish grin* Here's the link: https://go.madmimi.com/redirects/1412690876-7370c3d3748418006ac3303f5887198f-224ac47?pa=25511801902 Mel's Place is the name of the blog, and if you enjoy food that is easy to make while also being ultra yummy, you might go a little gaga too, just letting you know ahead of time.

So far, recipes for Dinner in a Pumpkin, Chocolate Turtle Cookies, 30-second Chocolate Turtle Cookie Sundaes, Easy 10-minute Caramel Sauce, Divine Caramel Sauce, and Caramel Apple Cider Floats have been printed off and now await their trial run in the Abundance House kitchen. It appears as if it will be tasting a lot like fall around here. Doesn't it? Lest you are wondering, we are not, I repeat NOT, going to be taste-testing all the above recipes on the same day. It is doubtful they will debut in the same week. Can you even imagine the sugar rush and corresponding crash that would result from all of that sugar consumption? Oh my. Yes, we're definitely spreading out these taste-testings.

Yesterday afternoon some green tomatoes on my window ledge caught my eye. Do I seriously want to look at those things for as long as it will take for them to ripen? Nope. What do I do with them? Hmmm, I wonder...most everyone in the house likes apple pie and as I recall green tomato pie resembles apple pie...hmmm...do I dare try? Will they even try it? Hmmmm, yep. I'm going for it. Out comes the sugar, lard, and flour plus cinnamon, nutmeg, salt, a bit of lemon juice. Children were dispatched the the garden for more green tomatoes and before long a green tomato pie was cooking away in the counter top oven. (The stove oven was full of supper.)

Wondering how the pie turned out? Well, responses varied but all agreed that more sugar would have been nice, ice cream too would have been good. The general consensus was that it wasn't apple pie, but it would do in a pinch. For a couple it would have to be a pretty dire sort of craving need before they would be tempted to eat it again, but the rest of us agreed to withhold forming an opinion until trying one with more sugar added. Oh yes, most of the taste-testers stated they would prefer seeds be removed. Tomato seeds in their pie was just too "weird" for them. Personally, the green tomatoes remained too crisp for me. I like my apples on the mushy side in pie. I know, I know, mushy apples in pie is totally unacceptable and all kinds of wrong, but that's how it is for this girl. For the record, I made My Beloved a coffee cake. He was greatly relieved.

What? Oh, it is that time again. Isn't it? How does the time fly by so quickly when we're together? If you have the time, I think you will enjoy visiting Mel's Place. I'll try and remember to let you know how the recipes turn out. Time for a hug! Want to take some coffee home in a to go cup? Uhmm, I just thought of the perfect warm drink for this fall, non-alcoholic hot buttered rum! Oh yeah, that's what I'm talkin' about. Rich, creamy warmth sipped beside a crackling fire in the woodstove. Can you feel the warmth running over and through you like a soothing balm? Me neither, but I almost can. Guess we'll just have to make some one of these days.

There is a comforting warming balm that flows over me regardless of the season, the presence of God. Whether there is a fire crackling in the woodstove or burning in the firepit outdoors, God's presence warms, soothes, and comforts always. Living for and Living God is the ultimate, the ultimate everything. Praying Him for you this fall season dearest ones, just Him. Here, I'll walk to the door with you. Thanks for dropping in. I love it when you come over. Thank you for taking the time out of your day to spend with us here. It is a gift of time and please know how very much your sacrificial gift is appreciated. There are only so many hours and minutes in a day. To think that you would spend any of those moments visiting Abundance House is a humbling honor. Here's your coffee! Oh! Here's a piece of coffee cake to go with it. See you later! Good-Bye!

Love & Prayers from Abundantly Blessed @ Abundance House



10.06.2014

A Fall Morning

Ahhh, dishes are done, floors are swept, Papa and older children are all out and about working somewhere on the ranch. The morning sigh has been heaved. Time to get to the tasks at hand. But first, first some time at the bench.

There has been a lot of pondering on this bench lately. Exactly what is this bench? email? a blog? or is it more, much more? Is it important? Does it bless anyone besides its author? Have I yet again taken a concept too literally? Was this gathering around the bench simply an act that my own heart hungered for or is it an ache in the heart of others too? A hunger-created ache for gathering and connecting not just our hearts but our every day lives in the security of God's love garden? A desire to share recipes alongside deepest fears, needs, desires? What is this bench about anyway? Is it merely a romantic figment of idealism?

Questions roam the paths of my mind much as the wind rises mid morning here on the ranch at Abundance House. In spite of numerous confirmations from God the questions still blow in and brush the walls of my mind with reckless abandon. Ignoring the wonderings is impossible despite the fact that I would  very much love to do that very thing. What is this bench, and why do I feel such a drawing to it?

Oh my. Oh dear friends, if only you cold hear the song flowing and soaking through the house this morning. "He loves us, oh, how He loves us, oh how He loves us, oh how He loves." Isn't that the answer to those questions dashing in the mind? Isn't that the reason we're at this bench, because we're hungry to gather in God and His love? "Jesus You're the center...Jesus, nothing else...nothing in this world but You." Because Jesus is the center of everything, and He in us draws us together like nothing we've ever known? Something none of us can quite explain is calling us to draw close to not only Jesus but each other? "Jesus be the center...every knee will bow, every tongue confess...Jesus...sing that name...Jesus...healing in the name of...Jesus...our hearts, our head, Jesus be the center. It's all about You, all about You..."

Here at our bench there is a safeness, a security that can only be found in the love of God. Whether expressed as the warmth of home, evening's coolness in a garden, steaming liquid in a cup of coffee, cocoa or tea, the coziness of a fire, comfort food, colorful garden produce, new chickens, a duck's waddle, a hug, or a loving compassionate quietness as the other pours out his/her heart, our bench is Jesus at the center in visible form. At least my heart longs for it to be. And your heart...

What is your heart longing for, dear reader? Are you soul hungry for a gathering together in God's love? Do you find yourself moving through your days with a deep gnawing ache for more, more than what you alone can find? A wanting for what you can't quite describe or explain but a wanting nonetheless? Something similar to a fresh from the drier warmth of a blanket but tucked around your heart and soul instead of shoulders? Are you lonesome for the love of friends and family without fear of judging or disapproval? Do you need a safe place of loving welcome?

If these words could have come from your own heart, then please know Abundance House is just such a place, a place of refuge for gathering together. We are gathering together at this bench until God lovingly leads us elsewhere. Some days our bench will be inside by the fire. Some days we'll stroll around the yard laughing at the parade of chickens and ducks following. Other days we'll only have time to zip in and out for a mini-visit. We're real people after all. Some days there simply won't be time to gather anywhere other than in loving prayer and kind thought while moving through our day. No matter, we will gather still. Whether thought, prayer, or blog post, gather together we will. Deep within my heart I know we have been called to do this very thing, for such a time as this.

Other bloggers have used words such as meeting at the bench, becoming an Esther generation, many other words. Whatever the words used, all expressions are singing the same message. All of us everywhere are hungry, hungry for Him, hungry for each other, hungry, heart and soul hungry for more. There is more for us to do, and each of us knows it. Way down deep inside we know the words Mordecai spoke to Esther so many, many years ago are also for us today "Who knows but what you have placed in the kingdom for such a time as this?" It's time. Time to gather, to love, nurture, nourish, and comfort one another. Gathering together as friends and family is vital. This gathering isn't only for us but also for those around us, those we don't yet know. IT IS TIME. Time to allow God to draw ALL men unto Himself, through us.

Will you gather with us still dearest friend? Will you come and meet with us? Will you allow us to love on you in this safe place of refuge? Oh how I pray you will. God and I, along with friends and family yet unknown are waiting for you here at this house of Abundance. There is an abundance here, an abundance of God who is love. He is here too. HE is the One holding us all so gently and lovingly close in His bosom. In Him we are all One. It is in His love I say good-bye this morning. Until our next gathering together know you are not alone. You're not the only one with a hunger of heart and soul for more.

On a personal note, 19-month-old Victorious Man of God sends his love. He is busy watching big sister's baby doll while insisting I need a straw in my glass of water. Mighty Man of God crossed another threshold of growing up this past weekend. Two bottom front teeth were lost. This is an event he has been eagerly awaiting ever since older sister lost hers several years ago. Oh dear. Our dear ole dog has moved from his spot by my feet to a location farther away from the duck decoy Victorious Man of God insists must "fly". Now a barstool is being shoved my way. Apparently VMOG wants to sit beside me and hold sister's babydoll. If only you could see how sweet this little guy looks sucking his thumb with a tiny babydoll tucked under his arm. As sweet as he is, our good-byes couldn't have come at a more opportune moment in this ever-evolving scene of adventure otherwise known as life here at our house. Nap time is upon us. Mama's visiting time is over. Hugs and prayers to each of you!

Until next time,
Abundantly Blessed @ Abundance House



10.05.2014

Just a Thought...

Good evening. The sun has gone to bed for the night. The last remaining rays are almost completely hidden from view. It's the end of the first day of the week, Sunday. With supper cooking it seemed like the perfect time to slide onto our bench for a few seconds. Can't stay too long or supper will burn. Leftovers are bad enough without being burnt besides!

There is this thought that has been twirling around inside my head periodically for several years now. Will share with you before heading back to stir my leftovers. Maybe we'll get to sit and visit more later on this week. Here's a hug just in case the week flies by without another visit.

"If it isn't all about God then it isn't about God at all." 

Praying all of everything is about God for each one of us this and every week,
Abundantly Blessed @ Abundance House blog

10.02.2014

Hugs & A Recipe

Hi! It's still windy outside, though not as much as yesterday. Yesterday was fierce. I brought the recipe for Beefy Pot Pie with me. Would you like it? Here it is. If beef isn't what you have on hand, just adapt the recipe to fit the ingredients you have. Chicken, pheasant, and/or turkey could be used though I might switch out the cream of mushroom for cream of chicken if they are. Venison, antelope, elk, and other red meats could be used with the recipe as it is listed. Feel free to tweak as desired. Garlic is a nice addition. This recipe will serve 4-6.

BEEFY POT PIE
Approx. 6-8 minute steaks dredged in flour and just browned on both sides - do not cook through
2 small cans of cream of mushroom soup or 1/2 of a large can
1/2 onion sliced into rings
4 carrots sliced
Approx. 8 potatoes peeled and sliced or cubed to desired size

Pastry enough for a double pie.

Cut steaks into small bite-sized pieces and combine with remaining filling ingredients. Roll out 1/2 of pastry and place in pie plate. Add filling. Cover with remaining pastry which has been rolled out. Trim and flute edges of pastry. Cut holes or slits in top of pastry to allow for venting of steam during cooking. Bake at 375 1 hour or until veggies are tender.

Unbaked pie can be frozen for future meals.

If a large crowd were gathering, this recipe could be multiplied and baked in a large casserole dish. It doesn't have to be in a pie plate. As a matter of fact, a cast iron skillet makes the most delightful crust. There is just something so rustic and fall like about cast iron too. It looks perfectly wonderful and homey on an autumn table.

Perfectly wonderful and homey and autumn. Isn't that just exactly what the days have been recently? Well, except for the wind. I'm not complaining about the wind mind you. It just prevents a person from fully enjoying the outdoors when it is blowing a gale force. Remember that "No Wimpy Prayers! No Wimpy Praise!" instruction from my friend? Well, it's another day of answer to my non-wimpy prayers! Another day of meals either in the crockpot or ready to go into the oven with time for school left over besides. In our house, THIS IS HUGE people!!! HUGE!!! AND...I forgot to give thanks for the 7 quarts of green beans on my pantry shelves and the 20 plus quarts of dried beans that Not of this World canned too. I did the green beans, mostly. I might have had some help from Not of This World. Thankful for that too.

As we enter the final few days of awe between Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur, I am continuing to examine my heart along with praying for instruction and wisdom on how to manage myself and home to the glory of God. How did your Rosh Hashanah feast go? Are you enjoying this new Jewish Year 5775 so far? We at Abundance House are. Learning about God's feasts has been so much fun and rewarding. We are thankful He led us to His feasts and more of Him. These aren't Jewish feasts; they are God's feasts. Leaving our bench today with a song. "Praise God from Whom all blessings flow. Praise Him all creatures here below. Praise Him above ye heavenly hosts. Praise Father, Son, and Holy Ghost. Amen." I could almost hear you harmonizing, especially on the final Amen! Lovely. Thank you for praising God with me dear friend. Brothers and sisters from the heart, a dear sweet treasure for certain.

Full of His glory and autumn splendor,
Abundantly Blessed

10.01.2014

Cherry Pie Bars


OH Good! You're here! I was hoping you would be! On my way upstairs to tackle afternoon lessons I thought I would drop off a yummy recipe as I went by. Here it is. Hope you enjoy them! Colonel Redeemed has requested them for his birthday cake. They are that good - and easy too! Talk to you later on. I'll bring the recipe for Beefy Pot Pie when I come. 
Hugs,
Abundantly Blessed

CHERRY PIE BARS
1 C. butter softened
1 1/2 C. sugar
1 t. vanilla

Cream together

4 eggs

Add one at a time, stir after each one.

3 C. flour
2 1/2 t. baking powder
1/2 t. salt

Sift together and add to creamed mixture gradually. Beat after each addition. Spreak 2/3 of the mixture into a greased jelly roll pan. Spread 1 can of cherry pie filling over batter and drop the rest of the batter over the cherries. Bake 30 min. 

While still warm, drizzle with  icing made from 1 C. powdered sugar, 1 t. vanilla and enough water to make it pour from a spoon. 

Cool before cutting.

9.30.2014

Autumn Glory

Hi! You caught me sitting here at the bench sighing with contentment. Afternoon is preparing to slip into something more comfortable while evening shadows anticipate sliding into their favorite places before night covers everything with its sparkling blanket of stars. And me? I'm sitting here savoring every precious moment, from inside the house. The wind is ferocious out there!

This afternoon has been one of rarest beauty. A beefy potpie awaits in the freezer for a future supper while a pan of cherry pie bars sits cooling on the counter. The bars will provide a bit of sweet to round out our supper of roast beef sandwiches and cheesy green beans. Pretzel buns are raising on the stove. The shiny brown buns will make a nice bed for the roast beef in our sandwiches.

Last night before going to bed a crockpot was filled with onions, carrots, potatoes, minute steak, cream of mushroom soup, and a variety of spices. A roaster turned way down low began to slowly cook tonight's roast beef to tender perfecton. Another bed of carrots and onions was made for the roast, just for a bit of extra flavor. All awoke to the delicious aroma of simple food being cooked with love.

The forenoon found the littles and I eagerly transporting their books into several new homes about the TV room. After reading through book after favorite book until mama's voice was almost gone, we trooped downstairs to a ready and waiting lunch that was not only filling but yummy as well. Amazingly, one of the rarest of rare treats followed lunch, there was enough smothered steak, potatoes, and carrots leftover to fill a potpie!

And now. Now, late afternoon finds this mama heaving a contented sigh while a smile plays about my lips. There is something so indescribably satisfying about completing a day successfully. Ahhhh, it is almost as good as a bubble bath. Almost. Too often, due to my lack of planning and preparation we fly through the day by the seat of our pants seldom, if ever, truly accomplishing a fraction of what ought to be done. School, housework, or meals are the choices, one or the other but rarely ever all three. Days like today when everything falls into place so pleasantly are a treasure to hold near and dear. For truly, these days are a gift straight from Heaven.

Young children may not realize they were being introduced to and expanding their knowledge of fractions when they were "helping" me make pretzel dough and cherry pie bars. Nor did they imagine that their vocabulary was intentionally being expanded as we conversed amid clouds of flour. And I am almost certain that not for one second did they guess that handwriting was their teacher's "plan" when she sent them out to play with sidewalk chalk this afternoon. Counting building toy pieces when picking them up may not be a traditional method of teaching counting, but it certainly works well. Besides those little bits of plastic fun had to be picked up after the tub got spilt. Big brother also learned that perhaps it would have been better for him to have taken those tubs upstairs last night after he picked them up rather than leave them to be dumped by little brother again today. Picking up little bits of plastic really isn't that much fun.

Even little cowboys must learn to read and count if they want to go to "work" with Papa. For Papa surely cannot have cowboys working for him who don't know their letters and numbers:) His workers must learn their lessons. And may I just say a quick, yet heartfelt, thank you to God right now for cowboy style ABC books? Thank You. Thank You. Thank You. And that big sister mode that kicks in sometimes? The mode that so diligently informs all present how much more it knows that the little brothers? Yes, for even that I am thankful. It is that often unpleasant desire to be bigger and smarter that inspires and motivates even the most reluctant learners sometimes, and mama teachers sometimes need all the help they can get motivating learning children. Especially if one of those learning children might possibly be an eight-year-old daughter determined to plot her own course of study.

Yes, a day filled with all of home's cozy warmth, rich learning, and almost completed laundry is a rare and beautiful treasure to fully savour. My dear Oklahoma friend says "No Wimpy Prayers! No Wimpy Praise!" Another woman I heard said words like this "Your prayers should scare you!" Well, that is what I have done dear sisters in Christ. I have prayed out of the depths of my heart that which seemed impossible to change, and God? God heard my cry and answered! He truly, truly answered! Today is His answer! Today is proof that God cares for His children, and He answers their prayers. I asked God to show me how to order my days, to give me a love of teaching, to help me enjoy the life He has given me, to make it productive rather than chaotic, and He did! He has!

The shadows are lengthening. Afternoon is slipping out while evening slides gently in. The wind? It's still blowing ferociously. Thankful we could meet inside today dearest friend. Ummmm, you give the best hugs! Thank you for meeting me here! Maybe we can talk about meal planning one of these days. I won't bore you with how-tos, will just share how much it has helped me out. I'll try and remember to bring along the recipe for the Beefy Pot Pie too, just in case you want to make one at your house. It's the perfect time of year for it. Carrots, onions, potatoes are all about ready to be harvested right now. You should see how beautiful my carrots are! Maybe next time, right? Have a wonderful evening!

Love in Jesus,
Abundantly Blessed @ Abundance House blog









9.19.2014

Newest Reads

Young Evergreens


It's a hot afternoon for sure. Something cold to drink? Iced tea? Water? Iced coffee? What have you been up to on this warm tail end day of summer? I took advantage of a few moments alone to finish up one book and start another.

Love Does by Bob Goff is one of my newest favorite reads. ever. Or so I thought until I began Captivating by John & Stasi Eldredge. Mr. Goff shares how to "discover a secretly incredible life in an ordinary world" while the Eldredges reveal the art of "unveiling the mystery of a woman's soul". Both books find me longing to gather a group of friends together with the express purpose of reading through these books together and digging into each one deeper than possible all by myself. Both reads have immense blessings in store for not only female readers but the males who pick them up too. As a matter of fact, I am contemplating purchasing extra copies of Captivating to give as gifts to a number of brave Wild at Heart(another book by John Eldredgemen I know.

After beginning Captivating, I now find myself wanting to read everything the Eldredge's have written. It's a hazard readers face with great regularity. With our weekdays filled with the words from The Storybook of Science by Jean Henri Fabre', A Child's Geography: Explore His Earth by Ann Voskamp, Phonics Pathways, Grammarland by Nesbitt and Waddy, In the Beginning by Wile, and other school time tales to learn from seldom does the opportunity for personal reading present itself. I am learning all over again that the lifelong discipline of quiet time in the Bible requires a conscious determined decision on my part. The opportunity for Bible reading and study won't show up on its own; the time must be made.

I think perhaps that a shady hide away such as the structure almost hidden by the trees in the picture above would be a lovely spot to soak in the truth of God's Word. Children could play among the trees while mama soaks in more of The Lover of Her Soul, God Himself. Ahhh, now that would indeed be a lovely way to spend summer's final days. Wouldn't it?

Once more supper time is approaching with an almost ferocious rapidity. Where do the moments of each day fly to? They surely must have wings so quickly they depart. Even meals know of autumn's approach. Appetites for the simple ease of grilled meats and fresh vegetables are beginning to desire the warmth and comfort of meals best eaten during seasons of cooler temperatures. So deliciously do baked potatoes liberally laced with butter satisfy when cooler breezes blow hot winds away. Fresh salad greens are replaced by hot, steamed green beans.
Is your garden still delivering the season's bounty? Mine still has much to give yet knows its time is limited. This extra warm day today is a blessing to the tomatoes tucked snuggly behind the protection of the trees. Carrots, beats, and onions will soon be settled in under a thick layer of hay. With such a warm blanket on the cold winds of autumn and winter won't bother their sections of the garden.

Time for heading home from our bench has come once more dear friend. Thank you for coming today. If you have an opportunity to read either of the newest reads you will want to open yourself to God's loving message each one contains. Hugs before heading out! Love you bunch and pray over and for you often.

In Christ's Love,
Ever Abundantly Blessed


Eighteen

My Miss Mustard Seed or Babbling Brooke as she sometimes is called turned 18. Eighteen Autumns have wound their way around. Eighteen times the tale of my friend bringing three flavors of milkshakes to the hospital when she visited, because she didn't know which flavor I preferred, has been told. Eighteen times I have wondered at how rapidly another year has flown by, and How? How is this my third child this age already? Why does this child seem to grow so much more quickly than the others? Why does my time with her fly so much faster than the years with her siblings?

This girl hasn't ever been like any of her brothers and sisters, ever. Her own person, she has always, and I do mean always, lived life her own way, marched to the beat of her own drum, and fought ferociously to be her own, unique self. And I love her for it. Truly I do. Yes, it has made discipline and life lessons more challenging, but I don't care. I love her for being her. Of course, being mama, I love her no matter what. That's the best part of being mama, this loving always and forever no. matter. what.

As I sit here with my fingers poised motionless over the keyboard the words remain aloof. How does a mother put her heart into words? How do you share those innermost inner lovings with the clicking of keys? Some words, some thoughts, some feelings, they go too deep, are too strong, they just can't be said right out loud. Others, however, flow swiftly, almost as swiftly as the passing years have flown. Those words though. Those words aren't for here. They aren't for a blog read by anyone in the entire world. Those are for us, for her and I to share. Mamas and daughters need each other just like the flowers need the rain and the rain needs the clouds.

Who else but a daughter would know her mama who writes so much about meeting at a bench needed a bench in her garden? And who else but a daughter would know that an antique coffee pot filled with wildflowers would look just perfect on said bench? Somethings only a daughter knows, and somethings only a certain daughter knows. God has given me a daughter for every season, for every quirk, for every part of me. There isn't any part of me that one of my daughters doesn't "get". This Babbling Brooke of mine is no exception.

Of course there are also some buttons that only certain daughters know how to push so perfectly. Some parts of ugly that each one best brings to the surface. We believe in letting love cover over those parts. Love is the best cover up of all. And love, love is what caused this little girl following birth to cry until the other babies in the hospital nursery were being woken. This little girl she wanted her mama right from the start. Being baby number three for me when most of the other mamas were having their first, Babbling Brooke was sent back to me. "Could we please bring her back? She's waking all of the other babies, and the other mothers are all first-timers. Would you mind if we brought her back to the room? We're so sorry, but we can't get her to settle down, no matter what we do." I didn't mind at all and welcomed having my newest little one in the room with me. Of course she may come. She just needs her mama after all, and that is exactly what she wanted, me.

Odd how the baby who wanted mama from the first was also the one who was the first child to tell this same mama that she could find her own way to children's church and no, she did not want mama to walk her to her first Sunday in a new Sunday School class. Independent? Yes sir. Yes ma'am. Most definitely. She is, after all, the child of My Beloved and I. She is also the child who loves rough rides, wants to go mudding, and any number of other rough and rowdy ventures called fun. Paintballing, hunting, yes, yes, yes to it all. But don't mistake the love of the wild for a lack of femininity. Pearls and lace are among her very most favorites, and the favorite clothing of choice right now is a tutu skirt. Well rounded is the self-description she provides. Indeed Babbling Brooke, indeed. May you always be complete, whole, and full in Jesus the Author, Finisher, and Perfector of your faith. Oh! And may you also always be generous and share your Highland Grogg coffee with your mama too:)






9.10.2014

Here At Our Bench

Hi! You're already here at the bench! Good. Hugs! How is the end of summer and beginning of fall going for you? Is it busy? Harvest time always is, isn't it? Good, busy, crazy, wild, comforting, hard, wonderful, all of that all mixed up together in one amazing season of joyous crazy, that's harvest all right. The days and nights have been much cooler here at Abundance House. My bench buddy in Oklahoma said she was going about in a humid 90 degrees at her house this morning. That is exactly twice the temperature I was in here. Wild, isn't it?

So, I have been waiting until I felt like God gave me words to bring to our visits rather than just showing up and hoping He dropped something in our laps. And, well, the words I thought were from Him vanished by the time I got over here. Ugh! Oh yes! Fear. Fear, that ugly force each of us comes face to face with at some point in our lives. Fear wears many faces, speaks through many voices, even presenting itself as our friend at times.

Why on earth would I feel led to write about fear? Because so many of my dear sisters, and maybe brothers, in Christ are being run ragged spiritually by this bully, and this sista senses God Holy Spirit saying "That is ENOUGH! No more! No more fear in the children of God!" The bullying, the unnecessary torment must stop! These are children of the King, the King of Kings! Fear has no legal right to them and their minds! They are to be children of faith and love, not fear. Fear must go! In the name of Jesus, fear must get out of God's children! These are Kingdom children. They must be told the truth and freed from the power of fear, in Jesus' name. It is rising up within me. Can you hear it? Can you feel it dear friends? This rising surging that says NO MORE FEAR! My sisters and brothers must hear this message of freedom. They must know the truth. They must be freed in Jesus' name!

I know fear well. I lived with fear as a close and constant companion for many, many years. Years filled with torment, ridicule, and shame not from people around me but my own thoughts and feelings. Fear is a spirit, and it doesn't fight fair. It will come in and do its work in whatever way it can. Just as God is love, the kingdom of darkness operates out of fear. For fear is the same spiritual force as faith. It just works in the opposite direction. Fear is faith in the devil's ability to do harm.

While a younger mother than I am now, approximately 16-17 years younger, I began to learn the truth regarding fear - and faith. I also began to learn how to combat this destructive force and send it packing out of my life and thoughts. It has been quite a journey since I learned the truth regarding faith and fear, love and truth. As a matter of fact, the journey isn't over. I am still learning. Not only learning but allowing what I learn to change me, to transform me through the renewing of my mind.

Dear sisters and brothers, we don't have to live in fear. Fear has no authority or control over a child of God, unless it is given. Fear is NOT of God! God is love and perfect love drives out ALL fear! If I could say one thing to the body of Christ right now it would be DO NOT FEAR!!! There is no fear in love, and God is love. Therefore, we can rightly conclude that there is NO FEAR IN GOD. This doesn't mean fear won't attempt to derail our thoughts or intrude in our lives. It will. Like I said earlier, fear doesn't play fair. However, when fear does come we need to know that it is an illegal intruder and tell it to GO, in the name of Jesus!

I know, I know, easier said than done. That is a fact. It is much easier to type these words on my computer than it was to fight the actual fight of faith and conquer this opposing foe. However, knowing the truth, that God has already conquered fear, and that I have been perfectly equipped with the armor of God so that I can fight, knowing that fear has no legal authority over me, my family, or any other part of my life has been huge for me personally. The freedom I have experienced since learning the truth and fighting for it in my life is indescribable. Words can't tell the release of faith and trust that have grown deeper, stronger, richer. The intimacy God and I share that was impossible when I lived in fear is so dear and sweet.

Was the fight easy? No. Was it hard? Yes. Was it down and dirty? Yes, it was. Did it get downright nasty? Yep, sure did, still does somedays. Was it worth it? You betcha, worth every bit of effort, every tear, every drop of sweat, every shout of scripture, every swing of the Spirit's sword (The Bible), definitely worth it. Worth not fitting in, worth not being understood, worth every ounce of self-control and patience, worth. it. all. Worth every trip made by myself downtown with small children, worth every week day and night spent alone with four small children while my husband worked out of town, worth every event I forced myself to attend, worth years of social isolation and few friends, worth every price paid.

Some days there are still areas of living that reveal fear's continued existence in me. As soon as that area of fear is revealed, I jump on it and get it out by whatever means necessary. All fear must go! It is an enemy not to be tolerated. It is not to be used as a motivation for obedience while training my children. Nor is it to be a motivator for me to do what I ought. The scripture says that anything done without faith is sin, and I do NOT want sin to be present in me at all. As soon as God reveals sin to me, I want to treat it like a rattlesnake and GET IT OUT  - NOW. A minister has said that sin tolerated is faith contaminated. Contaminated faith? No thank you. I want to be an imitator of God as a dearly beloved child imitates the father they love. No fear here.

Now, inevitably when discussing the topic of fear, some dear person, bless their heart, will bring up the fear of the Lord. That is NOT the type of fear we are talking about here today. The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge. It is a good and healthy thing. That is all we are saying about that during this visit.

Today we're sharing our hearts of faith with each other. Today we are looking each other squarely in the eyes and from the deepest part of ourselves we are telling one another that we are children of the Most High God. Jesus paid the price to set us free from fear. Fear has no place in our lives and thoughts. It is an illegal intruder. We are not alone. We are not overcome. We are not failures. We are redeemed, saved, healed, vessels filled with God, who is love, to flow through out into a dying hurting world. And somehow, miracle of all miracles, God takes these broken messes called us, transforms them through Himself, and flows through us to extend His love and healing to others lost and broken just like we used to be, before Him. That's what we're doing today loved and prayed for friends. Today, we are pulling the wraps off of fear's lying tricks and exposing it to the light of truth, of God.

I know it's time for us to leave our bench, to go our own ways again, but today when we go friend let's hold each other close to our hearts, even closer than we ordinarily do. Fear is trying its best to stall us, to keep us all locked up inside of ourselves so that we don't open up and share healing with one another. It's an age old trap this locking up of our weaknesses, failures, and messes. A trap that no longer has the power over us because we are real here. Here at our bench we know there are messes. We are very well aware that all of us are real people, that isn't a secret to be kept. We are real, and real is oftentimes messy, very messy.

We'll say good-bye now, but know dear friend, please know that you are being held close in heart, so very, very close. Prayers are surrounding you. God is holding you close and loving you more than any of us can imagine. We will win this fight of faith. No matter how hard, how long, or how nasty. God in us has already won the war. Today's battle is already won in Him, and we are holding each other up in prayer. Here at the bench we are loving and praying and hugging and holding each other tight in God. Here at the bench we can come and cheer each other on. Here there is always a hug and love.

Until our next visit dear one...an extra long hug from a friend who loves you so

9.03.2014

Thankful Appreciation For You Here At The Bench

VinesHi! Aren't these grapes just beautiful sitting here beside our gathering place? What a beautiful reminder of the richness of Fall's coming harvest! Is it looking like Fall at your house too? It is at mine. Here, let me grab a hug before you sit down. Ummmm, I just love our visits. So what do you think of the new pictures popping up in posts here and there? Do you like them? It is so much fun finding them and popping them in our times together. 

Before we visit any more I have to stop and say Thank You, dear friend, for your patience with the re-run posts that have been coming your way during the past several weeks. Sometimes it's good to revisit conversations, not all of the time, but once in a while, it's good. So thank you for stopping by even though the conversations weren't fresh and new. I so appreciate that about you, how you keep on coming to gather together with me so faithfully day in and day out. Thank you, thank you, thank you.

Thank you also for all of the lovely comments you have been leaving below. You have been leaving comments, haven't you? If you haven't I'm certain you will. Won't you? Please? I so want to listen and hear from you. It's why we are gathering together, to be there for and listen to each other. Our bench has become A Gathering Place of Refuge in a world busy with shallow acquaintances and careless quips thrown about, a safe place filled with genuineness. 

I know it's time to be heading down the lane towards home. Time for entering the house and getting ourselves all tucked in with our family is upon us. As we enter the cool of the evening here at Abundance House please allow me to say it once more, Thank You. You are loved. You are appreciated. And most of all, You are hugged and prayed for. 

In Christ's Love,
Abundantly Blessed

8.27.2014

An Apology and A Smidgen More Info.

Please note that because the most recent post here on Abundance House was a reposting from an earlier time, the years of marriage read 19 years the amount of time My Beloved and I had been married when the post was written. This is not how long we have been married at this time in 2014. My Beloved and I have now been married for 23, going on 24 years. Apologies for any confusion that this created.

Getting Organized

Another re-visit just in time to get our homes in order for fall.
Filing Cabinet

Maybe you have a perfectly organized home; one in which the saying "a place for everything and everything in its place" accurately describes your organization style. Most homes, however, probably have at least one "hot spot" where clutter reigns and organization is a secretly longed for desire. Where is your "hot spot"? If your house is in anyway similar to ours, it is "hot spots" in the plural form.

On the whole, we are quite organized, especially for a homeschooling family with six now seven children. Despite the fact that I've come a long, long ways towards total organization, there are still a number of areas left to be conquered. The unconquered areas aren't rooms in my home; they are areas left out of balance in other areas of my life, mostly my mind.

After 19 years of marriage, six seven children, numerous pets, and at least seven moves, I have come to a few conclusions about organization. Conclusion 1: Organization is more an act of the mind rather than a physical task. Conclusion 2: Organization that is success for my family may not work for anyone else. Conclusion 3: Without the proper tools, organization is practically impossible.

Organization is an act of the mind. What? That's right. It is common knowledge that every individual possesses a unique style of learning. Just as learning styles are individual, so are organization styles. For some, there is no greater organization tool than a stack of file folders and a filing cabinet. As long as they possess these tools, their lives are in blissful order. Others like myself are "out of sight, out of mind" organizers. If I place things in file folders, they are kept perfectly safe wherever I place them. Perfectly safe because once they are out of sight, I no longer remember they exist. For organizers like me, the cubbyhole system is ideal. I can't tell you how many years I spent attempting to organize my life into file folders and drawers only to fail---miserably.

Once I learned that there is more than one way to organize and that I simply wasn't wired to work well in the out of sight system, relief washed over me in waves. Now that I am free to organize the areas in my life in ways that work; much success has been achieved. Much organizational success has indeed been achieved in my home and life. Please note that it didn't take a lot to be considered success.

If you were to pattern your organizational strategy exactly after mine however, defeat might be the outcome. Why? Because you are a unique individual with your own distinct manner of successful order. What would be the most successful strategy? Study yourself; observe how you work. Use those findings to implement successful organization techniques into your life.

Organization doesn't always take money. Sometimes it just takes time... ...or help. I realize that the first thing the word "tools" brings to mind when discussing organization are the actual, physical supplies used. Those aren't the tools Conclusion 3 is referring to. The tools of organization need to be put to use before the supplies see action.

The best tools that we can obtain in our quest for organizational victory are collections. "Collections? Wait a minute, I want to organize what I already have, not add more stuff to the pile." Don't worry. These aren't collections of stuff. They are collections of new mindsets, strategies, methods, and products that work with our own personal organization styles.

After years experiencing failure, it may take a while before the truth that success is possible really sinks in. Magazines, internet sites, and books from the library often provide ideas to collect. An idea notebook to keep your idea collection in is not only inexpensive, but easy as well. Pictures from magazines can be inserted in page protectors or glued directly into the notebook. Ideas gleaned from books and the internet can be written in so that they aren't forgotten.

After your new collections have been gathered, the necessary supplies can be used. Just remember, the clutter and or chaos probably didn't appear overnight. Eliminating the distraction of it may not take place that quickly either. How do you eat an elephant? One bite at a time, dear friend, one bite at a time. Pick the smallest area of disorganization to begin with. Look at that area with a new eye, one that sees that clutter put away in a successful way. Begin the process. Once that first area is completed, the taste of victory will be oh so sweet. It will also be quite contagious. Tackling the next area will become easier and easier.

Transfer Box

8.21.2014

Country Happy

Hi! Wow! You just keep coming way out here in the country to sit at our bench with me, and I just keep being amazed at your commitment to our relationship! It's breezy and hot this afternoon/evening. If the wind dies down, maybe we can water down the area around the firepit and make some smores. Maybe. If not smores then maybe some homemade ice cream. Yes?

Of course, if we are out there making smores there will be ducks and maybe some chickens pecking around to see what we are doing. Did I tell you we have ducks and chickens now? Yes, yes we do. We have three ducks, eight plus 24 more on their way home right now chickens, six half grown cats, and one very old beloved dog who thinks he must herd them all. It's crazy loud happy around this place! Oh! There are also all of those cows out in the pastures too. The cows aren't in our yard though so don't get listed in the official count. Our own personal homeplace is becoming full of life, and I love it!

We get to wash the porch off more when our poultry friends visit the porch, but that's a small price to pay for the sweet homey-ness they have added. Never thought of myself as a duck girl, but these things have captured my affections. I like them. I really truly do. They are nice, and when they get to waddling around...oh my, it makes me smile from the inside out. Now if they were being sneaky and/or pinching my children, well, I wouldn't be smiling. BUT, they aren't being sneaky and mean. They are very well-behaved additions to our yard, even if they are a bit on the noisy side. It's a quiet noisy. Sort of. Anyway, they are serving a purpose. They are marvelous guard ducks, and that is a blessing as our dear sweet dog can't hear as well as he used to.

All of these new additions coming in August right when we are finishing up the summer and getting ready to slide into Fall. Pretty sure we will be so busy with our beautiful garden that we won't even realize Autumn has arrived until it's well under way. My Garden? Yes! The garden, the one that I said was the "last try" is growing and thriving! Don't you love that? There are blossoms, pea pods, tomatoes, beets, onions and carrots growing undergroundand along with delicious salad greens. It's not too big and not too small. It's just right. Thanks to Miss Mustard Seed there is a sweet little bench to sit on too. My Beloved, Colonel Redeemed and all of the other children added a rustic fench and a scarecrow named Lolli to keep the rabbits and other nibbling creatures out. After 9, maybe 10, years, a garden spot has been found! Joy Unspeakable!

Ya know? Thinking back to ten years ago when we were making plans to come live on the ranch full time I might have envisioned a few chickens and our dog but three more children? ducks? Six cats? Not even on the imagination radar, especially not the three children. But God knew. He knew. He knew how very much we needed these three children, how we needed their laughter, their humor, their sarcasm, their delightfulness, and yes, sometimes even their questions. He knew that these three children would delight and almost frighten us with the insight and amazing understanding they each possess. He knew that their ability to express themselves so clearly would be a vital necessity to us for we are all walking a busy bit of messiness out here. He also knew that the depth of their faith and spiritual knowledge would both thrill and humble me, their mama. God knew.

When God gave me the layout and design of the house He knew it would house babies as perfectly as it would feed a branding crew. Everything about us He knew. Not only did He know, He planted the ideas of the perfect plans for a home that would house a family of nine and feed many more each year inside of me. Nothing escaped His notice. Everything was included in His design for us. Everything. Spaces large enough to feed many or few, bedrooms with individual bathrooms for guests to stay in, a loft large enough for children to sleep in comfortably when guests are here, spaces for many people to spread out yet still be together, tiny spaces that function perfectly yet still look nice, a kitchen large enough for a family and their friends to cook together and not get claustrophobic, every little detail was planned by a loving Heavenly Father who also happens to be the Almighty God and King of all Kings. He even knew I would love the ducks! That's why He sent them even though I didn't think I would want them. Isn't God just wonderful? Is there any other like Him? No, none.

There were so many little things I planned with future grandchildren and visiting children in mind, yet God knew they would first be enjoyed by three more little children of our own. How shortsighted we were so innocently ignorant as we leaned on our own understanding and knowledge. Thank You, God for knowing. Thank You for leading me even though I often didn't have a clue. Thank You. Just that. Thank You. Thank You for children and ducks and chickens and rocks and trees and woodstoves and gardens. Yes, dear Lord, Thank You for gardens in the perfect spot, gardens with sweet fences and scarecrows. Thank You. Thank You for spaces to retreat and be renewed in the face of turbulent teenage storms and traumatic toddler tantrums. Even though it doesn't seem that great most days, thank You for fingerprints on windows, dirty floors, toys, and tiny shoes lying everywhere. Thank you for army men in houseplants, chicken feathers in my freezer, and toys in kitchen cabinets and drawers where their 17 months old owner left them in exchange for the kitchen item(s) he took out. Thank You for the loudness of children, the silliness of cats, and the spoiled love of an old black dog. Over all of these blessings Lord, thank You for My Beloved and the children You used our love to make, these I love - the ones who share all of this with. Most of all, Thank You for Jesus. Thank You God for You.

Overflowing with Thanksgiving,
Abundantly Blessed

8.20.2014

Decisions

More chats from the past:

Garden


"And let the peace (soul harmony which comes) from Christ rule (act as umpire continually) in your hearts [deciding and settling with finality all questions that arise in your minds, in that peaaceful state] to which as [members of Christ's] one body you were also called [to live].  And be thankful (appreciative), [giving praise to God always]."  Let the word [spoken by] Christ (the Messiah) have its home [in your hearts and minds] and dwell in you in [all its] richness, as you teach and admonish and train one another in all insight and intelligence and wisdom [in spiritual things, and as you sing] psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, making melody to God with [His] grace in your hearts.  And whatever you do [no matter what it is] in word of deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus and in [dependance upon] His Person, giving praise to God the Father through Him."  Colossians 3:15-17

Decisions.  Those nasty things used to be such a trial to me.  I disliked them intensely.  I don't know why, but I did.  No matter how I worked to avoid them, they still showed their ugly face time and time again.  Then a wondrous thing happened.  I read Colossians 3:15 out of the Amplified Bible.   "Let the peace... from Christ... act as umpire... in your hearts... settling... all questions that arise in your minds,..."  When the realization that this scripture was actually teaching me how to make correct decisions sunk in, a major celebration took place for me.  

2 Timothy 3:16 tells us that every scripture is God breathed and profitable for instruction, and I know how true this is.  The Word of God has taught me everything I have ever needed to know.  Anytime that I have ever wondered what "the right" thing to do was, I have asked God in prayer.  Everytime I have inquired of Him, He has answered, usually through His Word.  The answers haven't always come immediately, but they have come nonetheless.  

The faithfulness of our Heavenly Father's care of His children is amazing.  I can't begin to tell you how many times God has taught me from His Word.  Lesson after lesson, truth upon truth, in hard times, sad times, boring times, mad times, I have been led and taught of Him and His ways.  The situation mattered not.  His Word covers it all. 

Do you have questions for the Lord?  Are there areas in your life that have you frustrated or confused?  Have you been wondering what to do about this situation or that circumstance?  James 1:15 instructs that if any of us are deficient in wisdom, we are to ask of the giving God who gives to everyone liberally and ungrudingly, without reproaching or faultfinding, and it will be given us.  

Let me tell you, every day I am deficient in wisdom concerning something.  Every day I ask the giving God and rely on His faithfulness to help me out.  Every day He gives to me liberally.  Do you need wisdom for something?  Ask of the giving God and He will instruct you.  Allow the peace from Christ to act as umpire in your heart.  To quote a line from a famous advertisement, "Try it, you might like it."

In Christ's Love, 
Blessed Mama

Dilapidated farmhouse

8.15.2014

Storms

A Storm at Sea
Doesn't that picture look like the news and world sound right now? Stormy. Reeling. Crashing Waves. Flashing lightning. Rolling ship. Everything all topsy turvy and upside down. Nothing seems to be the same anymore. Everything has changed. I have heard these thoughts expressed lately. The people who shared these opinions all seemed concerned, sad, pensive. I felt for them. Quietly, I prayed for them too. Not that long ago I would have felt obligated to share some religious word of some kind with them to help make them feel better, but now? Now I quietly prayed and listened for what God Holy Spirit would lead me to do/say. Why the difference? Well, believe it or not, I am learning.

I am learning that storms look differently for different people. Everyone I know is facing a storm, but not every person is facing the same storm. One person may be wracked in physical pain while another is paralyzed by emotional trauma. Maybe someone's children are asking questions and/or stating opinions that drive parents to their knees in prayer. Still another might be lost in the whirling twirl of keeping young children fed and clothed. Lost jobs, fading health, storm after storm hits only to be followed by another crashing storm then another and another. On and on the storms deal their forceful blows. No matter what the storm, I am learning that there is one constant, not everyone wants an answer or needs me to "make it all better". I don't have to "fix" anything for anyone.

There are a lot of songs and religious platitudes handed out when someone is going through a storm. In the past, I have handed out more than my fair share of them. My desire to help screamed loud and without stopping to listen to God Holy Spirit's still small voice, I rushed in with religious guns blazing. My intention was to blast that nasty storm to smithereens. I was going to make it go away and leave my loved one and/or friend alone. Reality is that few, if any, of those things make weathering the storm easier for a person. In fact, they often make it worse. Only God can keep someone in the storm. Only He can bring a person through, and only He can calm the raging storm within.

Nothing and noone can calm the storm, still it, or make it go away. Only God. Only He. Not me wanting to "make it all better". Not the latest song. Not the newest phrase. Only God. For He is a Father, Savior, and Comforter three in one, only He. How is my friend/loved one going to hear His still small voice above the roar of the storm if I'm in the way spouting off my "helpful, loving" words? Even words of scripture can be wrong if they are spoken at the wrong time. Not every word spoken has been wrong or in the way. God Holy Spirit has often provided what the Bible refers to as a word spoken in due season. It's all of those other times, the ones when the voice of my "Christian duty" hollered, and I got so busy listening to the voice of what I "ought" to do that I forgot to listen to the only One who knows perfectly. It was in those times that religion trumped relationship and everyone lost.

There are lots and lots of storms crashing and even more brewing. Many opportunities to speak a word in due season or rush in spouting off in haste are arising. Please dear Lord, may I continue to learn of You and Your way of doing and being right. May I listen to Your voice, the only voice who knows the beginning from the ending and everything in between. May I listen to You so that Your love will flow from me in a wave of healing, comforting, love. Thank You for teaching me. Thank You for providing me with wisdom. You truly are a generous provider. (James 1:5) Thank You for Your Spirit that comes in like a flood lifting up a standard against the enemy. (Isaiah 59:19)
You are the only anchor that holds. You are also the One who causes us to rise above the storm and soar with wings like eagles. ( Isaiah 40:31) You hide those who abide in You in Your secret place. (Psalm 91) You shelter us. (Joel 3:16) When we walk through the valley You are with us and comfort us. (Psalm 23:4) Thank You for being our truth, for never leaving us, for busying Yourself with our every step,(Psalm 37:23 Amplified) for being our shield.(Genesis 15:1, 2 Samuel 22:31) Thank You over and over and over again. We praise You for You are worthy of all praise. You are great. You are mighty. You are Holy. You are worthy. You are the Great I AM. You are. When nothing else was, You were. Should nothing else be, You will still be. You. Only You. Thank You, God. Thank You for You. With grateful hearts of praise we pray in Jesus' Holy, precious, lovely name, Amen.




God's Power Rather Than Man's Wisdom

Hi! Doesn't it feel like a storm is brewing the way it is so sticky and close out this morning? I've been reading out of 1 Corinthians 2, specifically verse 5. It speaks of how our faith is not to rest or rely on human wisdom but on the power of God. Pondering on this and praying that I live it out in the everyday. Oh, I almost forgot to get a hug before I go! There! Now we're ready for the day.

Prayers for living in the power of God rather than the wisdom of men.
Abundantly Blessed

8.14.2014

Listening

Ladies


Hey there. I didn't know if you would be here at the bench in the middle of the day, oops, it's closer to the end of the afternoon, or not. Well, whatever time of the day it is, I'm glad, glad, glad to see you. Yes, I would love a hug, thank you.

So, what's up your way? What's going on in your world? I would love to hear about it. You listen to me all of the time. Today I'm hungry to sit and hear you. I know what's going on with me. I want to hear about you.

The comment section is open and amothersrewards@gmail.com is available as well. Always know you are heard and loved by both God and I. I'll be sitting here praying and waiting to listen.

Because of and in Jesus,
Abundantly Blessed

Girl Looking Out Window

8.13.2014

More of Those Before School Visits

Another re-visit to the past. Chances are that making your own convenience food from scratch wasn't one of the top items on your summer bucket list, but hey, it would be a quick & easy one to toss in here at the end. Quick, easy, fun, and money-saving. Sounds good to me:) Maybe the chosen item to make could be a favorite lunch item. Now we're not only saving money, saving time, and having fun, we're getting in some advanced school prep as well. Whoo Hoo! Let's make us some fun!



Today's Thrifty Tip finds us in the food arena once more. With the price of groceries rising higher and higher, who among us can't stand to save a little? While not everyone cooks strictly from scratch, even choosing to make once convenience food from scratch can rack in the savings. Not only are prepackaged mixes and foods more expensive, they often contain additives and preservatives that are far from healthy. Creating our own foods enables us to have complete control over the quality of ingredients with which we feed our families. At our house, we have found that stirring up our own mixes, seasonings, and beverage mixes is so much fun that we really don't care if it saves money or not. It's no longer thrift. It's fun!

To get started on this thrifty fun, assess the food products you use most often. Perhaps you use one particular seasoning more than any of the rest. Or maybe there is a quick bread mix that your pantry just can't be without. Whatever that "must have" item is, begin there. Once you have chosen the item to create, head to the search engine of choice and type in "recipe for __________. " It's that simple. All that is left is to choose which recipe you wish to try, obtain the ingredients, and stir it up.

Some seasonings, such as Italian Seasoning, have a multitude of differing recipes. Try a couple and see how closely they come to what you prefer. Then, tweak the ingredients and amounts to suit your preference. Beverage mixes are one of my personal favorites. However, there are literally thousands of recipes online for virtually everything. I mean everything, envelope glue anyone?

Speaking of envelope glue, making your own products from scratch need not be limited to the kitchen and pantry. Whether it's seasonings, beverage mixes, cake mixes, diapers, or feminine hygience products, there are recipes and/or patterns for just about any item a homemaker could want, some you may not want too:) Making only one item can save hundreds of dollars each year and possibly provide health benefits besides.

Homemade items also provide you with economical gifts that are easily personalized. Who doesn't feel completely pampered upon receiving a gift that was custom made just for them? Making your own products can be addictive so don't be surprised if you can't stop at just one.Blessed Mama

8.12.2014

Miss Mustard Seed

It just printed out, Miss Mustard Seed's diploma. The third high school diploma to be printed out in this home, this family. Three children graduated, four to go. Oh my. Four. to. go. Only God knew those words would be my life's reality one day. When this education of children began so many years ago there were only three children. Then this third child was the baby. Then only lasted two and a half years before there was another baby, another last child. And now? Now there have been three more last children after the fourth child. Once upon a time I would have almost been done with this journey of home education. Once upon a time there would only have been one child left and her almost done with high school work herself. But now? Now we are starting all over, and it is good. But I'm not talking about the extra blessings of the extra three. Today my mind is all over the girl whose name is on this diploma on the printer, Miss Mustard Seed.

Each child chooses a verse to put on their diploma and announcement. This child, her verse says it all. It describes her from the inside out. It tells her tale, reveals her heart. "...Yet who knows whether you have come to the kingdom for such a time as this and for this very occasion?" Esther 4:14. This girl who has the heart of a miracle queen like Esther. The one who chose the name Hadassah, Esther's Hebrew name, to sit beside at a lady's banquet. This girl. She. She is the one. Miss Mustard Seed is the girl turning woman who sees big, longs big, wants to know everything and is willing to forsake all for a cause, her cause. Thankfully, her cause is to love the Lord her God with all of her heart, soul, mind, and strength.

When the diploma printed out I wanted to cry. There is always more mama than instructor in me, always. However, the tears were beat out by a smile, a knowing smile. It is a mama's knowing that makes me smile instead of be hurt by the so what sort of attitude that appeared to be thrown at the creation of her diploma. Why would Miss Mustard Seed get excited about a piece of paper? Why would this third child of mine go against who she has always been to get all happy and involved in something she views as pointless? Seriously? A piece of paper? Why fuss.

Miss Mustard Seed isn't the only one growing up and maturing, this mama is too. Instead of being hurt this mama smiled. I smiled because I know. I know that my girl didn't mean me any harm. She just doesn't understand a mama's heart ~ because she isn't one. Someday, someday this sweet woman child will know. She will understand. She will have her own memories of then and it will be in the middle of her own then that she will know. Because she will know, she will smile. And her smile? It will be just like my own now. It will be quiet, peaceful, and full of a mama's love. Until the time Miss Mustard Seed smiles her own knowing smile, this mama will keep on loving and thanking God for this girl woman, a gift from God. And I'll smile a mama's knowing smile. I can't help it really. I love my girl, and this love, it makes me smile.