Saturday, December 24, 2011

Merry Christmas

 And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night. An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. But the angel said to them,  “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is Christa the Lord. This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.”
Suddenly a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel, praising God and saying,
“Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace to men on whom his favor rests.”
                                                                                           Luke 2:8-14




 
 
 

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Navitity

Made by Jim as a surprise for me years ago...





All these were made in Honduras...









Do you have some Nativities you look forward to setting out each year?






Thursday, December 8, 2011

Night of Wonder

Our church works with a non-profit organization called 6 Stones My husband, Jim, also serves on the board. One of the things they do during the year is work with all 19 elementary schools in the area to have a Christmas Party for the children and their families. This party is called Night of Wonder and is held on each school campus in early December. At the party, each family will receive their gifts and a Christmas dinner to take home. They also have a very special gift created for the children to give to their parent(s) on Christmas morning. During this party a local pastor will tell the real reason for Christmas...Jesus! It is a very meaningful and fun evening.

I want to share Jim's story of one night when he went to Wal-Mart to pick up a few things:

"I went to Walmart this past week. They had poinsettias on sale for $3.47. I picked up 3 of those. There was water right inside the store. Within 60 seconds, I was at the quick checkout. The lady said, "Oh, those are beautiful poinsettias. How much where they?" I said, "They're $3.47." She said, "Oh, I love poinsettias, but that's way outside my budget." She paused and a smile spread across her face as she continued, "Last year the strangest thing happened. My two girls were adopted by some organization and we went to this Christmas party they were having. They gave away these poinsettias as raffle prizes and we won 2 of them! We were so blessed last year.

I said, "Do you mind if I ask you, do you know who that was?"
"It was some group of people that call themselves 6 Stones."

We have adopted our family and bought our gifts.  We will be working at Night of Wonder next week. I want to share the love of Jesus and see smiles on the faces of those we are helping.




Monday, December 5, 2011

It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas

It's cold outside, so look what I've been doing inside!


I found these Christmas ornaments in a box in the attic. 
They belonged to my mother-in-law.
I think my daughter, Stacy, bought them for her one year.
They look so pretty setting on my buffet with the other things I have.


(Card may be purchased at The Wheatfield by Katie Daisy . She has many other pretty cards and prints.  I love having it set on my buffet!)



This gingerbread house is one I purchased from Party Lite years ago and I love burning tea lights in it each year! I know little people that visit will be loving the candy canes! 




I even had time to make soup for our dinner!  It is simmering on the stove and smells so good!  Click this link for Company's Coming Soup









Friday, December 2, 2011

Fudge Nut Bars

I baked some cookies and bars today. It was fun being in the kitchen listening to Christmas music as I baked. While I was making the Fudge Nut Bars I began to think of the friend that gave me the recipe. I met Janet when we were stationed at Ft. Benning, GA in 1977.  We lived next door to each other and became fast friends. Janet loved to entertain and had a lot of good recipes.  I am glad she shared this one with me. Tomorrow I will share them with the ladies at our Christmas event.

Fudge Nut Bars

1 C. butter
2 C. brown sugar
2 eggs
2 1/2 C. flour
1 t. salt
1 t. soda
3 C. oatmeal
2 t. vanilla

Combine above ingredients.
Spread 3/4  of oatmeal mixture in bottom of 13"x9" pan.

Filling: 
Combine in double boiler
12 oz. package chocolate chips
1 can sweetened condensed milk
2 t. butter
1/2 t. salt
Heat and stir until smooth. Add 1 C. nuts and 2 t. vanilla.

Cover oatmeal mixture with the filling.

Dot top with remaining oatmeal mixture.

Bake at 350 degrees for 25 minutes.  Don't overbake.

Freezes well!



Monday, November 28, 2011

Be Still

We had a wonderful Thanksgiving week end!  Lots of food, family fun and so much to be thankful for!  Now my thoughts are turning toward Christmas...thinking about how God came down to the earth in the form of a baby for me...for the world!
I want my focus this year, more than ever, to be on the
real reason for Christmas!



I hope during your busy days of preparation you will take time to
be still (relax, be quiet) before the Lord!






Monday, November 21, 2011

Scholarship


Giving Thanks...

for this young man
and for all who gave making this scholarship possible!







Thankful,
Elaine




Sunday, November 20, 2011

Amy Elizabeth Pack Memorial Scholarship


Giving Thanks

Jim will be presenting this scholarship to
Pedro Paul Luna Aguilar this afternoon!  

Thanks to the generous contributions of many friends and family
 we are able to present a scholarship each year!  


Amy Elizabeth Pack
 Memorial Scholarship
 


is presented to
Pedro Paul Luna Aguilar


In the Amount of $1,000

In recognition of your strength of character, zeal for life and
demonstrated talent throughout your years at
Ruach International Christian Academy.



Giving thanks...
Elaine

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Nertz

Giving Thanks


Today I give thanks for the game night we are having tonight. Jim is in Honduras and it is fun to have a girls night. A game of Nertz is planned.  I know there will be tons of laughter and fun because it always happens when we girls get together! We'll eat snacks, talk and hopefully I will win a game.. or two!!




Thankful,
Elaine

Friday, November 18, 2011

Giving Thanks!

Today I am giving thanks for my friend Carol's grandchildren. I was invited to attend Grandparents Day at their school.  They go to St. Vincents School. We went to chapel first where both girls sang in the choir. Then we went to the music room where the 4th grade did their presentation. They have been studying artists and each child was to chose one to  write about. Then they chose a picture their artist had painted and they painted one like it. Veronica was Vincent Van Gogh.  She borrowed a jacket from my husband, Jim and a beard from my nephew, Joshua.  She memorized what she wrote about Van Gogh and did a great job!


Her picture was Van Gogh's Starry Night





Giving Thanks...
Elaine

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Thankful for this gift

Every time one arrives in the mail I feel encouraged and loved.  What a kind gift of love is given me each week.  It started shortly after our daughter, Amy, went home to the Lord in 1998 and continues to this day! One time I told her she did not have to keep sending them to me and she told me that when the Lord tells her to stop she will.  I am humbled and in awe that someone would do this for me.  So today I give thanks for my faithful friend, Joy, and each beautiful card that she sends me. Each card has been different and I cannot imagine how she never sends duplicates. Words cannot express how much it means to be thought about and prayed for! 


This is today's card!




Giving Thanks,
Elaine

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Sisterhood

Today I give thanks for
Sisters in Christ 


My friend Jennifer says so well what my heart feels.
Visit her at Heart to Hear  and see what she has to say about sisterhood and our group that meets together every Tuesday morning!  Wish YOU could join us! 




Giving thanks,
Elaine

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

More thanks

Giving Thanks


Today I am continuing to give thanks for the joy and peace God gives....

Romans 15:13  May the God of your hope so fill you with all joy and peace in believing [through the experience of your faith] that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound and be overflowing (bubbling over) with hope.


Read about it here Precious in His Sight on my sister's blog!



Giving thanks,
Elaine

Monday, November 14, 2011

Encouragement for our day



Today I am giving thanks for the sweet way the Lord let my sister, Stephanie, know HE CARES!

As she serves the Lord teaching at Ruach International Christian Academy in Comayagua, Honduras, there are times she becomes tired and needs encouragement and joy from the Lord.  These past few days have been like that for her and she has asked her friends and family to pray for her. This morning I received a text message from her saying that she had opened one of the cards I sent her (I gave her a stack of cards this summer to take back to Honduras with her and to be opened whenever she wanted). 

The text message said:

I opened a card from you this morning and it said just what I needed for today.  The verse is now on the board in the high school is Romans 15:13. Love you!

I was excited and knew God was hearing our prayers.

A couple hours later I  spent some time with my devotionals.

First I read My Utmost for His Highest, by Oswald Chambers.


Then, I opened
Jesus Calling, by Sarah Young and read:

... "As you sit quietly in My Presence, your awareness of My Life within you is heightened.  This produces the Joy of the Lord, which is your strength. 
 I, the God of hope, fill you with all Joy and Peace as you trust in Me, so that you may bubble over with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit."

One of the verses at the end of the devotional was...
Romans 15:13 which in the Amplified reads:

May the God of your hope so fill you with all joy and peace in believing [through the experience of your faith] that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound and be overflowing (bubbling over) with hope.

I was so excited as I was seeing God was not just telling my sister, but me also, how much he wants to fill us with His joy and His peace so that we will be overflowing with His hope!  What a word of encouragement!!

When  I looked back at the beginning of the Jesus Calling devotional I found I had read yesterday's, not todays! This realization caused me to remember what Oswald Chambers had said in his devotional today:

My Utmost for His Highest by Oswald Chambers:
...."Never allow that the haphazard is anything less than God's appointed order, and be ready to discover the Divine designs any where. "

I know God orchestrated all this. It began with me buying the very card Stephanie would need to read today and then everything else that happened pertaining this! 

 I LOVE HOW HE LOVES US!



Giving Thanks,
Elaine

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Precious pictures



Today I am giving thanks to the Lord for a friend that sent me 4 precious pictures of our sweet Amy.  I had never seen them.  I was overwhelmed when I opened the envelope and saw Amy with her sweet smile!  The pictures were taken around her senior year in High School with her close friend, Robin.  I just love them!  When you have a loved one with the Lord and you see a picture of them you have never seen before it means so much!



Giving Thanks-
Elaine


Saturday, November 12, 2011

Fun times with Molly & Jack

Giving Thanks!

Today I am thankful for Molly Joy and Jack Bower! These two dogs are so much fun, even though they can be annoying at times. I am taking care of Jack while Stacy & Travis are out of town this week end. They love each other but also have their times of jealousy. One will be on my lap and the other one will be standing beside me barking. They love to wrestle with each other and play together outside. After they wear themselves out, they both find their favorite spot to sleep. I thank the Lord that He gave each of our families these sweet, funny, playful dogs to love.

This is where Jack sits while I cook!


Jack and Jim having breakfast!


Molly




Be thankful...
Elaine


Friday, November 11, 2011

Dreams do come true...

Giving Thanks
to the Lord


Today I give thanks for this young man...Celestino Velasquez Garcia. He attended Ruach International Christian Academy in Comayagua, Honduras. Upon graduation he was awarded the Amy Elizabeth Pack Memorial Scholarship. He was able to attend a college near us before he attended ORU. We know the Lord has big plans for Celestino and love that his dream of becoming a doctor is coming true!

 From Honduras to Med School


Celestino Velasquez Garcia, originally from Comayagua, Honduras, is a junior at ORU. He is majoring in biomedical chemistry with a pre-medicine concentration and minoring in biology.

When Celestino completes his ORU degree, he said he plans to “go right to medical school. …Ever since I was a kid, I have wanted to be a doctor.”


There’s a good reason why Celestino wants to go into medicine. As a child, he suffered from a severe case of asthma. One incident in particular helped convince him to choose medicine for a career.


As an eleven-year-old, Celestino was in a small village in the mountains in the western section of Honduras. “It’s a pretty isolated town,” he said. “It took about three or four hours to get to the nearest city that would have any specialized medical attention. They just had a very, very small clinic.” And that clinic had one doctor who worked short hours—just a few days a week.


Celestino says he did not always have an inhaler to help him with his asthma. “One time my asthma attacks got very severe. They were coming very frequently, and my mom didn’t know what to do. I was hyperventilating, struggling just to breathe.” His mother carried him through the village for hours, calling out and asking people if there was a doctor in town, or if there was anyone who could help her son.


“There were a few important people in the town like a mayor, a university professor, a lot of politicians, some engineers, but none of them could really help me,” Celestino said. “There was only one person in the entire town that could help me, and it was a doctor. So my mom and I went to his apartment.” In desperation, Celestino’s mother knocked on the doctor’s door and yelled for help.


Finally, the doctor answered the door and asked what the problem was. “He tried all kinds of things on me,” Celestino said, and eventually, through “continuous puffs of an inhaler,” the 11-year-old began breathing normally.

Looking back, Celestino said he “was just amazed at how this man had such a vast amount of knowledge that surmounted all these other people in the town. That saved my life. If he wouldn’t have been there—a person with his knowledge—I wouldn’t have survived.” Since that time, it has been his dream and his goal to become a doctor, “to go to people that can’t have access to medical assistance and be able to provide for them.”


Although Celestino says he would like to go back to Honduras eventually, he realizes it’s not so much what he wants to do; “it’s what God wants me to do, I know. This is what God wants me to do right now—go to med school.”

How did Celestino get to ORU? He heard about the Whole Person Scholarship program from a friend. He applied to ORU, took part in a Whole Person Scholarship event—including interviews and essays—and some time later, he received a phone call saying he had received a full award.
“I just hung up after that,” Celestino said. “I didn’t even say bye to the person. I kind of wanted to jump up and down and run all over the place, but I didn’t. I just felt peace. And I knew right then it was the place I wanted to go.”

Celestino says the Whole Person Scholarship has definitely changed his life by helping him afford his dream of receiving a college education and by emphasizing the importance of becoming a whole person in spirit, mind, and body.

This ORU junior sees how the Whole Person Scholarship program teaches that “life isn’t just about academic achievement or achievement in one particular area, but becoming servants of the Lord that care about people and that, for example, in my case, have been taught to have a healthy and disciplined physical lifestyle—watch what I eat, work out.” Equally important: “to have a spiritual time, to be socially adept, and to be responsible in my academics; those are qualities I want to have as a doctor.


“It’s a unique award because it doesn’t just honor achievement, grades, or test scores. It’s about honoring that person’s discipline and commitment to leading a good life.”




Thursday, November 10, 2011

Reading to Success..

Give Thanks!


Today I give thanks for  6stones reading-success . Jim and I are volunteers at Spring Garden Elementary School.  We go every Tuesday and Thursday afternoon and help children read. We have been assigned two boys and one girl. They are so sweet and I am happy that we can help them learn to read. I think all three are partial to Jim though. I see how he has such a heart for these kids and see them drawn to him. We both feel this is something God has called us to do together and to realize the success these children will have in life because they can read blesses us greatly.





Wednesday, November 9, 2011

French Toast...



Today I give thanks for new recipes

My friend, Karin, gave me two french toast recipes.  She brought one to our  Neighborhood breakfast and we all loved it. Because she has two recipes she likes she sent them both to me. 

French Toast Casserole



* Cube (or tear) a loaf of French bread and place in a greased 9x13 pan

* Mix 8 eggs, 3 cups milk, 1 tsp. vanilla, 1/4 tsp. cinnamon and 1/2 cup sugar in a bowl

* Pour over bread and refrigerate for 8 hours or overnight

* Pull casserole out of refrigerator 30 min. before baking

* Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Cube 3 Tablespoons of butter and dot the top of casserole

* Mix 1/2 cup sugar with 1/4 tsp. cinnamon and sprinkle on top of butter
* Bake for 45-50 min. or until knife inserted in middle comes out clean.

* Enjoy with warm syrup and powdered sugar!

** I added nuts even though the recipe doesn't call for them.
 
 
 
Overnight French Toast
  • 1/4 cup (4 Tablespoons) butter, melted
  • 3/4 cup packed light brown sugar
  • 1 loaf brioche or challah (French toast can also be sliced 1 1/2 inches thick)
  • 8 eggs, slightly beaten
  • 1 cup whole milk
  • 1 Tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/2 cup pecans, measured then chopped
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • (optional) maple syrup and powdered sugar for topping
Directions
  • In a small bowl combine brown sugar and melted butter and pour on the bottom of a 9x13 baking dish.
  • Arrange slices of bread in the baking dish overlapping if necessary.
  • Combine milk, eggs, vanilla, salt, cinnamon, and ginger in a bowl and pour evenly over bread slices.
  • Sprinkle chopped pecans over bread slices.
  • Wrap tightly with plastic wrap and place in the refrigerator for 4-12 hours.
  • In the morning, take the casserole out of the fridge for at least 10 minutes while you are preheating your oven to 350 degrees.
  • Bake casserole for 30-35 minutes. If top starts browning too quickly place a foil loosely over the top of the casserole for the last 10 minutes or so. You want it to cook long enough to make sure the bottom part is cooked but don't dry it out completely.
  • Remove casserole from oven and let it cool slightly before serving. Serve with a dusting of powdered sugar and a drizzle of maple syrup.
 Adapted from www.ezrapoundcake.com




Tuesday, November 8, 2011

God is comfort...

Give Thanks

Today I am thankful for God's comfort.  This morning I learned of the death of a friend's daughter.  I met this person years ago when we were first married and we have connected again on Facebook. A mutual friend told me about it thinking that I would know how to help because I have experienced the same thing.  I have prayed asking the Lord to comfort this friend and her family with the comfort only He can give.  I know He will because He has comforted me.  Both of us have the Hope of seeing our daughters again one day. Until then we will be comforted by the Lord who is the One that gives us hope, comfort and is with us always!






Elaine

Monday, November 7, 2011


Today I give thanks for the vine growing up the tree in our backyard.  When I looked out our bedroom window this morning I saw beautiful red leaves.
It is just a little thing, but it gave me a happy heart to see them.  I grew up in Ohio where the leaves turn beautiful colors in the fall.  I miss seeing all the colors. The trees in Texas have mostly brown leaves in the fall. So when I saw the brilliant red leaves I thanked God for the beauty he gave me today.
 Keep your eyes open for bits of beauty
that God has give you
that might otherwise go unnoticed.










Sunday, November 6, 2011

Showing the Love of God...

Give Thanks

But whoever has the world's goods, and beholds his brother in need and closes his heart against him, how does the love of God abide in him?
 (NAS, 1 John 3:17)


Today I give thanks for the generous hearts of the ladies in my Bible study!  There was a need that came to our attention a few days ago. We as sisters-in-Christ were able to help by giving groceries and other items to this precious family. This morning at church ladies came up to me with big smiles, telling me how much fun it had been. These ladies were very creative in their giving. They gave generously and showed the love of God to this family. This family was blessed and today with tears told of how God is using this in their life to show them they can
TRUST HIM!

We can do no
great things-
only small things
great love.
~Mother Teresa



Saturday, November 5, 2011

Thanks for the ladies of my neighborhood...




Today I give thanks for the ladies that are my neighbors and friends.  My friend, Diane, and I invited the ladies of our neighborhood to breakfast at my house. Diane baked banana bread and a delicious breakfast casserole.  I baked pumpkin muffins and lemon-blueberry muffins.  Karin brought a french toast casserole which I could not stop eating.  Jana brought a fruit tart which not only looked pretty but tasted so good! My neighbor Sharon provided three different types of juice and brought me a beautiful bouquet of flowers from her yard. I also had the choice of coffee or tea. One of our new neighbors brought me and Diane a thank you gift.  They are the cutest socks.  They are so soft and I know we will both wear them all winter. 
We had such a fun time!

Karin has promised to give me the recipe for her breakfast casserole and I will be sure to post it.  I hope you will enjoy the muffin recipe I made. I substituted fresh blueberries for the raspberries. I also cooked them in a mini muffin pan so the recipe made more than a dozen.



Lemon-Raspberry Muffins








  • YIELD: Makes 1 dozen  



  • Ingredients

    • 2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour, divided
    • 1/2 cup sugar
    • 2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
    • 1/2 teaspoon salt
    • 1 (8-ounce) container lemon yogurt
    • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
    • 2 large eggs
    • 1 teaspoon grated lemon rind
    • 1 (6-ounce) package fresh raspberries (about 1 1/4 cups) or 1 (6-ounce) package frozen raspberries, unthawed*
    • 3 tablespoons sugar
    • 1 tablespoon cold butter or margarine

    Preparation

    Combine 2 cups flour, 1/2 cup sugar, baking powder, and salt in a large bowl; make a well in center of mixture.
    Stir together yogurt and next 3 ingredients; add to dry ingredients, stirring just until moistened.
    Toss together 2 tablespoons flour and raspberries; fold into batter. Spoon into lightly greased muffin pans, filling two-thirds full.
    Combine remaining 2 tablespoons flour and 3 tablespoons sugar; cut butter into mixture with a pastry blender or fork until crumbly. Spoon evenly over batter in muffin pans.
    Bake at 375° for 20 to 25 minutes or until golden. Remove muffins from pans immediately, and cool on wire racks.
    *Blueberries may be substituted for raspberries.
    ~~From Southern Living

    Friday, November 4, 2011

    Awesome Husband...

    Give Thanks


    Today I give thanks for Jim!

    I had a very busy schedule today.  Jim offered to pick up Molly from the groomers, go to the store for me, and also deliver some things I needed to take to a friend! What an awesome husband I have.  I thank the Lord for his help today.  My load was lightened, my day made easier and my heart was so happy!



    Love is kind.
    -from I Cor. 13






    Thursday, November 3, 2011

     Today I am thankful for my friend that took the time to meet me at Starbucks! Besides our favorite drinks we shared a breakfast sandwich and a pumpkin muffin! We visited for over an hour. We had a some serious sharing but didn't leave without telling some funny stories. We laughed and laughed!  I love being with her and this morning was such a fun start to my day. 


     
    A friend is one to whom one may pour out all the contents of one’s heart, … knowing that gentle hands will take and sift it, keep what is worth keeping, and with a breath of kindness, blow the rest away.
    - George Eliot