Monday, July 27, 2015

The Light of the Gospel

Therefore, having this ministry by the mercy of God, we do not lose heart. But we have renounced disgraceful, underhanded ways. We refuse to practice cunning or to tamper with God's word, but by the open statement of the truth we would commend ourselves to everyone's conscience in the sight of God.  And even if our gospel is veiled, it is veiled to those who are perishing. In their case the god of this world has blinded the minds of the unbelievers, to keep them from seeing the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God.  For what we proclaim is not ourselves, but Jesus Christ as Lord, with ourselves as your servants for Jesus' sake.  For God, who said, “Let light shine out of darkness,” has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.
~ 2 Corinthians 4:1-6 (emphasis mine)

Do you notice today that many "ministries" water down the gospel (ahem, Joel Osteen)? What about churches that are basically a huge concert? Bands, lights, sound affects and more...? Is that about true worship and gospel-proclaiming or entertainment? It can really bring God's people to despair. How can people be so flippant and careless about their worship of the Creator?

It saddens me greatly...however, as I study the Scriptures, I am encouraged more and more to know that true followers of Christ will hold to the truth in love and that with all that is going on in the world today, it is just purifying the *true* church more and more! That is a beautiful thing.

I continually read and reread the Scriptures I posted at the top of this post, in my Bible. It's so encouraging to me, truly. It pushes me on to share the gospel and love others with grace and truth. I will not water it down...I will let light shine in the darkness. If you keep reading in 2 Corinthians, you will find *more* to encourage you. I'm skipping ahead to verses 16-18...but really hope you will read all the verses in between in your own time as well. It will encourage you ~ I promise! :)

So we do not lose heartThough our outer self is wasting away, our inner self is being renewed day by day.  For this light momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison,  as we look not to the things that are seen but to the things that are unseen. For the things that are seen are transient, but the things that are unseen are eternal.

The terrible things going on in the world, the wasting away of our bodies, people pretending to play "church"...they are enough to make me want to cry (and maybe it is necessary to do so sometimes) *but* I will *not* lose heart...despite all these things ~ we must proclaim Christ and Him crucified. We must stand for truth. We must shine light in the darkness (even if people are blinded to it). All this evil is but for a moment and eternal glory is awaiting us! Be encouraged friends! :o)

At home...

When we let the chickens free-range in the afternoons/evenings, you can almost hear them cry out "Freedom!" when we open the door! (Think that scene from Braveheart). They aren't very polite about it either...they push and shove to try to get out as fast as possible...

Stella took a nap on my oil-painting things...

I saw a craft that I wanted to try and it turned out beautifully! You buy cheap, transparent plastic beads and melt them in a dish in the oven to make sun catchers!

Chris drilled a small hole in it and hung it using fishing line!

I would like to find more beads with other colors (blues, yellows, etc). But my Walmart only carries these colors. I may have to look somewhere online. :) I don't want to pay an arm and a leg though! :)

I could have had them melt longer...but I thought this looked fun! I may try other designs once I get some more beads too! It's really easy and fun! You can find the instructions for them HERE.

I hope you found encouragement here well as enjoyed the photos I shared. I pray your week ahead is lovely! Thanks for visiting!

Strangers and Pilgrims on Earth

Thursday, July 23, 2015

"Don't ever take a fence down...

...until you know why it was put up."
~Robert Frost

Ok, I must admit that the quote I used above has a *much* deeper meaning than what I am using it for here...but it works! :) 

We have lived here over 14 years. In all that time, there was an ugly wire fence between our yard and the neighbor's yard. Their house is on the other side of their property...but this fence was right near our home. It was *ugly*. I despised it. No matter how much I tried to plant things and use flowers to brighten the outside of our home...that ugly fence was always still there. (I was always glad, though, that foliage and trees helped hide it in the summer.) We never asked our neighbors if we could take it down because, frankly, we were too scared to (our neighbors are elderly and *not* scary....but for some reason, we were too nervous to just go and ask them if we could take it down). 

Fast forward to aunt gave us some of her hand-me-down decorative fencing. My mom brought it to us and said maybe we could put it in front of the ugly fence to help hide it a bit....

Still bummed because I just despised that ugly wire fence, the boys told me I should just go ask our neighbors if we could take the ugly fence down....but alas, I said that I just "couldn't", Xavier (the almost 12-year-old boy that he is) ran over and asked the neighbors *for* me!! When he came back with their reply, I couldn't decide whether to leap with joy or fall over in shock!!! Apparently, the ugly fence was on *OUR* property and we could take it down whenever we wanted to!!! It was there from previous owners (way back when)! Oh the excitement....(and regret!!! We could have taken this horrid fence down years ago!!). 

So, while I did some mowing, the boys got to work...

Yay, yay, yay! No more ugly fence! Now I have a pretty fence between the trees that naturally line the property line and my lovely hosta growing in front of it!

I am just over-the-moon about it! Funny how such little things can make such a *big* difference! :)

 It's kind of difficult to see the decorative fencing now...but that's okay with me. The pictures don't do it just looks *so* much nicer now!

From a distance...

I am *quite* full of smiles about it. I'm telling ya...little things can just be *great* things sometimes! And...I just have to add, after a summer of not-so-great weather (lots of rain), we are now enjoying some absolutely gorgeous days! Super comfy temperatures, sunshine and a breeze! It is just grand and does *so* much to lift the spirits! Thanks for stopping by to share in my bit of joy today! :o)


A Wise Woman Builds Her Home

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Frog Fun ~ A Recent Finish

Although I am more of a's fun to crochet things too. Things whip up a lot quicker when you crochet them rather than knit! I made this hat for our friends' newest arrival. I am hoping it will fit the little guy this winter. The pattern said 3-6 months...but it seems a bit we'll see. The pattern was just for the green hat and eyes. I made up the nostrils, smile and tongue on my own.

I am working on crocheting a mouse hat now. I may put it in my shop at some point...or gift it to someone. We'll see! :) I always have intentions of selling items I make...and then usually end up deciding to gift it instead!

What have projects have you been working on lately? I am linking up with Keep Calm Craft On from Frontier Dreams! :) Have a great Tuesday friends!


Sunday, July 19, 2015

Loving the West Ladies

I just love the West you know who I am writing about? Vicki, Jasmine, Cecilia, and Hannah....the girls from Homestead Blessings! :) We have all their homesteading videos as well as their cookbook! We just adore their sweet, hard-working spirits. They are sisters in Christ and have come to a time of great need! What better way for the church to band together (during all this chaos in the world) than to help one another? I'm sharing a few pictures from around *my* homestead and then I will explain more on the West ladies towards the bottom of this post!

Ruthie is *not* a 3-legged dog...although she looks like she is in this photo...

If you read the West ladies' blog, you would know that after 14 years of homesteading on property they leased, it has come time for them to move. You can read more about that in depth HERE. Unfortunately, the sales from their DVDs and cookbooks did not provide them with enough money to purchase/build a new home. If you have ever followed along with these women, you know they are hard-working women. I don't know about you, but their faith, work ethic, joyful spirits and love completely inspire and encourage me. When I saw the page where I could donate toward their home fund, I did so joyfully. I appreciate these women and am glad to help in any way I can (honestly, when I first read their blog on this, my first reaction was to say "Move here!" haha!).

If you would like to help out our sisters in Christ, you can do so HERE. I know often people are afraid to donate because it sometimes seems to give people something for free. I mean, I know we are working hard to pay off our own house/land and no one helps us with it. I believe though, that Christ tells us to love our neighbor as ourselves. These ladies are in a bind and we know they are definitely not just looking for hand-outs. These women work.....and work hard. They don't take the road of convenience ~ so honestly, I imagine humbling themselves enough to ask for some help is difficult enough.

Every little bit can if you would, please do. I know it would bless them immensely (and I know that *I* for one look forward to them blogging about their new homestead at some point!). So technically, your donation would bless *me* and *my family* as well (and you and yours if you follow along on their blog). :o)


*I should be at church right now and am saddened that I am not. After going quite a while without anxiety attacks, I had a bit of one this morning. I needed to stay home so as not to end up sitting in church and crying through the whole service (as I tend to get terribly weepy when my emotions pique like that). Embarrassing....? Yes. Real life though...? Yes. I'm all about truth....even when it isn't *perfect*. xoxo
Strangers and Pilgrims on Earth

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

.::. And...She's Fourteen .::.

This girl right here....she turned fourteen earlier this week. Yeah, I'm struggling with it...and happy with it (all at the same time). That's normal for a mama, right? Before you're a parent, people tell you not to blink because when you do, your children grow up too quickly. Well, I blinked and here my Madelyn is....fourteen. 

To have a little fun on her day, I surprised her by inviting one of her good friends along and we went to play mini-golf and eat lunch. 

The fourteen-year-old with the fourteenth hole flag...

Jaxson played the *happy birthday* song to her on his guitar...

Yesterday, my sister, her girls and my mom all came by to visit and brought a cake with them (haha, I think Jax is shocked that his sister is fourteen too...look at that face!)...

Xavier, holding Audra (who is trying on a frog hat I crocheted for a friend's baby)...

Madelyn enjoying Audra snuggles...

These two cutie-patooties were there too...

Opening gifts...

We had tacos for supper for Madelyn's birthday (per her request) and enjoyed a fun (and loud) game of Apples to Apples. There was a lot of laughter!! We were too busy playing the game to remember to take any photos ~ so you'll just have to take my word for it! :o) I think she enjoyed her day (and the gifts we got her haven't been delivered yet so it's almost as if she is having an *extended* birthday!).

We're so grateful that God gave us Madelyn. It is our deepest prayer that she continue to walk with Him all her life. :o) I know many of you have been reading my blog for some years and have watched her grow and blossom into this beautiful young lady! Isn't just crazy to realize that my little girl is a lady now!? Thanks for stopping by and sharing in our fun.


Friday, July 10, 2015


Did you know hodgepodge is all one word? I just found this out today! I like this definition of it: a jumbled mixture. Sometimes I just have some photos on my camera that don't really have a place to call their own on my blog! So they become a hodgepodge post! :) Random, yes....but necessary since I (eventually) print out my blog years into a book which serves as a memory/scrapbook for us (those books are *so* expensive I only order them when I can). 

Our girls have been laying quite well these warmer (although super rainy) months...

Isn't it fun to see the different sizes, shapes and colors of the eggs? Look at that wee-little one down there (not sure who laid that one!)...

Jax always knows how to make me smile...

Jaxson and I played some chess...

Our Fourth of July picnic with our beloved church family...

Our pastor is a Godly man...studies the Scriptures and preaches truth (a much-needed thing especially in light of all that is going on around us today). He is there in the blue shirt (holding his granddaughter). We are so, so thankful for him (and his family)...

Prayer as one of our church members readies to fly out on a mission trip to share the gospel...

My beloved and me (I look *so* much better in black and white...if I didn't trust God's sovereignty, I would truly believe that I was meant to be born in an era of black and white *only* photographs!)...

Fun fireworks!

Everyone always enjoys the show...

So there you have it! Some random photos on my camera all slapped together into one post! :)
And before I go....I just have a quote from John Piper to share with you (this is from his book Future Grace). May you find encouragement, strength and wisdom in it (emphasis is mine)!

"When something drops into your life that seems to threaten your future, remember this: the first shockwaves of the bomb are not sin. The real danger is yielding to them. Giving in. Putting up no spiritual fight. And the root of that surrender is unbelief - a failure to fight for faith in future grace. A failure to cherish all that God promises to be for us in Jesus.
Jesus shows us another way. Not painless, and not passive. Follow Him. Find your trusted spiritual friends. Open your soul to them. Ask them to watch with you and pray. Pour out your soul to the Father. Rest in the sovereign wisdom of God. And fix your eyes on the joy set before you in the precious and magnificent promises of God."