Archives for June 2011

Devotional: Afraid

 Written By Amy

“The Lord is my light and my salvation–whom shall I fear?  The Lord is the stronghold of my life, of whom shall I be afraid?”  Psalm 27:1

Lately, my son Hunter has been struggling with bedtime.  He is fearful.  This is not the fear of the dark he experienced as a toddler, but now, at ten years old,  more of a fear of the world and the bad in it. 

When I tuck him in, we talk.  I explain night after night that there is nothing that will harm him.  I explain that he is safe in our house, with our locked doors and most importantly our ferocious dog Roxie (actually, Roxie is the sweetest thing ever, but has been known to have the 6’5″ UPS man backed against the wall of our front porch from time to time!).   Sandwiched between Hannah’s and Maddie’s room, and just down the hall from ours, Hunter’s room seems so cozy and protected.  But that is not how he feels.  He asks me to pray for him, which I do and that seems to give him some comfort.  Yet as I leave his room and say goodnight one last time, I wonder how he can possibly feel unsafe?  We are all here around him, so close.

It is our story though, isn’t it?  We find ourselves afraid.  Maybe a different afraid, but still afraid.  Afraid of our circumstances, that they will worsen.  Afraid of the future, or of change. We fear our finances, poor health, safety.  We fear the unknown, what we can’t control.  We worry, we stress, we wonder where God is in the midst of terrible situations.   We feel alone, in the quiet wee hours of the night, wondering, “Is it going to be OK?” 

The truth is, we should not fear anything, because we have a mighty God who constantly watches over us.  Here are some words from Sarah Young as told by the voice of Jesus:

“I want you to know how safe and secure you are in my presence.  That is a fact, totally independent of your feelings. Even now, you are never separated from Me, though you must see me through eyes of faith.”    Jesus Calling, p.146

I love the phrase, “Totally independent of your feelings.”  That’s how I see Hunter’s situation.  His feelings are not reality.  They are controlling him and his sense of security, but they are not truth.  How often do we rely on our feelings as truth?  I do!  They seem so powerful at the time.  But the truth is that Hunter is safely tucked inside our suburban home, and the truth is that God is a rock and a stronghold and is present in our lives–close to us at all times. 

I also love the last phrase that we must see God through the eyes of faith. Faith is how we see God’s hand in our circumstances over the years, his constant presence.  It is when we have walked through trials and looked back, realizing we never could have made it through so well without God.  When we have faith that God is surrounding us, our lives, our souls…we can shed fear.

I have had many fears in my life….being a young wife at home alone at night with a traveling husband, worry about my children and my parenting of them, fear of our finances and God’s provision.  Now, approaching 40, I have less fears.  I know my God.  He is faithful, and has never let me down.  He is with me. Even when things go wrong, I know He has a purpose and a plan in it, and I will walk through it to the other side.  

I hope you have a blessed day, filled with confidence and peace!

Devotional: A Stony Heart

Written By Amy

Today I wanted to share a devotional that I recently read about softening our hard hearts toward God.  You know, those times in our life when we just don’t feel like listening to what God has to say, we believe we are fine figuring out things on our own, or we just chuck faith out the door.  As an adult, I have definitely experienced the first and sometimes the second of those choices in my life.  During the times my heart has been stony toward God, nothing catastrophic has happened, I haven’t been zapped with a lightning bolt or completely tanked my life (although I could have!), but I have missed out.  I know that now, looking back on my journey of faith.  God ALWAYS has something to speak into my life.   God is constantly working good into this world, and when I choose not to listen or follow his will, I lose the opportunity to grow, change, and be a part of God’s work.   With a soft heart toward God, I can navigate the little things in my life in a much more successful way;  like asking and hearing how God how wants me to respond to my husband in tense situations instead of my natural response (which tends to be feisty or defensive), or more easily find confidence because of my relationship with Him when insecurities blow through.

Here is what Joyce Meyer has to say on this topic:

“I will give them one heart and I will put a new spirit within them; and I will take their stony heart out of their flesh and give them a heart of flesh.” Ezekiel 1:19 

When we give our lives to God, He puts a sense of right and wrong deep within our conscience.  But if we rebel against our conscience too many times, we can become hard-hearted.  If that happens, we need to let God soften our hearts so that we can be spiritually sensitive to the leadership of the Holy Spirit.

Without a heart sensitive to the touch of God, we will not recognize many of the times He is speaking to us. He speaks gently, in a still, small voice, or with a gentle conviction about a matter.

A hard-hearted person is also in danger of hurting other people and not even being aware they are doing so, and this grieves the heart of God.  Those with a stony heart who are busy “doing their own thing” will not be sensitive to God’s will or voice.  God wants to soften our hearts with His Word, because a hardened heart cannot hear His voice or receive the other many blessings He longs to give.

Joyce Meyer, Hearing From God Each Morning, p.47

How do we soften our heart toward God?  Ask Him to be in all corners of your life, pray to Him laying all of your concerns and needs before Him, read the bible, and have faith that He is alive and real and powerful and yours.

Recipe : Chicken Catch-A-Tory Ravioli Stew

Written By Jen

We LOVE this soup.  I found it in Cooking Rocks! Rachael Ray 30-Minute Meals for Kids cook book.  It’s easy enough for kids from 7-9 to make so you can do it.  It’s really good.  Good enough to serve your adult friends!  I don’t add the red peppers and I use fresh spinach instead of frozen.  Enjoy!

Rachael Ray’s Official Website :: Chicken Catch-A-Tory Ravioli Stew

Serves 4
Submitted by Rachael Ray from Yum-o! Family-Friendly on 09/17/07
Cacciatore is the real way to spell the name of this stew. It’s the Italian word for “hunter.” Chicken Cacciatore is made with wild mushrooms and strong flavors. It is hearty, so it would keep a hunter full for a long hunt. This stew uses some of the same ingredients and flavors of the original dish, but it’s even easier to make. Everyone in Rachael’s family really loves this recipe!
  • 3 cloves garlic, skins on
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil (EVOO)
  • 2 stems fresh rosemary
  • 2 stems fresh thyme
  • 1 cup pre-sliced fresh mushrooms, or have a grown-up helper (GH) slice them for you
  • Salt and black pepper to taste
  • 1 can stewed tomatoes with peppers, onion, and celery (15 ounces)
  • 2 roasted red peppers from a jar, drained
  • 1 cup tomato sauce
  • 1 package chopped frozen spinach, defrosted in microwave and drained (10 ounces)
  • 6 cups chicken broth
  • 3/4-1 pound chicken breast tenders
  • 1 pound fresh ravioli, any flavor
  • 1 cup grated parmesan, Parmigiano Reggiano or Romano cheese, to pass at the table
  • Crusty Italian bread or rolls, to pass at the table

Have a GH heat a medium soup pot over medium-high heat.

Place three cloves of garlic on a cutting board and WHACK each clove with a small, heavy frying pan. Pick out the skins and chuck them into a garbage bowl.

Ask your GH to add the EVOO to the soup pot. Throw in the smashed garlic and two stems each of the rosemary and fresh thyme. The leaves will fall off the stems and give a delicious flavor to your special stew.

Add the mushrooms and help stir as the mushrooms cook, about 3-5 minutes. Season the ‘shrooms up with salt and pepper as they’re cooking. Next, you or your GH can open the can of stewed tomatoes and add them to the pot.

Then, use a sharp, small knife to chop the roasted red peppers. Keep your fingers on the hand holding the peppers curled under so you don’t chop off your whole finger! You just want to cut up those peppers into pieces as big as your mouth. Add the chopped up roasted red peppers and add one cup tomato sauce to the soup pot.

Put defrosted chopped spinach in a kitchen towel. Gather the towel up and twist it to get the water out of the spinach. Squeeze the spinach over a garbage bowl until it stops dripping. Separate spinach with your fingers and add it to the soup. Pour in the chicken broth and stir the stew really slowly or it will slosh out of your pot! Have your GH cover the soup and raise the heat to high.

Ask your GH to cut up the chicken for you on a separate, plastic cutting board (different from the one you cut the vegetables on). Cut the chicken tenders into 1-inch pieces and add them to the stew. Ask the GH to go wash up right away with lots of soap and water – and also to wash the board – so that the raw chicken doesn’t get on anything else in the kitchen or any other food. If you touched the raw chicken, you go wash too.

When the stew comes to a boil again, add the ravioli and leave the lid off. Cook the stew until the ravioli is almost done, about five minutes. Turn off the heat and let the stew cool down a bit.

As your GH to help serve up the stew and pass cheese and bread at the table to go with it.

Our Life: Summer Vacation


Written By Amy

Last week we traveled to Hot Springs Arkansas to visit Jon’s parents, Liz and Vin.  We had such a great time.  I think our whole family just needed a check-out from life, and this was it!  Here are some highlights:

 We got to go kayaking for a day…  here we are on our way down an “elevator” to get to the water.  This was very exciting for the kids. 🙂

                                           Above,  Jon’s parents and the kids!

 Jon and I look calm and relaxed, but just prior to this picture I had paddled frantically across the lake to get Jon’s help after having an all out paddle war with a HUGE spider that kept crawling up the side of my kayak.  Jon swiped the spider into the woods, after trying to convince me it was a sand crab (not).

  Below is a pic of the favorite deck game “Cornholing.”

  One day we went to Magic Springs water and amusement park…such a fun day! 


Below, Maddie caught a tree frog…then tried to hypnotize it.  I can’t even imagine what that poor frog is thinking at this moment.

We had a great day on the boat with friends of Jon’s parents, the Silers.  The weather was beautiful, and the water was a perfect temperature.  Larry Siler, the one in the shirt and tie, has been playing a game with the kids for months about who is going to push who into the water first.  He showed up with “dress clothes” as a statement of how sure he was that he would not be going in.  Larry, you’re a great sport!


 And…Jon and I got a glimpse into the realities of retirement life in the Village.

  Liz and the kids: 

So, that was our trip!  So many more pictures I would love to include, but those were some of the best.  Have a blessed day!

P.S. Don’t forget to enter our drawing….scroll down for details!

Fatherless by Grace Full Home

Written By Jen

This Father’s Day will you join me in a one time gift to lend a hand to children who are fatherless?  Please?  For me?  For them.  For you.

How Far We Have Come

Imagine being a child and losing both parents. How would you feel? How would you survive? Who would help you to make your dreams a possibility?

I just can't help but shake my head and grin when I see my dad as a kid.


I have gotten a few, “How are you doing?” questions in lieu of Father’s Day.  I miss my dad yet I feel peaceful.  I can’t explain why, I suppose it surpasses my understanding, but an overwhelming peace is upon me.  This Father’s Day my heart is beating to care for the widows and the father-less. I lost my dad as an adult, I can not imagine loosing my father as a child, and even worse my mother and my father as a child.  When a child looses their father this also means a wife has lost her husband.  I was fortunate that my mom and I are taken care of, but for some this is a beyond heartbreaking to a grim future.  I looked up fatherless in the Bible and I was shocked at how much God had to say about the fatherless.  There is a lot of ‘fatherless’ in my history.  My mom was raised in a children’s home and my dad lost his dad when he was just 15.  Although I had a father, he is no longer with us so, I guess that includes me, I am now fatherless.  I have my memories, his lessons and years of his love in my being.  Sustaining me I have a heavenly Father who loves me.  Belonging to my Heavenly Father brings a deep comfort to me this holiday.  This Father’s Day I will remember my dad, adore my husband, give generously to the fatherless, and praise my Heavenly Father, for He is GOOD.  Are you Fatherless this Father’s Day?  Take heart YOU have a Heavenly Father who knows you by name and cares for you!

Would you consider a one time gift for the fatherless this Father’s day? Please?  For me?  For them?  For you.

With World Vision for just $25 you can care for an orphan.

For $70 you can put an orphan through school for 1 year.

For $25 or $50 you can give to an Orphan and Widow fund.

For $5,100 you can provide a home for Orphaned Children. They lost their parents — and now they’re in danger of losing their homes. Thousands of orphans live in crumbling, dilapidated huts that offer little protection from the elements. You can help a family of orphans keep their birthright — and protect their health — by providing a new or renovated home in a country like Uganda or Zambia.

Here is a glimpse of God’s heart for the Fatherless this Father’s Day for you.

“Do not take advantage of the widow or the fatherless.” Ex 22:22

“He defends the cause of the fatherless and the widow, and loves the foreigner residing among you, giving them food and clothing.” Deut 10:18

“When you harvest the grapes in your vineyard, do not go over the vines again. Leave what remains for the foreigner, the fatherless and the widow.” Deut 24:21

“But you, God, see the trouble of the afflicted; you consider their grief and take it in hand. The victims commit themselves to you; you are the helper of the fatherless.” Psalm 10:14

“A father to the fatherless, a defender of widows, is God in his holy dwelling.” Psalm 68:5

“Defend the weak and the fatherless; uphold the cause of the poor and the oppressed.” Psalm 82:3

“Learn to do right; seek justice. Defend the oppressed. Take up the cause of the fatherless; plead the case of the widow.” Isaiah 1:17


What is one of your favorite memories of your dad?



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