A Great Task

“I long to accomplish a great and noble task, but it is my chief duty to accomplish humble tasks as though they were great and noble. The world is moved along not by the mighty shoves of its heroes, but by the aggregate of the tiny pushes of each honest worker…”

~Helen Keller

This quote has brought great encouragement to me when I have been overwhelmed by feeling like cleaning, cooking, taking care of my little one are insignificant. Each humble task is so important if done with a heart that views it as a great and noble task!

While at a gathering at our church last time discussing the topic of parenting, this thought was shared:

The greatest thing you may ever do is to raise your children and to include them in your lives!

How full of truth that is! Of all the important things we may accomplish in this life, raising our children to love the Lord and include them in serving the Lord together with us, is a high calling, and one not to be taken lightly or passed off to the “professionals”!

Blessings upon you as you view the humble tasks as glorious whatever season of your life!

Image from allposters.com
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Kitchen Tip: Vary the way you cut

As variety is the spice of life, why not incorporate it into the way you prepare your vegetables? I have found a fun way to add variety to my salads especially is to vary how I cut up the toppings. Why not try dicing, and then next time try julienned, and the next time grated! This is especially helpful when you are getting tired of the same vegi’s…but they have to be used up! (As is the case with our CSA produce bin…been a lot of the same stuff the last two months). So I chop my carrots, then I julienned them, then I grated them for three different salads!

This concept could apply in all food preparation…why not try a variety of preparation methods: saute, steam bake, roast, etc. Simple concept, but makes cooking a whole lot more fun!

Aaron appreciates the variety too! Funny how you only have to change the style of preparation and get a whole new dish!

Visit Tammy’s Recipes for further kitchen tips!
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The True Woman: Chapter 5 – Community

Welcome to the recap of chapter 5 of our book study on The True Woman by Susan Hunt, brought to us by Sono Harris, a godly older woman that I greatly admire. Please participate with us in this inspiring read! This post will remain at the top of my blog for the duration of the week and is open for discussion.

Chapter 5: A Cultivator of Community

In her book, The True Woman, Susan Hunt displays, through the clear instruction of Scriptural truth, empirical historical and varied contemporary examples, how a Christian woman, passionate to be all that God has designed her to be, can move closer to the ideals of godly beauty and strength. Once again, in Chapter 5, she achieves these objectives on the subject of community.

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Our Family: April Update

Karis is almost 1 year old (May 4th)! It has caught me by surprise…but what a special year it has been with this little bundle of joy and “grace” as her name means. God’s grace has been sufficient! Karis is doing her army crawl. After seeing her cousin crawl this past week at the beach has really inspired her. She will now occasionally get up on her knees and crawl. Karis is a social butterfly and loves waving at everybody!

She is pulling herself up in bed, on tables, and everywhere else she can. She learned sign language for the words “more” and “thank you”, and we are still working on “please” and “down”, but I have been amazed at how quickly she can learn and understand.

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Chili & Cornbread

This is by far one of the most nutritious and yet frugal meals I make. A variety of beans cooked into chili with the grains in the cornbread provide a complete protein! Finding a good chili recipe is not an easy task, but with some experimenting, trial and error, I think I have come up with a very yummy version. It has a bit of kick to it, but a lot of flavor! My hubby loves this chili! If making for littles, add the spices at the end after taking some out for the littles, if desired.

Both chili and cornbread freeze well, so I make a large batch and freeze both in smaller portions. I keep chili in the fridge to use for different lunches throughout the week – baked potato bar, chili cheese burritos, nachos, chili over hot dogs, etc.

You can also make chili in the crockpot for an easy meal! See directions below.

1 lb. ground turkey, beef, or go meatless
1 29 oz. can tomato sauce plus 1 -15 oz can of tomato sauce
1 large can of diced tomatoes (29 ou.)
1 large onion, chopped
1 green pepper, optional
2-3 Tbls. or more taco seasoning mix
4 cups cooked beans (I do a combo of black, pinto & kidney)
1/8-1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
1/4 cup rapadura or natural sweetener (rapadura gives it a little sweetness to balance the flavor!)
1-2 tsp. oregano
3/4 tsp pepper
2 tsp salt
3 tsp cumin
1-8-1/4 cup chili powder, as desired

Cooking beans - You can always choice the canned option, but cooking your own beans is simple and cheaper. Soak beans overnight in water (1 part beans to 6-8 parts of water) and 2-3 Tbsp. of whey/lemon juice/vinegar, if desired, to impart valuable enzymes. After soaking, rinse thoroughly and add fresh water to cover the beans (about 1 part beans to 3 parts water). Cook approx. 8 hours on low (I prefer in the crockpot). Use 4 cups for chili, or more as desired, and freeze the rest for other dishes or for your next batch of chili!

For Chili -Saute ground turkey in oil with onions and peppers. Cook until browned. Add the taco seasoning mix. Taste and add more as desired. (This is the key to good chili!) Add remaining ingredients. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to low. Simmer for 1 1/2 hours. Makes 10-12 servings.

Crockpot Chili – If you want to get dinner prepared in the morning, try the crockpot version! Cook meat, onions, and peppers in a saucepan until browned. Place in your crockpot with remaining ingredients and allow to cook over low heat for 5-6 hours.

Cornbread

I love soaking Sue Gregg’s cornbread recipe and it is simply delicious! Read here about the valuable benefits of soaking your grains. We love it topped with a whipped butter and honey spread. This recipe can be used with whole grains ground in the blender or with flour in a regular mixing bowl. Yum!

Amount: 8″ Square Baking Pan (12-16 pieces)
Bake: 350 degrees F (175 degrees C) 25-35 minutes

1. Place in blender; blend at high speed 3-5 minutes (the blender will “grind” the grain into a batter in the liquid medium. If it is a little gritty, blend more or let it set overnight for a smoother batter using the two stage soaking method.

1 cup kefir (my first choice!), buttermilk, sour milk, or yogurt

1/4 cup melted butter or olive oil
or 2 tablespoons each butter and oil (I use 2 Tbsp of coconut oil & 2 Tbsp olive oil or butter)
3 tablespoons maple syrup or honey
2/3 cup whole kernel dry corn
2/3 cup whole wheat pastry grain or 3/4 cup kamut grain

If you would like to use flour, use 1 cup of cornmeal and 1 cup of whole wheat pastry flour or kamut flour in replacement for the grain above.

Second Stage: Optional (Recommended) Cover blender or bowl. Let batter stand at room temperature overnight or about 12-24 hours.
Add 2 eggs & blend

2. Mix in thoroughly, but briefly, using blender and/or rubber spatula as needed:
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt

3. Pour batter immediately into greased baking pan. Bake at 350 degrees F (175 degrees C) 25-35 minutes or until knife or toothpick comes clean out of center.

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And we’re back!

What a lovely time we had at the beach with our family! Weather was lovely one of the three days, but when we are at the beach we are more focused on relaxing anyway…reading, resting, playing games, and talking. Karis did amazingly well traveling and sleeping, despite the madhouse of children and noise. We were very thankful for this! I left feeling very blessed and thankful for my wonderful family. Here are some of the pics!

P.S. I have decided to post chapter 5 of our book study on Monday to allow for further discussion on chapter 4. Join in!

View from the cabin

Our little family

Family stroll on the beach

Karis & I with our little friend Emily (not related)

Grandma & Micah (my brother Stephen’s son)

Our friends Gabe & Mandy came and visited
with their two children, Emily & Josiah
Pictured L-R: Mandy, Trinity (my brother Stephen’s daughter),
Karis & I, Emily & Micah

Karis, Emily & Trinity

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Taking Off – Family Break!

It has already been a lively weekend.

My piano students went in yesterday (Friday) for their annual piano exams…which is a huge effort! And all of them came out passing successfully, which was very encouraging. That is another reason I am ready for a break…very ready to move on to some new repertoire, as much as they are!

My sweet little niece, Alita (2.5 years old) broke her arm last night. We went and visited her today as she rests at home. She was a brave girl, but it was so sad to see her small little arm in a cast…we love you Alita!

Our little family will be taking off tomorrow for a little much needed vacation to the beach (our favorite place alone the Oregon Coast in Lincoln City), along with my side of the family, for Sunday – Tuesday, so I will be taking a blogging break.

Chapter 5 recap and discussion of The True Woman will be posted on Tuesday evening, Lord willing, depending upon our return time.

I have been pondering a lot lately on the purpose of my blog and where I should take it. I am really excited about how the Lord is directing me. I hope to lay it out more specifically over the next few weeks. Above all, I want to purposefully write for His glory and hope in some small way to encourage you in the arts of homemaking and seeking to be true women who cultivate community and compassion for Christ’s sake.

God bless you all and have a wonderful weekend!

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Living to Give

“Measure thy life by loss instead of gain;
Not by the wine drunk but by the wine poured out.” ~Ugo Bassi

“Only one life twill soon be passed,
Only what’s done for Christ will last.”

William Borden was the son of a wealthy businessman, and could have settled for a life of convenience and ease. He dedicated his life as a missionary, focusing his college years on reaching those around him with the gospel. He died before even arriving in China, but his devotion inspired multitudes. He left his fortune (one million dollars) to be invested in the cause of Christ, in addition to the thousands of dollars he had given away in his lifetime.

In his flyleaf was written these words:

No reserves.
No retreats.
No regrets.

After Christ has suffered so much on our behalf that we might be partakes of the gift of eternal life, how can we not live with a spirit of martyrdom…willingness to give it all for His sake! This has been on my heart and mind…and will not seem to go away. How can I learn to give lavishly – with no reserves! That I might come to the end of my life with no regrets! Is this the day I die? was the question that Brother Yun asked daily (in his book Heavenly Man -the story of a Chinese persecuted Christian).

How can I give to meet the needs of another today? Could it be with time, money or energy?

The challenge is to give when you think you can afford it but also to give when you think you can’t afford it!

Should I really be saving for myself? Give until it hurts – my dad always said!

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Frugal Tip – Saving on Gas

I came across these two tips while reading Wise Bread this week, that I thought I would pass on to you. Definitely get you thinking when gas prices are estimated to hit $4 a gallon by summer!

1. Slow Down! – Save $.54 cents per gallon

According to this post, you can save approx. $.54 cents per gallon by simply slowing down your driving. It may be a challenging for most of us, but it appears that you can get an extra 15 miles per gallon (that’s at least an extra 200 miles per tank). The author shares how he increased his mileage from 32-47 mpg with this tip!

“In a typical family sedan, every 10 miles per hour you drive over 60 is like the price of gasoline going up about 54 cents a gallon. That figure will be even higher for less fuel-efficient vehicles that go fewer miles on a gallon to start with (based on a cost of $3.25 per gallon). (CNNMoney.com) In response to the oil crisis in 1973, a 55 mph national speed limit was imposed. 55 mph is still a car’s “sweet spot” for fuel efficiency. What uses the most energy of a car at high speeds is the force of air. The increase in wind resistance is exponential, which means it rises more steeply between 70 and 80 mph than 50 to 60. Increasing your highway cruising speed from 55mph (90km/h) to 75mph (120km/h) can raise fuel consumption as much as 20%. – eartheasy.com

Read the full article here.

We’re giving it a try!

2. Safely Following Trucks

Driving behind big trucks can save 5-10% of your gas, due to drafting. Make sure to allow a good distance, so the driver can still view your vehicle in his windows.

“The science behind drafting is closely related to why driving slower saves energy. Basically, you have less air resistance in front of your car if a big truck has already passed through the air and your car is in the tunnel or “slipstream” behind it. A truck also blocks some of the air rushing at you. On the popular Discovery Channel show Mythbusters it was shown that if you follow a big rig by 100 feet you can decrease your fuel consumption by 11%.”

Read the full article here.

Check out Frugal Friday’s for more tips.
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Undistracted Devotion – Part 2

In part 1 of this series, I shared the call that Paul presents in 1 Corinthians 7 to live holy both in body and spirit as women of God, and remain devoted to service of our King. How do we go about this?

First, I would like to address a comment I received on the previous post. This woman brought up a few valid points that would be important to address before we move on in. I wish to thank her for presenting these concerns and allowing me the opportunity to address them

Rita W. said:

This is all very interesting but I can tell you from having been unmarried and married that being married is a much healthier and joy filled life.There is not more time when a woman is single totally the opposite. If you need gas in the car even though tired or ill you must get it yourself and the same with groceries, errands, house cleaning, repairs etc. There is no one to share life with and no one who asks how you are doing? The married are interested in their own lives how husband or wife is doing and the rest of the family and rightly so. At the same time singleness is treated just like you did – how wonderful it is – how glorious to serve? When is there time or the funds after taking care of mother and father? My opinion is that this post is tilted in the wrong direction. Ask a single girl and if she is honest she is exhausted and lonely and hanging to the scriptures for dear life. Praying that somehow life will expand to include more family, friends, and if meant to be a future husband.

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