Friday, January 30, 2009

Country Alphabet - A

It's Show & Tell Friday again and I thought I'd do something a little different. Every other week I will post something that you can find on our little hobby farm out in the country. I will use the alphabet as inspiration, so this week we'll start with the letter A.

A is for...Animals!

Our 2 horses, Smartie & Butterfly

Buddy the Rooster (my baby!)

Chicken family

Some of our calves (we have 12).

Our puppies Dixie & Heidi.


Show and Tell

Friends

After reading Gina's post about friends, I was inspired to write a little something about friends.

Most of you who know me 'in real life', know that my husband Cary says he doesn't need friends. He says they always let you down in the end. And I understand where he's coming from. I too have been disappointed by friends, and I'm sure most of you have too. But I have come to realize that the problem lies not with those friends, but with me! My friends are human, like me, and not perfect. Instead of putting my hope and trust in them, first I need to put my hope and trust in the only perfect Friend anyone can ever have: Jesus! He will never let me down! Psalm 118:8 says "It is better to take refuge in the LORD than to trust in man." It doesn't say that we shouldn't trust our friends, but it's better to trust God first. My earthly friends will never be able to meet my needs, because that's not what they are here for. But the Lord will always meet my needs.

When I first moved to Texas, almost 4 years ago, I didn't know anyone here besides my husband. I was desperate for some friends! And when I finally found some friends, I ended up losing them! I was hurt and disappointed, why would God give me friends and then take them away? But I have come to realize that if I had put my hope and trust in God above all else, I wouldn't have been hurt or disappointed. I would have understood that sometimes God puts friends in my life for a reason and a season, but he never means for them to replace Him.
I believe He gives us friends so we can learn from them and help them, and most of all serve Him together! I also believe that we never really 'lose' Christian friends, because even though they may move away, not keep in touch, or something else, there's always eternity!

What a friend we have in Jesus - Alan Jackson


One last thought: "Greater love has no one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends." (John 15:13). Jesus loved us so much, that He gave His life for us! Most of us will never have to die for a friend, or have a friend die for us. But I think that 'lay down your life' can also mean taking a break from your own busy life to help out a friend. It can mean sacrificing time or money and giving it to a friend who needs it. Even when it's not convenient, when you're really busy or having trouble making ends meet. If more friends would 'lay down their life" for each other in this way, the world would be a better place!

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Wonderful Zucchini Bread


Yesterday I made zucchini bread for the first time. It turned out wonderful! Here is the recipe:

INGREDIENTS

* 2 cups all-purpose flour
* 1 cup whole wheat flour
* 1 teaspoon salt
* 1 teaspoon baking soda
* 1 teaspoon baking powder
* 3 teaspoons ground cinnamon
* 3 eggs
* 1/2 cup vegetable oil
* 1/2 cup applesauce
* 1 cup white sugar
* 1 cup brown sugar
* 3 teaspoons vanilla extract
* 3 cups grated zucchini
* 1 cup chopped walnuts or pecans

DIRECTIONS

1. Grease and flour two 8 x 4 inch pans. Preheat oven to 325 degrees F (165 degrees C).
2. Sift flour, salt, baking powder, soda, and cinnamon together in a bowl.
3. Beat eggs, oil, applesauce, vanilla, and sugar together in a large bowl. Add sifted ingredients to the creamed mixture, and beat well. Stir in zucchini and nuts until well combined. Pour batter into prepared pans.
4. Bake for 45 to 60 minutes, or until tester inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool in pan on rack for 20 minutes. Remove bread from pan, and completely cool.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

I Love You


Yesterday my 2-year-old Gabriel said the words that every mother can't wait to hear: "I love you"! Okay, I admit it sounded more like "Fi fove fou", but he doesn't need to say it in a perfect way for my heart to melt! And he may not understand the full meaning of the word 'love' yet, but to hear him say it anyway makes my heart overflow!

I think God feels the same way about us. He can't wait to hear us say "I love You". We don't need to say it in a perfect way, and we don't have to understand the full meaning of 'love'. We can say it anyway, every time we think of Him. Just say - or think, or sing - "I love You" and His heart will overflow with love for us! I love You, Lord!

Monday, January 26, 2009

This Little Light Of Mine...

The path of the righteous is like the first gleam of dawn,
shining ever brighter till the full light of day.
Proverbs 4:18

You are the light of the world. A city on a hill cannot be hidden. Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before men, that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in heaven.
Matthew 5:14-16

I've been thinking about these Bible verses all week, wondering and asking God how I can let my light shine before others. I don't think of myself as a 'shining light' and I doubt others see me that way. And I can't say that most Christians I have met are shining lights either, they're just ordinary people. But every once in a while I'll meet someone who seems to truly shine. Just by looking at their faces and their lives, you can see the joy they have in the Lord. I want that too! So what can we do to become like that?

Last night I was reading chapter 6 from Max Lucado's book 'Just Like Jesus' and God gave me the answer I'd been looking for. "A vibrant, shining face is the mark of one who has stood in God's presence. After speaking to God, Moses had to cover his face with a veil (Exodus 34:33-35). After seeing heaven, Stephen's face glowed like that of an angel (Acts 6:15, 7:55-56)."

We don't try to change ourselves or try to be extra nice and happy. The only way to become a shining Christian, is to spend time with God! When we come before Him and worship Him, we will be transformed. He will change our faces to reflect His glory!

And we, who with unveiled faces all reflect the Lord's glory, are being transformed into his likeness with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit.
2 Corinthians 3:18

You see how important it is to come before God and worship Him every day? Not just in church, but all the time, whenever we can! And if we do, He will make His light shine through us. And through that light, He will bring others to Him!

A song to help you worship Him right now:


Friday, January 23, 2009

Antique Dresser

For this week's Show & Tell Friday, I want to show this dresser.
Cary bought this before we met. It's antique, from the 1800s. I wish I knew more about it's history, who owned it, where it's been! We love old things and this dresser is probably our favorite piece of furniture. Too bad our bedroom is so small and we can't find a decent spot for it! Maybe in our next home... ;-)


I love all the details!



Show and Tell

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Spring Cleaning


I was cleaning up the yard this afternoon, picking up the mess that our puppies made. I was thinking how sad the yard looks now compared to in the Spring and Summer. The ground is covered in dead leaves and you have to search hard to find anything green or beautiful. But I know the potential that is hiding under those leaves, and I know that with a little cleaning and sunshine, someday soon our yard will look beautiful again! It makes me want to do some Spring cleaning!

It made me wonder if God ever looks at my life in that way. Does He have to search hard to find anything beautiful? Is it covered under the mess of my sins? That would be pretty depressing. But you know what? Every time I ask Him to forgive my sins, He cleans up that mess and lets His Son shine in my life! He makes us clean and beautiful. He does Spring cleaning in my life every day! Thank You, Lord!

Create in me a pure heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me.
(Psalm 51:10)

As far as the east is from the west, so far has he removed our transgressions from us.
(Psalm 103: 12)

Though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they are red as crimson, they shall be like wool.
(Isaiah 1:18b)

Meet my Family

I thought I'd tell you a little more about my family, since some of you probably don't know that much about me yet!
My Dad Henk (almost 58) & Mom Klarike (53) have been married for 33 years. They have 4 children, 3 girls and 1 boy.

I'm the oldest child, I'll be 32 in April. I've been married to Cary (42) for almost 4 years and we have 1 son, Gabriel (2).

Next, there's Eveline, she'll be 30 in June. She and her husband Cees (35) will celebrate their 9th anniversary in May. They have a boy and a girl, Ruben (7) and F├ębe (2, she was born on the same day as Gabriel).


Then there's Astrid, who will be 27 in March. She and her husband Alwin (29) have been married for almost 3.5 years. They have a son, Rick (1.5) and number 2 is due in June.
Finally there's my 'little brother', Vincent. He will be 23 in July and lives with my parents.

And I have 1 grandmother (Oma), my Mom's Mom, who also lives in Holland. She will be 80 in March.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Home is where the heart is


As I was brushing my teeth last night, I looked through the bathroom and thought of all the things I'd like to change in there. In fact, I'd love to redecorate our whole house and make it perfect! But the problem is, we rent our home and do now know how much longer we'll be here. It would be a waste of time, energy and money because we can't take it with us when we buy a 'permanent' home.

Suddenly God put one of those thoughts in my head again: I need to feel the same way about my life on earth. I don't know how much longer I'll be here. Yet I try to 'decorate' my life - with a nice home, nice clothes, nice trucks, good food, pretty things - until it's perfect. But it's a waste of time, energy and money, because we can't take it with us when we leave this earth. It's as silly as a child building a castle in the sand, thinking it's going to be there forever. At any moment I could leave this temporary home and move to my permanent home with the Lord. And no earthly home, no matter how nice, can measure up to the home Jesus is preparing for us!

Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moth and rust do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.
(Matthew 6:19-21)

Monday, January 19, 2009

Family Lunch

On Saturday we had our monthly family lunch with Cary's family. We always go to La Hacienda Ranch, they have the best Mexican food! Here are a few pictures...

Nanni was feeding sour cream to Gabriel...he loved it!

Little cowboy!

Cary, Gabriel, Papa & Nanni (they are Cary's grandparents)

Papa & I

More pics & videos on my other blog!

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Walking with God

I read these verses earlier today and they really spoke to me.
The LORD saw how great man's wickedness on the earth had become, and that every inclination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil all the time. The LORD was grieved that He had made man on the earth, and His heart was filled with pain. So the LORD said, "I will wipe mankind, whom I have created, from the face of the earth—men and animals, and creatures that move along the ground, and birds of the air—for I am grieved that I have made them." But Noah found favor in the eyes of the LORD. This is the account of Noah. Noah was a righteous man, blameless among the people of his time, and he walked with God. (Genesis 6: 5-9)

Can you imagine what it was like for Noah? Being the only one who walked with God in a world full of evil? Not being able to go and worship Him with others? Having the rest of the world laugh at you because you worship a God that they think doesn't exist? I think most of us have an idea of what it's like. We live in a society where there is no more room for God. Evil is all around us and it's geting harder and harder to stay away from it.

I wish I was more like Noah, righteous and blameless among the people of my time, walking with God. I don't think righteous or blameless are words that apply to me. And walking with God? Well, I'll try, but then I'm distracted by the world and stray from His side again.
But wait a minute! I AM righteous and blameless in God's eyes! My sins have been washed away by the blood of Jesus! And I DO walk with God, because even though I keep trying to stray, He never lets me go! He's always by my side!

Here's what really struck me. Did you notice that little phrase in verse 6? "His heart was filled with pain." God's heart. Filled with pain over his people not wanting anything to do with Him. Can you imagine what God feels when He looks down on His people today? The intense pain He must still feel because His people, His beloved children, don't want anything to do with Him! How it must have grieved His heart when He saw His people going in the same direction again.
But thank God for His promise in Genesis 8: 21 and 22: "Never again will I curse the ground because of man, even though every inclination of his heart is evil from childhood. And never again will I destroy all living creatures, as I have done. "As long as the earth endures, seedtime and harvest, cold and heat, summer and winter, day and night will never cease."

Next time I see a rainbow, I will remember these verses. I will think of the pain in His heart, and of His mercy for not wiping out mankind again. I will remember that He will always walk with me and will not let me walk away from Him. And I will remember to share the news about my Amazing God, my Wonderful Savior, with anyone who wants to hear!

Friday, January 16, 2009

Oma's Tea Cups

I decided to join in the fun of 'Show and Tell Friday' on There's No Place Like Home. I'll try to start doing this weekly and show you something special from our house or garden.

This week I'd like to share these tea cups that once belonged to my grandmother (Oma). She passed away in October 2007 and when asked if I wanted anything to remember her by, these were something that immediately came to mind. I remember drinking coffee (not tea!) out of her beautiful cups and always admiring them. It also reminds me of the times we visited and the talks we had. It makes me very sad that she never got to meet Gabriel (she passed away just a few weeks before our planned visit to Holland). But I know that they will meet someday and we will spend eternity together!





Here's a picture of my Oma.

And a picture of her in younger years with my grandfather (Opa), whom I never met.


Show and Tell

Thursday, January 15, 2009

No Other Gods


The other book I finished reading yesterday is No Other Gods by Kelly Minter. I decided to do the Member Book for a more active approach, and I liked the way the study is split up in days (I did about 2 'days' a day on average though).

I really liked the book, although I do think that at times it was a bit repetitive. But overall it was very good, and it helped me to take a look at what the 'idols' are in my life. My biggest one would be this computer I'm on all the time. And it's not easy giving it up, even part of it! But I have to keep reminding myself that God has better things in store for me than the things I clutter my life with. I have to make room for Him, even if it's just by taking baby steps. I need to start by cutting out small things and filling the voids with God. Because when it comes down to it, He is all I will ever need!

Here's a song for you to enjoy, I made a little video with lyrics to go with it.

How To Listen To God


I finished reading 2 books yesterday. The first one is How To Listen To God by Charles F. Stanley. I only recently 'discovered' Charles Stanley and I think he is really good. I loved this little book, it really made me realize that God still speaks to people - to me! - in a very personal way! It made me realize that I need to take the term 'quiet time' literally and find some time during the day (read: during Gabriel's nap) when I can come before Him and listen to what He wants to say to me. I like the way 1 Kings 19:11-13 illustrates this. God doesn't speak to Elijah in the storm, in the earthquake or in the fire. He spoke to Elijah in a gentle whisper. The Lord doesn't shout to me. He whispers. And it's easy for His voice to be buried under the noises of every day life. Or even under the sound of my own voice.

I really like these lines from MercyMe's Word Of God Speak:

The last thing I need is to be heard,
but to hear what You would say.

Often when I pray, it's more like summing up my wish list. God, please keep us safe, provide us with all we need, forgive us our sins. I may sneak a few praises and thankyous in there, but what it comes down to is that it's me talking to God, not with God. I need to learn how to really have a 2-way conversation with the Almighty. Isn't it awesome that He wants to have a one-on-one, personal conversation with us? Lord, please help me to listen to You voice!

All that I need
is to be with You
And in the quiet
hear Your voice.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Dream kitchens

I felt like browsing through kitchens today. My favorite styles are old world, country and also rustic and traditional. Here my my 10 favorite kitchens. Which ones do you like?