Will You Help Us?

Eight years ago, we felt led by God to move from Nashville, TN to serve at Beacon Church, a home missions church in Exeter, Rhode Island. God made it obvious that He intended for us to move by helping our house to sell in just 2 weeks and by providing a van for us in just 24 hours!

We were so convinced that God wanted us to move that we went in faith before Luke had found a job. As it turns out, Luke’s workplace, Thomas Nelson Publishers, was not ready to let him go yet. Luke was given the opportunity to work for Thomas Nelson at home for a full year. After that, God provided a job for him doing various web development and coding jobs.

Luke has now been working at home for 8 years. At first we were not sure if it was working for us, but over time, we discovered that not only did it work, but we really like it. It allows Luke to eat lunch with us and spend his “breaks” with us. It is just all around cool! We truly value our time together as a family all day every day. I know it is not for everyone, but we enjoy it.

Now, we are at a transition point. Luke wants to start his own business, but he wants a business the kids can be involved in. This is a learning opportunity for both us and the kids, and it is a fun one. Out of several different options, we all liked the idea of building a maze.

We’d like to ask you to help us build our dream. Will you go to Kickstarter and look at our idea? If you like the idea or just want to help us be able to fulfill our dream, will you consider either backing our project by donating on kickstarter or by sharing the project with your friends and family, so maybe they will back the project?

 

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July Inspiration

I thought I’d share some scriptures that have spoken to me in the last week or so. Maybe they’ll bless someone else, too!

A thousand years in your sight are like a day that has just gone by, or like a watch in the night. Yet you sweep people away in the sleep of death — they are like the new grass of the morning: In the morning it springs up new, but by evening, it is dry and withered.  ~Psalm 90:4-6

Take notice, you senseless ones among the people; you fools, when will you become wise?  ~Psalm 94:8

Not to us, Lord, not to us but to your name be the glory, because of your love and faithfulness.  ~Psalm 115:1

Am I now trying to win the approval of human beings, or God? Or am I trying to please people? If I were still trying to please people, I would not be a servant of Christ.  ~Galatians 1:10

The law from your mouth is more precious to me than thousands of pieces of silver and gold.  ~Psalm 119:72

Unless the Lord builds the house, the builders labor in vain. Unless the Lord watches over the city, the guards stand watch in vain.  ~Psalm 127:1

Children are a heritage from the Lord, offspring a reward from him. Like arrows in the hands of a warrior are children born in one’s youth. Blessed is the man whose quiver is full of them.  ~Psalm 127:3-5

Now I want you to know, brothers and sisters, that what has happened to me has actually served to advance the gospel. As a result, it has become clear throughout the whole palace guard and to everyone else that I am in chains for Christ.  ~Philippians 1:12-13

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Graham Cracker Crust

Whenever I have made a graham cracker crust using the traditional recipe, the crust always seemed dry, so I made my own adaptations. Here is my recipe:

Ingredients:

  • 1 package graham crackers
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 8 tablespoons butter/margarine melted

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 375˚
  2. Put butter in an oven safe dish in the oven to melt
  3. Crush the graham crackers in a food processor or by crushing them in a ziploc bag
  4. In a bowl, stir together crushed graham crackers and sugar
  5. After it is completely melted, add melted butter from oven and stir thoroughly (I just mix with my hands to make it easier).
  6. Put crust in the oven and bake for 7 minutes.
  7. Fill with desired pie filling
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Six Flags Over Nonsense

Several months ago, I took a survey on the Six Flags website. When it asked me which Six Flags I visited most, I wasn’t sure what to say because I don’t go often. Then I saw an option that said ”I really never visit any of these” and chose it. I love the personal email I immediately got in my inbox from Six Flags!

Here is what it said:

We are working on a new park newsletter for I really never visit any of these! which we hope will improve the park experience for everyone by ask our expect guests to share some recommendations about how to enjoy the park best. How it works is simple: we’ll ask you (our expert) a bunch of questions about what you like, and most importantly why you recommend it. We’ll then combine your answers with other guests to come up with recommendations we’ll send out to everyone.

If we use your recommendation, we’ll print your name (next to your recommendation) in the newsletter. We’ll also pick one winner each issue from among those whose recommendations appeared in print to receive a free pair of tickets to the park.

Are you willing to share your I really never visit any of these! recommendations with other guests?

Can we say form letter? But I’m so glad they sent it to me! It cracked me up! :D

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Flowers in the Hair

Anna had fun braiding the girls hair and putting flowers in it. I think she did a great job! What an artist I have. Here is what it looked like!

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In Everything Give Thanks

God created us to bring Him glory. When God miraculously heals someone, He gets glory. When He gives joy, even without healing, to a quadriplegic, He gets glory. When He blesses someone with great wealth – from Job and Abraham to J. C. Penny , He gets the glory. When He provides for each daily need, He gets the glory.

It’s easy to give glory to God in the good times – when the miracles are obvious.

The Bible is full of miracles – like the time when He kept the oil from running out in I Kings 17:8-16 and when God blessed Solomon in II Chronicles 1:11-12.

When I was in college, I got a last minute opportunity to be a summer missionary. I had never heard of such a thing, but I wanted to try it. The deadline had passed, but there were still unclaimed openings.

I signed up and was accepted. That left me very little time to raise money for the trip, but God knew what He was doing. He brought in every last dime that I needed in time for the trip. God’s timing is amazing!

When God told us to move to Rhode Island, we had very little notice, yet amazingly, our house sold & closed just 2 weeks after putting it on the market!! Then He helped us out of a sticky situation by helping us find a very well cared for van that we could easily afford with just a 24 hour notice! Yes, God’s timing is perfect. He wanted us to go and He provided the way.

God is not limited by time, resources, or circumstances. He has proved time and again that He can do much with a small window of time. And in all these things God receives the glory. That’s easy!

It is not so easy to give God the glory He deserves in the tough times – when the miracles are not so obvious.

Shall we indeed accept good from God, and shall we not accept adversity? ~Job 2:10b

Job certainly had a lot to be thankful for (1:2-3), at least for a while (1:13-19), but when the hard-times came, Job still trusted God and blessed his name (1:20-22).

How do you give thanks to God when He allows hard things to happen? Amazingly there always is a blessing hidden in there somewhere, and while seeking God for that blessing, you learn more about Him, and He uses you to bless others through your hard time.

Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, in everything give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.”  ~I Thessalonians 5:16-18

Fortunately, He promises His presence and peace when we are going through those not so easy times.

Peace I leave with you, My peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.  ~John 14:27

In everything give thanks!

About a month ago on December 15, 2011, we found out that our youngest child, Thaddeus, has a terminal illness - Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy . In case you’ve never heard of it, DMD is a disease that affects the muscles. When a person has it, his muscles degenerate over time and turn to fat. Since the heart and diaphragm are muscles, the person with DMD usually dies from congestive heart failure or from not being able to breathe.

Thaddeus has no symptoms yet, but they usually start by the age of 5 when the muscles in his hips start showing their weakness. His future probably holds many falls, leg braces, muscle stretches, some minor surgeries, a wheelchair, and maybe even a ventilator.

This definitely is not an easy phase of our lives. While you never know how long any child will live, it is hard knowing ahead of time that your child most likely will not reach his 30th birthday.

But God’s timing and power are great in tough times too. Jesus accomplished more in three years than any of us will achieve in our 70. And God can do amazing things through Thaddeus in his short years.

My brother died of this same disease when he was just 15 years old. My mother was asked after he died, “Don’t you wish you’d never had him? Neither of you would have had to suffer.” Her answer was, “Absolutely not!!”

For You formed my inward parts;

        You covered me in my mother’s womb.

I will praise You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made;

        Marvelous are Your works,

        And that my soul knows very well.

My frame was not hidden from You,

        When I was made in secret,

        And skillfully wrought in the lowest parts of the earth.

Your eyes saw my substance, being yet unformed.

        And in Your book they all were written,

        The days fashioned for me,

        When as yet there were none of them.  

How precious also are Your thoughts to me, O God!

        How great is the sum of them!

If I should count them, they would be more in number than the sand;

        When I awake, I am still with You.

~Psalm 139:13-18

God created children with Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy. While life is more difficult for them, God is able to use their short lives to reach others. They can touch the lives of so many people in just 15 or 20 years!

God was not taken off-guard. He knew before Thaddeus was ever born that he had DMD. He chose to make Him that way, and I do not have the authority to ask Him why. I may never know.

But I do know this. I love Thaddeus dearly! To wish I had not given birth to him would be missing out on an amazing amount of sweetness and joy! I plan to cherish every moment I have with all my children. I will train them all to be godly men and women, to go into this world, passing God’s blessings on to as many people as possible!

I am sure more posts will follow on this topic, but for now, I will end with Blessings by Laura Story.

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Family Night

Tonight is family night! Since the whole family has been interested in Luke’s job, we decided to learn how to do some of it! Who knows! Maybe some day some of the kids will decide to join Luke in his work!

Some of the things we learned about in the CSS group are color theory, font size, and how to use firebug to edit. And a few things we learned in the HTML group were elements, tags, and something about slashing heads and opening bodies!

The only problem is that I have a sore arm because when Luke told us  to “hit tab,” everybody did!! ;)

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Blueberry Cream Cheese Pie Version 3

2 cans sweetened cond. milk

12 cups lemon juice

  1. In a small saucepan or the microwave, melt 6 tablespoons of butter.
  2. Place about 24 graham crackers in a plastic bag. Roll with a rolling pin until finely crushed. This may be done in small batches.
  3. Measure 1 1/2 cups of graham cracker crumbs into a medium bowl.
  4. Add 1/4 cup of sugar to the graham crackers.
  5. Add the melted butter.
  6. Stir or blend together with your hands.
  7. Press into the pie plate or other pan.
  8. To pre-bake the pie crust, bake for 8 to 10 minutes in a preheated 350 degree F. oven.

soy substitute

  • 3 cups plain soy milk
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • pinch salt

DIRECTIONS

Put the soy milk and sugar in a sauce pan over medium-low heat. Stir constantly until the volume is reduced to 1 cup. Take off the heat and add your vanilla and salt. Store in the fridge. This is only good for 7 days, then should be thrown away

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A Preview

Today Phillip came and asked me where the checkbook is. I was thinking Maybe Luke asked him to look at it for part of school? But he’s not here! Maybe he got back and sent Phillip for it for some reason? But I just said, “Why?” He said, “Because I need to look at it.” Now I was really curious! Why does he need to look at the checkbook? Isn’t he a little young for this? I just looked at him a bit confused, and he said, “I need it for school.”

Then it dawned on me. He was referring to the score key for his school work!! Mystery solved!

But maybe I just got a little preview of what may be coming in a few years?

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