Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Tuesday's Supper

Today's meal is sort of put together with two things in mind. Last week I mentioned that I was going to see how many meals I could make with two free range chickens as well as how can I be as budget minded with both my time and my resources.

Soooo let me tell you what I was able to do. I cooked the two chickens in the oven and also cooked roasted vegetables at the same time. Obviously the vegetables didn't take as long as the chickens, so I cooked them towards the end of the chicken cooking time. That was one meal. The second meal I made from the More with Less Cookbook. I made a chicken loaf, mashed potatoes, peas and the best gravy I have ever made. I used the drippings from the cooked chicken.

Now let's get to our Tuesday's Supper! This third meal was Chicken Pot Pie and sliced apples and left over muffins. I was really dragging my heals about this pot pie, because I don't like to make crust! Truthfully, I'm terrible at it! So I went looking and hunting and came up with a really forgiving recipe! I found it at Thy Hand Hath Provided. She has an awesome blog, and if you haven't checked it out, your probably should! She has a ton of recipes. Anyway, she has a pie crust recipe that makes eleven pies! Atleast it makes eleven pies for her! I made six crusts and then cinnamon sticks from two of the crusts. Like I said, crusts are not my thing. They may be more my thing now, because of her recipe!

So to begin with I made crust.
7 cups white flour
3 cups whole wheat flour
1 cup coconut oil (you can use shortening if you like)
1 1/2 cups butter
2 T sugar
4 t salt
2 T vinegar
2 eggs
1 cup water ( I had to add more)

mix it all together and roll it out! Then place in your pie pans. You can then put them in grocery store bags and freeze them. I stacked them with wax paper in bags of two's. My son Jonathan helped with some rolling. (that way I knew where he was!)

For the Chicken Pot Pie, I used 2 1/2 cups of cut up chicken, leftover roasted vegetables, leftover gravy and put it in the crust. Topped it with another crust and it was finished!!! I kept it in the fridge until it was time to cook dinner. Since dinner was done, I moved onto another job I had been putting off.

During the winter, we were buying 40 pound boxes of Pink Lady Apples. They were wonderful, but we finally began to get tired of them and just left them in the basement. I can't let all that goodness go to waste! I got out my handy dandy peeler, corer apple slicer that I got at the thrift store for $1.99 and went to town. I filled up a whole crock pot full of sliced apples and set them to cooking. When they were done I added one cup of raw sugar and some cinnamon to it and used my little stick mixer and mixed it all up to mush. Canned it in clean jars and voila, I had canned applesauce!

So my two chickens have given my family three full meals, some lunches and inspired me to make crusts and then move onto applesauce. That's a lot of goodness! I also got 4 quarts of delicious rich broth and 1 1/2 cups more chopped chicken that will be used for a Brown rice, lentil and chicken casserole.

This was our meal and it was yummy. The roasted vegetables added a wonderful flavor. I was especially happy, because I was able to actually overcome my fear of making pie crusts!

While making this meal out of "leftovers" I was thinking how as wives and mother's we are always trying to make more with less and stretching what we have to be good stewards of what God has provided. Here are a few verses that although slightly taken out of context make sense for what we are doing!

1 Timothy 4:4-6

"For everything God has created is good, and nothing is to be thrown away or refused if it is received with thanksgiving. For it is hallowed and consecrated by the Word of God and by prayer. If you lay all these instructions before the brethren, you will be a worthy steward and a good minister of Christ Jesus, ever nourishing your own self on the truths of the faith and of the good instruction which you have closely followed. "

Sunday, April 25, 2010


We stretch a lot of meals and snacks with muffins. I have found that just about anything can go into a muffin. I use zucchini, leftover oatmeal, chocolate chips, cheese, left over apple sauce, or even just cinnamon and sugar sprinkled on top!

The thing to NEVER put into a muffin is one of those hard sugary Easter eggs that are pastel colored with white goo inside! NEVER! NEVER! My mom wanted to surprise us one Easter morning with a special eastery breakfast. It was raining and she wanted to make the morning a little less gloomy! Even Jesus wouldn't have tried to resurrect those muffins. Picture faded melted goo in the center of each muffin! Oh those were sad muffins! Bless her heart, we have never forgotten those muffins, so I guess my mom did create a memory that morning!

On to muffin making....I do grind our wheat to make flour, but I didn't always and I like to use a natural sugar. Other than that, just about anything is fair game. Here is my basic recipe. I will say, that sometimes they are heavy, or light or very large muffin tops or not..... It just depends on the ingredients, and if you don't mention all of the ingredients, the children will gobble them up!


2 cups flour or 1 cup flour and 1 cup of another grain
1/4 - 1 cup sugar depending on how sweet you like it
1 T baking powder
1 t salt
1 egg
1- 1 1/2 cups milk (I prefer sour milk if I have it)
1/4 to 1/2 cup of some type of fat: coconut oil, olive oil or canola oil

Then there are extras that you can add like blueberries or that 1/2 cup of flakey cereal that's getting pushed back into the cabinet because nobody wants it. You get the picture. You can safely add up to about 1 1/2 cups of add ins. Just be sure you balance the wet ingredients. Remember this isn't a science project and you can fiddle with it as it's very forgiving!

Mix everything together. If you want, you can mix dry and wet ingredients individually or just dump it all. If you are adding blueberries, mix them into the flour first and then they don't fall to the bottom of the muffin. (so they say)

I cook these on 350 and watch them until they are ready. If you want them to go a little further, put them in the mini muffin pans.

Tonight the muffins I made were blueberry and a batch of cinnamon applesauce. I had some homemade applesauce that needed to be used up and I just dumped about 1/3 to 1/2 cup in the batter. I often add vanilla or lemon juice to the batter depending on what type of muffins I'm making.

These freeze well and make a great quick breakfast. I also need to give the book The Tightwad Gazette credit for my muffin madness! She has a Universal Muffin recipe that I based my recipe on. Enjoy!

Hilltop Blessings,

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

The Best Dinner Ever!

How often can you start a post with "The Best Dinner Ever"? Well it was! I have enjoyed a few moments of the program Jamie Oliver's Food Revolution. I never have time to see the whole thing, but while I give Katie a breathing treatment, we watch it on Friday nights. (I really live on the edge of excitement)!

I went to his website and found this oh so healthy and yummy recipe. I encourage you to go to his website and see all the great ideas he posts. I'm posting this recipe because it's so easy and you probably have most of the ingredients.

Meatballs and Pasta

4 sprigs of fresh rosemary (how much is a sprig? I used about a tsp and a half)
12 plain crackers (I doubled this recipe and used 1/2 cup of oatmeal)
2 heaped tsp. of dijon mustard (I used regular mustard and didn't measure)
1 pound good quality ground beef or pork or a mixture of the two. (I used 2 lbs of grassfed beef)
1 heaped tablespoon dried oregano
1 large egg (I used 2)
sea salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
Olive oil
Small bunch of fresh basil
1 medium onion
2 cloves of garlic
1/2 a fresh or dried red chile
2 cans of tomatoes 140z. ( I used 1 can and then 2 cups fresh tomatoes)
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar ( I used red wine vinegar)
1 pound of dried spaghetti or penne
Parmesan cheese for grating (I used the already grated kind not the shake kind)

To make your meatballs

Pick the rosemary leaves off the woody stalks and finely chop them. Break up the crackers into crumbs. ( I use whatever "binding" agent I have on hand. You can use bread crumbs, cracker crumbs or oatmeal) Add to the bowl with mustard, ground meat, chopped rosemary and oregano. Crack in the egg and add a good pinch of salt and pepper. Mix together. Divide into 4 large balls then divide each ball into 6 and roll into little meatballs- you should end up with 24. I doubled this and ended up with 71! They were small, but they went a looong way! I froze half uncooked. Drizzle them with olive oil and jiggle them so they all get coated. I cooked them in the oven on 350. I don't know how long I cooked them, but be sure you don't overcook them.

To cook your pasta and sauce

Pick the basil leaves, keeping any smaller ones to one side for later. Peel and finely chop the onion and garlic. Finely slice the chile. Put a large pan of salted water on to boil. Next, heat a large frying pan on a medium heat and add 2 lugs of olive oil. Add your onion to the frying pan and stir around for 7 minutes or until softened and lightly golden. Then add your garlic and chile and as soon as they start to get some color add the large basil leaves. Add the tomatoes and the balsamic vinegar. Bring to boil and season to taste. Add the cooked meatballs to the sauce and simmer until the pasta is ready.

Serve with the small basil leaves sprinkled over the dish and fresh parmesan.

We loved this dish. Must say I didn't sprinkle small basil leaves over the dish! Go figure. I put it on the plates and we ate without anyone saying what's this green stuff!!! I served this with garlic bread. I was going to make a salad, but decided this was enough. Next time, I'm going to double the sauce recipe. I think this sauce would be wonderful as a pizza sauce! The meatballs are in the freezer, so next time it will be a quick meal that only needs sauce! If you have any questions, please ask!

Hilltop Blessings,

Monday, April 19, 2010

Lord....The Budget....Help Us!

To start with, may I just say that for those of you who money is no object, you probably want to skip to another blog, this one will bore you to tears! Do we know any of those people or do we just sometimes Think we know some of those people! I pray its the later!

Okay, so it's about the middle of the month. We have about two more weeks to payday. Now if you're thinking: if only my wonderful man could just make a little more, we would do so much better...just stop thinking that! A wise woman told me one time that if you can't handle what the Lord has put into your hands today, you won't be able to handle any more.

So fess up, how are you doing? I've already dug a little deeper into my grocery budget than I care, so today, I'm going to include a menu and some of the things I do to cut back on expenses.

We all choose to buy what we like to buy. I do buy some organics, raw milk, grass fed meat, and then we eat our share of cheetoes! I'm just being honest! I can't say that we do it all! We try to eat healthy, but then there is still some "loosey-gooseyness" about us! I pray that we can continue to get better, but it's a day, by day venture!

One of the things that really racks up our budget is if I choose to go out to lunch with the children. That really spikes up the dollars! I've been working on planning what we are eating for lunch each day, just like I do for dinner. It really helps when we are out, because I know what we are going to have when we get home. Better yet, I've been packing a picnic on days we are going to be out. It kills two birds with one stone. We save money and we eat better.

You can read a million blogs about budgeting and how to make homemade concoctions that save. Two of my favorites are Marmees Pantry and The Family Homestead. You can find a myriad of healing herbs, cleaning recipes, homeschooling hints, and dinner recipes and ideas. I really do use those recipes.

For almost four years now, I've on again off again made our laundry soap. I'm "on again" right now. The blog Homestead Revival has a powdered laundry soap recipe that I'm going to try next week. I also have recently started making my own dishwasher soap. Wow, talk about cheap! It takes almost sixty seconds to make, so it is definitely a keeper! I did have to figure out how to keep my dishes from having "powder" on them, but that only took two loads!

Another thing I do is keep different types of beans cooked up. I freeze them in two cup zip bags. It makes cooking so many dishes easy! Last week for lunch, I made us some tortillas and then we used our already cooked beans to fill them. We added some cheese, salsa, sour cream and voila....lunch!

I haven't been too good about this lately, but I'm going to go back to making our bread. When I make bread, I also make pizza crusts and cinnamon rolls as well as dinner rolls. That is money in the pocket book for sure! It doesn't take much time, and it all freezes.

I also don't buy pledge for dusting. I just fill my sink with whatever I'm cleaning with that day and wring out my dish cloth really good and wipe everything but glass down with that cloth. The dust sticks to the cloth and the furniture is not wet. Another good thing is that my precious children haven't taken a $4 dollar can of cleaner and sprayed it on 1 shelf! You know what I mean! I give each child a cloth and they can clean and don't need to "spray" anything. If they really need to "spray" I give them a spray bottle with a bit of cleaner in it and let them clean glass doors.

It's great to do this on days they are arguing. One child gets on one side of the door and the other child on the other side of the door. The can quit cleaning when they agree that the "other" child had done a good job cleaning their side of the glass door! Works like a charm and gives me about thirty minutes of peace!

Well that about sums up some of my frugal ideas. Now onto my menu. It's short and simple this week.

Monday: Chili with (last summers bounty of frozen shredded zucchini, pureed carrots, home grown tomatoes) and corn bread.
Tuesday: Meatballs and pasta (found this recipe on Jamie Olivers' website), salad and garlic bread
Wednesday: Homemade pizza
Thursday: Roasted Chicken, mashed potatoes, spinach salad
Friday: Chicken fried rice, fruit salad
Saturday: Grilled steaks, baked potatoes and salad

For the roasted chicken, I'm going to follow the video on the She Looketh Well blog. I'm also going to be making homemade broth. I'll let you know how it goes.

I'd love to hear how ya'll are cooking simply and frugally. We all want to feed our families nicely as well as feed them lots and lots of love! Hang in there and find a new way to pinch a penny this week!

Hilltop Blessings,

Friday, April 16, 2010

Do You Enjoy Crumbs or a Buffet?

Two stray little puppies have been visiting us daily for about a week. I didn't think much of it until we noticed how quickly the dog food was disappearing and the normally full bucket of water was nearly empty each day. I'm not prepared to take on two more large dogs at his time, but the way they acted made me think about a few things.

When I give my dog "buddy" a treat, he takes it off and enjoys it. When I gave the puppies a little treat, they gobbled it up and licked the porch floor! Buddy knows that there are always treats coming. The puppies were starving....they were willing to just gobble anything up.

When it comes to trusting the Lord to meet your needs and care for you are you good ole trusting Buddy or are you a stray puppy gobbling up the crumbs off the floor? Do you know our Heavenly Father desires to lavish you with His love, or do you shrink back hoping that He doesn't "get you"?

I just continue to ask myself, what do I really believe? Do I believe that God hears my voice and my prayers? Do I really believe that He has good for me? Or instead do I worry about what is going to happen? When I get an ache, do I worry that I have some dreaded disease and my children are going to end up without a mommy? When the money gets tight, do I worry that we will loose everything?

Honestly? I'm guilty.....Even though I know "most of the time" that God loves me and cares for me, I slip.... I slip into the very trap that the enemy offers me. I say offers me, because I do have to take the bait!

John 10:10
"The thief comes only to steal, and kill and destroy, I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full."

! Peter 5:8-11
"Be self-controlled and alert. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. Resist him, standing firm in the faith, because you know that your brothers throughout the world are undergoing the same kind of sufferings. And the God of all grace, who called you to his eternal glory in Christ, after you have suffered a little while, will himself restore you and make you strong, firm and steadfast. To Him be the power forever and ever. Amen"!

When I believe that God has come for me to have life, I choose not to worry. I take in deep breaths of His grace. I trust Him to care for me. I refuse to give myself over to all the worries that assault me in a given day. Isn't it awesome to think that there are other sisters out there, struggling with the same struggles you are? Sometimes, I pray for that sister. I pray that she overcomes and has victory! I want us all to be victorious together!

I want to believe in my heart, that I don't have to gobble up anything! I can savor what the Lord has for me. I don't have to live on bits and crumbs, I have the entire Word Of God! Those aren't crumbs ladies! It's meat! It's an all you can eat buffet and nobody is counting calories! We get to eat as much or as little as we choose!

Another really cool thing is we not only get to eat it, but we can share it with others who are hungry! We can give them the bread of life! We can welcome that other weary mom hope and comfort.

I pray that this weekend, we would be lined up at the Lord's table and pile our plates high with all the yummy goodies God has for us. I continually struggle with my weight. I'm praying that this truth would permeate my very being so that I would taste and see that the Lord really is good and that there is no substitute for Him!

I pray that this weekend, you would be encouraged and encourage all those around you, to get up off the floor, brush the crumbs off your clothes and enjoy the Lord's banquet. Times are hard, but God is good and He does have good for you!

Hilltop Blessings!

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

The Magical Land Of Homeschooling And Homeliving!

When I think of the perfect life in my mind, it would be precious children with their clean smiling faces doing their school work. Of course, this is right after I have taught a riveting (had to look up this word in the dictionary for spelling) history lesson. One that even a two year old would enjoy!

All this schooling is done after we had a healthy filling breakfast of homemade bread, homegrown eggs, home slaughtered and made sausage. I made the jelly last year with wild huckleberries. The butter for toast, I made before the children were up after I milked the cow! I picked some beautiful wild flowers on my way in the house and they are sitting in a pretty little vase on my table spread with an antique tablecloth. (My children don't smear jelly.) One of my children surprised me with fresh squeezed orange juice and then was really careful to clean up all the peelings and juicer!

We made sure to get our beds made up right after we jumped out of bed this morning. My children so love the Lord, that they instinctively have a quiet time before I even see them in the morning. Their clean shining faces greet me with sweet smiles and "good mornings"! One saw that the bathroom could use a quick wipe down and another quickly ran the vacume cleaner while I hung laundry on the line. The two year old happily follows mommy around the house never wanting for anything.

Whoops, I forgot to add that my husband and I had a wonderfully engaging conversation before he left for work this morning. I sent him off with a delicious lunch and a sweet note in his lunchbox.


Is this real? Could some of it be real? Yes, would we like for this to be real....maybe... Do we think that some people really live like this? I suppose out there in blogger, homeschooler world there may be a few that even have clean baseboards to top it all off, but most of us really like to tease ourselves that there are hundreds of joyous families who live this way!

I believe that this is a lie straight from the pit of hell! We all want to provide our family with as much of a godly, lovely and safe home and upbringing, but we must move away from the fairy tale and enjoy the moments God has given us. We have so much to be thankful. God has given us husbands, homes to create a loving environment, children and ALL that they entail!

I love doing SOME of those things I listed at different times, but I realize I can't do all. I've tried and only been a grouch. I pray that today we would enjoy all that is in our hands. We would look forward to schooling our children, cooking what we can, cleaning what is need of clean, and finding a moment to engage with our children.

I therefore dear sister "appeal to and beg you to walk (lead a life) worthy of the [divine] calling to which you have been called [with behavior that is a credit to the summons to God's service, Living as becomes you] with complete lowliness of mind (humility) and meekness (unselfishness, gentleness, mildness), with patience, bearing with one another and making allowances because you love one another. Be eager and strive earnestly to guard and keep the harmony and oneness of the Spirit in the binding power of peace." Ephesians 4:1-3

PEACE that's what we want. I pray that we would have peace in our hearts to be the women God created us to be. I pray that we would minister joy and love while we do all that is required of us. That's what our children will remember. That's what makes a man love us all the more. That peace is far more beautiful that the table with the cloth and flowers. We can do some things that make our lives more physically beautiful, and I might do some of them today, but I can't do it all. Lets live in the real world, doing all we can to create a loving home and solid God loving and fearing children.

I pray that you have a wonderfully productive, joyous day with your family!

Hilltop Blessings,

Friday, April 9, 2010

"For I know the Plans I have For You...."

Happy Birthday Katie!

This was our first moments with our little love bug! Katie was an answer to prayer via the foster care system. We had no idea how long she would be with us. We knew one thing....God had plans for good for her and for us, if she stayed with us or not. That was so hard to get into our heads, but it brought such comfort!

She was little bitty! Her arrival date at our home she weighed 5.14 lbs. She still had the "preemie" eyes. They didn't last long! She grew and she grew!!!

She grew until she was one and loved her birthday cake! She ate and ate!

For her first birthday, I couldn't help buying her a "special" dress. This one had a cake stitched on top of the smocking. Needless to say, we loved it.

Here she is all grown up! Our big girl is two! She loves to feed the chickens! She loves to be outside! God has so abundantly surprised us in His gift! Many have said to us that we are so good to take her in that she will never know the life she could have had. We say without out her, we would never know the life we have!

I had to come back and add some birthday party pictures! Nanny and Pappaw brought her a Tiara! She certainly is the princess. Someday she will really understand that she is the daughter of THE KING! The difference will be she will gladly cast her crown at His feet!

She loved having her brothers help her....! What a difference two years makes. All can see that this mommy is NOT the best cake decorator, but she tried!

Thank you for letting me indulge my "mommy moment"! I just couldn't let this day get away, before I shared our girl. It was still 18 days, before we met her. She stayed in the NICU those first days. I'm so grateful to the hospital staff that kept her alive after her difficult birth! God has good for her and certainly for us!

Hilltop Blessings!

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Trash To Treasure

Last summer the "crafty spirit" jumped all over me! Anything that could be spray painted black, got a good coat. I began to scour thrift stores for that special "thing" that could become a treasure. You've seen the stunning blogs that create amazing decor with a mere coat of paint and hot glue. I decided to give it a try. This is what I came up with.

I started with this warped candle pedestal that I found at Good Will. I say found, because anytime you go to a thrift store you FIND something.

Then I had this bowl, that someone had given me, when they brought a meal to my home. It was an enamel bowl, and although bright and cheery, it was no longer one of the bowls that I used. It needed a purpose, or it needed to go. I gave it a purpose.

It's purpose was to be the bowl for my pedestal bowl. I'm sure you've seen them at Southern Living parties or in a decorative catalog. I looked on line and found similar ones from $25. to $60!

Voila, Here is my black pedestal bowl for about $6. and that includes the paint. I had enough paint leftover to paint some old picture frames black. I love creating treasure out of trash. This simple little project awakened that sleeping creative side of me. I think that happens when you have little ones and a house and homeschooling and dishes and etc. and etc.!

Back in the days of my single "carefree" life, I was lamenting the fact that I didn't have a husband and children to a married friend. She kindly told me that there was a whole lot more daylight and dishes than moonlight and roses to married life. I thought rather smugly, "Oh maybe that is your life, but it won't be mine!" I was right it wasn't, I had a whole lot more diapers to add to the list! I'm so glad! I think we have the opportunity to see the shimmer of moonlight every time we wash a dish or change a diaper! Thank you Lord for this daily load you have given me! Thank you that You have awakened a sleeping side of my creativity. I love it!

What gifts has God given you, that you haven't been using? Don't let those talents sleep too long!

Hilltop Blessings!

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Tasty Tuesday Menu

"A man's mind plans his way, but the Lord directs his steps and makes them sure." Proverbs 16:9

How often do you make a menu and it just doesn't quite make it? It happens at least a couple times a week for me. I've learned that flexibility is best for our family. I like nothing better than to look at my menu plan at the end of the week and see seven little checks by each meal. Reality says that it doesn't happen every week. Sometimes there are invitations to homes for dinner or we have too many leftovers or I just cave and we have something easier.

Here is my plan for this week. I'm trying to add in some quick meals to help the "cave" moments. I'm really working on getting my grocery budget lower and it is happening so I'm very encouraged to keep at it. At the same time, I want our meals as healthy as I can get them, with little preservatives and "junk" in them.

Tonight I'm making: Flat grilled chicken breasts, parmesan and basil pasta, spinach salad and sliced fruit

Other nights:
Homemade Pizza
Breakfast for Dinner- Eggs, Sausage, Potatoes, Biscuits
Burritos with black and brown rice grilled onions and peppers, chips and salsa
Ham and Cheese Quiche
Crockpot bean with bacon soup (found this recipe on money saving mom)

So there it is ladies. I've already thawed my chicken and it's ready to be flattened. That helps it to cook quickly. It also makes it bigger and people eat less! Good for the waist as well! Hope you are enjoying preparing meals for your family. If not look for some new recipes and try something totally different.

Hilltop Blessings,

Monday, April 5, 2010

Fill, Spill and Thrill!

It's the time of year that I enjoy getting our porch ready. I love to entertain and a lot of it is done right on our front porch. In April, we begin getting our flowerbeds ready. The last couple of years we have had some challenges. Challenges that include a baby, goats and chickens. Goats and chickens consider our flowerbeds tasty treats and wonderful places to take a dust bath! Babies get first priority most days, so my flowerbeds received little attention that year! Anyway, fast forward and lets just say, I was basically starting over.

Typically in Texas we have long hot dry summers, so I plant mostly heat and drought resistant perennials. My planters, I like to fill with color and maybe a little more "thirsty" plants. This year I even added lavender and basil. I've never done that and decided it would be fun to see what happens. There are some summers that it's so hot that I just have to replant in August or September.

The nurseries always have beautiful planters because their planters are ever changing. They tell us the consumers "fill, spill and thrill"! Put as many plants as you can fit into the planter and have instant "wow factor"! In theory, that is great, but very expensive. I love the idea, but can't afford to do that, so I go about half way. I fill my planters part way and then in a few weeks, they have begun to spill over and they do look pretty. It's less "wow factor" but less "wow" to my checking account!

Each year, I dig out about half the dirt from the pot left over from last year and dump it into my garden spot. Then I add fresh compost. Digging also lets me dig out any grubs or snails that have made their way into my pots. The chickens enjoy this part of my gardening!

Next, I position my plants in the planters to get an idea of what looks good. This year I happened on an awesome deal at Lowes. They had several racks of 50% off plants. It was packed full of geraniums. I always plant these, so I decided to give them a try. Once I got them home, I pulled off a couple of spent blooms and a few yellow leaves and they were good as new! That saved me about $22.! I love it when God does that for me! He provides even the little things that I love! It's one more way, He shows me that He loves me!

So here is the finished product. I look forward to the flowers spilling and filling, but it will be a few weeks! I've planted my flower beds with everything but the annuals, and I'm waiting a bit to see how big my perennials are going to be. There are also some plants that haven't come up yet. It's only April, so I've got time.

Flowers on the porch just say "welcome" to me and I so enjoy sitting out there in the evening with my family. I hope you are adding bits of beauty wherever you are planted. Enjoy this beautiful spring weather and we'll visit again on the porch soon!

I would love to hear what ya'll are doing to make your homes say "welcome" this Spring!

Hilltop Blessings,

Friday, April 2, 2010

My Musings on the Garden of Gethsemane

First and foremost I want to state right up front: I AM NOT A BIBLE SCHOLAR! These are just my thoughts and I do stand to be corrected if there are some other thoughts!

Jesus' experience in the Garden of Gethsemane has always interested me. I'm a girl with all the feelings that goes with being made female. I do read the Bible with that perspective.

So here it goes my thoughts:
First off I want to start in Matthew 16:15-19 there is a discussion with Jesus and the disciples about who Jesus really is. Simon Peter says that Jesus is "the Christ, the Son of the living God." Jesus then replies: "Blessed are you, Simon son of Jonah, for this was not revealed to you by man, but by my Father in heaven. And I tell you that you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of Hades will not overcome it. I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven; whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven."

So here we see Jesus refer to Simon Peter as "Peter". I think that when a name is changed in scripture, it usually means that there has been a turn or change spiritually. Abram became Abraham, Sarai became Sarah..... so Simon Peter has become "Peter".

Jump forward a few days to the Garden of Gethsemane. Jesus in Mark 14:27-41 tells the disciples that they will fall away and He will rise again after His death. In part of that passage He takes Peter, James and John to the interior of the garden and pours out His heart to them. He tells them :"My soul is overwhelmed with sorrow to the point of death" and then He tells them "to stay here and keep watch".

No here is where the female mind doesn't understand.....When my closest friends tell me that they are distressed I'm right there with them. We pray, we talk, we talk and then we talk some more. Obviously the King of Kings did not need a bunch of wringing hands around him, but He was asking them to keep watch.

I don't know if they knew what "keep watch" meant or not. But if my friend in need needed something I would be there. As a woman I would have probably brought a casserole or her favorite ice cream! But these were guys.

So here it is, Jesus' real time of need and His best friends GO TO SLEEP! They go to sleep with him sorrowing to the point of death! Forever in history these guys are known as the ones who couldn't tarry! They couldn't keep watch not one time but twice! Peter had even been told that that very night he was going to deny Jesus three times! When Jesus came back to the sleeping men, He did not refer to Peter but to Simon. Did this mean that Peter had forgotten who Jesus really was. Did he forget that Jesus was the Son of the Living God in his own humanness? Often I have forgotten who Jesus is in my own frailty. (Again these are just my thoughts, don't build any doctrine on them!)

I so don't understand this. I wonder if this is a "type" of man. The state of being asleep spiritually. Or is it the fact that we really don't understand the deity of Christ? I know we can't humanize Jesus. But it amazes me that after all the teaching that had been poured into these men, they still didn't get it!

Peter had been told that he would have so much power that the gates of hell could not prevail. Had he prayed that night and bound back the powers of darkness would things have been different? No, no, no, I'm not trying to change the course of divine history here, I'm just questioning the power that has been given us. I know Jesus had to go to the cross. It just makes me wonder what would happen if I took the power that was given to me from that same victory on the cross, how would my life be different? No, no, no, I'm not trying to come up with a "name it and claim" message either. I believe in the divine will of God.

So back to the garden, where do I take this besides labeling these guys as "loosers"? I think it shows me that however much I think I know, I best lay it at the foot of the cross and say Lord this is your deal and whatever happens, I want you to be in charge and get the glory!

Jesus did ask the Father to let the cup pass if at all possible. God did not let the "cup pass". There are times that God says "no". But on this Good Friday, I don't want to be found "asleep". I want my soul and spirit to WAKE UP to anything that is asleep!

Sunday morning as the sun rises in the eastern sky, I want my spirit to be alive to Christ and more than ever, welcome His coming and His resurrection power in my life! I want the cross to be the key to unlock the sleeping places in my heart. Perhaps the scene with the three disciples was to prophetically show us that without the cross we can't be fully awake to its' power! I don't know, but my heart goes out to those men, who later fully grasping the power of Jesus, changed history with their determination to proclaim the goodness of God and the fulfillment of Christs' victory at Calvary!

We have victory in Jesus, let us go forth this week and all the weeks to come proclaiming the power of the cross. Blessings to you on this Resurrection weekend. Enjoy the fellowship of family and friends.

Hilltop Blessings,