Sunday, December 21, 2014

Wondering When God Will Answer? Get Moving

I am so thankful to Nancy Campbell and Above Rubies for the incredible testimony and blessing they have been in my life over the decades. Here is an example of a short lesson you will find on their website, magazine, or through Facebook.  If you subscribe to the magazine, please consider contributing to their ministry. 

"GOD GUIDES A MOVING VESSEL

I have always loved the testimony of Abraham's servant when he went to find a bride for Isaac. "I being in the way the Lord led me," he testified He didn't have dreams, visions, or lightning in the sky. He just obeyed his master, Abraham, who told him to go back to Haran and find a bride there.
Are you looking for God's guidance and for Him to show you His will? Don't sit around waiting. God steers a moving vessel. Do what is at hand. If God has blessed you with children, you are in the perfect will of God as you embrace mothering your children in your home. Be obedient. He will gently lead you according to His will as you fulfill what He has given to you now.
God led Abraham's servant as he walked along his obedient way. You can trust God to guide you also as you keep being obedient to God's truth. No guidance comes without obedience.
Love from Nancy"

If you are asking God to answer your prayers, take a step of faith in the right direction and see if doors are opened to you.

Saturday, December 20, 2014

Locals: Free Boston Red Soxs Ball Cap

If you are local and *can pick up in a timely manner,* we have a Boston Red Socks (Sox) hat. It is brand new, still in the plastic bag it came in, has tags, and is official merchandise. It is good enough for gift giving. If you would like it, please call (see image below-keeps scammers/spammers at bay) and we can tell you where to pick it up. I will even wrap it for you if you request it! There were a couple of other things that were with it. No promises, but if I can find them, I will put those with it. Merry Christ-a-must!



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Is It Death without Dignity or Is It Humility to Submit?

Tricia died last night.

I did not know Tricia Baines personally. I did know of her through many hometown friends of mine who were related and also through mutual friends we shared. Her loved ones were frequently asking for intercession for Tricia. Because of that, I got to know her from afar over the last couple of years. I feel a loss and am sad over the death of a woman I have never met but somehow reached into my life and gave to me too.

Dignity is defined as "a sense of pride in oneself; self-respect." A sense of pride can be a good and healthy thing if it aligns with how God wants us to see ourselves. But, as Christians, our pride should never tell us we know better than the Most High.

Tricia's sister, Tammy, wrote an article which is asking to the reader look beyond the lack of dignity to see a stunning soul who was humble enough to submit to the authority of the Lord and endure. She encourages you to put on eternal lenses and take another look at a controversial subject.

"A death without dignity allows others to share God's love. It brings light into a dark world, and invites God to lean in close to those who are hurting to feel His presence. read the rest here: The Right to Life

My sincerest condolences to all of Tricia's loved ones. I am praying for you.

Our Christmas Tree

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When I was a child, I got to hang one or two ornaments on the tree and was told exactly where and how to hang them. The tree had to look "just so." There is nothing wrong with that, but I really didn't enjoy the tree decorating as a child. It wasn't a family thing as my father was rarely present for it. It was a stressful time for me, and I felt like nothing I did was good enough. 

As a mom, I wanted decorating our Christmas tree to bring us closer as a family. So, each year, I hand out the ornaments and let the children have at it. They talk to each other, laugh, and help each other. They tell stories of each ornament or look for the ones they made over the years. As a result, our tree looks nothing like a department store tree! It looks a bit crazy, but there is joy, love, and togetherness in the room! Unlike the bland perfect trees, I get warm and fuzzy inside when I gaze upon our very imperfect tree because of the memories we made together.

Take every opportunity to build your families, mamas. There are plenty of things which will tear at your family: desire for control, competing with others, a sense of entitlement, expectations that can't be met, jealousy, resentment, anger, greed, gossip, etc. It's in these seemingly insignificant moments, like decorating a Christmas tree, that big things are being built or torn apart. Merry Christ-a-must!

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Friday, December 19, 2014

Free Kindle Book on Chickens

This was free on the day and time I posted it. 
Be sure to check price before downloading.

Article: 36 Things I Know After 36 Years of Marriage

This article contains a lot of great advice for spouses.
35. Learning how to make up is essential since you'll never, ever, get to a point where neither one of you screws up.
36. One of you has to go first. Apologize first. Be vulnerable first. Yield first. Forgive first. Why not let that person be you?

read the rest here

Finally!

When we were gathering the wood early November, Caleb discovered he is finally heavy enough to start the mower! I asked him to see if he could use it to go to the back of the property to get something we forgot. "I don't weigh enough to start it, remember?" "Caleb, honey, you have gained weight since spring. Try it again and see if it will work." He was so happy!

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I so love this smile!

Thursday, December 18, 2014

She's Very Helpful! LOL!

I tell my children to find ways to "be helpful" to the family. Hannah (5) found a way:

"Mom, I am very helpful! I found a pot holder that was made of hair ties! Someone used all of those hair ties, a big pile of them, to make a pot holder! So, I took it apart and now we have lots of hair ties!!!"

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Low Carb Chicken Bacon Chowder

Chicken Bacon Crock Pot Chowder

Clint and I love cooking together and made this in early November. It is hearty and has a nice blend of flavors. It freezes well and makes a nice grab and heat meal for busy evenings.

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Cooking on the Woodstove Season!



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Yes, you can cook on a regular wood stove. You can raise and lower the temperature by using cast iron trivets or even by turning another cast iron pot over and cooking on that. These are the trivets I have for this purpose.

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Video: 10 Life Hacks You Need To Know For Christmas!

I'll be trying the wrapping paper holder!

So Blessed, So Thankful!

So I will bless You as long as I live; I will lift up my hands in Your name. 
Psalm 63:4


Thank You Lord for being WHO and ALL You are!!
 I rejoice in YOU!
I am blessed to know YOU and am so thankful for my relationship with YOU!


Merry Christ-a-must!!

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When I was a newly married wife, I put Merry Christ-a-must as a greeting in our Christmas cards for family and friends. Many people, including my mother in law, told me they loved the sentiment and asked if I minded if they copied it. It is really neat to still have some of them using it in cards to us today!

Shared with Me

A man I came across while at an amusement park shared that he has Rheumatoid Arthritis. He excitedly shared that he hasn't had any flare ups since using frankincense and boswellia. He said this worked for him after traditional medicine did not work to stop the painful flare ups.  He listed several drug names and therapies he tried, but I can't recall them. He confided that he was afraid of herbal medicine and researched the two herbs off and on for a year before he tried them in desperation. I wanted to pass the info along in case it was of use to others. He was approximately 75 years old and looked fit as a fiddle. He was a lively and entertaining man. I never would have guessed he had RA! His happy wife could not stop talking about how big the difference was. Since members of my extended family have RA, I am mentally filing this away for "just in case." If you have tried these herbs consistently for three months or longer, please write me (see top of page or side bar) and let me know how they worked for you.

Monday, December 15, 2014

My Time Out with Mom and Dad

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Bethany mesmerized by a colorful Christmas tree

Several times a year, Clint and I take each of our children out to spend one on one time with them. We try to do this once a month, but delays happen due to our schedules. We take them to a restaurant and then do some shopping. This is a time where we focus solely on that child and listen to their hearts. We give positive feedback on their strong areas and give encouragement on their weak areas. We ask them how we as parents are doing and ask for areas we can improve. We usually buy them something they need as well as a small "want." We have done this since Joshua was born and still include our adult children. Our children gave these dates a name: "My Time Out with Mom and Dad." 

This month, we took our children to the Christmas Mouse, a year round, beautifully decorated Christmas themed store. For fun, we led each of them blind folded into the shop! Well, first, we had them remove the blind folds to see the Wendy's Drive Thru next door! LOL! Then, we covered their eyes again and led them into the store, and put them in front of a tree. As we led them in, we told them stories about how I use to lead the blind. As they looked around the shop, we told them stories about a family member who loved the store. We then let them pick out one ornament that would remind them of their night out with us every time they saw it. It was so much fun for Clint and I to watch them go through the large store, upstairs and down, to find just the right ornament. Our children have thanked us over and over for doing this for them.


No matter how good you think you are as a leader the people around you will have all kinds of ideas for how you can get better. So for me, the most fundamental thing about leadership is to have the humility to continue to get feedback and to try to get better - because your job is to try to help everybody else get better. Dr. Jim Kim

Sunday, December 14, 2014

Real Power

God resists the proud, but favors the humble. There is so much power in admitting our weaknesses and helplessness before the Lord and crying out for His help. "Be weak and My power will help you." It's contrary to how we think, but it's God's way. There are so many areas of life to which this applies. 

It is such a simple concept...be weak and rely on the Lord's might. Yet, we strive so hard against it because of our pride...we WANT to be bigger than we really are. Self-righteous pride puffs us up. 


"No man can put on the robes of Christ’s righteousness till he has taken off his own." Charles Spurgeon

Saturday, December 13, 2014

A German Shepherd and a Panther



author unknown
A German Shepherd starts chasing rabbits and before long, discovers that he's lost. Wandering about, he notices a panther heading rapidly in his direction with the intention of having lunch. 

The old German Shepherd thinks, "Oh, oh! I'm in big trouble now!" 

Noticing some bones on the ground close by, he immediately settles down to chew on the bones with his back to the approaching cat. 

Just as the panther is about to leap, the old German Shepherd exclaims loudly, "Boy, that was one delicious panther! I wonder if there are any more around here?" 

Hearing this, the young panther halts his attack in mid-strike, a look of terror comes over him and he slinks away into the trees. 

"Whew!" says the panther, "That was close! That old German Shepherd nearly had me!"

Meanwhile, a squirrel who had been watching the whole scene from a nearby tree figures he can put this knowledge to good use and trade it for protection from the panther. So, off he goes. The squirrel soon catches up with the panther, spills the beans and strikes a deal for himself with the panther.
The young panther is furious at being made a fool of and says, "Here, squirrel, hop on my back and see what's going to happen to that conniving canine!" 

Now, the old German Shepherd sees the panther coming with the squirrel on his back and thinks, "What am I going to do now?" But instead of running, the dog sits down with his back to his attackers, pretending he hasn't seen them yet, and just when they get close enough to hear, the old German Shepherd says... "Where's that squirrel? I sent him off an hour ago to bring me another panther!"
Moral of this story... Don't mess with the old dogs. Age (wisdom) and skill will always overcome youth and treachery!

Friday, December 12, 2014

Article: Want to Run with the In Crowd?

How to Get Over Clicks and Get Real Community

"Jesus called them together and said, “You know that those who are regarded as rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and their high officials exercise authority over them.
Not so with you. Instead, whoever wants to become great among you must be your servant, and whoever wants to be first must be slave of all.
For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.”
"Everyone is on the outside of something.
But that is only half the story.
We are all on the inside of something often without even realizing it."
Read the rest here. 

Thursday, December 11, 2014

Congratulations Diana!

Congratulations to Diana of Whining Puker on the newest addition to your family! We received an early sneak peak of her beautiful blessing, but you will have to visit her page to see pictures and to read the exciting way her baby arrived! She also wanted to share what worked for her in controlling her Hyperemesis Gravidarum.

She Makes Us Laugh!


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Emily Joy
aka Hannah's beloved Yiddee

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Condolences to Fred's Family

Fred Washington

Our condolences to Fred's family. We are so very sorry. Fred was a kind man who befriended Brandon when Brandon started his first job. The two became good friends. I can remember many times Brandon shared with me a conversation he had with Fred. We appreciated Fred's genuine interest and encouragement to our son. We are very thankful for Fred contributing to our son's life with praise and encouragement to achieve. 

Our hearts go out to all of his family and friends, but especially to his wife, Angel, and his brother, George. May God comfort, sustain, and pour out blessings upon you. 


Another New to Me

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Quail eggs are very pretty.
They can have greenish or bluish hues to them also.

This year has been full of adventures and new experiences. Life has been exciting and very fulfilling in many different areas! In early November, I had another first for me: I hatched out quail from my own quail's eggs! 


I had raised quail from chicks before but had to give them up due to a rough pregnancy before I got any eggs. My first several attempts were a fail due to young birds and infertile eggs. Then, ONE hatched a few days early ...and it fell into the water pan and drowned! Argh! I was discouraged! 


Finally, one morning, 
I opened the door to check the humidity and shut it quickly to keep the temperature from dropping. Wait a minute! What?!! Did I see?! I opened the door again! PTL-Success! I had four quail hatched and more pipping!


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Texas A&M Quail
These are very gentle birds that are easy to work with and grow a few ounces larger than the Georgia Giant.

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Georgia Giant Quail
egg, chicks, quarter for size comparison

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Texas A&M
quail a few weeks old in foreground


Numbers 11:32 And the people stood up all that day, and all [that] night, and all the next day, and they gathered the quails: he that gathered least gathered ten homers: and they spread [them] all abroad for themselves round about the camp.

Tuesday, December 09, 2014

Article: Pregnant After a Brutal Rape and Encouraged to Abort, Here’s How My Husband and I Responded

This is an incredible story of something beautiful from something horrible. Her husband's answer was perfect.

Pregnant After a Brutal Rape and Encouraged to Abort, Here’s How My Husband and I Responded


Same Work, Same People, Big Changes

pictures were taken late Oct
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That's my biggest job...watching out for everyone's safety.
Clint counts on me to stay between him and the children.
If he sees me clear, he knows they are too and can focus on what he's doing.

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I toss the logs to where the children can get them, put smaller pieces in a pile for easier pick up later, pull out limbs Clint's cut to get them out from under his feet, watch for poison ivy (that vile weed!!), keep the process moving, watch for safety with the mowers, try to capture a few pictures, keep pets clear of the work area, and keep an eye on energy levels and attitudes. Hunger and fatigue will make a person grumpy, and grumpy people aren't fun to work around! If it isn't fun for all, it isn't fun at all!

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They were so happy to be able to contribute this year. 
They were a big help!

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Caleb coming back from a chainsaw refuel.
I think he jumps at the chance to do this just so he can talk to his Dad for a few minutes.
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rolling logs I've thrown into the clearing to the area where Joshua and Amanda will pick them up

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While I rested, I tried to get a picture of all of them in a row.
I did not succeed. This was the only picture I could get with all of the four "rollers" in it.

Gathering our own wood allows us to go on an extra trip each year. However, working hard like this as a family has bonded us closer than any of those trips.

After a long, hard day like this, I try to reward everyone with a nice meal and dessert followed by a quiet activity. It is very satisfying watching the wood pile grow knowing WE, TEAM ASBELL, accomplished that together.

Proverbs 14:32 In all toil there is profit, but mere talk tends only to poverty.

I Thessalonians 4:11-12 And to aspire to live quietly, and to mind your own affairs, and to work with your hands, as we instructed you, so that you may walk properly before outsiders and be dependent on no one.

Monday, December 08, 2014

InStyler Hair Tools

We have tested and reviewed dozens of products over the years when vendors, companies, and inventors have offered to give us their product for free in exchange for an honest review. Sometimes we have been disappointed when the packages would arrive and the freebie turned out to be much less than how it was promoted or did not performed as stated. This is not the case with Instyler tools. They promised nice freebies in exchange for a review and wow, did they deliver! I have posted the reviews on the required website as agreed but wanted to share here in our blog too. Everyone who tested it has long hair and uses hair tools frequently. We were all thrilled with the experience!

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We received over $200 in products to sample and share with our family and friends. We received the Instyler TULIP Auto Curler, Ionic Styler Pro, Max 2 Way Rotating Iron.

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One of our guests, my daughter Amanda, is a licensed cosmetologist and said the tools were of great quality and performed as they should. For making us ladies over, we gifted her with the tools.

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Instyler TULIP Auto Curler in action
It was very easy to use! It curled the hair very quickly!
Due to experiences with other curling irons, we were concerned with hair getting stuck in the tool. We did not experience this with the TULIP.

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The curler took very straight hair and made a beautiful cascade of curls!

InStyler was a brand we had never heard of before, but we will be keeping an eye out for their products after this positive experience. All of the tools performed as promised and we were very pleased! Thank you, InStyler, for giving us and our friends a great excuse to get together and have some fun!

If you are on the fence about gifting someone with an InStyler tool, we hope this convinces you to go ahead and give them a try. We were very pleased with our experience!

Explosive Pooh

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Before we scrapped Brandon's old car in September, we decided to save an airbag to have some fun.

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They wanted something to sit on the airbag when it exploded:

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If you have followed the blog since we were hosted by Cox in the late 90s, you know our Pooh has had quite a few adventures over the years. I wasn't too sure about Pooh's safety on this one, but I am out numbered! :-)

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I can't see his face, but I don't think Pooh is smiling in this picture.

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Dr. Asbell checked him over for injuries and announced:
No Poohs were harmed in this adventure!

A rough, unedited video: 

Sunday, December 07, 2014

Skillful in Arranging Our Lives

Many of us Christians have become extremely skillful in arranging our lives so as to admit the truth of Christianity without being embarrassed by its implications. We arrange things so that we can get on well enough without divine aid, while at the same time ostensibly seeking it. We boast in the Lord, but watch carefully that we never get caught depending on Him.
Jeremiah 17:9 (NAS) The heart is more deceitful than all else and is desperately sick; who can understand it?
Pseudo faith always arranges a way out to serve in case God fails. Real faith knows only one way and gladly allows itself to be stripped of any second way or makeshift substitutes. For true faith, it is either God or total collapse. And not since Adam first stood up on earth has God failed a single man or woman who trusted Him. -- A.W. Tozer

Saturday, December 06, 2014

Broadcast Gardening

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picture taken early October

In the fall, I wanted to plant some winter greens for ourselves and livestock, but I had only an hour. I had been trying to get it done for a while. Brandon had tilled the garden earlier, but I didn't have a fence to keep the poultry out. My wonderful, supportive family came over and gave me a hand in putting up a quick fence made of pallets.  

After that was done, I had 10 minutes before my next commitment. Now, I do not like being late. It shows disregard to the person who has to wait on us, and Scripture says we are to value others more than ourselves. Being on time is a simple way I can honor God's request to love others. So, I only had TEN minutes. That was it! I asked the Lord to help me get my work done and keep my commitment.

I remembered reading about an older man who broadcast his seed in big beds instead of doing seed by seed in rows. People ran his idea down saying you wouldn't get as high of a yield and would not know seed germination rates because the seed was not neatly planted. Good points, but his method would let me reach my goal and keep my commitment. So, I tried it. It took me about five minutes to sow the entire garden! I walked away from it thinking, "Well, we'll see!"

It worked! We and our livestock are enjoying the fresh, organic produce right now! I am happy enough with the results that I will do it again! It's not as tidy looking as a row garden, but I am OK with that. I'll try to keep it straighter next time with better walking paths. For so much food coming from something with so little time investment, I am delighted and thankful!

You cause the grass to grow for the livestock and plants for man to cultivate, that he may bring forth food from the earth and wine to gladden the heart of man, oil to make his face shine and bread to strengthen man's heart. Psalm 104:14-15



Friday, December 05, 2014

How God Sees Babies and Children

SILENCING THE ENEMY
"God's Word is amazing. And the more we read it, the more we behold His character and His heart for mankind. In Psalm 8:1 and 3 we read about the glory of God's creation and the heavens. But right in the middle of these acclamations to God's glory verse 2 pops up: "Because of Your adversaries, You have established a stronghold from the mouths of children and nursing infants to silence the enemy and the avenger" (HCSB). This Scripture reveals how God sees babies and little children. They silence the enemy, the devil who hates children and wants to eradicate life every way he can by contraception, sterilization, and abortion.
Genesis 3:16 is the first prophetic promise of the Messiah who came through the womb of a woman to bruise the head of Satan and bring salvation and deliverance to the world. The womb of the woman is still the vehicle through which babies come, eternal souls born in the image of God and with a God-consciousness and bent toward God. Children naturally love God and respond to Him and as this is taught and fostered in a godly home they can grow up to be mighty men and women of God. Of course, this inborn response to God can be squelched by ungodly parents.
What happened after Jesus rose up in indignation and cast out all the money-changers from the temple (Matthew 21:14-16)? The children filled the temple crying out "Hosanna to the son of David." It was the children who filled the temple with the glory of God (Matthew 21:14-16) and Jesus then quoted Psalm 8:2.
Dear mothers, please understand the power of bringing forth the "godly seed" from your womb. Every baby that is born is another opportunity to destroy and silence the enemy's evil plans. The more children born to godly families, the more righteousness will fill the land and the more evil will be defeated. (Psalm 127:5).
Can I share with you again one of my favorite quotes by Frank Boreham? "We fancy that God can only manage His world by big battalions abroad, when all the while He is doing it by beautiful babies at home. When a wrong wants righting, or a truth wants preaching, or a continent wants opening, GOD SENDS A BABY INTO THE WORLD TO DO IT. That is why long, long ago, a Babe was born in Bethlehem."
Blessings from Nancy
Follow Nancy's encouraging posts at Above Rubies on Facebook.

Thursday, December 04, 2014

Save Money On Supplements: Bone Broth

We have lost so much in our culture because people devalue the "old ways" not realizing they are throwing the baby out with the bathwater (or nutrients out with the leftovers). People could spend less on supplements if they made the most out of the food they purchase or grow at home. 

For years, I have been filling my pantry with homemade bone broth because I wanted that nutrition for my family. It is easy to make! I add it to soups and replace water with it in appropriate recipes to add that extra nutrition to my family's meals. 

I save the ends of carrots and celery, clean potato peelings, poultry bones, beef bones and etc. I throw them in bags in my freezer. When I have enough to make a large amount, I pull them out, put them straight into the pot and start making broth. Once it is done, I use what I can fresh and can the rest. Sometimes I freeze some too. 

Why New Yorkers Will Be Sipping Bone Broth This Winter


"In the wellness world, at least, bone broth is having a serious moment. More and more health coaches, nutritionists, and beauty gurus are recommending it for its many benefits, from boosting gut health and fighting inflammation to providing a dose nutrients like magnesium, potassium, calcium, amino acids, and collagen."

How to Make Bone Broth

"Anyone who has read Gut and Psychology Syndrome knows the many benefits of bone broth and how it can improve digestion, allergies, immune health, brain health, and much more. What isn’t as well know is that broth can help reduce cellulite by improving connective tissue, increase hair growth/strength, improve digestive issues and remineralize teeth.
Broth is very high in the amino acids proline and glycine which are vital for healthy connective tissue (ligaments, joints, around organs, etc). The Paleo Mom has a great explanation of the importance of these two amino acids:
“In addition, glycine is required for synthesis of DNA, RNA and many proteins in the body.  As such, it plays extensive roles in digestive health, proper functioning of the nervous system and in wound healing.  Glycine aids digestion by helping to regulate the synthesis and of bile salts and secretion of gastric acid.  It is involved in detoxification and is required for production of glutathione, an important antioxidant.  Glycine helps regulate blood sugar levels by controlling gluconeogenesis (the manufacture of glucose from proteins in the liver).  Glycine also enhances muscle repair/growth by increasing levels of creatine and regulating Human Growth Hormone secretion from the pituitary gland.  This wonderful amino acid is also critical for healthy functioning of the central nervous system.  In the brain, it inhibits excitatory neurotransmitters, thus producing a calming effect.  Glycine is also converted into the neurotransmitter serine, which promotes mental alertness, improves memory, boosts mood, and reduces stress.
Proline has an additional role in reversing atherosclerotic deposits.  It enables the blood vessel walls to release cholesterol buildups into your blood stream, decreasing the size of potential blockages in your heart and the surrounding blood vessels.  Proline also helps your body break down proteins for use in creating new, healthy muscle cells.”
“What America needs is healthy fast food, and the only way to provide this is to put brothals in every town, independently owned brothals that provide the basic ingredient for soups and sauces and stews. Brothals will come when Americans recognize that the food industry has prostituted itself to short cuts and huge profits, shortcuts that cheat consumers of the nutrients they should get in their food and profits that skew the economy towards industrialization in farming and food processing.  Until our diners and carryouts become places that produce real food, Americans can make broth in their own kitchens. It’s the easy way to produce meals that are both nutritious and delicious and to acquire the reputation of an excellent cook.” Sally Morell

Wednesday, December 03, 2014

Healthy Living Quiz: Sense of Humor

Do You Have a Healthy Sense of Humor?

Seems legit since everyone tells me I keep them laughing. One friend warned a newcomer: "Watch out, she'll make you laugh!" 

My result:

You’re One Funny Honey 
Congratulations! You have a great sense of humor. You know how to laugh at yourself, you see the humor in everyday situations and you can tell a pretty good joke. Keep developing your funny muscle and you could decrease your risk of heart disease according to a study done in 2005 researchers at the University of Maryland, who found that people with heart disease were 40 per cent less likely to laugh in a variety of situations compared to people of the same age without heart disease. Just remember to use humor that doesn’t offend others: try to use self-deprecating humor as opposed to making fun of others, avoid excluding others by bringing up inside jokes in front of a group and don’t use humor at someone else’s expense.

Emily and Clint


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Tuesday, December 02, 2014

Snow Prep: Avoid Shoveling Walkways

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My friend Linda gave me a tip to put down old comforters, rugs, tarps, anything you have on hand that can cover a walk way. She has enough on hand to cover her entire deck and porches. When the snow is over, you just find the edge, carefully pull back, and have a relatively clear walkway. I don't think this will work well for enormous snowfalls, but it works just fine in our area.

Monday, December 01, 2014

Closeness

People see the closeness of our immediate family and comment on it frequently. It is the result of God's work in our lives and our efforts to be humble before Him. We don't get it perfect, but our trying to obey Him is what He rewards. In this amazing spiritual journey we are on, Clint and I have been through a lot of trials in many different ways. God has used them to bring us closer to Him which trickled down to us being closer to each other as a couple and as a family. He's also used them to give us a broader ministry. At the same time, He has used them to instruct and refine us individually for His purpose. 

When I was very young, I sincerely cried out to the Lord, "Let me be as close to You as I can be on this earth. Let me know You as much as I can know You. Let me experience all I can experience of You while I am here." I've been told I prayed myself into a life of hardship. I believe I prayed myself to a close relationship with my Father.

Sunday, November 30, 2014

Suffolk, VA Christmas Lightshow: TUXEDO NIGHT LIGHTS by The Oak Ridge Penguins

Home - TUXEDO NIGHT LIGHTS by The Oak Ridge Penguins



If you are local, this is a neat stop for Christmas! Our children love going every year!

Flash Mob: The U.S. Air Force Band at the Smithsonian



"Jesu, Joy of Man's Desiring/Joy to the World," led by the band's commander and conductor, Col. Larry H. Lang. 

Humility

"Brother, if any man thinks ill of you, do not be angry with him; for you are worse than he thinks you to be. If he charges you falsely on some point, yet be satisfied, for if he knew you better he might change the accusation, and you would be no gainer by the correction. If you have your moral portrait painted, and it is ugly, be satisfied; for it only needs a few blacker touches, and it would be still nearer the truth."  --Charles Spurgeon Read the whole sermon here
I love this quote because it deals with our own pride and gives an accurate portrayal of who we really are...a desperate sinner who found grace and has been told to show that grace to others-even those who reject and abuse us. When we truly admit the wickedness of our own selves and place that reality in comparison to the holiness of God, we all feel like Paul when he said "I am the worst of all sinners!" 
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"Behold, what manner of love the Father has bestowed upon us, that we should be called the sons of God." A little while ago we were heirs of wrath even as others. How could the Lord adopt such poor creatures? I cannot make it out. I, that once loved sin, am now made to hate it. I, that was a stranger to God and his service, am enriched with access to the Throne of God. I, that was without strength, have now Grace to do all things through Christ that strengthens me. Oh greatness, the unspeakable greatness of almighty love! Brothers and Sisters, if this does not humble you, then you are not really Believers. If you have really obtained the mercies of the Covenant, through the Lord's gracious choice of you, the knowledge of this fact will lay you low and keep you there." --Charles Spurgeon

Saturday, November 29, 2014

Please Consider Sending Addie a Christmas Card

Send Addie a Christmas Card
Her story and address are in the link.

Lots of love to you, Addie, from our gang in Virginia! Our card to you will be going out soon!

Beautiful Feet

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I love looking at my children's feet. 
I wonder where they will go and who they will become.
I contemplate the verse below and pray for my children's feet to be made beautiful and for them to walk in righteousness.

Romans 10:15 How will they preach unless they are sent? Just as it is written, "HOW BEAUTIFUL ARE THE FEET OF THOSE WHO BRING GOOD NEWS OF GOOD THINGS!"

Friday, November 28, 2014

46 Years Closer

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evening sky over Contentment Acres


For you, O Lord, have made me glad by your work; at the works of your hands I sing for joy. Psalm 92:4

I turn 46 today. I don't see growing older as something negative. I see aging as growing closer. I am 46 years closer to becoming who the Lord is refining me to be. I am closer to meeting Him face to face. I am closer to worshipping at His feet. I am closer to partaking of the joys of eternity with Him. 




Thursday, November 27, 2014

Happy Thanksgiving!

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May God's blessings be abundantly rained down upon you!

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

"I'll Fix It Mom"


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Emily came to me when her sole started to separate from her old shoe while she was working. I didn't want the tree sap ruin her new shoes. Caleb overheard and decisively said, "I have this." He walked away with Emily. Emily came back with orange electrical tape wrapped around her shoe! She LOVED that her big brother "fixed" her shoe for her. Years ago, Clint did the same with one of Caleb's old shoes while we were working outside. 

Your children are watching and will emulate you, parents. Even the adult children are watching and tucking into their hearts lessons which will be pulled out later. We are stewards over them for the Lord. They are learning how to love or hate, forgive or hold grudges, be thankful or resentful, rejoice or grumble, come together or stay apart, work or be lazy, self control or self seeking, live for the Lord or live for themselves, and so much more. Be a parent who glorifies the Lord!


Titus 1:7 For an overseer, as God's steward, must be above reproach. He must not be arrogant or quick-tempered or a drunkard or violent or greedy for gain,

I Peter 5:3 Not domineering over those in your charge, but being examples to the flock.


Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Praising God in the Storms

I feel like God is telling me to share this with someone today, so I am going to post it now.

Praising God in the midst of my losses, not for the losses, but for God being all He is, triggered something very profound. I have yet to find words to adequately describe it. It was powerful, sustaining, comforting, securing, strengthening, and more. Not just acknowledging His greatness in those situations, but relishing in it was like being carried away from my troubles and being tucked into the warmth and security of His wing. I obeyed Him in praising Him even when my heart was deeply grieved and every part of me, even my weary spirit, was overburdened with hurt and disappointment...and He blessed me tremendously for it. I didn't "feel" like it, I just did it because that is what Scripture says to do. So whomever you are, wherever you are, and whatever you are going through, I encourage you right now to stop and praise Him. Psalm 91:4 He will cover you with his feathers, and under his wings you will find refuge; his faithfulness will be your shield and rampart.

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"We are to praise God in all circumstances. Do you know what the word “all” literally means? It means all. Seriously. No matter what crisis we find ourselves facing, we are to choose to give God praise. No matter how dark or painful the storm may be, we are to choose to give God praise.

Praise is not an emotion. It is a choice.

Thanksgiving is not a feeling. It is a choice.

We are not necessarily praising God for the trial or the crisis or the storm. We are choosing to give God praise and thanks because of who He is … despite the painful circumstance we are facing.

Sing to God, sing praises to His name; Cast up a highway for Him who rides through the deserts; whose name is the Lord, and exult before Him (Psalm 68:4)." ~Choose Praise Girlfriends in God

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Evidently a lot of people needed this post. Thank you to all who have written me. My heart goes out to each one of you. My prayers are for you.

Lessons In the Storms

This life has many storms. I am not talking about when your paycheck is a few days late or when your neighbor stops talking to you because your cat used her flowerbed as a litter box. I am talking about anguishing deep within your soul over a situation you are powerless to change or escape. Suffering whips us around until we are so battered we can't stand it any longer. It is right in the midst of our struggle that people start watching and relating to us as they seek a way out of their own suffering. Our powerlessness to prevail against the storms of life reduces us and magnifies His power to a hungry world. That reduction of self (humility) is key to Christian growth because it takes the focus off of ourselves and puts it where it should be. Relying fully on Him, we are able to do the things we should have been doing all along. It is the genuine worship of a God who didn't bow to our desires to change the situation ...that makes the world wonder why He is worthy of such love. It is the strength, peace beyond understanding, hope, thankfulness, and especially the joy which seems so unlikely, that makes others want what you have found. It is when you are exhausted, gasping for the next breath, bleeding out everything that you are that God fills you with Himself and equips you for doing His work.


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“Christianity teaches that, contra fatalism, suffering is overwhelming; contra Buddhism, suffering is real; contra karma, suffering is often unfair; but contra secularism, suffering is meaningful. There is a purpose to it, and if faced rightly, it can drive us like a nail deep into the love of God and into more stability and spiritual power than you can imagine.”  Tim Keller

“While Christianity was able to agree with pagan writers that inordinate attachment to earthly goods can lead to unnecessary pain and grief, it also taught that the answer to this was not to love things less but to love God more than anything else. Only when our greatest love is God, a love that we cannot lose even in death, can we face all things with peace. Grief was not to be eliminated but seasoned and buoyed up with love and hope.” Tim Keller
“Suffering is unbearable if you aren’t certain that God is for you and with you.”  Tim Keller
“Some suffering is given in order to chastise and correct a person for wrongful patterns of life (as in the case of Jonah imperiled by the storm), some suffering is given not to correct past wrongs but to prevent future ones (as in the case of Joseph sold into slavery), and some suffering has no purpose other than to lead a person to love God more ardently for himself alone and so discover the ultimate peace and freedom.” Tim Keller (emphasis mine)
"There is a love stronger than the chaos, running underneath us, beckoning us to go below the skin-deep externals, beyond the wind, even into the eye of the storm. "Hello Hurricane! You're not enough. You can't silence my love." -Jon Foreman 

2 Corinthians 4:7-9 But we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us. We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed,but not in despair; persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed.