Freshwater Academy

Fresh Water Academy was founded in 2010. It is home to four lovely young ladies of learning and their dedicated teachers. Located in the wilds of Wyoming, the name Fresh Water Academy was chosen as a Western analogy to Christ. Just as He is the Living Water, and we must have Him to have eternal life, any desert dweller knows the importance of fresh water to life, both for self, and the nourishment of crops or livestock. By taking nourishment in God and His word, we strengthen our own relationship with Him, our faith, and the quality and abundance of our fruitfulness.

Our keystone verse is from Jeremiah, Chapter 17, Verse 8: "For he shall be as a tree planted by the waters, and that spreadeth out her roots by the river, and shall not see when heat cometh, but her leaf shall be green; and shall not be careful in the year of drought, neither shall cease from yielding fruit."

The fruit that we speak of is mentioned in Galatians 5:22
"22But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, 23Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law."

And the heat could be anything we experience that might test our faith in God; trials and tribulations, relationships, anything that focuses our love and attention anywhere but on Him...

Saturday, December 29, 2012

Seeking Approval at KJV Blog Directory

I forgot to share my last KJV Blog Directory Post on Monday, December 24, 2012!  Pull up a chair, and a cup of coffee or tea and settle in to read!  Have a great and wonderful weekend on this blessed Saturday :).

http://kjvblogs.blogspot.com/2012/12/seeking-approval-monday-ministry.html

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

The Most Important Book

Check out "The Most Important Book" today at KJV Blog Directory!


Psalms 119:105 (KJV)
105 Thy word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path.

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Blog to Myself

Yesterday I wrote a blog entry to myself.  Yep, that is what I said.  It was one of those cathartic things I suppose.  You know how they always say that you should write down your frustrations or thoughts in a letter, but then not send it (who are they anyway?)?  

Well I did, and it really did let me get things lined out in my head.  I had been praying about a situation without direction, just lumping it all together in "Lord, help me deal with this person, with this situation."  See that?  That there is me assuming the problem is someone else...help me deal with this person?  Nope, it should have been, "Lord, please adjust my attitude and outlook so that I can face this situation with joy and peace, and love, as I should."  

There's no need for me to "deal" with anyone (except maybe my own children when they aren't towing the line), and it's certainly not my place to say whether someone needs to be dealt with (unless of course it's those afore mentioned children)!  As I wrote out my frustrations, cares and worries, I began to understand that what I really needed to do was get off my high horse and stop pretending that I was the queen of the world and that my opinion really mattered (at least in this situation - picking out carpet, now that's a whole different story).  

My point is, all cliches and overused sayings aside, that sometimes when we are struggling with someone or something it might be time to take a step back from the situation, to pray for grace and wisdom, and to let God handle it.  Sometimes He might show us that our own attitudes and actions are what is gumming up the works, and slowing progress, even when we'd like to blame things on someone else.

Matthew 7:1-5


1Judge not, that ye be not judged.

For with what judgment ye judge, ye shall be judged: and with what measure ye mete, it shall be measured to you again.

And why beholdest thou the mote that is in thy brother's eye, but considerest not the beam that is in thine own eye?

Or how wilt thou say to thy brother, Let me pull out the mote out of thine eye; and, behold, a beam is in thine own eye?

Thou hypocrite, first cast out the beam out of thine own eye; and then shalt thou see clearly to cast out the mote out of thy brother's eye.


Luke 6:41-42


41 And why beholdest thou the mote that is in thy brother's eye, but perceivest not the beam that is in thine own eye?

42 Either how canst thou say to thy brother, Brother, let me pull out the mote that is in thine eye, when thou thyself beholdest not the beam that is in thine own eye? Thou hypocrite, cast out first the beam out of thine own eye, and then shalt thou see clearly to pull out the mote that is in thy brother's eye.

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

The Greatest "Frank"

I received a text this morning from my brother.

"Let us remember him as a Great Friend.  Then history can remember him 
as the Greatest "Frank" that has ever lived.  Without question.  We all Love you Frank.  
July 1994 - December 3, 2012."
                                                        -Dubbs

If you've ever had a pet who became your best friend through the years, then you understand.  Frank was J.W.'s compadre, his backup, his friend.  For 18 years, they were inseparable, side by side, through the trials and tribulations, and the wonder of it all.  

Frank came to be a part of our family right after I'd graduated from high school.  He was J.W.'s buddy through and through.  Named after Frank Thomas, he was black and white, like his namesake's White Sox uniform.  The cat with character he was.  Frank was known for his escapades, from chewing on people's toes in the middle of the night, to surviving a battle with a car, not to mention the way he could clear a room with his silent and deadly gas bombs.  

We all knew to keep our toes under the blankets, but forgot to warn a friend of ours one night when he stayed with us on his way through.  He's a pretty tall guy, and his toes undoubtedly were hanging off the end of his berth.  In the middle of the night, we were awakened with a blood curdling scream when Frank decided that his toes looked right tasty.

One day my dad was on the road with some rodeo friends when he got a panicked phone call from Mom, upset because she'd backed over Frank with the car.  $1,000 in vet bills later, he was right as rain and scampering around just as lively as ever.  It also gave him the opportunity to go on a much needed diet, and probably in the end prolonged his life because he was healthier and more active after he slimmed down.

I just share a few stories with you to remember the great friend that Frank was.  I haven't seen him in years, but I have fond memories and love for him, and my heart hurts for my brother right now.  

In Memory of Frank, The Greatest "Frank" that ever lived, and a true friend. 




  

Thursday, November 29, 2012

The Importance of Fellowship and Study Together

I just came from the first Women's Bible Study we've had  in our church family for quite awhile.  It is a topic that has come up many times, but even though the men have a regular meeting time, we ladies have never quite gotten there.  It was a great evening of fellowship and time together in God's word, and it just reminded me that God gives us Christian friends and family so that we can support each other, worship together, fellowship together, and lift each other up.


Monday, November 26, 2012

Check out today's Monday Ministry Highlight -Jesus Christ, The Mediator at KJV Blog Directory!

1 Timothy 2:5  -  For there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus;

Find out more about Jesus Christ, The Mediator over at KJV Blog Directory today!

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

SUSPENSE SISTERS: WILLIAM PAUL YOUNG AND AN UNFORGETTABLE STORY

I had to share this one. Tears in my eyes, tears in my eyes.

SUSPENSE SISTERS: WILLIAM PAUL YOUNG AND AN UNFORGETTABLE STORY: Hi all, welcome to Monday. If you’re reading this post in the morning, I salute you. A great way to start your day! LOL. Just kidding. Re...

Monday, November 19, 2012

What Do You Value?

I know my blog has been light on the posts lately, and for that I apologize.  I could scapegoat it all on the past week, but I'm sure you've noticed that post traffic was light well before that!

I will tell you that this past week we experienced an event that I'm still reeling in shock from.  It wasn't a violent "stick 'em up" burglary or home invasion, but the fact that someone broke into the car and took things from it is still something I'm having trouble processing.  I feel like it didn't really happen, it's just a nightmare, and all the stuff will be back where it belongs when I wake up.  

On one hand, I feel like I'm being overly dramatic, because there are people who have experienced far worse trauma, but on the other, it was a violation.  And a loss.  And yes, it was just stuff, but I will admit that it was stuff I had grown attached to, like pictures of my children's field trip that day that were on my camera, and other pictures, music, and writing that was on my computer.  My library book!  My notebook with all of my stories from the writing class I took this summer, sermon notes, blogs written, and those yet to write.  All the girls' spend, save, gift and tithe money.  Three of my favorite Thirty-One bags, including my beloved Cindy Tote, brand new zipper pouch and the mini zipper I carry all the kids' medicines in...and all the kids' medicines themselves.  There's another thing to be thankful for!  I am very, very thankful that no one got sick this weekend, since I didn't have any children's Tylenol or Motrin!  

And more than anything, I am thankful that all of my family members are okay, and that it was just a lesson, albeit an expensive one, about not putting too much value on stuff.

What do you value?

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Remember to Check Yes!!!!



Our library is an important part of our community and an important resource.  Without “the big library” in Casper, we would not have access to our own local library.  The Summer Reading Program is an incredible encouragement for kids and adults to read, and we can access any materials in the state at any time through the Interlibrary Loan Program.

Supporting the new Natrona County Public Library would support our community in many ways.  It would allow for more books and materials to be housed, allowing us access to the new materials.  It would also support an addition to our own local library, with more technology and materials.  We would have access to more books, movies, CDs, books on tape, ebooks, playaways, and other assorted items.
Expanding the library is a necessity for the entire county.  It is so crowded, that it can be difficult to find a quiet place to read or an open computer.  The children’s section is divided among floors, so it’s a challenge to keep track of a group of children, and sometimes their browsing has to be limited to the materials in a certain room or area.  Parking is so atrocious, that on a busy day a space can’t be found for blocks, and where the library is, there is absolutely NO ROOM to grow.
The proposed site for the new library is spacious and beautiful.  There is room for parking, room for green space and pathways, for a children’s area, and even room to expand should the need arise again.

This would be a time limited campaign.  By law, the tax cannot be extended or increased without going back to the public for a vote.  Property taxes, gasoline and groceries would not be affected, and it would only be one cent more than we currently pay for sales tax. If you buy an item at the dollar store, it would cost $1.06, instead of $1.05, unless of course it’s a grocery item, because those are still exempted.  Out of town visitors will help pay for the new facility!

Did You Know?  Library use has more than doubled (up 120%) in the past ten years.  Its last major renovation occurred when there were only 35,000 people in Natrona County!

The planning board has revised and scaled back this plan from the original that was submitted to the ballot in 2008, and the property has already been purchased with private funds raised by the Natrona County Public Library Foundation.
People in this community fought so hard to keep our post offices, and while there were some concessions, we were largely successful.  This is a much easier fight, because all you have to do is check yes in November! 

How would a temporary penny affect me?
If you spend:
$60 for a tank of gas:      +0¢                            $25 for a pair of Blue Jeans:   +25¢ 
$20 for a large pizza:   +20¢                              $3 for a 6-pack of soda:    + 0¢
$1 for a fountain drink:   + 1¢                             $ANY for groceries/prescriptions + 0¢             

*Statistics and diagram gathered from Natrona County Public Library Website and Printed Materials.

Friday, November 2, 2012

Encouraging and Assisting!

Today we're encouraging and assisting our friends, the Suspense Sisters, by sharing their new blog and facebook page!  Zip on over there and check it out!


Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Read Walk by Faith at KJV Blog Directory Today!

Come check out "Walk by Faith" at the KJV Blog Directory today!




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Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Missed Opportunities

My heart is heavy today.  I was just going through my email, and a prayer chain email came through late last night that said a friend of ours had passed away.  Such a sweet and wonderful lady, and someone who I had lost touch with.  The last time I saw her several years ago, she was just as wonderful as ever.  She gave me her phone number, and told me to call her.  And, in the hustle and bustle of daily life and busyness, I never did.  And now I am sad because I missed the opportunity to spend more time with this wonderful person.

This is a lady who put up with me in the teenage years, right in the middle of the walking attitude phase, but no matter how much I dished out, all she gave back was love and patience.  I thank the Lord for people like Jane Neese.

I encourage you to make that call, send that text, or note, or card, or letter, or knock on that door today.  Walk down the hall or around the corner to say hello, and let your loved ones know they are loved.

The wonderful part is, I know exactly where this precious, beautiful lady is going, and some day I am going to get to see her again in Heaven.

God Bless,

-Sonja

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Schedules

I've been absolutely struggling to post lately, which I am sure some of you have noticed.  It's been a very busy few weeks, and I feel as if I'm behind on everything, from time with my family, to blogging, to reviews, to CafeMom posts...I will tell you, time with my Lord and time with my family come before any of the rest of those, so if I'm not all caught up or on as much for awhile, it's because I'm trying to make sure I get enough time with them.  That said, I've prewritten all of my KJVDirectory posts (except for the last two in December) for the rest of the year, so you can be sure to see me there :).  I will begin posting regularly again soon!

-Sonja

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Steel Magnolias 2012

Wow.  That's what I have to say about this movie.  Wow.  Now I am old enough to remember the original Steel Magnolias, and I loved it.  I had reservations about the new one, wondering if anyone could replace a cast so iconic, and a movie so well remembered.  And here's the thing.  It's not a replacement, it's a new companion to walk alongside.  I think I want to go back and see the old one again, just to see if I was right about the things that I thought were different!  Of course, I'll have to stop bawling first.  That's one thing the movies definitely have in common!

With an all star cast, headed by Queen Latifah playing M'Lynn, and one of my favorite ornery women, Alfre Woodard (She's the feisty lieutenant from Memphis Beat, which I really miss) is playing the orneriest of the them all, Miss Ouiser!  Jill Scott brings a fresh face and a sparkling wit to Miss Truvy, and I was so thrilled to see Mrs. Huxtable herself (Phylicia Rashad) in the role of Clairee.  She can definitely pull off the poise and character to play such a role.

I don't remember seeing Aderpero Oduye or Condolesa Rashad anywhere before, but I surely enjoyed watching them here.  Annelle was the shy, reserved character of the 80's, and Miss "Blush and Bashful"  Shelby delivered her lines with great spirit.

I felt like the 2012 version went farther into the mother-daughter relationship, and showed us more of what happened to Shelby herself, and as I said, I am going back to watch the 1989 Steel Magnolias.

Ultimately, I don't think there is a comparison between the two.  This one isn't better than that one, and that one isn't better than this one.  They are both incredible stories delivered by amazing casts, and each was perfect in its own time.  If you haven't caught it yet, check out Steel Magnolias, on Lifetime.

I will say that if you had any problems with language or actions in the first one, you'll still have them, so as always, preview before watching with children.

Monday, October 8, 2012

Sharing a Giveaway ~ The Grammar of Poetry Video Course


New Giveaway ~ The Grammar of Poetry Video Course and Textbook (Over $130 Value!)



http://homeschoolgiveaways.com/2012/10/giveaway-grammar-poetry-video-textbook-over-130-value/comment-page-4/#comment-69030


"Poetry is important because words are important." ~ Douglas Wilson
The Grammar of Poetry is a video course and textbook that teach the mechanics of poetry by using the classical approach of imitation.
The course is designed for the 6th - 9th grade level, but is also appropriate for older children and adults seeking to achieve a better knowledge of how poetry works.
Its goal is to teach your child to analyze not only poetry, but words and language in general. Just as an English course would teach a student the different parts of speech, so also the Grammar of Poetry teaches a student the building blocks of poetry, enabling the student to effectively engage in the language of poetry, in literature, and in non-literal language

Sunday, October 7, 2012

Sharing Encouragement

As I perused my inbox this morning, trying to play catch up on a million (okay, slight exaggeration) pieces of correspondence, my heart was lightened as I opened my Daily Focus and found a familiar and comforting verse.

Does it ever seem like there's too much on your plate?  That the world is spinning too fast and it's out of your control?  Well, it is out of your control, but don't throw up your hands in defeat and give up, give it up to God. 

I hope you'll gain a little (or a lot of) encouragement from checking out today's Daily Focus!


Thursday, October 4, 2012

I don't know why, but I can never get those darn buttons to work right!  Today we're linking up to Lessons from Ivy:  Encouragement for the Present, and boy is she encouraging!  The scripture she shared on Monday totally hit the right spot in my heart when I read it this morning.  Thanks for dropping by!

For my part of the link-up we're going back in time, for something encouraging and yummy, some super duper cupcakes!

Remember to check out http://www.lessonsfromivy.com


Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Review of Full Disclosure by Dee Henderson

I loved the twists and turns of this fast paced story.  I did figure out the plot, but rather than being bored, I was intrigued enough to read on and discover how she so skillfully twisted the plot to wrap all the twists and turns into a compelling and arresting story with a climactic resolution.

I love the fact that the relationships in this book were realistic and actually required work, not just a fairy tale where they seemed effortless and illusionary.  The characters themselves were imperfect and real, not shallow and faultless.  Their shortcomings, fears and foibles made them ultimately more relatable.

I do wish I'd have gone back and reread all her former novels, especially the O'Malleys.  It's been long enough for me that the references to the familiar characters and stories teased my memory with bits of stories that I want to explore again.

I would love to give more details about why I enjoyed this novel but I don't want to fill my review with spoilers.  I will say that this book made me wonder about the author herself.

I did have an image of Paul Falcon in my head soon after beginning this novel, which stayed throughout the book.  No book trailers or promo pictures disturbed the image, and I could even hear the voice of the actor my mind had cast to play him as I read.

I highly recommend Dee Henderson's latest novel, Full Disclosure!


From the back cover:


Ann Silver is a cop's cop. As the Midwest Homicide Investigator, she is called in to help local law enforcement on the worst of cases, looking for answers to murder. Hers is one of the region's most trusted investigative positions.

Paul Falcon is the FBI's top murder cop in the Midwest. If the victim carried a federal badge or had a security clearance, odds are good Paul and his team see the case file or work the murder.

Their lives intersect when Ann arrives to pass a case off her desk and onto his. A car wreck and a suspicious death offer a lead on a hired shooter he is tracking. Paul isn't expecting to meet someone, the kind that goes on the personal side of the ledger, but Ann Silver has his attention.

The better he gets to know her, the more Paul realizes her job barely scratches the surface of who she is. She knows spies and soldiers and U.S. Marshals, and has written books about them. She is friends with the former Vice President. People with good reason to be cautious about who they let into their lives deeply trust her. Paul wonders just what secrets Ann is keeping, until she shows him the John Doe Killer case file, and he starts to realize just who this lady he is falling in love with really is...







https://www.facebook.com/DeeHendersonsFullDisclosure?fref=ts






I received a free Advance Reader Copy of this book in return for an honest review.

Monday, October 1, 2012

Walk in the Light at the KJV Blog Directory



  
Walking in the Light is such an important part of our witness. Find out why at the KJV Blog Directory!


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Wednesday, September 26, 2012

"Our Choice" featured at KJV Blog Directory today!


Joshua became the leader of the nation of Israel after the death of Moses, and remained their leader throughout the conquering of the Promised Land.  Find out more about Joshua's choice and the choice set before us in today's post at The KJV Blog Directory.



The KJV Blog Directory would love it if you subscribe, follow on twitter, or like us on facebook.

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Check Yes for Our New Library!


Our library is an important part of our community and an important resource.  Without “the big library” in Casper, we would not have access to our own local library.  The Summer Reading Program is an incredible encouragement for kids and adults to read, and we can access any materials in the state at any time through the Interlibrary Loan Program.

Supporting the new Natrona County Public Library would support our community in many ways.  It would allow for more books and materials to be housed, allowing us access to the new materials.  It would also support an addition to our own local library, with more technology and materials.  We would have access to more books, movies, CDs, books on tape, ebooks, playaways, and other assorted items.
Expanding the library is a necessity for the entire county.  It is so crowded, that it can be difficult to find a quiet place to read or an open computer.  The children’s section is divided among floors, so it’s a challenge to keep track of a group of children, and sometimes their browsing has to be limited to the materials in a certain room or area.  Parking is so atrocious, that on a busy day a space can’t be found for blocks, and where the library is, there is absolutely NO ROOM to grow.
The proposed site for the new library is spacious and beautiful.  There is room for parking, room for green space and pathways, for a children’s area, and even room to expand should the need arise again.

This would be a time limited campaign.  By law, the tax cannot be extended or increased without going back to the public for a vote.  Property taxes, gasoline and groceries would not be affected, and it would only be one cent more than we currently pay for sales tax. If you buy an item at the dollar store, it would cost $1.06, instead of $1.05, unless of course it’s a grocery item, because those are still exempted.  Out of town visitors will help pay for the new facility!

Did You Know?  Library use has more than doubled (up 120%) in the past ten years.  Its last major renovation occurred when there were only 35,000 people in Natrona County!

The planning board has revised and scaled back this plan from the original that was submitted to the ballot in 2008, and the property has already been purchased with private funds raised by the Natrona County Public Library Foundation.
People in this community fought so hard to keep our post offices, and while there were some concessions, we were largely successful.  This is a much easier fight, because all you have to do is check yes in November! 

How would a temporary penny affect me?
If you spend:
$60 for a tank of gas:      +0¢                            $25 for a pair of Blue Jeans:   +25¢ 
$20 for a large pizza:   +20¢                              $3 for a 6-pack of soda:    + 0¢
$1 for a fountain drink:   + 1¢                             $ANY for groceries/prescriptions + 0¢            

*Statistics and diagram gathered from Natrona County Public Library Website and Printed Materials.





Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Inescapable by Nancy Mehl

From the moment I "picked up" Inescapable, I wasn't able to stop reading for a second.  I found myself drawn to my computer screen over and over, unable to wait between each gripping chapter.

Yes, my computer screen.  I took advantage of the recently available Kindle download, but since I've misplaced my Kindle, I took advantage of the ability to use the Cloud Reader to read my books on screen.  I wanted to share that little tidbit just to give a little context of how excited I was about this book, to rivet myself to a desk chair in front of a computer screen for hours in order to finish reading it!

The description from the back cover:
Lizzie Engel is used to running away. At eighteen, she left her Mennonite hometown, her family, and her faith with plans never to return. Five years later, Lizzie finds she'll have to run again. False accusations at her job, a stalker, and a string of anonymous threatening letters have left her with no other options. This time, however, her escape is back to Kingdom, her hometown.

As Lizzie becomes reacquainted with Kingdom, she realizes she may not have left her Mennonite roots and her faith as firmly in the past as she thought. She draws on the support of Noah Housler, an old friend, as she hides out and attempts to plan her next steps.

When it becomes painfully clear that the danger has followed Lizzie to Kingdom, suspicions and tensions run high, and she no longer knows who to trust. With her life and the lives of those she loves at risk, Lizzie will have to run one last time--to a Father whose love is inescapable.






Normally I'm leery of book trailers, because they can provide pictures that don't fit with my own images, and skew my view.  This one is good though, not too presumptive or detailed in pictures, but it gives you a sense of suspense and urgency that really fits the story.

I loved this book.  I was drawn in from the very beginning, and sucked in with every twist and turn.  I did figure out some of the mysteries just before they unraveled, but there were a few that got by me.  I loved that there was a prevailing message of faith and trust in God throughout, and that Lizzie had to learn to trust in Him, as we all do throughout our lives.  

As soon as I finished reading, I began looking for more Nancy Mehl books to dig into!

Monday, September 17, 2012

Link Up at The Modest Mom Blog

Today we're linking up at
<center><a href=" http://www.themodestmomblog.com
" ><img src="http://www.themodestmomblog.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/03/Modest-Mom-blog-button-copy.jpg" border="0" alt="Photobucket" /></a><center></center></center>

with an oldie but goodie about Marriage.  Come along and join the fun!

I don't know why, but no matter how many times I try to share buttons from other sites or blogs, I just can't get it to happen, so here's the link!

http://www.themodestmomblog.com/2012/09/modest-monday-and-a-link-up-15/

Monday, September 3, 2012

Great Expectations at KJV Blog Directory



Parents have certain expectations for their children.  Children are representing their families, and parents expect them to do it well.  

God has expectations for His children as well...

Today I'll be sharing about God's expectations for us at the KJV Blog Directory.  Come on over and join us!


The KJV Blog Directory would love it if you subscribe, follow on twitter, or like us on facebook.

  

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Why Would God Pick Me? at the KJV Blog Directory Today!


In an earlier post, we talked about the Greek word Eklektos, which means chosen. Today we're going to look at why.  Come on over and join us at the KJV Blog Directory!


The KJV Blog Directory would love it if you subscribe, follow on twitter, or like us on facebook.


Monday, August 20, 2012

Roasted Cabbage and Potatoes

We had impromptu company last night.  I was just o sthankful I remembered to put supper in the crock pot for once that we had to share :) (Usually Sunday evenings are complete with Ramen Noodles and egg sandwiches because by the time we get home from church we're too tired to cook and forgot to put anything in to be ready when we get home).

I happened to have a head of cabbage left from the last Bountiful Baskets, so I cross-searched cabbage and crock pot, and came up with several recipes.  I took this most promising one, Roasted Cabbage and Potatoes in the Crockpot, and using some ideas from this one, Potatoes and Cabbage in the Slow Cooker, and some of my own ideas, created a culinary concoction that disappeared, right down to the last bite!

The first recipe listed cabbage, potatoes, salt and pepper, olive oil and balsamic vinegar as the basic ingredients.  I washed ten potatoes, and Becca helped me cut them into chunks.  Hannah chopped up the clean cabbage, and we actually tossed the seasonings in our big metal bowl before dumping them into the crock pot.  I didn't measure the olive oil or balsamic, but just added a glug and a lot of sprinkles.  I'd forgotten the salt and pepper, so a healthy dose of that got sprinkled over the top.  I thawed out several frozen chicken breasts, chopped them, and added those.  Then I chopped up a kielbasa and added that as well.  Me being me, I had to add a cap full of sesame oil :).  I also (shh, I think this is my secret ingredient for everything), added about a teaspoonful of instant coffee.  Something about it just seems to add a little extra richness of flavor.  I turned it on low, and we just left it to cook from about 10 AM on.  When we got home from church I stirred it up, and it was ready to serve by the time we all got settled :).

Justice and I also put together this fabulous Irresistible Irish Soda Bread.  I absolutely loved it!  It's moist and crumbly, while still light enough not to weigh down your stomach.  It's just a touch of sweetness, but absolutely delicious, and the perfect compliment to the cabbage and potatoes dish.  We rounded the meal out with a salad by Laramie, some tomatoes fresh from the garden, and a cut up honeydew.


 

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Don't Worry, Be Prayerful



Do you ever worry?  I know I do.  Yes, the Bible says not to worry, not to fret, to "be careful for nothing", but I'm human, and that is one the places where I definitely fail.  When there is something weighing on my mind and on my heart, it is a struggle for me not to take it and chew on it, wrestle with it, hold on to it.  When I do those things, it makes me grouchy, tired, hard to talk to, unfriendly, and stressed out, because I'm worried.  I have to continually give those things to God, because I keep trying to snatch them back!  If there's anything weighing on you today, I urge you to give it up to Jesus.  Know that He has the strength and the power and the wisdom to take care of every problem or care, big or small.  Know that He loves you and He wants only the best for you.

I'll admit, right now I have a worry that keeps trying to come in.  My daddy is having hip replacement surgery today, and when I snatch back my worry bundle, fearful thoughts war in my head.  But right now, I'm giving it up to God again, and will continue to lift my dad up in prayer and know that God has a plan for him, and he will watch over him.  Please join me today in praying for my dad's surgery, my mom as she waits, the doctors to have steady hands and wisdom, and the spiritual and physical health of our family.

Thank you for joining me today.

God Bless,
Sonja


Philippians 4:6
Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God.

1 Thessalonians 5:17-18
17 Pray without ceasing.
18 In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.


Ephesians 6:18
18 Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, and watching thereunto with all perseverance and supplication for all saints;

Romans 8:25-27
25 But if we hope for that we see not, then do we with patience wait for it.
26 Likewise the Spirit also helpeth our infirmities: for we know not what we should pray for as we ought: but the Spirit itself maketh intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered.
27 And he that searcheth the hearts knoweth what is the mind of the Spirit, because he maketh intercession for the saints according to the will of God.

Matthew 21:22
22 And all things, whatsoever ye shall ask in prayer, believing, ye shall receive.










Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Upcoming Contribution Schedule KJV Blog Directory

I've officially begun contributing at the KJV Blog Directory.  My first post was on Wednesday, August 1, 2012, for Wednesday in the Word, followed by my Monday Ministry Highlights  post on August 6th!  

My next Wednesday in the Word post is scheduled for August 29th, and Monday Ministry Highlights will follow on September 3rd.

Additional Wednesday in the Word posts will air on September 26th, October 24th, November 21st, and December 19th.  More Monday Ministry Highlights posts will air on October 1st, November 26th and December 24th to round out 2012.  

I'll post a link to KJV Blog Directory each day that I am scheduled to post there, and I hope you'll come check us out!

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Twisted Thunder Cake!

I love to bake.  I love to cook in general.  It's just exciting and fun to spin around in the kitchen, see a new ingredient, and toss it in!  I try to take step by step pictures, because I think it is so cool on Ree Drummond's site, but sometimes I forget.

Reviews of the latest compilation are all positive.  The only negative I heard during the trial run was "These have to be really bad for you, because they are sooooo good."

First of all, the original recipes were two tried and true favorites that garner interest in any crowd, Thunder Cake, from Patricia Polacco's children's picture book, Thunder Cake, and Ree Drummond's recipe for Coffee Cake.  Literally.  I've made both of these before, and have been making Thunder Cake for several years, since teaching the picture book in Second Grade Reading!  They are both excellent cakes, with very different textures and depth.

The coffee cake is light and spongy, almost airy.  It melts in your mouth so quickly that the taste lingers and begs you to have more.  The Thunder Cake is dense and rich.  The "secret" ingredient makes it moist and it dissolves on your tongue.  So how did it work out when I tried to bring them together?

I definitely thought the experiment was a success!  The cake, which we've called "Twisted Thunder", was denser than the original coffee cake, but instead of being heavy like Thunder Cake usually is, it was a little spongier and airier and definitely moist.  The flavors blended together quite well, though I'd already been experimenting with adding chocolate to the coffee cake, and who could pass up coffee and chocolate together?

The frosting was also divine!  I started with The Best Frosting I've Ever Had (Yes, that's actually the name of it), and made a few tweaks, which I will list below with the recipe for Twisted Thunder Cake!
I poured exactly one cup of boiling water
into 3 Tablespoons of instant coffee
and stir till dissolved.

Melted 1 cup of butter.  When the butter is melted, stir in the coffee mixture.
Bring it to a boil and let it bubble for ten seconds, then remove from heat and let cool a bit.
 

Whoops!  I went to take the cupcakes out of the pan, and one got a little stuck on the frosting bowl ! :)

Frosting! :)  More information will follow!


Twisted Thunder Cupcakes
Melt 1 Cup of butter in saucepan on stove.

Meanwhile (there needs to be a "back at the ranch" here, right?), dissolve 3 Tablespoons of instant coffee in 1 cup of boiling water.

When the butter is melted, add the coffee mix to the saucepan and bring to a boil for about ten seconds. Set aside to cool.

Mix dry ingredients in one bowl, and wet in another:

Dry                                                                  Wet
2 and 1/2 cups flour                                         1/2 cup buttermilk
2 cups sugar                                                     3 eggs
1/2 cup cocoa powder                                     1 can pureed tomatoes
1/4 teaspoon salt                                              1 and 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
                                                                         2 teaspoons vanilla

Add the coffee mixture to the flour bowl and stir gently to cool.  When it is cool (and won't cook the eggs), add the egg mixture to combine.

Pour into papered cupcake pans and bake 30 minutes at 350 degrees.  Cool 15 minutes, then remove from pans.  Cool completely before icing.

Frost cupcakes when cool, then chill for one hour before serving.

Ingredients:
4 Tablespoons Flour
1 Tablespoon Cocoa Powder
1 Cup Milk
1 Teaspoon Vanilla
1 Cup Butter
2 Cups Granulated (NOT Powdered) Sugar


In a small saucepan, whisk flour and cocoa powder into milk and heat, stirring constantly, until it thickens.  If your whisk has been twisted into smithereens or your teenager washed dishes and it's covered in last night's gravy, a fork will work as well.  It will get very, very thick.  When it's thickened to the point of sheetrock mud, remove the pan from the heat and let it cool to room temperature.  It has to be completely cool before you go on to the next step, or the butter will melt, and your frosting can't set.  Stir in the vanilla.
Meanwhile (back at the ranch), cream the butter and sugar together until light and fluffy.  You really have to beat this well for it to be completely blended with no sugar grains.  When that is well mixed and the flour mix is completely cool (I seem to like that word, completely), add the flour mix to the butter mix and as the Pioneer Woman says, "beat the living daylights out of it."  Beat until the mixture resembles whipped cream.
Do not taste this if you want any to be left for your cupcakes! :)

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Review of PaperMate InkJoy Pens


I was recently invited to review PaperMate's InkJoy Pens.  CafeMom and PaperMate sent a package of ten in assorted colors for me to check out, then asked me to share about my experience.  

As a teacher, and now as a homeschool parent, I have always looked for cool colored pens to make comments on student papers.  We live in a small town that doesn't have any stores, so we do all of our shopping in the major metropolis about 50 miles away (I say that totally tongue in cheek, as our major metropolis is probably smaller than most people's suburbs).  Our whole county has 75,000 people. 

I love to write.  I write here, I write there.  I have a blog, I am a writer, albeit a mostly unknown one at this point, and though I usually end up typing my final presentation, I write constantly.  I write lists, notes, lesson plans, comments on student work, journals, quick writes, cards, postcards, letters, and anything else you can think of.  I wish I'd have gotten the pens last week, because I spent the entire week in a writing class, where all day long we WROTE.  And these pens are so darn comfortable! 

I love the triangular shape of the pen.  It makes it easier for my finger to rest on the flat piece, and for the pen to rest on my other fingers.  The colors are vibrant and totally visible on paper.  You know what I'm talking about, right?  Sometimes when you buy colored pens, and they are so lackluster you couldn't see them if you highlighted them in neon?  These are not that pen.  These are beautiful, bright colors!   

I would totally buy these pens if I found them in the store, especially if they are not horrendously expensive.  And when I looked up the price online and saw that a pack of ten is less than $3, I'm definitely in!  I think they are a great buy and a way to "pretty up" your writing and give your hand a rest.

The only problem that I had was the turquoise pen.  The other nine worked great.  I had blue, black, brown, purple, green, orange, red and light green paragraphs, addresses, notes, and squiggles, but when it came time to use the turquoise one, I got one line and it was dead.  I guess it was a bum pen.  Other than that, I am extremely happy with this product! 
All the pretty colors!

That naughty turquoise pen!  


Putting them to work for the Postcard Swap!