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...

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!


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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!


Monday, August 6, 2012

Those People


Yes, you read that correctly.  I said "Those People".  A friend of ours has a shirt that says "We are those people".   This phrase originated with a special church and ministry that was beginning in a town near us.  The church had acquired the property, and the men had put in hours of time and work refurbishing the building and making it habitable.  It is a ministry for recovering addicts; those recently released from jail, those who are homeless, anyone who is down and ready to turn their life over to Christ.  The time there begins with intense Bible study and joining together to do work blessings for others, teaching the men to build a life around Christ and how to be good workers, stewards and managers.  The program is open to women too, but we don't have a women's facility here at this time.  

The community where they had originally begun the project initially supported the idea, but then mutters and rumblings began to appear.  A group finally rose up and said that they thought it was a great thing being done, that it was a great ministry, and they definitely thought it should happen, but they didn't want it there.  They weren't comfortable with "those people" in their community.  I'm sure you can imagine the anger, the outrage, and the upset feelings.  But instead of forcing their way in, the church family went back to their knees, praying about the situation, and God delivered the absolute perfect facility in an area of town where they were not only welcomed, but they were greatly needed. 

Our friend had the shirts made as a reminder to love others.  To show God's love to everyone, and to treat them with respect and dignity.  I know I still sometimes look at people and think that I am better, or they are better, or they think they are better.  Yep, I'm definitely not perfect.  And I know that they look at me the same way.  We are all "those people" to someone else!  But it is God's will for us to love everyone equally.  He sat at the table with the tax collector, with thieves, with those who the elders of the church deemed unworthy, or unclean.  He spoke with the woman the well, the one all the others shunned.  And we should too.

Share God's love with others today!


Mark 2:17
17 When Jesus heard it, he saith unto them, They that are whole have no need of the physician, but they that are sick: I came not to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance.

Friday, August 3, 2012

"Here We Stand"


A successful marriage requires falling in love many times, always with the same person.
Mignon McLaughlin


One of my friends posted this on her facebook wall the other day, and I absolutely agree.  Everyday I find different things or traits that make me love my husband even more.  

Does that mean marriage is always easy?  No.  It definitely does not.  I'm sure that all of you wonderful ladies (and gentlemen) have your own stories to tell about arguments, forgotten anniversaries or birthdays, disagreements about where to spend or how to celebrate the holidays, and probably plenty of other things, but learning how to understand each other and love each other anyway is part of marriage. And after all the arguing is over and the storm is passed, you can sit down together and realize you've successfully navigated another obstacle in your path, and the glue that cements you together is stronger than ever.

I think my favorite pictorial analogy used in weddings is the three stranded cord, and the bond that it stands for.  You see, a two stranded cord is too easily broken, but when you add that third strand, God, and you depend on Him to bind it all together (Ecclesiastes 4:12)?  Well, that's a bond that's not easily broken and will make the relationship stronger than the world around it. 

Ecclesiastes 4:12 And if one prevail against him, two shall withstand him; and a threefold cord is not quickly broken.

Each day, my husband and I have our own independent quiet times, but we also pray together.  We pray for our family, and for our marriage.  We pray for each other, our church family, our friends, and any decisions or challenges that we may be facing.  We pray that our children will grow in their relationships with God and with others.  We even pray that they will each find God fearing, loving spouses that the Lord has chosen for them.

I want to leave you with a beautiful, powerful song that says so much to me about marriage and how it all fits together.  It was written by the very talented Tony Carter, who has graciously allowed me to share it with you in this entry.  











Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Why do we share Jesus?

Why do we share Jesus?  Well, because He told us to?...but if you need another reason, Romans 10:17 mentions a pretty good one.  "So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God."


How can we expect the world to come to know Jesus if we aren't out there sharing Him?  Sharing His love, sharing His word, sharing the fact that Christ died for our sins...


We have been given the ultimate gift of forgiveness and eternal life.  If we choose to accept it, we belong to Christ, no matter what.  "No power of hell, no scheme of man, could ever pluck me from His hand."  "Though Satan should buffet though trials should come, let this blest assurance control. That Christ hath regarded my helpless estate and has shed His own blood for my soul."


How could we keep such an amazing and wonderful gift to ourselves?  Don't you want to tell everyone?  "I'll shout it from the mountaintop.  I want my world to know.  The Lord of Love has come to me. I want to Pass it On."  That's always been one of my favorite songs.  Some Sunday nights at my childhood church  we sang requests instead of having a set song service, and everyone knew I'd be requesting "Pass It On", and "The Star Spangled Banner".  


Sometimes it's hard to stand up for what is right, what is good, what is honorable.  Sometimes it's hard to accept that we are different and stand up in the middle of "everyone else".  But how selfish is it to keep the Love of God and His message of salvation to ourselves?  Go! Share! Love!  Are you sharing Jesus today in your life and in your words?


Isaiah 49:16 16 Behold, I have graven thee upon the palms of my hands; thy walls are continually before me.


"No power of hell, no scheme of man
Can ever pluck me from His hand
‘til He returns or calls me home
Here in the power of Christ I’ll stand"

                  -  Stuart Townend and Keith Getty, In Christ Alone




"Though Satan should buffet, though trials should come,
Let this blest assurance control,
That Christ has regarded my helpless estate,
And hath shed His own blood for my soul."

                        -  It Is Well with My Soul | Horatio G. Spafford

"I'll shout it from the mountain top 
I want the world to know
The Lord of love has come to me
I want to pass it on."
                 - Kurt Kaiser, Pass it On

Eklektos



Eklektos 
(ek-lek-tos' ) is a Greek word, meaning chosen (Strong's Exhaustive Concordance). This was the theme at the Children's Camp where I recently served as a sponsor, and I just wanted to go through some of the great things that jumped out at me from the messages and the Bible study throughout the week.  I do have to say that many of the illustrations and explanations come directly from my notes on sermons by our Camp Pastor, Quin Williams, or from the Bible study, which did not have an author listed.  

 But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should shew forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvellous light;  
                                                                    1 Peter 2:9

When that verse says "Ye are a chosen generation", who is ye?  That's right!  We are!  You, me, us.  But who chose us?  Were we picked first on the team for dodge ball?  Or chosen to take out the trash? In this case, we’re talking about being chosen by God.  It's an amazing thing, and it's important to know who is choosing you.

You, individually, are chosen by God Himself.  He specifically chooses each of us.  He says - "This is what I want you to do, this is who I want you to be."  We have been chosen by the God of the Universe, the Creator of everything.  That says that we are special, unique, cared for and loved in ways that we cannot even understand!  

So what has He chosen us for?

"A royal priesthood".  A priest is someone who has been chosen by God to be able to come directly into His presence.  In the Old Testament, the people needed priests to be their contact with God.  The priest offered sacrifices, and cleansed himself thoroughly before coming into God's presence in the temple.  When Jesus rose from the dead, all that was changed.  The veil or curtain that separated the "Holy of Holies" from the rest of the people was torn, signifying that there was no longer a separation, but that we could come directly into His presence.

Wherefore, holy brethren, partakers of the heavenly calling, consider the Apostle and High Priest of our profession, Christ Jesus;
                                                                             Hebrews 3:1

“An holy nation” means that we are to be different, separated, unlike everyone else.  Zebras are striped because it is part of their protection.  How many of us like to be like our friends?  How many of us wear the stripes to blend in with the herd because we don't want to stand out?

God says that He doesn't want us to be like everyone else.  He wants us to be different.  Being different takes guts.  You have to be tough to walk with Jesus.  It takes courage, it takes strength, and it takes maturity. Men and women who make a difference, who will change their world, are different than the world around them.  

That is what God has chosen for us, and what He has chosen us for.  Remember this as you go about your walk today.  
It's okay to be different!




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