Monday, March 31, 2008

Matt Maupin

Keith Matthew Maupin is a young man I have never met but for whom I've been praying for this past year. I was "introduced" to who he was about a year ago when stickers of him in a soldier's uniform and a smiling face were put out at our church for anyone to take along with the words "pray for Matt." I asked our church secretary what the story was with him. She told me that recently a couple ladies from church who went to the grand opening of the Creation Museum met Matt's mother on an airplane who told them the story.

Matt, born and raised in Ohio, was a private first-class in the Army, and a good one from what his mom said. He was 20 years old when his fuel convoy was ambushed west of Bagdad on April 9, 2004. If I remember correctly, three soldiers went missing that day; Matt was one of them. Nothing was immediately heard, but a video was released about five days later clearly showing Matt surrounded by five gunmen. A month after his capture, Matt was promoted to specialist. Several months later, a second video was released showing a US soldier being shot in the back of the head, but there was no way to identify who that soldier was, although it was believed to have been Sgt. Maupin.

However, his family held high hopes that he was still alive and would one day come home. In 2005, the Army again promoted his rank to sergeant. And his family continued to hope. They were in frequent contact with the Army, with the Pentagon, and also met personally with President Bush...they did not want their son to be forgotten; they wanted to make sure someone was always looking for him.

Sadly, this weekend closure was given to them. A soldier's remains had been positively identified through DNA testing; Matt wouldn't be coming home alive...but he will be returning of the many heroes who gave his life for our country. There is so much controversy about the war in Iraq, but I am thankful there are men and women like Sgt. Keith Matthew Maupin, like my nephew Andrew, and like countless others who selflessly serve at a cost that is sometimes higher than we would like.

Please pray for the Maupin family...and pray for the thousands of other families who have a loved one serving his/her country, whether they are here in the States or somewhere overseas, for those who have had to permanently say good-bye to their loved ones and for those whose "good-bye" will only be temporary. And please pray for wisdom for President Bush and all the others who are making so many decisions on a constant basis regarding the Middle East.

Saturday, March 29, 2008

Five Years

Today is our fifth's so hard to believe it's been five years! On one hand, it seems so much longer, but at the same time it's like it was just yesterday. The day was sunny and cool and highly anticipated. It was a wonderful day, and I'd do it again!
Looking back through some old emails, I found the following recap about our wedding:
The wedding was beautiful and went off pretty much without any problems. Well, except that we lost the vows. Tony and I thought someone was taking care of them for us; we're still not sure what happened, but while our parents were being seated, it was discovered that "oops, we don't know where the vows are!" All the groomsmen set about searching the church while our guests were patiently seated listening to "Largo" play about five too many times (although Jane Wolff did a beautiful job on the organ!) before our wedding coordinator finally found the vows. After that, the six "flower kids" started in and did a great job! Well, sort of. We forgot to tell my niece Hannah to drop flower petals, and as the "older" girls went in, Anna and Olivia started dropping petals...and Hannah started picking them up. We got her straightened out, and off she went down the aisle dropping her petals....until she had enough and decided to empty the basket by turning it upside down then exiting out the back. Turns out she was just extremely tired. As soon as she reached her daddy, she was sound asleep. By the time I reached the front, my legs were aching. For any single gals reading this...take my advice. Do NOT wear 4-inch heels during your wedding! I don't remember much about the wedding except for thinking "please hurry up...I'm hot and sweaty, my legs are killing me, and I'm really scared my legs are going to give out and I'm going to topple over!" I think Pastor Luke thought I was nervous because he cracked a few jokes and made some comments about "making sure this won't be too long" to which I added a fervent "Amen!"

Our reception was fun, starting with a wonderful slide show of old pictures and funny captions that my Uncle Ralph put together. His daughter Liz, my matron-of-honor, was seated next to me and often commented "that's not the caption I suggested!" Thank you, Uncle made me really nervous wondering just WHAT her suggested captions were after seeing some of yours! We cut the cake without incident, had some great speeches, everything was emceed by Tony's brother Mark, who did a wonderful job. Towards the end, though, the reception was crashed by a gorilla in a plaid suit jacket who ran round dancing to "I Did It My Way." The gorilla then disappeared (or so we thought) and we gathered up the single ladies (well, most of them...LaMae, Marjean, and a few of the wiser ladies wouldn't join the younger singles) -- Tony's niece Tessa proudly caught the...rubber chicken! When I finally threw the bouquet, another niece, Carrie, was the recipient. Since she's only 14 (I think?), I'm sure her parents are hoping and praying that "tradition" of being the next to marry does not occur! Tony's brother, Jon, who caught the garter, did comment that it doesn't work, since he's caught the garter in the past.

We were then ready to make our exit, only to find the caddy missing....a few minutes later it was driven the gorilla! He opened the door for me and balloons started falling out of the car. I'm still not sure how Dwight, Jon, and Dorothy Crook managed to get so many balloons (with drawn on pigs, cows, rabbits, etc.) into the car. After getting me and my huge dress in the car, the gorilla closed the door...then started heading for the driver's side before Tony could get there...thankfully, Tony made off with me before the gorilla did. (By the way, did anyone notice that Tony's friend Mark Magnuson, one of our ushers, was mysteriously missing during most of the reception until well after we left? Hm....wonder where he "disappeared" to!) We also noticed later that there was a family of small pigs fastened to the roof of the car. Thank you, David, for not putting the real thing on top, as Tony did for you at your wedding!
Back to 2008 -- Tony's brother Jon was wrong -- he WAS the next to get married! But thankfully Carrie was NOT the next single gal to get married. I pray she'll find someone as wonderful as her Uncle Tony :) Over the next few days, I'm going to post some old writings of mine about my move to Minnesota and our return from our honeymoon...and the misadventures of both! It's been fun going through and rereading them.
Honey, I love you! And I'm praying for many more decades of wedded bliss!

Thursday, March 27, 2008


So Luke wants to learn how to read by himself. We've been working on one letter of the alphabet each week and are up to "m." We figure out which of our toys start with different letters, what the letter sounds like, etc. So today we sat down to "read." D - A - D -- that's Daddy!! B - A - D -- bad...but I'm good! B - A - G -- carrot! Okay, I'm still not sure how he "figured" out that one.

And regarding Susanna....anyone have any advice on how to make sure my daughter not only will put on underwear but will wear it all day? I just realized (at 4:00 p.m.) that she wasn't wearing any because, "well, Mama, I didn't want to. But it's okay! You can be happy!"

At least my kids dress themselves.


Without mentioning names (and clarifying that I am NOT referring to myself!), someone in our household has convinced our children that hard-boiled eggs are best eaten warm. That said, someone in our household discovered today NOT to put hard-boiled eggs in the microwave for more than a couple seconds at a time. That said, the interior of my microwave was cleaned today! Mostly by someone else....(I added a few finishing touches)

By the way, Watkins all-purpose cleaner does a FANTASTIC job cleaning microwaves!

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

My kids

As my eyes fluttered open this morning, I saw a superhero standing next to my bed with a pleased grin on his face. My mind raced back, WHAT was his name again? Ah yes! "Good morning, Cheer-zan!" "Mama, I'm only Luke, the superhero!" Okay, that's much easier to remember.

Then I heard some grunting as another little body climbed up the sheets to crawl into bed as a deep, little girl voice growled, "I'm a little gorilla...but don't worry, I'm a NICE gorilla." A GORILLA? Yes, my "princess" has decided over the past couple days that she is a gorilla and actually goes around the house, up and down the steps, stooped over, fists on ground as she walks. And grunts.

They don't take after MY side of the family!

Monday, March 24, 2008


Luke is a super hero. I wish I had a picture but he's taken off his "cape" and armor. He is Cheer-Zan, one who cheers up everyone else. Yay, super hero!


Happy Easter!!!
we found them!!
Sibling Love
Father/daughter chat
Money man!

We woke up earlier than usual for us (at least, earlier than usual for this time of year...sadly, it'll soon be the norm!) on Easter Sunday -- Tony rushed to the farm to do chores as I got things ready for dinner then got ready for church before tip toe-ing into the kids room and quite rudely turning on the light. Luke moaned and buried his head under his pillow. Susanna made a funny noise and pulled the blanket over her head...until I whispered "He is not here. The stone is rolled away. The grave is empty! Jesus is alive. He is risen!" at which point Susanna (my morning child) jumped up, stumbled over to my lap, and collapsed with a smile, closed her eyes, and said, "indeed!" ah! They remembered my story about early Christian greetings!
Luke, meanwhile, was still buried under his pillow moaning something about his eyes not working. He did finally make it downstairs.
We had a wonderful Easter service -- the youth group (jr. high and high school) are in charge of the Sonrise services each year and usually have some drama presentation that is meaningful to them but often a bit confusing to most others...but it's great to see between 30-50 kids doing drama, leading praise & worship, and actively participating in the service each year. One of the young men followed in his father's footsteps yesterday, preaching a short but powerful sermon about Christ's blood -- his father is our head pastor. Another thing I absolutely love about Easter Sonrise services is that we always have a baptism during that time. Yesterday, five pre-teens were baptized. I was thankful and amazed as each one recited their most meaningful Bible verse, how they came to the Lord, and how all but one made that commitment to Christ during AWANA. During most baptisms, there is more time to share a fuller testimony, but with so much going on Easter Sunday, that part is shortened in front of the congregation but still given much detail with the pastors before hand.
The youth then had a full breakfast prepared for us -- french toast, sausage, fresh oranges, fresh muffins (homemade!), and lots of hard-boiled eggs. We then went into the "usual" Sunday schedule of Sunday School with one combined service.
On the way home, I broke the bad news to the kids....their Easter baskets that they had patiently been waiting to break into had disappeared during the night! All that was left was a little slip of paper for each of them. (with them knowing and understanding clearly the true meaning of Resurrection Sunday, having them enjoy the "commercial" side of Easter doesn't bother me as long as the overall focus of the day remains on Christ.)
We arrived home, quite concerned, and found the slips of paper that had been left....two photos of something in our house. Each figured out where the photo was taken and rushed off to the separate spots hoping to find their basket. Instead, they each found an Easter egg...with ANOTHER photo clue in it! Twelve clues later, after lots of trips up and down the stairs, through the kitchen, living room, family room, bathroom, and bedroom, our little sleuths finally and triumphantly found their Easter baskets, impressing me some of those photos I thought would be quite tricky figuring out. Nope. Susanna especially raced through everything often telling me, "hurry up, Mama, follow me!" Oh, I wish the video camera was working! But...we'll do it again next year!

We had a yummy dinner shared with Dad Carter of ham (slow cooked in the crock pot, falling apart tender!), green bean casserole, "Julie" potatoes, and tossed salad followed by Carter strawberries and raspberries (from the freezer) over angel food. Naptime and bedtime went very smooth yesterday as did naptime today, yippee!

Saturday, March 22, 2008

Night Time Troubles

Help! Any tips out there from more experienced moms that me? Bed time is becoming a nightmare in our home....countless trips to go potty (and actually going each time), "one more hug," "I just want to give you a kiss," "I'm scared," "I forgot to help you vacuum!" jumping on beds, you name it. We've tried rewards if they stay in bed...nope. The lure of getting out of bed is more exciting. We've tried spanking...nope. We've tried yelling. We've tried talking about it before lights go out. We've emphasized NO GETTING OUT OF BED!!! Nothing is working!

Here's our bed time routine. After playing downstairs, at about 8:00 - 8:15 we start cleaning up time, bathroom time, jammy time, brush out teeth and one more potty trip. Upstairs for story time (two stories on Daddy's lap, two short devotionals on the floor with Mama), prayer time, hugs and kisses, tuck into bed, lights out (by about 9:00)....yelling/screaming starts, getting out of bed, etc. I've asked them both WHY they get out of bed and the answer is "we miss you, Mama. We just want to be with you." Luke will every once in awhile say he's scared and ask me to pray so he isn't scared, but that's a rare occasion now when he's scared.

Susanna still takes naps. She needs them and will fall asleep on the couch if she doesn't get one. Luke usually doesn't nap, but maybe once or twice a week he'll nap for 45-60 minutes. Naptime generally starts about 1:30, they're usually both downstairs again by 3:30 at the latest. They wake up each morning between 7:30-8:00.

Insight, anyone?

Friday, March 21, 2008

Good Friday

Today is one of my favorite days. Perhaps that sounds odd, even with a name like "Good Friday," it being the recognition of the day my Christ was crucified. However, without the remembrance of what Christ went through for me (and all sinners), His resurrection and our celebration of it on Easter Sunday would mean nothing.

I have always loved and appreciated the verse in Isaiah, "He was wounded for our transgressions, bruised for our iniquities. The chastisment of our peace was upon Him, and by His stripes we are healed. (53:5)

I think too often we forget or don't want to remember the ugliness of the cross and what Christ WILLINGLY did for each and every one of us, whether we accept the gift of His suffering or not. Does it make sense when I say that I don't like to focus on it yet I want to remember that ugliness and that suffering, even though I honestly can say I don't understand it? Can any of us living here in a land where we are not physically tortured and tormented for our faith really understand what Christ went through? And yet, Jesus' work for our salvation was only started that day before Passover so long ago. He truly was the last Passover lamb, unblemished, perfect in every way.

I am soooo thankful that His story didn't end with His words, "It is finished." Because we have hope in the knowledge that Jesus is alive! Salvation was given to us through His sacrificial death, even though at the time His friends and disciples didn't understand...but hope and joy and understanding came with His resurrection three days later.

One of the things I enjoy so much about the Park Rapids area is that we have a Community inter-(intra?) denominational service on Good Friday. Seven Christian churches of different denominations came together again today as they do each year to participate in remembering what Christ did for us. There was some laughter at times, lots of tears, we heard a few "amens!" and "Glory to God, thank You, Jesus!" (it was in the Assemblies of God church this year), but we were united as God's family through the main belief of Christianity....Christ's death leading up to His resurrection. We took communion together and greeted each other as the brothers and sisters in Christ that all of us who believe in Him and have asked forgiveness of our sins are.

Amen! Hallelujah! Glory to God! THANK YOU, JESUS!

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

I Love You

I remember when Luke was first born, Tony and I started reading "Bringing Up Boys" together -- although my sleepless nights (and days) quickly put an end to that...

Anyway, one of the things that stuck in my mind was the comment that somewhere around age 3 or so (okay, IF I remember the age right....remember, I had sleepless days and nights), boys will all of a sudden stop being lovable to Mom and she becomes almost like the enemy to them -- they want to imitate only what Dad says and does. It was not a day I was looking forward to, but I was glad I was forwarned so it wouldn't hurt so bad when it happened.

Well, Luke LOVES to imitate Daddy and we'll often both crack up hearing the echo of Tony's words coming from his little mouth, but I am pleased to say that so far, his affection for his Mama has not diminished one bit. I honestly cannot begin to tell you how often during the day (and night, if he wakes up in the middle of the night and needs help going downstairs, etc.) he'll say, "Mama. I love you. Lots and lots. That's all." It's at least a dozen times or several dozen, depending on the day. We often get into playful arguments about who loves the other more. He gets up from the supper table to whisper "I love you" in my ear. He'll be racing around the house and all of a sudden stop and tell me, "Mama, I love you!" before speeding on his way again. He'll be singing at the top of his lungs and take a deep breath to say "I love you, Mama!" before continuing his song. I asked him once, "Luke, what is love?" And he told me "Kindness, Mama. And doing good things. And kisses. Mama, I love you!"


Susi, on the other hand, will also tell me "I still love you, Mama!" but it's usually said right after she deliberately disobeys me. My response is to let her know how much I love her which is why I am going to discipline her!

And yes, Tony tells me the same thing several times a day, too (but without the "mama" attached!).

Monday, March 17, 2008


Susi angel (notice the discarded night time diaper behind her....)
Jon and his donkeys
butterfly sandwiches

Hi all...

Just a quick (maybe!) update on the latest things happening here. Not a whole lot new (other than Luke's bike), but we're keeping busy. Susi and I are both fighting something that came on rather quickly. She was up several times last night, just fussy, and has been complaining today that her forehead hurt. I just don't feel "right," kind of droopy, and slept longer than usual this morning (thanks, Tony!)...keep us in your prayers....

Mama and four other Carters are leaving Thursday for a week trip to Guatemala to visit Dwight. She's quite excited about going, and I think the rest are, too.

Right now, we're getting some pretty fast snow falling outside. Huge, fluffy flakes. We're hoping (at least, Tony is!) for some more accumulation, as most of the snow on the ground, except where it was piled up by plows, melted last week and we still need some "insulation" on the ground until longer bouts of warm weather are in the forecast. Oh, I'm looking forward to all the yummies that will be harvested from our garden several months from now (although we first have to plant many of them....).

Luke rode his new bike to and from the farm yesterday. He is getting so big and accumulating so much knowledge that I wonder some time what happened to my little baby. I am amazed at the logic he has and how quickly he figures things out. He is hilarious to talk to and really carries his own end of the conversation. Last night, when Susi was so fussy, she asked me to unplug one of the two night lights in their room...this morning, the first thing I heard was "Mama, come turn this little light on RIGHT now. This isn't even funny any more!" As yucky as I felt, I couldn't help but laugh....

Ah, something else that's new! Watkins has a great reward program for associates who continue to build the business (get new people to sign up and advance in sales) -- last year, I accumulated enough points to win a free week's cruise in the Mexican Riviera (which is probably happening next week). While I would LOVE to go, it's not something that is doable at this point in my life (boo hoo). So, I used all those performance rewards points and got a free Dell desktop computer! Out of necessity, we got a new computer for our main use last year and started using the old one for the kids, learning games and such, but it is such a dinosaur, it didn't even function well for that. With homeschooling coming up in a couple more blinks of the eye, I knew a new computer would come in handy.....and it is! It came with a great flat screen monitor, loaded with programs, and ready to put together and plug in. Luke spent the morning going through a kindergarten CD and blew me away with what he knows and what he figured out on his own.

Susanna continues to be our little princess and uses any cloth or blanket she can to wrap around her for a "princess dress." She bought some fairy wings with her own money at a rummage sale last week and loves to wear those over her "dress" to be an angel.

Wow, this snow is really coming down!

I continue to be impressed with my husband, the 3-year-old Sunday School teacher. Last Sunday's story was on Jesus' entry into Jerusalem, so he went to the farm and took some photos of Jon's donkeys. The kids loved them! Yesterday's story went from Jesus in the Garden through His crucifixion and resurrection and he did flannel graph for the first time. Again, huge hit with the kids! Next week on Easter Sunday the story will focus more on the resurrection and he is hoping to have enough time to go through the Resurrection Eggs.

Yesterday at church, being Palm Sunday, one of my most favorite traditions at Faith was again carried out. The children (Sunday School classes from 3-year-olds to 2nd graders) entered during the opening songs waving palm branches, carrying them to the front, setting them down, and returning to their parents. I took our camera in anticipation, but they had the children go to the front from the opposite side, so I wasn't able to get a shot of our palm-branch carrying child. However, as it always does, seeing the dozens of children waving their palm branches brought tears to my eyes. Can you imagine being among those who welcomed Christ into Jerusalem so long ago? And I cannot even begin to understand why they so quickly turned their backs on Him!

Last week's play date went very well! The kids got along so well together and played very nicely, although Susanna has a few of her strong-willed moments. I told Tony later it was quite funny watching them because Kayla and Luke were inseperable at moments while Jeffrey and Susanna didn't want to stop hugging and kissing when it was time to leave. Little Miss Nikki may have some competition for Luke....and not just Kayla! Another new-to-Faith Baptist family has a daughter Luke's age who is in the same Cubbie group as him. She has informed her mother that her boyfriend is Luke and informed me of the same thing yesterday at lunch. Luke just looked at her and giggled. Where do kids this young get this stuff????

I've also been having fun making some objects with the kids' food for lunch. it started by accident last week as I made them a PBJ, sliced it, and thought "that looks almost like a butterfly!" With a few dried blueberries pressed into the bread, a sliced pickle in between the triangle "wings," a thinly sliced carrot for antennae, viola! A butterfly sandwich! Some lettuce on the bottom of the plate for grass, some cottage cheese up top for clouds (not a big hit at all... next time the "clouds" were made out of vanilla yogurt!), and we had a beautiful, springtime, healthy lunch!
That's all for today...gotta lay down a bit before the kids wake up (yippee! Even Luke is napping)...and the snowfall continues....

Saturday, March 15, 2008

Egg Hunt and more!

there's gotta be an egg in here somewhere!
Hmmm...what's inside?
our loot
the bunny hop
Nikki and Luke
I'm not going near that thing!

Today was the "Colossial Community Egg Hunt" here in PR for kids 0-10 years. It was greatly anticipated since the time we ALL learned about it (I told the kids about it yesterday), and it was even more fun because Daddy could come with us! There were literally hundreds of kids in the local school gymnasium (hey, despite the earlier warm weather this week, we still have lots of snow on the ground!), and it was a bit overwhelming...well, at least the giant bunny was!

It was organized quite well with several different activities to do as well as an egg hunt. There was a bunny hop to music where every child got either a book or a pencil, there was a jelly bean counting contest, a random drawing for dozens of filled Easter baskets, live music, and lots more. It was even more exciting to us to see several of our Sunday School, library, and Cubbie friends there!

Luke and Susi were champion egg hunters (which anyone would have been able to achieve, given the number of eggs there!), although children were limited to only five eggs which were then traded for a bag of candy. Luke wasn't too sure about the bunny hop, and Susanna, who couldn't decide whether she had to go potty or not, realized she REALLY, REALLY did have to go, just as her bunny hop was getting started. She did manage to hold it....and was actually the only child in her group of ten or so children to hop from spot to spot during the music. And she won a book! (Luke got a pink pencil...wonder who's going to wind up with that?). Neither had any intention of going near the giant walking Easter bunny (who was actually the father of a friend of ours, Becky Maninga!).

Afterwards, Tony dropped us off at Coburns (local grocery store) as they were having an Easter event for children, too. We bought some girl scout cookies (thin mints for the first time since I moved to MN 5 years ago!) then ambled over to the deli where there was ANOTHER Easter bunny holding a basket of eggs -- the kids were forced to approach this bunny as there was no way to get an Easter egg except from him (her?). We opened our eggs (one per child), and there was a note inside Luke's that he won a BIKE! It is a really nice bike, and he was very excited to get it (we're now up to four bikes, I think, so we'll have one for each of them at the farm and at the house). He was a bit upset to know we'd have to leave his bike inside the bakery section since we had to wait for Tony to come and pick us up, but I finally convinced him no one else would take his bike and we would definitely not forget it. We then got to "make" an Easter egg cookie.

On the way home, we asked the kids what their favorite part of the morning was. Susanna piped up "finding eggs!" while Luke told us "giving kisses to Nikki." Hmmmm....kinda scares me what HIS priorities are!

Friday, March 14, 2008

Double Posting day

Hi again! I'm posting for the second time today. Originally, this was going to be my only post, but since Lz wrote about pi day, I included a post with a pi recipe!

Yesterday, I drove over to Fargo to do some Sam's Club shopping as well as hit some thrift stores looking for things Tony needs for our pumpkin parties this fall (don't ask....I'm not going to spoil the surprises....yet! Let's just say "cluck" and "grrr"!). I also spent some time at another favorite of mine....Hobby Lobby (for supplies for Tony, of course!). Side note: Hobby Lobby, in case you are not aware, is such a COOL store in so many ways! They have fantastic arrays of all kinds of hobby supplies, but even better, they are Christian owned and operated. Christian hymns are piped in, there is a Christian theme throughout the store, and what is really awesome is that at Christmas and at Easter, they take a full page ad out in most major newspapers as well as local papers where they have a store -- instead of flouting their sale items, the full-page ad is "just" the Biblical passages of Christ's birth and Christ's death & resurrection. What a great testimony!

Anyway, on the way to and from Fargo, while not catching up on family through cell phone chats, I was enjoying listening to a very old cassette of mine, "The Champion," by Carmen. While I've not kept up with his music lately, Carmen always has some fantastic songs and stories put to music. I think my all time favorite is his song on this album, named after the album. Below are the words to this song. While the music adds a dramatic touch, the words are also pretty powerful. Take a moment or two and read through them....

In the vast expanse of a timeless place,
Where silence ruled the outer space,
Ominously, towering it stood,
The symbol of a spirit war
Between the one name Lucifer,
And the Morning Star,
The ultimate of good.

Enveloped by a trillion planets,
Clean as lightning and hard as granite,
A cosmic coliseum would host the end
Of the war between the lord of sin and death,
And the Omnipotent Creator of man's first breath,
Who will decide who forever will be the Champion.

The audience for the 'Fight of the Ages' was assembled and in place.
The angels came in splendor from a star.
The saints that had gone before were there:
Jeremiah, Enoch, Job.
They were singing the "Song of Zion" on David's harp.

The demons arrived, offensive and vile,
cursing and blaspheming God.
Followed by their 'trophies' dead and gone.
Hitler, Napoleon, Pharaoh, Capone,
Tormented and vexed and grieved.
Waiting for their judgment
From the Throne.

Then a chill swept through the mammoth crowd and the demons squealed with glee,
as a sordid, vulgar, repulsive essence was felt.
Arrogantly prancing, hands held high, draped in a sparkling shroud
Trolled by demons, Satan ascended from Hell.

Then Satan cringed, the sinners groaned!
The demons reeled in pain
as a swell of powerlike silent thunder rolled
With a surge of light beyond intense,
illuminating the universe,
In resplendent glory appeared the Son of God.

Then a Persona, yes, Extraordinaire
appeared in center ring.
God the Father will oversee the duel.
Opening the Book of Life, each grandstand hushed in awe as majestically He said,
"Now here's the rules.
He'll be wounded for their transgressions, bruised for iniquities"
When He said, "By His stripes they're healed," the devil shook!
He screamed, "Sickness is my specialty.I hate that healing junk!"
God said, "You shut your face, I wrote the book!"

Then the Father looked at His only Son and said,
"You know the rules. Your blood will cleanse their sins and calm their fears."
Then He pointed His finger at Satan and said,
"And I know you know the rules.
You've been twisting them to deceive My people for years."

Satan screamed, "I'll kill you Christ!You'll never win this fight!"
The demons wheezed, "That's right, there ain't no way."
Satan jeered, "You're dead meat, Jesus,
I'm gonna bust you UP tonight!"
Jesus said, "Go ahead, make my day!"

The bell rang, the crowd cheered, the fight was on,
And the devil leaped in fury.
With all his evil tricks he came undone.
He threw his jabs of hate and lust.
A stab of pride and envy
but the hand that knew no sin blocked every one.

Forty days and nights they fought, and Satan couldn't touch Him.
Now the final blow saved for the final round.
Prophetically Christ's hands came down
And Satan struck in vengeance!
The blow of death felled Jesus to the ground.

The devils roared in victory!
The saints shocked and perplexed
as wounds appeared upon His hands and feet.
Then Satan kicked Him in His side, and blood and water flowed.
And they waited for the 10 count of defeat.

God the Father turned His head,
His tears announcing Christ was dead!
The 10 count would proclaim the battle's end.
Then Satan trembled through his sweat inunexpected horror, yet...
As God started to count by saying,
"Hey wait a minute, God..."
"Stop!You're counting wrong..."
His eyes are moving...
His fingers are twitching...
"Where's all this Light coming from?"
"He's alive!"
"Oh - nooooo!"
"And yet,"
He has won! He has won!
He's alive forevermore!
He is risen, He is Lord, He has won!
He has won! He's alive forevermore,
He is risen! He is Lord!
Proclaim the news in every tongue,
Through endless ages and beyond
Let it be voiced from mountains loud and strong
Captivity has been set free,
salvation bought for you and me
'Cause Satan is defeated,
And Jesus is
The Champion

(okay, how many of you are going to dig out your recordings to listen to it again?)

Pi Day

Okay, I've never really heard of this since I'm not a math afficianado, but if you read my cousin Liz's blog today (link on the left), you'll read all about Pi Day. Is this just an excuse to eat pie? And if it is, why do you need an excuse???? I've learned quickly that pie is an essential part of the Carter family diet! Mama has some great pie and pie crust recipes, and we're all looking forward to a time not to far away when we can have her fresh rhubarb pie!

In the mean time, enjoy this recipe that can be used as a main course. This was a meal made for our growing family when I was a new mother for the first time. I do not remember who made it for me, and when the recipe was passed on to me, the name wasn't put on it. So sorry, I cannot give full credit.

Spaghetti Pi(e)

6 ounces of spaghetti noodles, cooked
2 tbs butter, stirred into noodles (I used Watkins grapeseed oil -- much healthier! or try the garlic/parmesean grapeseed oil for even more flavor!)

2 eggs beat well
1/4 cup parmesean cheese (stirred in to the eggs)

Mix egg/cheese mixture into cooked spaghetti, then pour into a 10" pie dish, forming a "crust."

Spread 8 ounces cottage cheese over bottom of "crust"

Pour one quarter spaghetti sauce onto pie for "filling"

Bake in 350 oven for 25 minutes

Sprinkle 6 ounces grated mozzarella over top and return to 350 oven for 10 minutes or until lightly brown


I made this along with some great French bread from a recipe given to me by my sister-in-law Julia. It was wonderfully easy and very delicious. Here's her recipe:

1 1/4 tsp yeast
1 tbs sugar
1/2 tsp salt
1 1/4 cup warm water
3 2/3 cup bread flour

Put through dough cycle on bread maker.

After cycle is done, take out dough, punch down, roll out into 8x12 rectangle, roll up long way like a jelly roll. Pinch seams and ends together, brush with olive oil, and let rise until double (about 30-45 minutes).

Before baking, make three slits on top of loaf and brush with egg wash (1 egg with 2 tbs water, beaten together).

Bake on 350 for 20 minutes, remove and brush with egg wash again, returning to oven for 5-10 minutes more. YUM!!!

This was a great meal to make at the same time....when the bread was rising after going thru the dough cycle, I made up the noodles and put together the pie...baked them together, and everything was ready at the same time! Luke kept telling me how WONDERFUL everything was! Tony wasn't as vocal, but he did eat quite a bit of bread, especially.

Tuesday, March 11, 2008


Wow, I've been a bit "blog crazy" today, what with this being my third posting! Susanna is napping (finally!) and Luke is "reading" books, so I have a bit of time, which is nice!

Thought I'd update with what's been going on. For those of you who have been praying about our market employee situation, THANK YOU! We do have a full-time employee this year who just committed today. Diana Kelly, soon-to-be-Bohach, is one of my sister-in-law Julia's best friend. She is marrying Chester Bohach, a man from our church, on Easter weekend, and moving up to Park Rapids from Arkansas. I'm really excited about having Diana join Carter's Red Wagon Farm. She's a wonderful lady, used to working with kids (especially teens), and a good worker. I'm hoping that by having Diana and I both work this summer, we'll be able to cut down alot on our teen employees (for the market) -- maybe rotating 2 or 3 hard-working teens when things start getting busier once strawberry season starts. If you're in the area, stop by (OFTEN!) once we're open and welcome Diana to RWF and to the area!

The kids continue to make Tony and I laugh -- our favorite video right now is Veggie Tales "Duke and the Great Pie War" which has the Veggie Tale version of the stories of baby Moses and of Ruth and Naomi and Boaz. Susanna's newest persona is Miriam, toting around one of her baby dolls and "throwing" him into the river (the kitchen). She's a good "big" sister to baby Moses, and I'm very thankful, as I'm sure he probably would be, that she really isn't his sister!

Luke is enjoying the school work that we do a few times each week and is doing great in learning how to write his alphabet. We learn a new letter each week, and we learned all about "little k" today. Lately, he's gotten to getting this hilarious "angry" look on his face where he squeezes his eyes together, hunches down his eyebrows, and kind of glares at you. If you ask him what he's doing, he'll tell you, "I'm being angry right now." Okay.

We are getting ready for another play date tomorrow. There are two boys in Luke's Cubbies group that he loves to play with, Jeffery Rockensock and Christian Wahl. They are such good friends that Cubbie Leader Mr. Vocelka often has to separate them and put them at different locations at the Cubbie table. Both boys are a year older than Luke. However, Jeffery has a younger sister, Kayla, who is in the same class as Susanna (she's about 6 months younger) and Susanna talks about her often. So...tomorrow, Jeffery and Kayla are coming over to play!

The homeschool network in our area is offered the use of a gymnasium, The Gym Bin, in Bemidji every first and third Monday each month. We've gone twice now, last fall and last week. Susanna especially just loves it and is really quite good at balancing, jumping, and other tumbling things. She did sprain her foot last week and limped around for a few days, but when it was time to leave for the day, she went hysterical, she did NOT want to leave! I worried a bit about Luke. He doesn't realize he's a little guy and was trying to join in the rough play with several teen age boys. Thankfully, they were usually pretty careful around him, but I worry that one day he's going to get really hurt.

Tony has been busy with more seeding, getting greenhouses ready to start planting soon, and other general farm things. He continues to enjoy teaching the 3-year-old Sunday School class, and I love seeing what he's going to come up with for activities beyond the story each week.

For me, I've been busy with Watkins (of course!), talking to a few local businesses about Greenstar, and all the other household things. Lately, I've been hooked on putting together jig saw puzzles, often staying up later than I should to do "one last piece."

Gotta go. The kids are awake and downstairs without supervision. Hmmmm....and it is very, VERY quiet!


Note the tongue out in anticipation!
Busy making a "pizza face"
My cousin Liz (blog link to the left) wrote a pizza crust recipe that is a favorite of theirs and asked us to share our favorite. Several people added their favorites under her comments (Although Aunt Carole still hasn't posted her pizza crust recipe...and she's the first one I remember making home made pizza with, start from scratch! Still have the recipe and use it occasionally!). Here's my contribution, along with a pizza recipe using the crust.
This is from the Ball Blue Book:
Herb Pizza Crust
2 TBS sugar
2 1/4 tsp active dry yeast
1 1/2 cups warm water
dissolve yeast and sugar in water, let sit until foamy
Combine together:
3 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1/2 cup bread flour
1 TBS coarse salt (I use sea salt, Watkins, of course!)
1 TBS basil (again, Watkins)
1 TBS oregano (Watkins, definitely!)
1 TBS thyme (Watkins, what else?)
Add 3 TBS olive oil to dry ingredients, then stir in yeast mixture. Stir until dough forms; shape into ball, place into greased bowl, cover and let rise 45 minutes or so until double in size.

Punch down and divide into 3 balls, letting them rise another 30-45 minutes.

You can use the dough right away, or flatten on a cardboard round, cover tightly, and freeze.
Bake at 450 for 10 minutes, reduce heat and bake at 400 for another 10 minutes.

I usually substitute half of the white flour for whole wheat and also add about 1/4 cup cracked wheat. I've also added rosemary and other's totally yummy!

The kids LOVE to help make this with me and it's really easy for little hands to accomplish!

Herb Margherita Pizza (again, from Ball Blue Book)

1 pizza crust from above recipe (unbaked)
8 Roma tomatoes, sliced crosswise
8 stems asparagus, steamed until fork tender, then cut into 2" pieces (Carter's asparagus, if you can get it!)
Coarse sale and freshly ground pepper (again, what else but Watkins?)
4 TBS olive oil, divided
8 oz shredded mozzarella cheese

Arrange sliced tomatoes on pizza crust. Add aspargus. Season with salt and pepper, if desired. Drizzle 3 TBS olive oil on top. Sprinkle with cheese.

Bake at 450 for 10 minutes, reduce oven to 400 and bake an additional 10 minutes. Remove, and drizzle with remaining olive oil (I've not done this with the olive oil, but it probably does add flavor...with calories!)

More Favorites

and places I can't enjoy too often (since we're so far away from "big" cities!)

1. P.F. Chang's (can you get better Chinese food in the States?)
2. Red Lobster
3. Olive Garden
4. Maggianos (a WONDERFUL true Italian restaurant in Chicago with a franchize in SoCal)
5. Baja Fresh! (the best tex-mex food I've found)
6. Red Robin

Saturday, March 8, 2008

Ah, Minnesota!

One of our state representatives sends out a weekly update -- these are usually pretty neat to read as he has a trivia question as well as a summary of new legislation, both passed and items coming up for vote. Last week, Representative Howes had some fun facts about Minnesota. Did you know....

We're number one in child well-being, home ownership, and access to health insurance.
-Minnesota is ranked first in the nation in child-well being in 2007
-Minnesota is ranked first in the nation in home ownership in 2006
-Minnesota has the lowest rate of people without health insurance

We're number one in voter turnout, Fortune 500 companies per capita, and production of medical devices.
-Minnesota is ranked first in voter turnout for the 2006 election
-Minnesota is ranked first in Fortune 500 companies per capita
-Minnesota is ranked first in production of medical devices according to a study by the University of Massachusetts.

We're number one in sugar beets, sweet corn, green peas, and turkeys.
-Minnesota ranks number one in production of sugar beets, sweet corn, green peas and turkeys

We're number one in ACT scores, the percentage of adults with a high school diploma, and number two in the country in eighth grade math scores.
-Minnesota has the highest average ACT test scores in the nation at 22.5, of states where substantial numbers of students take the ACT test
-Minnesota ranks first in percentage of residents over age 25 with high school diplomas at 93%

We're near the top in E-85 pumps, wind energy, renewable energy, and recycling.
-Minnesota is ranked first with 320 E-85 fuel stations
-Minnesota ranks third in wind energy installed capacity
-Minnesota ranks fourth in ethanol capacity with a 2005 production of nearly 496 million gallons
-Minnesota ranks second in recycling at 43.2 percent

We've been judged the most livable, the healthiest, the most generous, and the hardest working state in the nation.
-Minnesota ranked as America's second most livable state in 2007 and has ranked first or second every year since 1996
-Minnesota ranked second in the nation in 2007 for the healthiest population and has ranked first or second every year since (oops...he didn't fill in the year!)
-Minnesota ranks among the most generous states as a percentage of those who give to charity
-With 74.6% of eligible workers in the labor force in 2004, Minnesota had the highest labor force participation rate among all states

Pretty cool information, hm? While in town today, I picked up a postcard that has signs one is from Minnesota. I found myself laughing at and relating to most all of them!

*The weather is usually 80% of your conversation (well, my kids are my main topic!)
*When you say "down south" you're referring to Iowa.
*Snow tires come standard on your car
*"Perkins" was the only hangout option in high school (okay, so I didn't go to high school here...and we don't have Perkins in PR...but they are ALL OVER the state!)
*You assume when you say "The Cities" people know where you're talking about (Minneapolis/St. Paul for those of you scratching your head)
*Your town has an equal number of bars and churches (I think it was the same in Newton Falls, too...)
* People from other states love to hear you say words with "o"s in them
*You have gone trick or treating in 3 feet of snow
* You've not only walked across a lake, you've driven across one
*You get mad at people who think Fargo is in Minnesota

So, there you have it. Probably more than you've ever known or wanted to know about Minnesota. But doesn't it make you want to come visit? Especially knowing we also have the BEST quality and tasting produce grown anywhere...right here at Carter's Red Wagon Farm? Well....not right now...give us a few more months!

Wednesday, March 5, 2008

Yummy recipes! (Greenbrier Potatoes, Corn Bread, Lemon Meringue pie)

We had some friends over for supper last week, and as I often do, I tried out some new recipes on them. The recipes sounded yummy, but by having guests, just in case they weren't really good, we wouldn't be stuck with the whole amount! (Just kidding...honestly!)

Liz, I gotta warn you I don't think these would fit in with the SB diet, but you have a wonderful knack for knowing what to substitute. These are not low cal or low cholesterol...but if anyone can figure out how to make them so without compromising the taste, let me know!

For supper, we had pork chops -- just regular chops dipped first in a seasoned flour mixture, then in egg, then seasoned bread crumbs (with parmesan cheese mixed in) before frying them brown then baking them 30 minutes, along with the potatoes and corn bread (recipes below).

We also had Carter's own green beans, yummy! along with a modified recipe for Greenbrier's Potatoes, and home made corn bread. I made a "chocolate ugly cake" box mix for dessert, but the next night I made a lemon meringue pie for the first time...yummy again! Here are my recipes!

Greenbrier's Potatoes (similar to scalloped potatoes)
5 pounds potatoes, peeled and sliced (I used red potatoes and left the skins on)
2 cups whipping cream
2 garlic cloves, minced (I used Watkins garlic granuals)
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper (I used one teaspoon Watkins onion and garlic pepper, which is REALLY, REALLY good stuff for seasoning all kinds of things!)
6 eggs, lightly beaten
3 1/2 cups parmesan cheese, divided

Place sliced potatoes in a large saucepan, add cream, garlic, salt, and pepper; bring to boil then reduce heat, cover, simmer for 30 minutes or until potaotes are crisp-tender (I sprayed the bottom of my pan with Watkins cooking spray really cut down on the baked-on potatoes after simmering in cream for 30 minutes!)
Remove from heat, stir in eggs and 2 3/4 cup cheese, pour in a greased 9x13 baking dish; sprinkle with remaining cheese. Bake uncovered, 30 minutes, at 400.

Note: my saucepan really did have lots of baked on potatoes on the bottom the first time I made these -- I made them twice this weekend. The second time, after spraying the bottom of the pan, it really helped in clean up. I also soaked my pan overnight after cooking with water and a squirt of Watkins liquid dish soap which I've found to be GREAT in easily removed baked/burnt on food in any kind of pan. Honestly, after soaking with the Watkins dish soap overnight, I have never had to scrub to remove baked/burnt on food.

Buttery Corn Bread:
2/3 cup butter, softened
1 cup sugar
3 eggs
1 2/3 cup milk
2 1/3 cup all purpose flour
1 cup cornmeal
4 1/2 teaspoons baking powder (again, I used Watkins!)
1 teaspoon salt (which I omitted)

In a mixing bowl, cream butter and sugar. Combine eggs and milk. Combine flour, cornmeal, baking powder, and salt. Add to creamed mixture alternating with egg mixture. Pour in greased 9x13 baking pan. Bake 22-27 minutes at 400 or until toothpick inserted comes out clean.

I think everyone at supper had at least two big slices of corn bread smothered with honey. It was REALLY good!

I know neither of these recipes are very healthy with all the eggs, butter, and cream, but wow, for the occasional splurge, YUM!

I also ended up making lemon meringue pie twice this weekend, it was so good! one for a Watkins party, the other for a family get-together. I was honestly suprised at how quick it was.

I cheated on the pie crust and got the rolled up kind at the grocery store. You can probably use a graham cracker crust, too. I made a batch of lemon pie filling from Watkins Lemon Dessert mix (1/2 cup dessert mix, 1/2 cup sugar, 1/2 cup water, stir together, then add 2 slightly beaten egg YOLKS mixed in 2 1/2 cup water -- cook over medium heat until hot and bubbly and thick, pour into (baked) pie shell.

for the meringue, I beat the two egg whites (left over from the eggs for the filling) until foamy, added 6 tablespoons of sugar and beat until stiff (thanks for the Kitchen-Aid mixer, mom!), then mixed together 1/2 cup water with 1 tablespoon cornstarch and 1 teaspoon (Watkins, of course!) vanilla -- adding that to the egg whites and thoroughly mixing them together....the mixture turns shiny white. Top your pie, making sure it complely covers the top of the pie all the way to the crust, and bake on 350 for 10-12 minutes. Yummy, yummy, yummy!

I did the meringue while the pie filling was still warm, right after adding it to the shell.

All in all, we ate great all weekend, and I'm still trying to figure out how I lost two pounds over the weekend!

Tuesday, March 4, 2008


I realize it's been some time now since I've done a general update on what's been going on in our family. With Spring tentatively approaching (we still have LOTS of snow!), things are starting to get a bit busier.

Dad Carter has been starting to seed a variety of different plants, and it won't be too long now before we start transplanting seedlings, something I really enjoy doing. A few years back, a green house was added on to the farm house with a swimming pool in really retains the heat and is excellent for starting plants while the weather outside is still frightful.

The kids have really been enjoying the pool and are starting to turn in to little fish. Luke is really careful about water safety; however, Susanna doesn't have too much fear at all. She'll just jump off the steps when she wants to get going....even if there is no one around. Tony and I have both rescued her as she landed on the bottom of the pool -- she's been chewed out thoroughly, and this last time I stressed to her the importance of never going in without us right by her, otherwise she could easily die. My kids both have a healthy fear of the words "dangerous" and "die," so hopefully this has sunk in to her (excuse the pun!). It's time to seriously start teaching them to swim. I'm planning on getting the Red Cross swim manual since all the step-by-step lessons I used to give so long ago are a bit rusty to me (and they don't start giving swim lessons until age 5 here and only in the summer, when it's next to impossible for us to commit time outside of the farm!). I do have to admit, she was very apprehensive about even putting her head under the water with me holding her hands after our latest talk.....
This is Rudy. He's been growing from when we first got him. Luke still occasionally calls him Sampson, but he more often than not refers to him as Rudy. The other day he came home from the farm all excited about playing with Rudy and giving him kisses before they came back home. (Yes, Mom, I remember about Ron....)
Susanna has lately been loving when I make her hair like "Laura's" on Little House on the Prairie. Here she is looking like "Laura" (while watching Laura) in one of her pretty dresses. She is SUCH a girl! Today, though, she has decided she is Pippi Longstockings and informed me her monkey is off riding on her horse. We love watching that movie, and I'm trying to find a good kids copy of the book series.
This is Luke with his cousin Laura (Rita's daughter, before they returned to the Phillippines) and his friend Nikki (who still claims she is going to marry him when they get growed up) at Cubbies. Luke still goes to Cubbies hoping Laura will be there since she isn't at her house any more!
Our nephew Clinton (Mark and Beth's oldest son) came back to town in the early morning hours on Sunday via train. He'll be staying at the farm helping Tony out with a few things before leaving for a week long trip to Guatemala to visit Dwight. It'll be a Carter excursion -- Mama (Grandma) and Clinton will be meeting up with Tessa (Clinton's sister) and Paul and Carrie (Paul is the oldest Carter son, Carrie is his college-aged youngest daughter) along the way.
I've also been pretty busy with Watkins parties lately and have several more scheduled between March and April as well as one the first weekend of May. I've not spent much time lately with Greenstar things, but my mind is still thinking of what all to do. I'm very thankful I have another local (to me) customer for Greenstar, and there are a few other businesses I want to present to within the next week or two.
One of the other big things that has been going on is starting to look at what we'll need to do as we plan on home schooling Luke and Susanna....while we don't "officially" start for more than a year, I've been working with them on the alphabet. They both love learning, Luke especially, so we've been focusing each week on a different letter of the alphabet, the sound(s) it makes, and how to write it. We'll be working on "k" this week, and I'm starting to finally put together a list of words that Luke will be able to sound out. He told me again last night that he wants to be able to read by himself, which is great motivation for both of us! We have a book series called "My First Steps to Reading" -- one book for each letter. They all start out similar...."Little a (b, c, d, etc.) has a box. I will find things that start with my "a" sound and put them in my box...." and it goes through several different words. Both kids love the books, but I wasn't sure exactly how much was REALLY sinking in until a couple weeks back, I got several empty boxes, labeled them with letters A-I, and dumped a bunch of the kids' toys in the middle of the room and told them to put them in the correct sound boxes. Everything Susanna picked up went into the "b" box, but Luke asked me to say the word for each toy -- I did, over-emphasizing the first sound, and he put every toy in the right box! I was really impressed!
It intimidates me, though, as I realize I'll need to start looking for circula soon -- will I find a good fit for our family? What will the costs be? There is SO much out there! Thankfully, two home-school mom friends of mine told me about MACHE, or Minnesota Association of Christian Home Eductators. They have an annual conference each year, and this year it will be in Duluth. They have a special session for parents who are starting out as well as two days of conferences and workshops on all kinds of things, including identifying learning styles, working with right-brain children (WHAT is a right-brained child????), etc. After talking about it and praying about it, we decided that I'll go this year, take in several of the different sessions, and start looking at the myriad of materials out there for home schoolers. The conference will be in April.
Let's see....what else is going on? We still don't have a definite "adult in charge" for the market this year. There is a lady moving to this area who is considering the job...and who would be PERFECT for it...but she isn't ready to commit yet. Please keep this in your prayers, as it will be hard for me this summer and possibly next summer until the kids are old enough to be of some help while tagging along with Tony and/or me.
Tony continues to teach the 3-year-old class at church, much to Luke's delight. This past Sunday the story was on the little lost sheep, and Tony asked an unsuspecting Luke if he wanted to bring one of his sheep to church that day. Luke eagerly picked out his favorite sheep....which promptly disappeared causing a bit of concern for Luke who would every once in awhile comment about his missing sheep. Tony was telling me that, if time allowed, he was also planning on playing "Lost Sheep" in class, with one child hiding while the others hid their eyes. Yeah, I had to laugh at that one. Get a group of ten or more 3-year-olds to all keep their eyes closed so another child could hide? However, it sounds like it worked. When Simone's mom came to pick her up and asked her what the story was about, Simone eagerly told her about "him going under the table and no one could find him" as she pointed to Luke. Sharon, not really understanding what her daughter was talking about, quickly took her to task for playing during Sunday School and not paying attention....boy, was she surprised when I informed her Simone really HAD been paying attention and just told her the Sunday School story! Tony was in a bit of a quandry Sunday as his helper didn't show up and he wasn't able to get word to anyone else to come an assist. I still wish I could've seen him as he led his entire Sunday School class to the bathroom when one child had to go! And watched his face as the girls started taking entirely too long in the girls' bathroom! (Thanks, Brit, for coming along when you did!)
We also had a fun evening at my in-laws Sunday evening as Mama threw a big bash welcoming Clinton back to Minnesota.
I have some yummy new recipes that I'm planning on posting, too...look for them within the next day or so...unless I have time later today to post them!
That's all for now....

Saturday, March 1, 2008


One of the many things I enjoy (usually) about Tony's family and extended family are their email debates. While other topics have been discussed lately, the major theme that has been popping up and continuing for some time now has centered around politics. As I was adding my two cents yesterday, one of my favorite passages from the Bible came to mind -- Job chapters 38-41. I remember "discovering" these chapters during a time when I was really struggling with something and just really having my mind blown by God's words. Wow! Through the years since, these chapters have been the first thing I've turned to when struggling with different issues in my life. And while God puts everything in perspective here, really showing Who He is and what He has done, it is such a comfort to me through these words when I remember that regardless of what is happening, HE is in control and even bettter, this great and awesome God Who did all that He reminded Job of loves lil ole me!

I am thankful that I grew up in a relatively normal family and that my father, while only human, did a good job of modeling the "fatherhood" of our heavenly Father. However, these chapters really bring about the awesomeness (in it's literal translation), power, and holiness of God. I want to share some of the verses from these chapters (from the New Living Translation -- EXCELLENT translation!) but would really encourage each of you to take the time to read this passage for yourself, too.

Not much is really known about Job, but it is thought that he lived somewhere around the time of Abraham, pretty certainly before God's covenant with Abraham. I just know I can't wait to meet him one day!

(from chapter 37, Job's friend Elihu talking to Job): 1 “My heart pounds as I think of this. It trembles within me. 2 Listen carefully to the thunder of God’s voice as it rolls from his mouth. 3 It rolls across the heavens, and his lightning flashes in every direction. 4 Then comes the roaring of the thunder— the tremendous voice of his majesty. He does not restrain it when he speaks. 5 God’s voice is glorious in the thunder. We can’t even imagine the greatness of his power.

from chapter 38: 1 Then the Lord answered Job from the whirlwind: 2 “Who is this that questions my wisdom with such ignorant words? 3 Brace yourself like a man, because I have some questions for you, and you must answer them. 4 “Where were you when I laid the foundations of the earth? Tell me, if you know so much. 5 Who determined its dimensions and stretched out the surveying line? 6 What supports its foundations, and who laid its cornerstone 7 as the morning stars sang together and all the angels shouted for joy?

I grin at these next verses in chapter 38....God shows sarcasm, too! 19 “Where does light come from, and where does darkness go? 20 Can you take each to its home? Do you know how to get there? 21 But of course you know all this! For you were born before it was all created, and you are so very experienced!

31 “Can you direct the movement of the stars—binding the cluster of the Pleiades or loosening the cords of Orion? 32 Can you direct the sequence of the seasons or guide the Bear with her cubs across the heavens? 33 Do you know the laws of the universe? Can you use them to regulate the earth?

The incredibleness of some of the creatures God created and their mannerisms (from chapter 39): 13 “The ostrich flaps her wings grandly, but they are no match for the feathers of the stork. 14 She lays her eggs on top of the earth, letting them be warmed in the dust. 15 She doesn’t worry that a foot might crush them or a wild animal might destroy them. 16 She is harsh toward her young, as if they were not her own. She doesn’t care if they die. 17 For God has deprived her of wisdom. He has given her no understanding. 18 But whenever she jumps up to run, she passes the swiftest horse with its rider. 26 “Is it your wisdom that makes the hawk soar and spread its wings toward the south? 27 Is it at your command that the eagle rises to the heights to make its nest? 28 It lives on the cliffs, making its home on a distant, rocky crag.

And what an awesome question, from chapter 40: 1 Then the Lord said to Job,
2 “Do you still want to argue with the Almighty? You are God’s critic, but do you have the answers?”

And Job was pretty smart in his reply: 4 “I am nothing—how could I ever find the answers? I will cover my mouth with my hand. 5 I have said too much already. I have nothing more to say.”

However, God doesn't give him any breathing room yet...He still continues (at times sarcastically) reminding Job of just Who He is and how awesome and holy He is: 7 “Brace yourself like a man, because I have some questions for you, and you must answer them. 8 “Will you discredit my justice and condemn me just to prove you are right? 9 Are you as strong as God? Can you thunder with a voice like his? 10 All right, put on your glory and splendor, your honor and majesty. 11 Give vent to your anger. Let it overflow against the proud. 12 Humiliate the proud with a glance; walk on the wicked where they stand. 13 Bury them in the dust. Imprison them in the world of the dead. 14 Then even I would praise you, for your own strength would save you.

and a reminder in chapter 41: 11 Who has given me anything that I need to pay back? Everything under heaven is mine.

As strange as it may sound to some, these really are comforting chapters to me. They remind me that there are times God may answer my questions but He doesn't need to...He is God. It also reminds me of the many facets of God...not just the loving, fatherly side that as a child of His I see so often. It makes it easier for me to accept the things I have no answers for -- when I don't understand the trials and injustice I sometimes go through, when I see the horrible things going on in the world and wonder why God allows them to continue. Who am I to question God? Who am I to try and figure out how God works? I am content to know that I am a redeemed child of the most high God and that one day I will be worshipping at His feet, taking in all of His glorious creation, for all time.

Job had a humble response to God in chapter 42 when God was done reminding Job of Who He is: 2 “I know that you can do anything, and no one can stop you. 3 You asked, ‘Who is this that questions my wisdom with such ignorance?’ It is I—and I was talking about things I knew nothing about, things far too wonderful for me. 4 You said, ‘Listen and I will speak! I have some questions for you, and you must answer them.’ 5 I had only heard about you before, but now I have seen you with my own eyes. 6 I take back everything I said, and I sit in dust and ashes to show my repentance.”

God ended up blessing Job with even more than Job had before. I used to think it was because Job was just this unknowing pawn in a struggle between God and Satan and had everything but his life and a complaining wife yanked away from him, but the more I read about Job, I think the blessing came not just because of Job's faithfulness to God but even more because of his humbleness towards God and his willingness to seek God's forgiveness on behalf of his well-meaning but little-knowing friends.

And one day it would be really cool to see what a leviathan is!