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Thursday, December 29, 2011

Reading the Bible

   
      It is confession time.  I don't read the Bible nearly as often as I should.  I pray daily and believe and have accepted Jesus Christ as my personal Savior but to be honest, I don't read the Bible much anymore.  I am so embarrassed to say it but it is true.  There are times that I read it because I feel obligated to read it. (I know, I am awful.)  Or I pick it up and read some of Psalms or Proverbs.  Last night I was trying to find something to read at the fireworks stand today and seen the Bible and decided to bring it.
    Let me tell you what...I am on FIRE for it.  I started at Genesis and read 37 chapters today.  Everything was exciting again.  I learned stuff from verses I have had read over and over.  Today, it was just different.   It was so interesting and wonderful.  I took 2 full pages of notes over those chapters too.  Thank you Lord for patience with me and for igniting a thirst for Your Word again.  Forgive me for losing interest.
    Has this ever happened to you?

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Merry Christmas!!!

   I just wanted to wish everyone a very Merry Christmas.  I hope everyone got everything they wanted and got to share the day with loved ones.  Please take a moment to thank the Lord for the blessings you received today and every day.  Happy birthday Jesus!!!

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Prayers again please...

   Once again, we are needing prayers.  We have a bill that is due by Tuesday for $170 and we do not have the money to pay it.  Please pray that God will provide a way for us to pay this bill.  I am setting up downtown and doing a bake sale so also pray that my stand will be shown God's favor and we can make the money we need.
Thank you,
In Christ,
Melody

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Pizza and Bowling!

     Last night our family was fortunate enough to get to go to Pizza Hut and go bowling.  It was the first time in a long time that we were able to do something like that and we had a fantastic time.  Gift certificates for things like that always make an awesome gift to families that do not get to do stuff like that very often.  Anyway, we wanted to share pictures from our family night.  Hope you enjoy!









  Thank you for allowing us to share our special night with you.
In Christ,
Melody

Monday, December 12, 2011

Boy Scouts and Bachelor's Degree

    To begin with, I received my Bachelor's Degree in the mail this past week.  I graduated with honors (cum laude).   It was a Bachelor in Fine Arts in Visual Communications Degree with a concentration in Digital Design.  I just reapplied to the university to undertake my Master's Degree program.  I am going for a Master's in Education degree with a focus on curriculum and instruction for educators.  This doesn't really pertain to anything...I just wanted to share this accomplishment with you.  :-)

     Also, tonight was a special ceremony with our Boy Scout troop.  Tonight we held a ceremony because one of the new boys to the troop earned his right to be called a Scout tonight and earned his Scout badge.  We had the ceremony, which my son Brandon (who is the Senior Patrol Leader) got to perform and then had cake and punch. It was really nice and we really enjoyed it.  Here are some pictures from the ceremony:

                                                 John (the new Scout) and Brandon during the ceremony.


                                           Some of the friends and family there to watch the ceremony.


                                                                   John and his mother. 

    Well, thank you for letting me share.

In Christ,
Melody

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Blessings and Hardships


       Satan is not a nice fellow.  It seems like every time we get a blessing, Satan comes along and tries to steal it.  
        We have been really struggling financially for some time now.  (Like most of you are too.)   We have been trying to make some extra money by selling our goodies.  By doing so, we are half way keeping our head above the water.  But guess what?  Just learned that some cuts are being made and we are going to lose about $250 a month in income.
      That may not seem like a lot to some people but that is HUGE to us.  We have already scaled down a lot and do not have any other areas to scale down to adjust.   We do not have cable tv or anything like that.  We haven’t had cable/dish or whatever for a couple of years now.    We don’t have a home phone, only a cheap cell phone. 
      Our car is an older model full of dents with a broken windshield.  I am not complaining.  It gets us around but I am just saying we don’t have anything fancy.  We have what it takes to get by.   We have chickens and a pig and do a lot of home canning. 
     We own just a pair or two of shoes each and enough clothes a piece to get by.  My kids don’t own Nike or Abercrombie items.  We buy our clothes at Wal-mart or the thrift store.  We do our laundry in a 5 gallon bucket .   

       How can we work in a $250 cut?  I don’t know but I know God knows the answer.  Please pray for our family and I know God will see us through. 
In Christ,
Melody

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Favorite Holiday Recipe (linky)

     One of my favorite holiday recipes is CHOCOLATE COVERED BACON.  When I first heard of this, I almost gagged but it is surprisingly delicious.  We love it.  Salty and sweet never tasted so good together.   They make great gifts and they are great to sell at bazaars and bake sales. 

      They are also super easy to make.  All you need is thick sliced bacon (the thicker the better), semi-sweet chocolate chips and shortening.     To begin:  place the bacon on a cookie sheet and place it in a preheated 400 degree oven.  Bake for 20 min.  You can cook it for a shorter amount of time for softer bacon but I think the crisp bacon works so much better.  Once the bacon is cooked, blot it with a paper towel to absorb the oil and remove from pan to cool.  As it cools, place the chocolate chips (1 bagful/2 c.) into a microwave safe bowl.  Add in 2 T. shortening and "nuke" for 30 seconds at a time, stirring often, until completely melted. 
     Once the mixture is melted, use a pastry brush or the back side of a teaspoon to coat one side of the bacon completely.  Once that side is completely dry, turn over and coat the back side.   Package them up prettily or eat them.
    Here is how mine turned out!
What are some of your favorite Christmas recipes?   
Here are a few more sites to find more great holiday recipes:
Smockity Frocks
The Common RoomLife in a shoe
Raising Olives
  In Christ,
     Melody

Friday, December 9, 2011

Christmas Traditions


         Christmas is coming soon (as if you didn’t know).  J    I was sitting here today thinking about past Christmas’.  Growing up, our family always celebrated Christmas with a few traditions.  Family gatherings always took place at my Grandma and Grandpa’s house (my Dad’s parents).  My grandparents had 7 children.  If I figured it up right, those 7 kids had a total of 22 kids (give or take a kid or two).  Add in all the other relatives that showed up, I am sure we had around 50 people there every major holiday. 
        At Thanksgiving, we all did a name exchange for Christmas.  I always wanted to get my cousin Tangy’s name but I think I only got her name once in all the years.   The big party at Grandma’s was always on Christmas Eve.  Grandma had a huge Christmas tree and all the kids put on a play for the grown-ups.  We practiced one night a week from Thanksgiving up until Christmas Eve.  We did the nativity story.  I don’t care if you were 2 or 22.  If you were a “kid” then you did the play.  After the play, it was like a talent show.  Some kids may sing a solo or duet; some may read a poem; some may play their musical instrument.  Good or bad, everyone loved it.
       Then we all got together and sang Christmas carols and then there would be a knock on the door and Santa Claus had arrived.  He had a gift and a bag of fruit, candy and nuts for every single child and adult there.  It was WONDERFUL!   I wish that could have continued forever but things change. 
     My Grandma passed away and with her passing went that Christmas tradition.  Each family just started doing things on their own. 
        My immediate family had a tradition all their own.  Christmas Eve once we got home from Grandma’s, we sorted all the presents into stacks by names.  Christmas morning, as kids, we always woke up as early as possible, I mean, like 4:30 or 5 a.m. to open gifts, so having the gifts in stacks was easier.   We would all wake up and make a bee line to the gifts.  After the gifts were all open, Dad took us all out to breakfast.  We usually went to Holiday Inn because as a child, we didn’t have IHOP’s, etc. that were always open. On Christmas Day, about the only place open for breakfast would be a hotel’s restaurant.  (BTW, my Dad is still doing this today.  I don’t go anymore because I live 5 hours from there.)
      Now that I have my own family, we really don’t have that many new traditions of our own yet.  On Christmas Eve, we sit around eating homemade goodies and singing Christmas carols.  We talk about why we celebrate Christmas and we sort out the gifts.  On Christmas morning, we still get up super early and now either Ron makes a big breakfast for everyone or if we have the money, we go out to eat too. 
      I would love to implement in some new traditions.  Can you help me?  What does your family do now or when you were a child?  Give me some ideas. 
In Christ,
Melody

Thursday, December 8, 2011

God is Awesome!


God is Awesome!

     God is truly awesome and knows us so well and ALWAYS provides for us.  He knows what we need. 
     I have been running myself to death lately.  Seven days a week I am on the computer updating my ads on Facebook.  I have ads on 8 different pages with 3-10 ads per page.   To update them all takes about 2 hours and they need to be updated twice a day.  If you don’t update the ads, then the ads are so far down the page, no one can find them.
     On top of that, I have people responding to the ads each day.   I average probably 10-15 comments a day to reply to.  Then there are the emails.  I get 25 or so emails a day regarding my products.   They all need answered and usually have 2-3 replies back and forth each. 
        Then 2 days a week I am also doing deliveries (yes, that is on top of updating, replying, etc.).  I deliver to several different cities on Wednesdays and Fridays.  I usually leave home about 12:30 in the afternoon and don’t get home until sometime between 6 & 8 p.m.  
    Oh, and did I mention on Tuesdays and Thursdays, besides updating ads, responding to comments, and answering emails, I am also helping to make all the goodies that have to be delivered?  Thank goodness my hubby and oldest son help me out there.   
     And now that the holidays are near, I am also setting up in my town with tables on the weekend to sell my goodies.  And the point of me telling you all this you ask….
     Well, I am explaining it all so you can understand things.  So you get the whole story.  Anyway….
     My MS has really been acting up a lot lately.  I have a lot of confusion and memory problems with it right now besides some of the physical issues.  I have been only sleeping about 4-6 hours a night.  My mind is too busy to shut down and since I am having issues, things are taking a lot longer to do so I worry I won’t have enough time to do it all that I get up to start the day earlier.  For example, the ads usually take me 2 hours and some days it is taking me 4 hours to do. 
     Ron, the boys, and several of my friends have really been worried about me.  I know I needed to slow down but this is what is paying our bills right now.  And with Christmas coming up, money that is already tight is SUPER tight.  I felt like I couldn’t slow down because we need the money so desperately. 
     This is going to be the smallest Christmas EVER, as far as gifts that I buy for my children goes.  My 13 year old son asked me to take back one of his gifts so he could have the money from it to buy me a gift because I won’t be able to give him any money this year to buy something for me.  It is tight but it is tight for everyone this year I know.  Hey, we have each other and we will be together so that is what really counts.  Right?  Right!
     So, a few days ago my phone stopped working.  Makes it hard because I always call the people I am meeting to tell them I am in their city; I call and ask them “Where are you?” and stuff like that.  I also have some customers that do not use the computer and only call or text me their orders so the phone is pretty important.  This week I have had to really adjust.  It is a pain not to have a phone but not totally necessary.  It is difficult without one but I can adapt.  The Internet is the one thing I really, really need for my business so I didn’t slow down a bit. 
     But ya know what?  God seen what I was doing to myself and knew it was wearing me down and affecting my health so He helped me.  Two nights after my phone had issues, our internet went out.  Called the company and either the satellite got out of alignment or the modem went out and it will be up to two weeks before a technician could fix it.  At first I was upset and stressed.  But then I felt peace and thanked God for allowing this to happen. 
       I would not have slowed down on my own.  God seen it all and knew that I had to be forced to slow down.  Only by God’s love and His gift to us, was I able to slow down.  I had nights I laid in bed with my feet up and watched some tv with my family.  I finally had time to organize my desk.  I mixed up some homemade spices.  I filled out my Christmas cards.  I took a deep breath. 
    See?  I could have looked at the phone issues and the internet going out as a bad thing.  But it wasn’t.  It was God giving me what I needed at the time.  I may not have WANTED it at first but I NEEDED it and I thank Him for allowing it to happen.  God is truly awesome and amazing and I give Him all the glory and praise.

In Christ,
Melody