Mary and Martha, grace and smores cookies…

It’s been one of those days where just the basic necessities of life get done…laundry, dishes, cooking, baths, haircuts. I did get through two bins of clothes but really this is all I had the energy for. I was up from 4:30 – 6:30 AM with the little one so my movements were slow and I made them count.

I threw porkchops in the crockpot while making up some more granola for breakfast. It was nice to not even have to think about supper as that’s when I feel most worn down these days.

What the Lord has shown me this past week, despite my drive to push and get everything done for this move, is that His grace will sustain me if only I will be a Mary, not a Martha. It took a severe cold to make me stop and sit and stop doing. Instead I finished up Crazy Love and Holiness for Housewives. Fifteen minutes here and there between household duties to just sit until I felt strong enough to get back up and keep going. I felt filled up with His grace and love and mercy and compassion. It didn’t mean I still didn’t have to wash diapers or do dishes or cook for my family or clean the kitchen or give baths or nurse in the middle of the night. My exhaustion did not go away. But my disposition changed to one of allowing Him to mold me to His image…allowing a bit of Jesus living to touch the lives of my family.

And because of this I was able to pray and not only finish the dishes but find grace enough to bake for my family. Adam is now sick on the couch and I am usually too busy with littles to help take care of him much. But my prayer was that even though I was tired that I could push through and show him grace too. Dinner was delicious and so easy that it will be back on my menu rotation again. For sweets I kept thinking smores…googled…came upon this recipe and baked. Oh how heavenly a bit of smores cookie is! (Or, as Gabe calls them, smookies!) And, my tastiest treat, was Adam commenting on how well I was taking care of him as I delivered his cookies alongside a steaming mug of caramel apple cider.

“Are you feeling all right?” he says, “you never take care of me like this when I’m sick!” Immediately I remembered my prayer, smiled and thanked God again for His grace that overfloweth through me to another in such a simple way. How much better this feels then to lose myself in a novel, or television, or the computer, by myself in my own selfish pursuit of tired escapism.

A way in which the wrong sort of escape shows up against the right is in the matter of the effect it produces afterward. This is abundantly obvious in the case of the extremes: self-indulgence leaves a sense of disgust, while perfect correspondence with the grace of the moment brings liberty and confidence in God…If we were to realize that God is our true rest, we would waste far less time running around looking for somewhere peaceful or pleasurable where we could throw off all our cares and enjoy ourselves.   ~Holiness for Housewives

And for any others out there ready to treat their family with a bit of grace today, here is that wonderful recipe brought to you from Baked Perfection. Enjoy! The only changes I made was using shortening for 1/2 the butter (always makes a cookie better!) and skipping the hershey’s bars…didn’t have them and don’t need them, regular chocolate chips work just fine. But, I must say, it’s really the graham crumbs that really make this cookie!

picture courtesy of Baked Perfection

S’mores Cookies – from blog: Baked Perfection
adapted from Make and Bake

1 1/2 cups all purpose flour

1 cup graham cracker crumbs

1 teaspoon baking soda

1 teaspoon salt

1 dash of cinnamon

1 cup (2 sticks) butter, softened

3/4 cup sugar

3/4 cup brown sugar

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

2 eggs

2 cups miniature chocolate chips

1 1/2 cups mini marshmallows

2 Hershey bars, chopped

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.  In a medium bowl combine the flour, graham cracker crumbs, baking soda, salt, and dash of cinnamon. In a second larger bowl beat together the butter, sugar, brown sugar and vanilla extract until creamy. Add the eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition. Slowly beat in the flour mixture until smooth. Stir in the chocolate chips. Drop by rounded tablespoon onto ungreased cookie sheet.

Bake for 8 minutes, and remove from the oven. Push 3 to 4 marshmallows and a few pieces of hershey bar into each cookies. Return to the oven and bake an additional 3-4 minutes until fully cooked. Cool cookies on a wire rack. Makes approximately 4 dozen cookies.

As Jesus and his disciples were on their way, he came to a village where a woman named Martha opened her home to him. She had a sister called Mary, who sat at the Lord’s feet listening to what he said. But Martha was distracted by all the preparations that had to be made. She came to him and asked, “Lord, don’t you care that my sister has left me to do the work by myself? Tell her to help me!”

“Martha, Martha,” the Lord answered, “you are worried and upset about many things, but only one thing is needed. Mary has chosen what is better, and it will not be taken away from her.”  ~Luke 10:38-42

holy experience

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Home Atmosphere

As I am packing up, decluttering, organizing and overall dreaming of how my new house will fit together ~ or how I want it to fit together ~ I am thinking a lot about home atmosphere. And while organizing my favorite blogs bookmarks I found this post that I meant to read on home atmosphere and culture which led to sharing this whole wonderful series with you. I think it a world of progress that is plowing forward we could all stand to step back a moment and remind ourselves that motherhood and family is a blessing…a calling…a ministry, not one more job that is thrust upon us in this hectic world.

A Wise Women Builds Her Home

So please, click on the button above, scroll down to the bottom for the first in the series, grab a cup of coffee or tea, turn off your mute button and allow the music to soothe you as His words minister to you as a manager of your home. Have a great day everyone!!!

A wise woman builds her home but the foolish woman tears it down with her own hands.

holy experience

Of Apples and Caramel…September Days

It is 9:53 AM on a Sunday morning. I should just be pulling into our church parking lot ready to sing and worship. But it has been that kind of week. A week full of a teething 15 month old with a fever who literally won’t sleep at night. A week of me catching 2-3 twenty-minute catnaps during the middle of the night for a week straight and trying to function the next day. A weekend of a 3 year old getting the flu and having to miss a birthday party because we can’t get the fever of 103.8 to come down. So, to church we didn’t go this morning in order to, instead, administer meds and snuggles and doze in a chair together.

So instead of praise music, I put on the one CD that calms me…that calms the kids…that restores our household.

And I sipped a cup of Cafe Verona with a touch of brown sugar because it is shopping day and I am out of white. I pulled out my Victoria magazine which has been sitting in my basket for over a month waiting for me. I read of Beatrix Potter and stories of travel with pictures of tucked away inns and shops full of beautiful collections bunched together waiting to be sought out by just the right person. And I felt equilibrium returning. I thanked the Lord that He could restore me this morning even if I had not the energy to meet with Him in the assembly of a church building. I felt the coolness of the first fall breezes brush my legs and I felt His touch and knew that He is still right here, amidst my family, in the fall air, still wanting to be with me.

I took another sip of coffee and ate some cinnamon bread spread with homemade peach butter. And I read this quote, perfect for the morning…

By all these lovely tokens, September days are here. With summer’s best of weather and autumn’s best of cheer.  ~Author Unknown

…and I was transported back to childhood…of days dreaming of what my life might become…of reading other quotes and discovering names like Walt Whitman, John Keates, Jane Austen. Names that I became acquainted with only in this special medium for they were never introduced to me in a public school setting. Quotes set in beautiful cursive that I carefully cut out and saved, relishing the intricacy of the language even if I didn’t understand it.

I sipped my coffee and was inspired and enticed to shop for fall ingredients and delight in the eating pleasures of autumn.

Hot Caramel Apple Cider

12 whole cloves

1 orange

2 quarts apple cider

3 cinnamon sticke

1 cup heavy whipping cream

1/3 cup caramel sauce

Press cloves into skin of orange. Bring apple cider to boil, add orange & cinnamon sticks. Reduce heat, simmer on low for 1 hour. Stir in cream and caramel sauce until heated through. Garnish with whipping cream and ground cinnamon.

Homemade Caramels

2 cups heavy whipping cream

1 1/2 cups light corn syrup

1 cup sugar

1 cup packed brown sugar

1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened

1 teaspoon vanilla

Spray 11x8x2 pan. Bring 1 cup cream, corn syrup, sugars, and butter to boil over medium heat stirring often. Add 1 cup more cream and cook without stirring till 234 degrees is reached. Pull from heat and stir in vanilla. Pour into pan and refrigerate 2-4 hours. Remove and let warm to room temp. Slice into 48 pieces and wrap in waxed paper. Store at room temp.

I sipped my coffee and delighted in the pictures that made me long for fall to fully get here. That,  again, reminded me of my passion of photography that the Lord instilled in me just so. And realized that this blog is the place I get to live out that passion. So here are my morning photos to share with others. To inspire on a Sunday morning. I will delight in the simplicity of this season and thank my Creator for His glorious imagination. Thank Him for the seasons of life that turn and bring just the right amount of change to restore and uplift!

The first pumpkin picked.

Bumblebees still visiting flowers.

The first successful pumpkin patch that is taking over the garden.

More pumpkins hidden to be found later.

Apples almost ready to pick.

An herb garden sorely in need of pruning back for fall and freezing for the winter.

Pumpkin Blossoms bringing color to an inside table.

Turning Three

HAPPY 3RD BIRTHDAY, DELILAH JANE!!!

A Birthday Breakfast:

Donuts

Strawberry Milk

Homemade Gifts from the Siblings

Mom & Dad’s Presents

The new Veggie Tales movie "SweetPea Beauty"

Woodzeez Mice Family

Justice League Set with Wonderwoman and Hawkgirl

The Birthday Dinner

Lasagna with a Sweet Marinara Sauce

Fresh Cherries

Garden Herb Salad

Artisan Garlic French Bread

(from scratch and oh so wonderful soft and melt-in-your-mouth delectable!)

The Birthday Cake

with sparkle candles

Presents & Balloons from Grandparents

50th Anniversary Hello Kitty

We love you, baby girl!!! You are SO special to us and we are so proud of you for wanting to share your toys with the other kids.  Happy Birthday!