Sunday, July 31, 2011

Bible in 90 Days: Week 13 Schedule

I wasn't sure how I would enjoy reading through all four gospels, one right after the other.  I thought it may be redundant after the second.  But, fortunately, I didn't find that at all.  I really enjoyed it and was given a fresh perspective about Who Christ was and is today.  Of the four gospels, I think John moved my heart the most.  John's account of Christ's life, death and resurrection is different than the others.  Not only does it include more stories about the life of Christ, but the tone of it is entirely different than Matthew, Mark and Luke.

If you ever wondered who Christ was, claimed to be and came to do, John provides those answers!  Many say that Christ was a good person, a leader, a teacher, a wise man or a prophet.  But you cannot read the account of Jesus' life in John (or any of the other gospels, really), and hold to that.  The book even starts out by saying the Jesus and God are one.  They are the same.  And then Christ himself makes six "I Am" statements throughout John's account:
  1. I am the bread of life
  2. I am the light of the world
  3. I am the door of the sheep
  4. I am the good shepherd
  5. I am the resurrection and the life
  6. I am the way, the truth and the life
  7. I am the true
Did something stand out to you this week as you finished the gospels and read through Acts?

We are almost done with our adventure through the Bible together this summer.  After this week, we will only have one more day of reading.  Now, I know some of you are behind.  And that's ok.  I'd recommend that you see if you can plan it out so that you will finish by the end of next week.

Here is this week's schedule:

Day 83, Monday, August 1st
Romans 15:1 - I Corinthians 14:40

Day 84, Tuesday, August 2nd
I Corinthians 15:1 - Galatians 3:25

Day 85, Wednesday, August 3rd
Galatians 3:26 - Colossians 4:18

Day 86, Thursday, August 4th
I Thessalonians 1:1 - Philemon 25

Day 87, Friday, August 5th
Hebrews 1:1 - James 3:12

Day 88, Saturday, August 6th
James 3:13 - 3 John 14

Day 89, Sunday, August 7th
Jude 1 - Revelations 17:18

Friday, July 29, 2011

MilSpouse Friday Fill-In

This week, Wife of a Sailor has us doing "or's".... so here is mine.

1.Facebook or Twitter?
Facebook.  Every once in a while, I'll check on someone's Twitter, tweets, whatever they're called; but I feel like I get more out of what people have to say on Facebook.  And I'm totally addicted to Facebook!  Any one else ready to admit it with me?

2.Hard Tacos or Soft Tacos?
Soft Tacos.  Hard tacos are messy. Once you take a bite, you instantly have parts of the shell as well as the filling on you.  I like that soft tacos neatly pack away all the goodness!

3.Gardening or crafting?
Gardening.  I often say to my crafty friends that I like to buy crafts, not make them.  I'm not artistic and I'm not handy, oh, and I hate messes.  So crafts just aren't my thing.  But I really appreciate those who are crafty, because I can use them when I need them.

4.Fruit or vegetables?
Honestly, I love both.  But I eat a lot more fruits than veggies.  I love the summer, especially when the raspberries are ripe.

5.Motorcycle or bicycle?
Bicycle.  Simply because they're safer.  I rode on a motorcycle with someone in college - and honestly they were probably the safest rider out there, but I was still not comfortable.  About 8 years ago, I so a motorcyclist hit a curb and fly off his bike onto the sidewalk.  I'll never forget it.  And my girls are never going to ride.  Ever.  Sorry Grace (she wants one).

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Wednesday Wit

During snack time today...

Grace:  Mom, I'm still hungry.
Me:  OK, what else would you like?
Grace:  Do you have a menu?
Me:  (laughing hysterically)  I'll see what I can do.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

8 Years

Eight years ago, I married my best friend.  These eight years have been full of challenge, growth, love and a deeper appreciation for one another.  I'm so blessed to be married to such a wonderful man.

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Bible in 90 Days: Week 12 Schedule

As of today, we've read through most of the Gospels.  It has been so neat to read through the Gospels - one right after the other.  It's certainly helped to cement some of the parables into my memory!

So, what has struck you most by reading through Matthew, Mark and most of Luke this past week?  Have you noticed any themes that struck you?

One things that stood out for me, was how many times Christ talked about faith.  As much as Christ taught about Himself, God' purposes and what is right, He taught a lot about faith.  There are numerous passages this past week where Christ directly deals with the issue of faith:
Matthew 8:10, Matthew 9:12, Matthew 9:22, Matthew 9:22, Matthew 15:28, Matthew 17:20, Matthew 21:21, Matthew 23:23, Mark 2:5, Mark 4:40, Luke 5:20, Luke 7:9, Luke 7:50, Luke 8:25, Luke 8:48, Luke 17:5, Luke 17:6, Luke 17:19, Luke 18:18 and Luke 18:24.

Christ taught about faith.  He loved those who had faith.  He healed those who had faith.  He wants us to have faith.  He saves those with faith. And He wants us to grow in our faith.

"Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for,
the conviction of things not seen."
- Hebrews 11:1

Here is this week's schedule:

Day 76, Monday, July 25th
Luke 20:20 - John 5:47

Day 77, Tuesday, July 26th
Grace Day

Day 78, Wednesday, July 27th
John 6:1 - John 15:17

Day 79, Thursday, July 28th
John 15:18 - Acts 6:7

Day 80, Friday, July 29th
Acts 6:8 - Acts 16:37

Day 81, Saturday, July 30th
Acts 16:38 - Acts 28:16

Day 82, Sunday, July 31st
Acts 28:17 - Romans 14:23

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Bible in 90 Days: The Old Testament

I was a bit shocked to turn the page in my Bible on Monday and realize that we were in Matthew.  When we started this journey 71 days ago, I had the attitude on Day 1 that I couldn't wait for the New Testament reading to begin.  Initially, I wasn't looking forward to reading through the Old Testament.  But soon I became immersed in the stories of God and His people - their journey together.

Now that we're in Matthew, I'm still going back in my head to the truths of God that the Old Testament reveals.  It's so obvious to me that in order to be a healthy Christian, you have to be rooted in the God of the Old Testament... because He's the same God of the New Testament.  I've often thought (and said) that the God of the Old Testament seemed distant and harsh to me.  But I can firmly say that I no longer believe that.

Some things that I learned about God through our Old Testament reading....

  • He wants genuine relationships with us
  • He loves through discipline
  • He cannot stand sin
  • He requires holiness
  • He offers a way to holiness
  • His plan is perfect
  • His heart is hurt, like a father, when we walk away from Him
  • His love for us is at the center of all that he does
  • He is always in control, even when things seem chaotic
  • He is just
  • He knows our heart and desires it
  • He created perfectly
  • God works through us, even with our imperfections
  • He desires our praise
  • He desires our heart
  • He can use our failures
  • His love never fails
  • His love never ends
  • His Word is life
For those of you who are Christians, especially those who have been saved for a long time, these truths are not ground-breaking.  They are truths about God loved by His people.  And although we may know them in our mind, too often we do not know them in our heart.  We do not always live like we believe them.

I've learned that it is easy to be academic in our understanding of God.  But that gets us no where.  And God doesn't want that.  The last 71 days have been heart-changing for me, and I pray that they've been that way for you, too!

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Bible in 90 Days: Week 11 Schedule

Hello all!

Today's post is going to be brief.  Our family recently lost a loved-one and I don't feel like I can put together a complete thought right now, so be on the lookout for a post mid-week.

Here is this week's schedule:

Day 69, Monday, July 18th
Zechariah 11:1 - Matthew 4:25

Day 70, Tuesday, July 19th
Matthew 5:1 - Matthew 15:39

Day 71, Wednesday, July 20th
Matthew 16:1 - Matthew 26:56

Day 72, Thursday, July 21st
Matthew 26:57 - Mark 9:13

Day 73, Friday, July 22nd
Mark 9:14 - Luke 1:80

Day 74, Saturday, July 23rd
Luke 2:1 - Luke 9:62

Day 75, Sunday, July 24th
Luke 10:1 - Luke 20:19

Friday, July 15, 2011

MilSpouse Friday Fill-In

Thanks, Wife of a Sailor!

1.If you could have a private concert with any singer, who would it be? submitted by An Air Force Wife’s Blog
Oh.  My.  Gosh.  Seriously?  That would be a dream.  Now, you're either going to laugh at me or be in complete agreement.  Hands-down, Josh Groban.  I love his music!  Joel and I went to a concert (really, Joel took me there and sat next to me) in 2005 and it was amazing.  He's a rare artist - one of the few who actually write their own music, can sing as well as they record and can play instruments - well.  He's referred to as "my boyfriend" at home.

2.Is there anything you do to supplement your family’s income? submitted by Our Life, One Adventure at a Time
No.  I choose to blog for myself and not for profit.  If anything, I try to take advantage of any coupons I can use - they're free money!

3.During your pregnancy (whether past, present, or future), what did you nickname your unborn baby before you knew the sex? submitted by Explosions of Love
Joel nicknamed Grace "bubbers" and we still call her that.  I think we called Autumn "The Baby".  Original.  I know.  One thing we didn't call either child was - it.  I hate that.  If anyone ever called the girls "it" while I was pregnant, they were corrected.

4.Have you ever won a blog giveaway? If so what did you win? submitted by Mrs. O’s Life
I haven't.  I haven't been great about submitting for a lot of them.

5.If I looked into your refrigerator right now, what would I find? submitted by Married to the Army
This is one of my favorite questions ever!  I used to get Rachael Ray's magazine and loved the last page that had a photograph of a celebrity's refrigerator - it's so telling.
Milk, cheese, juice (lots of juice), strawberries, grapes, condiments, mars capon cheese, whipping cream, Diet Coke, hot dogs, tortellini, Lunchables, yogurt, ricotta cheese, Cabernet sauvignon, Jello-O, pudding, homemade strawberry jam, buttermilk, wheat germ, coffee

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Wednesday Wit: Vurp

My friend, Janna, has a really great blog - full of honest moments as a mom and wife.  She does a regular post called Wednesday Wit, which is full of all the crazy things her kids say.

I thought I should join in on the fun.

While in the car tonight...

Grace:  Sometimes I get those funny burps.
Me:  Really?  What is a funny burp?
Grace:  When a little bit of the stuff comes up from your stomach.  The yellow stuff.  It gets in your mouth, but I just slurp it back down.

Is it okay to tell her that it's called a vurp? 

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Homemade Strawberry Jam

Our family loves strawberry jam.  We go through tons of it - between Joel and his English muffins and the rest of us and our sunflower butter sandwiches.  Joel doesn't like us to eat a lot of high fructose corn syrup, so I end up spending a lot of money of jam that is simply fruit and sugar.  It's about $4 for a small jar.... for just fruit and sugar!

My friend Karla over at The Culinary Enthusiast, recently posted a recipe for strawberry freezer jam that I knew I had to try.  Her and I have canned jam before and the process was just too much for me.  Last week, I had a bunch of beautiful strawberries and gave strawberry jam another try - and it was so worth it!

Here is what I did:

4 lbs of clean strawberries

I used a huller clean up the berries

4 pounds of hulled and halved strawberries

Instead of mashing 4 lbs by hand, Karla recommended using the food processor.
I pulsed the berries until I got the texture I wanted.

Here are the pulsed berries

4 cups of sugar & 12 Tbsp of no-cook pectin

I combined the sugar/pectin mixture for 3 minutes & then filled-up my freezer jars. 
The jars sat out on the counter for about 30 minutes before I put them in the freezer.
4 lbs of berries made approximately 15 cup of jam.
I used freezer containers that I purchased from Bed, Bath & Beyond.

This recipe is really, really easy!!!  I couldn't believe how simple it was and how quickly I was able to make 15 cups of jam.  I think in total, it took me less than 1 hour from the time I rinsed the berries to the point I was able to put everything in the freezer.  You'll have to try it.

To see Karla's recipe and much prettier pictures, head over here.

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Bible in 90 Days: Week 10 Schedule

Week 10!!!!!!  Holy smokes, I can't believe it!

There was a lot of heavy material in our reading this past week.  While reading through Isaiah and especially Jeremiah and Lamentations, we saw a God sick of sin.  He was angry and wrathful - not two of His most warm-fuzzy attributes.  But His anger and wrath are as much part of Him as His love, grace and mercy.  In the midst of Lamentations, where things are desperate, there is a wonderful theme of mercy that prevails.

But this I call to mind,
and therefore I have hope:

The steadfast love of the LORD never ceases;
his mercies never come to an end;
they are new every morning;
great is your faithfulness.

"The LORD is my portion," says my soul,
"therefore I will hope in him."

The LORD is good to those who wait for him,
to the soul who seeks him.
It is good that one should wait quietly
for the salvation of the LORD.       
-Lamentations 3:21-26

Here is this week's schedule:

Day 62, Monday, July 11th
Ezekiel 23:40 - Ezekiel 35:15

Day 63, Tuesday, July 12th
Ezekiel 36:1 - Ezekiel 47:12

Day 64, Wednesday, July 13th
Ezekiel 47:13 - Daniel 8:27

Day 65, Thursday, July 14th
Daniel 9:1 - Hosea 13:6

Day 66, Friday, July 15th
Hosea 13:7 - Amos 9:10

Day 67, Saturday, July 16th
Amos 9:11 - Nahum 3:19

Day 68, Sunday, July 17th
Habakkuk 1:1 - Zechariah 10:12

Saturday, July 9, 2011

One Year Ago

One year ago, Joel and I had a restless night's sleep.  We woke up anxious.  I cried about a million times before we loaded all of his bags and our two girls into the car.  We gave lots of hugs and kisses and said goodbye, not knowing what the next many months would be like.

Over the past year we have

I have learned so much this past year.  God has been ever-faithful.  Our family is strong.  And there is an abundance of love in our lives.

I am so thankful to be in a different place today than one year ago.  I am thankful we are together again.

Friday, July 8, 2011

MilSpouse Friday Fill-In

Thanks, Wife of a Sailor!

1.Does your Significant Other read your blog? Why is this a good or a bad thing? submitted by Mrs. Alana’s Miscellany
Sometimes.  I think Joel read it more while he was overseas - it was a good way for him to get insight into what I was feeling and going through while he was gone.  I usually felt reserved while we were on the phone because I didn't want to burden him with the stresses at home.  But this blog, I think, helped him to get a better idea of what I felt about his deployment.

2.What is one item in your house that holds the most sentimental value and why? submitted by The Albrecht Squad
Besides my wedding ring (because it's usually on me).. I would say the manger that Joel made for me several Christmases ago.  When I was young, my dad along with our neighbor, built a manger to hold my mom's nativity scene.  It is something that I've always loved and probably my favorite Christmas decoration that my parent's have.  A few years ago, Joel took some rough measurements without me knowing and completely surprised me when he revealed the manger that he built for me that looks nearly identical to the one my dad built for my mom. 

3.When it comes to water fun in the summer do you prefer the beach, the pool, a lake, or the sprinklers? submitted by The Turvo Times
I love the water, so it's a toss-up between the pool and the lake.  I love lounging by the pool and doing laps, but I also love boating.... haven't been in the water much, though.

4.What is the one special thing that you do for yourself to get you through the first week of a deployment/separation? submitted by A Creed and a Psalm
I try to stay busy so that I'm distracted.  Last time, I spent the first day at my parents and then had playdates and activities with friends planned throughout the week.  I think the first month and the last month are the hardest.

5.What is your biggest guilty pleasure website? submitted by Christine’s Little Blog
I'm going to pick two.  I just love anything beauty-related.  So, I have two beauty blogs that I visit several times a day:
I love Karen at Makeup and Beauty Blog.  She's so funny and has a good balance of providing great product information with entertainment.  Hers is the first blog I ever read, and for the last couple years, I've been an active follower.  She's also great about replying to comments, which I really appreciate!
I also really enjoy Christiana's beauty blog - Temptalia.  She has tons of posts a day - great swatches and product reviews.  She's really straight-forward and I trust her opinion.

Happy Friday, everyone!

Monday, July 4, 2011

Happy 4th!

(image from life123)

"Where liberty dwells, there is my country."   
-Benjamin Franklin

From the daughter of an immigrant and a wife of a hero, Happy 4th of July!  Have a safe and blessed holiday celebrating our great nation.

Sunday, July 3, 2011

Bible in 90 Days: Week 9 Schedule

I will admit that the more we read, the more things are blending together.  I have to look back at the reading schedule from the week before just to keep track of what we've read.  And I've had a lot of "oh, right... that's what we read!"  moments.

Because we've been reading through things so quickly, I've been able to pick up on connections.  One connection from this week is all the references in Isaiah from Kings and Chronicles.  Isaiah's been a good reminder of the good and bad kings, but also God's redemption and mercy for the Israelites.  I've really enjoyed the prophecy of Christ in Isaiah and have caught myself humming a few Christmas songs... you know which ones!

One of my best friends recently finished a book study on Isaiah.  It had a great impact on her...  So, Karla - if you're reading this, please share what you've gained from reading through Isaiah again and what has struck you this week.  No pressure!

We have finished eight full weeks of Bible reading so far.  Can you believe how far we've come?

Can't wait to get started on Jeremiah this week!

Here is this week's schedule:

Day 55, Monday, July 4th
Isaiah 66:19 - Jeremiah 10:13

Day 56, Tuesday, July 5th
Jeremiah 10:14 - Jeremiah - 23:8

Day 57, Wednesday, July 6th
Jeremiah 23:9 - Jeremiah 33:22

Day 58, Thursday, July 7th
Jeremiah 33:23 - Jeremiah 47:7

Day 59, Friday, July 8th
Jeremiah 48:1 - Lamentations 1:22

Day 60,Saturday, July 9th
Lamentations 2:1 - Ezekiel 12:20

Day 61, Sunday, July 10th
Ezekiel 12:21 - Ezekiel 23:39

Saturday, July 2, 2011

Giveaway Winner

Thanks to those who participated in my first giveaway.  A winner was selected using  And the winner is....

Emmy from

Congrats, Emmy! 

I really enjoyed doing the giveaway, and have some ideas swirling for another giveaway sometime this summer...

Friday, July 1, 2011

MilSpouse Friday Fill-In

It's been a really long time since I joined Wife of a Sailor and the other MilSpouse bloggers in the Friday Fill-In... Feels nice to be back!

1.Have you (spouse) ever considered joining the military and what do you think of dual military couples? submitted by Project Army Wife
Never.  Ever.  They wouldn't want me.  I remember being called by recruiters in high school and trying so hard to convince them that I wouldn't be a good fit.  I don't like sweating, getting dirty, wearing ugly clothes, being forced to wake up early, camping, hiking....  I can't read a map.  I don't do well when people yell at me... The list goes on.  I am thankful for those who can do it, but it's not for me.

I give major credit to couples who are in together.  I feel like it's a lot of sacrifice to be the spouse of a military member, but I can't even think of how it would be if Joel and I were both in the military.  So kudos to those who do it!!!

2.What is your idea of a perfect Sunday afternoon? submitted by A Few of My Favorite Things
Lunch after church, followed by a mandatory family nap, a family walk through the neighborhood and BBQ for dinner - sounds perfect to me!

3.What do you usually do for the 4th of July holiday? submitted by Anchor’s Away
It depends on where we are for the 4th.  Usually we end up going to my in-laws - we hang out and wait until dark.  Then Joel goes out and year after year, scares me to death... he becomes a different person around fire and fireworks.

4.If they could make an Olympic event JUST for you that you know you’d medal in, what would it be? submitted by Pants are Confusing
Shopping.  And I would get a gold medal every time.

5.What have you been doing to get yourself bathing suit ready for the summer? submitted by Not Just an Army Wife
Ugh.  I'm not sure I'll actually be in a bathing suit this year, but I've been doing lots of squats and sit-ups and trying to eat more fruits and vegetables.