Monthly Archives: January 2013

a simple equation.

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These past few months since starting as a Blessings Unlimited consultant have been such a whirlwind.  How I even determined to sign up for this new venture in my life is kind of a whirlwind in itself.  Little did I know that when searching and researching about being a Blessings Unlimited consultant, I would find a precious lady in Pennsylvania, call her up, talk to her for an hour, and head straight back to my computer and take the plunge.  I am so thankful I did.

Yesterday my leader, Sandra, called me.   Our calls used to be almost weekly, but with the passing of her mother the last couple of months, Sandra has spent her time squeezing the most moments she could with her mom.   Sandra has become a mentor and friend and little did I know what common ties we would have.  I know God’s fingerprints were all over my call to her last summer and my decision to sign up with her.  We met for the first time at the big Summer Jam conference where my decision with Blessings Unlimited was continually affirmed.   As I have gotten to know Sandra more deeply our talks have centered around raising girls (she has 3 girls also who are now grown and married) and most recently the decision to leave a home church to begin something new (she and her family did the same thing!).  Isn’t that unbelievable?  It was no accident that this Kansan and Pennsylvanian hooked up.  Not a coincidence at all.  And instead of fingerprints all over this union, I believe God’s hands picked me up and placed me right in Sandra’s path. 
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A mentor to me in so many more ways than Blessings, I am thankful.  And humbled by her call yesterday as we talked about what God was doing in each of our lives.  And how God is moving with Blessings Unlimited.  She prayed over me as I was folding laundry and praising God for the opportunity to be folding laundry for my family.  I was blessed.

One thing that stood out to me that I could hardly wait to share, was something Sandra shared with me which was spoken from the VP of Blessings Unlimited at the leadership conference just a few short weeks ago.  And it was this…

JESUS + (Nothing) = EVERYTHING.

 

Now, I am the first to admit that math and equations are not my strong point.  I’m a nurse, remember?  I don’t think this equation needs much explanation.  And if it does for someone?  What an awesome opportunity to share the love of Jesus.  It has stuck with me so strongly as I think about every detail of my life.  Steve, the kids, church, family, work, friends…and the list goes on and on.  Having Jesus is everything, even when you have nothing.  Now that’s an equation I can get behind.

beginning to see a theme here?

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Not sure what it is about Wednesdays, but I wake up eager to try new recipes for breakfast.  It could be that I am generally running out of groceries by mid-week (likely) and need to be creative?  Or it could be that I am beginning to have certain things I blog about on particular days (unlikely—I am not that intentional–ha!).  Whatever the case is, I have a NEW yummo recipe that all four of the kids thought were a hit this morning.  I am going to refrain from posting a picture of the recipe book I used, because you have now seen it weekly, I think.  AND I am bored with it!  So I can not imagine where you are at…

Instead you will get a picture of the finished product AND the recipe.  How’s that?
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If you have 30 minutes in your morning, you can do this.  I started the process at 7:00 am (which is too late, just ask the teenies) and your family can be eating these by 7:35 am (again, too late–ask my girls).  Unfortunately for all children involved this morning, they did not do what I said to do.  Get yourselves COMPLETELY ready because breakfast is going to be the LAST thing you do before we go.  It did not happen, as Kourt was trying to find a pony tail holder and Landon was shoeless at 7:55 am (which is TOO late—and please DON’T ask my girls because they have fire in their eyes for their siblings this morning).  Nonetheless, every one of the Kaufman’s are sitting in their classrooms.  Said a quick prayer that the middle schoolers did not in fact get a tardy as they proclaimed they would…we’ll see.

I want you all to see that sometimes when you read blog posts that give you a breakfast recipe, you may in fact think wow, she has got it together—don’t go there.  Because as you can see from the paragraph above, it is not all nice and pretty every day.  Not even close.  I’m not sure the kids always appreciate me venting and showing their frustrations through the blogging world, BUT–it is reality.  I know I had a comment last week I think?  That made me stop and think.  And made me realize that I’ve felt that way sometimes too when reading other blogs.  I really want this blog to reflect light.  I really want to reflect the positive, and the blessings, of each day.  And with that, the last thing I want is to discourage anyone else because they didn’t make muffins for breakfast.  SMILE!  Cereal is a wonderful breakfast!  We just happen to not have any in the house…

Ok, enough blabbing.  Here is the recipe.  I think you’ll like it.  I am thankfully surprised at the little amount of sugar for the recipe.  And I bet these would freeze well too. 

Apple Streusel Muffins

1 cup flour

1/2 cup whole wheat flour (I used all whole wheat)

1/2 cup sugar

1 Tablespoon baking powder

1 tsp. salt

3/4 cup butter

2 medium apples, chopped, skin on

2 cups raising bran cereal (I used leftover cereal remnants–and it worked!)

3 tsp. cinnamon, divided

2 eggs

1 cup milk

2 Tbsp. sugar

1.)  Sift together flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt

2.) Cut in butter with pastry cutter until mixture resembles coarse meal.  Set aside 1/4 cup.

3.)  Add chopped apple, cereal, and cinnamon.  Mix well.

4.)  Combine eggs and milk and add to apple mixture, stirring lightly, just until moist.  Batter will be lumpy.

5.)  Fill 12 greased muffin cups and top with the crumbs set aside earlier.  Sprinkle with sugar.

6.)  Bake at 400 degrees fro 18-20 minutes

Should I cite this recipe?  Am I plagiarizing?  Oh no!!!  It’s from Mennonite Girls Can Cook recipe book on page 35 and from Charlotte.

 

There.  I feel better.

february frenzy!

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Mixed emotions today as my 8th grader played her LAST junior high “home” game.  Ugh.  I am beginning to wonder if I am just mental and need some therapy for the lumps in my throat that emerge at the thought of that.  What do you think?

With the basketball season beginning to wind down in the next couple of weeks, this means that I am going to have a bit more free time (at least until track starts).  Which means, I am ready to book, book, and book gatherings for Blessings Unlimited.  

Excited because I have a list of people to contact AND excited because new, great things are happening with Blessings.  New hostess exclusive priced items.  New guest promotion items:  CELEBRATE PLATE for $10 and PAISLEY APRON for $18 (now back in stock!!!).  And excited because I have added two new consultants to my team the last couple of months.  More of Blessings Unlimited and more of spreading the light and love of Jesus through the homes of many.  Welcome and THANK YOU, Sharla and Traci for joining the team…

If YOU are at all interested in joining my team, it’s a perfect time.  The BIG, BEAUTIFUL lazy susan I’ve talked about HERE ??  They are giving it to you for FREE.  But only if you join by January 31st.  I have been praying for wonderful women ( or men!) to join me in this mission.  Is it YOU I have been praying for?  I would love to talk with you about it. 

And if you just love the products?  Want to see the new products?  Need the NEW catalog?  Have a gathering!!  It is fun, I promise.  It is easy, I promise.  You will be blessed.  I promise.

serving hearts, generations apart.

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Perhaps the most overwhelmingly wonderful blessing of Journey@McPherson is service.  Serving is rewarding.  Serving is necessary.  Serving is relational.  And, serving is hard.  Serving is being asked of every person in some way that matches their gifts.  Serving as a core group of people to bring the good news of Jesus Christ is the mission.  And yesterday, we entered the mission field.
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 Isn’t that the cutest Pharaoh ever????? 

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Natalie and Kassidy have become our constant nursery and preschool workers during our Children’s hour.  Sometimes it’s hard when you’re in junior high to wake up early and serve—but that looks like a pretty real smile to me.   Wonder if this is shaping how many grandkids I will have one day? 

Every single person plays a part.  Our very youngest is just a few months old–and in just a few weeks we will be welcoming another little baby.  Obviously, the ” labor and delivery nurse” in me is over the top excited about this and is hoping there’s at least a handful of pregnancies a year…I’ll try not to be TOO obnoxious.

I’m going to skip a few generations to tell you about Miss Vera.  I have been trying to snag a picture of her—but she is so busy, it’s hard to catch her.  She and her husband, Dale, are the absolute most precious servants.  They stand alone in their age group.  True servants of the heart, they have helped in any way asked of them.  From setting up, teaching Kindergarten and 1st graders, to welcoming all, worshiping fully, and then tear down—they are giving everything of themselves.

Both are wonderful, but I’ve gotten to know Vera through the Children’s Ministry.  And I can not tell you how much of a blessing she is to me.  She is willing.  She is loving.  And I know the kids love her as much as I do.  She is seen here dancing and praising right along with the kiddos.  Is that not the most awesome thing you’ve ever seen?  Our children’s ministry is so blessed by the commitment of these teachers!  Wow!
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  I am in awe.  I am in awe of her and Dale’s commitment to the development of Journey@McPherson after decades and decades of commitment to their home church in South Hutch.  I’m not sure I know many people that at this point in their lives would choose to do what Dale and Vera are doing.   They obviously believe in the mission of Journey Mennonite Church.  It exudes from their very being.   Their hearts are to spread the love of Jesus in “multi-sites”.  Dale and Vera are  servant role models. 

And we could not be more blessed.

it’s a date.

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For those of you with kids—and especially more than one—you know how precious the time is when you get to spend one on one time with just one.  HOW MANY TIMES CAN I SAY ONE Mercy!

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Anyway, today is the day for the boy.  And I am excited to have him with me and his grandma for most of the day.  Of course, his focus is going to be on much more than spending time with his mom and grandma.  In fact, I think ALL of his focus is going to be on this…

 

But we’ll take what we can get!

what is your pharaoh?

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The thing I LOVE about Children’s ministry, besides the children, of course, is the fact that you have to dig into the Bible and really know your stuff.  I am always amazed at the questions that kids have.  Detailed questions about the stories of the Bible and what they mean.  Sometimes, the only thing I know for sure is that the stories are true.  And sometimes, maybe more often than I’d like to admit, I have to say… “you know, I really don’t know the answer to that question–but I will find out!”.

We are launching Journey@McPherson THIS Sunday.  You know I was “kinda nervous” to get back into my Blessings Unlimited gatherings?  Well, that was NOTHING.  Nothing compared to  the knots I have in my stomach at this very moment about what is about to transpire this Sunday.  My main focus will always be Children’s Ministry—and children are so forgiving.  I think that is one of the reasons I gravitate towards this type of ministry–ha! 

 My ears are plugged, my nose is full, and cough drops are my nutrition of choice lately.  Oh, the hurdles that get in our way of an already challenging Sunday.  I truly believe that the launch of this church is NOT something the enemy wants to see happening.  In fact, I am sure Satan is doing absolutely everything in his power to throw stumbling blocks our way.  The constant questioning and doubt in my mind–I know are not from God.   I am doing my best to call on God’s triumphant rule over all anxiety and worry.  We know He will conquer all stumbling blocks put in our way.  We know that, but to really believe it is where our faith in the “journey” comes in…

I have been preparing for the bible story for this week.  Moses and the Burning Bush.  Honestly, I know the story.  And if I were to talk to the kids about it without delving any deeper than my knowledge right in the forefront of my brain, the story would be…God talked to and revealed himself to Moses through a burning bush.  That’s it. 

That is such a LITTLE BIT of it!  Oh my word.  To face Pharaoh—the king.  To beg and plead with him to let the Israelites go and deal with his unshakeable stubborness all the while feeling that you are not worthy or able to convince him that God is King.  To face the plagues–wow, I am telling you, if this land was covered with frogs, I would be in a corner sucking my thumb.  No doubt!  If I were Pharaoah, that would have been all it took.  Seriously gross! images

How awesome and scary it would be to have God talk to you through a burning bush.  And also to give you His power in a visible form of turning a staff into a snake and turning all water into blood to prove  and convince others that He is King.  I just can not imagine.  There are pharaohs out there.  And God is talking to us.  We are being asked to spread the love of God.  And you think Pharaoh was stubborn?  I know there are people who may need to see a miracle to believe.  Pharaoh definitely had that opportunity—and he still didn’t believe.  He was stubborn and through that blinded by the truth.  As we begin a new work for the Kingdom, the opportunity to reach others is great.  And to pray for softened hearts to hear and believe will be vital.  And the timing may not be our timing.  I love what my Bible says in the footnotes about the story of Moses and Pharaoh. 

Pharaoh freely chose a life of resisting god.  similarly, after a lifetime of resisting God, you may find it impossible to turn to him.  Don’t wait until just the right time before turning to God.  Do it now while you still have the chance.  If you continually ignore God’s voice, eventually you will be unable to hear it at all.

Isn’t that good?  What a challenge.  To listen for God’s voice and do what he says.  Just like Moses did.  Because if we don’t, we eventually may not hear it at all.   Interestingly ironic as I am sitting here with plugged ears… 

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wanna be a hero?

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Alright.  Have you ever been left with a fridge WITHOUT milk?  Have you ever been left with a pantry WITHOUT cereal?  How about a toaster WITHOUT bread?  Now wait…what about 3 eggs left in a carton? 

Yes.  We do live in a town with its very own grocery store.  Yes.  I was in a town with a Walmart and a Dillons yesterday.  Yes.  I am lazy.

But sometimes in the midst of laziness a hero is born.  Been there?  Wanna know how?

Thank you to this book:
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And my griddle.  And my 3 eggs.  And half and half (ok, so the recipe does not call for that, but out of milk–remember?) 
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German Pancakes or as we call them around here–Flapjacks.  The answer to all of our breakfast prayers this morning.  My kids think I rock.  Bring on the topping of choice:  syrup, cinnamon and sugar, berries, jelly—and you’ve got yourself the title of hero.  I am living proof.  I think all four of them thanked me for breakfast this morning!  And to tell you I woke up pretty grumpy with a cough and runny nose and an eye half glued shut is NOT an understatement.
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Steve’s grandma makes these a lot.  And she uses a slightly different recipe.  She’s got it down.  But these?  They were pretty darn good too.  So if you’re in a bind with little groceries, try this one out.  I think it would be a great “breakfast for dinner” combination with sausage and juice.  You know, for those of you who aren’t too lazy to get groceries…
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choosing to see BLESSINGS.

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This is a completely random post.  Will probably be ALL over the place.  So buckle up and hold on.  It may feel like whiplash.  Just sayin’…

 
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First off, I could write a book about the things my kids do.  And, pretty sure I could write a book about our furry friends who live alongside us.  This picture just kills me of Brinklee.  Not sure how I got it, but I caught her right after she sat begging for a treat…cracks.me.up.
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Mmm, Mmmm, GOOD!

 

And then, as I was outside yesterday, one of our kitties (her name is NIKE–isn’t that original?)  came up to me looking just like this.  I seriously had to laugh.  And God knew that yesterday I needed some laughs.  If you would have told me that NIKE would bless me in some way during the day?  I would have said YOU ARE CRAZY.  But here she is in all of her glory all tied up in a Christmas gift bag.  She evidently found it in the garage somewhere?  I have no clue.  But she was stuck.  And it made me giggle.  A lot.  Endorphins were flowing.  And I needed it!

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We have grown fond of our cats—mostly because they patrol our house.  Kill rodents and small animals.  It’s awesome.  Not sure the park across the street has much wildlife living there anymore…

 

And then this picture.  Of the girls with a cousin (kind of?) and great-grandparents.  How many junior high kids have great-grandparents that come to their home sports games?  A blessing right there before our eyes.  Awesome.

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And finally, my first Blessings gathering in January was with people I so miss and don’t get to be with much any more.  Blessings that came with Blessings Unlimited.  It was just what I needed.  (I am sounding a tad bit selfish, aren’t I?)

And did you know every Blessings gathering has some amazing recipe that becomes a keeper for me to use?  Seriously.  I don’t think there’s been one that I haven’t snagged a yummy new to me recipe.  And last night was no different.  Check it out HERE.  Not the exact same recipe as last night, but same concept.  I think the recipe my hostess made had peach jam/jelly spread over the Brie cheese?  So more of a sweet/savory flavor.  It. was. awesome.  Should have snapped a pic—but too busy chewing…

 

  Just choosing to see the little ways God is showing me Himself when I sometimes feel like He is no where near.  But we know that is not true.  He is everywhere.  Even, and especially, during the challenging patches of life.  I loved when my friend was writing her CaringBridge updates and asked “where did you see God today?”  Sometimes, He may even use the cat.

 

 

kinda nervous…

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My Blessings Unlimited gatherings are back in full swing this week.  And you know what?  I am kind of nervous.  WEIRD.  The last gathering I had was in December—and now this week I’ve got a couple.  I’m excited to get back with it.  Mostly because we’ve got the new catalog and new products—yippee!!! 

You know how things in the catalog don’t always look like you’d expect?  Well, that has not changed with this new catalog, either.  I received a few of the new items and I am not really sure what I was thinking with the set of Three Merry Heart Spool Hooks.  They are huge.  I guess I just can’t grasp what the dimensions really are.  Which has been my experience with customers also. (not dimensions of customers, but dimensions of products as a customer–just to clarify!)  HA!!!   We can look at dimensions, but they are generally still amazed when they see the product hands on.  Good thing, I guess!   Wouldn’t be good if products would disappoint, right?

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Above is the catalog picture.  And I thought they looked really cool.  But not near as cool as they look sitting here at my house…

 
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I am planning some fun things for February—oh sweet Valentine’s…so stay tuned!

Guys?!  Looking for a gift?

hero or zero?

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PInterest is just the coolest thing.  I get so addicted to looking at it.  It’s overwhelming, really.  But so many great ideas have come from pinterest.

I go in spurts of using it.  I’ll leave it alone for weeks, but then when looking for an idea, it’s one of the first places I go.

And if you’re a pinterest user, you know it can either make you a hero or make you a zero, right?

We had a dinner party at our home this past weekend and I just could not figure out the menu for the life of me.  I was totally going to go with Mexican, but while checking pinterest, came across this idea.  Complete change of plans at midnight the night before– the 8 pounds of hamburger now thawed in the fridge would no longer be taco meat….
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The Grilled Cheese Bar was the decision and there was no turning back.  Landon was my grocery shopper helper.  We chose the cheeses: mild cheddar, havarti, pepper jack, buffalo pepper jack, provolone,  chipotle cheddar, and velveeta ( did you know they package them singlely?).  The breads: homemade white, English muffin bread, nine grain and seed, light rye, and pumpernickel rye swirl.  The toppings:  olives, grilled onions, banana peppers, jalapenos, pickles, spicy mayo, garlic parmesan spread, red pepper spread, fresh parsley, basil and ham.
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We had three griddles sizzling with butter and guests built their own sandwich.  I wasn’t awesome like the pinterest original which labeled each cheese, bread, and topping.  Would have been cool….but, I ran out of time. 

Definitely something different, it was kind of fun to serve along side tomato soup and chicken noodle soup. 

So, for this pinterest hero or zero, I wouldn’t claim heroism….but it may be something we try again.

Now the thirty things to tell your little girl before she turns ten? Yep, failed that one….on all three girls!