Tuesday, July 31, 2012

On choosing a spouse....

Source: google.com via Stefanie on Pinterest


"......let us ask how they will look in a few years from now or how they will adorn and bless our habitation. Let us ask if the understanding, united with that countenance, render its owner fit to be my companion and the instructor of my children? Will that temper patiently bear with my weaknesses, kindly consult my tastes, and affectionately study my comfort? Will those manners please me in solitude, as well as in society? Will those habits render my dwelling pleasant to me and to my friends? We must carefully consider these matters and hold our passions back so that we may take counsel with our judgment and suffer reason to talk with us in quiet contemplation." 




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Monday, July 30, 2012

Life in Wisconsin...

Today I'm sharing a few pictures I took recently.....


Some of the scenery I see every morning when I take walks. I love all the Red Pines up here.


A favorite treat of mine, coffee with whipped cream in it - yum!


I made homemade pizzas for my family....and got to try out our new pizza stone which was a wedding gift.


I was given these lovely roses by friends after announcing that we're expecting a baby. They said the pink was not a hint ;-) Speaking of such things....all seems to be going well with my pregnancy. It's sinking in and feeling very real now, and I feel so blessed and excited about meeting this little one in the spring :-)


I married me a cheese head from WI....


...who took me cheese shopping on Saturday.


I love cheese!



I thought they should have offered samples :-)



What we brought home with us - a 40 pound block each of cheddar and mozzarella. Buying in bulk is so much cheaper than getting small packages at Walmart.



Huge! These are the same size blocks that we served at our wedding reception with crackers.


John did the lifting, cutting, and shredding, and I sliced and bagged.



All done!


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Sunday, July 29, 2012

Psalm 119 part 4


"My soul cleaveth unto the dust: quicken thou me according to thy word.
I have declared my ways, and thou heardest me: teach me thy statutes.
 Make me to understand the way of thy precepts: so shall I talk of thy wondrous works.
 My soul melteth for heaviness: strengthen thou me according unto thy word.
 Remove from me the way of lying: and grant me thy law graciously.
 I have chosen the way of truth: thy judgments have I laid before me.
 I have stuck unto thy testimonies: O Lord, put me not to shame.
 I will run the way of thy commandments, when thou shalt enlarge my heart."




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Saturday, July 28, 2012

Strawberry shortcake

Source: google.com via Stefanie on Pinterest

We had this amazing strawberry shortcake for dessert last night. I can't take credit for it, I got the recipe from my sister in law, and I think originally it's Martha Stewart's recipe, but anyway, wherever it came from, it's the best strawberry shortcake I ever had so I wanted to share the recipe :-) By the way, the whipped cream recipe is amazing, make extra so you'll have some to add to your morning cup of coffee - one of my favorite treats :-)



Strawberry Shortcake


Shortcakes:

2 c.  flour
1 tbsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
3 tbsp brown sugar
1/2 c. butter - cold
2 tsp sugar
3/4 c milk

Preheat oven to 450*.
Grease a cookie sheet.
In a stand mixer combine all ingredients until they resemble coarse meal.
Scoop the dough into 6 mounds and sprinkle with sugar.
Bake for 15 minutes and then drop the temperature to 425* for 5 more minutes.
Cool on a wire rack.


 Strawberries:

1 qt. sliced strawberries
1/3 c. sugar
1/2 tsp vanilla extract

Mix all and chill 1 hour.


Whipped Cream:

1 c whipping cream
1/4 c. powdered sugar
1/2 c. white sugar
1/4 tsp vanilla extract
1/4 c. sour cream

Beat cream with both sugars until soft peaks form.
Add sour cream & vanilla and beat until stiff peaks form.


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Friday, July 27, 2012

Today's thought....

Source: sxc.hu via Stefanie on Pinterest

"Your religion must diffuse its sparkle over your whole character and impress itself most deeply upon your relationship as a wife and a mother. It must be a continually refreshed motivation for all the respect, reverence, devotedness, and meekness that is required of a wife and mother and it must motivate you to carry every conjugal and maternal virtue to the highest degree of perfection." 

 by John Angell James 




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Thursday, July 26, 2012

The marriage ring...

Source: google.com via Stefanie on Pinterest
"A Bible placed between man and wife as the basis of their union, the rule of their conduct, and the model of their spirit will make up for many differences between them, comfort them under many crosses, guide them through many straits, wherein flesh and blood is confounded and at a loss, support them in their last sad parting from one another and reunite them in that happy world where they shall remain forever." 
The Marriage Ring or 
How to Make Home Happy 
by John Angell James 




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Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Wondrously blessed....

Source: google.com via Stefanie on Pinterest
"She says I shall now have one mouth the more to fill, and two feet the more to shoe; more disturbed nights, more laborious days, and less leisure for visiting, reading, music, and drawing.
Well! this is one side of the story, to be sure, but I look at the other. Here is a sweet, fragrant mouth to kiss; here are two more feet to make music with their pattering about my nursery. Here is a soul to train for God, and the body in which it dwells is worthy all it will cost, since it is the abode of a kingly tenant. I may see less of friends, but I have gained one dearer than them all, to whom, while I minister in Christ's name, I make a willing sacrifice of what little leisure for my own recreation my other darlings had left me. Yes, my precious baby, you are welcome to your mother's heart, welcome to her time, her strength, her health, her tenderest cares, to her life- long prayers! Oh, how rich I am, how truly, how wondrously blest!"
Stepping Heavenward





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Tuesday, July 24, 2012

A little one, a gift from the Lord....

John and I are happy to announce that the Lord is blessing our family with a little one that Lord willing, should arrive early next spring!




"I want to see little children adorning every home, as flowers adorn every meadow and every wayside. I want to see them welcomed to the homes they enter, to see their parents grow less and less selfish, and more and more loving, because they have come. I want to see God's precious gifts accepted, not frowned upon and refused."





Elizabeth Prentiss


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Monday, July 23, 2012

Our Courtship Story



"And the Lord God said, It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him an help meet for him.....Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife: and they shall be one flesh."
Genesis 2:18-24

So today I'm sitting down to do something I promised awhile back.....sharing our courtship story. Where should I begin? In 2012 when we "officially met", 2009 when we began talking online, or should I go back further to a little girl that was brought up hoping and dreaming of being a wife and mom someday.....? One thing I can tell you for sure, this quote from Matthew Henry came true in our lives:

"Providence sometimes wonderfully directs those that by faith and prayer seek direction from heaven in the choice of suitable yoke-fellows: happy marriages those are likely to be that are made in the fear of God; and these, we are sure, are made in heaven. "

Our story isn't all romance, and wasn't always easy, or even pain free.....but it is the plan that the Lord had for us, how He drew us to one another, and to Himself. And before I go on to share, let me just say that every courtship is different, people and families are different, and I'm not trying to say our way of doing things is the only way, or the perfect way. Though it was perfect for us and I have no regrets. I feel very blessed to have had the courtship we did, and that our desire was that the Lord be glorified through all that was done.

And now going back to the little girl who dreamed of getting married.....that same girl began praying for her future husband when she was about 15, and also praying that the Lord would keep her heart for whoever that man might be.......then a  lot of time passed by as she [I] continued to wait, pray, and wonder what the Lord's plan was for my life. Life moved on....I moved from my parent's home in VA to South Carolina, joined a wonderful church, and worked as a mother's helper..... watched four of my younger siblings get married in that time, and start families of their own, and among other things, learned what it truly meant to wait on the Lord. I've shared so much of that here on this blog in the past, the many lessons the Lord was teaching me in waiting on Him. Looking back from a distance it's easy to see that the Lord's timing and plan was just right. He taught me so much in that time, about Himself, and just practically about living the Christian life, submitting to His will, and plenty of useful things for running a home and working with children. Lest you go away from reading this thinking I'm perfect......well just go ask my friends and family! But the Lord is good, and He didn't wait till I 'had it together' or was perfectly content before He answered my prayers. That in itself is humbling - being given a gift that I by no means deserved. Through our courtship I often felt overwhelmed by the Lord's goodness to us!

On to 2009.......For those of you who are reformed Presbyterians, you'll know that the reformed world can be a small one......John and I had mutual friends and talked some on facebook, and though at the time both of us wanted to be married - it wasn't in the Lord's timing. We didn't realize it then, but we both had growing to do. John had just been through a divorce, and I had plenty of things I needed to work through. In hindsight we can see that the Lord was very gracious, and we both feel that we can be a better spouse to the other now than we would have been three years ago. Ironically about the time we met, in 2012, was when we had both reached the point that we wanted to stop 'looking' and leave it all in the Lord's hands.

We talked off and on through the next couple years, mainly just 'how are you doing messages' every few months. In the Lord's providence He used that time for us get to know one another some through messages and simply observing the other's life on facebook, which was helpful when we later began courting.

Then last winter John and some friends began gathering to join my church's live stream services, and he and a friend decided to come visit the church. When he told me he was coming down, and suggested getting together, I invited him to dinner at the Es (my second family whom I worked for). I was just a little nervous about meeting, wondering if this was a friendly visit, OR something more.

The evening came - I cooked dinner, lasagna, salad, homemade rolls, and lemon meringue dessert. The first thing I noticed was that normally being a shy person, I immediately felt comfortable and at ease with John. We had a fun family evening together - suddenly it was 2:00 in the morning and we quickly said good nights. I think 'my family' realized before I did, Mr. E asked me if I would like to have him over the next night. I didn't have to think about it, just said yes :-)

Family continued to 'matchmake', and while I was making the coffee at church the next day they put John in a chair next to mine. After the service we never did get up, but sat and talked and talked.....Then continued talking till 2:00 in the morning at the Es! He left that night telling me he was sure we would talk....then flew back to Wisconsin.

Then I WAITED ~

"Sit still, my daughter, till thou know how the matter will fallhow it is decreed in heaven....for marriages are made there. She had done all that was fit for her to do, and now she must patiently wait the issue and not be perplexed about it. Let us learn hence to cast our care upon providence, to follow that and attend the motions of it, composing ourselves into an expectation of the event, with a resolution to acquiesce in it, whatever it be. Sometimes that proves best done for us that is least our own doing. "Sit still, therefore, and see how the matter will fall, and say, Let it fall how it will, I am ready for it......Sit still, and see how the matter will fall, for the Lord will perfect that which concerns thee, and will make it to work for good to thee"
Matthew Henry

I knew that Lord's day night that he was 'the one' or at least who I wanted to be the one, but my question was, was this the Lord's will? Later I found out that he had felt the same way, but wanted to pray about such an important decision before speaking. I was impressed with John, his godly character, his desire to follow the Lord, the way he cared for his family, and felt that we connected well. The next few days were spent in a lot of prayer for guidance for both of us, and for contentment with whatever the Lord had planned. During that time we continued talking online, then Friday morning I got a message asking if I would be interested in a courtship!!! That was February 17th.

What did courtship look like for us? To begin with I should say we both consider courtship to be something that is working towards marriage, not a casual dating relationship (though that's not to say every courtship will, or should end in marriage!). It also was a long distance relationship, John living in Wisconsin and me in South Carolina. Then I had asked Mr E and Pastor to help me if/when the day came that I was being courted. Their oversight and guidance was a blessing, as was the support and encouragement of family. When John came on courtship visits I wasn't the only one looking forward to spending time with him! Everyone does things differently, but some decisions made that were perfect for us, were that while we didn't have a problem going out alone together, we chose to spend a lot of time with others, and not to hold hands till we were engaged, or kiss till we were married.

We began by writing lots of long messages and talked about everything you can think of from the daily Bible reading we were doing together, to raising children, to modest dress, to our jobs, funny things children said......and also made very good use of facebook chat. I became adept at multitasking, keeping my laptop on the kitchen counter, chatting and working at the same time. Right away we were very open and comfortable with one another, and were amazed to find out just how like-minded we were. It didn't take long before we were finishing one another's sentences! Shortly after that we began weekly phone dates, which soon changed to nightly phone dates, often hours of conversation (we had cause to give thanks for free cell minutes at night!). We also found out that sleep and courtship don't mix so well! 
There were a few plane trips south as well, mostly weekend visits, but we did have more than a week together when we spent time with my family in Virginia and also used that time to work on wedding plans.....but I'm getting ahead of myself here :-)



In April John came to visit, bringing his mom with him to meet me. From all the hints flying around I was a bit suspicious that something was up. That visit was communion season at church, so was very, very busy, but we did make some time early Saturday afternoon to go to Starbucks for coffee, the same place where we had our first 'date'. While there John asked me to marry him and gave me a beautiful diamond ring! I was more than happy to say yes! I had no doubt that the Lord wanted me to be this man's wife, felt sure we could serve the Lord better together, and very much looked forward to spending the rest of my life with him. It was a very special time......then made more special when we went home and found out that the Es (who knew he was proposing) had a surprise engagingment party for us! I felt so blessed and happy as we celebrated together. That was April 14th.






Engagement.....we soon had a date, June 23rd.....and I got busy doing something I had never done before, planning my own wedding! It seemed surreal at times :-) John and I planned the whole thing ourselves, thankfully both wanting a very simple, God glorifying ceremony, with those we loved most there with us. I was also blessed to have the help of a wonderful friend who is a wedding coordinator, family and friends that helped where they could, in many ways that were a blessing, and the Es who offered their beautiful home for a reception. Every detail fell into place, and we could see the Lord's hand and blessing in all of it. Rather than tell ya'll about our wedding I'll share the video below and you can see for yourselves what a beautiful ceremony it was :-)


"Marriages... are made in heaven: we are sure this was, for the man, the woman, the match, were all God's own work; he, by his power, made them both, and now, by his ordinance, made them one."
Matthew Henry


This beautiful quote by Matthew Henry is special to me now as I look back on all that took place over the past months. I'm still amazed by how quickly the Lord can change circumstances, and so thankful for His goodness and for answered prayers. I can't imagine being anywhere else, with anyone else.....or being happier.....the Lord is good!


"This is my beloved and this is my friend."
Song of Solomon 5:16

 ♥ My family ♥"He gives the barren woman a home,
    making her the joyous mother of children.
Praise the Lord!"
Psalm 113:9








Sharing with Modest Mondays,Homemaker By Choice Proverbs 31 Thursdays,  Women Living Well, Raising Homemakers, Titus 2sdays,Wise Woman link up,  Growing Home  Far Above Rubies  Encouraging One Another Thought Provoking Thursday, Soli Deo Gloria Our Simple Country Life, and Thankful Homemaker.


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Sunday, July 22, 2012

Psalm 119 part 3


 "Deal bountifully with thy servant, that I may live, and keep thy word.
 Open thou mine eyes, that I may behold wondrous things out of thy law.
I am a stranger in the earth: hide not thy commandments from me.
 My soul breaketh for the longing that it hath unto thy judgments at all times.
Thou hast rebuked the proud that are cursed, which do err from thy commandments.
Remove from me reproach and contempt; for I have kept thy testimonies.
Princes also did sit and speak against me: but thy servant did meditate in thy statutes.
Thy testimonies also are my delight and my counselors."




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Saturday, July 21, 2012

Union....

Source: google.com via Stefanie on Pinterest


"Every day that a husband and wife walk hand in hand together upon earth makes of the twain more and more one flesh. The selfish element which at first formed so large a part of their attraction to each other disappears, and the union becomes so pure and beautiful as to form a fitting type of the union of Christ and His church. There is nothing else on earth like it."
Stepping Heavenward



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Friday, July 20, 2012

Providence....


Source: google.com via Stefanie on Pinterest


What dost thou mean by the providence of God?

The almighty and everywhere present power of God;
whereby, as it were by his hand, he upholds and governs 
heaven, earth, and all creatures; so that herbs and grass, rain and drought, 
fruitful and barren years, meat and drink, health and sickness,
riches and poverty,
yea, and all things come, not by chance, but be his fatherly hand. 


What advantage is it to us to know that God has created, and by his providence does still uphold all things?
That we may be patient in adversity; 
thankful in prosperity;
and that in all things, which may hereafter befall us, we place our firm trust in our faithful God and Father, 
that nothing shall separate us from his love; 
since all creatures are so in his hand, that without his will they cannot so much as move. 




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Thursday, July 19, 2012

What I believe...


Source: temperance.dk via Peter on Pinterest

What believest thou when thou sayest, "I believe in God the Father, Almighty, Maker of heaven and earth"?

"That the eternal Father of our Lord Jesus Christ (who of nothing made heaven and earth, with all that is in them;
who likewise upholds and governs the same by his eternal counsel and providence)
is for the sake of Christ his Son, my God and my Father;
on whom I rely so entirely, that I have no doubt, but he will provide me with all things necessary for soul and body
and further, that he will make whatever evils he sends upon me, in this valley of tears turn out to my advantage;
for he is able to do it, being Almighty God,
and willing, being a faithful Father."




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Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Growth....


"I have a great many little trials, but they don't do me a bit of good. Or, at least, I don't see that they do."

"No, we never see plants growing," she said.
"And do you really think then, that perhaps I am growing, though unconsciously ?"

"I know you are, dear child. There can't be life without growth."

This comforted me. I came home, praying all the way, and striving to commit myself entirely to Him in whose school I sit as learner. Oh, that I were a better scholar. But I do not half learn my lessons, I am heedless and inattentive, and I forget what is taught."
Stepping Heavenward



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Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Wedding quotes....

Today I wanted to share the verse and quotes that John and I used in our wedding program.



"This is my beloved and this is my friend."
Song of Solomon 5:16

"That the woman was made of a rib out of the side of Adam; not made out of his head to rule over him, nor out of his feet to be trampled upon by him, but out of his side to be equal with him, under his arm to be protected, and near his heart to be beloved."
Matthew Henry


"Providence sometimes wonderfully directs those that by faith and prayer seek direction from heaven in the choice of suitable yoke-fellows: happy marriages those are likely to be that are made in the fear of God; and these, we are sure, are made in heaven. "
Matthew Henry


 "This is now bone of  my bone. Now I have what I wanted....a help meet for me." God's gifts to us are to be received with a humble thankful acknowledgment of his wisdom in suiting them to us, and his favour in bestowing them on us."
Matthew Henry


"God, as her Father, brought the woman to the man, as his second self, and a help-meet for him. When he had made her, he did not leave her to her own disposal; no, she was his child, and she must not marry without his consent. Those are likely to settle to their comfort who by faith and prayer, and a humble dependence upon providence, put themselves under a divine conduct. That wife that is of God's making by special grace, and of God's bringing by special providence, is likely to prove a help-meet for a man."
Matthew Henry





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Monday, July 16, 2012

Praying for marriage....

"The Lord make the woman that is come into thine house like Rachel and like Leah, which two did build the house of Israel: and do thou worthily in Ephratah, and be famous in Bethlehem."
Ruth 4:11a

 "Marriages ought to be blessed, and accompanied with prayer, because every creature and every condition are that to us, and no more, that God makes them to be. It is civil and friendly to wish all happiness to those who enter into that condition; and what good we desire we should pray for from the fountain of all good. The minister who gives himself to the word and prayer, as he is the fittest person to exhort, so he is the fittest to bless and pray for those that enter into this relation.....

They prayed for Ruth: The Lord make the woman that has come into thy house like Rachel and Leah, that is, "God make her a good wife and a fruitful mother." Ruth was a virtuous woman, and yet needed the prayers of her friends, that by the grace of God she might be made a blessing to the family she had come into. They prayed that she might be like Rachel and Leah, rather than like Sarah and Rebekah, for Sarah had but one son, and Rebekah but one that was in covenant, the other was Esau, who was rejected; but Rachel and Leah did build up the house of Israel: all their children were in the church, and their offspring was numerous. "May she be a flourishing, fruitful, faithful vine by thy house side."

They prayed for Boaz, that he might continue to do worthily in the city to which he was an ornament, and might there be more and more famous. They desired that the wife might be a blessing in the private affairs of the house, and the husband a blessing in the public business of the town, that she in her place, and he in his, might be wise, virtuous, and successful. Observe, The way to be famous is to do worthily. Great reputation must be obtained by great merits. It is not enough not to do unworthily, to be harmless and inoffensive, but we must do worthily, be useful and serviceable to our generation. Those that would be truly illustrious must in their places shine as lights.
Matthew Henry


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Sunday, July 15, 2012

Psalm 119 part 2


 "Wherewithal shall a young man cleanse his way? by taking heed thereto according to thy word.
With my whole heart have I sought thee: O let me not wander from thy commandments.
 Thy word have I hid in mine heart, that I might not sin against thee.
Blessed art thou, O Lord: teach me thy statutes.
 With my lips have I declared all the judgments of thy mouth.
 I have rejoiced in the way of thy testimonies, as much as in all riches.
 I will meditate in thy precepts, and have respect unto thy ways.
 I will delight myself in thy statutes: I will not forget thy word."




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"Seek ye the LORD while he may be found, call ye upon him while he is near: For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the LORD. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts. For as the rain cometh down, and the snow from heaven, and returneth not thither, but watereth the earth, and maketh it bring forth and bud, that it may give seed to the sower, and bread to the eater: So shall my word be that goeth forth out of my mouth: it shall not return unto me void, but it shall accomplish that which I please, and it shall prosper in the thing whereto I sent it."
Isaiah 55:6,8-1