Friday, May 30, 2008

Get Out of Town

Today I'd like to share one of our families favorites places to go and hang out. It's close to an hour drive but well worth it. Budget the extra gas money, pack a picnic lunch and make a half day out of it; grab a few Adventures in Odyssey (no matter what your age or kid status these are good) and enjoy being with your family in God's creation.
So what is this place and where is it you ask? Ravine Gardens State Park in Palatka.
Our family visited here in November of last year and loved it! I've spoken with people who have been married there and with the beautiful backdrop I can see why. The gardens have 2 suspension bridges, a nice paved drive around the top of the ravine and neat paths that weave their way up hills and down into the bottom. I suggest parking and exploring the gardens by foot and then on your way out drive the loop around the ravine. A park for younger children is positioned about 1/2 way around the ravine and an exercise station is toward the beginning. It's not a very large park, check out the map here. Added bonus: much of the park, ravine and gardens are in the shade.

In a day and age when family time is hard to come by and if your home is like mine it can be hard to break away from TV, Playstation, phone calls and chores. Setting out purposefully, maybe even with cell phones turned off, can really do wonders for a family. So grab some tunes, if Adventures in Odyssey are not an option, and enjoy the ride, the views and the company!

More than just flat ground.

A perfect bench to sit on while the kids run and play. A bottle of bubbles would be fun here!
Who doesn't enjoy a suspension bridge?

It's just a neat place.
I'd love to hear and see pic if anyone make the trek. Let us know!

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Easy, Good Recipe.

I have a confession to make.
I don't really like to cook. Bake, yes; cook, no so much.
So when a tasty, easy meal comes my way I make it 'til no one wants it anymore.
Here's a great meal that I make often for family and friends.
I love to double it and make 2 meals for the time-price of one!

Swiss Cheese Chicken
4, boneless, skinless chicken breasts
4, slices of swiss cheese
1 can, cream of chicken soup
1/4 cup wine or grape juice or water
1/2 cup- 1cup Stove Top Stuffing
2 Tbsp butter

Preheat oven to 350 degrees
Place chicken in bottom of a baking dish
Cover chicken with Swiss Cheese
Mix wine and cream of chicken, pour over chicken breasts
Sprinkle the stuffing on top and drizzle with melted butter
Bake 35-45 minutes or until chicken is done

Serve with a veggie and extra stuffing is need be
Works for me!

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Simple Trust

Our "Start Your Week Contributor" is off-line right now due to some computer issues.
So to start your week off I'm linking to a wonderful friend of mine Barb over at A Chelsea Morning.

I think you'll enjoy this Sunday Meandering entitled Simple Trust.
Have a blessed week.

Saturday, May 24, 2008

Upcoming Off-Campus Event

Beth Moore Simulcast

August 1 - 2, 2008 Holly Hill, FL
Church of the United Brethren in Christ Holly Hill
Event details
Church of the United Brethren in Christ Holly Hill386.677.6940
Open registration

I attended a simulcast at this church in Feb. 2007. I went up with 2 other ladies and we ate lunch right at the church. It was a nice day. This particular event is a Friday night and Saturday, click the link above for more info.

If you would like to go to this event it is your responsibility to get your own ticket and transportation. Here are some suggestions for finding a friend, or two, to go with you.

  • Ask the women in your small group
  • Go with the lady you have always wanted to get together with but never have
  • Invite a friend from work
  • Invite a friend you haven't seen in awhile
  • Ask your mom
  • Leave a comment here and connect with someone through this blog

Please know that this post is just information for you, I am NOT organizing a group to go to this event!

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Works for Me Wednesday

Another tip from the Thursday night small group I attend.
Salt in your washing machine will stop colors from running. (i.e. your whites won't turn pink!)

I also found this link on some other tips for using salt in your laundry. I've also listed them below!

~Remove perspiration stains on white shirts. Dissolve 4 tablespoons of salt in a quart of very hot water. Sponge the solution onto the stain until it disappears.

~Wash new towels in salt water. Add a cup of salt to the wash the first few times the new towels go through the laundry to set the color and stay brighter longer.

~Use salt as a laundry pre-treatment when away from home to tackle grease stains from foods such as salad dressing. Saturate the area with table salt and work into the fabric to absorb as much of the stain as possible. Launder as usual.

~Remove gunk from the iron's metal soleplate. Sprinkle salt crystals on a thick section of newspaper laid out on the ironing board. Heat the iron turn off the steam option. Run the iron over the salt until the gunk is ironed off the plate.

~Treat a fresh blood stain by covering it with salt. Use a clean cloth and dab the salt with cold water until a clump forms. Work it into the stain and continue until the stain disappears.

~Remove mildew stains from clothing with a paste of lemon juice and salt. Spread the paste over the mildew and set the garment in the sun to dry.

I'm happy to know that I can use table salt, at the restaurant, when something gets spilled or dribble on me.
Works for me!
~Michelle <><

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Stock Certificates on Sale!

If you'd like to purchase a share of stock in one of the Student Ministries summer missions trips, contact Michelle at the church office 427-3056, or leave a comment here.

Purchasing a stock certificate will not only help send a student to Waveland, MI or Detroit, MI, but will also allow you and your family dinner at a "Stock Holders Only Dinner" after their return. You will also receive a postcard from that student while in the field.

Saturday, May 17, 2008

New!! Women's Bible Study

What- Battlefield of the Mind, by Joyce Meyer

When- Monday nights, June 2nd- Aug 4th

Where- 3204 Woodland Dr.

Contact person: Amanda at 386-846-9991 or

Friday, May 16, 2008

I Chose...

We're in such a new place in life right now. Relying on God like never before.
I like it,
I don't.

I like the peace, the assurance, the knowledge that no matter what I see here with my human eyes it'll be alright. God's got us covered.

"You hem me in - behind and before; you have laid your hand upon me." Psalm 139:5
I like the truth in God's Word. When a situation or feeling arises and and we seek Him and His Word then the situation takes on a whole new light.
His light.

I don't like not knowing.
I don't like not getting my way
I don't like where I'm at, it's uncomfortable, it's foreign and it stinks; but, I accept it.
I accept it happily and with joy somedays and other days, well let's just say other days I feed my self more than I feed my spirit.

Today, however;
I chose... focus on the positive, on the truth and on the promises of God.
I chose the "whatevers" in Philippians 4:8,

"Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things."

I chose to do the right thing.
Today, I chose God.

Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up. Galatians 6:9

Michelle <><

*adapted from I Chose... May 2007, by Michelle

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Works for Me Wednesday

Summer survival with kids home from school.

Summer is almost upon us and with that comes no school and no school means children home with us ALL DAY LONG! Each summer my kid count goes up by at least 3 kids, many times 4-5 extras, so over the years I've found a few things that work for me making the noisey day much more bearable.

My two best kept secrets would be 1.) mandatory outdoor time and 2.) mandatory quiet time. When I throw the word mandatory in their I find there's less arguing or excuses. After breakfast I usually "kick the kids out", they have to spend 2 hours outside. This allows me to clean up, do my devotions if I haven't had a chance yet and prepare for lunch and the rest of the day.

Then usually around 1:00pm all the boys go down for quiet time. Quiet time consists of each child in their own space. I usually put 2 in the bedroom on beds, 2 in the living room on sofas, 1 in my sewing room, 1 in the lego room and I keep an area open for me- to sit and relax or even catch a little nap. Usually the first week or so is tough. They want to talk or move about. I insist on them staying still and quiet. I roam the house like a hall monitor reminding them the timer will start over if they can't stick to the rules. The first 30 minutes they MUST be reading and the last 30 they can read or draw or play quietly with action figures or whatever they want. I try to not allow music during this time.

Two years ago we participated in a contest to keep track of # of minutes spent reading, # of minutes being active (outside time) and # of minutes participating in a service project. I'm hoping to plug into something of this nature again this year.

So with summer around the corner and our days filled with kids all around- these 2 tips work for me!


Head over to the main Works for Me Wednesday site for more ideas.

Monday, May 12, 2008

A Mother's Day Gift

I am chuckling right now! I guess you want to be let in on the reason for my chuckling? I am about to write a quote from a well-loved author and I just chuckle because you have no idea how many times people ask me if I'm related to her. Here is how the conversation usually goes "Hi, my name is Lisa Engel", "OH Lisa Ingall, like Laura Ingall from Little House on the Prairie right?" Now I just introduce myself as Lisa Engel E-N-G-E-L! HA! Anyway here is my quote (actually her quote):

"It is the simple things of life that make living worthwhile, the sweet fundamental things such as love and duty, work and rest, and living close to nature." Laura Ingalls Wilder

Now allow me to quote James 1:17 "Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows."

I am always a little bit reserved on Mother's Day for various reasons, one of which is that for many years I was unable to have a child. I remember those Mother's Days in church when our Pastor's son would intentionally seek me out to hand me a carnation and tell me "You're like a Mommy to me Mrs. Engel & I love you". Sometimes I loved that and sometimes, well, not so much.

Yesterday, as I went through church I greeted many women and I wished them a Happy Mother's Day. Many I knew were Mothers and some I did not know. Sure enough, one woman said to me, "Oh, I'm not a mother, I not even married for that matter!" So I gave her a hug and said "Happy Mother's Day"!

Let me enlighten you to a few definitions of "mother" you may not have been aware of:

1. a woman exercising control, influence, or authority like that of a mother

2. the qualities characteristic of a mother, as maternal affection

3. something or someone that gives rise to or exercises protecting care over something else

4. (my personal favorite)(in disc recording) a mold from which stampers are made (I can feel another blog coming out of this definition)

As women, just because of the way God created us, in someway, we inevitably become mothers. Whether you birth a child, adopt a child, teach a child, love a child, pray for a child, (and I'm adding child, but it doesn't even have to be a child by definition), or lead a small group, pray for your neighbor, get the idea - you are a Mother. So, if someone wishes you a Happy Mother's Day, receive it in love and think of the people that the Lord has placed in your path of life. Every good and perfect gift is from the Father above. Happy Mother's Day EVERYONE!

Friday, May 9, 2008

A Series of Unfortunate Events

Have you ever had a a day you'd rather have just slept away? Or a few days, maybe even a week or a month?

I have.

For me, last week was one of those weeks. By the time Saturday came around I was hesitant about getting out of bed. Wednesday I was in a minor car accident, Thursday I got sun-poisoning and Friday my 9-month old nephew got bit in the face by a dog while in my care. In those same 3 days 2 other more personal events occurred that sent my insides into backflips and spun my mind into such a whirlwind I thought surly this all must be a dream.

It wasn't.
As I lay in bed Friday night my mind was replaying the events that had happened. What could I have done differently to avoid the accident or why didn't I put sunblock on more often, why did I leave the baby for those 2 seconds? Why this, why that. I should have...
My mind tried to make sense of the craziness that had occurred and falling asleep was near impossible.

Lord, help me. I prayed. Help me.
The only one awake in the house I began to shift my thoughts to the Lord. See, when we seek Him, He'll be found (Jeremiah 29:13). When we ask Him for help, He gives it. As my mindset changed I began to thank Him for the last few days. I thanked Him for keeping us safe in the accident, for my nephew not needing stitches, for opening my eyes to Jesus in each and every situation.
On the wall directly across from my bed is a plaque that reads Be Still and Know That I AM God. Over and over in my mind I said this until I eventually slipped off into lala land.

Saturday greeted me with thoughts of not wanting to go out of the house, fear crept in and doing anything seemed impossible for me. Has this happened to you? You give something to the Lord, set it at His throne and no more than a night's sleep goes by and you awake with it right back in your own hand.

Ugh! It happens to me.
By the time Saturday lunch came I had turned to crying. Everything I saw, did or heard brought me to tears. I sat down with my Bible again and began to read Psalm 139. A familiar passage of comfort, reminding me that nowhere we go, no situation we're in can remove us from God's presence. That each situation we're in has a plan and a purpose much greater than we know.

Verses 7,8 say "Where can I go from your spirit? Where can I flee from your presence? If I go up to the heavens you are there; if I make my bed in the depths, you are there."
Verse 16b "All the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be."

Over and over I read these words, at first they were just words, not making much sense even though they had many times before, but slowly I began to get it. The words sunk into my heart flooding my mind and insides with peace, with understanding, with the comfort of God's love.

Dear one, if life has thrown you a series of unfortunate events lately cling to these verses, cling to God and His Word.

There is no where you can go that God is not with you and on those days where it seems everything has gone wrong, remember that He, the Creator of the universe journaled about that day long before it came to be. It may not make sense, it may even be crazy to think God could allow it to happen, He uses all things for the good of those who love him (Romans 8:28). Take comfort.
Thank Him for that. Meditate on His words, even if at first they are just words. Seek and you will find. God's Word brings peace in the midst of a series of unfortunate events.
Be blessed.

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Works for Me Wednesday

Today's edition is a Doesn't Work for Me Wednesday. Since I was at a training all day Wednesday my mind is fried and I just don't have anything. So actually I guess sitting in a conference all day and then having to share something on a blog, doesn't work for me!
Check out this link to see what doesn't work for others- it may save you some time and money; and please if you read this, e-mail us what works for you and what doesn't and we'll post it to share with others. It doesn't have to be elaborate just tips you find help you out!

Monday, May 5, 2008

Abundant Life

I have heard it once said that living in complete dependence on the Lord is the way to enjoy abundant life. Looking and living life with a whole new perspective is key. For example: learning to appreciate tough times, because they amplify our awareness of His presence; doing the tasks that we used to dread because we realize they are rich opportunities to enjoy His closeness; when we are tired, we remember that He is our strength; when we are alone, we turn to Him. You get the idea!

This past week in my private devotions, I found it very interesting that I would need this particular reminder for an event that would occur two days after reading this:

Quote from Sarah Young's book Jesus Calling: "When you are with other people, you often lose sight of My Presence. Your fear of displeasing people puts you into bondage in them, and they become your primary focus. When you realize this has happened, whisper My Name; this tiny act of trust brings Me to the forefront of your consciousness, where I belong. As you bask in the blessing of My nearness, My life can flow through you to others. This is abundant life."

Proverbs 29:25 says "Fear of man will prove to be a snare, but whoever trusts in the LORD is kept safe."

I walked right into that snare this week, but Praise God I sought His counsel, trusted and obeyed Him, and He saw us through to victory! It is true. I totally derived my own plan, but as I worshiped the Lord and asked for His wisdom, it was clearly different than my own. I chose to obey and the Lord did not remove His hand. I was basking in the blessing of His nearness and His life did indeed flow to others! Thank you Lord for being our ever present help in time of need!

Saturday, May 3, 2008

A Word on Prayer

For our end of the week devotional I'd like to share this from author Elisabeth Elliot.

Title: Why Bother to Pray?
Author: Elisabeth Elliot
If God is sovereign, and things will be as they are going to be anyway, why bother to pray? There are several reasons. The first is really all we need to know: God has told us to pray. It is a commandment, and if we love Him we obey his commands.

Second, Jesus prayed. People sometimes say that the only reason for prayer is that we need to be changed. Certainly we do, but that is not the only reason to pray. Jesus was not being made more holy by prayer. He was communing with his Father. He was asking for things. He thanked God. In his Gethsemane prayer He was beseeching the Father to prevent what was about to take place. He was also laying down his own will.

Third, prayer is a law of the universe. As God ordained that certain physical laws should govern the operation of this universe, so He has ordained the spiritual law. Books simply will not stay put on the table without the operation of gravity-- although God could cause them, by divine fiat, to stay. Certain things simply will not happen without the operation of prayer, although God could cause them, by divine fiat, to happen.

The Bible is full of examples of people doing what they could do and asking God to do what they couldn't do. In other words, the pattern given to us is both to work and pray. Nehemiah and the people of Israel worked hard to build the wall of Jerusalem but were strenuously opposed by Sanballat and Tobiah, who banded together with Arabs, Ammonites, and Ashdodites to attack.

"So we prayed to our God," wrote Nehemiah, "and posted a guard day and night against them" (Neh 4:9 NEB).