Wednesday, April 25, 2012

A New Heart
Create in me a pure heart, O God. (Psalm 51: 10)
Photo taken from SeeChelles Photography

Grace and Faith!

I am doing a women's bible study at my church by Kay Arthur.  The study is called, "Lord I Need Grace to Make it Today."  I am really enjoying the study and learning more about grace each week.  In our class our teacher gave us two hearts, one black and one red.  This was to help us understand our bible verse: 

Ezekiel 36: 26-27  "I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit in you; I will remove from you your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh.  And I will put my Spirit in you and move you to follow my decrees and be careful to keep my laws."

I thought this was such a great symbolism and so easy to understand that I did it with my kids as soon as they came home from school.  I had them all sit down around the table and gave them a black heart.  I asked them what a black heart was like.  Then we read part of the bible verse, "I will remove from you your heart of stone."  What would a heart of stone feel like?  We talked about how it would be a heart that didn't have the Holy Spirit in it.  A heart that did whatever it wanted without thinking about God.  A heart condemned.  A heart without love for others or God.  A heart of stone is a heavy heart.  

Then we read the whole verse about how God will give us a new heart and take out our heart of stone.  He will give us a heart of flesh with his Holy Spirit in it.  Then I gave them a red heart to replace the black one.  When we have a new heart, a heart of flesh with the Holy Spirit, we are able to keep to God's path that he created for us.  We are able to know God, feel his love, and follow him in the ways that please him.  All we have to do is ask God to create a new heart in us.  Ask Him into your heart and he will work this miracle in you.  All you have to have is Faith. Before faith came we were held prisoners to the law and through grace we are free.  

My kids really understood this with the hearts in their hand.  They understood what it meant about having God in their heart and not having a hard black heart.  My little one, 3 years old, wrote her name on her red heart and said that this was the one she wanted to have.  My oldest is 7 and he understood the most about what were talking about and my 5 year old said she wanted the Holy Spirit to be in her heart and then closed her eyes and asked Him to be.  I think this is a great way to share grace with your kids.  It is hard to understand sometimes because we think it is something that has to be earned, but God gives it freely because He loves us.  I hope others reading this find time to do it with their kids or friends or bible study class.  

Sunday, April 15, 2012

In My Garden

I love my garden!  I love to sew, but I really love to be outside planting and growing flowers in my garden.

I just finished a book called "Leota's Garden" By Francine Rivers.  Leota shares one of the main reasons I love my garden too.  She said she had always felt Jesus' presence in her garden the most.  Is it because everything of great importance happened in a garden?  Man fell in the Garden.  Jesus taught in a  garden.  Jesus was betrayed in a garden.  Jesus arose in a garden.  I love this garden because when I am in it I see the wonder of His creation.  I smell the earth and flower-scented air, and it stoothes me.  It reminds me that God's hand is in it all.  For I heard the voice of the Lord in the garden, calling me.  If you enjoy reading and gardens and love Jesus I recommend this book by Francine Rivers.

 So we moved into our house 2 1/2 years ago.  I loved the yard, but it needed a lot of work.  The house came with lots of hedge bushes and cedars that were over grown and not pretty.   The first thing my husband did was buy a chain saw and cut everything down. 

This is the back side of the house where our arbor and bird bath is now.

This is where the retaining wall is now.

It was not a garden friendly yard.  The first thing we thought to do was fix this side of the house up with a retaining wall that we could fill it in with good soil and compost.  I also thought I could put a vegetable garden there too.  So that is what we started growing in the garden box.  Our first veggies came from seeds and that was so fun for all of us to watch.  However we ended up moving the garden to the other side of the yard because I just wanted flowers in the retaining wall and that box was getting in the way.

Here is my husband hard at work on that retaining wall.  He said he will not be building me another wall anytime soon!  But I love the one he did do.

We filled our wall up with some soil, but mostly compost.  When we first moved in we really wanted to start a compost pile.  So my husband built a compost bin and we filled it up with all of our fall leaves.  We filled the bin in no time because we have so many trees.

My husband and his best friend building our compost bin.

Turned out great.  We love the amazing soil we get from it and all of the plants love it too.  I use it for soil whenever we plant something and I use it as mulch around the flowers.  

First we filled it up with our leaves and then we did add compost starter which you can get at any plant store.  The we add 3 big packs of red worms.  There are supposed to be the best worms for composting.  

You have to turn the compost pretty often to help it turn into soil faster.  We probably should turn it more than we do, but it all works out in the end.

The kids thought this part was great.

The start of our compost!

Here is our retaining wall all filled in and 2 years later in the winter before everything started popping up. 

Here is the back side of our house just before spring.  We had a lot of work ahead of us!  But it looks so much better than the ugly bushes that used to be there.

Our first spring tulip!  I love tulips.  I think they are so bright and happy.

I have been working all March and April on this back side of the house.  Now that spring has come I am starting to see the outcome of all our hard work.  My husband is also putting a wood border around this side and the adjoining side.  I love it.  Now I don't have to worry about the rain and watering washing the soil away.

I used half of my compost to mulch the whole garden bed.  This compost is amazing!  The plants love it and it is full of worms.

Easter time.  The flowers are coming.

And here it is today.  I love the Clematis.  They are exploding with flowers.  I am also getting ready to plant a few Dianthus.  I love the way they smell.  This whole garden area smells amazing.  The Paper Whites give off an amazing aroma too.  I can't wait for my English rose to bloom.

Here are my Dianthus waiting to be planted.

I also planted 3 knock out rose bushes.  I have been told they still smell good and are the easiest ones to grow.  I can't wait.

My English rose is in the far back of this picture.

Here is my retaining wall.  it is full of Paper Whites, Royal Candles, and my first Rose Tree.

Looking forward to my Rose tree blooming too.

In the Garden 

I come to the garden alone
While the dew is still on the roses
And the voice I hear, falling on my ear
The Son of God discloses
And He walks with me
And He talks with me
And He tells me I am His own
And the joy we share as we tarry there
None other has ever known
He speaks and the sound of His voice
Is so sweet the birds hush their singing
And the melody that He gave to me
Within my heart is ringing
And He walks with me
And He talks with me
And He tells me I am His own
And the joy we share as we tarry there
None other has ever known
I'd stay in the garden with Him
'Tho the night around me be falling
But He bids me go; through the voice of woe
His voice to me is calling
And He walks with me
And He talks with me
And He tells me I am His own
And the joy we share as we tarry there
None other has ever known

Saturday, April 14, 2012

Resurrection Rolls

We make these every Easter and the kids love it.  They ask all year long when it will be time to make Jesus rolls again.  It is a great way to explain the resurrection with little ones.  And it is a tasty treat too.  I pray that this sweet little activity we do once a year becomes a sweet memory of their child hood and Jesus.  

"Oh, taste and see that the Lord is good!
     Blessed is the man who takes refuge in him!"
Psalm 34:8

The ingredients:
Crescent Roll dough
melted butter
Large marshmallows

I start reading the Easter story to them until the point of Jesus being put into the tomb.  We talk about why he died and how.  The kids are usually full of questions and comments.  Then We talk about how when someone died back then they would burry a person in a tomb, put oil on their body and sweet smelling spices and then wrap them up in a cloth.  This brings up more discussions.  

So we bring the discussion to the table and I tell them that the marshmallow is like Jesus' body.  The butter is the oil and the cinnamon and sugar are the spices and the dough is the cloth.

First the put oil on his body.  So we roll the marshmallow (Jesus) in oil.

Then spices were put on, so we roll the marshmallow (Jesus) in the suger and cinnamon.

Then we wrap Jesus up with the crescent dough.

Make sure Jesus is covered completely.

Then we put him in the tomb, which is the oven.  The kids put soldiers around the tomb to make sure he doesn't get out.  During this time we read the rest of the bible story about Jesus resurrecting.  He is alive, no longer dead.  He laid the cloth aside that he was in and got out of the tomb.  Then we go and check on our "Jesus".

The rolls are still there and so are the soldiers so he couldn't have gotten out.  But then when you open up your roll the marshmallow is gone because Jesus is ALIVE.  

(I don't think this batch cooked long enough because usually there is no trace of a marshmallow at all)  

When my kids were real little they were so surprised by this and kept asking where Jesus went.  And then we would shout that Jesus wasn't dead any more he was alive!  Jesus died for our sins so that we don't have to die.  We get to live with Jesus and God in heaven because of this and that is reason to celebrate!  And this roll is super yummy too.

Here is my son Brian when he was 3 with his roll and no trace of a marshmallow.  :)

Easter Purse

I haven't been able to update all of my sewing projects I have done the last month.  I have been so busy getting ready for Easter and then recovering from Easter.  We just finished spring break too and I can finally feel life slowing down.  So one thing that I am super proud of is that I taught myself how to put in a zipper!  It was actually super easy and I don't know what I was so afraid of.  I really wanted to make little purses to match my daughter's Easter dress.  I loved the clutch from the Noodlehead blog.  I followed her tutorial to make this super cute purse.  I just added ric rac ribbon for a little strap.  I also made a purse for me, but that will have to wait for my next post.

My 1st zipper!

And it works!

Super Cute!