I have to say right now—I love a clean, gleaming, organized home; however, I can count on my hands and toes, the times my home has been clean, gleaming and organized all at the same time.

My mom makes it look so easy, but I know it takes consistency, a plan, and habits.

When I was first married, I realized that I had none of those things—so I came up with a plan.  I made a list of everything that needed to be done in the house, how much time I thought each task would take, and assigned a day to each task.  I was determined to get some habits in place before I had children. 

I succeeded in my goals:  the little house we were renting was immaculate—something our landlady noted when she came to visit.

Then we moved—into the Residence Hall, (my husband was the Director of Housing at a local college where we both worked), and I got pregnant.  Every day, I would run into the apartment and into the bathroom to get sick.  Every single day of my pregnancy.   I remember sitting in the apartment with my husband, when the President of the college showed up at our door, with a group of people, to show off the newly remodeled Resident Director’s Apartment, and the apartment was a disaster.  Every time, I moved in this apartment—I got sick, and so I stopped moving and just sat with a kerchief over my nose to block out newly remodeled smells that were assaulting my senses.  Needless to say—I still cringe at the memory of that occasion and wish I had had more gumption to make my apartment the clean, gleaming organized place, I longed for it to be.

And that sums up– how much of my mental life has been lived—I have a goal and a standard, I may reach that goal and standard for a while, but eventually I fail—sometimes to my great embarrassment–I fail.  Then when I remember my failure—I beat myself up, and tell myself, “you should have, could have done better.”

I am believing lies. 

Lie number 1:  If you want to be significant, you must achieve (fill in the blank).  Everyone’s fill in will be different—it could be having a great job or position at a job—it could be having a clean house, or well-behaved children, etc. etc.

2.  If you want to be loved: you must be perfect. (You must perform your job perfectly, or be the perfect wife and mother, friend, or all of the above.)

3.  If you want to belong: you must be worthy.  To be worthy you must have position, power and possessions.

1. The truth is:  I am significant because I belong to Jesus.  In fact, I have been adopted into the family of God. (John 1:12: But to as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, even to those who believe in His Name.)

2. The truth is: I am loved by Jesus, which means I am loved, I belong, I am significant in His love. (Galatians 2:20b:  The life which I now live in the flesh, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself up for me.)

3.  The truth is: Jesus has made me worthy and all who belong to Him worthy. ( 1 Peter 2:9a tells us:  But you are a chosen Race, a Royal Priesthood, a Holy Nation, a People for God’s own possession….)

When I believe these truths, I can be open about my failings and shortcomings, because I am already loved.  I already belong.  I have been made worthy.

When I believe these truths, I don’t have to look any farther than Jesus for my significance.  I can look at everything I do through His eyes—and I am motivated by His love to trust and obey Him. 

So instead of wanting to rush through the process of life and cleaning—I can savor the process of life and even the process of cleaning.  I can ask God to be a part of each moment—even cleaning can become an act of worship!

God is with us, each and every moment.  He loves us, we are significant in Him, and we belong to Him!!

                                                So Be Encouraged!!

Be Encouraged With Me!!

Dear Internet blogging community,

I wanted to share with you some exciting news for me.  One of my blogs has been published by HerViewFromHome!!  Here is the link to the blog that has been published by them:  

I want you to know that 2 years ago, one of my blogging friends suggested I submit a blog to HerViewFromHome to be published.   I was just starting my blog—which was such a big thing for me to do—and I was pretty nervous about doing this—so I stored her advice in the back of my mind.

Then, in late August, God told me to submit a blog to them. They accepted it—and it went out in publication on October 17th.

Now—dear community—you know that I don’t write for the numbers—or to gain followers—my goodness—I only have 87 followers, and I have been writing for 2 years!!

So, you will be as amazed as I am—that almost 6,000 people have read this particular blog. I realize for some of you, that this is a frequent occurrence with your blogs. However, I kind of feel like Peter, who had fished all night and caught nothing, and when Jesus told him to put down his nets—he came up with nets bursting with fish!!  This blog is being read because of God. He wants us to know that He is with us—even during our darkest times—He is with us, and He loves us. 

We don’t have to believe that for it to be true—it just is true, whether we believe it or not.

So, I share this great news with you all—so that you can be ENCOURAGED with me!!

Can She Bake An Apple Pie?

Can she bake an apple pie, Billy boy, Billy Boy, can she bake an apple pie, charming Billy?  She can bake an apple pie, quick as a cat can wink his eye, but she’s a young girl and cannot leave her mother.

(You may have heard this song with Cherry pie, instead of Apple Pie—but since this blog is about Apple Pies—I am changing the words. 🙂 )

Yes—this blog is about Apple Pies.  My husband loves Apple Pies—and since I love my husband—I make him Apple Pies.

My Apple Pies start with a trip up to a local Amish store.  This year I bought Gala’s and Golden Crisp’s—I like crisp, sweet to semi-sweet apples for baking pies.

These are the pictures of the first three apple pies of the season.

I used a round biscuit cutter to press edges together on this pie and the same cutter to make air
vents in the top of the pie
I used a round circular instrument to press the edges together with this one, and some different shaped cookie cutter to make the air vents in the top.
This pie, was made from the excess pie crust that I cut off the first two pies–so it is put in a glass cake holder to lend it some beauty. 🙂

As you can see–I am not a perfectionist — I just have fun when making pies. I say this to alleviate the fear factor to anyone who thinks they have to be perfect and do things perfectly–you don’t. See–I even put my imperfect pies –but still an act of love–on the internet. 🙂

I have a super easy homemade pie crust to share with you. This will make an top and bottom crust. (With excess dough.)

2 sticks (1 lb) of butter—(Freeze the butter for 15 minutes before using in the recipe—cut the butter before freezing it.)

2 ½ cups of flour

1 tsp. salt

6-8 tablespoons very, very cold water

Put butter, flour and salt in food processor, attach lid and start processor—add 1 tablespoon of water at a time—as soon as dough ball forms in processor—stop it.

Take dough out—divide it in two pieces—shape into flat, round pieces.  Put in a plastic bag and refrigerate for 30 minutes before rolling out. When rolling out use a little flour on bottom and top of dough to keep rolling pin from sticking to dough. It will be pretty hard to roll out at first–use those muscles!! 🙂 Roll out dough big enough to fit over your pie pan. When you are done–you can roll the dough onto your rolling pin and use the rolling pin to transfer the dough to your pie pan. (Just a little trick to make positioning the dough easier.)


12 medium size apples—6 of the Gala’s and 6 of the Golden Crisp’s (Most pie recipes call for 8 apples–we like more apples in our pies) You can use the amount you want. You can also use more sugar if you like it sweeter–or less sugar–and you can vary the amounts of the spices according to your taste. If you like a thicker sauce–use a little more flour–or no flour–if you don’t like. It is ok to experiment. 🙂

Peel the apples, cut into small wedges.

Add:  1/3 cup flour

½ cup white sugar

½ cup brown sugar

1 ½ teaspoon cinnamon

½ teaspoon nutmeg

½ tsp allspice

¼ tsp cloves

I pour the filling into the rolled-out pie crust, dot with 2-3 tablespoons of butter and top with another pie crust.  I use a fork, or anything to press the outside edges together and a knife to cut the excess dough off.  I often use a cookie cutter to cut shapes in the top of the crust for air vents.

Bake at 350 degrees for 1 hour.

And there you have it—An Apple Pie!!


That Guy

Tonight, our family watched a movie together.  It was an action-adventure movie, where against unbelievable odds, the good guy saves the day.  At some point during the movie, I turned to my husband, and said, “You’re that guy—the guy that is good in a crisis, who saves the day.”

Once, when my husband and I were out for dinner, a woman seated near us, fainted and was laying on the floor.  The waiters and waitresses ran to her aid but didn’t know what to do.  My husband is a Firefighter/EMT.  He had gone outside to grab a sweater, and when he came in, he was faced with this crisis. (I had told the waiters and waitresses that my husband would help.) He calmly went over to the woman, knelt beside her, and took her pulse.  By this time, she was awake, and he started asking her questions to assess her health history.   By the time the paramedics arrived, he calmly gave them her vitals and history and they then took her away.

It seemed to me that my husband’s presence calmed everyone down in the room, and I was filled with admiration for my husband.

Many years before, when we were standing in a lobby of a theatre with open candles around the perimeter, I saw a young woman back into the flame, and her hair caught on fire.  My husband moved like lightening — extinguishing the fire with his bare hands, saving the girl, and possibly the theatre.  He acted like it was no big deal. But it seemed like a big deal to me.

There are many men and women like my husband—they are good in a crisis, and they serve others with their skill sets all the time.

The day of our son’s accident, my husband heard his pager go off, stating that there was a motor vehicle/bike accident.  He was out of his chair like a shot, going to help.  It was our son.

At the funeral of our son, my husband spoke about the fact that the ambulance was changing shifts, and so they were only 1 minute away from the accident.  He was also struck by the fact that the paramedic instructors had just finished a class in our town, and they came to the scene of the accident.  My husband personally knew these people and thought highly of their skills.  

After our son had been airlifted to the hospital, the doctor who worked on Sean had previously been in Afghanistan as a combat surgeon.

These details meant something to my husband—these were his kind of people—people who serve others.  My husband saw the hand of God in the service of these people.  He saw God’s lovingkindness in the service of these people.  He saw God Himself, through the acts of these people.

When we were at the hospital with Sean, we were on the pediatric floor, and we were surrounded by nurses and doctors who took care of our son and showed compassion to us and to our other children.  We saw God’s lovingkindness through them.

When our country experienced 9/11—we also witnessed men and women, running into buildings while others were running out.  They ran in to save, they ran into to serve.  We saw God’s face in their faces.

It is easy to look at the bad, and dismiss God and dismiss His existence, His power and His love. 

It is not so easy to look at the good—the good in people—especially when there is a crisis—and dismiss God—dismiss His existence, His power and His love.  For what other reason do we have to act as we do—except that we bear His image.

If we as humans, can act so nobly—just think what that means about the One who made us, and loves us.

For my husband and I—all these things—all these people—combined with experiencing God’s loving presence and strength— testified to us of God’s goodness, God’s grace and God’s love. 

So the next time you see a good guy or gal working to save the day or a moment, or a child—remember the One who made them, the One Who saves us all—and thank them for bearing God’s image to you—and Thank God for making them!

Let us be encouraged!