Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Five Minute Friday: Tell

I wanna be a writer... really, I do! But somewhere along the way I have to find my reason, my drive, my passion.  Until I do, I will just continue to attempt Five Minute Friday in the hopes that someday, some where, somehow, the writing will improve and I will find my voice and my vision for the future...

This week, I'm not going to wait until the last possible moment. I will MAKE myself sit down and write, and I will share it here... (for real, I wrote this on Sunday... I just procrastinated until now to get it on my blog...aaarrgghh)

How can I not with a prompt like Tell:

Would it shock you to know that I've been blogging on and off for over 10 years?!?!?  It was shortly after my firstborn son turned one that my husband opened me to the world of blogging. It was an outlet, a way to inform family on the antics of our baby and growing family, etc. Over the years, I've wondered what my purpose is in blogging... what am I trying to tell the world? I tried my hand at photography, counting the one thousand gifts, sharing recipes and craft projects, and the dear to my heart handmade cards. But it also became the birthing place for my desire to be a writer.

Lately, I've been struggling with that desire because I've been unmotivated to put that desire into action... and just Friday morning I read the following on the Allume blog...

What’s your end game in blogging? What is the ultimate goal you hope to accomplish with this?

And I will ponder that and think through my goals and purpose. The other struggle I've had is with all the verses in the Bible that show the wisdom in keeping your mouth shut... "Even a fool, when he holdeth his peace, is counted wise: and he that shutteth his lips is esteemed a man of understanding." ... and "Let every man be swift to hear, slow to speak, slow to wrath" and I think, does the world really need to hear what I have to say? Or should I just keep my mouth shut and my pen silent?

And then God brings to mind the verses where He commands us to tell the generations to come (Joshua 22:27-28) His mighty works, His goodness, His miracles. And while I haven't figured out the how, the why, the when; I do know that I can use this blog to tell of the unsearchable riches of Jesus Christ.  Sometimes it will be sloppy and choppy and maybe, hopefully, someday it will be eloquent and life changing to some one... even just one reader.

So, I will tell of the wonders of my God and pray that you will join me in sharing testimony to the great things He has done!

Psalm 145:4 “One generation will commend your works to another; they will tell of your mighty acts.”
Psalm 79:13 “ Then we your people, the sheep of your pasture, will praise you forever; from generation to generation we will recount your praise.”
Psalm 71:15-16 “My mouth will tell of your righteousness, of your salvation all day long, though I know not its measure. I will come and proclaim your mighty acts, O Sovereign LORD; I will proclaim your righteousness, yours alone. 


Now get thee over to Kate Motaung's place and read some more great five minutes and tell them what their words mean to you!

And take a moment in the comments to share what great things God has done for you this week!

Monday, August 18, 2014

Berry Crumb Bars

It's been ages since I posted a recipe on the blog here... and considering that those posts are some of my most visited posts, I decided to share another one. Baking is my love language and I did a little baking this weekend at the request of my dear husband who was craving something sweet and fruity... and I had some strawberries that needed to be eaten and some blueberries from the picking I did last week, so I whipped up this old recipe here and I'm wondering why it's been six years since I made this last (I posted this recipe to my old xanga blog back in the day... that's how I know).

Well, after I shared a picture on instagram/facebook, I had more than one person ask for the recipe, so here it is!!

 for later and Enjoy!

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The original recipe is pretty simple and you can find it on allrecipes, Blueberry Crumb Bars. But after I read some of the comments/suggestions I tweaked the recipe a little.  Here is my recipe.

1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup white sugar
1 teaspoon baking powder
2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
1 cup whole wheat flour
a shake or two of salt
a couple shakes of cinnamon

1 cup shortening
1 egg
a capful of vanilla
a capful of lime (or lemon) juice
and a little bit of water
1/2-3/4 cup of oatmeal (for use later)

a pint fresh blueberries
1 bag frozen raspberries
(or any combination of berries equalling 4 cups)
1/2 cup white sugar
3 teaspoons cornstarch

1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.  Grease a 9×13 inch pan.
2. In a medium bowl, stir together sugar, flour, and baking powder.  Mix in salt and cinnamon.  Use a fork or pastry cutter to blend in the shortening and egg. Dough will be crumbly.  Add vanilla, lime juice, and water to help it stick together a little bit and press half the dough into prepared pan.
3. In another bowl, stir together the sugar and cornstarch.  Gently mix in the blueberries and raspberries.  Sprinkle the berry mixture evenly over the crust.
4. Add 1/2 cup or so of oatmeal to remaining dough and crumble over the berry layer.
5. Bake in preheated oven for 45 minutes or until top is slightly brown.  Cool completely before cutting into squares.
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It's definitely one I will make again!

Thursday, August 14, 2014

Five Minute Friday: Fill

I've always been a procrastinator, but this is getting ridiculous. I have loved Five Minute Friday from the start. It's what taught me to sit down and write without worrying whether it's right or not, but I still struggle with it. And now we've transitioned to a new host for Five Minute Friday and a new journey and I so want to be a part of it and I've almost missed the first week entirely.

When I saw the prompt last Friday, I knew exactly what I wanted to write about, but I had no idea what it was going to look like and then I refused to sit down and write... phooey on me!!

so here goes my feeble attempt in the eleventh hour!!


A blueberry in the bucket, a blueberry in the mouth, a blueberry in the bucket, a blueberry in the mouth... Which will get filled first, the bucket or his tummy? That's the way it goes with my nephew. My girls on the other hand filled their buckets pretty quickly because for some reason, I can't get them to like blueberries, unless it's the dehydrated ones that come in muffin mixes. :)

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I spent last Friday picking blueberries with my girls, my sisters, and my mom. It's been a while since I've done it, but I'm looking forward to some blueberry treats this fall, winter, or even spring... because now my freezer has a shelf of frozen blueberries all ready for baking.

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Truth be told, it's the baking I love, I don't care if it's blueberries, cheesecake, brownies or Christmas cookies. I love baking! It fills my heart with joy and gives me more cushioning than I need, baking makes me happy.  Almost as happy as writing... actually baking makes me happier than writing because I can see the immediate positive results and feedback from my baking... maybe I should make this a baking blog (and maybe I should stop writing as my brain seems to have gone away with me and taken any chance of a complete thought with it).

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Baking, blueberry picking, spending time with family like I did last week... all things that fill my heart (well maybe not the work of blueberry picking, but that's where this blog post started).

What fills your heart?  or what fills your freezer?  :)

So like I said it's the eleventh hour and I'm going to try to link up with the other fine writers at Five Minute Friday... before we all join for a new week and a new prompt tonight at #fmfparty on twitter!!

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

The Written Word: Snail Mail

I've never been a huge fan of my handwriting. For one thing, I'm left handed and it took many childhood years of struggle to figure out how to write without smearing the ink with my hand... and I don't hold my hand at that crazy awkward angle like my father does (have I mentioned that I love my father and all the quirks he has gifted to me?)

bunny trails, bunny trails... where was I?

Writing, the struggling theme of my smattering of blogposts lately.

More specifically, handwriting.

I know the power of the written word, especially the Word of God.

I also know the power of a handwritten recipe from a dear grandma, mom, or aunt.
I know the power of a scrapbook page with captions written from the heart.
I know the power of a hand-written journal entry
(Ooh, another bunny trail--my parents found my high-school diaries in their basement last month. I'm looking forward to picking them up on our next visit).
And I know the power of a hand-written encouragement note, thank you note, or birthday card (I'm partial to handmade).

It's rare to see a handwritten envelope in the mailbox these days, but thanks to #fmfpartysnailmail there are days when buried in the bills, catalogs and credit card offers, a small and beautiful breath of fresh air appears.  A personal envelope, handwritten. Those little notes mean the world to me--encouragement, verses, reminders that God is good and He sees me. A refocus that brings renewal and refreshment. Sometimes a handwritten note that pushes me to be a better me.

Like my mom and my oldest sister, they send handwritten notes regularly, little newsy updates, a connection in this fast-paced, so easy to drift apart world... I wanna be like them.

Even in my writing/blogging endeavors, I find that the ideas come and the words flow more easily with paper and ink instead of a keyboard and screen.
Writing helps me sort my thoughts, writing is an encouragement to others, writing is a way of telling generations to come the wonderful works of our amazing God. Writing is a way to give thanks to friend, to family, to God.

Have you seen the power of the written word in your life?

I'm joining my #fmfpartysnailmail friends over at Kaitlyn's place as we share about the written word, Go check them out!!

Monday, August 4, 2014

Five Minute Friday: Begin

I'm totally breaking the rules with this one, because it's the last 5 minutes with Lisa-Jo as she passes the torch to Kate Motaung (who I'm sure is a delightful person and I can't wait to get to know her through the coming weeks of Five Minute Friday)... Because I don't know her, I don't know if she will let us break the rules (or at least bend them a bit) :) So I'm thinking on the prompt Begin (or was it bacon) and doing a little research and a little sleeping before I begin my five minutes on begin. 

sidenote: I wrote this Thursday night before I turned out my light with the full intention of writing in the morning... and then my pen kept moving and this is what came out before my pen stopped!!!

I began with Five Minute Friday all those years ago with the first prompt --it was a photo prompt, not even a word prompt. And my 5 minutes were very short (this was before I wanted to be a writer).  Over the years I have written regularly and written intermittently and dropped off the face of the earth altogether, but I keep coming back to this community, this #fmfparty community, because when I'm with them, I fall in love with twitter again, I fall in love with blogging, with community, with inside jokes like bacon, alpacas, and ...

I fall in love with writing again, and when the romance with writing begins again I begin to smile and I begin to write until my hand aches and I think I better get a better pen to attach to my writing journal.

I begin to believe in myself again...

~believe in the dreams God has placed on my heart
~believe that God is writing my story
~believe that I am loved whether I blog every day or less than once a month
~believe that friends, real friends, exist online and I have friends in Oregon, Texas, Virginia, Illinois, Minnesota, California, and Florida and a whole bunch of other states, and even multiple locations in Canada, and right here in Pennsylvania.

These friends are here for each new beginning, cheering me on and they will cheer you on with encouraging words that can flow out in just five minutes (or more).

Take a few minutes to encourage others in your life today! You can't begin to imagine what it will mean to them!

and read some other great readers participating in five minute Friday with Lisa-Jo this week!

Thursday, July 31, 2014

Five Minute Friday: Finish

Will you all bear with me and my recurring theme of late for one more blog post? I'm still a little lost and still finding my way and still procrastinating on Five Minute Friday and posting it at the last possible moment. I have good intentions of writing and posting on the actual Friday that the prompt goes live, but it never seems to happen, so I think... by Monday at least, but that doesn't happen either. and then I find it being Wednesday night and the house is quiet and I gave it a go... but it doesn't get posted until late afternoon on Thursday, mere hours before the next prompt goes live... but here it is anyway.

My {approximately} Five Minutes on Finish:

Some days I think I"m finished with this whole writing thing, that the words in my heart and my head have just dried up and disappeared. Some days, most days, the desire to write is so far gone that I find something, anything else to do (even housework) just so I don't have to sit down and write (which is why I'm attempting 5 minute Friday almost a week later).

Writing, it's what all the cook kids are doing and try as I might, I've never been one of the cool kids.

But finishing cannot be called finishing, when it's really quitting. Quitting is never the right answer. And I keep saying that I'm not going to quit.

So I'm finished with the quitting, finished with the excuses (for a day or two, anyhow) finished with the wishing and hoping but being unwilling to act.

Finishing brings about beginnings.

Fact is, I don't know what I"m beginning and chances are there will be multiple do-overs, but each time I want to quit I'm reminded that He's not finished with me yet and Hw ho has begun this good work in me will bring it to completion

... in His time.
... in His way.
... for His glory.

and He will do the same in your unfinished story.  Let Him keep writing His story on your heart, and I will let Him keep writing His story on my heart... and occasionally, I'll write it down and share it with you!

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Five Minute Friday: Belong

Five Minute Friday

It's a little far from Friday... closer to the next Friday, but I've been itching to try my hand at writing, at blogging again, so here it is...

I found Five Minute Friday hanging out at Crystal Stine's place this week... She's a treasure, be sure to check her out! She'll make you feel like you belong!

Here's my five(+) minutes on Belong


Somedays I wonder where I belong... Is it in the bloggy world, in the crafty world, in the writing world, in the continuing education world, in the just-a-mom world?

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I recently took a social media break to figure it all out... and to finish strong in two online classes that were stretching me a little farther than I wanted to stretch (one of them was a PE class, haha). I'm still on the social media break, but I cheated recently and perused a little bit of twitter, a little bit of instagram, a little bit of facebook. And it reminded me of what I loved about the online community.

For one thing, when you disappear for a month, there is always someone to welcome you back (or even notice that you were gone in the first place). Not hundreds of people, but it was my people. An email here, a Voxer there, and a twitter conversation, too.  And I realize that I still belong.

I don't write for days, weeks on end, but when I sit down and focus the words will still flow... sometimes a little choppy at first, but they are still there, I just have to work at them. And I realize I can still call myself a writer, I just can't be lazy. Sometimes it takes a little effort to belong.

Those classes I worked so hard on, I got an A in both of them... and the anticipation of on-campus fall classes has me a little giddy and I realize I can still belong in the higher education arena, too.

I peruse Pinterest and am overcome with great card making ideas and when my classes are finally done, I sit down at my craft table and I create, and I create, and I create...

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and I love every single card I make and I am giddy with the thought of sending them to some of my friends to bless and encourage others... maybe I don't belong in the etsy world full time yet, but God can use my gift of creating to show others they belong!

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I take my kids to swim lessons and watch them improve and have a blast. I make rainbow loom creations (including a Queen Elsa).
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We go on vacation and I enjoy the pool with them a bit, they ride bikes to the area park, we enjoy a day at the Creation Museum, etc... Back at home, I cuddle with my kids more and take them to the park and the library. I make little successes in parenting and I realize that above all I belong to these kids and they belong to me and I can be a mom ... and all the other things too. It's just an ebb and flow, and not so much a balance of it all, but a belonging and a taking turns on where my focus is.


so be a little gentle as I stop in to see if I belong in the blogging world still  ;)
Hope to be back again soon, but no promises!

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