Sunday, December 25, 2011

Merry Christmas!

And she shall bring forth a son, and thou shalt call his name JESUS: for he shall save his people from their sins.
Matthew 1:21

 Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy,
which shall be to all people.
For unto you is born this day in the city of David
a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord.
Luke 2:11

For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, 
that whosoever believeth in him should not perish,
but have everlasting life.
John 3:16

 And my spirit hath rejoiced in God my Saviour...
Luke 1:47

God is so good to have sent us a Savior to save us from our sins! 

"O come let us adore Him,
O come let us adore Him,
O come let us adore Him,
Christ, the Lord!"

Sunday, December 4, 2011


"...Adam's likeness now efface,
     Stamp Thine image in its place..."
A favorite line from a favorite Christmas carol.

What's Up?

Ok, I know I haven't been a very good blogger lately...  Here's some of the 'patchwork pieces' of our life from the last few weeks!

*I've been gathering pecans (one of my favorite nuts) from the ground around pecan trees in town.  The pecans from the trees on public property are available free to the public! (photo credit)

*We enjoyed a beautiful Thanksgiving Day with church family and other friends on the church grounds--good food, target practice outdoors and Dutch Blitz indoors.  Even though Josh had to work (be on call), he was working out of an EMS station nearby and got to join us for a good bit of the afternoon.  Yes!

I saw the ideas for a this Thanksgiving veggie tray and dip bowl on Pinterest!

*We celebrated both Josh's and our oldest son's birthdays in November!  This is my first year doing a 'theme' for birthdays.  I did an ocean theme for Josh and a cowboy/western theme for our brand new 3 year-old.  It's so fun to try to be creative with the decor and food with using what I already have.


 *We've been knocking out the last of hubby's school projects for this semester...almost done!  He has just the spring semester and then two summer classes left! Yes, that's a little more than we had thought.  We were going through the credit hours and classes he still needs in order to graduate when we discovered he needs two more classes than originally thought.  Thankfully he can take those over the summer.

*We got our Christmas tree December 1st. Also, the Christmas CDs came out in earnest. 'Tis the season!

*We had the opportunity to help our church pass out this gospel tract at our local Christmas craft fair.

*We have a busy week ahead of us--Josh is doing several days of training for his job, and I have things like Christmas decorating, preparing for our youngest son's first birthday, writing our annual Christmas letter, and also doing two, possibly three, big projects on my to-do list.  We'll see what actually gets done!

Sunday, November 20, 2011

The Boys

Our littlest guy turned 11 months on 11-11-11!
Here's some recent pictures of our two littles.

Dressed western

Someone didn't want to keep his hat on...


Our Pumpkin with a pumpkin
Oh, I love them!
It sure can be challenging to get good pictures when photographing little ones,
but I'm always glad when I take the time to try.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Holden Beach

We spent fall break at the coast, as has been our 'tradition' since moving here!  It was delightful and relaxing.  Josh found an ocean-front two-bedroom cottage to rent for a very reasonable price.  We enjoyed strolling the beach, collecting sea shells, wading in the ocean, stargazing, reading in the sun, listening to the waves, eating Breyer's ice cream, doing a puzzle (that is my thing; Josh doesn't get into that..and I hardly ever do them!), enjoying lots of family time...  We hope we can go back once more before we move to Minnesota next summer/fall.  The ocean is so beautiful, so powerful...we have such a marvelous Creator!

Our family

Daddy with the boys
Mommy with the boys


Playing outside

Big back deck

'Shooting' a dead fish

Pretty shells in the sand

Sea shells galore!

Cute Gooseberry Patch puzzle

Another view of the back deck


Cute plaque

Tuesday, October 25, 2011


I know I've been rather scarce on here lately.  We manage to keep busy!  Some of what the last few weeks have included (besides the usual school, work, church, tot-tending and homemaking) are going apple-picking as a family on my birthday and, later in the day, having friends over, entering baked goods and sewing items in the county fair, taking the boys there with our church's home-school group for on one of the free school-group days, helping pass out gospel tracts and talk to people in our church booth at the fair, enjoying a date night at the Olive Garden in celebration of our wedding anniversary, having our youngest turn 10 months, seeing God work amazingly in our church (answering prayer with a number of people visiting, several souls saved, then several who followed in believer's baptism and also answering prayer by providing for a huge need in our church!), getting to see lots of small airplanes at the little Shelby airport for their open house, potty-training our 2 year-old, getting our 10 month-old accustomed to sleeping in a crib in a new room, and enjoying many beautiful fall days!  Josh is on fall break from school now, and we are excited for our adventure we have planned for the rest of this week.  Details later!

Monday, October 24, 2011

Autumn Recipe

These are DELICIOUS with a glass of apple cider!  Atleast we think so. :)
Soft Spice Bars

3/4 cup butter, melted
1 cup sugar
1/4 cup molasses
1 egg
2 cups all-purpose flour
2 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 tsp. ginger
1/2 tsp. cloves or allspice
1/2 tsp. salt

Mix.  Bake in greased 15x10 pan at 375 degrees for 10-12 minutes.  Do not over bake!! 
(Could also bake in greased 9x13 pan at 350 for 20 minutes.)

-adapted from this Taste of Home recipe

Friday, October 7, 2011

Jadeite 'Candy'

I really like green jadeite dishes!  Aren't they pretty?!  They have such a vintage chic/retro charm to them!  My small collection is growing slowly as I prefer them to be a good deal when I purchase them, and those can be few and far between.  However, for my birthday I treated myself to a couple additions purchased off ebay.  Mmmmm!!!

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Four Years!

At last!!  10-6-07
Tomorrow marks the fourth anniversary of our marriage!  I'm so thankful for my man and am so grateful God brought us together.  He knew just who I needed!   

Thought Provoking

This is an interesting and, for me, convicting thought from my friend and neighbor Sandra at Simply Keeping the Home

"What if all you had today were the things you thanked God for yesterday?"

A Favorite

Out in the Fields With God

The little cares that fretted me,
I lost them yesterday
Among the fields, above the sea,
Among the winds that play;
Among the lowing of the herds, 
The rustling of the trees,
Among the singing of the birds,
The humming of the bees.

The foolish fears of what may happen,
I cast them all away
Among the clover-scented grass,
Among the new-mown hay;
Among the husking of the corn
Where drowsy poppies nod,
Where ill thoughts die and good are born
Out in the fields with God.

~Elizabeth Barrett Browning

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Taste of Home Cooking School

Last Thursday, a friend and I went to the Taste of Home Cooking School that was in our area.  I'm glad I went!  I'd heard about them before, but had never attended one.  It was inspiring!  We watched a lady demonstrate how to make a variety of delicious-looking recipes, giving tips and techniques as she went.  Did you know one way to crack an egg is to hit two eggs together side to side (like this: 0-0 ), and only ONE egg will crack every time!  Of course, the next day when I was making something with eggs, I had to try it.  And sure enough!  It's amazing they don't both crack!   I also learned that if you let a pork roast rest in it's juices for a little while after taking it from the oven, the roast will be more moist when you serve it.  I'm guessing this would go for all roasts.  And I observed that the way to make a layered cake flat on top is to put the top layer on upside-down!  Maybe these are all simple things most cooks know, but I enjoyed learning some new things.  I'm also inspired to try some new recipes, like one called Ground Nut Stew.  It is an unusual mixture of ingredients that is suppose to be very good: sweet potatoes, kidney beans, peanut butter, and lime juice along with the 'usual' stew ingredients.  I'll let you what we think of it!  I made Pumpkin Whoopie Pies (another recipe from the cooking school) yesterday for a lady's meeting last night, and although they were good, I was disappointed with how the cookie part became sticky.  Anyone know what causes this?  High humidity?  At the cooking school, we each received a gift bag containing coupons, recipes and free gifts (we kind of received our ticket money back!), and throughout the evening we anticipated hearing our name called out for one of the many door prizes given away.  But it never happened. :( :)  We really enjoyed going.

We're Uncle and Auntie Again!

Another adorable little niece arrived September 17th!
8 lbs. 14 oz. and 21" long
Congratulations, Zach and Deidra!

Friday, September 16, 2011

Saturday, September 3, 2011

So True

"One moment of patience may ward off great disaster.
One moment of impatience may ruin a whole life."
~Chinese Proverb
(copied from a friend's Facebook status)

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Back to School

August 25th marked the first day of what is Josh's last year of Bible school at Ambassador Baptist College!  Wow!  It's amazing to think we have been here in North Carolina for almost four years...and that our time here is quickly drawing to a close.  Leaving next summer will be bittersweet--saying goodbye to our church and the other friends we've made here, leaving our first home, knowing we won't be seeing long autumns (my favorite season) and mild winters anymore, and yet it will be nice to be back in Minnesota again, being close to our families, enjoying summers that don't get so hot, helping in our church there for a couple years and eventually doing a church plant in that area (Lord willing).  We chuckle over how now that Josh is almost done with school, we have finally figured out how to stay well on top of the workload.  Haha!  To bad we couldn't have discovered that sooner!  (Our secret?  Do school projects way before they are due!)  He is taking classes Monday through Friday this semester and doing 14 credit hours, though so far, it's much easier than his 15.5 credit hours last spring semester.  He's such an amazing guy.

Sorrow and Joy

Romans 12:15
Rejoice with them that do rejoice
and weep with them that weep.

Last Thursday we heard the terribly sad news that an eighteen year-old cousin of mine had taken his life.  It was very unexpected.  No notes were left behind and no one for sure knows 'why'.  It is so heartbreaking.  I had never known him very well, and now I wish I had made more of an effort to become acquainted.  Inevitably there is the question, "Is there something I could have said or done to keep him from doing this?"  Maybe not.  But it really made me realize the importance of reaching out to others and how I really need to improve in this area.  We may never know until eternity the difference we've made in another's life just by being yielded to God, being a good witness for Him, and serving Him by serving others.

On Sunday, we heard the wonderful happy news that another cousin of mine had given birth to a full-term beautiful healthy baby girl after a difficult pregnancy and after having lost a premature baby girl last year.  Oh joy!!  Thank you, Lord!

Retro-Vintage Decor

My sister-in-law Hannah went with a retro-vintage decorating theme for their wedding and reception.
It was so cute!!

(Side note: this is during the recessional; he swept her off her feet and carried her up the aisle!  How cute is that!)  Here you can see the arbor with greenery and flowers, and the candles lining the aisle. 

This blackboard sign and tulle graced one side of the entrance to the reception.

And this old bicycle and basin of daisies graced the other side!

For centerpiece decor, the tables had cake stands with cupcakes, candy dishes with silver spoons (and of course, M&M's and gourmet jelly beans!), votive candles, little bells and rose petals.

The vintage cake topper was the same one Grandpa and Grandma Dunham had on
their wedding cake many years ago.

Antique drawers were filled with colorful old-fashioned candy.

Photo booth (quilt and decorative drapes) with a chalk board and various things you could wear (mustaches, old glasses, big lips, 50's hats, cane, dainty umbrella) or sit on (old bicycle, antique chair).  I didn't get any of the really good pictures, but here's a few to give you an idea!

Also, in the buffet line, old wash basins were filled with ice, and one held a huge bowl of potato salad, another a big bowl of pasta salad, and two others held retro-style glass bottles of pop!
(That's 'soda' for you Southerners!)

It was such a wonderful day!

(Thanks to my sisters for taking these pictures.)

Monday, August 29, 2011

A New Brother

Mr. and Mrs. Josh Maki!
 August 19th was an absolutely wonderful day;
the day my sister-in-law Hannah became the wife of Josh Maki, thus making him our new brother!
They are perfect for each other.  I love the verse they chose for their wedding programs:

I will praise thee for ever,
because thou hast done it...
Psalm 52:9
 She was a gorgeous bride, he a handsome groom, and the wedding was so beautiful.
And they are so happy!

 I loved being a bridesmaid for the very first time!
It included several firsts; first manicure and pedicure, first makeup, and first styled hair-do. 
I felt like a princess!
And the dresses and flowers were so pretty.

 It was so fun to see family and friends again.  It was just sad that Papa wasn't there.

The Miller siblings and Mama
I'm so glad we were able to be a part of their special day.
Marriage is such a wonderful gift from God.
Welcome to the family, Josh, and best wishes to the newlyweds as you begin your new life together!

(Thanks to my sisters who took these pictures!)

Bridal Party

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Coming Soon...

There will be an avalanche of posts soon!  There's much to share. :)  Stay tuned.

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Excitement is in the Air!

Next week is going to be a very busy, very full, very exciting week!  My sister-in-law (one of Josh's sisters) is getting married Friday evening, and both Josh and I are in the wedding!  This is my first time being a bridesmaid, and I am so excited!  We will be seeing lots of family and friends, helping with wedding prep, attending the pre-wedding festivities, spending some time at the lake...but before all that, I need to get back to my not-so-favorite task of packing.  See you later. :)

photo credit

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Eight Months!

Today my baby is 8 months old!
He sports three teeth, does a fast army crawl over the floor, 
runs all over the house in his walker,
sits by himself if put in a sitting position, 
puts everything in his mouth, cries loudly, eats food,
wakes once or twice at night, babbles happily, loves attention,
makes messes and grows fast!

We love him dearly.

Our littlest sweetie
Pictured with big brother while we were out for a walk!

Monday, August 8, 2011

Where's the Counter?

Thank God for dirty dishes,
They have a tale to tell.
While others may go hungry,
We're eating very well.
With home and health and happiness,
I should not want to fuss.
For by this stack of evidence,
God's been good to us!

-Author Unknown

Today before cleaning
Today after cleaning

Friday, August 5, 2011

Just Peachy


Plump. Juicy. Ripe. Sweet. Dripping. 
It's peach season, and South Carolina peaches are delicious! 
After we finish the half bushel of peaches we have right now, we will have eaten our way through just over a bushel of peaches this summer!  We have been eating them fresh--plain, sliced over granola, pureed in smoothies, as we prefer fresh over canned.
And enjoying a bowlful of peaches and Breyer's natural vanilla ice cream on the sofa with my sweetie in the evening is such a treat! 
Fruit is so much better in season than out of season.  It reminds me of the this verse,

A man hath joy by the answer of his mouth: 
and a word spoken in due season, how good is it!
Proverbs 15:23
Words spoken in the right way at the right time (in due season) do much to encourage and strengthen others. Words spoken in the wrong way or at the wrong time (out of season) can discourage or deeply hurt, even if that was not the speaker's intent.  I know I often struggle with using tact.  
Let's strive to have sweet speech!  

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Make-Ahead Breakfast

A few months ago, I had run out of honey which our 'normal' granola recipe calls for, so I decided to try this recipe I found online that uses sugar for sweetener.  After tweaking the original recipe, we like it so much that it is now our new 'normal' granola recipe!  One batch provides many quick and easy breakfasts for our family.

Cinnamon Granola

8 cups rolled oats
2 cups flaked unsweetened coconut
1-1/4 cups light brown sugar
1 cup chopped pecans
1 cup raisins 
1/4 cup cornmeal 
1-1/2 Tbsp. ground cinnamon
1 cup butter, melted
1/2 cup water
2 tsp. vanilla
1 tsp. salt 
  • In a large mixing bowl, combine first seven ingredients.
  • Melt butter and add water, vanilla and salt.
  • Pour liquid mixture over dry ingredients, stirring to coat.
  • Bake in a large pan(s) at 325 degrees for 20 minutes, stirring once during that time.
  • Cool and store in airtight container or ziploc bag.
              -Adapted from Cinnamon Crunch Granola at Tammy's Recipes

Tuesday, August 2, 2011


Bloom where you are planted.

Smoky Mountain Trip

In Cades Cove

Last Thursday we went to the Blue Ridge Mountains north of Gatlinburg, Tennessee for a quick (one-night) family trip.  I'm very thankful for the opportunity a trip provides to get out of our routine,  take a step back to analyze things we're doing or not doing and then resolve to make changes where we need to change.  Also, we got to spend time with Daddy away from his books and work!  Blessing 1 had a couple difficult times with car sickness on our trip with all the curvy mountain roads.  Poor guy--he ended up with his lunch all over him and his car seat with his first episode.  We rented a cute, cozy cabin up in the mountains, and besides having some fun family time just relaxing there, we also drove through the towns of Gatlinburg, Pigeon Forge and Sieverville (definitely a tourist-trap and vacation area!), ate a meal at a farmhouse restaurant, and enjoyed the scenic drive through Cades Cove, a beautiful preserve known for its mountain wildlife.  We saw some deer up close, but no bears like we'd hoped to see!
Inside our cabin

It's upside-down!  WonderWorks--one of the many tourist attractions in Pigeon Forge, TN  We didn't go inside, but it's quite the eye-catching sight just driving by.