Monday, December 12, 2011

Christmas Cookie Help

Every year we decorate Christmas cookies as a family and give them away to the kids in our church.  One year we invited the kids over to have a cookie decorating contest, and then let them eat the cookies.  This year we invited the girls to decorate cookes at church  while the boys went out and collected food for the orphanage.  We had a blast!  The girls did a great job and I am looking forward to eating them at our Christmas party; but maily this post is to share with you what I have learned over the years from baking cookies for Christmas.  I have now picked out my favorite recipe for Sugar cookes as well as my favorite icing to decorate them with.  This recipe for cookies tastes sort of like pop tart dough to me {which I like!}; but mainly I chose this recipe because it uses less eggs, it is a joy to work with ( the cookies hold their shape really well after they are cut and baked), and did I already mention that it tastes good! I chose this icing recipe because it is very easy and keeps a nice gloss, it also tastes good!

Cookie recipe:
Ingredients


• 1 cup butter, softened

• 1 cup powdered sugar

• 1 egg

• 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

• 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

• 1 teaspoon salt

• Tinted icings, colored sugars, edible glitter and nonpareils

Directions

• In a large bowl, cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in eggs and vanilla. Combine the flour and salt; gradually add to creamed mixture and mix well. Refrigerate for 1 hour or until firm.

• On a lightly floured surface, roll out dough to 1/4-in. thickness. Cut out with Christmas cookie cutters of your choice. *Using a floured spatula, transfer cookies to greased baking sheets.

• Bake at 375° for 8-10 minutes. Cool completely on wire racks.

• Decorate cookies with frosting, sugars and candies.

*Tips: I prefer to lightly flour wax or parchment paper to roll my cooled dough onto for cutting. This allows me to “plop” the shape onto the cookie sheets. If necessary sometimes I cut the paper around the cut dough, then plop it onto the cookie sheet. This prevents me from disturbing the shape. I also line my cookie sheets with foil instead of greasing them in order to save my cookie sheets and my oil.   Another thing I like to do is cut a small shape inside of a shape and fill it with crushed hard candy after baking the cookies for about six or seven minutes.  I then return the cookies to the oven and let the candy melt for about three or four minutes.  This give me the stained glass window look inside a cookie. 


Icing recipe:


1 cup powdered sugar (C&H truly is the best; but others will work)
1TBS.  milk
1 TBS.  light corn syrup
1/4 teaspoon almond extract
assorted food coloring (drops or gell)

Directions

1.In a small bowl, stir together confectioners' sugar and milk until smooth. Beat in corn syrup and almond extract until icing is smooth and glossy. If icing is too thick, add more corn syrup and/or milk 1 tsp. at a time. Keep in mind that the corn syrup is what allows the colors (when using dye) to stay nice a bright. Add flavoring to taste once you get the amount of icing you want before adding color.
2.Divide into separate bowls, and add food colorings to each to desired intensity. Dip cookies, or paint them with a brush.

This will ice about a dozen cookies.


Photos of our adventure

My Favorite!  She is really concentrating.

Un-decorated Christmas tree cookie pops!


Alliyah enjoyed eating all of her cookies.



Cookie icing color palate!



Patiently waiting to get started.

The brave boys who went out in the cold to get food for the orphans.

Thank You! (4)

I would like to say thank you to a very special person whom I will not name.  (Really this thank you is for a special family.)  When I was a Senior in high school I moved out of our home and moved into the dormitory of our church's college.   Because of this my needs were not immediately apparent to my family as the number of times they saw me decreased drastically.  {Knowing what I know now, I wish I had waited until I was in college to move away from home; but the Lord knows what is best.  I say this because that year I lost one of my brothers to a car accident; and a couple of years later I lost the other one to a drive by shooting.} 
 I can only imagine how I must have looked that would inspire such generosity; but in August of 2000 a lady took me on a shopping spree.  How cool is that!!!  I spent no money; but returned to the dorm with SEVERAL undergarments, slips, and pantyhose; four new skirts; and several blouses.    What a tremendous blessing this family was to me during my time in college.  I will NEVER forget that.  So, to you wonderful people who look around for someone to bless, Thank you!!! 
 Lesson:  Don't ask someone if they have a need when they obviously do; Do what you can to help, or keep your mouth shut. I mean that in the nicest way possible, of course!

Until next time,

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Battling the Whine!

 Anyone who has little girls, and maybe even little boys, in their home knows how annoying it is to hear whining all day!  Well, we may have had a breakthrough!  Sometime this Summer (maybe around June) I asked the Lord to help me help Aaliyah not to whine.  I didn't want to have to spank her every time she whined.  I subscribe to No Greater Joy publications and they had an article in their magazine about dealing with anger in small children.  One the Pearl children is dealing with that in their home and their solution was to sometimes spank, but sometimes tickle it out of her.  Well, Aaliyah begs me to tickle her sometimes {Strange, I know} so I felt like the tickle trick might be a reward for whining rather than a punishment.  So my trick is the "Happy face" trick.  When she starts whining because the answer was No I immediately say to her, "Happy face!".  She might think it's dumb; but her forced happy faces are so funny that I ALWAYS start to crack up laughing!.  This inevitably causes her to smile (sometimes even laugh) for real. 

I say that we may have made a breakthrough because this morning when I told her she couldn't take her baby doll with her to the library, she started to whine; but immediately said to herself "Happy Face!".  I was so proud of her!  She is now training herself not to whine!  Isn't that great!  If you have any other tips about Battling the Whine that has worked for you please share!

Until next time,

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

What's that?

Aaliyah is two years and four months old and has entered the "What's that?" stage.  Here is a little snippet of our conversation yesterday while we were reading a book about Creation.

"What's that, Mama?" - an elephant
"What's that, Mama?" - It's a giraffe
"What's that, Mama?" - It's a snake...I think.
"What's that, Mama?" - I don't know Aaliyah.
"Mama, Don't say I don't know!  What's that?" - Well Aaliyah, I dont' know.
"Mama, I told you don't say I don't know.  What's that?"  - It's something.
"Something?" - Yes, something.
"Oh."


Saturday, November 19, 2011

Thank You (4)

Today I would like to say thank you to Bro. and Sister Jackson.  I am not quite sure where to begin, except to say that my relationship began with them when they visited our home one Friday evening to invite our family to church.  Bro. Jackson was the captain of bus number eight (the greatest bus in the world!!!).  They invited us to ride their bus to visit Windsor Hills Baptist Church.  I was about 12 or 13 at the time.  We went the very next Sunday (upon my Grandma's insistence) and continued for about  7 years.  The Jacksons took me into their home and I became family. They became extended family to my whole family.  I remember my mother making chitterlings for Bro. Jackson every Thanksgiving and Christmas.   Mrs. Jackson treated me like one of her daughters.  I needed that and I appreciate all that you both did for me!!!  Thank you Bro. and Sister Jackson for loving me.  I can say without a doubt that I WOULD NOT be serving the Lord today if it wasn't for you two.

Until next time,

Friday, November 11, 2011

Take Time to...

I was featured on my friend Maria's wonderful blog.  Read all about it HERE.

Until next time,

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Giveaway!

There is a wonderful book giveaway on Rachel Winkler's blog.  Click HERE  to find out all about it!



Thank You! (3)

Today I would like to say thank you to a very special lady, Dena Bowden.  I can't tell you how much I learned from Dena.   If ever I met a person who would give you the shirt off her back, it would be Dena.  One time a college student told her that she liked her shoes and she literally took them off and gave them to her, no joke. Not only is she a very giving lady; but she also is a prayer warrior.  There were several times I knew that she was praying and fasting, not because she told me; but because I practically lived with her during the summer when I was in high school (I babysat her boys).  She and her boys became extended family.  My mother calls Dena my "White" mother.   Dena, I love you and I am so very thankful to know you!  You taught me so much, and as I reflect back to those "good old days" (now that I am also a mother) I see things from a new point of view and it makes me even more thankful that I knew you then.  Love ya!

Until Next Time,

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Sick!

Well, not much has been going on around our house  for the past two weeks except wiping noses and toting buckets (and sometimes sheets) that have been soiled with um...regurgitation and stuff.  This is the part of motherhood that is not so fun; but I must be a little bit strange because I have kind of enjoyed this time.  Not so much the extra laundry and washing off vomit and stuff; but Aaliyah is a little extra snuggly.    I get to spent a little extra time with her (with a good excuse)  just hugging and reading and watching Curious George. She has been coming over and hugging my neck and saying, "Mommy, I love you!".  If this is sick week, then I'll take it. 

Until Next Time,

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Church Planters Conference!?!

O, I guess sometime around last October a preacher from Missouri came to Newport to preach at the prison here in Newport.  He stopped by our church and invited us to lunch. He paid!!!  (We like those type of preachers!).  He mentioned that his church was hosting a church planters conference and invited us to attend.  A church planters conference?  I had never heard of such a creature.  We filed it away in our little brains and went on with our lives.  We (at least I) half-heartily prayed that we would get to attend. 

Closer to the dates, my husband was reminded of that conference and we began to really {whole-heartily} pray that we would be able to attend.  My husband put in for time off at his part-time job and we started making plans "just-in-case".  Well, by some miracle he was granted the time off (Long story); but then we had a problem.  The weekend before we were scheduled to leave we had to pull over on the side of the road because our van started to overheat...really badly.  We have a little bit of experience in the area of car troubles (My dear husband has replaced clutches, brakes, two timing belts,  re-built an engine after the head gaskets blew, etc, etc) so we didn't panic; but perhaps we should have ~humanly speaking of course.

We have a policy about this sort of thing.  Replace the cheap stuff first; but if that doesn't fix it THEN, go ask for "professional" help.  Well, tomorrow we are going to go ask for professional help.  BACK TO THE STORY AT HAND.

We really felt that the Lord wanted us to go to that conference so we used our meager funds and rented a vehicle ( Honestly, it was kind of fun riding in style...with heat!)  We arrived a little late; but were excited to finally get there...and boy aren't we glad we went!!!!  I would recommend THIS conference to ANYONE. 

I LOVE missions and missionaries.  I graduated from OBC.  It is kind of hard to go to Oklahoma Baptist College for four years and not love missions and missionaries; but sometimes I feel that us church planters get overlooked.  If there are no churches in America, who is going to send the missionaries to other nations? The Lord has blessed America to be the leading country in this area; but that could change if we are not careful to evangelize those in our Jerusalem and Judea.  Enough about that!

I said all of the above as a pre-cursor to this...At the conference I was able to get re-acquainted with one of my dear former roommates from college ~Rachel Stene and her husband. 

They have a beautiful family and it was a lot of fun remembering old times and catching each other up on what the Lord is doing in our lives.  Also, I met a family who had just joined the hosting church the Sunday before the conference.  They jumped right in and were helping at each meal (Don't you just love people like that.  Every pastor covets members with  a servants' heart).  Well, One day we got to sit at lunch with them and talk.  They are an older couple.  He shared with us that he has a real burden for Jewish people.  What he didn't tell us is that he was on deputation to go to minister to the Jews in NYC.  He had over 85% of his support raised and was making preparations to leave for the field when he was diagnosed with Alzheimer's disease.  Because of this, they are no longer able to go and serve the Lord in that capacity.  When I heard their FULL story, I was deeply moved. 

Lord, please remind me of this couple's story when I am tempted to complain when things don't go the way I planned or would have preferred here in this your ministry.

Until next time,


Friday, October 14, 2011

Thank you (2)

In 1997, about 14 years ago, I was sitting at the lunch table at my Christian School when a young lady by the name of Emily Ross (now Emily Hansen) said to me, "Wow, you have piano fingers!". I had never even touched a piano before in my life; but I took her very seriously.  I went to a piano recital, heard her play, and thought to myself...I can do that!  I signed up for lessons the next semester. I didn't have any money and I didn't ask my mom for any either.  I guess I thought the lessons were free...well, they weren't; but my mom did agree to give me the five dollars a week I needed for the lessons.    My piano teacher, Ms. Sunny Yoon, was probably the toughest teacher available; but I liked her a lot. I sometimes need extra prodding :) 

It didn't prove as easy as I thought it would be; but I continued with the lessons for five years.  When I got to collage, she was no longer available to teach me and I got a little busy, so I discontinued the lessons.  I did practice a lot when I had free time and I agreed to play at a care home during my last year of collage and the year after.

So what is the point and who am I saying thank you too?!? First I would like to say thank you to Emily for commenting on my fingers : ).  You never know what affect the statements you make in passing will have on someone. 

Second, I would like to say thank you to Coach Price.   I like to be successful, and I like to be successful NOW.  I don't often have much patience with myself and I don't like to fail.  One day I was in the cafeteria practicing and he came downstairs and said to me, "Don't rush it.  Be patient, and just keep at it!"   That statement helped me to relax.  My skill would improve if I would just kept practicing and had a little more patience with myself.  Just for the record, he wasn't my couch.  He was the men's dorm supervisor.  I am not a man and I didn't live in the dorm; but he was willing to go out of his way to speak those words that have blessed my tremendously.  When I get all tensed up about some piece I am trying to perfect, I often hear his voice in the back of my mind.

Third, I would like to say thank you to My friend Maria's mom - Mrs. McNamar  .   One day I was practicing in the college chapel and she asked me to sing the song I was playing.  I told her that I couldn't sing and play at the same time.  To which she responded, " You could if you tried."  Well, about ten years later I was the pianist for the church where I taught in the Christian School  (Haughten Christian Academy/Haughten Baptist Temple in Haughten, Louisiana) and I was asked to sing and play at a dear Christian woman's funeral.   This lady was probably the godliest woman I have ever met and she was always so sweet to me.  Who was I to refuse?  So, I swallowed my pride and did it.  And do you know what?  I lived to tell about it and I have been singing and playing ever since.  This has been a tremendoud blessing to my husband in our ministry her in Newport.  I am not the greatest by the stretch of anyones imagination.  I desire to take lessons to improve for the glory of God; but I use this skill almost three times a week.  My encouragement to you is to 1.) Speak words to others that will challenge and encourage them. 2.)  Use your gifts and talents for the Lord as they are.  The more you use them, the faster they will improve. And,  3.)  Don't let fear of failure stop you from doing anything.  I am learning this lesson.  There are so many things that I didn't do because Ididn't think I would be good at that I wish I had started or stayed with.  I am adding these pictures of Aaliyah to show that I may not be the best vocalist or pianist; but I have a little girl who loves to imitate her Mommy at the piano, and another one who loves to hear me play.



Until next time, 

Thursday, October 6, 2011

What a week!

(Originally from last week.)
Really it's more like two weeks.  Last week my husband conducted his first wedding.  It was such a blessing to see a young couple desire to be married.  So many people today are content to just shack up.  Then a few days later we went to Kentucky to visit with and preach at one of my husbands old friends and former bus captain's church.  It was a world wind trip and went off without a glitch (anyone who knows us knows that road trips for us are NEVER un-eventful) except for one minor technicallity...we forgot about time change.  We arrived twenty minutes ahead of schedule...or so we thought.  We were really 40 minutes late!  No problem.  Everything worked out fine. 
Raymond and I both celebrated our birthdays and Saturday I took Aaliyah and Cassidy to a duck race at the park.  The race was to benefit the March of Dimes Association.  She had  a blast and she got to ride her first horse!  Cassidy was pretty alert too!  To cap it all off, This past Sunday we had two visitors!  One of our faithful ladies in our church brought her "little cousin" - he is six foot three inches and seventeen years old and wants to be a professional farmer.  She also invited one of her daughters friends.  I have added some photos of the events that I have mentioned. 




Cassidy found her toes!

Aaliyah and the boys in Kentucky in "prison".

"On the road" photo

"Hello" from Aaliyah

Until next time,






Monday, October 3, 2011

A Wonderful Greeting!

One of the highlights of our week is to go the care home next door to our church.  We go once or twice a week depending on Raymond's schedule.  Every time we do go I always enter the cafeteria with the greeting, "Good morning!".  I get several responses from several people; but the most reliable and consistent one is from a gentleman who is about 50 years old and in a wheelchair.  He never misses a reading (I read about four chapters from the Bible).  Every time I have been there he has greeted me with, " Good morning, I believe in the Lord Jesus Christ, the Son of God!"  It never fails, and he doesn't whisper it either!  I always say Amen! then continue with the mornings activities.  Then yesterday it dawned on me...I don't believe I have ever heard that man say anything else.  I wonder how much he talks to others in the home or even his caretakers.  If I should ever be in his situation I hope that I am sane enough to declare as he does that I do believe in the Lord Jesus Christ, the Son of God...even if that is the only thing I can say.
Until next time,

Friday, September 23, 2011

Ice cold milk and Chocolate cupcakes

Last week we made chocolate cupcakes for our Sunday night dessert.  Well, of course on Monday morning there were a few leftover, so I decided to have one along with a a nice ice cold glass of whole fat organic milk.  I sat the cupcake and milk on the table and just after I poured the glass of milk (I noticed that I wasn't the only one who had been drinking milk.  The carton was almost empty!) Cassidy started to squirm. (She woke up from her little nap and wanted her mommy.  I was happy to oblige...until we both sat down and she - at 12 weeks old- reached for my glass of milk and knocked it off the table, right into my lap.  BRRRR!!!  No problem.  There was just enough milk left for me to pour another glass.  I finished off the carton, put it back in the refrig., and turned around just in time to watch Aaliyah take a sip from it and attempt to set it on the table.  She missed.  The whole glass fell right onto the floor.  I guess it just wasn't meant to be.


Thursday, September 15, 2011

Thank You (1)

I have decided to start a series of letters to friends, family, and such who have been a blessing to me in the past. There are so many people who took an interest and invested in my life as a young person who I never said thank you to because I didn't know just how blessed I was (and still am).  If the Lord allows me to be half the blessing to others as these dear people have been to me I will be grateful. 

The first family I would like to say thank you to is...


The Hardings. 

Bro. Harding was my principle and Bible teacher when I was a Senior in high school; and he taught a few of my classes in college.  He also ministered to my family by way of his Sunday School class at Windsor Hills Baptist Church.  He and his wife were probably the best example of a loving couple I have ever seen.  She adored him and he adored her.  He also made prayer and being sensative to the Holy Spirit real to me.   Recently he was at a church about an hour away from us preaching on a Sunday evening, so after our service ended we went over to hear him.  What a blessing!  If you have not heard of his ministry check it out HERE.  One of the things I remeber praying about when I was praying for a husband was that he NOT be an evangelist.  They are on the road so much of the time and I didn't think that was the "calling" for me.  I would like to say a special thank you to Mrs. Harding for sharing her husband with us.  America needs his ministry.  I needed to hear what he had to say and be challenged to pray for America and be more active politically for my children's sake. Thank you Bro. Harding and Sister Harding for blessing my life!

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

She Stole My Purse!


I take the girls with me to the care home next door to the church about twice a week. I play a few songs to let everyone know that we are there, pray, and then I read about four chapters of scripture to those who come. We started out with about four or five people coming. Tuesday we had about twenty in attendance. Some of them come just to hear me play (poor them!); but most of them do stay to hear the reading.

Something interesting happens every week at the care home. This week a lady stole my purse. I was so busy reading that I didn’t even see her take it. She just “wheeled” right up to the table I had it on, took it, and “wheeled” herself back to her room! One of the workers interrupted me and told me what happened. They went and got her and she brought it back. She said, “I just love your purse! I wish I had one just like it.”. I assured her I would tell the lady who made it for me that she liked it...so Mrs. Jackie, You have a fan here in Arkansas.



Until next time,




Thursday, August 25, 2011

Our Week

Here a few photos sharing with you what we did this week.







THANKS FOR VISITING!

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