Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Faith and Sight

What are you looking at?

Your checkbook?

Your health?

Your disobedient children (or spouse)?

Your fading hope in dreams that may never come true?

All the pieces of your life that seem scattered and disconnected and falling apart?

Stop right now!

Faith believes God no matter doesn't go by sight or discouraging reports.  Faith = taking hold of Christ, keeping hold, and not letting go.  It's putting your hope and trust in the truth of His Word, and then walking it out.

Whatever the circumstances of your life, keep praying, keep holding on.

Pray prevailing...He's listening even when it doesn't seem like it.

He knows.


Monday, April 27, 2009

Give Me Your Light

Our son, Kody, recently completed a music innovations class offered by Paul and Jennifer Colley at their recording studio in Oklahoma City.

The class came along at a time we were praying for more open doors and opportunities for Kody's abilities.  Amazing how that happens, huh?  You'd think Someone was guiding and directing us!

This is a song he wrote and recorded during the class.

Enjoy the audio,  "Give Me Your Light". (he especially likes the guitar solo towards the end of the song)



Sunday, April 26, 2009

We're Having a Son!!

While this blog should be about the amazing running feats accomplished by Ali, (5K) Abbi, (13.1 miles) Cody, Anna (26.2 miles each!) and many others of our friends Sunday at the Memorial Marathon, that news actually took back-seat to this news!

Yep, we're adding another member to the ManyMeadows!  Abbi made it 19 and Cody Light, who will be our fourth son-in-love, will make us a 20-member family!   (Ck out these heart-warming shots)

We couldn't have chosen a better-suited man for our daughter Anna.  He came and asked Dirk's and my permission to marry Anna about 3 weeks ago.  It was a sweet and blessed time. He had already planned on asking her after their run....and he did....and she said, "Yes!"

They're looking at a July or August wedding!  Guess what we'll all be busy doing in the next three months?  (And, we have Andrew and Abbi's wedding on May 29!)  Fun!!



Friday, April 24, 2009

Garden and Gallery

Even  with the recent cold snap, the lettuce spinach and  swiss chard are coming in nicely.  We'll be picking by next week if these temps keep up!blog-310

The tomatoes are growing!


See the bloom forming?


One that didn't make it.  I'm guessing a cut-worm.



We like to grow our tomatoes vertically, by weaving the vines in and out of the fencing.

Some of the blooms around the ManyMeadows.





Fresh is best!  A little olive oil, some fresh rosemary, a couple of microwave minutes.  Yum!


You have plenty of time to get some things growing.  Start with a couple of tomato plants and a couple of peppers.  Place them in a sunny bed with your flowers, or put them in large pots on the patio.  You'll be glad you did!

We'll be at the OK Memorial Marathon Sunday morning watching Anna, Cody Light, Ali and Abbi and other friends cross the finish line.  Then we have an "After Marathon Celebration Party" (otherwise known as a junk-food fest) here at our house.  Wish the runners luck!!


Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Dissolving Mountains - an update on Erin

Erin's bloodwork came back and it's still inconclusive.  No chicken pox antibodies showing up.  Her OB is sending her to a pathologist (Dr. Stanley) to have further tests.

And in the midst of all the questions and confusion, she has no fear.  Her faith holds strong.  She shared some thoughts with me today and I encouraged her to write them down and share with you.  Amazing....truly amazing.  It'll blow you away.

Her faith has said to that mountain of fear, "Go throw yourself into the sea" (Mark 11:23).  And in that sea, (the Living Water) that mountain is dissolved in the depths of His Truth.  It's gone!

What mountain do you need to dissolve in the Truth of His Word?


Monday, April 20, 2009

God's Thoughts on Our Thoughts

"I think if I sat down with a psychologist and told him my thoughts, he'd say there is something really wrong with me".

I've heard this statement more than once recently.  It just makes me smile. See?  I think we all feel this way at one time or another, or maybe even quite often.  We think our thoughts are weird and "off-the-wall".  We think we're extreme.  We think we're losing it.

Here are a few of God's thoughts on our thoughts:

for the LORD searches all hearts, and understands every intent of the thoughts        I Chronicles 28:9

No one can know a person's thoughts except that person's own spirit, and no one can know God's thoughts except God's own Spirit.  And we have received God's Spirit (not the world's spirit), so we can know the wonderful things God has freely given us. II Cor 2:11-12

You will keep in perfect peace
      all who trust in you,
      all whose thoughts are fixed on you! Isaiah 26:3

The mind of sinful man is death, but the mind controlled by the Spirit is life and peace. Romans 8:6 

It looks to me that as our thoughts mesh with His thoughts our minds will be healthy and secure.




Sunday, April 19, 2009

God, You Know

Last Thursday, Erin came over to show me her rash.  "Mom, I think I have chicken pox."

Now, that's not a normal thing to hear from your 30-year-old child.  Even if she is the oldest of our seven children AND NONE OF THEM EVER HAD CHICKEN POX!

Yes, they all were exposed plenty of times.  And when the immunization came out later in the 1990's, the three youngest had the immunization.

Here's the hard part....Erin is 12-13 weeks pregnant.  She gets her blood results back today telling us for sure whether or not she has chicken pox.  Her doctor was honest and clinical about the risks to the baby from the virus.  And Web MD isn't favorable at all.

It has my mother-heart wondering, why now?

But, Erin shared with me yesterday that she took a long walk and cried and prayed.  The only prayer she could pray was "God, You know,  You know."

 And she rests in that. 

 Her hope and faith is not in what the doctor says or doesn't say, and it certainly isn't in Web MD.

 Her hope is in God alone.  He knows.

 Whatever you are facing, no matter what anyone says.....God knows.  Take a lesson from Erin's faith today......I am.  ~Robin

She sent me this post this evening:

You know those times when you are going through something super hard and you just don't know what to do?  Your mind won't settle down, you know you should be in the Word and praying like crazy, but frankly you can hardly make yourself function.  What do you do at times like this?

I had moments like this over the weekend as I was faced with hard and bizarre circumstances.  I kept thinking where's that book that tells me step-by-step how to act and what to do when you possibly have the chicken pox (at 30 years old, pregnant with my third child, of all things), and the chance that my unborn child may come into this world scarred, handicapped, or with mental retardation.  Where in the heck am I supposed to get answers?

Well, for me, when my mind won't settle down I need to get my endorphins going and this means some sort of exercise for me.  I went on a 4-mile power/prayer walk and even though I tried hard to pray, about all I could get to was, "God . . . you know."  And really I kept repeating that phrase over and over for the 45 minutes that I walked.

I came home and sat down with my Bible and just chose a Proverb.  I really wasn't getting anything out of it until I read Proverbs 16:20b "Things work out when you trust in God". (The Message)  I closed my Bible.  That is all I need to know.  I prayed that God would keep that verse in my head all day, and He did.

He was able to calm my mind by me just praying, "God . . . you know."  And He would answer, "Things work out when you trust in Me."  And that's all I needed.  I truly believe this.

What do you do when things seem out of control?


Thursday, April 16, 2009

Asparagus Tips and Tomato Time

We're just beginning to get a bit of asparagus each day.  And asparagus is one of the ManyMeadows' favorites.

Whether you grow it, or buy it, the very best way to store fresh asparagus is upright, in a glass with a few inches of water, in the refrigerator.


If you purchase it, look for the bunch with the least shriveled ends.  When you get home, trim the ends, and place the bunch immediately in the glass of water.

It will keep for several days this way!

For us, asparagus goes in salad, pizza, and stir-fry, even omelets.  Or we steam it in the microwave with a tablespoon of water until tender-crisp and bright green.   Or drizzle it with olive oil, sprinkle with coarse salt, and put it on the grill.  Yum!

Do you like asparagus?


Time to get those tomatoes into the soil (or containers, if you plan to have a patio garden.)  Just be ready to protect them from the brutal winds until they are more acclimated.  I plant mine next to a fence and grow them vertically, weaving the vines between the wire fence.  You can also use a large cage for support.

Today, I planted some squash seeds and some kohlrabi, hoping to take advantage of our expected rain this weekend.

It's also time to get the green beans and cucumbers in.  Peppers prefer a little warmer nights than we're having.

Flowers can go in now too.

Do you plan on growing some vegetables?  Have you already planted flowers?



Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Give it Up!

If you know anything about my story, you know I am SUPER frugal.  Read here to get the full scoop.

There are a lot of things I have been willing to give up in order to meet our goals of building a dream house.  As Dave Ramsey says, "Live like no one else now, so you can really live like no one else later."

Maybe with this current economy you have had to let some things go as well.

Here's some things I gave up during our last 5 years of extreme savings:

A big house

Cable TV

Gourmet coffee

Ready-made and packaged foods

The latest fashions

Brand name products

Here's some things that I consider splurges that I'm just not willing to let go of (unless I really had to):

Coffee creamer

Brand name dishwasher soap (I hate spots!)

Healthy foods (lean meats, LOTS of fruits and vegetables, nuts and occasionally fish)

What have you given up (or thought of recently that you should give up) for helping you get in a better financial situation?

What are some splurges you just can't live without that you allow for in the budget?



Monday, April 13, 2009

Sell Something!

Recently, Dave Ramsey spoke at on getting out of debt.  He suggested one strategy for a quick start is to sell something.  We'd like to increase our cash-flow around here and we have a few things to sell:

*a nice beginner drum set (Pacific) $550

*a US Kids youth golf club set (really nice) w bag $125

*2005 Ford Ranger pickup (57K) $9900

*1989 Ford F-250 pickup (117K) $3000

*AND GET THIS!  Dirk is selling his 2006 Honda VTX-1300 motorcycle with LOTS of extras!! ($7750)

So?  What do you have to sell?  List it with a contact e-mail.  Who knows? One of our readers might see it and drop you a line!



Mommy Break

Last week Erin's Mother-In-Law kept her two boys (ages 5 & 3) for two hours so she could have a Mommy break.

Guess what she did?

She worked out at the gym . . .

For two hours!

What would you do with a two hour Mommy break?


Friday, April 10, 2009

Seedlings, Blooms, Plants

The recent cold snap was brutal to a lot of plants.  Our azaleas, which normally have heavy pink blooms are looking pretty measly this year. A few hostas received some damage, as did the potatoes and lettuce, and a few asparagus spears. 


I fully expect these plants will make a comeback.    I’ll let you know.

Have you planted any tomato seeds or do you have plants ready for the garden?  It looks like we’ll be able to get those planted out soon.

If you have seedlings coming up in milk jugs or small containers, repot them to something larger.  Those roots need room to grow!  Be sure to protect them from all the wind we’ve been having.


What’s blooming in your yard?  I still have some tulips blooming and the creeping phlox is popping out. And one of my favorites...Star of Bethlehem which is sprinkled


It’s still not too late to start some lettuce, or other greens.   Are you trying it this year?  It’s really easy.

And we’ll be at church on Saturday night.  Why not attend a less populated church service than your normal one this weekend and leave your seat for someone who only comes at Easter?

What are your Easter plans?  We have family coming over Sunday afternoon and will have an egg hunt with all 6 grands. (may be indoors if it rains!) (a pic of the grands from last year) 

May my heart be filled with the overwhelming Love of a Father who would sacrifice his only son....for me.



Wednesday, April 08, 2009

Beans, Glorious Beans!

White Bean Hummus

1 pkg cooked  (or can) white beans

2 cloves garlic

one sprig fresh rosemary (about 1 T.)

2 t. olive oil

salt and pepper to taste

a few shakes hot sauce

Place all ingredients into food processor and whirl until smooth. Add a couple teaspoons water, if necessary, to make smooth.

Serve with vegetable stick or pita chips (pita bread quartered and baked in oven until crisp)

Mexican Black Bean Dip

1 pkg cooked and thawed (or 1 can) black beans, rinsed
1/3 cup salsa
1/4 cup cilantro leaves ( or more, I love cilantro)
1 Tbs. lime juice
l clove garlic

Drain and rinse the black beans. Combine the black beans, salsa, cilantro leaves, lemon juice, and garlic in a food processor. Blend until smooth.

Serve with tortilla chips or vegetable sticks.

Bean Flautas (1 pkg beans makes about 5-6 flautas)

1-2 pkgs cooked and thawed (or 1-2 cans) pinto beans

2 t. chili powder (or to taste)

1 t. cumin (or to taste)

salt, hot sauce to taste


non-stick spray

Place beans in skillet and mash with potato masher until mostly blended.  Heat through.

Place 2-3 Tbs. beans on softened corn or flour tortillas.  Roll tortilla.  Place on baking sheet that has been sprayed with non-stick spray.  Spray flauta with non-stick spray.

Bake at 350 degrees until flautas are lightly browned and crisp

Serve with salsa (or salsa mixed with Ranch dressing, as my boys do).  This is one of my teen sons' favorite lunches.

Find a few other favorite beans recipes here.

Hope you enjoy trying these good-for-you, low-fat, high fiber recipes.



Tuesday, April 07, 2009

If You Don't Know Beans About Beans

Beans get a bad rap.  But did you know they are a great source of protein, are high in fiber, and low in calories. 482200_dry_beans

If you cook your own from dried, they will cost you about ½ as much as the canned varieties!  (and have you ever checked out the sodium content in those cans??!! Whew!)

It's easy to do.

Purchase a pound package of dried beans (on the same aisle as the rice and pasta in most grocery stores).  Choose from white, red, pinto, black and many other varieties.

Rinse in a colander and place in a large pot.  Completely cover with water.  Leave over night to soak.  The next morning, bring the temperature of the water to almost boiling, and turn down to a low simmer.  Now, cook for 4-6 hours, or until soft.  (1 lb. dried = approx. 10 cups cooked.)

That's it!

You can even soak them overnight in the crockpot and cook all the next day. Season them now, or later.

At this point they are ready to be used in recipes or stored in the freezer.

I usually place 2 cups in a zip-lock freezer bag, seal, and lay flat in the freezer.

Currently, my freezer has red beans, white beans, black beans and a new supply of pintos.  To use them, I lay the frozen bag into the microwave and heat until thawed. Then, use as you would for canned beans.

Tomorrow, I'll share a few recipes:

White Bean Hummus

Mexican Black Bean Dip

Bean Flautas

C'mon...use your bean and start eating more beans!


Do you like beans?  Do you use them in any recipes?  Do share!



Monday, April 06, 2009

An Aisle, an Altar, and a Hymn

It's wedding time.  Here you are, in all your glorious beauty, ready to walk down the aisle to your knight...the man who chose you, the man of your dreams.

You walk down the aisle, meet your man at the altar, and then everyone sings a hymn.

And that man of your dreams.....he's just perfect!  Well, he's ALMOST perfect.  Except for the back hair, and those goofy jokes, and those silly looking jeans he loves, his sometimes gruff manner, and his lack of Bible reading,  and the_________, and the___________. 

And it begins.  The aisle, altar and hymn, turn into..... "I'll alter him"!  And we work and work at it, sometimes for years!

We have an image in our minds of what we want our husbands to be like...that perfect man that looks and thinks like we think he should look and think. 

Those preconceived ideas can make it really hard on our man.  After all, he's not really supposed to be made in OUR image, nor does he want to be.  (Do we really want him to be like us??)

He was created in God's image, yet still incomplete. God made him to be a man and he is still human. 

Maybe we should start adapting to him and loving him the way he is....not as we want him to be.  And the changes?  I've found that God does a lot better job than I do! 

May all my veiled "suggestions" and "encouragements" be silenced into quiet, uplifting prayers for my knight, the man who chose me, the man of  my dreams.




Sunday, April 05, 2009

A Check-Up for Wives

*Does my husband see me smile more often than not?

*Is my home a happy home?

*Am I someone even I would want to come home to?

*Do I enjoy life?  Do I know how to have fun or am I often too intense or dramatic?

*Am I husband-focused, or am I kid-focused, object-focused or even me-focused?

*Am I positive and encouraging?

*Do I allow him to dream without pointing out all the reasons why "that won't work"?

*Do I allow the Holy Spirit to be his conscience?

*What do my children hear from my mouth concerning my husband?

*Am I still someone, today, that my husband would pursue and fall in love with?

*Am I really a submissive wife who shows respect to her husband?

*Do I often show my disapproval of my husband's actions by giving the "silent treatment"?

*Do I pray for my husband?

After almost 35 years of marriage, these are questions I still need to ask myself.  A check-up is good to keep our marriages healthy.  Still working on it here!





Thursday, April 02, 2009



If you've never enjoyed a hummingbird feeder, go purchase one! Now is the time to get one up.   You will so enjoy the flitting and buzzing of those itty-bitty birds. They are FUN to watch!   Buy a feeder that has a large enough container that you won't have to refill it every few days.  Use 4 parts water to 1 part sugar.  The red fool coloring really isn't necessary. 


Go ahead and purchase those tomatoes and peppers, but don't set them out until after April 15.  Repot them into larger containers so their roots will have plenty of room. "Harden" them off by putting them outdoors on warm days, starting in filtered sun, and protected from the wind, a couple of hours a day.  Extend the time until they are able to stay in full sun all day.  Think of it as "sunbathing" for vegetable plants J


Plant green beans, squash, cucumbers and other tender vegetable seeds when it's warmer....close to April 15, or later if we still have this cold spell. 


Still not too late to apply weed-n-feed to mature grass.


Still not too late to sow shade grass. 


Feed your rose bushes, and cut away anything dead.


Clean out your flowerbeds to have ready for new flowers. 


Prune your flowering shrubs soon AFTER they bloom.


When your daffodils and tulips finish blooming, leave the foliage until it dies back.  Then you can cut it off.  The green leaves give the bulbs their nutrients for next year's blooms.  You can also bend the foliage over and tie in a bundle with twine or one of the bulb's own leaves.   


It's still not too late to plant some lettuce, spinach or swiss chard....even in your flower bed or a pot.


If you planted asparagus recently, don't be discouraged if you haven't seen any baby spears.  We just need warmer weather here in OK!


Have you ever had a hummingbird feeder?


What's going on this weekend?  We'll be cheering on Ali, Anna, Cody Light, Abbi, and  others who are running the 10K (6.1 miles)  Sunday at the Redbud Classic.




Wednesday, April 01, 2009

Double-Dog Dare: 30 Meals in 30 Days

picky-girlLast year I had a free subscription to Cookie magazine. It's technically for parents, but the articles are really cool and artsy, so I read it. One story in particular spoke to me, especially since Andrew's daughters have become increasingly interested in cooking and "weird" foods. The article opens like this:
"I started making a list on the train home from work one night last fall. I was sitting there, racking my brain, in a mild panic, trying to decide what to cook for dinner that night. Here's what came to mind: nothing.

So I pulled out a piece of paper and wrote down all the meals I could make for my husband and two kids that didn't involve the toaster oven, or customizing plate after plate, or Gitmo-style negotiations before every microscopic bite ("If you don't try that pork/pea/basmati grain, no dessert! Okay. I'm counting to three...!"). The exercise didn't take very long. I stared in disbelief at the sad, sorry lot that was my culinary repertoire:

The sad, sorry lot:
Breaded chicken cutlets
Sautéed shrimp

Four meals. How was this possible? How had my mammoth archive of prekid dinners devolved into this grim little lineup?"

After making her list, the author made a pact with herself to get more creative in the kitchen and expose her kids to new things. I know this is an issue many parents can relate to. It seems that so many of us (especially us self-proclaimed BUSY folks) struggle to break out of culinary ruts sometimes...or we don't know how our families will respond if we attempt to do so.

For those of you with picky eaters in your house (whether it's your kids or your spouse!), I encourage, I DARE YOU, to do a similar experiment in your household, maybe even making it a game if you must.

Read the full article here (make sure you see all of's a few pages, including tips and suggested menus) and get 30-days' worth of recipes here.

Bon Appétit!

Are there picky eaters in your household? What's your favorite "weird" food? Are you going to accept my dare? :)

abbi1 ABBI