Shutting off Thanksgiving

So many reasons why that is a four letter word.
It creates deep pain when left unattended.
Or sometimes we pamper it until it’s overgrown,
Overgrown and morphed into a Beast of Bitterness.

Even in small doses hurt tempts us to close off,
To shut the doors in our hearts.
We’ve done it. Slammed it closed.
Shut off that tiny closet within.

Crazy though, that “shutting off” idea.
We’re convinced that it’s “only this one part.”
Just one teeny slice of our heart
But our hearts are not compartmentalized!

Closing off ONE part closes off ALL parts.
This explains why joy doesn’t seem joyful anymore,
Why fun leaves you bored,
Why happy expectation no longer lies ahead.

Slamming even the smallest internal door
Makes Thankfulness next to impossible.
Our eyes only focus when we’re starring inward,
all else appears blurred, wrong, incorrect.

The opposite is true.
Self-absorbsion warps sight & understanding,
It robs, and steals and destroys.
It shuts the door to true thanksgiving.

Repent. Lies do not own you,
You’ve chosen them.
Courageously open that “tiny heart-part”.
Open it all to JESUS!

He is the Way, TRUTH and Life!
He delights in forgiving and revealing,
and loving and healing!
He’s the joy & satisfaction we crave!

Now Thankfulness may grown
In a heart opened wide.
And a thankful heart is a happy heart!

Menu Plan, Thanksgiving Week

Menu Plan Monday

We don’t like TURKEY!
All sorts of “untraditional” foods have graced
our Thanksgiving table, even Mexican Food!
This year we’re simply having Chicken Pot Pie,
and later on in the evening we’ll have chips and
my husband’s famous cheese sauce known as “The Dip!”

Those tempting side dishes from traditional
holiday meals get to me, though. So I’ve added
some of them into our meals these past few weeks.
(Last week we had Chilly’s Mom’s Sausage Stuffing! MMM)

Lunch- Creamy Broccoli Pasta
Dinner- Crock Pot Enchiladas
“Kuga”- My Aunt’s German Coffee Cake recipe

Lunch- Sandwiches
Dinner- Fish Sticks, Green Bean Casserole, Sweet Potatoes

Lunch- Yogurt, Apples
Dinner – TBA

Lunch- Chicken Pot Pie
Pecan Pie, Pumpkin Bread
Dinner – “The Dip” w/chips

Lunch – Chicken & Rice Soup
Dinner – Pulled Pork Sandwiches, Fruit
(Pork was in freezer from a meal last month)

Lunch- Eggs, Sausage
Dinner – Homemade Pizza

Lunch – Deli Meat Sandwiches, fruit
Dinner- Roast, Potatoes, Carrots

Duck! Bald Faces. More Beards?

Last week our church had a little costume fun with
a Duck Dynasty Theme.
Here’s a few pictures from that day.
(and in case you’re concerned… NO, it didn’t distract us from
worshiping Jesus with all our heart and listen to the Word
and then talking about it with small groups of friends at the end.)

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photo 4

photo 2

photo 1

photo 2

photo 1

Now… THIS Sunday our building will be filled
NAKED-FACED men because many of them have
taken the “Grovember” Challenge. It’s
about “Manning-Up!” It’s starts with a clean face.
Then no shaving for the whole month!
Besides NOT shaving, men are committing to
“up-ing” their walk with Jesus! Click here for
all the fun details.

So, by the end of the month the
men in our church may just look a whole like the
men on Duck Dynasty! However, considering it’ll
bring out the best in these guys… we woman are
OK with it all! (But Chilly, can you please
promise to shave most of it off on December 1st?)


Online School Field Trip

Online school… is … well, online, but it also has books,
papers, pens & pencils, projects (digitally turned into the teacher),
real human teachers and lots of other students. Yup… students.
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Yesterday we drove two hours to join in the first all-school
field trip at Uncle John’s Cider Mill. Only a portion of the student
body was present, but it was large! Very Large!
photo 3

The kids met their teachers face-to-face and some of the
other students who are technically in their classes. It
was fun to put faces to names that have previously only
appeared in the chat boxes during an online Live Lesson.

photo 1 photo 2

Besides a corn maze and some other typical yet fun
fall activities, the farm had a giant bouncy pillow…
which continually drew Max & Chase back to it’s jumpy
fun, over & over!
photo 1

Being outside in the fall in Michigan certainly sits near
the top of my “Favorite Things about Fall,” and meeting
very real (and friendly) parents, students and teachers
from the world of “cyber-school” made it a day we’ll
remember for years!
photo 4

Almost Wordless Wednesday, The Last 10 Days


So much more happened over the past 10 days, but this is all I have in pictures!

Costumed & ready to go to the kid’s concert series at Detroit Symphony Orchestra.

The orchestra members were wearing costumes, as were the people in the audience!

Simple decor

TEN kids & a newborn (not pictured) came with us to Trick-or-Treat in our neighborhood

 Our somewhat pathetic, yet lovable, Scarecrow

 Out where the candy is

 I love time spent in the boys classrooms


The boys & I were able to visit our friends and their new baby boy!

Menu Plan Monday, Sept 17, 2012

Lunch- Turkey sandwiches, loaded with veggies, Chips
Dinner- TBA

Lunch- Cottage Cheese, Fritos, Fresh Pineapple
Dinner- Chicken & Dumplings in crock pot

Lunch- Cheese Chili Warm Wraps
Dinner- Sausage & Peppers over Rice

Lunch- Homemade Rice-a-Roni
Dinner- Tortilla Soup, Fried Corn tortillas filled with cheese

Lunch- Egg Salad on Toast
Dinner- Homemade Pizza

Lunch- Harvest Veggies (freshly purchased from Detroit’s Eastern Market)
Dinner- Beef & Veggie Soup, Bread

Lunch- Swedish Meatballs over thick noodles, green beans
Dinner- Cook out over the fire pit


Tomorrow I’ll be posting two of the four wonderful books I read this summer.


For more menu ideas see



I Was a Turkey on Thanksgiving

My turkey tale from this year’s Thanksgiving Day:

Besides the traditional food that is made only once or twice a year at our house, I made several  dishes & desserts that I’ve made for years & years. But something happened. What really happened BEFORE all our friends arrived? My family experienced it with me… but here’s what only they know…

I failed. Flopped. Messed up so many things.

The wonderful sausage stuffing was NOT supposed to be so dry.

The lovely sweet potato dish was NOT supposed to be soup that later solidified & looked like a giant orange blob.

The chocolate cranberry bread budding – that no one even knew I’d made- was NOT supposed to be made from the extra bread I’d made for croutons… the GARLIC bread!! ick

The pumpkin pie was too done.

The apple crisp (that I’ve made numerous times every fall for the last 20 yrs) had rubbery apples and a crisp that wasn’t crispy. (It was fed to the garbage disposal the night before any guests arrived.)

And even the ice tea that I make EVERY stinkin day was TOO strong!


What in the world?  I can make some of these dishes with my eyes closed? What happened? I only know two things:

1. Our friends brought lots of yummy food & saved the day

2. My identity was perhaps a little too tied into all my “homemade this & homemade that”… and pride comes before a fall.

I was a little cranky that day because I’d let myself down. But the next morning in prayer I was convicted & asked Jesus to forgive me for being too proud & to forgive me for thinking about myself on a wonderful holiday that is about thankfulness… not selfishness.

This doesn’t change the fact that much of our menu items will continue to be homemade… it’s just healthier & cheaper. But it has changed my outlook. A little slice of humble pie was the best thing I ate this Thanksgiving.



Menu Plan Monday, 11-21-11, Thanksgiving Week



Lunch- TBA

Dinner- Wild Rice & Sausage Soup



Lunch- Cheesy Roll-ups, fruit

Dinner- Meatball Stone Soup



Lunch- Veggie Salad, Homemade French Fries

Dinner- Make your own grilled cheese (various cheeses & meats offered)



Game snacks- carrots & dip, apple slices
Sausage Stuffing
Sweet Potato Casserole
Green Bean Casserole *
Mashed Potatoes *
Jello salad *
Pumpkin pies
Other Pies *
Apple Crisp

* = a dish that a friend is making



(my kids made up this name for the days we eat leftovers.)

Dinner- Max’s Marvelous Sandwiches



Lunch- Waffles

Dinner- White Chicken Chili & crusty homemade bread



Lunch- Roast, Rice & veggies

Dinner- Homemade W. Wheat Veggie Pizza



Heaven, Recently Overheard 4


If you’d been at our house this week you may have heard one of my little guys say one of the following statements:


“When I get to Heaven I won’t have to do any chores, right?”


“In Heaven, when there’s a birthday there won’t be any balloons cuz we’ll just have Jesus!”


“Hey, James, Susan & Mary Chilton were on the Mayflower cuz they wanted to worship Jesus… Wait a minute!  If the Pilgrams came to the new land so they could worship Jesus then I’m gunna see them in Heaven someday, right? Awesome!”


“There won’t be any school in Heaven cuz we’ll know everything when we get there. Sweet!”