Updates… Better Late Than Never!

Then Jesus said to his disciples: “Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat; or about your body, what you will wear.  For life is more than food, and the body more than clothes.  Consider the ravens: They do not sow or reap, they have no storeroom or barn; yet God feeds them. And how much more valuable you are than birds!  Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to your life?  Since you cannot do this very little thing, why do you worry about the rest?

Consider how the wild flowers grow. They do not labor or spin. Yet I tell you, not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these.  If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today, and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, how much more will he clothe you—you of little faith!  And do not set your heart on what you will eat or drink; do not worry about it.  For the pagan world runs after all such things, and your Father knows that you need them.  But seek his kingdom, and these things will be given to you as well.”  Luke 12:22-31 

It’s hard to reconcile being a college/seminary student and the Bible’s command to not worry… we seem to toil and spin a lot, what with homework and such.  Midterms have come and gone for both of us, and now we are in the final 5-6 weeks of classes.  Finals week is the same for both of us: December 8-12.

Guy has been busy working on various papers for his two classes.  He’s completed 2 of the 4 papers due, has another one 3/4 of the way completed, and started on his last research paper.  He’s sitting in the 90s% in both classes.

Jessi is cramming her brain full of anatomy and chemistry, and struggling to retain it all!  Midterms did not go as well as hoped, but I’m working on bringing those grades up higher and hope to have a solid B in Chemistry by the end of the semester.  I’ve got a solid A in anatomy, as well as in my computer class.

I (Jessi) am also starting to work with a local Equestrian Therapy program as a volunteer.  I’m required to do a certain number of volunteer hours as part of my chemistry class ( counts for 5% of my grade), so I’m learning how to assist patients with their therapy and learning about horses at the same time.  I heard that they sometimes offer riding lessons to the volunteers, so there’s a part of me that hopes I can learn how to ride during the course of this.  Check something off my bucket list, LOL!  Since this is with therapists, these volunteer hours can also count towards my required hours for applying to physical therapy school – I think they usually require 100+ hours.  2 birds, 1 stone = priceless!

We are (once again) having some financial crunches.  Guy’s work changed health insurance companies.  This is good.  What’s not good is that we have to continue paying for the HSA (Health Savings Account) that we already had until the end of December.  So now approximately $400 is coming out of his check per pay period.  Also, my work is cutting back my hours, so that’s less income there as well.  I’ve started looking for work to replace what I’ve been doing.  I have had one job offer, but the salary and hours are only minutely better, and while it’s convenient for when I’m in school up in Hurst, TX, it won’t be close when school’s out of session (Hurst is a 30-45 minute drive one way, depending on traffic).  So I have turned that down.  I now have been unofficially told that I’m getting a job I’ve been applying for since we moved down here, but am waiting for the official job offer email before I tell more about it.

Guy has been considering doing some pulpit supply/interim preaching in the area.  I don’t know if he’s really checked into it as of yet, but we have a few contacts that he will be getting in touch with soon.

Our church down here, Travis Avenue Baptist Church, sends 2 teams a year to Romania to conduct sports camps.  I (Jessi) have been to Romania’s sister country, Moldova, twice (2005 and 2006), and have been wanting to return to the area for many years.  I recently spoke with the man who leads these trips, and he told me that they plan to go back around the end of July next year.  These trips average $2200 per person.  I feel that God may be leading me to go on this trip, so I am starting to fundraise now for it.  Please, if you have the desire to support my mission trip, let me know.  I have set up a GoFundMe account at www.gofundme.com/g04d3k, or you could contact me and we’ll make other arrangements.

Now about Jessi’s hand/wrist… We aren’t sure what’s going on.  We thought that it was carpal tunnel, but when I had the nerve conduction study done, the doctor turned to me and said that it doesn’t look like carpal tunnel at all.  The official report states that I have no nerve impairment in my wrist or elbow.  So, now we don’t know what’s causing the issues.  I’ve been sent to Occupational Therapy, and have had 2 sessions as of Thursday, 10/30/14.  I’m getting some mobility back, but my pain level is going way up.  I plan to discuss this with the therapist when I go back tomorrow.

We are hoping to be home over the Christmas holidays.  We have both put in time off requests, but the biggest issue is going to be how a potentially new job for Jessi will grant (or not grant) the time off request.  So we will wait and see how that comes about.

Prayer Requests

*  Personal finances

*  Mission Trip Funding

*  Strong finishes to our respective semesters

*  Diagnosis and healing for Jessi’s hand/wrist

*  New job for Jessi

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Subtle Changes

Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves receive from God.  For just as we share abundantly in the sufferings of Christ, so also our comfort abounds through Christ. If we are distressed, it is for your comfort and salvation; if we are comforted, it is for your comfort, which produces in you patient endurance of the same sufferings we suffer.  And our hope for you is firm, because we know that just as you share in our sufferings, so also you share in our comfort.”  2 Corinthians 1:3-7

Well, we’ve been home now for about 2 1/2 weeks.  And not a whole lot has been happening here… or so it appears on the surface.

Guy’s work has been continuing as it normally does.  He’s being given some more responsibility since being back, acting in more of an unofficial supervisory role to an extent.  He’s now the one receiving info from his manager to pass along to the rest of the team, and will be in charge of training the new guy coming in next week.

Jessi will be helping to fill in for the school’s post mistress over the next two weeks as she takes vacation time.  This means more hours for at least this next week.  Also, Jessi has decided not to go to Annual Training with the Army Explorers in July – they have changed the dates and location of AT, and our unit hasn’t gotten any fundraising done, so there’s not the funds for me to go, and we can’t afford to send me.  However, this will allow me to work a couple extra weeks and earn extra money!

Then there’s our car.  We have known for a while (as in a couple of months) that our starter was wearing out and would eventually need to be replaced.  Well, it literally burned up on us when we came home Monday evening.  We pulled up in front of our apartment and smoke started billowing out from under the hood.  I was grabbing important stuff out of the car as quickly as I could and thinking we would have to call the fire department to put out a car fire.  Fortunately, we didn’t have to call 911, but we could see that something in the engine was smoldering when we raised the hood.  Once at the mechanic’s on Tuesday, we were informed that the starter had indeed burned out, and that we also had an air intake hose with several cracks.  The car is now repaired.

The other issue regarding transportation is that we are seeing more and more that we are needing to acquire a second vehicle.  It can be a struggle already to get both of us to and from work with our crazy schedules, and with Jessi hopefully starting classes in the Fall, it’s going to be very difficult.  It’s also difficult when we have situations where the car breaks down, as it did this week.

We’ve also lost the only family that we’ve really felt like we were friends with.  His family is from the Marshfield, MO area, and due to his parents’ poor health and a calling for more practical ministerial education, the family moved to the Marshfield area at the end of March.  He plans to attend BBC.  While we’re glad that they are following God’s direction in their lives and will be close enough to visit when we go home, we are also sad that they are no longer close enough to visit with regularly.

One big thing right now is our new diet plan.  I hate to call it a diet, as we are choosing to make this way of eating a lifestyle.  I’m referring to a food plan called “Trim, Healthy Mamas” – or, as some have called it for the men, “Trim, Healthy Man.”  After about 6 weeks of being on plan, I (Jessi) have lost almost 6 pounds and several inches.  I’m already looking and feeling better, and am in size 12 pants, down from tight 14s/loose 16s.  I’m still a long way from my goal, but am very excited over what I have lost so far.  If you’re curious, here’s a link to the website: http://www.trimhealthymama.com/

Our biggest thing is our decision to leave Texas next year.  As we have gone through this, our first year at SWBTS, we are learning that we were fed a lot of misinformation, and a lot of our decisions coming down here were a direct result of that misinformation.  God has seen us through this past year, has not failed us, but is also telling us that we need to start preparing to transition elsewhere.  We are now planning and saving for a move next summer to Wake Forest, NC, to attend Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary.  SEBTS has a curriculum that is geared more towards practical training for ministerial positions, while SWBTS seems to focus on academia for the sake of academia.  We are seeing many fellow students who are very intellectually trained, but are not practically trained.

To this end, we are planning to visit SEBTS sometime mid-Fall to tour the campus and look at housing options.  We are also starting to save for the costs of the move and some items that are needing to be replaced (as all things eventually must be).  Guy intends to continue to study at SWBTS for this upcoming school year before transferring.

Prayer Requests:

*  Continued weight loss.

*  No more car issues!

*  Issues with loneliness

*  Second vehicle

*  Plans and saving for move next year

 

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Cobwebs and Dust

Pfffffftttttttttt!  *Cough, cough, choke!*  It seems I need to visit here more often – we’ve got cobwebs and dust everywhere with this blog!  The last few months have been busy, and I’ve neglected blogging for everyone.  So sorry.  I’d like to promise to do better, but then there’s life and 10 million things that get in the way… we’ll try to do better, though, I promise!  So this will be (in no particular order) an attempt to catch y’all up with us over the last 2-3 months.

Our most recent news is that we are going home to Springfield, MO for a short visit over the Memorial Day weekend.  We leave Thursday and will come back to Fort Worth on Tuesday (5/22-27).  We don’t have a ton of plans for the time home, just a floating trip for Guy and a trip to Ft. Leonard Wood with Rainey for Jessi.  Everything else is as we decide to do it.  We are looking forward to worshipping with our friends at Crossway Baptist Church on Sunday, though!

School is out for the summer.  Guy decided not to take any classes this summer, preferring to focus on work and recoup from his first year at seminary.  Hard to believe it, but we have been down here a full year as of May 10.  He hasn’t registered for his Fall classes yet, but probably will do so in the next month.  I’m hoping he can arrange some time to meet with one of the professors in his desired concentration for more specific guidance as far as class selections and course planning for the rest of his time here at Southwestern.

Jessi has taken a job at the Outfitter’s store on campus and has left the kitchen.  There were some ongoing issues there, and I took advantage of an opening that came available.  The Outfitters is the campus store that sells t-shirts, hats, cups, etc.  Essentially, it’s the “logo” store – if you want something with the Southwestern logo on it, go there to get it.  Outfitters personnel also run the Copy Center and the campus Post Office.  I’ve been learning all about retail, copy-center stuff, and mail.

Jessi has also started a new diet (I hate to use that term, as long-term eating plan is a better description).  I am following a plan called “Trim Healthy Mama”, or THM for short.  The nuts and bolts is that this focuses on providing only 1 type of fuel source for the body per meal – either fat or carbs.  It also focuses on low-glycemic-index eating, and low-gluten to the extent the person decides to take it to.  I’m not going gluten free (no need to do so), but am having to make many choices to forgo things that I loved to eat.  But the best part is that I’m losing weight!  I’ve already lost 5 inches total, and about as many pounds, in just 2 weeks.  If anybody’s interested in the plan, you can visit the THM website: http://www.trimhealthymama.com/  (By the way, I’m not affiliated with THM monetarily, getting paid for a testimonial, etc.  This is just my own personal plug for the program.  Okay, enough with the legal stuff!)

Guy is enjoying his break time now that it’s summer.  He’s checking out library books and enjoying reading what he wants to read, not what he’s required to read!  He’s also been visiting a fishing group down here that does monthly tournaments.  He wasn’t able to go to the tournament this month, but is planning to participate in June.

We’ve had a fun outing last month to the local botanical gardens.  The weather was nice and sunny, and the flowers really pretty.  We quickly found out it is very popular for weddings – we saw 4 brides within 2 hours.  I have a bunch of pictures that I took… they’re all still on Guy’s camera, as we haven’t downloaded the pictures yet.  I’ll try to remember to post some whenever we get around to doing just that!

 

Prayer Requests:

*  Safe travels to and from Springfield this next few days.

*  Relaxation and refreshment while home.

*  Safe and effective weight loss for Jessi.

*  Guy as he considers classes to register for in the Fall.

 

 

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Busy as Bees

“Go to the ant, you sluggard; consider its ways and be wise!  It has no commander, no overseer or ruler, yet it stores its provisions in summer and gathers its food at harvest.” Proverbs  6:6-8

Sorry that it’s taken so long for us to post!  February has turned out to be a very hectic month.  We’ve been busy with a funeral, Valentine’s Day, schoolwork, and just work in general.

First,  Guy’s grandmother, Mrs. Alta Fox, passed away on February 5.  She died 15 minutes prior to her 99th birthday.  We had her visitation on February 14, and the graveside service at 10 a.m. on February 15th.  Guy officiated the service at his father’s request.  He did a good job.  We stayed through February 17th and came home on the 18th.  It was a good time to spend with family, although the circumstances that brought about the trip home were less than ideal.

Second, we had an interesting Valentine’s.  Of course, with a funeral visitation on Valentine’s, we didn’t celebrate on the actual day.  However, our old Sunday School class had their class party on the 15th, and we were practically ordered to be there.  It was potluck, and we enjoyed the food and games.  Guy also took me out to eat at Jimm’s Steakhouse in Springfield on Monday night.  We had a wonderful meal to celebrate a belated Valentine’s Day.

Guy is busy keeping up with his schoolwork.  Revive This Nation is three weeks away, and he’s putting finishing touches on his last 3 sermon briefs for that.  He is going to Glenwood, New Mexico to preach for 4 days.  He’ll be leaving on March 8 and returning on March 13.

Jessi’s job has morphed on her again.  She worked for almost 6 weeks as the baker at the Seminary Grill, and then has been moved to become the head cook’s assistant.  We have a 4-week menu rotation, so the hope is that I’ll learn everything within 2 rotations (2 months), so that when our cook is out, I can take over during his absence.  I have permanently stationed a notebook and a pen to write down recipes and instructions!  In some ways, I am disappointed at the switch, but am rather glad overall due to less stress and responsibility.  The baking position really needs two people to handle the volume needed, and trying to do it by oneself left me barely treading water to keep up with the demands.

Prayer Requests:

* Remember our family as we still grieve the death of Miss Alta.  She will be missed by the family, but we know that she was a believer.

*  Decisions for Jessi regarding mission trips and another opportunity this summer

*  Guy as he works on his studies.  He said that it’s seeming to be hard to get back into the routine of school/work since coming home from the funeral.

*  Guy and the Slovenia trip.  He plans to meet with the team leader to discuss some questions about the trip this week.

* Revive This Nation.

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Mission:Slovenia

Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit,and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.” Matthew 28:18-20

As many of you know, we joined Travis Avenue Baptist Church when we moved to Fort Worth.  Like most churches, Travis has unveiled their mission trips for 2014.  Guy has taken a sincere interest in a mission trip to Slovenia.  Slovenia is located in Europe, bordered by Italy, Austria, Hungary, and Croatia.  The region Guy will be going to is the Soca River Valley, near Bovec, Slovakia.  This region is in the Alps.  We want you to learn about what he will be doing there.

Slovenia map  Slovenia flag

The Slovenia trip will be October 10-18, 2014.  The mission: prayer cycle the Soca (www.bovec.si) river valley, while distributing evangelism materials to the residents.  He will multi-day cycle and overnight in B&B’s.  The objectives are to pray for the residents in every village, conduct spiritual surveys with as many as he meets, witness to those who are interested and leave literature at every residence.

cycling

The plan is for four days of riding during the trip.  Day one is the longest leg, at 25 miles/39.9 km.  Day two is 14 miles/21.4 km, day three is 12 miles/18.0 km, and day four is 7 miles/11.0 km.  Guy is already starting to train for the trip, making use of the exercise bikes at the RAC (recreation and aerobics center) on campus.  Neither he nor I own a bike, so this is our only option at this time.

passport

Our first priority is to get our passports.  Mine is less than a year away from expiring (and doesn’t have my married name!), and he has never gotten one before.  After that, it will be a matter of purchasing all the supplies needed for the trip, mainly in way of cycling clothes.  The bicycles will be provided for the team on location, so there will be no need for him to purchase a bike and have it shipped overseas.

Prayer Requests:

*  Preparation for the trip.  Good sales and wisdom regarding purchasing supplies.  Training for the riding.

*  Prayer support for the trip.  Please be in prayer for safety, for endurance, for the team, for the people they will encounter.

*  For financial provision.

 

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Long Weekends

“To those who through the righteousness of our God and Savior Jesus Christ have received a faith as precious as ours: Grace and peace be yours in abundance through the knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord.” 2 Peter 1:1b-2

Why does there seem to be a natural law in place that dictates that the longer the weekend, the less work you get done?  Jessi had plans to get a lot of work done: sewing, laundry, baking, and organization.  But all I managed to finish was some cooking for church on Sunday!  Oh, well!  I guess that gives me something to do during the week.

This week marks the beginning of the Spring 2014 semester.  Guy has enrolled in 2 classes: Old Testament 2 and Evangelism Practicum.  He’s going to be studying O.T. with the same professor as last semester.  The Evangelism Practicum is supposed to help teach him how to conduct a revival, how to prepare sermons for the revival, and culminates in a 5-service revival somewhere in the U.S. during spring break in early March.  Guy is to meet with the Revive This Nation panel for an interview tomorrow (Tuesday).  We’ve been told that they generally accept anyone who applies to preach, due to so many churches asking for preachers, but they want the opportunity to meet with the first-time applicants.  I don’t remember if I’ve written much about Revive This Nation before, but here’s the website to do more research on it if you’re interested: http://www.swbts.edu/campus-life/revive-this-nation/ .  Jessi would like to go with Guy, but we don’t forsee this happening, as we would have to pay for Jessi’s transportation to and from the revival site.

Jessi’s hard at work in her new role as baker at the Student Center on campus.  I’m responsible for not only the bread and dessert for the lunch service at the Grill, but also the pastries, cafe bread, and cookies at the Cafe (the coffee shop).  I’m preparing to be baking like a mad woman starting this week.  It’ll be a learning curve these first couple of weeks, since school is starting, more people are on campus, and both the cafe and grill being open for extended hours compared to the break.

Jessi is also starting to contemplate opening an Etsy shop to sell her crafts.  I’ve heard that Etsy is a good site to sell from, but I am trying to find someone who has one already up and running to ask questions.  I want to be very knowledgeable when I open this shop, so that I’m not stumbling along blindly and making a lot of costly mistakes.  If anyone out there has an Etsy shop, I’d love to talk to you about it!

Guy will be attending an informational meeting about the mission trip to Slovenia this upcoming Sunday.  I plan to go with him so I can also get the info about the trip.  Expect to be reading an entire post dedicated to the trip sometime soon.  We want all of you to be informed about our mission plans in hopes that you will come alongside and support us.  We will need – do need – your prayers, your encouragement, and perhaps your financial support if the Lord leads you in that direction.

We are also looking forward to a “service fair” next Sunday evening at church.  Travis Avenue Baptist Church will be giving info about different areas of service in the church, and will have a lot of booths set up for the different ministries, so that people can connect, sign up, and start serving in the church.  I (Jessi) am looking forward to this.  I feel that I need to be serving in the church, but haven’t been able to really investigate ministry opportunities.  This will provide both of us the opportunity to get connected and plugged into ministry.

Prayer Requests:

* Start of classes.  Guy starts classes Thursday.  Pray for good time management as he juggles full-time work with part-time school.

*Work.  Guy’s new job is going well.  Jessi as she learns to handle the pressure of her new role by herself (no helper).

*Mission Trips.  Guy’s info meeting is Sunday.  Jessi’s info meeting isn’t until April, but both of us need to be fundraising now, as well as seeing about passports.

*Revive This Nation.  Sermon prep for Guy.  Holy Spirit working in the community/church now in preparation for revival.  Potential for Jessi to accompany Guy.

*Business opportunities.  Jessi’s fledgling business.  That opportunities for her to spread the word and do work for people/teach classes would be plentiful.

 

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From the Kitchen – Crawfish Etouffee

I’ve made crawfish etouffee for Guy before, but it has been a long time.  He requested it, so after a few weeks, I made it.  And it was good!  I’m sharing this recipe with you that I got off of Food Network, courtesy of Emeril Lagasse.

IMG_0186

Crawfish Etouffee

1 stick butter

2 cups chopped onions

1 cup chopped celery

1/2 cup chopped green bell pepper

1 pound peeled crawfish tails (you should be able to find crawfish meat at Walmart next to the frozen seafood)

2 teaspoons minced garlic

2 bay leaves

1 tablespoon flour

1 cup water

1 teaspoon salt

Pinch of cayenne

2 tablespoons finely chopped parsley

3 tablespoons chopped green onions

 

In a large saute pan over medium high heat, melt the butter.  Add the onions, celery, and bell peppers and saute until the vegetables are wilted, about 10 to 12 minutes.  Add the crawfish, garlic, and bay leaves and reduce the heat to medium.  Cook the crawfish for 10 to 12 minutes, stirring occasionally.  Dissolve the flour in the water.  Add to the crawfish mixture.  Season with salt and cayenne.  Stir until the mixture thickens, about 4 minutes.  Stir in the parsley and green onions and continue cooking for 2 minutes.  Serve over steamed rice.

IMG_0184

 

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New Year, New News

 I thank my God every time I remember you. In all my prayers for all of you, I always pray with joybecause of your partnership in the gospel from the first day until now,being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.”  Philippians 1:3-6

Things have been changing some for us here in Texas.  Let me tell you what’s going on with us.

Guy has a new job!  A couple of weeks before Christmas, the job he had as a valet cut his hours and moved him to a spot with little traffic, which means few tips.  We were looking at a bigger financial struggle, so Guy decided to start looking for new employment.  He had an interview on January 3, and was hired!  He is now an accounting clerk for the executive office of a national cell phone provider.  It is full-time work with benefits, and they have extended office hours.  They employ a lot of seminary students, so are very used to the staff coming in for a few hours, leaving for class, and coming back to finish their 8 hours.  It is an ideal position for Guy, and we are so thankful to have it.

Jessi has been “promoted” at work to the position of baker.  My hours are the same, pay the same, but more responsibility and autonomy.  The baker was leaving to go to the mission field and had trained another girl to take her spot.  However, that gal got offered a better full-time position elsewhere on campus, so I was asked to take over baking.  I’m now in charge of the baked goods for both the cafe and the grill.  I’m having to get used to the routine of things, but feel that I will do well in this position.

We’re looking ahead to other opportunities coming this year.  Guy and I are both looking at mission trips for this summer.  Guy is wanting to go to Slovenia, and Jessi is hoping to go to Romania.  We plan to devote blog postings to each mission trip soon.  Through church funds and our own jobs, we’re hoping to cover the majority of the costs of the trips, however, we would always appreciate financial support!  If you feel led, just let us know and we’ll share how to donate.

Guy also has the opportunity through the seminary to participate in “Revive This Nation.”  Revive This Nation (RTN) is an opportunity for seminary students to be sent out all over the US and Canada to preach 5 revival meetings during their spring break in early March.  The seminary pays for travel for the preachers, and the hosting churches are responsible for food, lodging, etc. while the preacher is there.  This is a good opportunity for all the students to gain preaching experience.  Guy has already applied to go, and we are waiting to hear as to where his assignment will be.

Jessi is still quilting up a storm.  This week has been kind of sluggish, as I’m trying to get back into the swing of things after being on vacation.  Do you ever feel like you need to take a vacation to rest up from your vacation?

Guy is spending some time learning how to paint with acrylics.  He seems to enjoy it so far, and we’re glad that he has this break between semesters to do some painting and learn a new hobby.

Prayer Requests:

*Upcoming classes for Guy.  Classes resume January 21.

*Mission trips.  Pray for funding to be available and plentiful for us to go serve internationally this year.  Also that our hearts and minds be open to what God would have for us to do.

* Business.  Pray that Jessi’s business will remain steady and that she can keep on track with product orders and prep for craft shows.

*Revive This Nation.  Pray that God will work in Guy’s heart as he prepares sermons for revival, and in the hearts of those who will come to hear him.  Pray that revival will start in that community and spread.

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We’re Coming Home for Christmas!

“And it came to pass in those days, that there went out a decree from Caesar Augustus that all the world should be taxed.  (And this taxing was first made when Cyrenius was governor of Syria.) And all went to be taxed, every one into his own city.  And Joseph also went up from Galilee, out of the city of Nazareth, into Judaea, unto the city of David, which is called Bethlehem; (because he was of the house and lineage of David:) To be taxed with Mary his espoused wife, being great with child.  And so it was, that, while they were there, the days were accomplished that she should be delivered.  And she brought forth her firstborn son, and wrapped him in swaddling clothes, and laid him in a manger; because there was no room for them in the inn.  And there were in the same country shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night.  And, lo, the angel of the Lord came upon them, and the glory of the Lord shone round about them: and they were sore afraid.  And the angel said unto them, 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.  And this shall be a sign unto you; Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger.  And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God, and saying, Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men.  And it came to pass, as the angels were gone away from them into heaven, the shepherds said one to another, Let us now go even unto Bethlehem, and see this thing which is come to pass, which the Lord hath made known unto us.  And they came with haste, and found Mary, and Joseph, and the babe lying in a manger.  And when they had seen it, they made known abroad the saying which was told them concerning this child.  And all they that heard it wondered at those things which were told them by the shepherds.  But Mary kept all these things, and pondered them in her heart.  And the shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things that they had heard and seen, as it was told unto them.” Luke 2:2-20

Wow!  Is it just me, or does the time between Thanksgiving and Christmas get shorter every year?! ( No comments from the peanut gallery, please, about how Thanksgiving was a week later this year.)  We’ve been running around frantically, trying to get things done.

Guy had his last final this week, and now classes are over for the fall.  We’re still waiting for grades, but will try to post them soon.  He’s planning to try to find some extra work between now and the start of Spring semester at the end of January.

Jessi’s been sewing up a storm.  She’s been preparing for a craft show on campus that was supposed to take place last Saturday (the 7th) that was cancelled due to the ice storm.  One of the vendors put together an impromptu craft show on the 14th, which did okay.  She’s also been cooking for a couple of get-togethers and her usual holiday baking.

Jessi is trying to start up a business.  She is offering custom quilting, crochet, knitting, and classes.  For the craft show, she has been making pot holders and crochet crosses.  She wants to set up a shop on Etsy.  We’ll let you know when this is set up.

We’re going to be leaving for home on the 24th and plan to enjoy a week with friends, family, and our home church.  We’ve missed everyone, and now we’re so very excited to be seeing familiar places, familiar faces, and plan to take full advantage of shops that we know carry things we want and need!

Prayer Requests:

*  Safe Travel.  We leave for home on Tuesday.

*  Financial mercies.  We’re still getting back on track financially, but it’s looking as if Guy will be able to take classes in the Spring.

*  Business wisdom.  Jessi’s new business venture and all that entails.  Also good time management and motivation, and wisdom in what products to make that will sell well.

*  Visit.  Good time of fellowship with family and friends, and a chance to rest.

*  Missions.  We’re looking at a couple of mission opportunities in 2014.  These will require preparation, commitment, and financial support.

*  Jobs.  Jobs will probably change for both of us this year, especially with the upcoming hour limits for part-time employees with Obamacare.  Wisdom in job searches and that Yahweh will bless us with good hours, flexible schedules regarding class schedules, and decent salaries.

*  Ministry.  We’re looking for areas to plug into ministry and serve in our local church.

* Revive This Nation.  Guy’s wanting to participate in SWBTS’s Revive This Nation.  Students signed up for RTS spend part of their spring break at an assigned church holding 5 revival services.

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From the Kitchen: Homemade Butter

Okay, okay, I can’t wax eloquent about “I remember the days when a pound of butter was only $X.XX.”  BUT – I do remember that butter didn’t cost over $3.00 for a pound!  I got fed up at butter prices and tried a little experiment.  I had some leftover heavy whipping cream from some sweet treat I made, and decided to make butter.  I’ve done it off and on as a kid, and was pretty sure I remembered how it was done.  Sure enough, butter!  Well, when I discovered that I could buy a quart of heavy whipping cream at Central Market for less than $2.00 while butter everywhere was $3.00 or over, I figured it was a no-brainer.  So here’s how to make your very own butter!

HOMEMADE BUTTER

Yield: 1 quart gave me slightly over 1 lb of butter by weight

1 quart heavy whipping cream, brought to cool room temperature

1 CLEAN glass jar (I use an old jelly jar with a tight-fitting lid)

1 CLEAN container to put the butter in

1 container to store the buttermilk

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It’s easier to make the butter if you make it in batches.

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Pour approx. 1/4 quart of heavy whipping cream into the jar, filling the jar no more than 1/2 to 2/3 of the way full.  Put the lid on tightly and start shaking.  It takes approximately 15-20 minutes to make butter this way.  Your cream will froth up, and eventually reach the “stiff peak” stage and will seem like it won’t go any farther.  Keep shaking, and it will start to break down.  Suddenly it will seem like it becomes clumpy and liquify – this is the butter solids separating out from the buttermilk.  Continue to shake until the butter has pretty much clumped together without a lot of butter bits floating independently in the buttermilk.  Open your jar and pour the butter and buttermilk into a fine mesh strainer that is set over whatever container you want your buttermilk to be stored in.  Carefully press on the soft butter with a spoon, trying to solidify the mass of butter and release any pockets of buttermilk from the mass.  Then scrape the butter out of the strainer and into your storage container.  If you have a butter mold, ramekin, or custard dish, your butter can be pressed into this and molded as such.

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Place the butter  – well-wrapped – into the refrigerator to harden.  Enjoy!

P.S.  You can add some salt to the butter while it is still soft if you prefer salted butter.

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