Archives for September 2013

God Sightings

As Jules mentioned in her post last week, we celebrated my Uncle Claude’s 90th birthday this weekend.  It was a spectacular, sunny, warm September day  filled with lots of good food, laughs and family time!  Here is the whole group trying to pose for a picture! (Notice I said “trying”!)

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It was one of those perfect days that will be fondly remembered, and gives me a warm-fuzzy feeling inside!  On days like this, filled with family, love , laughter and beautiful weather, it is easy to remember how richly God has blessed my life.  The blessings are crystal clear!

Other days, it is much harder to see those blessings.  Days filled with stress, problems or large issues that bear down on us and make it hard to be thankful.  It is on these days that we need to cling to God even more and really take the time to look for blessings and miracles, because they are there-every-single-day!  God sightings surround us each day and it becomes easier to notice them if we try to  “live with our eyes wide open”.  I’m working on living this way, especially on the more challenging days.  It can be pretty amazing to see God’s hand in situations in our lives.  Sometimes He reveals things to us in the most surprising ways!

As we drove home from Uncle Claude’s party, the setting sun made the landscape look golden.  I wanted to remember this beautiful sunset, on this memorable day so I pulled over and hopped out of my car and took this picture.  Look at it carefully-can you see the God Sighting?

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Did you notice the shape of a cross in the middle of the picture by the tall tree!  I was so surprised when I looked at this picture later!  In my opinion, this was God sealing a perfect day with the ultimate sign of His love for us!

I pray that you will have many God Sightings this week!  We would love to hear about them in the comments section!

~Blessings,

Jen

 

 

 

90 Years Young! What an Inspiration!!

DSC_0457 Uncle Claude inspirationThis is our Uncle Claude. Tomorrow all of my aunts, uncles, cousins, cousins kids and lots of friends will gather together to help him celebrate his 90th birthday!! Anyone that knows my Uncle Claude loves him. His quiet strength and gentle ways is endearing to all who know him. He is a farmer through and through, and I’m not sure he plans on retiring anytime soon! Uncle Claude has been through a lot. He had to bury his daughter Linda after a tragic accident. A year later my dear dear Aunt Margaret was killed in a car accident. I must admit we were all pretty scared we were going to lose Uncle Claude too. I remember just praying to God to please save him….his family, all of our family had been through too much all ready. Uncle Claude was a fighter!! Four years later and he is still going. If you visit Dairy Queen on a Sunday night you might see him there with his friends! It is such a joy to be able to celebrate with him. I am so grateful that my aunts and uncles are still a part of mine and my families life. I am glad that my kids and my grandkids know their great aunts, uncles, 1st cousins, 2nd cousins, 3rd cousins and so on. We are a close family. Tomorrow will be filled with really good food, LOTS of laughing and lots of stories. It will be a great family day. Now to me… THAT is an inspiration!!! \

Happy Weekend!!

Julie

Chocolate-Banana Snackin’ Bars

Do you ever have those too ripe bananas sitting on your counter that you just can’t bring yourself to throw away.  For some reason, I  can’t throw them away when I know there are so many yummy recipes they can be used in!

Here is a recipe I clipped out of a magazine years ago (not sure which magazine because the name is clipped off, so I’m not sure who to give credit to).  I made these for the family and a work potluck lunch and got great reviews from all.  They are very moist and the chocolate makes them extra tasty!

IMG_2924 chocolate banana bars

 

Chocolate-Banana Snackin’ Bars

1 cup mashed ripe banana (3 medium)

1/4 cup packed light-brown sugar

1/3 cup oil

1/4 cup milk

2 large eggs

1 tsp each baking powder and cinnamon

1 tsp vanilla extract

1/2 tsp baking soda

1/4 tsp salt

1 3/4 cups all purpose flour (I think you could also use whole wheat white flour)

1/2 cup mini chocolate chips

Icing Drizzle (optional, directions follow)

1. Heat oven to 350 degrees F.  Line a 15 1/2 x 10 1/2 x 5/8 inch rimmed baking sheet with foil, letting foil extend above pan at ends. (**I did not have this size pan so I just used a regular sized cake pan and it turned out fine). Lightly coat with nonstick spray.

2.Beat all ingredients except flour and chips in a large bowl with mixer on medium speed until blended.  On low speed beat in flour just until blended.  Stir in chips;spread in pan.

3. Bake 15-20 minutes (I had to bake about 5 mins. longer because of the size of my pan) until wooden pick inserted near center comes out clean.  Cool in pan on a wire rack.  Drizzle with icing if using, let set.

4. Lift foil by ends onto cutting board.  Cut into 40 bars;remove from foil. (*40 bars would be pretty small-I cut mine into 20).

Icing Drizzle: Stir 1 tsp milk into 1/3 cup confectioners’ sugar until smooth. I put the icing into a sandwich bag, snipped the end and it was super easy to drizzle on the cake.

Makes 40 (or 20)

Nutrition info for 40 bars: 72 calories, 1 g protein, 11 g car. 0 g fiber 3 g fat (1 g sat. fat), 11 mg chol.,  48 mg sodium

I would say this is more like a dessert or snack.  I think adding whole wheat white flour would up the fiber content.

How about you?  How do you use those over ripe bananas?  We would love to hear your ideas in the comments section!
~Blessings,

Jen

Of Women and Horses

Women and horses photo

A strange stillness dwells

In the eye of the horse,

A composure that appears

To regard the world from

A measured distance…

It is a gaze from the depths

Of a dream…

 ……Hans-Heinrich Isenbart

Horses have been a part of my life since I was a small child. My grandfather who lived next door always had horses. When my children were old enough we had horses and enjoyed years of 4-H horse shows, high school equestrian and trail riding. While we no longer have the horses, my love for them has not faded. This past weekend we visited some old friends who are part of our local Sheriff Posse. They were camping and trail riding. It reminded me of a book that I have called “Of Women and Horses.” This book is an array of stories of horsewomen from all disciplines who in touching prose describe the unique relationships they have with their horses. I would like to share just a few excerpts from this book that tell about that special bond that women and horses have. This book was put together by a man named GaWaNi Pony Boy. I have seen him do a couple of workshops and he also works magic! I hope you enjoy this little selection of stories I chose. Oh and the picture below is Jen and our grandpa…I adored him more than the horses!!! But it was a gift he shared with us and we were blessed.

Grandpa and horse

Blessings

Julie

“The Eyes of a Little Girl”

by Patricia M. Doenniq

“I think it is safe to say that the fascination most women have with horses started when they were little girls. Little girls and horses; there is an unexplainable and almost mystical connection. What is it about the horse that is so fascinating to young girls? I don’t think there is any one answer. It’s a combination of factors, not the least of which is the beauty, strength, mystery and sense of adventure that surrounds this beautiful creature. Add all of this to the concept of sharing friendship companionship, love and experiences with an animal playmate, and I think you have the essence of the attraction.”

Devyn and Baily

Horses are Reflections of Women

by Barbra Schulte

“After devoting much thought to the subject of the special bond that exists between women and horses, I’ve come up with four realms, or reasons, for this phenomenon. First, I think that women and horses are kindred spirits. In my experience, the horse has a unique way of perceiving the world. Horses are nurturing and I believe that they are wise about relationships. Horses represent what makes a woman a woman, the way we perceive the world, our spirit. Those things that make them kindred spirits are nurturing and both are wise about relationships. “

Deann and horse

“God’s Gift to Women”

by Lanie Frick

“There is a special phenomenon that occurs between women and horses. Women seek spiritual, uplifting experiences and horses willingly facilitate this quest. Women generally are patient, good listeners, and are eager to be heard. Horses want to communicate and are willing to listen. They appreciate a calm gentle hand absent any agenda. Women recognize what horses offer, and horses respond to that recognition. When a girl or woman rides a horse and the bond between them is strong, she feels that nothing is impossible. She becomes the Princess, the Knight, the Warrior, the Messenger of Nature. Whatever her dreams, they become clear and attainable. Horses give us so much: power, strength, speed, mobility, freedom, and independence. They expand our vision of what is possible, help us develop our self-confidence and facilitate the discovery of our oneness in nature.”

Wendy

Fun Music Friday

It’s Fun Music Friday.  This is just a silly, fun song by Chris Rice that I wanted to share with you!  If you have kids, I think they would really like it too!

Wishing you a Friday full of fun and laughs and a blessed weekend too!

~Blessings,

Jen

 

Homemade Dog Treat Recipe

IMG_2918 dog treat

One rather furry friend that gives me daily inspiration is my little pup Louie.  This dog, with his sweet and loyal disposition, has been such a blessing to our family.  When I am having a bad day, he seems to sense it and is always there for a cuddle and some good old moral support!  For the pet lovers out there, you know exactly what I mean.  There is something about a pet that can calm your nerves and sooth your soul.

To reward him for his devotion to our family, I like to spoil my little guy and occasionally make him some homemade dog treats.  He is obsessed with peanut butter, so that is why I chose this particular recipe, but there are lots of other great recipes for dog treats on this website: www.bullwrinkle.com

This is a super easy recipe with only 4 ingredients!  You can use cookie cutters to make cute shapes, but for the sake of time, I usually use a pizza cutter to quickly make square sized treats!

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Peanut Butter Puppy Poppers

2 cups whole-wheat flour

1 tbsp. baking powder

1 cup peanut butter (chunky or smooth)

1 cup milk

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.  In a bowl, combine flour and baking powder.  In another bowl, mix peanut butter and milk, then add to dry ingredients and mix well.  Place dough on a lightly floured surface and knead.  Roll dough to 1/4 inch thickness and use a cookie cutter to cut out shapes.  Bake for 20 minutes on a greased baking sheet until lightly brown.  Cool on a rack, then store in an airtight container.  It notes in the recipe that the treats burn easily, so depending on your oven, you may want to adjust the time. (I have found 20 minutes is perfect in my electric oven.)

Here is Louie, waiting ever so patiently for his treat!  He knows when I am cooking these and will hang out in the kitchen until they are done!

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~Blessings,

Jen