Make a Batch of Bubble Mixture!

Bubble Mixture

If you are looking for a fun craft for your kids this summer, check out what my daughter and I made–homemade bubble mixture!

It is very inexpensive and easy to make. One bowl kept my daughter entertained for most of the summer. This bubble recipe works out great if you are short on funds but need something fun and creative for your kids to do.

Here is what you will need to create your own bubble mixture:

1/2  cup dishwashing detergent (I used Dawn or Joy– I purchased it from the Dollar Store)
4-1/2  cup water
4 tablespoons glycerin
(available in pharmacies)

When you are ready to make a batch, this is how you mix it:

Measure out the water, detergent, and glycerin into container with a cover and stir gently. Note: The longer you let the mixture set, the larger the bubbles are and the longer they seem to last.

We had loads of fun playing with this bubble mixture! It kept hands and bodies busy instead of saying,
“Moooom, I’m bored!”


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Oobleck~What is That Runny Stuff?

Oobleck 1

To me, this stuff looks like a gobbly, goopy mess. But to kids. . . it is the divine and fun way to play!

It basically starts out all runny, but when you apply pressure to it, it turns into a hard solid ball.

Once pressure is released, it automatically turns into a runny, gloopy mess again. Apply pressure and it starts all over again.

The kids played with this stuff for over an hour. Eventually the liquid dehydrates from it and it just starts to crumble, but for a while it is SO fun to play with. I even enjoyed it!

If you want to make your own Oobleck, here is the recipe. I love it because it uses simple household items.

Oobleck

2 parts cornstarch
1 part water
food coloring of your choice
(FYI–the food coloring will stain your hand, but it should come off with soap and water)

Mix all items together and play until your heart’s content!

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Buying Up the Season

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No matter who you are or what defines you or whatever is your estate, you are in a season. You have come from a season and you are going to a season. Be it the President of the United States to the needy, hungry and homeless one on the street, there is no differential–each person is in a season. I would call that common ground. Wouldn’t you?

It’s in the common ground things of life that God’s Word speaks and is illumined. He inspired it to be so.  His Word touches whomever will listen to it and simply be willing to be impacted by the light of Christ.  I’ve heard some say that His Word means nothing to them and He means nothing to them.  Even this one, this lost sheep, is in a season.

Seasons define us, mark us, change us, fill us, empty us. Seasons are the circumstances of the day–the weather and events and characters that set the current stage of our lives. Some seasons are like a day at the beach–warm, salty wind blowing in our face, sounds of waves crashing and children playing, a plethora of joy, contentment and happiness. Some seasons are like a lonely walk in the desert–hot sand on our blistered feet, sounds of the wind and nothing else, an empty and lonely place that chills our hearts at night.

It is with these thoughts and this spirit that I came upon this verse two days before we filed for bankruptcy in March 2009. It had been a hard season, ending in a tragic failure for us.  This verse spoke to my heart, for it was as if I were the one needing to be awoken from a very, bad dream…

Therefore He says, ‘Awake O sleeper and arise from the dead, and Christ shall shine (make day dawn) upon you and give you light.  Look carefully then how you walk!  Live purposefully and worthily and accurately, not as the unwise and witless, but as wise (sensible, intelligent people) making the most of the time (buying up opportunity), because the days are evil.”  Ephesians 5:14-16 Amplified

So as I meditate once again on this verse and look back over what for me was the last season of my life and not the present one, I am beginning to pull out the meaning of the phrases from the original language.  I want to see if there are any treasures to be had and of course there are!

Beginning with the first word, Therefore, we know that these are verses that point back to the verses before them. You can read the whole chapter in its entirety here (Ephesians 5 Amplified). Basically the passage is talking about how we walk through our life, what we should choose and what we should not choose.

Then it says it is shameful to even mention what some people in the darkness practice in secret. We, by our own behavior, shine a light on them to expose, reprove and convict them. When deeds are exposed and rendered apparent and shown manifestly by the light, they are known.

So picture this…you are in a dark cave without any glimpse of light to be seen.  Your mind is completely confused.  You cannot move from the spot in which you sit, as you shiver in fear.  Not knowing if you are awake or asleep, you have frightening thoughts and in every way you are confused.  There is nothing you can do about your estate. For you are stuck.  There is not one thing you can do to make a change in your circumstances.  For even crying out for help is too cognizant a thought to form into words in such a muddled mind-set.

Then Jesus comes and shines His light upon you, illuminating your darkness.  Not only that, but He speaks to you!  He bids you to waken and rouse from the place you have gone to lie down and sleep. He says, as he once said to Lazarus, “Rise again!  Stand up, you corpse, you dead one, and see!  Behold and perceive.  It is your choice. Then walk around, live, and follow Me as your Companion.  Let us take the most exact and straight path.  You must tread down underfoot this place from which you are walking. Let me set you free.”

He continues to speak, “Walk not as the conceited one, the unclear fool. No!  Walk thoughtfully, discreetly, wisely with skill. For you must ransom, rescue from loss and buy up this appointed season. It is time! From dawn to dusk, you must live redeeming this time, knowing and being aware of the wicked, degenerate, hurtful age in which you live. I am with you, equipping you to live wisely. Shining My light in your darkness. Now walk and illumine the path for others. Tell them I am the light.”

I remember the night, Jesus did this for me.  It was a dark night, alone in dorm room. My choices had led me down the wrong path.  I was in the darkest day of my life. Though I did not know it, as I bowed face down on the floor and coherent of nothing save my pain and sorrow, Jesus shone His light upon me.  He illumined my path.  He taught me a better way.  He showed me a better way to circumspectly walk about every gentle day.

Does that mean I have not needed His light since?  Oh, now that is far from reality.  Reality is that I need my Companion’s (Jesus’) light every moment of every day. Sometimes, I have not chosen to walk in that light. Did He walk away from me or abandon me?  No.  He waited and shed His light abroad on the path, so that I would know how to find my way back to Him. And the important part? It was and is my choice. Daily.

And dear friend?  It is your choice. Daily.

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To Live is Christ

Old gate

So many things we get caught up in…so many concerns of heart, mind, body and soul.  Like the record player needle getting stuck playing the same note over and over again. Then we spiral. We get off-track.  Our focus on things important is lost. We make idols of the discordant note–focused completely on “whys” and”whats” that really don’t amount to anything when all is said and done.

We hold grudges.  We make people’s problems our projects. We wring our hands over unpaid bills. The future is daunting.  The past, hurtful. And the now?  Well, you don’t even know what to think in the now. You are just putting one foot in front of the other or you are laying down and hoping time will pass. But life?  There’s no life there…there are just empty spaces to fill and irreconcilable tallies that will never ever make sense and then there’s the fear, bitterness and anger that wells up in your heart.  Life is not fair.

No, it isn’t. Then Joanne spoke the most amazing words to me after her stroke at the rehabilitation hospital. She said, “You know we have bills to pay and concerns, but the things that used to matter so much, just don’t seem to matter anymore. I don’t just want to live.  I want LIFE!”

To live is Christ.

So as my dear friend Joanne has been marking my life, my mind, my heart with the truth of God’s ever-present Presence in her time of need, I find that He is using her to mark my soul in a way of stillness unlike I have ever felt. Be still and know that He is God.  Be still my soul, the Lord is on your side. Be still. Live. Abide. Find rest, o my soul, the Lord has been good to you.  Yes, yes He has.

I have been on a health journey, which began in 2007 with a tremor in my hand. Like parenthesis that wrapped our jobless journey, bankruptcy and financial worries was this uncertain situation with my thyroid.  It was broken.  Then it leveled out to normal.  Then it was broken again. So as I have searched and finally found good doctors, I began seeking out the answers for my thyroid (which is still an in-process journey).

In the midst of the journey last Thursday, I went for my very first full physical.  They tested my arteries, which were fine, and then began the rest of the meeting with the doctor.  All my blood numbers were very good!  He seemed surprised.  The thyroid is still auto-immune, but everything was really good. Then he listened to my heart.  Then he listened again to my heart.  Then he sent me back to the young woman, who tested my arteries, to have an echocardiogram, because he heard a heart murmur.

She was a sweet Jesus-loving girl.  She began the test looking for a valve issue.  In mid-stride, she stopped and said, “We are going to do a bubble test to see if you have a hole in your heart.  It’s pretty common actually.” So she did the test and then told me I’d hear results back on Monday of this week.

Well I didn’t–and it is troublesome to wait. But on Monday here is what God showed me–His diagnosis, if you will. From Jesus Calling, “I am creating something new in you: a bubbling spring of Joy that spills over into others’ lives…let yourself become a reservoir of the Spirit’s fruit.” My thoughts as I read this were, “Lord, if there be a hole, let your Joy spill through it.  May I be a reservoir of the fruit of your Holy Spirit.”

Then I read this from My Utmost for His Highest, “If you abandon to Jesus, and come when He says ‘Come,’ He will continue to say ‘Come’ through you; you will go out into life reproducing the echo of Christ’s ‘Come.’ That is the result of every soul, who has abandoned and come to Jesus.” I began to think, “Echo.  Echocardiogram. Lord, let the echo of my heart always be the echo of your ‘Come.’ May I be fully abandoned and come (echo) come (echo) come to You.”

So today’s diagnosis, “No valvular issue, but instead patent foramen ovale (PFO). You have a hole–a passage of blood from the right to left. At some point, if you had a mini stroke from a blood clot, we would do surgery, but as long as you remain symptom free we do nothing.”

Funny thing, I also have a hole in my head, which makes my Chris so happy to joke about–it’s called a partially empty sella around my pituitary (all of this will come into play in the tests that are still before me over the next months for my thyroid).  Today our 13 year old son spoke these words, “Well, Mom, you are holey.  God thinks that is good, right?  Holy?”

I chuckle, for it is true!  I am holey.  I am broken.  I am empty.  I have thorns in my life, so do you.  So I echo to you today, Come. Come to Jesus.  Bring all of your hurts and pains and emptiness.  He is all about filling and overspilling in our lives. In times like these, we need a hole to leak the joy out.  We need the emptiness to become a reservoir. We need the echo of our hearts to ring Come! We need His Holy to fill our holey-ness.

To live is Christ. To die is gain.  I believe it fully.  Now, I live it until the appointed day when I step onto His heavenly sod and echo one final time, Come! For I will need to Come! no more.  I will then BE in Jesus’ Presence and there shall be no more away. Oh Praise God. To live is Christ. To live is Christ.

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Onion Rings and Dippin’ Sauce

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6 c. crisco Oil
4 vidalia onions, sliced and separated into rings
2 1/4 c. bisquick or baking mix
1 c. Amber Bock beer
2 t. salt
2 eggs

Heat oil in fryer or large stock pot to 375 degrees f. Toss sliced onion rings in 1/4 c. of bisquick mix. In mixer, blend 1 c. beer, 2 c. bisquick, 2 t. salt and 2 eggs. Dip onion rings in one at a time and drop by groups of about 6 at a time into the hot oil. Turn once, so that it is golden brown on each side. Take out and place on paper towels. Continue process until all onions are fried.

Sauce:
1 c. mayonnaise
1 c. sour cream
1/2 c. chili sauce
2 t. horseradish
1 t. cayenne pepper

Blend all thoroughly. Wonderful sauce for onion rings and very good on a hamburger, too!

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Blueberry Cheese Cake

Blueberries in basket

1 1/2 c. graham cracker crumbs
1/2 c. melted margarine
4 T. sugar
1 bar (8 oz) cream cheese
1 c. powdered sugar
1 container cool whip
1 can blueberry pie filling

Mix together graham cracker crumbs, butter and sugar. Press into a pie plate. Refrigerate for 10 minutes.

Blend together cream cheese, cool whip, powdered sugar and pie filling. Pour into chilled crust. Refrigerate for one hour before serving.

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Eleanor’s Blueberry Muffins

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2 c. flour
1 c. sugar
1 T. baking powder
1/2 t. salt
1 egg
1 c. milk
1/4 c. canola oil
1 c. rinsed and dried, de-stemmed blueberries,

The night before, mix together in a batter bowl the flour, sugar, and milk, stir well. Cover and refrigerate overnight.

The next morning, preheat oven to 400 degrees. Spray muffin pans with cooking oil spray (large or small). Then add the egg, baking powder, salt and oil. Stir thoroughly. Gently mix in blueberries, trying not to crush them.

Fill each muffin cup 1/2 full and cook in oven for 20-25 minutes, when golden brown. Makes 18 regular sized muffins or 36 mini muffins. This is my grandmother’s recipe. Can add a streusel topping for added sweetness…(3/4 c. flour, 1/2 c. brown sugar, 1/2 c. butter mixed together and sprinkled on top evenly before baking) Yummy!

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Coming In and Going Out

Be still

I was thinking the other day about what I should write on. Which room did I need to check-in to? Running through the “house” in my mind, I stopped in the foyer. What an impactful room! If you actually have one, I bet it is like the sneak peek of your house. Scattered shoes of varying sizes tell of children running in and out the door. Canes and walking sticks represent the golden years of life. Chaos would tell you it was my house, well, that and my husband’s hunting trophies mounted on the walls. Light peering in the front door or side window warms the house and our souls. The foyer welcomes our guests and families into our homes and hopefully provides a safe haven from the daily grind we all face.

While I was reflecting on the foyer, how it is the first thing we see, I was reminded it is also the last place we see before we walk out. The place where we check our reflections in the mirror to make sure everything is pressed and neat. Everything tucked and in place.  Backpacks lined up, briefcases set out, we check to make sure we have all we need for the day.

The foyer of God’s house is most definitely a safe haven for us to run. We can come in out of the storm, the heat or the bitter cold we have faced during the day; drop all our baggage by the bench, take a deep breath, and rest. We are home. We are safe. We are comforted.

It is also the place where our morning pep talk with the Lord can happen. Imagine Him sending you on your way. He straightens your clothes. He hands you the tools you need for the day. He reminds you who you are in Christ Jesus. He tells you that you belong to Him. He kisses you on the forehead and sends you out. Not alone though, for He sends His Spirit out with you.

As often as I need a safe place to drop my stuff at the day’s end, I also need a confidence boost in the morning. I need to look in the mirror and be reminded that I am a child of the Most High King. Yes, there are expectations with that and they are to be remembered, but more importantly there is love. I am loved. Whether I walk in the door at the end of the day having failed or having been faithful, if I am His, I am loved.

For some of you, home is not or was not a safe place. You snuck in your house quietly and out as fast as you could.  You struggle to find rest and security in the image of a house.  I want to tell you, Christ has prepared a wonderful house for you (John 14:1-3), should you choose to move in. His foyer will be grander than anything you could imagine. No yelling or pain or fear.  A place made just for you. You very own hook to hang your baggage on.

While we may not get to see the entire house on this side of heaven, I believe we can have a sneak peek. Our relationship with the Lord is just the front door to all of eternity with Him. Walk into the foyer and let His love wipe off the grime of the day, or even days. Let His light warm your soul. Hang your bags on your hook. Take your shoes off for you are on holy ground. Let Jesus minister to you right then and there. Wounds tended too, burdens lightened, emotions settled, get up and get ready to face the day again. Walk out knowing you are His child, precious, dearly loved and most certainly not alone. The foyer will be waiting for your return.

Psalm 121:7-8  (NKJV)
The LORD shall preserve you from all evil; He shall preserve your soul. The LORD shall preserve your going out and your coming in from this time forth, and even forevermore.


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Vessel Living

jar

The greatest places in our lives of faith are by a worldly standpoint dangerous, outside our comfort zone, don’t add up or make sense and LOSS occurs. We lose friends’ support, family support and even places of worldly position or honor. However, God sets up and deposes–His will cannot be thwarted. Our position may be as Esther’s for such a time as this or it may be the widow’s last meal with her son before God sent his prophet Elijah. God’s intervention and intention in both situations, in every situation really, are secure and sure.

I asked myself this question: If I had to lose all and gain Christ at my points of greatest weakness (my children, husband, family or friends, even secure things like my home), would I choose to? Could I be a martyr of the faith and NOT deny Jesus as my Savior? Must I think about such things or must I WALK it out everyday, knowing not only Him as my Refuge, but also as my Sovereign? I have heard Beth Moore call it the greater “yes” of Christ. My choices do not have to be conceived in my mind and carried out, but they should be conceived in the mind of Christ and applied to my heart. My willingness to obey and authenticity in carrying out these steps are vital to living victoriously.

I do not have to initiate or come up with my calling! Remember Christ promises to give us the words when we stand before our accusers. The simplicity of it all is that whatever God has for us to do–He will do it. It’s called vessel living. He pours in me, I pour out. I do not pour in. I do, however, need to spend time in His Word and practice His Presence. That means that I am simply acknowledging in my heart and mind that He is always present with me. He is near.

I guess I have all this on my mind, because this Christian walk is hard….sometimes, we make it harder by trying to be so together and in-control. He is in control. I am not.

As I read The Hiding Place by Corrie Ten Boom–truly one of my heroes of the faith, I thought as I read, she believed everything was safe in her life and routine and didn’t know her world would be turned upside down. She was in the center of God’s will for her life, and she lost those dearest to her on this earth. God provided a way, though. Did you hear that? She lost everything and everyone that was dear, except Jesus. He was enough. He is enough. Indeed, He is everything!


So if our country one day becomes like Corrie’s Holland, we will be okay. We can walk it out in victory and with great joy…just like Paul and Silas in prison. I don’t think God intends for us to look like we have it all together. I think He wants for us to walk in trust. And sometimes, that means we will lose everything, but Him. He is enough. This world is not our home, but He went to prepare a place for us…and it is GOOD.

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