Birthday Blessings

Happy b-day edit

Thursday I turned 29. This past week has been filled with blessings…birthday gifts from God.

The week before my birthday I was treated to lunch by some friends as an early birthday present! Not only did they buy me lunch…they also showered my with some very thoughtful gifts!

[PICTURES TO COME…]

All week God has been showering me with beautiful sunsets! These pictures are a poor replacement for the real thing…the color and layering of clouds has been truly breathtaking!

Thanksgiving edit

Thanksgiving is one of my favorite holidays and this year it was my birthday too! I traveled with some friends to our teammate’s house, about an hour and a half away, to celebrate the holiday together. On the way there my friends sang “Happy Birthday” to me and I received some lovely cards from my “nieces”! We also saw a monkey running across the road…that was a first! I wish I had a picture of that to share with you.

29th b-day! edit

I am so thankful that although I am far from home God has giving me “family” to celebrate special days with! Not only did I have a wonderful Thanksgiving dinner and pie…I also had a yummy chocolate cake to make my day special!

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As a perfect ending to my day, I spent 1 1/2 on Skype with my family! It was so nice to talk to all of them! My 2-year-old niece sang “Happy Birthday” to me and gave me so many computer hugs and kisses!  Then the big girls joined the call and sang to me again! I can’t wait to see them all next month!

Cake 2

Today I arrived home and was greeted by a surprise…I cake made with a mix and frosting my mom had sent!  I had no idea she had sent a cake for my birthday, it was such a sweet unexpected surprise! So my friends sang “Happy Birthday” to me and we had some chocolate cake together!

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December Newsletter

I love this time of year…first there’s Thanksgiving, then Christmas and finally New Year’s Day! Each holiday is different, but each one helps me turn my thoughts to God; what he has done, is doing and will do in my life.  I hope and pray that as each year passes I am better at recognizing the gifts God has given me and then presenting those gifts back to him.

This year I have approached the holidays with a different perspective than normal.  This new perspective comes from the fact that the next time I will possibly be at home with my family for the holidays is in 2016.  Even that is dependent on how God leads me in the next two years.

As I have pondered this truth it has made me all the more grateful to have this time with my family.  I would encourage you to enjoy your holiday celebrations with the same gratefulness!  Each moment that God has given us is precious and if God has blessed you with family and friends don’t take those relationships for granted.

It’s hard to believe that 2013 will soon give way to a new year.  I hope that throughout this year you have had chances to grow and mature in your walk with God.  I am looking forward to all that God has in store to teach me in the coming year.  There will be so many new things in my life in 2014!  It is exciting, but also a little scary.

Earlier this year one of my partners reminded of God’s command to Joshua to be “strong and courageous.”  He says it four times in chapter one alone. He knows how easy it is for us to lose sight of him and get caught up in our fears, but when we look to him and remember his promises we are given the power we need to be strong and courageous.  Let’s live our lives in His strength this year!

Sharing out of PovertyHe’s only six, but he said, “I have enough to share.”

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One day little Ouseynou told us not to give money to our littlest t boys if they needed help because they happened to be short on their quotas for the day.  Ouseynou said he had it covered.  We asked him what he meant and he said, “I have enough to share and I want to help them.”

What a joy it was to all of us to hear that this little boy, who has nothing but his begging can and flip-flops, cares so much for the littler ones! And this has now become a daily occurrence on Ouseynou’s part.

We are humbled and encouraged by such a selfless act by one of these terribly neglected and mistreated children of Senegal.  That such generosity can come out of such a miserable life could be a wonder, or it could be a testimony to the transforming power of the love of Christ and God’s word.

(Shared with permission from Dave and Denise McCarthy’s 2010 newsletter)

Final Thoughts…

I am so excited to share with you how God has been moving since I last wrote to you!   It has been such an encouragement and blessing to see my support levels continue to rise and to know it is only a result of God’s goodness.

One-time Expenses – 100%

 Monthly Expenses – 66%

In January and February I hope to finish up meeting with friends and churches.  Also, in January I will be attending my final training with World Venture at their headquarters in Littleton, Colorado!  I am excited to see how God will bring all the final pieces of the amazing journey together in the next few months.  If you haven’t gotten to visit with me in person about my plans I would love to get together with you, just give me a call or email me and we can set up a time to get together!

Thank you for your prayers!

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Family Time

The last two weeks have been full of fun family times!

Ok, so this isn’t quite what our Thanksgiving dinner looked like…but close!

My brother Mark and his wife Jenny arrived at our house the Tuesday before Thanksgiving and were able to stay until Saturday. What a blessing!!!  We enjoyed a nice visit together and an awesome Thanksgiving dinner.  I’m so thankful they were able to come and stay with us…life gets so busy sometimes that these moments of time are so precious!  

In some ways I feel like my time for special family moments is running out…

God has continued to provide the partners I need to begin ministry in Senegal.  I now have partners for 60% of my monthly support…which is an awesome feeling!  It’s so exciting to see God moving me forward on this journey!

Moving forward is good, but it can also be hard.  Starting this new chapter in the story God is writing with my life means that another chapter is coming to a close.  I have always had a hard time with knowing how to deal with change, so I have to keep reminding myself that God has always been with me and he will see me through these changes too.

So, my Thanksgiving this year was a little bittersweet…it will be three years before I am home to celebrate another Thanksgiving with my family.  But I am confident that God will see me through the times of sadness that I’m sure will come as I celebrate next year in Senegal!

Ok. Picture time!

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Hunting for the perfect Christmas tree!
Mimi – Angela – Papa

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Angela – Auntie Kim

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Here’s our perfect tree!!!

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The girls had lots of fun decorating the tree while Papa watched!

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Mimi’s good at reaching the high branches!

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Our puzzle project…didn’t quite finish it. Maybe next time!

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Angela…the little baker girl!

 

Time flys…when your having fun!

Time certainly does fly.  When I starated this blog my goal was to post at least once a week and now it has been a few weeks since I posted.  But I suppose it’s like any new habit you try and develop…it takes time.  So, I’m turning over a new leaf and I wil try my best to make blogging new habit!

I hope everyone had a great Thanksgiving!  I enjoyed having my brother and sister-in-law here from Friday to Sunday to celebrate with us.  They also brought they also brought my two beautiful nieces!  It was so nice that they were all able to come and have Thanksgiving with us,  it has been a few years since we have all been together for Thanksgiving.  

Last week my mom and I hosted a mother-daughter retreat at our house.  We had been talking with a friend since last spring about an event like this (although in the end it was much small then originally planned).  Each of us has a similar passion to see women of all ages growing in their faith and looking more and more like the women God intends for us to be.  During our time together we looked at what the Bible has to say about modesty (and not just how we dress), perfection, and thankfulness.  I was able to find some great articles on each of these topics that helped get us thinking.  We also found time to do a ton of crafts, eat lots of food, take a chilly walk, play Risk, and watch some videos.  It was special to share this time with some Godly sisters in Christ!  We are hoping to be able to be able to invite more moms and daughters in the future

One last thing for tonight.  The pie auction at church raised $5900 for our missionaries this year!  What an amazing God we serve!!!

Pie Auctions, Candy & Missionaries

I hope you had a nice Saturday and found time to get done some things you been wanting to do! I spent most of my day in the kitchen. It was a nice day I didn’t have to rush to get things done which Made it even better.

Every year on the Monday before Thanksgiving our church has a pie auction. The proceeds from the auction are equally divided between the missionaries we support. Not only is it a lot of fun to attend the pie auction, but it’s such a blessing to be able to do something extra to encourage our missionaries during the holidays!

The past few years I have taken a couple different pies to be auctioned off. But this year I decided to make some homemade candy instead! Salted Caramels and Peppermint Patties, two simple recipes that I’ve made before, so I know they are good! While I was candy making I had on Christmas music and was praying for some of the missionary families that will be so far from their families.

So I now have 4 plates of each to be auctioned off, along with 2 loaves of Honey Oatmeal Bread. My prayer is that God will use my candies and bread to bring joy to our missionaries. It so neat how God can use things that we enjoy to bring himself glory and bless other people!

Here are the recipes that I used today. Both of the candy recipes were found on Pinterest, one of my favorite places for finding new recipes! Let me know if you try any of them. I would love to hear what you think of them!

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Homemade Caramels Recipe:
(Recipe from Food.com)

1 cup butter
2 1/4 cups brown sugar , firmly packed
1/8 teaspoon salt
1 cup light corn syrup
1 (14 ounce) can sweetened condensed milk
1 teaspoon vanilla

Directions:
1. Melt butter; add brown sugar and salt, mixing well. Stir in corn syrup. Gradually add milk, stirring constantly. Cook and stir over medium heat until candy reaches firm ball stage (245 degrees). This will take 12-15 minutes approx. Remove from heat and stir in vanilla. Pour into greased 9×13 pan. Let cool. Cut into 48 pieces with a sharp knife.
Optional: Wrap each piece in wax paper.

 

Homemade Peppermint Patties
(found at One Ordinary Day)

1 can sweetened condensed milk
5 1/2 cups powdered sugar, sifted
1 tablespoon peppermint extract
3 cups semisweet chocolate chips
3 tablespoons shortening

Add condensed milk, 2 cups of powdered sugar, and peppermint extract to a large mixing bowl. Mix everything on medium speed using the paddle attachment until all the ingredients are well incorporated. Add more powdered sugar, 1/2 cup at a time, until the dough is stiff but still pliable.

Cover a cookie sheet with parchment paper. Sprinkle some powdered sugar on the palms of your hands. Roll 3/4″ balls of dough between the palms of the hands. Set each ball on waxed paper-covered cookie sheet and flatten slightly. Place cookie sheet in the freezer for no longer than 30 minutes. While the dough is chilling, prepare the chocolate coating.

In the bottom of a double boilers bring 1″ of water to gentle simmer. Place chocolate chips in the top of the double boiler, add in shortening to thin the chocolate. Remove patties from the freezer. Place a patty on the tines of the fork and dip in the chocolate until completely covered. Quickly tap fork on the pot to remove excess chocolate from the patty before setting each one on top of the parchment paper. Allow the chocolate coated peppermint patties to completely set up. The peppermint patties are ready when they are dry to the touch. Enjoy!

 

Honey Oatmeal Bread

1 1/2 cups water
1/2 cup honey
1/3 cup butter
1 cup whole wheat flour
4 1/2-5 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup old-fashioned oats
2 Tbsp wheat germ
2 tsp salt
1 Tbsp active dry yeast (heaping)
2 eggs

Combine water, honey, and butter in a microwave safe measuring cup. Heat until liquids are very warm (120* to 130*F), butter will melt.

Place 5 cups of flour, oats, salt, and yeast in bowl. Attach bowl and dough hook. Turn to Speed 2 and mix 15 seconds. Gradually add warm liquids to flour mixture. Add eggs and mix an additional minute.

Continuing on Speed 2, add remaining flour, 1/2 cup at a time, until dough clings to hook and cleans sides of bowl. Knead on Speed 2 for 2 minutes more.

Place in a greased bowl, turning to grease top. Cover; let rise until double in bulk, about 1 hour.

Punch dough down and divide in half. Shape each half into a loaf and place in a greases loaf pan. Cover; let rise until double in bulk, about 1 hour.

Bake at 375*F for 25 minutes. Remove from pans immediately and cool on wire racks.

Note: This recipe uses a KitchenAid mixer, if you don’t have one don’t worry. Start by mixing in a bowl with a strong spoon, then begin kneading the flour in. Once all the flour is incorporated knead for another 5min. Then follow the rest of the directions as listed.