New Friends

This past week I have had the chance to make many new friends and see old ones.  I have been at World Venture in Littleton, Colorado for my last missionary training and for Renewal Conference

Missionaries who are on home assignment with World Venture come to Renewal Conference to be informed and encouraged.

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This was our first day of Pre-Departure training…the staff at headquarters helped us celebrate how far God has brought us in our journey. The sparkling cider was great and the joy expressed on our behalf brought tears to my eyes!

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This is me and my new friend Hannia…she is also from MN and is headed to the Philippines to minister through Agricultural Community Development!

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During our free weekend Hannia and I went for a hike at Red Rocks. The views were amazing, the weather was beautiful and the time for growing our friendship was priceless!

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Each of these ladies has become such a blessing in my life! Spending time with other single ladies with a similar passion for God and missions has been so encouraging. (Clockwise: Soraya – Spain, Hannia – Philippines and Karen – Uganda)

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After 44 years of ministry with World Venture Marilyn Escher, missionary to Senegal, retired! I was invited by the rest of the Senegal team to join them in a celebration dinner in her honor.

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Each of these lovely ladies has been serving in Senegal for a number of years. I am so glad I got to meet them this week and I’m looking forward to learning about missions from them and serving together!!!

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Fun Fact Friday

Here is a fun fact many of you don’t know…my sister-in-law Jennifer is writing a book series!

“The House of Envy” – Chapter 19

Jen has loved fantasies since she was little and about six years ago she began writing.  Her first book The House of Envy is geared toward young adult to adult women…it looks at where we get our sense of worth and beauty!  It’s a heartwarming and intriguing tale that will be enjoyed women, as well as men.  She is currently working on her second book which is geared toward men.

I feel so blessed to have a sister-in-law that is truly like a sister to me!  It’s hard to believe she has been a part of my life for 10 years already…I look forward to seeing our relationship grow and change over the next ten years.  Jen has been such a Godly example to me.   Through trials and joys I have seen her cling to God and continue to praise him…not always an easy thing to do!

Feel free to check out her blog and read a few excerpts of her book…I know she would love your input!

Here is a link to her blog…Inspired Allegorical Tales

This is a sweet children’s story she wrote not long ago…Actually Ashley

This is my niece…isn’t she a cutie?

Homestead Blessings – The Art of Soapmaking

How many of you have ever wanted to make homemade soap like our ancestors did? For many years I have loved the idea, mostly because I enjoy history and connecting with the past, but this past week I finally took the leap!
Since becoming more concerned about the various chemicals and additives in most health and beauty products I have been using homemade soap that I bought at the farmers market. But I finished my last bar of chemical free soap a few weeks ago and decided it was time to make my own my own. So, my mom and I, along with a few good friends got together last Monday and made soap.
I would like to share with you our experience. This won’t be a step-by-step tutorial, but you can find a great tutorial on the basics of soap making here at offbeat + inspired.
For our soap making experience we followed the recipe and instructions from the Homestead Blessings – The Art of Soap Making (DVD). The Homestead Blessings DVDs are a wonderful series that cover many old-fashion skills that have slowly been forgotten by our society, they are a great resource for anyone seeking to be more self-sufficient!
It was truly a blessing to be able to work alongside other ladies in the process of making soap. Even though we each used the same ingredients, the process and end results varied slightly, so it was helpful to be able to compare as we went along.

The recipe:
48 oz shortening
32 oz coconut oil
16 oz olive oil
4 cups water
12 oz lye

> The process begins by slowly pouring the lye into the water and mixing. Even though we were all trying to be careful not to breath in the fumes, we all ended up coughing and stepping away from the pots for a moment. It would be ideal to do this part of the process outside, but it was too cold here.
> Next we carefully added the oils, one at a time.
> Then you stir and stir and stir some more. The goal is to break up or dissolve all the pieces of coconut oil and shortening. We tried to accomplish this with just a spoon. Then at the very end we decided to try a metal whisk…next time we’ll start off with the whisk.
> After all the oils are melted your soap should begin to look like a thin pudding. Once it “traces” (check out the tutorial) you are ready to pour your product into a mold.
> Make sure your mold is lined with freezer paper or well-greased.
> Once you pour your soap into the mold put a cover on it, then wrap it in a blanket.
> Your soap will be ready to cut into bars within 2-24 hours. Why such a variation in the time? We found that if your mold is deeper it will take much longer to set. Just keep checking it. They are ready to cut when the knife cuts through easily, but also comes out mostly clean.

I wish I had a picture of the process to show you, but my camera didn’t want to corporate that night. It was fun how unique each of the soaps turned out in the end. My mom and I added oatmeal, pumpkin pie spice, cinnamon, and cinnamon essential oil to our soap before pouring it into the mold. One of the gals left hers as the basic recipe and the other gal added lavender to one mold and cilantro and lime to another mold. They all looked beautiful! It was such a fun evening, spending time together and learning a new skill. One of the best parts is that of us came away more confident about soap making and excited about trying new recipes!

Have you ever tried making your own soap? How did it go? Do you have any ideas or words advice to share with a beginner? Please share you thoughts!

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!!!