Thursday, December 30, 2010

Snow in Camp Verde!

We're in a valley here and rarely get snow.  In 1967 there were 3 feet of snow on the ground, and beyond that it's a sprinkling here and there and rarely sticks.  Today there's about an inch and everything is covered with a pretty snow blanket.  Here are some pictures.

Chickens wondering what this cold white stuff is.

Friends car parked here while they drove another car to a cabin.  They might be snowed in!

Surprised by all the ground being covered.

The brave ones.

The creek surrounded by snow.

Goat pen.

Tried to get the mountains in the background.

Peaches wondering if I had a treat for her.

Edge of the storm.

House on the hill behind the creek.

Snow babies.  They have their pretty white coats to keep them warm!

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Following My OCC Boxes

I received an email this morning that the shoeboxes we personally prepared went to Indonesia.  According to the web site,

Twenty-eight percent of Indonesia’s 242.9 million people are 14-years-old or younger. In 2009, 82,392 shoe box gifts were delivered to children in Indonesia, which first received the gifts in 2000. Since then, 980,479 children have received a shoe box gift.

These aren't the kids that got our boxes, but here are pictures of other happy kids getting a box.

Please consider supporting this ministry throughout the upcoming year.  You can shop for little gifts year round and fill a number of shoeboxes on a "shoestring".  Sorry, couldn't resist!  I found a website with instructions for making yarn dolls, and it's something Goober Gus can help me with, so that he's part of the giving also.  Full price yarn is $3 around here and it will make at least 4 dolls.  We'll be on the lookout for yarn at yard sales now too!

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

As Real as it Gets

At least around here for now, anyway!  Just a glimpse into a few real food forays this week. 

These are the ingredients in Amy's Homemade Ranch Dressing.  We mixed up a few bags for Christmas gifts the other day.  It went into plastic baggies with one of these labels and the instructions from Amy's blog.

Tuesday night we had these yellow fin tuna steaks with this Japanse sauce.  I only made the sauce, didn't use the rest of that recipe.  It was so delicious!  We had a little bit of wasabe sauce to go with it too.  Mmmmm.  The recipe for the sauce was for  more tuna than we had, so I used the leftover to flavor a crockpot full of rice to eat for dinner tonight.  I added asparagus to it and that was good enough that my husband had seconds.

The only reason we even had tuna was because we saw it on sale Sunday when we stopped to buy cod for dinner.  Guess we're all in the mood for fish lately!  We baked the cod in lemon garlic butter, and once again had asparagus with it.  Another delightful dinner!

Before dinner tonight, I made this fermented cranberry-apple-orange relish from the GNOWFGLINS blog to take to my parents house for Christmas dinner-the day after.  I modified that a little too-I had tangerines, but no oranges.  It smells and looks fabulous!

After dinner, I started a loaf of whole wheat bread in the bread machine.  Then the 3 of us made granola.  It's a recipe from Amy at Homestead Revival too.  Goober Gus and I have made it before and we love it!  Once that went into the oven the boys went to play and I made coconut/peppermint bark from GNOWFGLINS.  It's YUMMY and has the added benefit of being good for me!  I should have taken pictures, but I really just wanted to get it all done so I could sit down for a few minutes!  Is it bedtime yet?

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Operation Christmas Child

This story was originally written in December of 2010.  I have since been back to the processing center one more time with my husband.  We talked on the drive over about how God uses this ministry to reach communities in countries where Christianity is strictly forbidden.  Those same countries allow Samaritan's Purse to bring in shoe boxes packed with gifts for children.  Each child also gets a book in their own language called The Greatest Journey, which is used to take the children through a 12 week discipleship program where they are taught that Jesus died on the cross for our sins.  It is a great evangelistic tool that otherwise wouldn't make it into some of these countries, simply because it comes as a Gift.  I'd like to ask you to prayerfully consider participating in this program, where you can even pack a box online!  National Drop-Off Week is the 14th-20th this year.  Find a drop off location near you here.

OCC National Collection Week

A couple of weeks ago I volunteered at the Operation Christmas Child processing center in Orange County, CA.  I spent 3 days (more like 2.5) opening, inspecting, sorting, re-stuffing, taping and cartonizing shoe boxes.  It was fun!  I figured I better make this post now before I forget too many details-life gets crazy when the routine is gone (even when there's very little routine to start with) and I just haven't sat down to do this.

First off, my mom went too, and we drove across the desert on I-10.  Anyone else been on that desolate highway??  We would have preferred to fly, but prices were too high and I'm glad we didn't now that the TSA is allowed to grope you!  On with the story...

The warehouse-those are the cartons that the inspected shoe boxes go in, at least 14 to a carton.  BTW-it isn't heated, and although it was southern California, it was only about 60 degrees inside.  We were told to wear layers of clothes so we could adjust as we warmed up from working.

Pallets of shoe boxes, used to divide the break area from other parts of the warehouse.

Me and Jan, another volunteer from my church.  The first day we were inspectors.  I prefer to call the job, "contraband confiscators" because it sounds more exciting!  This stage of the job requires you to open each box and verify that there are no inappropriate items.  That's the easy part.  Getting everything back into the box was sometimes a huge challenge!  Items we had to remove include:
food of any type (nothing with an expiration date)
any liquid
anything breakable
toy money
war related toys (fighter jets, guns, etc)
Harry Potter
There were a few more things, but I don't recall the whole list.  Anything that was taken out was placed in a container and at the end of the processing time, taken to a local charity.  It gets used, just not in the shoe box.

People have to get creative when packing a shoe box, and we found many great ideas, as well as a few humorous ones like this lion puppet with toothpaste in its backside.

On this day I was the taper.  Every box that got processed at our station got wrapped thru the center with tape.  I estimate I taped over 500 boxes in my 6 hour shift.  I was surprised when my hands weren't sore, when one of my friends pointed out that it's probably because I milk goats, so my hands get a daily workout.  Possible?

This is where broken or torn shoe boxes go to be repacked into different boxes.  We also brought a few that were just plain too small for everything inside.  I thought it was a creative name.  The pallets on the floor had triage type names too.

I think this is our first day, that's my mom on the right in red.  Her job was to open the box and look for money.  Each shoe box costs about $7 to ship, so they ask for a donation to help cover that.  All money gets dropped into a locked box at the front of the table.

This is the contents of one of the boxes.  Wet wipes for kids, sidewalk chalk, candy, art supplies, personal grooming items and little toys.  We saw some cute ideas for gifts and ways to present them.

If you like to give, and you really like to give to kids, I encourage you to learn more about this ministry.  It's best to learn now and buy little things all year long than to wait until next year and try to fill a box with full priced items.  All items must be new, so no thrift store or yard sale finds allowed.  However, we saw a number of boxes come through with State Farm coloring books and my guess is those are free from an agent.  I'm going to find out, and collect other similar freebies during the year.  Happy Meal toys (we don't go there anymore, but it's an idea to look into), clearance items, the dollar section at Target-all places to shop whenever you're there.

A few times per year my mom and I meet at an outlet mall that's about an hour away from each of us (we live two hours apart).  It's usually to let her take TJ for a couple of days, but we do shop there also.  My brain wasn't engaged when we were there a few weeks before the main collection week.  We saw lime green gellie shoes for $2, and packs of Star Wars underwear for $3. I ended up spending $6 for underwear to go into my boxes.  I did however, remember to take advantage of the back to school sales and buy LOTS of penny crayons, etc at that time.

Some people wrapped a bar of soap in a washcloth and tied it with a bow.  None of the presents can be wrapped, since the box has to be inspected.  We did find a few that had wrapped gifts inside, and the mission of this outreach is to not disturb the integrity of the box, except for inappropriate items, so once those presents were unwrapped, the paper goes back into the box.  The purpose being that we don't know what God has planned for any of the items in the box.  Many people pray about what to include and it's not our job to interfere with that.  Some boxes had bows on the outside that simply got moved to the inside.  Many of the boxes themselves were wrapped-so that the lid could be removed without unwrapping-and we decided that it's not really a good idea.  The paper gets torn during handling, and then the box is wrapped with packing tape around the center.  It's nice to let your kids draw on the boxes and include a handwritten note to the child that will receive the box though.

I hope this story will encourage you to participate in spreading joy and the Gospel of Jesus Christ next year.  Many of these boxes go to countries where the Gospel is not allowed, but the boxes are.  It's a wonderful way to teach children and their families that Jesus loves them!

Operation Christmas Child

Sunday, December 12, 2010

It Happened

***After a little time to think, I decided to delete most of this post.  It wasn't very honoring, even if it is true.  Thanks to those that commented.***

 Just a quick note.  It started as a quick one, then I decided to add the Bible reference that sticks out regarding this, so it got longer. 

Our church has been without a permanent pastor since April of 2009.  The interim pastor started about a month after that.  Attendance started to decline, but that's to be expected with changes.  The IP has done his job, but the people want a permanent pastor.  So much so that they're willing to vote for a pastor simply to have one.  Any familiar with the story of the Israelites that wanted a king so they could be like the nations around them?

1 Samuel 8:5-7 (New King James Version)

5 and said to him, “Look, you are old, and your sons do not walk in your ways. Now make us a king to judge us like all the nations.”

6 But the thing displeased Samuel when they said, “Give us a king to judge us.” So Samuel prayed to the LORD. 7 And the LORD said to Samuel, “Heed the voice of the people in all that they say to you; for they have not rejected you, but they have rejected Me, that I should not reign over them.

8 According to all the works which they have done since the day that I brought them up out of Egypt, even to this day—with which they have forsaken Me and served other gods—so they are doing to you also. 9 Now therefore, heed their voice. However, you shall solemnly forewarn them, and show them the behavior of the king who will reign over them.”

10 So Samuel told all the words of the LORD to the people who asked him for a king. 11 And he said, “This will be the behavior of the king who will reign over you: He will take your sons and appoint them for his own chariots and to be his horsemen, and some will run before his chariots. 12 He will appoint captains over his thousands and captains over his fifties, will set some to plow his ground and reap his harvest, and some to make his weapons of war and equipment for his chariots. 13 He will take your daughters to be perfumers, cooks, and bakers. 14 And he will take the best of your fields, your vineyards, and your olive groves, and give them to his servants. 15 He will take a tenth of your grain and your vintage, and give it to his officers and servants. 16 And he will take your male servants, your female servants, your finest young men,[a] and your donkeys, and put them to his work. 17 He will take a tenth of your sheep. And you will be his servants. 18 And you will cry out in that day because of your king whom you have chosen for yourselves, and the LORD will not hear you in that day.”

19 Nevertheless the people refused to obey the voice of Samuel; and they said, “No, but we will have a king over us, 20 that we also may be like all the nations, and that our king may judge us and go out before us and fight our battles.”

21 And Samuel heard all the words of the people, and he repeated them in the hearing of the LORD. 22 So the LORD said to Samuel, “Heed their voice, and make them a king.”

And Samuel said to the men of Israel, “Every man go to his city.”
Do verses 11-18 sound like another nation with which we are all familiar?  If only our king simply took 10% of our sheep!
God allowed this to happen for a reason.  I was convicted to be obedient to what I felt God telling me to do, and I suppose that means my obedience doesn't if I don't get my way.  Our family will give him the benefit of the doubt, but we've been feeling separated from this church for some time.  Perhaps this is the final message from God to us regarding leaving?  We shall see.