Sunday, December 30, 2012

Sunday Gleanings: Do Not Receive the Grace of the Lord in Vain

As God's co-workers, we urge you not to receive God's grace in vain.  For He says, "In the time of my favor I heard you, and in the day of salvation I helped you."  I tell you, now is the time of God's favor, now is the day of salvation.  

This morning our minister made very clear that all who have heard the Word of God in the past year have received the grace of God.  We have received God's grace because of His good pleasure, not because of anything in us.  So the question is, have we received God's grace in vain or not?  If we are still unbelievers, we have misused the grace He has given us and have received it in vain.  And if we are believers and are not growing in godliness and in the likeness of Christ, we have also received it in vain.  Scripture is very clear that today is the day of salvation.  Just as in the days of Israel, God's grace may not always be with us.

I was able to read the bulletin meditation before church this morning and thought it tied in so well with the sermon we heard.  I'll leave you with some quotes from W. S. Plumer.  He is speaking to unbelievers now:

But although your soul is lost, it is not lost beyond recovery.  Blessed be God for that.  "There is mercy with God that He may be feared:" "with him plentiful redemption:"  "As I live, saith the Lord, I have no pleasure in the death of the wicked; but that the wicked turn from his way and live: turn ye, turn ye from your evil ways and live; for why will ye die?"  I take up the words and repeat the question, why will you die?  Why will you not be saved?  I trust you will.  I pray you may.  I know that by divine grace you can.  The door of mercy is yet open, open to you.

Saturday, December 29, 2012

What's Cookin'

This week's menu plan was so easy.  I opened up my freezers and made a list of stuff that needed to be used up and that's what made it on the menu.  Easy peasy!

Mon~Bbcue chicken on buns, Seasoned steak fries, carrots
Tues~Potluck at lunch:  Million Dollar Spaghetti and Grandma R's chocolate cake
         Snacks for dinner:  Cold veggies and dip, pig in a blankets, ham biscuits, chips
Wed~Crockpot Chicken Cordon Bleu, green beans, rolls
Thurs~Honey Lime Chix Enchiladas, chips n salsa, salad
Fri~Bbcue pork ribs, freezer mashed potatoes, corn or carrots
Sat~Pizza, cold veggies
Sun~Veggie Beef Soup, rolls

Meijer: Pizza and pop deals

Pizza and pop are kind of a Sat. night tradition around here (I try to throw some veggies or fruit into the mix!), so it was great to grab the following deals this week at Meijer:

*Buy 2 Palermo thin crust pizzas @$5 each and get 1 free 12 pack of Pepsi/Sierra Mist.

*Use the Buy 2, get 1 free Digiorno pizza coupon on and get $2 OYNO (They are also $5 each this week.) Pay $8 for 3 pizzas after coupons.

*Buy 4 7up brand 2 liters, get $2 off instantly.

Also, if you use Rotel tomatoes (think PW's Restaurant-style salsa), the Meijer equivalent is 69 cents each.

Thursday, December 27, 2012

Church Christmas Program 2012

A few pics from the church Christmas program. My camera doesn't like the lighting in the church or something so I didn't take many pictures.

Aaron sat here or on Mrs. Ude's lap the entire program!  When Joel finished his part, he sat on Rev. Ude's lap.  Rev. Ude is a seminary student here from Nigeria.

Joel's class, the beginners and pre-k.  The little boy at the microphone said a verse all by himself to start the program.
Andrew is standing behind the boy holding the sign.

Noah's in the purple shirt at the far right.

Christmas Eve 2012

We opened gifts with my family on Monday evening.  Here are a few pics:

I try to get a shot of them in front of the tree every year.  It is getting increasingly difficult.  :-)


The boys favorite gifts:  guns, flashlights, and matchbox cars.

Books!  I think Noah should be able to read "Hop on Pop" soon.

Andrew is 8 (and a recipe for chocolate cake)

Andrew turned 8 years old yesterday!  Hard to believe he is already that old.  He is such a great helper to me.  He will usually do whatever I ask him to right away (unless he doesn't hear me because he is reading!), and he is great with Aaron.  A couple of weeks ago he told me he was going to be so busy when the new baby came because he would have two babies to take care of (Aaron and the new one) and I would have a lot of weight to lose!  So thankful he is in our family!

He waited all day until Daddy came home to open his gifts.  Pretty excited!

He's not the only one.  :-)

An army guy vehicle.  He asked me this morning, "Mom, how did you know I would like that?"

Big box of crayons from Noah.

Daddy's gift.  Description here.

The neighbors gave us this tin of "ca-corn."  Aaron loves it.


Andrew's cake~He wanted a cake with Lewis and Clark floating down the Mississippi River.  They were trading with the Indian on the river bank.

8 candles!

Grandma Roffel's Chocolate Cake
So-Easy Black Magic Cake
From a cookbook called Creative Cooking
I think box cake tastes pretty good, but if you have a few extra minutes, this cake is extra-moist and delicious.  Grandma gave me the recipe a few years ago which she had photocopied on her printer.  I can see food splashes on the page so it was a well-loved recipe.

1 3/4 cups flour
2 cups sugar
3/4 cup cocoa
2 teaspoons soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
2 eggs
1 cup black coffee
1 cup buttermilk (or just plain milk)
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1 teaspoon vanilla

Combine flour, sugar, cocoa, soda, baking powder, and salt.  Add eggs, coffee, milk, oil, and vanilla.  Beat 2 minutes on medium speed ( I just whisked it good for a few minutes.).  The batter will be quite thin.

Pour into a greased 9x13 and bake at 350 for 30-35 min.

Cool and frost with your favorite frosting.

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

A Baby Born to Die

"A baby changes everything..."

Today we celebrate that Jesus, mighty Prince of heaven, came as a baby to save sinners.  The birth of Christ shows the amazing creativity of our Lord.  Certainly the Jews waiting for the Messiah weren't expecting their Savior to come as a lowly baby born in a stable.  Indeed, Jesus's first visitors weren't priests and kings, but lowly shepherds, the outcasts of society.  I recently heard a minister speak on how the shepherds were really the dregs of society, not people that anyone wanted to associate with, and maybe the angels even caught them mid-crude joke as they announced the birth of the Savior.  But God chose these shepherds for a reason, maybe to show us that Jesus wasn't born to save kings and rich men (although, He certainly can and does!), but that He came for the lowliest of sinners, the people we look down on.  Jesus certainly didn't spend His time on earth with princes and kings.

And then, who should visit Jesus but wise men from the East.  In a recent advent sermon, I learned that usually these men traveled in large groups with many people in their retinue.  This would have caused quite a commotion in the little town of Bethlehem.  And although they did speak to Herod, they were seeking a child from a poor family, not a prince of royal birth.  Even more amazing is that these men were astrologers, some bordering on the occult in their practices.  Certainly we know that there was much more to their party than 3 men on camels.  And God chose a baby to reveal Himself to them.  

We read that Mary pondered all these things in her heart.  What a privilege to give birth to her Savior, but also what pain she must have felt all through His life, knowing that in order for her to be saved, He must die.  As mothers, it is agony to see our children sick and in pain, but we also see their sin natures and their disobedience (much too often!).  Mary never saw evidence of any sin in the life of Jesus, yet she saw Him suffer and die.  

Jesus means "God saves."  According to Romans 5:8, "...God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us."  That is why Jesus had to leave His heavenly home.  So that one day we could live with Him there.  He has everything to offer us, and we have nothing to give.  He freely saves us by His blood.  All we have to offer Him are our empty hearts and He will gladly fill them.  

  You see, at just the right time, when we were still powerless, Christ died for the ungodly.Very rarely will anyone die for a righteous person, though for a good person someone might possibly dare to die. But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.
Romans 5:6-8

Monday, December 24, 2012

What's Cookin'

Mon~Dinner at my folks, bringing Almond bars (These are so good!  Easy version of banket.)
Tues~Christmas dinner with my family.  Bringing Salted Caramel Cheesecake and Butter Dinner Rolls (The boys gobble these down.).  I made dulce de leche in the crockpot from sweetened condensed milk.  We'll see how it tastes in the cheesecake.
Wed~Andrew's 8th birthday-He requested pancakes, eggs, and bacon for dinner.
Thurs~Taco salad, fruit
Fri~Mom's gone, hot dogs, chips, and cold veggies for everyone else.
Sat~Pizza, veggies
Sun~Beef veggie soup, rolls

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Meijer Deals

So glad I got my new printer cartridge today because I printed oodles of coupons and save about $20 bucks with them at Meijer tonight!

For direct coupon links, check out

*Wheat Thins~On sale for $1.67 and I had 2 coupons for $1/1 so 67 cents each.

*10 Campbell's Cream of Chicken/Mushroom soup~On sale for 69 cents each, had 2 coupons for $1/5 so 49 cents each.

*3 Meijer Chips~On sale for $1.74 each, had an Mperks coupon for $1/3, so $1.41 each.

*2 Breakstone sour cream~Price drop to $1.50 and I had 2 $1/1 coupons so 50 cents each.

*1 Ocean Spray juice~On sale for $2, I had a coupon for $1/1 so $1.

*2 Edy's Icecream (my favorite!)~On sale for $2.50, $1/2 so $2 each.

*2 Freschetta pizza~On sale for $3.50, $1/1 so $2.50 each.

*Buy 10, get $5 off instantly
I did two transactions:
1) 10 Planters peanuts -5 $1/2 coupons, $1.50 each.
2) 5 Baker's chocolate (1.50 each), 2 Kraft Mayo (FREE-I had 2 $2/1 coupons, plus                                   50 cents off each instantly), 3 Capri Sun ($1.17 each)

Saturday, December 15, 2012

What's Cookin'

A couple repeats since I didn't have all the ingredients I planned on last week.

Mon~Melt in your mouth chicken, parmesan potatoes, roasted cauliflower
Tues~Tomato Pasta soup, red lobster bread
Wed~Crockpot pork chalupas, chips n salsa, cold veggies
Thurs~Pork Tenderloin with pan sauce, freezer mashed potatoes, green beans

Fri~Sub sandwiches, chips, fruit
Sat~Pancakes or eggs
Sun~Veggie beef soup, bread

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Joel, age 4

Joel singing "Away in a  Manger" and saying his Christmas text, Luke 2:11.

Monday, December 10, 2012

What's Cookin'

Tues~Melt in your mouth chicken, parmesan potatoes, carrots
Wed~Youth group dinner at church
Thurs~Crockpot chalupas, rice, salad

Fri~Tomato Pasta soup, red lobster bread

Sat~Pizza, veggies
Sun~Chicken noodle soup, butterhorns, applesauce

The 2 J's

Joel always has a great time with his cousin Jayden.  Except when they both need the same toy...

Aaron, age 2 1/2

I got Aaron singing part of Psalter 400 this morning.  He was a bit distracted by the camera!

Thursday, December 06, 2012

Meijer Deals

A few things I picked up tonight:

*2 Kraft Natural Cheese slices $2 each - (2) $1 off coupons from  Buy 2 cheeses, get 1 Meijer split top wheat or white bread free.

*Hotwheels products are buy one, get one 50% off.  I bought 1 track set for $9.99 and 1 10-pack of cars for $9.47.  I used a $10/1 track set from and paid less than 5 bucks for both toys.  I'm saving the track for Noah's bday and the cars are for the little boys' New Year's stockings.

*Buy 4 packages of Hanes for the family and get $10 off.  I bought 3 packages of boys' socks and 1 package of boys' underwear and paid $14.

Full Meijer deals at

Monday, December 03, 2012

VT Christmas reunion

Here are some pics my cousin Caylee and Aunt Wanda took of our VT Christmas reunion this past Sat.  We rented out the school gym and the boys had a great time.

Look, he's floating in mid-air!

Hockey huddle.

The parachute is always great fun.  We just needed a few more people.

Grandma with her youngest great-grandchild.  For now, anyway.  There are two more on the way.

I thought he'd outgrown being the center of attention, but I guess not!

Saturday, December 01, 2012

Practice makes perfect


Aaron practiced being a big brother today.  He held my cousin Chris's baby, James.