Friday, April 11, 2014

Exciting News!

Happy Spring to you all, 

As I promised I have some news to share with you all that will hopefully be as exciting for you to read as it is for me to share. 

For the past few years I've been exploring the possibility of being an affiliate for a company. After trying out several options, I found out that the Home Educating Family Association had an opportunity for new affiliates. I've been familiar with HEUDA for a few years since I've enjoyed using their "On the Go" planners for my daily routine. After looking into their affiliate program, I decided to join, and have slowly worked into the advertising process. (You may have noticed the ads on the side of my blog recently) From the moment I found out about HEUDA's affiliate program I was very excited, because I knew that they were a company I could be proud to support, as I just love their products.

After I read "Get More Done in Less Time" by Donna Otto, I had been on the lookout for a journal since she suggested a journal as a great way to keep your schedule, and life organized. While we were at a homeschool conference a few years ago, I was excited to stop by the Home Educating Family Association booth, and was even more excited to find their "On the Go" planner which was exactly what I had been looking for. From the pastel colored pages, daily scheduling section, easy to find tabs, and reminders section, to the encouraging Scriptures, and inspirational quotes on each page,I knew this was just the planner to meet my needs. It has turned out to be a wonderful hassle freeway to keep everything from my thoughts, to daily plans, to gifts ideas for friends, well organized, and in an easy to find place. 


If you are struggling to find organization in your daily routines, or simply need a place to jot down your to do lists, I would highly recommend the "On the Go" planner from HEUDA. Perhaps you're in high school, or just starting college...HEUDA has just the planner for you. There are a lot of great resources from HEUDA to meet all your scheduling and planning needs, including some great resources for busy moms. I encourage you to check out their website for more information. 

Today I am very excited to announce my first ever giveaway for Elanee's Endeavors. Starting today until April 30th you and your friends have a chance to win a free "On the Go 2014-2015" planner from the Home Educating Family Association. You can enter the giveaway each day and you'll also get more entries for sharing this post on your blog. Also please be sure to check out the HEUDA website, and get familiar with their excellent products. And if you end up purchasing something, please let me know how you like it! 

a Rafflecopter giveaway
Here's a passage of Scripture that has recently been inspiring to me and has encouraged me to keep my focus on God. I hope it inspires you today! What a great God we serve! 

"But now thus saith The Lord that created thee O Jacob, and He that formed thee O Israel. Fear not, for I have redeemed thee, I have called thee by thy name thou are mine. When thou passest through the waters I will be with thee, and through the rivers they shall not overflow thee: when thou walkest through the fire thou shalt not be burned, neither shall the flame kindle upon thee......Since thou wast precious in my sight thou hast been honourable, and I have loved thee. Therefore will I give men for thee, and people for thy life. Fear not for I am with thee, I will bring thy seed from the east and gather thee from the west; I will say to the north, Give up: and to the south, Keep not back: bring my sons from far, and my daughters from the ends of the earth; Every one that is called by my name: for I have created him for my glory, I have formed him; yea, I have made him." Isaiah 43:1-2,4-7

Monday, April 7, 2014

Evening on the Ranch

I thought you might like to see these new sets I
made for some Ployvore contests today.
I'm not at all into cowboy stuff, but you had to
include cowboy boots for the contest.
Anyhow, let me know what you think about this set,
and stay tuned for a new group I'm creating on Polyvore.
I also have some exciting news and posts coming soon,
so check back in a few days to see what that's all about!

But, in the meantime, here's a verse that's been
inspirational to me this past
week as my brother, and I practiced, and played
music for a benefit concert.

Make a joyful noise unto the LORD, all the earth:
 make a loud noise, and rejoice, and sing praise.
Sing unto the LORD with the harp;
 with the harp, and the voice of a psalm." Psalm96:4-5

Evening on the Ranch

Spring in Stripes

Saturday, March 29, 2014

Hearts Without a Home!

There is a saying that goes, 'a friend in need, is a friend indeed'.  But really, its more like 'the ones who help those in need, are indeed the friends!

How many of us have friends in need? How many of us overlook those needs hoping someone else will help them out, or just send up a quick prayer that God would bring someone to help them? (all the while hoping it doesn't have to be us)  Well, now it's our turn to be that "someone else." It's time for us to take a stand for what we believe to be right, and make a difference in the life of someone else. 

A family I know consisting of a Dad, Mom, four sons, and three daughters is in need of a home. They have lived the past decade moving from house to house, with no permanent dwelling, and they have trusted God to provide for their needs day by day. 

As of this coming week they are homeless. They have taken yet another step of faith and are trusting God to provide for their family, all the while doing whatever they can to make money and provide for their financial needs. But they simply don't have enough time to raise the funds they need on their own. They need committed friends, and compassionate strangers to step up and make a way in the wilderness of their lives.

And that's where we come in. Over the past few years I have learned so much from this family by watching their journey of hope and trust in God. No matter where they are living, they have had a sense of joy and contentment that is simply astounding. And all the while they haven't been thinking about themselves, but about the other families in the world who are just like them. They realized that there must be other families with fathers who have lost their jobs, or can't find work, and as a result they find themselves homeless. And so they devised a plan to help solve their own problem and help others in the process. 

All they need is us to join them in not only helping them be able to purchase a home for their family, but for others as well. Yes, they need a house & land, but they know that they're  not the only ones out there with this need!

Their vision is huge, but simple; place needy families all across this nation, into peaceful, stable & secure homes, where they can thrive, not just survive! I've seen the power of social media, how it can be used to accomplish goals that otherwise may seem insurmountable! And I'm asking you to contribute in any way that you can-- whether it means buying a rubber bracelet, a para-cord wristband, and/or a scarf, or whether you want to just plain ALL makes a difference!

Please check out this link for more information and be prepared to share in meeting the need of this dear family....and please spread this vision on to your friends and blogs. For with God all things are possible! 

"One thing have I desired of The Lord, that will I seek after, that I may dwell in the house of The Lord all the days of my life to behold the beauty of The Lord and o enquire in His temple. For in the time of trouble He shall hide me in His pavilion, in the secret of His tabernacle shall He hide me and He shall set me up upon a rock, and now shall mine head be lifted up above mine enemies, therefore will I offer in His tabernacle sacrifices of joy, I will sing, yea, I will sing praises unto The Lord. Hear O Lord, when I cry with my voice have mercy also upon me and answer me. When thou saidst unto me seek ye my face, my heart said unto thee, thy face Lord will I seek" Psalm 27:4-8

Saturday, March 22, 2014

Stay In the Castle!

~Once upon a time there was a princess that lived in a beautiful palace overlooking a simple but worldly village. She lived in the castle with her Father, the King, and a handful of faithful servants. Her Father doted over her, supplying her every need and most all her wants. Over the years, she blossomed into a beautiful teenage girl, quick-witted, full of laughter, and always obedient - but increasingly lonely.

~Often, later at night, she woild gaze from the window of her room, high in the castke wall, watching the people far away in the streets below. She would lean towards the gaiety, straining past the sounds of music and laughter, to try to pick out the words of the young people. No sad, lonely sounds ever reached her ears, and she began to believe that they must be the happiest people in the kingdom.
~"Father?" she asked one evening as they worked together on what he called her preparation. "Do you think that perhaps I might one evening be allowed to attend one of the festivals at the villiage? Perhaps just for a short time?"
~The old, but wise King laid aside the Book of Lessons and looked upon his daughter with compassion and concern. "My child, the villiage below is a worldly place full of sad people. The sound of merriment that you sometimes hear is their attempt to drown out the emptiness and despair of their lives. It is best that you stay in the castle."
~Though she loved her Father, it was not the answer the wished.
~"But Father, how will I ever meet...I mean...someday I would like to.....Oh Father, you are so good to me, and I do so love it here, but at times I get so lonely!"
~The King sat back in his chair, his eyes suddenly seeing his daughter not as the little girl she would always be to him, but as the young lady she was becoming. He then decided.
~"It is time that I tell you."
~"Tell me what, Father?"
~Standing to his feet, he walked to a window overlooking the countryside to the East. His eyes fastened onto the King's Highway, a straight road that passed high above the villiage and led to the castle gate.
~"Shortly after you were born, I foresaw the day when you would need someone special--someone with whom to spend your life. I set out to search; to visit other castles in the Kingdom; to find a Prince for you. Not just anyone, but that special someone."
~The King turned to look at his Princess, her eyes full of wonderment.
~"I have met him. I know who he is."
~"Oh, Father, where does he live? When do I get to meet him?"
~"He lives far away, but not so far. In a castle not unlike this one. He, too, is being prepared as you are--both for the other. Come stand beside me, my child."
~She walked to where her Father stood by the window.
~"See there? That's the King's Highway. When the time is right and not before, he will come on a white steed. You will know him."
~Then taking her into his hands, he looked into her tear brimmed eyes.
~"Princess. Never forget you are a child of the King. You are Royalty. The one being prepared for you is also of Royal Descent. Be patient. Prepare. And stay in the castle."
~She hugged the King, jumping into his arms, happy now and determined to prepare and wait. For many months, at night, she looked out her bedroom window, past the villiage and it's sounds to the Highway above, watching and dreaming of the one who would someday come.

~A year passed. Then another. The dream became harder to envision, and the night sounds of laughter and glee from the village below again began working their way slowly into her thoughts. It became harder to concentrate on her preparation; harder to be patient.
~One morning while taking her breakfast in the Royal Kitchen, a knock was heard at the back door; the door where deliveries were made from the village below. She waited for one of her Father's servants to answer, but when none immediately did, she decided to answer it herself.
~"Hello," said the young delivery man as he pulled off his crumbled hat and bowed. (It was an exaggerated bow, very low and lasting, followed by a winsome smile.) She couldn't help but laugh.
~"Delivery for his Royal Highness, the King." he proclaimed with just the slightest shade of irreverence. "And my, but I must say that he has hired some lovely kitchen help, a great improvement indeed!"

~"Why, thank you, but I'm not the kitchen help," she said blushing, "I'm the King's daughter."
~"I had heard that he had a daughter. But I was never told how beautiful she was! Do you live here all alone with your Father?"
~"For now," she replied, thinking briefly of the now fading story her Father had told her. He carried the supplies past her into the kitchen. "You ought to come down to the village some night. The lads would be taken with you! Lots of friends your age and wonderful parties."
~"Tell me about the village."
~For an hour they talked--talked and laughed. Every story of the village life  seemed so full of humor and excitement! He acted out the stories  he told and sang a village favorite, dancing merrily to the tune. She could not remember ever laughing so much, and found herself resenting her Father for not allowing her to take part.
~"You must come to the village this very night. The Fall Festival begins, and it is the best of the year."
~She glanced awkwardly at the closed kitchen door. "I don't believe my Father would allow me to attend."
~"Then sneak out after dark. I will meet you at the bridge this side of the village. You'll have a great time!"
~"Perhaps." She hesitated. "But I can't promise."
~"I'll meet you there," he said, then shut the door and was gone before she could answer. That evening, she sat with her Father in the Great Room, he reading aloud from the Book of Lessons, and she pretending to be listening. In reality, she was measuring the diminishing light from the setting sun. The distant music began to loft it. It took several moments before she realized that her Father had stopped reading.
~"You seem far away tonight."
~She straightened her dress nervously, "No, just tired I think. Perhaps I should go to bed early."
~ "Darling...."
~ "Really, Father, I'm fine," she said, quickly getting to her feet. "Good night," she said back over her shoulder as she scampered up the stairs.
~Two hours later, when it was believed that all in the castle were sleeping, a lithe, young figure stole out the kitchen door and disappeared into the night.

Three months later, a slightly older, but much changed Princess marched into the Great Room to announce to her Father the decision she had made on the previous night. Her midnight visits had increased in frequency since that first visit a long time ago. The village night life was more exciting than she had ever dared imagine. The people, though sometimes crude, laughed and sang and danced and chased each night into dawn. They were living! Living now! Not just waiting for a dream that might never come true.
The young man that had met her that first night had treated her, well, like royalty! In a hundred ways he had made her feel special. Then last night, the greatest of all nights of her life, he had proposed to her. She clutched the ring he had slipped onto her finger tightly in her palm, drawing courage from the pain it produced.
"Father, I have something to tell you."
He sat in his chair, the Book of Lessons on his lap, it's pages freshly stained with his tears. She almost lost her resolve.
"I've met a young man. I know I shouldn't have gone without your permission but...anyway, we are going to be married--right away!"
The King shut the Book and stared out towards the Highway. "I watched you go each night, wishing you back." Then turning his eyes to her he said. "This castle has never been a prison. This castle is a decision. I want you to know that if you leave here, things will never be the same again. My love for you will never change, but everything--everything--else will." She wavered for a moment, but only a moment, her head filled now with the village ideas.
"I know that this is what is right for me. He may not be Royalty, but I love him." And with that she left the castle.

~She woke with the dawn, not knowing that it was a year to the day since her departure. Her back hurt. "Just part of being in your last month of pregnancy," the village woman had told her. Rising with difficulty, her husband muttered something in his half drunken state. He had come home only hours before and they had argued--again. Oh, well, after the baby is born maybe things will get better.
~There was still a house to clean and chores to do. Picking up a worn, straw broom, she walked outside to sweep the front porch. Their house was small. It sat at the edge of town, not far from the bridge where he had waited for her that first night. Her eyes followed the path up to her Father's Castle. The King had still found little ways to show her that he had not forgotten her; that she was still loved. But what he had said was now true. Nothing was the same.
Her eyes wandered to the East to spend a few minutes watching the sun rise, a simple pleasure that she shared alone each morning. It's rays almost blinded her, distorting the trees and the hills beyond. Squinting against it's brightness, she returned to the job at hand, first glancing absently up the High Road.
~Her heart seemed to stop, gripped as if by a strong hand. The broom quivered in her grasp. Far down the road came a white horse, it's rider sitting straight and tall. He seemed to be coming straight out of the sun. The horse quickened it's pace as it neared the castle, sensing the excitement of it's master. Her heart began to beat again, now loud and in rhythm to the pounding hoofs. He reighed his mount to a stop outside the castle's front gate. She could not make out his features, but his stance spoke of honor and character. He knocked on the front door, her front door not that long ago. The King stepped out to greet him, and she watched as they conversed; watched as the King spoke with his hands, and then pointed toward the village. Involuntarily, she took a step back into the shadow of the porch.
~The noble Prince listened carefully, his strong shoulders sagging in disappointment and sadness. Shaking the King's hand and receiving from him a consoling hug, he mounted his horse. He looked toward her village home, his eyes finding her in the shadow. For a moment they both stared. Then, pointing his mount back toward the sun, he rode away into it's brightness.
~She felt the hot tears on her arms and hands long before it occurred to her that she was crying. Nothing, she thought, will ever be the same.


Written by Pastor Jerry Ross
Stay in the Castle is a story written by Pastor Jerry Ross about a young lady who finds herself at a crossroads. One road is marked, "My will,” the other, "God's will.” It is a love story–a story of misplaced love, lost love and genuine love realized. Best of all, Stay in the Castle is a true story. 

I hope this story was helpful to you. I know that it encouraged me to "Stay in the Castle" and wait on God's will for me no matter how long it takes! 

A friend of mine recently told me from her experience,"The most important thing to have a happy and healthy marriage is how you prepared for it. Did you honor your parents, heed their advice, value their counsel? Or did you despise them, and do what you wanted to do. Marriage doesn't have to be terrible, and discouraging. It's all in the way you prepare for it!"

Monday, March 17, 2014

The Oven of God's Testing!

Recently, we've been doing a Bible study in Romans weekly with some friends. It's been really encouraging to see how much we have to be grateful for. Paul really explains the Christian struggle, and them encourages us with the Christian's strength in Christ. This week were studying chapter 8 and I can't wait to see what new insights I'll discover. 

Anyhow, each week, we've been having dinner and desert along with the Bible study, and this week it was my turn to make desert. It seems like since the beginning of the study, we've all been making cakes for desert. So in keeping with tradition, I thought I'd try this Chocolate Cake I saw on my friend's blog. I was a little nervous about trying a new recipe, (especially since the Hummingbird Cake last week turned out so well) but after reading how well it turned out for my friends, I got the courage to give it a try. And turn out it did. I was simply shocked. Not only was the recipe easy to follow, the cake also cooked really quickly, and the frosting was like none I've made before. It was like a dream cake and thanks to Evan's help with the frosting we were all pleased with the results. It will definitely be added to our recipe book. 

Wile I was making the cake, and for a while after that, I was thinking about how our life is like a piece of cake. We start with God's blueprints, the Bible, (like the recipe) but He can see the finished product. Nevertheless we still have to be made, and whipped, and poured into a pan, and cooked at very high temperatures, before we turn out. 

In the process we have countless opportunities for failure. Some of us choose to not read the recipe, and just put the ingredients into the pan, and hope it turns out. Some of us throw out the recipe, and use our own ingredients. Some of us use the right ingredients, and the right measurements, but get the instructions in the wrong order. And some of us ( very few) follow the recipe, and go through the oven of God's testing, and come out like a beautiful cake. It's not because we did the right thing, and used the right ingredients, it's because of the oven of God's testing...for without it we would simply never turn out. 

Sometimes after we've accomplished good things, we try to take the credit, and claim we are responsible for our success. But just like the cake, we would be nothing without the oven. This thought struck me in a very real way, when I realized how often I'm trying to jump out of the oven of God's testing. I don't want to get cooked. I think I'll be ruined by the heat, but in the end God is the only one who can see the finished product, if only we would just have the faith to trust Him in through the fire. For it's only after we've been baked that we can be cooled and frosted with the ornaments of God's grace and a testimony to share with others. 

So next time you feel the "oven of God's testing" being turned on, think of your life like a piece of cake. It has to be baked for the true flavor and texture to come out, it has to be baked for us to eat it, and it has to be baked before it can be frosted with delicious icing that makes it more beautiful than ever before. God is in the business of reconciliation. He's knows that we, (just like the cake) must change our texture before we can be frosted. We must be tried before our true flavors come out. But don't be discouraged by the oven. God is with us through it.  He's holding our hand all the way, and He can see the finished product of our lives, and if we'll just trust Him....I promise you the end will be more beautiful and satisfying than you could ever imagine. 

"Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature. Old things are passed away, behold all things are become new. And all things are of God who hath reconciled us to himself by Jesus Christ, and hath given unto us the ministry of reconciliation. To wit that God was in Christ reconciling the world unto himself, not imputing their trespasses unto them, and hath committed unto us the Word of reconciliation. Now then we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God did beseech you by us, we pray you in Christ's stead, be ye reconciled to God. For He hath made Him which knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might be made the righteousness of God in Him." 2 Corinthians 5:17-21

Here's some pictures of the finished cake. I wish you could taste it:)   

Saturday, March 15, 2014

Let Your Life Be Like a Faucet!

O let my life be like a faucet, 
Let your water flow free, 
Let my life be a simple channel 
By which others see Thee. 

Just an idle piece of metal, 
Almost useless to be sure, 
We're all like broken faucets,
All stopped up without a cure. 

No water ever flowing, 
No handle ever turned, 
Our life sits still, and empty, 
Our true purpose never learned. 

But in Christ we have a hope, 
And only through His matchless grace,
He clears out all our grime, 
And puts living water in it's place. 

For when the faucet's broken, 
It does bear the shame, 
Oh, but when it's open, 
All the glory goes to Your name. 

He wipes away our dust,
Puts His shine upon our face, 
With His hand upon our future,
Our life is safe in His embrace.

Our purpose is discovered, 
Oh what a blessed thing to be,
A faucet spreading the water of life,
By which others become free.

A soul may be cleansed, 
A sin may be removed, 
An offense may be blotted out, 
A fault may be reproved.

Lives will be completely changed, 
By the His water, that from us flows free, 
But it's not because we are the faucet, 
It's because of His death on Calvary. 

So let your life be like a faucet, 
Let the water of Life flow free, 
Through your words, and deeds and thoughts,
Let your life say, "Christ lives in me."

I thought of this poem when I was washing my hands one night. Our sink had a clogged drain, and I was trying to fix it. I keep thinking about how sometimes our lives get all clogged up, and no one can see our true purpose. How we let mistakes, and failures cause us to be weighed down, and we cease make a difference in the lives of people around us. 

And then I couldn't help but see a picture of the hope we have in Christ. Just like that clogged drain, their was no hope for us to cleanse ourselves of our sin. We were utterly and completely powerless to do so. And the more we kept putting the water of our good works into the sink, the more clogged up, and proud we became. No, our only hope was for a supernatural (against nature) external source, to have compassion on us, and give His life so that our lives could be cleansed completely. Oh, what a blessed Christ we have, who has given us such a hope and a glorious future. 

"Oh wretched man that I am, who shall deliver me from the body of this death? ......I thank God through Jesus Christ our Lord. So then with the mind I myself serve the law of God, but with the flesh, 
The law of sin." Romans 7: 24-25 

Eden's Evaluations: Birthday Bash! (Prize Included!)

Eden's Evaluations: Birthday Bash! (Prize Included!): Today, March 15th, is Eden's Evaluations 2nd Birthday!!! I am so excited!!! Check out the post, and be sure to enter to win the prize:)