Friday, November 27, 2015

Homemade Salted Caramel Mocha!

♫ I went into the coffee shop, to get myself a mocha... ♫

That song has a strange place in our Christmas. It has no merit aside for memories of one goofy night at 3 a.m. Haha :). Anyway...

We loooove the Salted Caramel Mocha from Starbucks, haha :). Daddy had it while on a business trip last year, came home, and ordered some for us to try the first time he went shopping after that, haha! It's now our favorite fall coffee. Mama was hoping it would be out when she and I stopped at Starbucks for my birthday in September, but it wasn't, so she settled for second best. No kidding, ten minutes later they started switching out their signage to the fall menu, Salted Caramel Mocha having the predominate spot of honor. It was too funny!

I made one in our own kitchen this morning, and thought I'd share it with you :).

You'll need to mix together

1 & 1/2 TBLS cocoa powder
1 & 1/2 TBLS Sweetner
1/8 tsp xanthan gum
and 1/16 tsp salt

Make sure you mix it before adding liquid, because if you don't, the xanthan gum is just little pieces of gel in your drink instead of helping make it creamy :P.

Then add

1/2 cup coffee
1/2 cup milk (warm it before adding)
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
and 1/2 teaspoon caramel extract.

Stir it well, and voila :)!!! Drink it... or, whipped cream on top makes it even better :)!

Thursday, November 26, 2015

Happy Thanksgiving!!!! Thankful Thursday, 11/26/15

“Enter his gates with thanksgiving,
and his courts with praise!
Give thanks to him; bless his name!” -Psalm 100:4

Happy Thanksgiving, y'all :)! This week I am thankful for...

~Getting to hold tiny babies at church :D. A couple of people walked by and asked me if I “didn’t have enough children around me at home without “stealing” other families'”, and, of course, the answer is, um, NO! Haha :). Besides, we don’t have ANY that small currently , heehee ;). ~My water tumblers. I enjoy having cups with lids that I can take wherever and not have to worry about, haha :).
~Todd Agnew’s “Do You Hear What I Hear” Christmas CD. It’s a tradition in our family to listen to it while decorating for Christmas :).
~For getting all the decorations out and the lights on the tree :). ~And our pizza party afterwards :).
~My Aunt Heather, who celebrated her birthday this week!
~Daddy changing the light bulb in our closet, yay! It’s so much easier to function when you can see ;).
~Getting my yarn chest cleaned out :). It’s been bothering me for a couple months, and I decided on a whim that enough was enough, haha.
~I’m also thankful to have found five of my missing crochet hooks. Apparently Abbi likes to stick them in her leftover ball of yarn and then just through it in the chest, instead of replacing them in the cup. Nice to know where to look, and to have found them before I start on Christmas presents :).
~Commentaries on God’s Word :).
~The Christmas stocking tree Daddy made a few years ago :). It’s got pegs for each of us, and they are long enough to double them up, so it should work for many years, haha :).
~A homemade Salted Caramel Mocha :)!
~My morning routine :).
~New tree lights. Because, no kidding, some of ours have burnt out in the two days we’ve had them up. I’m also thankful the burnt out BEFORE we got all the ornaments added to the tree, haha!
~“Pardon for sin, and a peace that endureth, blessings all mine, with ten thousands, besides.”
~A good deal on some layering shirts yesterday.
~The special crocheted blanket that my great-grandma passed on to me :).
~My baby brothers little arms around my neck :).
~Lavender essential oil.
~That the fundraiser that I shared the other day had made their goal in two days :)!!!! Any extra money will buy formula for the smallest children :).
~Kleenexes, haha :).
~Paper plates.
~A dishwasher! While we are doing so much baking, that is a very great blessing, haha!
~But, I am also thankful for the time spent washing the dishes that out dishwasher might not be able to handle. Because, though, I might not have time to do them all, I do love washing dishes :).
~For the Pilgrims and the example they set as they put nothing before the word of God. Not comfort, friends, family, safety. They gave all to set an example to others of how God would work through those who followed Him without withholding anything.
~A national day set aside to dwell on all that God has done for us. When we think of how full of mercies our life here has been, and then remember that we have yet before us the blessing of dwelling with God for eternity, how thankful we should be!
~The family gathered around me today, and the loved ones too far away to be here, but who I am thinking of and thankful for.
~Historical documents, and for historians who have put together informative documentaries based on God’s Hand in history, to teach us about the past.
~The wonderful food we will be eating today ;).
~And Salvation, God’s greatest gift to me of all!!!!!

Blessings to you all,

Bri :)

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

PJ Party for Pleven!

We've been working on Thanksgiving cooking this afternoon, and the cranberry sauce, which I will absolutely not be eating ;), is making the kitchen smell wonderfully delicious and Christmas-y. Too bad it's taste does not appeal to me...

But, while I am waiting for the maple twist to finish rising, I wanted to share this with you :).

In a few weeks, one of the ladies who has adopted from Pleven (for those of you who remember me talking about Penny, this is her Mama) is getting a chance to go back to Pleven. There is a need for 90 pairs of pajamas in the orphanage, and her family is raising the money to provide those. They need it quickly, though, if she is going to be able to take them with her, which would be best. You can read more about what is going on here. Prayers and donations would be so helpful to them! You can also join their FB group to keep an eye on their progress.

While she is there, she will be getting to interact with several of the little ones there... several sweet little ones, 3 and under, who have recently been listed, and others among the older ones, including adorable Owen and precious Tiya. These two have been on Reece's Rainbow for several years now. I can not wait for their families to see them! During this holiday season, they have no family to celebrate with. How thankful we can be that we are blessed with people we love being around us!

I need to be finishing up my maple twist now :). I hope you each have a blessed Thanksgiving!!!

Monday, November 23, 2015

Spurgeon on Prayer

I was reading an article by Spurgeon on Romans 8:26; "Likewise the Spirit helps us in our weakness. For we do not know what to pray for as we ought, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words", and I wanted to share this paragraph from it...
"I think, dear friends, you will all admit that if a man can pray, his trouble is at once lightened. When we feel that we have power with God and can obtain anything we ask for at his hands, then our difficulties cease to oppress us. We take our burden to our heavenly Father and tell it out in the accents of childlike confidence, and we come away quite content to bear whatever his holy will may lay upon us. Prayer is a great outlet for grief; it draws up the sluices, and abates the swelling flood, which else might be too strong for us. We bathe our wound in the lotion of prayer, and the pain is lulled, the fever is removed. We may be brought into such perturbation of mind, and perplexity of heart, that we do not know how to pray. We see the mercy-seat, and we perceive that God will hear us: we have no doubt about that, for we know that we are his own favoured children, and yet we hardly know what to desire. We fall into such heaviness of spirit, and entanglement of thought, that the one remedy of prayer, which we have always found to be unfailing, appears to be taken from us. Here, then, in the nick of time, as a very present help in time of trouble, comes in the Holy Spirit. He draws near to teach us how to pray, and in this way he helps our infirmity, relieves our suffering, and enables us to bear the heavy burden without fainting under the load."
 The rest of the commentary can be found here if you're interested :).

Now I'm off to help prepare for some Thanksgiving prep shopping :). I hope you each have a wonderful day :)!


Bri :).

Sunday, November 22, 2015

The Blessings We have been Given in the Holy Spirit

"The Spirit helps us in our weakness. for we do not know what to pray for as we ought, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words. And he who searches hearts knows what is the mind of the Spirit." (Romans 8)

Mama invited me to join her in studying Romans 8 with her this month through an online study she joined, and I have been enjoying it so much! The assignment I worked through today was to find all the things that the Spirit does for believers to be found in the chapter, and I thought that I'd share the list here, just because I thought it was a wonderful reminder of the blessings we have been given as the children of God :).

The Spirit
-Set us free from sin and death.
-Fulfilled the righteous requirements of the law in and for us.
-Set our minds on the things of the Spirit.
-Gives us life and peace.
-Dwells in us.
-Gives Christ ownership of our life.
-Puts to death the deeds of the flesh.
-Leads us as a Father leads a son.
-Bears witness with the Father that we are His children.
-Gives fruit in the life of the believer.
-Helps us in our weakness.
-Intercedes for us.
-Searches the heart.

This last point reminds me of another passage that I enjoyed another more-in-depth study of this summer, Psalm 139, where David cries out, "Search me, O God, and know my heart! Try me, and know my thoughts! And see if there is any grievous way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting!"

"The Spirit helps us in our weakness. For we do not know what to pray for as we ought, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words. And he who searches hearts knows what is the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for the saints according to the will of God," (Romans 8, verse 26-27).

Among all that Christ does through His Spirit in our behalf, I think one of the most precious is that one point, "He intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words". When our hearts are heavy, He is there, pleading for us with a heart full of love to us who are so undeserving. Matthew Henry states that "though we may be losers for Him, we shall not, we cannot, be losers by Him, in the end." He repays all we may suffer, for a time, in this world. Though we may not even know ourselves what it is we need, He sees the most confused or hurting thought behind our cries for help, and comes before the Father to plead for us!

Saturday, November 21, 2015

Thankful Thoughts, 11/21/15

I know it's not Thursday, but I didn't want to totally skip sharing my list this week, haha :). Truth be told, I've been writing my list down daily. Online. And still can't get it copied to the blog on time.  No, I don't get it either. But I've been thankful for...
~The many ways we have to keep up with long distance friends and family.
~That the “Lord’s strength is made perfect in my weakness”. Praise Him!
~The sweet relationship I have with my Great-Grandma :). We don’t live too close, but we keep up through mail, and it is a blessing to me :).
~Our car.
~The mercy of God.
~Licorice jelly beans :).
~That we don’t have to be a pro at something to enjoy doing it. That would apply to a lot of things, haha, but at the moment I’m thinking of playing piano ;).
~That our Christmas pictures are done for the year!
~Great books to read.
~ Hair ties, bobby pins, clips, brushes… all that fun stuff :). 
~Sewing up a skirt :).
3. The song “Where No One Stands Alone”. And all the wonderful songs that I have learned since joining my churches choir that have become a part of my daily life. I love to sing! And for music. Lots of it :). ~That “As a father shows compassion to his children,
so the LORD shows compassion to those who fear him.
For he knows our frame;
he remembers that we are dust.” (Psalm 103:13)
~My bible. The written Word of God is a remarkable gift in itself, but my own personal copy holds so many memories of times that I have spent in that word, during joys, trials, and learning God’s law alone and with friends, as well.
~Looking back at a day was satisfaction :).
~For Josiah coming up and asking for snuggles :). LOVE!
~That “Our help comes from the Lord, who made heaven and earth”.
~The use of my hands. I can not imagine not being able to do things like pick stuff up or braid my hair, but there are those who do have to rely on other for that!
~Wall art and pictures :).
~Running family jokes :).
~Birds :).
~And glass windows to see them threw :)! So much more pleasant then the clothes over the window, that let in light but not scenery, talked about in Laura Ingalls Wilder’s books :).
~Colored pencils for bible study :).
~My Gramma and how she is always giving thoughtful gifts to those she knows :).
~Paisley designs… even if Tori doesn’t agree, heehee :).
~That we did not “receive the spirit of slavery to fall back into fear, but… have received the Spirit of adoption as sons, by whom we cry, “Abba! Father!”
~And are now “children of God, and if children, then heirs—heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ, provided we suffer with him in order that we may also be glorified with him.” (Romans 8)
~The dear elderly man in our choir who is constantly encouraging Tori and I :).
~Our pianist and director who drive such a long way each week so that we can practice our songs.
~Sitting on the couch snuggling my widdle brother, listening to music and reading interesting blogs :). Little random moments can be so sweet :).
~Peter’s “chocolate” eyes :). He has the sweetest, most expressive little face!
~The Lord’s blessing in opening my parents’ eyes to His truths, and their commitment to train us in the way we should go.
~Our dinner table :).
~All the many colors we have around us :).
~The things we can learn about the Holy Spirit from Romans 8. (Romans 8 in general -I am loving this study through it my Mama and I are doing :).)
~Reminders that we are not to grumble! We can thank God for His blessings every day, but if we are still grumbling in between whiles, we are still cultivating an unthankful spirit! I know I certainly need to work in this area.
~No- bake cookies. Yum :)!
~Protractors, compasses, rulers, and other things needed to finish up my math.
~Pots and pans.
Blessing to you all :). I pray your Sunday and the coming week is a blessing :)!!!!

~Bri :)

Thursday, November 12, 2015

Thankful Thursday, 10/12/15

 I am especially thankful this week...
~That “There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.” (Romans 8:1)
~That though “all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God,” we “are justified by his grace as a gift, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus” (Romans 3:24).
~Josiah giving me sweet little kisses while he was bored trying to go to sleep a couple nights ago... haha :). <3!
~That Daddy had a safe trip to a convention several hours away.
~The ability to crochet, and free information online to help me figure out how to do certain things :). It gives me something to do in my free time, and it’s such a joy to be able to give handmade gifts to others :).
~The sweet little girls Tori and I babysat last week :). Side story, though, that is just hilarious, though I feel terrible about it… when Mama's friends left, their two youngest babies were down for a nap… and when I heard noises from their room, I went to check on them… and girl #1 let out a scream of terror at this stranger (she’s only seen me twice before, and she’s still super little!) walking into her bedroom, and howled for Mama… the yell woke up girl #2, who took one look at me and cried!!! Haha. I had to let big sisters handle it, lol!
~Peanut Butter Fudge Core ice cream.
~The sweet bag that my best friend made me :). I’ve had it for a couple years, but every time I use it, it warms my heart as I think of her precious, encouraging spirit :).
~And, on that note, I am realizing again how thankful I am for Katie, and I am soooo grateful that we FINALLY! got to meet in person this summer :D!!! That was an answer to both our prayers! The only downfall to our friendship is that we are so far away from each other, but, at the same time, I have seen how that has been used by the Lord to bless us, as well, such as when my family made the move here a couple years ago, and my friendship with Katie was one of the few things that wasn’t changed in the least. That was a blessing to me when all I wanted was a sense of *something* familiar! She is constantly an encouragement in my walk with the Lord!
~And I am also grateful for bible study helps :)!
~ For the current sermon series on grace that our Pastor is doing. It has been sooo interesting, and I am looking forward to the rest of it!
~To be talking to a Mama at church and hear that her little girl has been pouring over her catechism all week <3. Even a child is known by his (or her) actions, and this little one is setting a precious example!
~The Brunswick stew that we were given by church friends (two years in VA, and it was the first time we had tried this dish, which seems to be VA's #1 owned recipe, haha).
~And water. Where would we be without water?! Haha :).
~Josiah's new found love for snow globes :).
~That Mama was able to find an ornament she has been looking for ever since her old one was broken last year :).
~The song “Already There”, by Casting Crowns.
~Tea. Nice, warm, tea… haha :).
~Little notes from friends that mean a lot to me :).
~A warm, dry house, with comfortable beds!
~All our fall decorations :). Fall is my favorite time of the year!
~Chairs :)!
~Drawing with my Tori. Even if it was against my will ;). And she is waaaaaaay better than me, hahaha :).
~The forgiveness God has given us!!!
~That we can come before the Lord in prayer at any time!

Thursday, November 5, 2015

Thankful Thursday, 11/05/15

~The privilege to read and study the Bible in our own homes! Reformation Day is always a very good reminder of just how much we take this ability for granted!!!
~The Psalms! They are so full of encouragement!
~The Lord’s blessing and guidance last Sunday. I was asked to share the children’s message at church, and I was nervous about it, but I was given plenty of help and encouragement :)!

~And I am also thankful for how invested the children were while I shared. The smile that lit up one little girl’s face as I handed her a catechism and mentioned that they had bible verses that the children could study to learn the answer to some of their questions was one of the most precious things ever!
~Sweet new lives. We had a family introduce their tiny, perfect little newborn baby to our church family this week :)!!!
~John MacArther’s writings. I have been reading some of his books lately, and they have been a wonderful encouragement!
~Pastor Todd and Miss Lisa, and the rest of our church family. We have been so blessed through various people in our church over the past year!

~The pears that a friend gifted us with off of the tree in his yard.
~The GiveThanks! challenge :). I'm enjoying it so much!
~The pansy plant a lady from church gifted my Mama with Sunday :).
~Making a sale in my Etsy shop! That is exciting, haha :).

~My black sweater with all the knit designs all over it.. it’s one of my favorite cold weather garments, haha :).
~Gingersnap cookies! I think Josiah liked them, too… I just thought I had too many, then I discovered he fit just as many in his tiny tummy, haha!
~Mama inviting me to join her in a bible study of Romans chapter 8 :).

~Abbi’s help unloading the dishwasher :)!
~The story of William Wilberforce, and how he worked tirelessly for God to abolish the slave trade.
~The adorable little grin Josiah gives as he sits down in the seat you just left and hollers after you, ” ‘pot!!!!”, hahaha :). He’s so cute :)!

~A Mama who kindly drives me around for all my errands, since I won't drive... and she complains about it less then Bethi does, haha! But really, this is a blessing :).
~Learning new things… did you know that the real colors of leaves are the colors we see in fall? The reason we think leaves are green is because the chlorophyll is so predominate in the spring/summer that it dyes the leaves. But when it becomes less strong as the leaves are dying in fall, we get to see the real colors! Isn’t God’s design amazing :)?
~Working in the yard with my family.(We were raking/mowing all the leaves. A little funny for your rabbit-trail-reading pleasure; Abbi woke up this morning and looked out the window, and then I hear, "Oh, why does God let it do that?!". Apparently she isn't all that thrilled with how many leaves are already in the yard, haha!)

~Cameras. I am so glad we live in a time where we can capture precious little faces and moments :). Pictures in post taken while on break from raking yesterday afternoon, haha :).
~My notebooks and mechanical pencils, in matching sets with fun designs :). My family knows what makes me happy, haha :)!
~Stamps. I’m not even going to try to explain how quickly I can go through a sheet of stamps… haha! But, as they are needed to send my letters to all the sweet people I write, I am thankful to have some :).
~And handwritten letters. I love pulling a letter out of the mail box and knowing who it is before I even look at the name. People’s handwriting is like their “brand”, and I love the diversity :). Plus, today, it takes more thought to send a card then a text, and I think that even the shortest notes sent by “old snail mail’ are a treasure :).

 ~Christ's mercy and love for me (“Have mercy on me, O God, according to your steadfast love; according to your abundant mercy blot out my transgressions”, Psalm 51:1).
~Music :)! Such a delightful addition to add to so many tasks :).
~The box of sweet little personalized Christmas ornaments we received from our Gramma yesterday :).
~One of the ladies who works with Daddy (and also goes to our church) bringing a pound cake to work for Daddy yesterday, just because she wanted to bless him and knew how much he loved it :). She is a special lady, always encouraging and doing for others!