Wednesday, September 10, 2008

The fruits of our labor...

I had my Wordless Wednesday partially done, but decided to forego it this week because I thought this post was more important for two reasons: (1) it's a very real reminder of how God uses His people, and (2) i think this is a worthwhile cause.

I went to a rally for the Children's Ministry volunteers at church and they had a guest speaker. The guest speaker told of a cause that is close to his heart. Why? Because the founder of the organization, Scott Harrison, was one of the speaker's Sparky's in the Awanas program. Well, this brings it near and dear to my heart because this will be my 4th year as a volunteer in the Sparks group (that's K-2nd grade) in my church's Awanas program. It was a great reminder that, even through we may never see the fruits of our labor or know how our faithfulness in God's service is used to help others, that God does use us to accomplish His work here.

No, it's not like our speaker went and told the child that he needed to go save people. But, by teaching the children about God, God's love for all people of the world, and about being in service to God, Scott Harrison a former Sparky who put his faith in God a long time ago has gone on to see a need and follow the cries of his heart to give other people of the world something that we take for granted...clean water. Another reason this is close to my heart is that I've been to Kenya. I've walked through the slums of Imara Daima. I've seen the children who walk to school everyday and fill their daily water containers with water from a river where the cows bathe. I admit that I take my accessibility to clean water for granted just as much as the next person. But this has been a reminder to me that there are some that don't know that clean water exists. I can't imagine a life without clean is my beverage of choice.

The cause that Scott started is called Charity: water. Scott started out with what was in his heart and he came up with a simple and unique way of raising money for his initial project. His goal last year was to raise enough money to go back to Kenya and drill a well so the people could have clean water. After the success of last year and their live airing of the drilling project, the organization has decided to take on much more this next year and the goal is to raise 10x as much so they can drill more wells for 33 villages in Ethiopia to be able to have clean water.

So what is his unique waay of raising the money? For the project in Kenya, it was the year he was turning 32 so he asked all the people he knew that have September birthdays to give up their birthday gifts and ask for small donations ($32 for his 32nd birthday) to help people in need. Since he is turning 33 this year, he's asking for $33. 100% of the money raised will go directly to building wells. Of course, everyone is welcome to donate and everyone is encouraged to spread the word. You can visit the link to find out about Scott's story and, if you feel inclined, about how to help his cause.

Please join me in praying for Scott and his organization. If you are a September baby, please consider doing as Scott has done. If you were born in any other month, please consider donating or just sharing this story with others.

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Family recipe - Dinner-in-a-Dish

This weekend I made one of my all time favorite family recipes and thought "I should share the yummy goodness". This one comes from my grandma and is healthy (lots of fresh vegies) and delicious! Hint: I don't really use exact measurements...I just eyeball it.


4 Tbls. butter/shortening
2 medium onions, chopped
1/4 tsp pepper
2 green peppers, chopped
2 cups fresh corn, cut off the cob
1 lb. ground beef (or you could use ground turkey)
4 medium tomatoes, sliced thick
1-1/2 tsp salt
2 eggs, whisked
1/2 cup bread crumbs

Saute green peppers & onion in butter/shortening, add meat. Add seasonings & remove from heat. Stir in eggs & mix well. In 9" x 13" baking dish, layer corn, meat mixure, tomatoes (repeat). Sprinkle with bread crumbs.

Bake @ 375 degrees F for 35 minutes. Let cool for a few minutes.

Enjoy! And, if you decide to try it out, let me know what you think.

Monday, September 8, 2008

Vacation - Part 1

By popular demand, I'm going to do a little recap of our trip down south. Since we fit so much in, I'm going to split this into 3 part for each leg of the trip.

We started out with a beautiful drive (all 11 hours of it) to Pigeon Forge, TN to visit the Great Smoky Mountain National Park. The few days we were there the weather was not tremendously cooperative so there were many things we would have like to do but couldn't because of the rain. We made the best of it, though. During the times that it didn't rain:

1. We took a ride on a sky lift (scary!)
2. We hiked up to Grotto Falls (a less traveled hiking path). We didn't see any bears while hiking but we saw plenty of evidence (very fresh) that they were near! And, of course...Grotto Falls...And a few other things along the way. 3. Then we decided to head up to Clingman's Dome, the highest point in the Smoky Mountains, where there's supposed to be a terrific view. But the weather showed up before we got there and this is what we saw:Notice the bottom half of the picture shows what we should have seen! Here are a couple more from Clingman's Dome. 4. The next day we went to Cades Cove which was a beautiful drive! The highlight were the mama bear and her cubs. See my bear post from last week for the pics. And we ate lunch at the Bubba Gump Shrimp Co. -- yummy food!!!
5. We went to the Ripley's museum and saw the longest gum wrapper chain which stretches over a mile.

Here's one for the road:

Okay...I just couldn't was there just begging to have it's picture taken!

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

How do you kill the time while 10+ hours in the car?

You crochet cat toys, of course (as long as you're not prone to car sickness that is). Well, really I only crocheted during some of the 2 to 3 hour stints when I WASN'T driving:)
So how did I decide this would be a good car riding activity? I've often brought crocheting along when I've been a passenger in lengthy car rides and I've had a project due. But this time I was inspired by the pet rescue that I volunteer with (Res-Q-Pets), which is participating in the Plainsboro Flea Market on September 20th (in Plainsboro, NJ). They will be selling homemade goodies, most of which they want to be usable by pets. So I decided to offer up my services.
I elected to spend my time crocheting stuffed mouse toys with catnip inside. Well, of course I didn't bring the catnip and stuffing along so I crocheted each mouse up to the point of stuffing (which is literally up to its ears). During the trip south and back and between locations (combining to ~28 hours on the road) with me driving about 40% of the time and sleeping or just observing another ~20% of the time, I managed to crank out 23 mice (up to the ears).
I have since finished stuffing them all and have done the last bit of stitching on a few.
This was a great way to make the driving time go by quickly. However, I do caution anyone who tries this...make sure you look up at the scenery every couple minutes and take a break every once in awhile. Otherwise, it gets difficult to focus far off and you might even get a little dizzy.

If you are interested in making your own mouse toys, click here for the free pattern. They only take about 20 minutes or so to make each one, once you get the hang of it.

Wordless Wednesday - Bear Hunt

Now back from a bit of a break because of vacation, over the next few Wordless Wednesdays I'll be posting pics from vacation to Tennessee and Alabama. The theme this week is our hunt to see the black bear in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park!
Here's the first one we saw...a "cub" about 1 year old high up in a tree:

Here is a pic of the largest bear we saw. It was in this tree literally breaking off branches and eating from them. I didn't get a great picture of him because I wasn't about to get too close!
And the highlight...a mama and what we initially thought to be 1 cub, but turned out that there was a second cub in the tree that came down later. This family of bears was about 20 feet from our car. No, we did not get out of the car like some of the crazy people in cars behind us!!!
Join in the fun on this Wordless Wednesday!