Tuesday, March 14, 2017


- - - - - - - - - -

So, the title is a mouthful but this soup is a yummy one! I adapted from a recipe on allrecipes.com titled "Winter Lentil Vegetable Soup" by Cecile Leverman. This recipe filled my crockpot to the top (which was my goal). We didn't eat it with any meat added and it was delicious as is, but some sausage added towards the end would be yummy too! The spices below are approximate, add more or less to taste.


Throw into the crockpot:
* 2 cups red lentils
* 2 medium onions, chopped
* 3 stalks celery, chopped
* about 1/2 head of cabbage, chopped (as much as you can fit in)
* 28 oz diced tomatoes
* 1.5-2 cups diced carrots
* 1.5-2 cups green beans (frozen are fine)
* 2 heaping spoonfuls of minced garlic
* 1 teas salt and pepper
* 2 teas basil
* 1 teas thyme
* 2 teas curry powder
* 1 teas white sugar
* add chicken broth/stock and/or water to fill up the crockpot (keep an eye on the liquid level while cooking to make sure the lentils have enough liquid to cook)

Start the crockpot in the morning. Cook on high for 3-4 hours (to give the lentils, onions and carrots a head start) and then turn to low for the rest of the day. Serve with cornbread and top with parmesan cheese!

Wednesday, March 1, 2017


- - - - - - - - - - 

Do you trust your heart? Do you let it control your thoughts and feelings?

Sometimes (okay, lots of times . . . too often) I lay in bed at night, remembering the day. And memories rise up to condemn me. My heart points out all of my failings toward the children, etc. and a great sinking-feeling overwhelms me.

This week, though, I was reminded of the fallen-ness of my own heart. Why do I persist in trusting it?

My flesh and my heart may fail... (Ps 73:26) -- my heart is going to fail!
The heart is deceitful above all things and beyond cure. Who can understand it? (Jer 17:9) -- deceitful, no cure! and I can't even understand my own heart.
I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit in you. (Ez 36:26) -- my heart is so far gone that I need God to give me a new one.
Search me, O God, and know my heart... (Ps 139:23) -- I need Him to search and know my heart, because I certainly can't and don't.

There is a verse in 1 John that sparked the whole change in my thinking: Wait a minute! I don't need to lay there and let my heart condemn me. There is One Who is so much GREATER!

This then is how we know that we belong to the truth, and how we set our hearts at rest in His Presence whenever our hearts condemn us. For God is greater than our hearts, and He knows everything. (1 John 3:19-20)

There is a place and time for letting our conscience (via the Holy Spirit) point out areas of failing/sin and lead us to walk in confession and repentance. But there is never a need to wallow in condemnation. (Notice it says "when" our hearts condemn us, not "if"!) My heart is not trustworthy. But I can trust HIM. He will help me to walk in the truth. He will bring gentle conviction, not condemnation. He can and will bring rest to my heart.

His Presence is where I need to stay and where my heart can be at rest.
God is GREATER than my heart.
He Knows Everything (even/especially me).

Do you trust your heart?
Maybe we need to rethink that a bit and instead trust in the One Who is greater than our hearts.
Our Heart Rescuer. Heart-Rest-Maker.

I think I have a new verse to whisper to myself at night . . .

Monday, February 27, 2017


- - - - - - - - - -

Here we are: POST MOVE IN ....... or alternate title: FIRST WEEK IN THE TREE HOUSE.

First, let me start by clearing up any confusion--our wonderful Tree House is now livable and safe for the children (for the most part), but it is most definitely not finished (probably will take us a couple of years to get to that point). However, we are thrilled with the progress and so grateful for all of the help along the way.

Second, we must say:
Thank you to all of you who have so wonderfully followed along on our journey to make the Tree House into a home. Thank you for your encouragement and help and interest and cheering-on from near and afar. You have helped to make this journey fun and exciting and, most importantly, doable. We appreciate you all!

 During this first week in the house, we kept busy!
  • Set up a bookcase in the eat-in area to use as an interim pantry
  • Worked to clean out and organize the garage (Bryce is still working on this one...)
  • Frosted the front side-light windows
  • Started unpacking a little bit
  • Installed a utility sink in the laundry room
  • Hung curtains in the kids rooms and the fireplace room
  • Finished touching-up paint on the cabinets and installed the microwave
  • Called to get the second dumpster taken away
  • Installed a new light in the dining room (since the old one kept dropping shards of glass on my head)
  • Finished the kitchen backsplash (the pieces around the rest of the counters) and sealed them 
We also spent lots of time outside enjoying the unseasonably-warm February weather.

Let's end this Phase 1 of the Tree House Reno with photos of current life on the main level of the house. It's real life around here--messy and busy and unfinished.  Here's a picture of the current state of the spare bedroom. And since the master bedroom has no closets (Bryce needs to build shelving and hang rods), there's stuff everywhere. And the kids rooms are currently just explosions of toys and clothes since I haven't got everything situated yet.  Therefore: no other pictures of the upstairs for now.

The spare bedroom (i.e. random box storage)

Entry, Living Room

Dining Room

Kitchen, Eat-in


(still project messes? oh yes indeed)

Laundry Room 

Using shelves in random places until storage systems are built

Half Bath

Fireplace Room 

Boxes. And lots of kids everywhere. That's a good note to end on.

We're very much in the midst of a Project, but so happy to be in our home together! Thanks for joining us on this journey! (If you have specific questions about anything, we're always happy to chat. And we love giving tours--hint, hint! ;-)

(Click Here for a list of all of the Tree House Renovation posts.)