Saturday, December 31, 2011

2011 ~ Our Year In Review

Greg and I started 2011 by sailing "off into the sunset" on our anniversary cruise!  (Our 5 year ann. was the previous Sept.)  We loved having long, lazy, sunny days with just each other.  We went deep sea fishing for the first time and one of us caught 2 fish (psssst, it was me!).  They were little fish but it was still fun to catch.  We wandered around Freeport & Nassau and Key West.  The Key West sunset was gorgeous.  The Lord can paint some beautiful pictures in the sky.  It sure was nice to have a week of summertime in January.

We celebrated lots of exciting events this year....

The Cutlers visited Miss. for the first time ~ so Bryant & Katie had an "in person" meeting ~
however I do love to tell people they met on the internet!
Rob proposed marriage to Sarah & she said yes!

Rob graduated from Mississippi State University!
Will went with a group from church to participate in Street Reach in Memphis for a week.  He came home with lots of stories of his adventures up there.

Bryant asked for permission to "court" Katie & several months later (July 2), he and Greg had breakfast and he asked permission to marry her....She said Yes!

Greg went to Haiti on a Mission Trip ~ his week was successful in the building furniture for the orphanage and loving on the children, but he had an allergic reaction to the lye in their soap and was pretty miserable from that.

Donna, Katie, Amy, Will, Granny, Aunt Brenda & Bethany started planning a wedding and completing many tasks while Greg was in Haiti.  We got lots accomplished but still had bunches to do.

Andy proposed marriage to Amy Kate ~ she said yes!

Allen continues to work hard in GA and in dealing with some issues that have come up.  The Lord has brought him a wonderful young lady, Jennifer.  Nothing official on that front yet.

James began his college studies in Welding & loves it.  He made a "B" for his first semester.  Now he wants to take scuba lessons...he has dreams of working on an oil rig in the Gulf as a welder.

Will & Amy began their next highschool year.  Will is in the 11th grade and Amy's in the 10th.  We are working lots more Bible history & scripture into our lessons and are really enjoying it.
Amy is helping in a Childrens Sunday School class & continues in her ballet lessons.

We spent a great week with Granny & my niece Bethany immediately before the wedding.  Lots of wedding preps, lots of fun, and lots of singing "Its all about Me" (thanks to the sweet rivalry between cousins Amy & Bethany)

My dear friends Angela, Angel, Rosana & Emmalyn spent hours helping us prepare the wedding reception food ~ and then set everything up for the reception!  GREAT friends!  Sons Rob & Andy and soon to be daughters Amy Kate & Sarah did a great job setting up the sanctuary & decorating!  Its great to have a big family.

Greg, Will, Amy & I drove the RV to Disney and camped for a week & had lots of fun times in the Magic Kingdom, Epcot & Hollywood Studios.  I would definitely repeat the RV experience ~ lots of fun and very quiet at the campground.

We made a whirlwind trip to St. Louis to visit the newlyweds & attend a reception for them up there. We got the fantastic news that the Lord is blessing them right away with a little baby.  We pray for our little "Olive" daily and can't wait to meet him/her in person in July.
Our Hershey gave birth to 4 beautiful puppies, we've found homes for 2 of them, but not the other 2 yet.  Amy is strongly HINTING that she wants to keep Oreo...because we don't have a white puppy.  She would keep all of them and then bring home strays if we would let her.  She is definitely the resident animal expert of our family.

We carried through with our decision to simplify our holidays, our decorations, our out of the house committments, and our gifting.  It was a very different day ~ but, one we liked.  It did keep the focus on Christ and his wonderful gift to us & not us and our gifts to each other.  

We filled many shoeboxes for Operation Christmas Child & look forward to doing it for years to come.  We also volunteered at their relay center again and loved it.

As a family, we were the "once a month" cooks for our churchs Wed. night dinners.  We also cooked for the couples Valentines dinner & several fundraiser dinners throughout the year.

We are daily seeking the Lord in His Will for our lives.  What we watch, read, listen too, participate in, associate our names with, etc.  Its been a roller coaster journey and its still going.
Its been a great 2011.
Next year will be just as exciting...
Greg, Will & I are heading to Honduras in Jan. for a week long Mission Trip.  This will be my 4th trip down there and Will's 1st.  Amy will be babysitting her Granny & James will be doggy/house sitting for us.  
Greg & I will get the titles "Grandpa & Grandma".
We will share in the wedding celebration of Rob & Sarah in New Orleans.

And many more adventures the Lord will reveal to us!

We are very thankful to the Lord for each other, our families, our Pastor & church family & all our friends!

Friday, December 30, 2011

Ministry Day at Church

Every once in a while, I come up with a "brilliant" idea.  One of those ideas popped into my head a couple of weeks ago.  Several schools in the area had food drives over Nov./Dec. and our church was the recepient of the 1000's of cans.  The church had been alerted there were about 6000 cans of food coming for our food pantry. I'm not sure there are 6000 but there were 3-4 thousand.  So my brilliant idea was, the kids and I would go organize the food and restock the food pantry.  We got Emmalyn & Jonathan to join us and then Shay, Ryan and Tyler.  It was still a brilliant idea for the first several hours ~ the brilliance faded after about 3 1/2 hours.  But the good Lord gave us the stamina, laughter, jokes, and strength to finish the job.  

Amy, Emmalyn and I completely sorted and rearranged all the shelves.  Putting all the green beans together, sweet corn, creamed corn, spam, canned chili, etc.  2 shelves aren't completely sorted ~ the black eye peas, crowder peas, kidney beans, & the like are all mixed up.  Another varied shelf is the soup~we did seperate out the spaghettios, canned ravoili, etc.  After all the rearranging was done, all the sorters started bringing us boxes to restock.  Our dear sorters also checked all the expiration dates on the cans, we ended up with several hundred that were out of date ~ some by several years.  We don't need canned vegetables, soups, tomato products, fruit, stuffing mix for a long, long time.  And we still have a Sunday School room with over 1000 cans in it.  They are sorted by peas, beans, corn, soup, etc.  I don't know what will happen with them.

We laughed so much our sides and stomachs hurt.  Our backs were sore from lifting and toting.  Our friendships were strengthened.  I am very thankful for Christian young adults for my children to have good clean fun with.  And also for their willingness to "help" with my brilliant idea!  They hung with the program and got the job completely done in about 6 hours ~ that includes cleaning up all the garbage, rearranging the shelves, throwing away the expired cans, and lunch at Wendy's!

Here are a few pics of our "fun"...

1/2 of the donations

When 4 teenage boys are "in charge" you get cities made of cans!

Thank you Vanna!

sorted & stocked

1/2 of After ~ sorted and stacked (stuff that won't fit in the food pantry)

Thursday, December 29, 2011


Every Wednesday I get an email from  The link is for yesterdays newsletter.  Each email contains links to wonderful papercrafting, crocheting, sewing, quilting, household cleaning resource sites.  I've gotten some great "FREE" patterns for quilting projects ~ like the link for my pinwheel quilt blocks.  I've gotten some great recipes for household cleaning products made with everyday items such as vinegar, baking soda, and other common items that most people have.  Yesterday's email contained some antique tips & tricks for the housewife that I would like to share........

  • If a home is in disarray on New Year’s Day, the housewife will struggle with clutter and dissatisfaction throughout the year. If it’s tidy and clean, the home will be easy to manage.
  • Laundry should never be done on Sundays for there will surely be a terrible stain, tear or worse in the week ahead.
  • Above ground crops (such as tomatoes) should be sown in the wane of the moon; underground crops (carrots, potatoes, parsnips, etc.) at the change of the moon.
  • The best day of the year to plant cabbage is on St. Patrick’s day.
  • The best time to plant flowers is in the increase of the moon.
  • A mild winter lies ahead if onions dug from the garden at harvest time have thin skins.
  • Any women who desires to have order in her home must allow sage to flourish in her garden.
  • Stir cake from you and you will stir your troubles away.
  • A cake baked in the morning will rise, a cake baked in the afternoon will drop.
  • To make cake light, it must always be stirred the same way.
  • Pastry must be rolled an uneven number of times otherwise it will be tough.
  • Every scrap of pastry must be baked or there will be an unwanted expense.
  • Cold hands and a warm heart make the best pastry.
  • A thunderstorm will addle eggs and sour any milk that’s been left out.
  • Before a young girl bakes her first loaf of bread, her hands should be rubbed in sugar so that she may always make good, sweet bread.
  • Stir bread away from you for good luck, trouble will come if you stir toward you.
  • Evergreens should be taken down on Old Christmas Day (January 6th) or ill-luck will follow.
  • A clean pot should be kept in an empty oven, this will ensure there will always be at least a little food to cook in it.
  • When making the bed, don’t interrupt your work or you will spend a restless night in it.
  • Stabbing needles through yarn balls will bring bad luck to anyone who wears something made from that yarn.
  • Rosemary planted by the doorstep will keep evil away…put salt on the doorstep of a new house and no evil can enter.
  • If a new bride should quietly take her mother’s dishcloth, she will never be homesick.
Up until the past few generations, people were terrified of evil and more afraid of bad luck than they were of a little dirt (not realizing that pestilence and disease could flourish in an unkempt home), so these little words of wisdom served a purpose…even those that seem ridiculous to us today.
The average person worked HARD back in the day and the last thing anyone wanted to do was worry about which direction the dirt should be swept (according to my collection of tales, it should be swept away from the house rather than towards it or you’re sure to attract doom). Common sense for basic cleanliness? Sure! But the purpose of the tale was to make sure the chore was done with care and attention by a people who commonly lived a hardscrabble life from early morning till late evening…there were no Real Housewives episodes to distract and ease the stress of the day, it was “Go” time from start to finish.
And who knows, maybe these old gals knew a thing or two that we just can’t grasp ;) .

I've got several old magazines from the early 1900's and some reprinted old cookbooks and household manuals from the late 1800's & early 1900's full of these gems.  How interesting to read how life was for the housewife from 100+ years ago.  And while I think its fascinating reading, I am very thankful for my "modern conveniences" that are designed to make life easier for the homemaker of today!  Love, Donna

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Whats Going on At Our House

Oreo & Skunk learning to walk

Chip & Licorice think Amy is comfy

coasters for Amy's hopechest

Bibs for "Olive"

Cross Stitched afghan

monkey on afghan

sewing room ~ laptop is for the embroidery machine

Amy's Cricut table

Another bib

finished hand quilted potholder

Greg working on the Coke puzzle from Will

Set of 10 puzzles I got at Kroger for $6.49 on Monday

Amy's set of Animal puzzles from Kroger sale

Will prepared the spot for my new planting boxes

Amy's holiday painted decoration for the Fair

Redneck Stemware from Katie & Bryant ~ we have 2

New planting box, Will & Greg built!

Machine embroidery for a baby jumper

Quilting Frame for hand quilting in my room

Tuesday, December 27, 2011



For today.....

Outside my window.....cloudy, cool, its been raining for a week

I am the spirit of thankfulness has seemingly disappeared and the 2 words "thank you" are being said less & less

I am thankful for...the Lords amazing love for me and my salvation through his sacrifice ~ my thoughtful, generous, loving husband ~ my 7 children ~ my home, food, appliances, & central heat/air ~ books ~ Greg's days off from work ~ sewing/crochet/smocking/cross stitch ~ being a giver

From the kitchen...probably something easy ~ like a Zatarains meal with chicken, some vegies

From the learning rooms...nothing formal, its still break time

I am skirt, striped top

I am creating...doing some machine embroidery for gifts, finished a cross stitch last night, starting a smocking project and working on a baby afghan I am crocheting

I am stay home all day, probably pack away our simple holiday decorations, finish laundry, sew

I am reading..."Astra" by Grace Livingston Hill, the book of "Romans" in the New Testament

I am praying...for salvation for family members, for our January Mission trip to Honduras

I am hearing...the computer "hum", cars driving, fingers typing

Around the house...crafting, garden box building (thanks Will & Greg), thinking about plants, watching 3 week old puppies learn to walk

One of my favorite calls

A few plans for the rest of the week...general house clean up, lots of crafting/sewing, Bible Study at church, Greg's 4 day weekend for New Years, chaperoning our Youth New Years Eve get together, enjoying our school-less days

Proverbs 3:5-10

Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make your paths straight.  Do not be wise in your own eyes; fear the Lord and shun evil.  This will bring health to your body and nourishment to your bones.  Honor the Lord with your wealth, with the firstfruits of all your crops, then your barns will be filled to overflowing, and your vats will brim over with new wine.

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Sunday, December 25, 2011

Jesus Is...

Jesus is....

the only begotten Son of God
the Messiah
the King of Kings
the Prince of Peace
the Redeemer
the Savior
the Way
the Truth
the Life
the Light of the World
the Lord of Lords
the Promised One
the Spotless Lamb
the Good Shepherd
I Am
the Lamb of God
Alpha & Omega
the Annointed One
Wonderful Counselor
Everlasting Father
God with Us
Son of the Most High
complete revelation
the Word
2nd person in Trinity
Submissive to the Father
Head of the Church
High Priest
Holy One
Root of Jesse
born of a Virgin
2nd Adam
Reigns on High
seated at the right hand of the Father

Matthew 1:21 And she will bring forth a Son, and you shall call His name Jesus, for He will save His people from their sins.

I am sure I've forgotten some of the names...please feel free to comment and leave additional "names of Jesus" that I can add to the list.  I've already added to it twice since I posted it!

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Considering Our Traditions

Donna asked me to do a guest post for her today.  We have been considering our traditions, studying days and festivals, looking for idols in our home, and growing and changing.  Several of the past posts have been considering the Christmas holiday season and what it means to us.  What did it use to mean?  What should it mean?

Last year we understood the potential idolatry we were bringing into our home with santa claus.  We removed that last year.  Later on, our pastor had us go through our home in each room and pray for God to show us idols in our home.  I removed all the tiki bar stuff I had collected which were actual idols for some, and decorations for us.  But it got me to thinking about idols.  If someone were to come into my home that did not know me and saw a tiki god, what would they think?  What would they think if it was a god to them?  I did not ever worship a tiki, but it was in my home.  Now it is gone.

What other idols did we have?  After reading Jeremiah 10:3-5 we decided that for us, a Christmas tree in our home was not pleasing to God.  We've heard Pastor MacAurther explain these verses as not relating to a modern Christmas tree, but I am not convinced. 

The pagans used to bring fresh cut trees into their homes and decorate them with silver and gold.  If we do the same now, knowing we don't worship them as idols, what does God think of it?  The actions of the pagan are brought into our home.  For us, we can't do it any longer.

Next we approach the Christmas day.  I am glad that it happens on Sunday this year.  Our day will be much like all Sundays in that we will get up, go to church, and have a good worship service.  We are flip flopping on do we say Merry Christmas or Happy Holidays.  Paul wrote about days and idol meat in Romans 14:5. 

One man considers one day more sacred than another, another man considers every day alike.  Each one should be fully convinced in his own mind.  He who regards one day as special does so to the Lord.  He who eats meat, eats to the Lord, for he gives thanks to God and he who abstains, does so to the Lord and gives thanks to God.  For none of us lives to himself alone and none of us dies to himself alone.  If we live, we live to the Lord, and if we die, we die to the Lord. So, whether we live or die, we belong to the Lord.  For this very reason, Christ died and returned to life so that he might be the Lord of both the dead and the living. You then, why do you judge your brother? Or why do you look down on your bother? For we will all stand before God's judgment seat.  It is written: As surely as I live, says the Lord, every knee will bow before me every tongue will confess to God.  So then each of us will give an account of himself to God.  Therefore let us stop passing judgement on one another.  Instead, make up your mind not to put any stumbling block or obstacle in your brother's way.

So, we will worship on Sunday.  We are going to work hard to be fully convinced on our own mind.  We are going to do this without pride or by putting a stumbling block out there for anyone.  Our new church has a tradition of cleaning out the freezer on the Wednesday prior to Christmas and having a potluck dinner after observing the Lord's Supper.  We embrace this new tradition.  May our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ bless you and keep you.

Friday, December 23, 2011

Christmas Ministry

This month brings some great challenges/goals for ministry.  It seems like this month is a time when most are more generous with their time and resources for ministry/giving than at other times of the year.  In the past our family has bought toys for our church's Christmas Store for families in need ~ which was not only fun for us to participate in but deeply touched our hearts to watch the parents "shop" for the gifts for their children.  We've bought food for our church's food pantry which serves the community year round.  We've packed shoeboxes for Operation Christmas Child and worked at the relay center to pack up 1000's of boxes.  And honestly, none of these things are done to bring any accolades or recognition to us ~ the Lord has allowed us to do these things and has given us the provisions to do them.

As a single Mom for 9 years ~ I was on the receiving end many times of others generosity and service.  We received restaurant meals, toys/gift cards at holiday times, driving lessons for my boys, paid health ins. for 2 years, a paid for Mission Trip to Canada, and many more.  Not to mention all the prayers, hugs, kind words, etc.  I was blessed many times and now can give just a little back. 

This week I heard about a ministry, a friend of mine in GA, started.  She & a small group of friends decided to get up early  one Christmas morning (5 AM), about 7 or 8 years ago and take coffee to downtown Atlanta & serve homeless folks.  The first year they had plenty of coffee but ran out of cups ~ the folks were going through trash cans to find anything they could drink out of for that free coffee.  This ministry has grown by leaps & bounds since then.  This year, they will take coffee, food, personal care items in baggies, socks, coats, hats, gloves, and much more. Whole families get up early and drive downtown to minister to forgotten folks.  They are serving in the Lords name and are only able to do it through the generosity of others.  Her children don't mind giving up part of their Christmas morning fun ~ as her 14 year old son stated "these people need us to love on them".  What a great attitude from a young man.  Life isn't all about us, its about giving and serving others in Christ's name.

Matthew 25:34-40
34. Then the King will say to those on His right hand, 'Come you blessed of My Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world.
35.  For I was hungry and you gave me food: I was thristy and you gave Me drink; I was a stranger and you took Me in.
36. I was naked and you clothed Me. I was sick and you visited Me, I was in prison and you came to Me.'
37. Then the righteous will answer Him saying, 'Lord, when did we see you hungry, and feed You, or thirsty and give You drink?
38. When did we see You a stranger and take You in, or naked and clothe You.
39. Or when did we se You sick, or in prison, and come to You?'
40 And the King will answer and say to them, "Assuredly, I will say to you,  inasmuch as you did it to one of the least of these My brethren, you did it to Me."

Ministry doesn't have to involve many hours or lots of money.  You could bring a smile to a childs face with a dollar store stuffed animal, or warmth to someone tummy with a can of vegetables or a hot cup of coffee.  You could comfort someone with your smiles, prayers, and hugs.  Just be willing to let the Lord work through your life.  You will be blessed beyond measure.

Merry Christmas!