All posts by Mary

A Christmas Gift

On a recent Saturday, Anna and I were out with thousands of other Christmas shoppers and stopped by Caribou coffee’s drive-through. We ordered, then waited in line behind a huge, lifted Ford truck. When it was our turn, the person at the window said the man in front of us paid for our coffee and said to tell us, “Merry Christmas.” What a delightful surprise.

We have been in line at Walmart purchasing OCC items and had someone ask about the purpose of such large quantities. Then we were handed money to help us with our purchase. Those people had the blessing of receiving our expression of gratitude. The person who bought our coffee didn’t even receive that in response to their kindness as we had no way to thank him.

As believers, may we have giving hearts, not just this time of year, but all year long. Those who have received Jesus as Savior, have received the greatest gift imaginable.

Merry Christmas,
Mary

“For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast. For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them” (Ephesians 2:8-10).

Light and Fluffy Rolls

Light and Fluffy Rolls

Light and Fluffy Rolls
Light and Fluffy Rolls

Light and Fluffy Rolls
Yield: 38 rolls

3 Tablespoons (heaping) yeast
2 Tablespoons sugar
1 1/2 cups warm water (100-110º)
1/2 cup butter
1 cup milk
3/4 cup honey
2 eggs room temperature (
Put eggs in bowl with hot water to warm them for a couple minutes.)
2 teaspoons salt
2 Tablespoons dough enhancer (optional)
8 3/4 cups flour – white or wheat or a mixture (T
his is measured by scooping the flour into the measuring cup and leveling it off with a knife. I’ve found that the most consistent.)

Step #1: Heat water to 100-110º. Pour warm water into a mixing bowl. Add yeast and sugar. Gently mix together with a spatula and let proof for 5 minutes.

Step #2: In saucepan, melt better. Then add milk and honey until warm.

Step #3: Pour the milk+honey+butter mixture into the yeast mixture.

Step #4: Turn mixer on, and add eggs, salt, dough enhancer, and several cups of flour. Finish adding the rest of the flour and knead for 7 minutes.

Step #5: Place dough in oiled bowl, cover loosely with plastic wrap, then put in oven at 120º to rise for an hour. I heat the oven up to 180º and then leave the door open until the temperature drops.

Let rise until doubled (about an hour). Lightly flour hands and top of dough as often as needed. The dough might be slightly sticky. 

Step #6: Punch dough down. Spray muffin pans. Put two 1.5″ balls in each muffin cup. Cover. Let rise for a 1/2 hour or until doubled. Bake at 375º until golden brown (around 20 minutes). Do not over bake! Pull one roll a part to make sure it’s not doughy but just past. That makes them really soft. 

Enjoy!

“Give us this day our daily bread.”
Matthew 6:11

Mary Shares on Her Operation Christmas Child Packing Experience

Joseph and my time at Operation Christmas Child was so exciting. I loved to think about how those boxes would bring HUGE smiles to the children receiving them. It was great to see boxes with notes. There were many “Ahh, look at this note!” moments to show the rest of the team an adorable note. Each was written with a lot of love. My other favorite was to see the boxes that were stuffed full.

I really enjoyed working with Joseph all the days too. When the brothers get married, it’s rare to get to spend that much time one on one with them like that! We both had fun getting acquainted with each step of the process. I think my favorite part was packing the shoeboxes into the box they’d ship in. It was a fun challenge for me to see how many boxes we could fit in. Fifteen had to fit in each one, but the more the better. The older kids tended to get bigger boxes, which took some creativity to get all 15 packed in there.

If you are considering doing shoeboxes this year, I would recommend doing either the older children or younger children. They have roughly double the middle age group. You might also consider doing older boys. They seemed to get the very least, and when I was looking through the boxes, I noticed theirs were often quite empty. Some ideas for their boxes would be tools, soccer ball and pump, fishing supplies, hat, shirt, flip flops, toothbrush and soap, candy, and certainly school supplies.

I hope you will share some of Christ’s love to these kids this year through Operation Christmas Child.

Thank you, Joseph and Elissa, for such an amazing trip that I will always remember.

Serving Jesus,
Mary

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If you look hard, you’ll find me in this picture!

Joseph

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Here I’m fitting boxes into a large box.

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Joseph and Elissa blessed me so much by taking me to OCC!

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“Pure religion and undefiled before God and the Father is this,
To visit the fatherless and widows in their affliction,
and to keep himself unspotted from the world.”
James 1:27

Aunt Mary’s Lil’ Buddy

I recently learned how much Joshua likes to help his mommy make cookies. I too love to make cookies, so I thought we could spend some time together baking some.

While we were babysitting Christopher and Anna Marie’s children one day when they had a midwife appointment and date, I asked Joshua if he wanted to help Aunt Mary make cookies. He quickly put down his toy chain saw and came running to the kitchen. He took great delight dumping ingredients in, especially the “smoke” (or the flour). But the best part—eating the dough (before the eggs were added)!

For the next week and a half, he told me several times, “Thank you, Aunt Mary, for making cookies with me; it was very yum.”  One day when I was over there, he said, “Aunt Mary? Maybe tomorrow I could come over to your house, and we could make cookies together. That would be VERY special!” He’s only 2 years old!

We happened to be babysitting the kids a couple days later, so Josh and I got to work again making cookies! After much dumping and many bites later, the cookies were finished. I think a tradition has started—at least in his mind.

Mary

One happy guy!
One happy guy!

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“My son, eat thou honey, because it is good;
and the honeycomb, which is sweet to thy taste.”
Proverbs 24:13

Growing Up Duggar

Growing Up Duggar: It’s All About Relationships
Jana, Jill, Jessa, and Jinger Duggar

Have you ever wished you could sit down with the Duggar girls and talk to them face to face? Now you can do the next best thing. The oldest four Duggar girls have just written a book called Growing Up Duggar. We were privileged to be able to review a pre-release copy of the book.

I was so encouraged reading Growing Up Duggar. It is like sitting down with Jana, Jill, Jessa, and Jinger and then being able to talk for hours and hours. Not only does it have many of their personal stories, but it also addresses the things we, as young women, can struggle with. Relationships is the overriding theme of the book, and I found myself relating to many of the topics.

I appreciated their take on their relationships with their parents, because it is much like our family. Sadly, this vital relationship is often neglected in too many families.

I smiled through the stories of sibling squabbles, which reminded me of those days in our family. They shared how they practically worked on eliminating sibling rivalry.

I was encouraged by the practical tips to be more positive. The Duggars are amazing examples of finding the good in people and situations.

The Duggar girls told about their struggles with self-acceptance—something many young ladies face. In this day where beauty is idolized, they discuss the importance to accept ourselves as God created us.

These are just a few of the areas addressed in Growing Up Duggar. It is an  encouraging book about how the Duggar family of 19 kids operates with much biblical and practical counsel. I would recommend you pick one up and read it.

Mary

Growing Up Duggar
Growing Up Duggar

“But the mercy of the LORD is from everlasting to everlasting upon them that fear him, and his righteousness unto children’s children; To such as keep his covenant, and to those that remember his commandments to do them.”
Psalms 103:17-18

A Step Into the Past

On Friday, we were blessed to tour the Mennonite museum in Steinbach, Manitoba. The city of Steinbach, founded by Mennonites, is packed full of Christian history.

Our conference coordinator was very kind to take us to the museum. We enjoyed the indoor area of the museum that informed us of the Mennonites’ lineage and culture.

My favorite part of the museum was the outdoor village. Replica houses, churches, printers, blacksmiths, barns, and a restaurant lined the streets. It was fascinating learning about their lifestyle. I couldn’t imagine the struggles they endured as they immigrated to Canada often during the autumn resulting in many deaths during the winter.

We were amazed at the small kitchens, knowing how much work those women would have done without electricity! Houses which attached to the barn, were called housebarns, which nicely described the functionality of the two buildings.

Thankfully the rain mostly held off till we were finished!

Jesus’ Girl,
Mary

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A survival chest with basic items.

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This quilt depicts a Mennonite settlement. It looks really pretty, but wait until you see the pictures below.

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See how the squares look like fields, some with crops?

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Now see the houses!

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An old printer!

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The blacksmith’s shop

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Can you imagine working in your fields with this tractor?

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A housebarn, looking down the hallway into the barn area.

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Here’s where that hallway leads you to.

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And finally, you end up here!

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A summer kitchen. Don’t you love the floor?

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The pioneers used Roman numerals to determine the correct location for the logs. In fact, because of that system they were able to transport this original house to that location. Here the family’s finding those numbers.

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A replica of a house partially underground.

“We will not hide them from their children,
shewing to the generation to come
the praises of the LORD, and his strength,
and his wonderful works that he hath done.”
Psalms 78:4