Monday, December 29, 2008

Broken Hearted

You may feel your dying on the vine
No where to turn, out of time
Trying hard your reaching out
and though you try you still keep falling
still you hear a voice thats calling you-

Broken Hearted, Come to the river
let the healing waters soothe your wounded soul
Broken hearted, He will deliver today,
let the glory of his light coming shining through
Let Him finish what He started in you!

You may feel your crying out in vain
Worn out and helpless too much pain
look beyond the emptiness,
and when you look He's there beside you
take the hand that wants to guide you through

You may feel your burden hard to bear
You may think that Jesus doesn't care
Just remember Clavary
there He suffered willingly
Just so you and I could be free!

Broken hearted, Come to the river
let the healing waters soothe your wounded soul
Broken hearted,
He will deliver today
Let the glory of His light come shining through
Let Him finish what He started in you!

Song by Brush Arbor, last verse added by LVC

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

A Chirstmas Poem

Baby Jesus sweet and small
came to live and die for all;
shed his blood for you and me,
to cleanse our sin and set us free.

Once he lay on manger bed;
Angels kissed his lovely head
richest treasures wise men brought
and bowed before the baby's cot.

Shepherds spread the joyous truth
"Salvation's come through this dear youth"
And people everywhere did laud;
that Jesus was the Son of God.

Once He hung upon a cross;
Devils laughed and scorned his loss.
"A thorny crown upon his head,
See him beaten, he is dead!"

But Lo, an empty grave, come see;
The Lord is risen, triumphantly!
He paid the price, he conquered sin;
His blood will cleanse our heart within!

Baby Jesus sweet and small,
came to live and die for all;
Come be saved and filled with love-
God's dear Son, sent from above!

(Written by ~Elizabeth A. Van Cleve)

Monday, December 22, 2008

A Home-made Christmas Gift

I received a lovely gift from the D-family and I thought I would share it here.
Sister S. took a home-made pledge this Christmas and we were some of the beneficiaries of it. After services one evening I was summonsed out to their vehicle where I was handed these...

The only difference is the red tin had a really good candy-stick tied to the top that the girls and I devoured on the way home.

The square granite is a trivet for my kitchen which I am making good use of. The man of the house (Brother M.) made this. It looks like a ceramic tile and he glued feet to the bottom of it.

Very nice!
When I opened the tin the first thing I noticed was all the candy kisses since they are my favorite...
Next, I untied the ribbon and found a darling Noah's Ark Christmas tree ornament...
Underneath the ornament we found a lovely hand knitted wash-cloth...

And just when I thought the fun was over, surprise! There lying at the bottom of the tin were two bars of hand-made goat milk soap...

What a lovely Christmas present. A lot of thought and love went into this one and is much appreciated here at the Van Cleve house!

Thursday, December 18, 2008

A Day of Caroling

Yesterday we went out on our annual Christmas Caroling expedition. Our first stop was scheduled for 9:30 AM at the rest home on Garfield. We reluctantly pulled our weary bodies out of our warm beds nice and early and scrambled to get ready to go. We had to stop and pick up Sherry and kids and then head over to the Gallagher's. The kids grabbed an apple out the door and Felecia read us the Bible while I drove and then we prayed together. Before I left, I e-mailed a few people and asked them to pray for us. When we arrived at the first home they were all waiting for us. Some of the faces I recognized from last year, some were new. Brother Andy introduced us and then we sang and a few of them joined in. The kids did solos on the piano and harp.
I gave a testimony and invitation to Jesus Christ and then we sang our grand finale: I'll Never Miss Heaven for the World. All went well. The overseer of the place thanked us profusely saying how she remembers us from last year and how much she appreciates us. The kids passed out candy canes to everyone and the general feeling was good. Now it was off to stop number two- the rest home on FO where Sister B. stays.
When we arrived they were not as ready for us, but Sister Glenda played on the harp while some of the residence gathered in. We went through the same process except Sherry testified in the end this time.

I had thought we were scheduled for three homes but found out this was the last one. So we went to eat and then decided to go visit Zoya. After our visit with her we headed out to Mercy Folsom Hospital.
By this time I was so extremely tired and was beginning to grumble within myself. We had included the hospital last year when Sherry had requested it, but this wasn't what we normally did. So this year when they asked us to come back, I was not overly eager. But we had decided to go ahead and now as I headed down the overly trafficky roads into Folsom I felt irritated. I just wanted to go home. I was so tired I had a hard time keeping my eyes opened.
When we arrived Sherry led us to the floor where she works and there we began to knock on doors and ask people if they would like us to carol to them. The general response was very positive although a few declined. But I was unprepared for the responses we would receive in this very intimate deliverance of song. The patience looked amazed as we all squeezed into the rooms followed by a big beautiful harp. As Sister Glenda began playing it and our voices lifted, blended in harmony, praying inwardly for God's Holy Spirit to fill the room, hearts were moved. Most of the patience cried. One elderly man got on the phone and called his wife beaming "Honey I got a whole choir in my room right now. Would you like to hear them?". One lady that was visiting someone came and told us she remembered us from a rest home where she had seen us singing last year while visiting her aunt. Her aunt had since passed on. She asked where we were from. We told her the Church of God in Carmichael. Another elderly lady sobbed and kept asking for one more song. We ended hers with "Tell Me the Story of Jesus". She told us that we had brought warmth to her heart. I clasped her chilly hands and let her know our hearts were warmed too. A male patient was out walking with what appeared to be his wife and two little daughters and they stopped to listen and thanked us too. Brother Andy prayed over a few of the patience. It was sad and yet so joyful, so beautiful, so what Christmas, LIFE should be.
On my way home my heart glowed with warmth and love. But I was also chastened that I had ever inwardly complained about going. I told God I was sorry. It is such a blessing to work for Him. We were all exhausted when we got home but oh so blessed.
This morning while I was outside I looked around at the beauty around me, and was so filled with the love of God I could scarce hold back the tears. God is good. The earth is filled with the goodness of God. It is the goodness of God that leadeth thee to repentance. These thoughts flooded my mind. The fire in my heart for the love of God lept and crackled. What a beautiful God we serve!

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Christmas Candy Bags

Well I finished 132 candy bags to pass out to the Bible Story Time children this evening.
It ended up being a 3 day project, but I will feel it all worth it if the bags bring happy smiles!
The tags took the longest. Joyce was over yesterday morning to help out and Felecia and I were up to midnight last night filling the bags. I finished up the tags and ties them on today. I started at 8:00 AM finished the last bag after 2:00 P.M.
I am frequently asked why I take so much time on the tags when most the kids will just rip them off and throw them away. I gave this a lot of thought and at last I know the "why".
Because I want the candy bags to smile at the children. I want them to give them a warm feeling if only for a few minutes. I want their memories of Gods church to always have a warm loving feeling with it.
It may be just a little thing, but it's my reason.

To make the tags I picked up boxed Christmas cards at the dollar tree. There were 15 cards per box. I then cut out the middle of the picture of the manger scene into a circle. I used a larger circle to cut out a frame out of card stock. I used craft scissors for a scalloped edge.
I glued the picture onto the card stock then I used glitter glue around the edge of the picture to make it sparkly. I hot glued a piece of gold rope to the back in a loop to hang from. I then tied these onto the bags.
We wrote "Merry Christmas, Bible Story Time, 2008" on the backs.
The bags have a fun assortment of candy in them.

Monday, December 15, 2008

Pumpkin Fudge Winner!

Announcing our Pumpkin Fudge Winner...
Officially selected from the trusty Random Integer Generator...
Entry #5 Sister Joycelyn. Congratulations! I will be making that fresh as soon as you let me know if you want it with or without walnuts. Joyce was our costume creator for our play and did a beautiful job. I will post a picture of the fudge when it is finished. Thanks to everyone one who showed their support and left me a comment on my blog!

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Baking Stomboli

Monday night Sherry and her kids, Chris and my family all went out to get our Christmas trees. We had a lot of fun. Amber made everyone hot cocoa to take along and when we got back to Sherry's house we enjoyed hot apple pie from Apple Hill with ice cream. So now we are working on getting our tree decorated. It is our tradition to have Sausage Stromboli when we decorate the tree. This is the only time I make it and it is so good. The original recipe came from a Taste of Home magazine. I have modified it somewhat in that I use my dough from Three loaves of Bread which is part whole wheat flour. I also use a preservative free sausage. Try it! I have my own kneading technique. I beat the dough mixture adding one cup flour at a time until it is too thick to beat. Then I stir in as much more as possible before turnig out onto floured surface. Here I used freezer wrap paper to knead on. I dampened the table underneath to keep the paper from sliding around. After each fold I press the dough out flat using a rocking motion with my knuckle. I have better success getting to the smooth surface with this method. It cuts my kneading time at least in half.

Ahhhh... the grand finale! Want a piece? Here is the recipe *wink*

Dough from Three Loaves of Bread divided in half or 3 loaves of frozen Bridgeford bread
2 lbs of bulk sausage, cooked, drained and cooled
16 oz shredded mozzarella cheese
2 eggs plus one more
1/2 tsp dried basil
2 Tbs Parmesan cheese
  1. Mix together in large bowl, cooked sausage, 2 eggs, basil and cheese.
  2. After first rising of bread dough, roll out into two rectangle shapes.
  3. Spoon sausage mixture down one side of dough within one inch of edges.
  4. Fold dough over filling and pinch edges to seal.
  5. Cut four diagonal slits across top of Stromboli.
  6. Beat remaining eggs and brush onto top of Stromboli.
  7. Sprinkle with Parmesan cheese.
  8. Cover (I never cover mine) and let rise until doubled, about 45 min.
  9. Bake at 375 for 20 min or until golden brown.
  10. Slice; serve warm.
Yield: 2 loaves
***Don't forget to enter my first give away of 1 lb of my secret recipe for Pumpkin fudge:
Autumn Give-Away