Thursday, January 31, 2008

Making Homemade Buns

As I plan and cook meals, I try as much as possible to make things myself. I've come to appreciate and enjoy homemade food so much more than anything made in a package.

Almost 2 years ago (has it already been that long?) I began making bread on a regular basis. We eat it fresh with honey or jam, toasted with peanutbutter, as sandwich bread or just plain! Over time we've gotten spoiled, and just don't like store-bought bread as much, though it's good in a pinch. However, we always bought hamburger and hotdog buns. It was annoying though, for every time I wanted to have something that used them, we had to make sure we got some from the store.

Yesterday I was in the mood for Sloppy Joes, but we didn't have any hamburger buns. Suddenly it hit me: why should I have to buy them? Surely they couldn't be that hard to make; I just had never even considered it. So, I checked our Set For Life cookbook, and sure enough, it had a recipe. To my great delight, they weren't hard to make and they turned out delicious - much better then store-bought fluffs!

Basic Buns
5-6 cups whole wheat flour (may use some white flour if preferred)
2 TBSP dry yeast
1/3 cup dry milk
2 cups warm water
1/4 cup oil
2 TBSP honey
2 eggs
2 tsp. salt
1 egg white
1 TBSP water
Sesame seeds (optional

Mix 3 cups flour, yeast, and dry milk. Add water, and mix well. Add oil, honey, eggs, and salt. Add remaining flour, 1 cut at a time, until dough just cleans the sides of th bowl. Dough should not be too stiff. Knead 5 to 6 minutes.

Lightly oil hands and counter top. Shape dough in desired buns. Place on lightly greased baking sheets. Brush buns with egg-water mix. Sprinkle with sesame seeds, if desired. Let rise about 20 minutes for buns or until double for rolls. Bake at preheated 350* for 16-20 minutes. Makes around 18-20 buns.

Shape buns on a lightly oiled countertop
For Hoagie Buns: Roll dough into rectangle 1/2-inch thick. Using a pizza cutter, cut into strips 2-3 inches wide and 6 inches long or any desired size. Dough may also be molded into oblong rolls.
For Hot Dog Buns: Roll dough to 5/8 inch thick. Cut int 2 x 6-inch strips. For oval buns, bend an empty 46-oz juice can into oval and use as a dough cutter
For Hamburger Buns: Roll dough 3/8 inch thick. Using a quart can or other large cutter, cut into large rounds. Buns may also be shaped from a 1/2 cup ball of dough. Flatten with your hand or rolling pin.

The recipe says to make the dough using an electric mixer, but I stirred and kneaded it by hand - I like to for I can control the dough more easily. I also shaped my hamburger buns by hand, which was quite simple to do.

The buns were delicious, and since we had quite a few left over (this family of 4 is so small to cook for now!) we ate sandwich meat, cheese, and lettuce in them for lunch and bacon and cheesy eggs in them for supper (I'm out so long on Thursdays a quick supper is nice!). They're yummy with whatever is in them, and are very easy to cut open.

I'm definitely going to try to make these more often!

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

January Reading List

Anna's Books

Completed this month:
  • Mother by Kathleen Norris - This is a beautiful little book, an older classic revised by Jennie Chancy for Vision Forum. It gives the touching story of one woman's search to find fulfillment away from home, and her eventual realization that her mother's work has been the most worthwhile of them all.
  • Pearl of Beauty complied by Natalie Nyquist (now Klein) - A lovely compilation of stories that encourage us in our quest for purity. I wrote a more lengthy review on it here.
  • Systematic Theology by Wade Grudem - I've been reading through this book as part of my home education for this year. I started in August, and finished page 1234 the middle of January. I'm also currently going through it as part of The Rebelution forum's book study. It is very long, but it's worth it, and I've enjoyed reading more of the whys of what I believe.
  • Seventh Day by Bodie and Brock Thoene - This is the 7th book in the A.D. Chronicles series, an exciting series set in the times of Jesus. It continued the stories and characters, focusing mainly on the story of Lazarus, Mary and Martha. This whole series has been fun to read, as they delve into the meaning of different Hebrew words and give personal lives to all of the people recorded as being healed by Jesus in the Gospels. They also stay pretty true to the Biblical account, which I really appreciate. However, some of the subject material makes the series not for younger readers.
  • The On My Own Principles by Bob Biel - Miriam Lofgren recommended and loaned me this book. It's filled with principles from various people to give young people good things to live by.
  • A Man Called Peter by Catherine Marshall - Having seen the movie by the same name and having the book recommended to me by Ella, I borrowed this book from the Harts and read it on vacation. It was a very inspiring biography about the life of a wonderful, Godly man. His day-to-day experiences as well as his sermons were very enjoyable and interesting to read.

Currently reading:

  • Psalm 91: God's Shield of Protection by Peggy Joyce Ruth - This is my mom's new favorite book, and she's been giving it out to many people. It does a verse-by-verse study of Psalm 91 and how we can claim it for protection, and gives many amazing accounts of people who have witnessed miracles as a result of praying this Psalm.
  • Don't Waste Your Life by John Piper - Having finished Systematic Theology, I'm now going through other theological books as a part of my education.
  • Getting Things Done by David Allen - This is a book Elijah recommended, and it has many tips and tools for achieving "The art of stress-free productivity". However, it's not the most interesting book there is, so I'm having a hard time getting it done! =)

Miriam's Books

Completed this month:

  • Middlemarch by George Eliot - Having been on a George Eliot kick, I received this book for Christmas and really enjoyed it. It tells of the consequences for a hasty marriage without thought. But it does have a happy ending.
  • Great Expectations by Charles Dickens - A poor young orphan is told that he will inherit some money. He is raised up in society and by the end of the book is brought down again. It was hard to get into at first, but by halfway through, I was thoroughly engrossed.
  • Enoch's Ghost by Brian Davis - The 2nd book in the Oracles of Fire series was as good as I had hoped. The allegorical Christian fantasy series, Dragons in our Midst is a companion series and I highly recommend both. Christ isn't put in a corner and only mentioned a few times, but He is who most of the characters live by.
  • Pearl of Beauty by Natalie Nyquist - A collection of beautiful stories that made me long to know some of the girls in the tales.

Currently reading:

  • Mansfield Park by Jane Austen - Probably Austen's least popular book, I am enjoying my second reading of it. A poor girl comes to live with relatives and is brought up among them. She grows in to a sweet, considerate and pure young lady. She has some trials or tests of character through which she remains always pure. Some say that she is too good, but I have come to love what Fanny Price represents.

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

On the enjoyment of books...

It is said that the way to really know someone is to know who their friends are. Friends play a big part in influencing and shaping your thoughts and ideas. It is also equally true that books are friends. From them you learn things on an abundance of topics and gain knowledge, inspiration, and encouragement. With such friends, you can travel the world, visit old eras, or empathize with someone quite unlike yourself - all from the comfort of your own home.

Miriam and I have always been what you could call avid readers. =) Before I could read, I have memories of many happy hours spent listening to a parent or older sibling read to me stories from The Little House on the Prairie series or The Chronicles of Narnia, as well as various short children's books. I learned to read around the same time Elijah did (Mom kind of taught us together) and from there I took off into the great and exciting world of books. When asked to tell of my interests, reading has always been near the top of the list.

I don't read as much as I used to, mainly because there are so many other things that need to be done each day. However, I well remember the days when we used to go to the library nearly every week, where I'd often check out a huge stack of around 8-10 books. I voraciously devoured all I could, spending hours inside or out reading, and reading every other spare moment - in the car, during breakfast, or in each small break I had! my dad often teased me about being a bookworm, and it's true that my nose was often stuck in a book!

Lately, my reading is usually confined to reading during breakfast, right before bed, or infrequent spare moments. I bring a book with me almost wherever I go; if I happen to be the passenger instead of the driver, I read in the car, using the booklight my dad gave us if it's dark outside. If I get to a lesson early, I always have a pleasant way to fill those few minutes!

Those of you who enjoy reading can probably relate to how a book can grab your attention and not let go until the last page is finally turned. I have to watch myself before bed, because I can often keep going for quite some time, reading just one more chapter until it gets rather late! Sometimes the books are so intriguing I can barely put it down, and will make time in the day to finish it up! There's nothing like reading to make you feel better when your sick and take your minds off of aches; the hours in the car on long trips just wouldn't slip by as quickly without a book in hand!

My enjoyment of reading probably won't ever wane, though I'm sure my time available for it will diminish as I get older, once I become a mother, etc. However, I will always enjoy the things I'm able to learn from books, be it little lessons tucked into fiction, inspirational biographies, or how-to books.

Which leads me to the point... Starting this month, Miriam and I will be posting our reading list for the month at the end of it or beginning of the next one. I toyed with the idea of having one list we simply linked to and updated periodically, but concluded that by posting a list each moth, it would be easier for both you and us to keep up with. We will be posting a short synopsis or review to let you know what the book was about and how we enjoyed it.

We want to hear from you!
Are there any other avid readers out there? We'd like to know what you've been reading! Each month you can either leave a comment telling of your favorite or latest-read books, or you could post your reading list for the month on your blog. That way we can both see what you've been up to and get ideas from each other for books we might like to read.

Our January reading list will be posted in the next few days. It may not be complete, since we just came up with this idea recently, but we'll try to remember what we've read this past month!

As a side note, we won't be linking the book titles to any particular place to buy them. Not only would that take a lot of work, it'd also be hard to link to just one place since books are now sold many places. If you're interested in buying a certain book, a quick Google search for the book or looking on,, or should help you find it at a reasonable price.

Happy reading to you!

Saturday, January 26, 2008

Congratulations Miriam!

Miriam Rebekah just called to let me know that her auditions for All-State band went really well! In fact, she made the Red level - the highest level you can make! I'm sure she'll tell you more about it later, but I just wanted to honor her and say, "congratulations!"

Miriam, you're a beautiful flutist, and I knew you'd do well. Your playing and beautiful tone inspire me, and I so enjoy playing flute with you! Keep up the good work, and keep playing for God's glory!

Sibling Spotlight: Miriam Esther

Miriam is the third in our family of seven, a vibrant part of who we are. She's 27, 10 years older then me, and a wonderful sister to us all!

Miriam played a huge role in my growing-up years; to the four of us younger then her, she was often like our second mother. In fact, my sister Jubilee called both her and my Mom "Mommy" until Miriam finally got her to change to calling her "Mimi".

To this day, "Aunt Mimi" is a favorite among the aunts and a beloved "Miss Miriam" to all the children she knows. She's always been very good with children, whether they be her siblings or children she babysits.

She's a wonderful older sister, and my memories of her before she left home are special. She was never very bossy, but somehow she always seemed to get us to do what she wanted, and make us think that we wanted to do it! I have many memories of the times she'd have us clean the whole house together. She'd make things fun, working with us, having us scurry and clean as fast as possible and line up to receive orders. In the end, there was usually a fun prize - a treat or a game she'd play with us. She made cleaning a fun sibling activity!

Part of what makes her so fun for children (and those older!) is that she's very creative. With Miriam, you rarely have a dull moment! She kept us and those she babysat busy with fun crafts and games, making paperdolls, creative pictures using toothpicks, and million other things she's find in craft books. She's also very creative when it comes to games! It's rare when there's a game she doesn't try to change or add rules to to make it more interesting. With her characteristic persuasiveness, she'll convince you that her way of playing is better, or that we should really do this. She truly keeps things fun, but you have to watch out for her sometimes! :-)

It was from Miriam that I learned many of the things I so enjoy. She taught me to cook, letting me help her when I was young and setting an example in how to do things as I got older. My taking over meal preparations and running much of the household a few years ago was nothing new; Miriam was the head cook and cleaner in her older teen years as well. She was the inspiration behind my home-cooked meals - in fact, she was so generous that when she left for college, she left behind a freezer full of homemade meals!

She's also a great seamstress, and it was from her that I learned the rudimentals to begin sewing. She made me so many pretty dresses when I was little, as well as matching ones for Lydia, Jubi, and I. When I was 9-10 she helped me sew a dress of my own, and then helped me as I continued sewing on my own. I always knew who to call if I ran into a glitch!

She has amazing organization skills, and has helped us re-arrange things so many times. Somehow she seems to find the best places for everything. She also taught me gymnastics on the trampoline and by example how to scrapbook, play a fast Dutch Blitz game, and read many varied books. She's been a wonderful influence on who I am today!

When I was 8, she went off to Pensacola Christian College to study Mechanical Engineering. Yes, in addition to being a pro in domestic affairs, she's a whiz at math! We all missed her when she was gone. The house just didn't seem to run as smoothly without her! But, we learned to adjust and step into new responsibilities. She became one of my first penpals, for after learning that a spider kept spinning a web in her empty mailbox, I determined to keep it away! Her letters back were always fun to get, with cool cards, neat drawings by her, or an envelope covered in only 1 cent stamps!

The 4 years flew by quickly, with summers at home, visits, and our family camping trips at Fort Pickins on the beach. After her graduation and a very memorable month-long trip out West, she settled in to work around the area. She lived at home for the first few months, then rented a duplex with a college friend. She was still close by, so we enjoyed meals, game nights, and sleepovers at her place. Her friend Tamra soon became like another sister, full of fun. Soon after Tamra moved on to medical school, Miriam moved in with a bright elderly lady in her 90s. Over the years, she's proved very valuable to her company as a very capable mechanical engineer, and is now a great asset to her neighborhood. Mrs. Langston loves living with her, and a family of 5 from her church loves having her across the street! We, of course, like the fact that she's only 15 minutes away!

Miriam has been a big example to me as a single young woman waiting on God. Although she'd make a wonderful wife and mother, the years passed by with no "special someone". However, that didn't make Miriam sit home and mope! Rather, she's been a huge blessing at her church, work, and to us. She runs the sound at church, helps teach Sunday school, and leads a group of Sparks in AWANA. She lends a hand wherever needed, being a true example of a servant. Everyone at her church loves her!

She's also continued to be an impact in her family's lives. She comes over at least once-a-week (or more!) to eat supper, play games and talk, or take a hike or bike ride. She adds a spark of excitement whenever she comes, with a vibrant spirit of fun. She plans and makes Sibling Breakfasts, now set for every Tuesday morning at 6:45 a.m., and she's the one you want to take shopping when you need to find clothes at outlets or thrift stores. If you need advice, she has a wealth to give on anything from schoolwork or organizing rooms or events!

We all like to go places with her; even a trip to Walmart can be fun if we're going with Miriam!

She has been faithful in the place God has put her as a single young woman. Now, we are all excited and thrilled with her boyfriend John!

Although Jubilee has always had a special bond with Miriam, I feel very close and similar to her in many ways as well. We're both middle-child types, being a girl born after an older brother and sister close in age, somewhat secretive at times and n0t always showing our true feelings. She's become a great conversationalist though, and I've tried to follow her example and talk more. :-) Following in her footsteps and running a lot of the household, I'm amazed and inspired at how she did everything with 4 younger siblings to care for! Through her example, I try to be a fun older sister, babysitter, and teacher as well. However, we're also quite different, I being a more "girly-girl" then her. :)

Always ready to try something exciting or new, making special memories, being fun and kind, Miriam continues to be a great sister.

I love you Miriam! Thanks for being such a good influence in my life!

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

The Worth of A Girl

Quite a while ago, my Mom gave me this poem that she'd found among her papers. I looked up the author's name and poem online, but was unable to find where it originally came from. The poem is so good that I just had to share it!

The Worth of a Girl
How do you measure a little girl's worth,
When all her charm on you is unfurled?

You either see her through the eyes of God

Or through the eyes of the world.

The world shouts, "She must have her freedom,

Liberation - her true destiny."

But God says, "Child, when you seek my truth,

Then you'll know what it is to be free."

The world cries, "Don't thwart her psyche,

Let her decisions be hers from the start."
God says, "Train her, which way she should g
And from Me she'll never depart."

The world would like always for her to think

Of success as her foremost goal,
But God says, "Love me and each other,
With all your body, mind, and soul."

The world teaches, "Do just what you want

Regardless of who gave you birth."
But God says, "Honor your Mom and Dad

That your life may be long on this earth."

A girl is truly a gift of God's grace
To be all that He's called her to be.

We must lead and guide this life in the now
For she's part of eternity.

Charming manners can be so deceptive

And outward beauty is all so vain,

But a woman with fear and reverence for God
His blessings with her will remain.

A divine blueprint is stamped upon her,
Teach her to read it carefully.

For a little girl is what God will use
To make a virtuous lady!

~by Betty Walkup Albuquerque~

Pictures of my lovely nieces, Lisa Beth, Sara, and Danielle

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

I will never be shaken...

"My soul finds rest in God alone; my salvation comes from Him. He alone is my rock and my salvation. He is my fortress, I will never be shaken." ~ Psalm 62:1-2

Saturday, January 19, 2008

It Snowed!!!

I know snow isn't so unusual up north, but here in the South and especially Alabama, it is a rare occasion indeed. It hasn't snowed here in about 5 or 6 years, as far as I can remember. It wasn't a whole bunch, but it was snow nonetheless!

From our porch.

Up towards the road.

A white garden bed.

Alabama Snow!

Yes, you read that right. Snow in Alabama! This doesn't happen often at all, so I just had to post pictures. The last I remember this much snow down here is 7 years ago. I know to most of you, this doesn't look like much snow at all, but to us it's a big deal!

It started snowing this morning around 9:15 a.m. There wasn't much at first, but it was so pretty to see the snow drift down!

After a while the yard actually turned mostly white, and there were beautiful, big fluffy snowflakes falling.

The snow stopped after lunch. Here's proof that we actually got some! Then it started melting, so we went out to play in it before it disappeared. After all, this is a once-in-a-long-while experience!

We had snowball fights and made snow cones using juice and fresh snow off the cars

And we built our own Alabama snowman, christened Danny Dee. We used up a lot of snow off of the white-covered yard, and he has tons of dirt and leaves stuck in him, so we made him look more presentable on the front with clean snow.

On another note, we're enjoying having Lydia home for a few days! She had two extra courses before and after Christmas, so it's nice having her here for a few days before she starts her spring semester. We scrapbooked this morning, and we're about to watch a movie together! It's nice to have a relaxing Saturday at home.

Thursday, January 17, 2008

An Update On My Life

Hello! I haven't posted since last year! I've wanted to write something in the last couple of weeks, but I wanted it to be worth reading. As it is, this is just an update of my life and what's going on.

I'm preparing for piano festival and have one of my two pieces memorized. The one that I have not finished committing to memory is Claire De Lune. When it's memorized, I'll truly breath easier. :0
In a week and a half, I have All-State Band auditions. All-State is where band people come and audition for the band and there are three different levels I could make. There is Red band, White band, and Blue band, from highest to lowest. If I make any level of All-State Band, then I've automatically made District Honor Band. Anyway, I'll be glad when the auditions are over and I know what I make.
I also have an extra flute lesson with my old teacher to help me with the audition music.
Along with the above work and practicing, I am still doing piano lessons and regular band practice on Tuesdays, choral on Wednesdays, dance on Thursdays, and orchestra on Saturdays.
So, do I get away with my excuse for not posting in a while? =)

I'll update again after the audition to say how it went, but I think that my posting for the next month will be almost none. I'll try my best, but sometimes it's just too much.

God bless,
Miriam Rebekah

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

An afternoon's baking

Chicken pot pies, ready for the oven! From start to finish, with fresh vegetables to cut up, sauce and pie crust to make, chicken to cook and cut, it took around 2 1/2 hours in the kitchen. My dear Daddy stirred the white sauce while I rolled out the pie crust, saving me a bit of time! Our pastor's family is in the process of moving to a new house in the area, so one of the pies went to them for supper. We'll eat 1 or 2 tonight, and the rest will go into the freezer - a great supper when I'm short on time! When I'm already making pies, it really doesn't take that much longer to make more to freeze, and it saves time in the end. Yes, they take a bit of work to make, but they're so delicious it ends up being worth it!

If you'd like the recipes, click the links for Chicken Pot Pie and Never Fail Pie Crust.

Books from HeartThoughts Publications

Looking for good books to read? Check out HeartThoughts Publications!

Their latest publication is entitled Pearl of Beauty, a book encouraging us all to become maidens of purity. This priceless gem is a compilation of short stories that will challenge, inspire, and resonate with heart. The stories are written by timeless authors, from Louisa May Alcott to George MacDonald, and they are truly touching accounts of other maidens learning to live a life of purity. Although the stories are perfect for those in their pre- and early teens, older maidens will find joy in their sweet messages as well.

When the book first came out, I wasn't going to get it, for I'd already read many of the stories it contained. However, the book looked lovely, so I ended up getting it with the gift card Luke gave me for Christmas. I'm ever so glad I did! Though some of the stories were ones I'd already read over and over, they again came alive and inspired me. Pearl of Beauty is compiled with beautiful pictures that really illustrate the stories and make them a treat to read. I know that I shall keep this book around to re-read and be re-inspired!

Pearl of Beauty also contains discussion questions and activities, making it a great book to do with a friend, parents, or as a mother-daughter group.

Quest for the High Places is a book I received from Elijah for my 16th birthday. The message it contains truly is "encouragement for the waiting heart". Natalie is poignant and honest as she reveals things all of us face in our periods of waiting. The book is written for those in older teen years or beyond, as it deals with the struggles of young ladies ready for marriage but still single. Although I probably won't be married for quite a few more years, it was still an encouragement to me. It "explores the intricacies of maidens heart and emotions" really spurring you on to desire to go higher in your relationship with the Lord. I've already read it at least 3 times - it's a book you go back to time and again. The book itself is lovely, with beautiful photos illustrating each chapter.

Quest for the High Places also has a study book available, to chronicle your own journey. This book is great to go through on your own to lead you "further up and further in", or even better to do with a friend, mother or as a ladies study group. The very best would be a mother-daughter study with close friends!

HeartThoughts Publications also carries pure fiction books. I've read I Will Follow, and throughly enjoyed the touching, though heartrending story. I hope to read Journey of the Heart sometime soon.

Natalie also writes for Young Ladies Christian Fellowship and she newly opened HeartThoughts Retreat. She has been a true inspiration and encouragement to me, as I've read her books and articles.

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

The Joy of Dresses

It's been two years now since I "took the plunge" and began wearing skirts or dresses almost exclusively. I still enjoy them - ever so much! I don't think my enthusiasm for them will ever wear off. Why would you not want to wear them, when they're so much fun? =) I know that everyone's different, and I respect that. However, for me, I've found great delight and joy in dressing in a distinctly, though very different, feminine way.

Dresses are fun to make for me or for others. Picking the fabric and style for a new dress can be most enjoyable!

Skirts are versatile, and I've found that you can still play hard while wearing them. Yes, you have to be more careful, but it reminds me to act like a lady through it all.

It's fun to wear old-fashioned ones, and take a step back in time

It's fun to wear matching ones with your sisters or friends, especially when they're lacy and full!

They're fun to take pictures of or pose in

They're fun when walking in a winter wonderland

Or when enjoying God's creation on a hike or just when taking a stroll

They just make daily life more special!

Yes, people do think I'm kind of strange - even my siblings think I'm a bit weird - but I don't care. :-) The enjoyment of always feeling like a princess far outweighs the concern I have over what people may think of me.

Just try it for a day... and feel the delight.

Yes, I'd still rather wear a dress!

Monday, January 14, 2008

Savor the Small Things

The days go by quickly; the moments swiftly pass. Sometimes in the busyness of life, we don't stop to enjoy the little things that daily happen.

But those small things can be the things that bring peace when your days are full. Pause, reflect, and enjoy the simple moments. Use the brief times of quiet to reflect on the day and thank God for what He's done.

... the feeling of bread dough as you knead it smooth and the delectable perfume it wafts through the house
... the warm sunlight brightening the world
... the comfort of a hot fire on a cold day
... the relaxation that comes as you lay down after a long day
... the bright blue eyes of the sweet baby girl of a friend
... the fun of making something nourishing and delicious for your family and sharing it with them
... the sound of music played by you or a sibling
... the satisfaction of getting something sparkling clean
... the quiet and solitude of early-morning devotions under warm covers
... the hug from a true friend and the promise of seeing each other tomorrow
... the beauty a lone flower brings

Never take the small things for granted.

Wednesday, January 09, 2008

To Jen

True friends are hard to find,
When you're one in heart and of like mind.

I have been blessed to treasure one in you,
To know that you'll be there, seeing me through.

You'll support me always, and I'll do the same,
To help and to pray as we go through life's pain.

Together we'll walk down paths that aren't certain,
Trusting God to guide in things beyond our ken.

Climbing hand-in-hand up the staircase of time,
I as your "twin sister" and you as mine.

Doing things that are ladylike, silly, or fun.
Sharing many smiles and laughing a ton!

Opening great doors to new discoveries,
Helping each other solve life's mysteries.

True bosom friends and sisters of the heart,
Close to each other while living far apart.

Writing and sharing our hopes and our fear,
Spurring one another on though our homes aren't near.

I'll always think of you as a precious friend,
Jennifer Kay - God's gift to the end.

Jennifer and I were blessed to be able to see each other on December 27th, 2007. Since we were already up her way in Kansas City, Lydia, Jubilee, and I drove up to meet the Duff family halfway at Lied Lodge in Nebraska City. We had a wonderful day spending time together, talking, walking in the winter wonderland (this Alabama girl was thrilled to see snow!), taking pictures, and catching up on each other's lives.