It’s chilly, as a matter of fact, downright cold! Outside the office window, dozens of cardinals, juncos, some bossy blue jays, a couple finches, and woodpeckers are feasting on and around the large log cabin feeder Daniel made for them this winter. For years, my husband Daniel has been brainstorming about building a large deluxe bird feeder. Thanks to his ambition, a couple months ago, it came to reality. Now singing their morning songs, the birds seem blissfully unaware of how this intense cold snap has affected millions of people.

Never before have I seen so many snowdrifts, and it’s not all gone in a day or two like it generally is, either. When I was a girl, I had dreams of being housebound where we couldn’t go outside besides following a shoveled pathway to the barn to feed the animals. Now we have a foot of snow, and as I write, it’s snowing again. Yes, I do have some mixed feelings. Not that I mind watching it; I just keep thinking of all those out there with power outages, a lack of water, heat, and the likes. How could something as gentle and beautiful as snow bring so much absolute chaos?

To all those of you suffering from this winter storm, my heart goes out to you. We are lifting you in prayer to the Lord. How I’d love to open our home to you, cook up some steaming hot food, and fire the stove till you’re heated through! I can’t reach everyone out there, but by God’s grace, each of us can somehow make a difference where we’re at.

I’ve often been challenged listening to the children pray for the poor children throughout the world. I pray that God would show us how to effectively reach out to the needy and impact our children’s hearts in the meanwhile.

We have a solar power system and a diesel generator we use in the shop. For that reason, power outages don’t affect us as they do for so many others. Our main source of heat is wood, so it remains toasty warm even in sub-zero temperatures. I simply cannot be thankful enough for this rich blessing. This winter, the children have spent hours in the basement, riding their trikes, scooters, and bikes. Other times they pretend to be a train, tying their trikes together in a long line, tooting their way around and around big circles.

Last week on the first morning, the children awoke to an excellent cover of snow; they were thrilled. As it continues to get deeper, the snow reaches well past the tops of their little boots. After school, one of the men used a large loader and scraped the top layers of snow off the playground, pushing it onto a huge pile, big enough for the children to sled on. We had no suitable hills on the school premises, so they are all fired up about trying out the sledding hill this morning.

Daniel used our tractor and bucket to clear a pathway around the house and out to the driveway to prepare for our hosting church services on Sunday. As you may remember, we take turns hosting church services at the homes of our families. We, as a family, are honored to be able to host our church on Sunday. These last weeks I’ve been doing some extra cleaning, scrubbing away fingerprints, dust bunnies, and simply organizing closets, and going through all sorts of stuff that accumulates over time. Not every “i” will be dotted, but there really is a good feeling to have some deep cleaning and organizing off my too do list. I’ll be filling you in on more details on how it’s going over the next weeks. I’ll give you an outline of our menu on Sunday, and by the way, you all really are so welcome to come to join! We’ll be having services for four weeks; I’d be absolutely honored to host you at our house for services or a hymn singing; let us know if you happen to be in the area; guests are always a welcome blessing at our home. Okay, so getting back to our meal. We plan to have pizza spaghetti casseroles, breadsticks, chunky applesauce, frozen desserts, and hot drinks. Be sure to try my mom’s homemade breadsticks recipe that she’ll be using for Sunday dinner! For as long as I can remember us children would just rave over Mom’s breadsticks. The secret is to not over- bake and eat them fresh from the oven. I’ll be warming them on Sunday noon up last minute before serving them.

The children are waking one by one, so I should be running along and getting breakfast for them.

Oh yes, I really need to take another moment to tell you about our exciting plans today. We plan to sign a stack of papers at the attorney’s office concerning the upcoming adoption. We are super excited. Hopefully, the adoption will be finalized in a couple weeks. Bye for now, may your day be warmed by the love only God can give!

MOM’S

HOMEMADE BREADSTICKS

• 1 1/2 cups warm water

• 1 1/2 tablespoons yeast

• 1 1/2 tablespoons vegetable oil

• 1 1/2 teaspoons sugar

• 1 1/2 teaspoons salt

• 3 3/4 cup flour

• 1/4 cup melted butter

• 1/4 cup Italian dressing

• 2 cups shredded cheese (any kind)

• 3 tablespoons Parmesan

• 1/2 teaspoon salt

• 1/2 teaspoon oregano

• 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder

• 1/4 teaspoon black pepper

• 3/4 cup bacon bits

1. Dissolve yeast in warm water.

2. Add vegetable, sugar, and salt.

3. Gradually add flour and knead a couple of minutes.

4. Let rise 20 minutes.

5. Press into a greased 10 X 15 pan.

6. Top with mixture of melted butter and Italian dressing.

7. Combine two cups of shredded cheese of your choice, then add Parmesan cheese, salt, oregano, garlic powder, black pepper, and bacon bits.

8. Sprinkle on top.

9. Cut slightly with pizza cutter.

10. Bake 15-20 minutes in preheated 450 degree oven or until only slightly golden

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