Saturday, October 31, 2009

What is Poverty?

Poverty is so much more than a lack of clean water of material possissions....

Friday, October 30, 2009

Seasonal blessings...

The grass withers, the flower fades
, When the breath of the LORD blows upon it; Surely the people are grass.
The grass withers, the flower fades, But the word of our God stands forever.

I take comfort in the predictability of seasons, sunrises and tides. They are all evidence to me of His divine nature. Steady and trustworthy.

Truly my life is but a vapor, but God remains the same... His Word is everlasting.


Monday, October 26, 2009

Seeking and Finding....

mazing to me that we are so engulfed in autumn. It is so easy for me to be caught up in the rush of life, carried against my will down dust-filled streets in the madly rushing crowd. My soul becomes parched, so thirsty for Him and the Living Water.

I am digging my heels in, stepping away from the fray, seeking evidences of His love in my daily life. Fighting to slow down, to notice, to give thanks.

This slower pace, the taking of photos, the spontaneous laughter, the choosing to really look into my children's eyes when they speak to me. This, I am convinced, is big, huge from God's perspective.

It is all a part of me giving Him glory as I re-realize that it is all from Him
it all gives glory to Him.
When I choose to notice and praise, I render to Him, glory due.

Here's to purposeful seeking and finding
seeking His blessings given
finding reminders of His care for me at every turn....

65. boys and trees to climb.

66. Autumn blaze, even when the sun won't.

67. texture and color~ and boys to notice with

68. Daughters who create beauty from work-worn jeans

69. an adult son who call home and warms my heart by sharing his ...

70. Autumn splendor which, try as I might, refuses to be captured on "film." I'm telling you, this tree is on fire....

71. Woodstove warmth on cold mornings, warming my body as God's Word warms my soul

72. His detailed handiwork~ waiting patiently for me to discover. Missed when I rush through my day, checking things off of my list;
found when I pause long enough to walk outside and delight in Him.

73. the pure delight of little ones "getting" reading

74. leaf-blanketed paths,

75. trees lifting arms in praise to Him as He crowns our day with unexpected color, flung across sky...

Endless gifts....
I am
richly delighting in them,

Won't you step out of the rushing crowd with me
for the most rewarding hide and seek ever!


Want to join others who are seeking and finding?
holy experience

Friday, October 23, 2009

Discipling our Children pt.3


o here we are. Part three of a series that I certainly don't feel competent to be writing! But, as mentioned before, I've been asked to speak this coming Saturday on the topic of "Discipling our Children" so in preparation for that talk I have prayerfully created part one, and part two. Now for part three. My desire is that it would be an encouragement....

Summary from earlier posts on this topic:
1. Discipling our children is more about people than Process. (My children are intrinsically important individuals who must each make a decision to follow the Lord. No particular "method" will guarantee any given result.)
2. It is more about who I am than what I do. (My walk with the Lord is paramount. My joyful obedience is significantly more important than any prescribed "method" of discipleship.)

Certainly Jesus is our primary example and He is the One who originally gave us the command to "be about making disciples"(Matt. 28:19 "Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit.") I believe that we need to look to Him and how He, being God afterall, discipled his "guys".

Primarily, I see Jesus simply “doing” life with the Disciples. They were with him 24/7 and were able to watch how He interacted with a hurting world. His main method of communication with his followers was not to lecture them (although they were able to hear Him speak to a hungry and needy world on many occasions).

Secondly, He was a master of asking questions. I would love to be able to ask questions as Jesus did. “Who do people say that the Son of Man is? Who do you say that I am? Why are you afraid? What did you go out into the wilderness to see?"

My questions, on the other hand, tend to be more along the lines of, “Who left their muddy socks there?” and “What exactly did you think would happen when you hung from the ceiling fan and asked your brother to turn it on?" or “Who left 22 cups of gravel from the driveway in their jeans pockets to be laundered?” (I am really bad about not checking pockets before doing laundry!)

I hesitate to share particular things that our family has done or is doing to disciple our children because I am well-aware of the tendency to compare. I can so easily fall into this trap as well. It is so easy for me to talk with a friend and come away thinking, "I should do ______________ like that family does."

I am all for gleaning good ideas from both friends and books and implementing the ones that the Lord has for our family, but please remember that every family is different. Your family will not look exactly like ours. (Rom. 12:4-8) I don’t even begin to claim that what we are doing is any sort of ultimate example, but because I know you are curious, here are some of the practical ways that we disciple our children.

Prayerfully glean what the Lord might call your family to do but rejoice in the "uniqueness" of your family~ I'm quite sure that you have done/or are doing some things that I have never thought of~ please do share in the comments section. I'd love to hear your ideas!

That being said, here are some ways that we have invested in our children:

1. Home educating (Deut.11:19-20 "You shall therefore impress these words of mine on your heart and on your soul; and you shall bind them as a sign on your hand, and they shall be as frontals on your forehead. You shall teach them to your sons, talking of them when you sit in your house and when you walk along the road and when you lie down and when you rise up.
You shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates")

This is a practical way that we are able to “do life” with our children and impact them, not only when it is “convenient” for us, but when it is “needful” in their lives.

Please know that I don't believe that homeschooling is the panacea for all that ails. It is simply what is best for us right now. While incredibly difficult and draining at times, I count it a total honor and privilege to be able to invest in my children in this way.

We have home educated our children for the past 16 years and I would totally do it all over again. Hopefully I'd even do some things better....

When the children are with me all day long and I live fully-engaged, joyfully interacting with them… all of us are being molded into His image. At times, I think I am being molded more than the children!

2. Family devotions - this is the richest time of our day. We have done many different things but usually it simply involves us reading some Scripture together as a family and Tom leading us in discussion. Many times we spend some time singing together and almost always pray for needs that we are aware of.

Sometimes when Tom is not available, one of the older boys or I will lead this time and that is great too.

I am not very creative, but we have also acted out Bible stories, and done some fun things like using Bible felts (flannelgraphs!) to tell stories, etc.

3. Scripture memory. We work for a short time each morning as we begin school on the book that we are currently memorizing. We just began chapter 4 of Philippians this morning! Even young children are capable of memorizing large portions of scripture. Slow and steady is key here. We try to make it fun, using motions to help us remember the verses, etc.

I like to use little spiral-bound 3"x5" card decks. By writing more than one verse per page I can usually fit a whole book in each card set.

Here's an excellent article that we have found to really work for memorizing verbatum text. Try it! Even I am able to memorize Scripture this way! I like to use this method by writing the beginning letters for each word of the verse on the back of each 3"x5" card. It is a great way to quiz myself and force my brain to "engage" and work!

At times we have encouraged our older children to memorize topical verses, like Navigator's Topical Memory System.

4. Individual times with the children. We usually plan some sort of special birthday outing for each child. This can be a sweet individual time with that child to encourage them and have discussions that might not "happen" in the midst of busy everyday life here.

I have also scheduled a "mother's helper" to be my special assistant in dinner preparation~ a different child each evening. The children really look forward to that time as well.

I schedule time with each child individually on school days. As we discuss school work and as I instruct academically, other topics can arise as well that need to be addressed.

5. Striving to live “fully engaged,” really choosing to listen to my children, give them eye-contact and my full attention even in the midst of a very busy day with many fires to put out

6. Requiring our older children (those who can read independently) to have their own personal quiet time each day.

7. Praying: for them in my personal quiet time in the morning, often in response to verses that I read that morning, throughout the day as I strive to stay “connected” to the Lord, in our family devotion time, with my children as issues/needs arise and with Tom as we seek the Lord and His best for our family….

Our children are people, just like us, who must choose to follow the Lord Jesus Christ. While it is important for me to create an atmosphere conducive for that to happen, I believe that, most importantly, I must model a walk with the Lord that is authentic and joy-filled so that they will desire to serve the God that I serve.

How then, do I define “success” as a parent? When my children are obediently getting along and being kind to each other it is easy to smugly feel “successful,” but what about when they have a “bicker-fest” with each other, argue with me or make poor choices?

My responsibility is to parent faithfully, consistently and in a way that honors God as I raise my children. The rest is up to Him. Certainly, when character issues arise I need to address them, but instead of being surprised and dismayed or even feeling like my reputation is being damaged, when my focus is on the Lord, I can seek their best, knowing that I too am “in process” and have not “arrived.”

I desire for my children, not happiness, but holiness, Christlikeness. As my children learn to deny themselves, they will discover true joy which is the fruit of obedience.

I am convinced that there is no one “right” way to disciple our children. There are no perfect man-made ways to disciple or train. The key is for us to pursue a genuine, passionate relationship with the Lord. Then we are equipped and able to serve aright, freed to disciple our children as we look to the Lord for His plan, first for us as individuals, then for our family and finally, other ways that He calls us to minister for Him.

Parenting/discipling our children is more about people than process.
It is more about who I am than what I

Let's seek the Lord diligently. I am confident that we will be amazed at all He has for us and for our family. His plans for us are exceedingly greater than we could ever ask for or imagine! (1 Cor. 2:9)


Resources for you:

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Autumn wanderings....

Ido hope you have been able to get out and delight in Autumn

The trees are, with lifted arms, glorifying God in great exuberance here.

My heart is as well.

I find that I must purpose to slow down, to give thanks and

to notice

If I am not careful, my lists and desire to accomplish the temporal

keeps me from noticing and giving thanks for the Giver

of things eternal.

Give thanks to the LORD, for He is good; For His lovingkindness is everlasting.
Ps. 118:1

He is good, so good
and I delight
in abundance of
blessings here


Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Around here lately....


he last week has been "overflowingly" full!

On Wednesday, our oldest son, Nate, who is in the Army, was able to come home for a four day visit! That qualifies for a family holiday here.

I used my chalk markers to write a "welcome home" message for Nate on our front storm door.

The whole family drove up to the airport to pick Nate up.

The children had a blast watching planes landing and taxiing, etc.

You should have seen the "group hug" that took place when Nate arrived! (In uniform, no less!)

Here we were waiting for Nate's luggage to arrive~ and trying to keep the little guys from taking a ride on the baggage conveyor!

I'm so glad that he was able to bring his guitar home! I really miss hearing his guitar around the house.

Nate really enjoys his little brothers and they, of course, are thrilled to have another lap to sit on and be hugged!

We took a little time to catch a family photo on Sunday...

We had to do a little "horsing around."

The little boys found a skink...

We reluctantly returned Nate to his Army duties Sunday afternoon, which was so sad. It was a much quieter ride up to the airport that evening than when we went to get him on Wednesday.

Then, to top off our day, Tom had to euthanize our Old English Mastiff, Lucy that night. She was getting old and had really begun to suffer. It was heartbreaking to see her like that.

I was sad to say "good-bye" to her.

Monday we had some fabulous autumn weather and I was able to go for a bike ride to pray and "recharge."

Life ebbs and flows, doesn't it? Seasons change and I embrace them... both the warm carefree summer days and autumn's splendor. Winter's blast doesn't last forever, does it?

This I recall to my mind, Therefore I have hope.
The LORD'S lovingkindnesses indeed never cease, For His compassions never fail.
They are new every morning; Great is Your faithfulness.
"The LORD is my portion," says my soul, "Therefore I have hope in Him."
The LORD is good to those who wait for Him, To the person who seeks Him.
Lam. 3:21-25

Nate wrote this song recently, and sang it for us when he was home.

His Love

Don’t give up on love
Its not so far away
Turn your eyes above
He is here to stay

So don’t close your eyes
Keep pressing on
And when you fall down
Face to the ground
Look to the sky
His love pours down

You say you fell too far
Child, you never left his side
Take heart and hold His hand
Arise, loved one, and stand

Choosing to find joy in Him and His gifts so richly given,


Friday, October 16, 2009

Discipling our Children - pt.2

What is our goal as we disciple our children? My greatest desire is that our children be gradually formed into the image of Christ (Gal. 4:19) and attain Christian maturity (Eph.4:13-15).

As a new parent you might have had some ideas about how you would go about raising your children to love the Lord. For most of us, we quickly realized that life with children was not quite as idealistic as we originally thought. Certainly, the years of sleep-deprivation are difficult, but what about the time that your sweet little one defiantly "shook their fist in your face" and told you "no!" in no uncertain terms? "Yikes! Where did that come from?"

No doubt about it, while discipling our children can be the most rewarding investment we make, it is also fraught with questions and many "unknowns."

When I was a younger parent I think I might have been quick to offer my thoughts on parenting/discipling children, quite confident that certain "methods" would obtain a desired "outcome." Now that I have a dozen children, two of whom are adults out on their own, I am much less confident to offer advice.

As I mentioned in part one of this article, these thoughts are fruit of my preparations for a talk that I have been asked to give next weekend. It is not a topic that I would have chosen on my own, but it has been very good for me to consider and articulate my thoughts on "discipling our children."

Here's what I believe, the condensed version.

Parenting/discipling our children is more about *people* than *process*. It is more about who I am than what I do.

I was recently told about an interesting survey of “over 50-year-olds,” concerning their greatest fears…
3. fear of dying
2. running out of money
1. living an insignificant life

This strikes a deep chord in me. I do not want to live a life of insignificance. As a mother, in this season of life, my family, those I rub shoulders with, laugh and cry with are the ones in my immediate sphere of influence. The ones upon whom I can have the most influence. If you have children living at home with you, they are the ones upon whom you will have the most impact, simply because you are with them all day long.

Investing in our family is certainly a way to live a life that is significant.

Are you like me though? Is this at times overwhelming to you? Do you feel unprepared, ill-equipped or unable to successfully accomplish this task? We are unable without the Lord Jesus Christ. But praise God, His yoke is easy and His burden light. (Matt. 11:30) The problem is that we often take on a yoke that He did not intend for us to carry.

Parenting/discipling our children is not always easy or happy. We wouldn’t expect any other major calling to be easy (studying to become a doctor, being a missionary, etc.), so why are we so surprised/dismayed when, despite our best efforts, our children are, well, children? I think this primarily happens when our focus is “off.”

Our highest calling in life is *not* our family or our children! It is to love the Lord our God first and foremost. Anything else is idolatry.

Many women have abandoned careers to stay home and invest in their family. I have done the same thing (with no regrets, I might add). But we must guard vigilantly against seeing our family as our greatest calling. I propose that it is just as misguided to place our family on a pedestal that only the Lord should occupy as it is to place a career there.

When my focus is on the Lord, then I am freed to serve my family and disciple my children in ways that I never could otherwise.

Some years ago now, when I had four children, 6 and under, I found out that I was expecting again! While I was thrilled to add another child to our family, I was very overwhelmed. My pregnancies are not “easy.” I tend to get extreme “morning sickness” which lasts for much longer than the average three months. This often caused me to lose 10-20lbs and become so dehydrated that I had to be re-hydrated via IV.

The day I found out for sure that we were expecting again I came to the Lord in my quiet time, so needy~ dreading the months ahead and seeking encouragement. Do you know what the Lord lead me to read that morning? 2 Chron. 20:15

" and he said, 'Listen, all Judah and the inhabitants of Jerusalem and King Jehoshaphat: thus says the LORD to you, 'Do not fear or be dismayed because of this great multitude, for the battle is not yours but God's.'"

This made me laugh and was a fabulous reminder to me. My "great multitude" was not intimidating to the Lord! There is a "my part," and a "His part."

In order to disciple my children, and even more importantly, to serve my God, I must place my eyes on Jesus, just like Peter walking on the stormy seas and remember that "the battle is not mine, but the Lord's." (That's my part). God is responsible for the rest. (That's His part)

Parenting and discipling our children are more about who we are, than what we do.

It is about me "fixing my eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of my faith" and it is about, as Elisabeth Elliot puts it, "seeing in every frustration 'a chance to die.' A chance to leave self behind and say 'yes' to the will of God." Children are fabulous for maturing us in that way, aren't they?

Our own personal walk with the Lord is so key that I would propose that it is possible to have family devotions, require perfect obedience from your children, involve them in a myriad of good activities and still not communicate to them that which is the very most important.

Just as "love covers a multitude of sins," I believe that parents who joyfully and passionately love the Lord demonstrate a faith that is contagious to their children.

This joy-filled walk with the Lord simply must happen first…

The fact is that life is hard. I know this first hand. Here are some of the things that the Lord has blessed us with in the past years~ creating dependence on Him and showing Him faithful in ways I never would have experienced otherwise:

1. As I mentioned earlier, I get very sick when I am pregnant.
2. three miscarriages, one of which was at 17 weeks.
3. Three times our family has been shot at in “drive-by-shootings” (my husband is a policemen), one time in particular bullets very narrowly missed hitting three of our sleeping children.
4. Our ninth baby was born 13 weeks early and required several major surgeries when he was young.
5. We have experienced the challenge of helping teens navigate the (at times) stormy waters to adulthood and have had to watch them “figure things out” for themselves.

We each have our own list of difficulties in our lives, don’t we? So, how do I find joy and delight in my walk with the Lord and in my personal life? (*please understand, I don’t mean “happiness,” but joy that transcends circumstances.)

Ultimately, of course, we can’t seek or find joy. It is a gift from the Lord. He grants joy as we seek Him. That being said, here are some practical ways that I "feed my soul" and in the process often stumble upon joy!

Quality time in the Word, preferably first thing in the day, plus additional times later in the day (you can read one of my favorite George Mueller quotes at the end of this post detailing a rich way to spend time in the Word each morning) If the younger children interrupt me early in the morning (the older children never seem to have a problem getting up too early!), I have them get a Children’s Bible story book and sit quietly with me.
Maintaining a thankfulness journal
Striving for a peaceful and picked-up home
Prayer ~60/60 prayer challenge
Documenting my walk with the Lord… journal, blog etc.
Photography (helps me to not only “see” but also to seek and find reasons to give glory to God)
Exercise: this, too, looks different for everyone, but for me, right now my favorite form of exercise is bicycling… hard for 16 miles at a nearby lake every day that I can manage to squeeze an hour to get out there. When the weather doesn’t cooperate I do step-aerobics in my living room…. The little guys often join in~ it’s got to be pretty comical. I really believe that getting outside is best and aerobic exercise is best of all. A stroll by the lake is therapeutic, but a really hard workout not only burns calories, and is a fabulous time to pray, but also is wonderful for burning stress.
Meditating on scripture~ carrying around my scripture memory cards with me throughout the day and
Using a small piece of paper or 3x5 card to write down a meaningful verse from my morning quiet time to carry around with me as I tackle life.

It is more about People than Process. (My children are intrinsicly important individuals who must each make a decision to follow the Lord. No particular "method" will guarantee any given result.)
2. It is more about who I am than what I do. (My walk with the Lord is paramount. My joyful obedience is significantly more important than any prescribed "method" of discipleship.)

coming soon: part 3, with some specific ideas detailing some ways we have invested in our children's lives, some discipling "specifics."

Rejoicing in the everyday blessings here, and surprised by joy, even in the hard things,

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Soul hungry?

The Lord will accomplish what concerns me;
Your lovingkindness, O Lord, is everlasting.
~Ps. 138:8

An early morning reminder of God's faithfulness and care.

My view as I enter the quiet kitchen early in the day for time with my Precious Savior. I need this time in the Word, just like I need to eat in order to sustain my body...

I recently read, not sure where, the idea to write down a verse, a morsel to chew on throughout the day, on a small piece of paper. While I am a huge believer in journaling, I am aware of my need for frequent reminders of truth throughout the day.

The journal, while loved, is not as portable.

This was my reminder today.... oh, how He loves and cares for us!

The 3"x5" testimony of His care and lovingkindness walked through my day with me,
tucked in jeans pocket

pulled out for soul snacks

when heart-hungry.

Ah, the riches of His Word.... my thanksgiving soul feast.


Thursday, October 8, 2009

Discipling our Children - pt.1

In preparation for a talk that I have been asked to give, I have been thinking and praying about the topic "Discipling our Children." Not only am I somewhat reluctant to speak in public, but I find that the older I get, the less I know! So I am forced to rely on the Lord. And that is very, very good for me.

It is my heart's desire that all of my children are passionate about their relationship with the Lord~ so much so that I delight (most of the time!) in pouring my life into my children, with that outcome in mind. Certainly that is very good and profitable. I propose though, that if seeking and serving the Lord is not foremost in my life, all of the rest is for naught.

Consider the following quote from an Elizabeth Elliot devotional:

"Sometimes I am asked to speak to young people who are toying with the idea of being missionaries. They want to know how I discovered the will of God. The first thing was to settle once and for all the supremacy of Christ in my life, I tell them. I put myself utterly and forever at His disposal, which means turning over all the rights: to myself, my body, my self-image, my notions of how I am to serve my Master. Oswald Chambers calls it "breaking the husk of my individual independence of God." Until that break comes, all the rest is "pious fraud." I tell these earnest kids that the will of God is always different from what they expect, always bigger, and, ultimately, infinitely more glorious than their wildest imaginings.

But there will be deaths to die. Paul found that out--daily, he said. That
is the price of following the way of the cross--of course. If our object is to save others we must be clear that we cannot save ourselves. Jesus couldn't either.

This scares people. Yet what is there to fear when Christ holds first
place in our lives? Where, other than in the will of the Father, shall we expect to find significance, security, and serenity?"

Elizabeth says that "all the rest is pious fraud." My homeschooling, embracing a large family, serving my husband, yes, all falls in the category of "pious fraud" if I am not first placing myself at His disposal and allowing Him to reign supreme in my life.

Are there "deaths to die?" Most certainly.

I would have to agree with Elizabeth Elliot though that His plans for us are always infinitely more glorious than we could have ever imagined.

As we seek and serve Him first, then we are equipped to disciple our children aright. My desire is that my passion be serving the Lord first. Once that is decided, then discipling my children and all of the other things He calls me to do can be a worshipful response to Him.

My significance certainly cannot rest in my children, how obedient they are, how faithfully they walk with the Lord, etc. My delight, my satisfaction, can only come from seeking the Lord first and delighting in obeying Him.

Then I can "invite the glorious into the mundane"*....

there my heart is satisfied.

"I wait for the Lord, my soul does wait.
And in His word do I hope."
Ps. 130:5

Waiting and hoping in Him,

* thanks Michelle @ She Looketh Well for the referenced quote above in a video posted a few days ago.

Monday, October 5, 2009

Teach us to number our days.... (and blessings too!)

Some days feel like several days crammed into one, don't they? Today, after a very full day of homeschooling, the boys sprinted home to tell me that one of our goats was having babies! Our little herd of Nubian Dairy goats are more like pets than livestock. We primarily have them as a source of hormone and antibiotic-free affordable milk for the children. (I also love having ways to keep the children "profitably occupied" and for us, the goats fit the bill.)

I had not planned on having kids (as in, baby goats!) yet, so I immediately began planning where we would put the babies, and wondering where the heat lamp was, etc. Before I could even get up to the barn, the sad news arrived that our doe had delivered three premature babies, and all died.

Soon after, I left to take Hannah and Abbie to teach at the Good News Club that they work at every Monday. While they were teaching I went for my bike ride. I love this time as a great workout, but mostly as a quiet time to pray and think.

After picking up the girls we returned home to news that the doe who had delivered the triplets didn't look very good. I rushed up to the barn and arrived only minutes before she died as well. We are guessing that she had preeclampsia. So, so sad. We have been raising Nubians for almost 9 years now and have never lost an adult goat.

The older boys dug a hole and buried her. And I contemplated~ our days are brief and the length of them unpredictable. Yea, I know, just a goat, not a person. But still, our days are brief. We do not know what tomorrow may bring.

Today, I choose to live thankfully, cognizant of many things that I might otherwise overlook. Certainly, life is not always happy, but I am endeavoring to live joyfully, fully engaged with all that the Lord has given me to do. here. now.

Here's this week's edition of my "thankfulness project"...

51. A daughter who is discovering the blessing of deliberately giving thanks... in all things.
52. A husband who will ask the hard questions... drawing others out in conversation.
53. A new book~ new challenging thoughts for me.
54. Chickens with fluffy bottoms...
55. A newly 13 year old daughter who loves flowers

56. little boys in fuzzy-footed sleepers. (Especially snuggly when on my lap for a book!)
57. a journal... a humble God-finding reminder and delight... a specific place to document my thankfulness

58. our ever-faithful and eternally happy Great Pyreneese, Lance (can you tell that he loves bread?)

59. early morning quiet~ before the (blessed with joy) fray begins.
60. for the incredible priviledge of being part of the Body of Christ. i'm humbled.
61. persistently blooming autumn flowers displayed in memory-laden antique pitcher and

62. the fluttering winged beauties who frequent them.

63. a pickup full of happy children, husband. Memories being made here....

64. a full moon, sailing clouds, created by God, admired by all here

Behold, as the eyes of servants look to the hand of their master,
As the eyes of a maid to the hand of her mistress,
So our eyes look to the Lord our God,
Until He is gracious to us.
Psalm 123:2

And He is gracious, isn't He?

Rejoicing in gifts given, in overflowing abundance,

holy experience

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Black Forest Cheesecake

Around here, we get to celebrate lots of birthdays and the requested dessert of choice for almost everyone older than 7 is black forest cheesecake. mmmmmm.... (The younger boys choose "dirt cake"~ a chocolate cake with crushed chocolate cookies on top and gummy worms on top of that!)

Anyway,.... here, as promised (I'm learning not to promise things here on my blog~ life tends to get in the way....) is our family's favorite Black Forest Cheesecake!

*Disclaimer: this recipe is neither healthy nor low-fat, but it can be made gluten-free and it is yummy...... super-yummy!

Black Forest Cheesecake

3/4 cup chocolate cookies, crushed

2 8oz. packages cream cheese

1 1/2c. sugar

3 eggs

1 c. chocolate chips

1 1/2tsp. vanilla

1/4c. cocoa

1 c. sour cream

1 can cherry pie filling

Whipped Cream


Here is your cast of characters:

First, you will need to crush the chocolate cookies. We use chocolate graham crackers from Wal Mart ~ not gluten free for one cheesecake and then use gluten free cookies for the GF cheesecake or sometimes I simply make the GF cheesecake without a crust. Trust me, it's still good! This recipe makes 1 cheesecake. We almost always double it. ok, we always double it!

And please don't ask how long the leftovers last here~ I'm sworn to secrecy.

Here are the cookies in a gallon ziploc bag, ready for the teenaged boy crushing crew.

And here is my personal 14-year-old-chocolate-cookie-crusher in action! Don't you wish you had one of those?

While the crusher is busy crushing, I begin melting the chocolate chips, stirring constantly over low heat. Once they are melted, I just turn the burner off (I use gas) and let them sit for a minute while I blend the other ingredients in my Bosch mixer.

Beat the cream cheese and sugar at high speed in the mixer, then gradually add the eggs, one at a time. Once those are incorporated, you can add the melted chocolate chips, vanilla, cocoa and sour cream.

Once you have all the ingredients blended together, you simply pour this mixture into your springform pans. Be sure to put your crushed cookies in the pan first, then pour the cheesecake mixture on top of that!

Bake for 1 1/2 hour at 300 degrees F. After removing from oven, allow to cool for 20ish minutes, then run a knife around the edges of the pan to release the cheesecake. Refrigerate for at least 8 hours. (I like to refrigerate the cherry pie filling as well).

Ignore the mushed cake... that would be my fault! Oops. Trust me, it was still consumed in record time!

Pour your chilled pie filling on top, and if you'd like add some whipped cream as well.....

Here's Tim, ready to dig in!