The Miracle That Anyone Can See ~ A Snowflake!

The Miracle That Anyone Can See ~ A Snowflake!

Years ago, we watched a video from Moody Institute of Science that showed snowflake pictures as seen through a microscope.  They were so unique, intricate and beautiful.

I came away with a sad feeling though, thinking that you must have enough money to own a microscope, to view this great phenomena.

Little did I know, the miracle was right there, in my hands and under my feet! Read more

Last Chance! Car Seat Baby Blankets Shop Is Closing!

I am finally about to close the Virginia Ann shop this Friday (December 30th, 4 pm) !

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Use the code VirginaAnnCloseout30 and receive 30% off your ENTIRE order!

There are still a number of car seat baby blankets, little girls skirts and drawstring baby gowns available (a majority of the products are the last one in stock)!

Read more

Flashback … 26 Reasons I love Hannah!

SURPRISE!!! (I wish I could see your face Hannah, when you first see this post).
Flashback ... 26 Reasons I love Hannah!

Do you love giving thanks?  Recently we celebrated Hannah’s 26 birthday!  As I thought back over the last 26 years of Hannah’s life, I decided in the spirit of this thanksgiving season, to come up with a collection of memories, facts and interesting info about her. She has been a great inspiration and joy in my life, and I look forward to many more years together 🙂

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1. Hannah was conceived on our parents honeymoon!   If my parents had gone the  traditional, recommended “wait a year or more” for children, Hannah would not be here today.  I would probably be the oldest, and the world would lack a daughter, sister and friend.  There would be no editress,
business owner, web designing, chocolate lovin’, coffee drinkin’ girl named Hannah… what a difference one life can make!
Flashback ... 26 Reasons I love Hannah!

2. Abba worked a corporate office job when Hannah was young.  The family lived in a townhouse apartment and he had limited physical work to do.  He and Ima (mama) read to Hannah all the time, and by the time she was 4 years old, she was reading adult books on her own… 20 years later, she edits them 🙂
Flashback ... 26 Reasons I love Hannah!

3. Hannah went from being a prissy, city girl that whined if her hands got dirty, to living in a trailer stuck in a field, in the middle-of nowhere Virginia 🙂
Flashback ... 26 Reasons I love Hannah!

4. When Hannah was 22 months, she remembers eating popcorn with the midwife after Tommy, her 12 pound brother was born.  For all of you cringing, Ima (who has only had natural births) says his was the easiest of them all!  I love the picture below.  How is an 18 pound girl supposed to hold her 12 pound brother?
Flashback ... 26 Reasons I love Hannah!

5.  While living in Virginia, Ima started buying sweet potatoes, that had not been sprayed with chemicals.  She would try to feed Hannah the skins but Hannah’s response was “me don’t like the skins, me don’t like the skins”.  One day, Tommy was eating the peel and started to  barely choke.  Hannah said matter-of-factley: “He don’t like the skins”!
Flashback ... 26 Reasons I love Hannah!

6.  When Hannah was almost 4, I (Ruthie) was born.  Hannah excitedly called our grandmother who was at our uncle’s place.  She said “oh Ma! She is so beautiful, she’s so beautiful, and we will call her Rooffi!  Since you have a Naomi [my cousin], we will call her Rooffi!”  I have loved and looked up to her ever since (well, “up” might be an incorrect word, I passed her in hight awhile back) 🙂
Flashback ... 26 Reasons I love Hannah!

7.  When Hannah was 6, Sarah was born.  Hannah has always been very mature for her age, and was an incredible help to Ima. Below is the first cobbler she made.
Flashback ... 26 Reasons I love Hannah!

8.  While in Virginia, we got a trampoline!  I would cling onto the edge, while Hannah and Tommy jumped.  As soon as they bonked heads and started crying, I would jump up and start bouncing, by myself.  Years later, Hannah still enjoys the trampoline… even though she rarely gets on it anymore.
Flashback ... 26 Reasons I love Hannah!

9.  We moved from Virginia to Tennessee and Hannah became even more responsible and helpful as we moved from place to place and Abigail, Samuel, Lydia and Baby Yosef were born.  She cooked, did school, and milked our goat with Tommy.  Mindy the goat didn’t like rain and the only way to calm her, was singing.  Hannah came up with a an extra verse to the “Its Raining It’s Pouring” song, and we still chant occasionally.  It went something like this:  “… So he hired a  girl and a boy, named Hannah Washburn and Tommy Washburn, to milk his goat named Mindy, then he sold her to us… Oh, oh, oh, what a good girl Mindy is, Oh, oh, oh, what a good girl Mindy is” 🙂 Thankfully her song writing skills have improved since then.
Flashback ... 26 Reasons I love Hannah!

10.  Eventually, we built a home in west Tennessee and Hannah decorated the rafters and walls with stories about us, and what we were doing.  Sometimes, we would climb up in the rafters and she would read her handywork to us.
Flashback ... 26 Reasons I love Hannah!

11.  Hannah used to play outside, climb trees and hike!  There was one tree she would climb up really high.  Then she would sway back and forth, terrifying Tommy and I.
She also loves competitive games.  Soccer, volleyball and spoons might be her favorite.  She use to always win Kings Base, ’cause she would never dash off her base very far.  Cautious and smart she was… but not a whole lot of fun for the rest of us impatient children 🙂
Flashback ... 26 Reasons I love Hannah!

12.  Us children used to be divided into 2 groups.  There were the “3 oldest”, and the “4 youngest” (Sarah eventually learned how to work that though, if the “3 oldest” got a privilege she tried to become one of the “4 oldest”, if the younger ones got a treat, she was definitely one of them 🙂 ).  I was so glad Hannah and Tommy welcomed me, as one of the “big people”, and let me in on their thoughts, projects and fun.  You older siblings have an important role to play in shaping your siblings lives.

Flashback ... 26 Reasons I love Hannah!

13.  Hannah would get frustrated with me, because I couldn’t seem to clean my stuff up (we’ve shared rooms our whole life)!  Somehow life has a way of switching things around and now I’m the one that can’t understand, why she would prefer to let her clean laundry pile up THEN put it away.
Flashback ... 26 Reasons I love Hannah!

14.  One day, Hannah and Tommy were building a fort.  Tommy happened to nail into a maple tree and sap started dripping out!  They decided to make maple syrup.  The first year, they only wound up with a cup or so of syrup, but that fed the fire of interest, and now we get nearly enough syrup,  to last a whole year!  Best of all, we have many good memories of tapping trees together, hiking up and down treacherous hills to gathering sap, cooking it down and eating together.  Maple syrup is very hard work… but it is so much fun too!
Flashback ... 26 Reasons I love Hannah!

15.  As a girl, Hannah watched Abba play his guitar.  She started teaching herself to play by ear and now plays the guitar or piano more days than not.  She loves music and enjoys using her talents to bless others.
Flashback ... 26 Reasons I love Hannah!

16.  At age 16, Hannah started a magazine for girls. She wanted to encourage them to embrace the Biblical role of womanhood… not just float along in the engulfing current of modern feminism.  Shining Stars Magazine has helped many girls find answers and encouragement in their counter cultural, but very rewarding calling.

 

Flashback ... 26 Reasons I love Hannah!

17.  Hannah also uses her writing skills to spread awareness and support for our beloved Israel.  Check out her powerful and touching post: Israel… What Does It Matter? also, Reply To Comment: Israel … What Does It Matter?
Flashback ... 26 Reasons I love Hannah!

 

18.  She loves the land and especially the people of Israel.  She would love to live there permanently, but in the meantime, she just visits, serves and shares the Good News whenever possible.
Flashback ... 26 Reasons I love Hannah!

19.  Hannah can cook!  Although our likes and dislikes vary, I enjoy some of her unique creations and love when she makes the regular family favorites. The eggplant dip below might be my favorite thing she makes, her falafel are incredible and the almond flour pancakes are delicious too!
Flashback ... 26 Reasons I love Hannah!

 

20.  Hannah is not afraid to speak out on touchy topics including:

 

Flashback ... 26 Reasons I love Hannah!

Flashback ... 26 Reasons I love Hannah!

Flashback ... 26 Reasons I love Hannah!

Flashback ... 26 Reasons I love Hannah!

Flashback ... 26 Reasons I love Hannah!

21.  I am thankful that while Hannah can be very clear and vocal about right and wrong, she is also kind and considerate towards others with a different opinion… unless they are belligerent… she can have a tough side to her 🙂  She used to be a bossy, stubborn, controlling gal,  now…
Flashback ... 26 Reasons I love Hannah!

… now she is quite a fine lady!
Flashback ... 26 Reasons I love Hannah!

22.  Hannah’s favorite days are the cold rainy ones, when she can curl up with a book.  She loves dark chocolate, candles, calico kittens, hot drinks (especially coffee) and sleeping on the floor.
Flashback ... 26 Reasons I love Hannah!

23.  Hannah is a born leader and fun to be around.    She is our moderator-of-choice when we play Occupation (perhaps our favorite group game).
Flashback ... 26 Reasons I love Hannah!

24.  She also loves to dance!  Whether she is helping a friend teach a presentation dance, leading a group, or showing someone a new step, she is truly a blessing!  You can see some of the dances on Dance, Worship and Praise!
Flashback ... 26 Reasons I love Hannah!

25.  Hannah has spent many years building our family’s puppy business.  Although everyone works hard, we would not be where we are now, without the dedication, knowledge, communication skills, web designing skills and business ethic, our heavenly Father has blessed her with.
Flashback ... 26 Reasons I love Hannah!

26.  Perhaps one of the greatest blessings about my sister, is her example of wanting the Father’s best for her- and everyone else’s lives.  Especially when it comes to guys.  Her love and commitment to her future husband is rare, challenging and special… I know she will make some guy an incredible wife one of these days 🙂
Flashback ... 26 Reasons I love Hannah!

I love you Hannah!  Thank you for being such a good sister!

Simple Kosher Dill Pickles Recipe

Our whole family loves pickles and kosher dills are by far the family favorite!

Simple Kosher Dill Pickles Recipe

Mama made them years ago when we lived in western Tennessee.  There were lots of former-Amish/Mennonites in the area who were wonderful neighbors.   We loved buying fresh eggs, milk and lots of veggies from them … not to mention living in a safe environment.

Then in 2005, we moved away.  Since then, we have made very few pickles … we just did not have access to many cucumbers 🙁

This year is different!  Mama came across an Amish community about 15 minutes away.  HURRAY for fresh produce again!!! Read more

Mama’s Tex-Mex Dip Recipe

Have you ever been invited to a picnic, party, friend’s house or other gathering and wondered “what in the world should I take?”

Mama's Tex-Mex Dip Recipe

Not only is this recipe super easy to make, it tastes DELICIOUS and very rarely are there any leftovers!

Tex Mex Dip

Makes a 10″ x 14″ casserole dish

3, 16 ounce cans refried beans (if you make your own refried beans, be sure to add as little water as possible to the final mixture … you want the beans THICK!)
16 ounces sour cream
24 ounce jar mild or medium salsa (we usually use medium)
1 pound colby jack cheese, grated
1 bunch green onions, chopped
1 or 2 cans black olives, sliced
tomatoes (the amount varies on the size, maybe 1 large or 3 romas), diced

Spread refried beans across the bottom of the casserole dish.  Spoon the sour cream on top and carefully spread evenly.  Do the same with the salsa.  Spread cheese.  Sprinkle the olives, tomatoes and green onions artistically, to top off your yummy dip.  Serve with tortilla chips.

We usually eat this recipe cold but when we were at a meeting one time someone placed it in the oven and served it hot!  It was also tasty that way so you may want to experiment to see which way you prefer.

Mama's Tex-Mex Dip Recipe

Orange Spice Tea Recipe ~ A Hot Weather Favorite

Orange Spice Tea Recipe ~ A Hot Weather Favorite

My father is an incredible man.  When it comes to the kitchen, he is “famous” for his omelets, cream cheese dip, burgers and especially pizza.  Other than that, he pretty much lets us ladies have the kitchen.  For some reason though, he decided to come up with this recipe many years ago and, although Gatorade or Powerade are not strangers around here, during the hot summers this is plenty popular too 🙂

Orange Spice Tea

6 small bags Orange Spice Tea (Celestial Seasons is by far my all-time, hands down favorite)
2 large bags Black Tea (or 4 small)
1 gallon Water
3/4 cup Honey

Bring both teas and 4 cups (or so!) of water to a boil.

Orange Spice Tea Recipe ~ A Hot Weather Favorite

Orange Spice Tea Recipe ~ A Hot Weather Favorite

The regular method: As soon as the water boils, turn off heat and steep until the water is warm.  Remove the tea bags and mix in 3/4 cup honey.  Add the remaining 3 quarts of water.

If you are in a hurry: Simmer tea for about 5 to 10 minutes.  Remove the bags.  Mix in 3/4 cup honey, then add ice and the remaining cold water to make 1 gallon.

(Either method works great … we have been making this recipe for at least ten years, using any method, from letting it sit a few minutes to “steeping” overnight, and have yet to mess it up!)

For the guy’s work: Pour the concentrated quart between 4 empty Gatorade bottles, then add the remaining water.

Orange Spice Tea Recipe ~ A Hot Weather Favorite

Serve immediately or store in the refrigerator for up to one week.  Enjoy!

Orange Spice Tea Recipe ~ A Hot Weather Favorite

13 Daughters Share How They Bless Their Families

There are so many ways that daughters can bless their families!

Whether it is physically or spiritually, we daughters can make an impact in this world … especially when we channel our time and talents towards building up our families, so that they (as individuals and as a group) can spread our King’s kingdom!

13 Daughters Share How They Bless Their Families

Sometimes our responsibilities are small, “insignificant” things; other times they are grand and important jobs.  Do everything you do, for the glory of the One who made you.  He sees and will reward you richly, whether others notice or not.

I was browsing over the Shining Stars Magazine blog recently, and decided to share a collection of quotes from interviews that my sister did, on the different ways other daughters liked to blessed their families (while still at home with them).  It was interesting to hear the different personalities and perspectives each one gave and I hope they will bless you too!

13 Daughters Share How They Bless Their Families

With no further ado, here is how 13 daughters answered the question:  “What are some ways that you help and serve your family?”  You can view the full interviews by clicking here, or by clicking on each individual’s name.

Renanah: What really led me to stay at home was seeing how much my mom needed my help around the house. Being a single parent living in a house is not easy so I really went before Yahweh about it and He then showed me the areas I need to help her in and that’s what I do when I’m home. I could have chosen to go to college but in my eyes that would have been selfish of me to leave my mom when she needed me the most. I’m reminded of the story of Ruth. Ruth could have chosen to go with Orpah back to her town but no, she saw that Naomi needed her so he stuck with her and was able to be even more blessed by her faithfulness. Yahweh has also shown me many flaws and dangers of attending college so I was willing to go against the grain and do what He wanted me to do which was to not be a part of this world’s system by getting a job or going to college. I rather help my family and myself by becoming a better keeper at home. When my mom goes to work and my sisters go to school, I devote my time to cleaning, cooking, grocery shopping, yard work, running errands for my mom, or organizing papers. My mom also has a lot of unfinished projects she has started but never finished so I try to finish them when I can.


Hannah M: One of the ways that I (along with my sisters) help out is by cooking our meals. Another thing is that I go each week and get the groceries.  They’re things that I enjoy doing while at the same time they’re blessing my family.


Emily: I help in my family by doing some of the basic chores, such as running the vacuum, sweeping the floor and doing dishes, of course. I also occasionally cook meals for our family and bake things to take to others. Beyond that, I help my family and my dad’ ministry by cleaning our church weekly, as well as designing our church bulletin. I play the piano for the children’s songs during our services and occasionally play offertories. I also help my mom in teaching the children’s Sunday School during church services (my job is mostly keeping them quiet and occupied while she’s teaching). Recently though, I taught Sunday School for the children by myself for the first time. Beyond those things, I help in extending my family’s ministry by things such as babysitting children and visiting with the elderly. There are so many opportunities to be a help in the home … and beyond!

13 Daughters Share How They Bless Their Families

Kathryn: I concoct strange potions in my secret lab for the family members to drink so they can randomly barf money.  Okay. Not. Just had to paint a beee-u-tiful picture in all of your minds. Actually, I’m not really sure what I contribute to the family, other than lots of stitches in their ribs… and stories. I do have lots of plants that everyone likes!  Thyme, Basil, Oregano, Rosemary, Parsley, Guava, Jasmine… Rosemary and Parsley live outside though.  Daddy doesn’t like them. But they don’t feel left out! Catnip lives next door and throws great parties, and lots of weeds come and go.  As far as chores, when I remember, I do the ironing. And when I remember, I also do the laundry. And I do the dishes, when I remember. OH! And I vacuum the floors regularly…when I remember. I also dust… usually when my plants remind me. But I do remember to feed the Beta fish every morning! I can’t help it. They are so beeee-u-tiful, and they need to be in optimal health if they are ever going to make lots of baby Betas for my Beta Fish army… long story….


Alicia: I help homeschool, teach music to the younger ones, and assist in the cooking, cleaning, etc.  I also chaperone my younger sister, who is currently in a relationship with a young man.  As you can imagine, the latter is a rather fun way of assisting my family.


Cameron: My mom and dad run (together) a small construction business, so I assist my mother with bookkeeping and cook family meals. I purposed to cut our food budget in half and started a large vegetable garden under the tutelage of my father. I’m also the primary caregiver for my aging grandmother who lives near us.


Megan: One of the ways that I serve my family is by making supper every day. Several years ago, I felt convicted that I needed to do something in a more “active” serving for my family, especially for my parents. Our parents had raised us to be diligent members of the family, so regular things like helping with the meals, cleaning, laundry, garden and yard work, etc. were already a normal part of our days. Making the supper meals grew to also planning the weekly menus and the shopping lists. I also help my Mom sometimes with her home business – organizing, sewing, etc.  I’m also often blessed to be able to travel to help my brothers or sister with their families. They have young children and I love to be able to help when new babies come, or when they need some extra help.

13 Daughters Share How They Bless Their Families

Kristyn: I enjoy helping my mother in the kitchen.  I like cooking more than baking.  I help my dad with his electrical business.  I also help my little brothers and sisters with their chores and homeschooling.  We’ve been taught to serve each other and that we are all part of the house, so we all chip in and help.  Mostly I like to be outside working with the animals.


Shannon: I love to bless and serve my family through providing meals (cooking is a favorite of mine!), helping my mother in the house work, and making the home a cheerful haven. There are so many opportunities in my home life to grow in service to others!


Hannah U: Oh, where to start?  Because my family’s vision is to be as self-sustaining as possible, a lot of what I do revolves around farm work.  I help plant, weed, harvest and preserve our garden.  Caring for cows, chickens, turkeys, a dog, my rabbit and a few barn cats takes up most of my time.  Cooking from scratch, dishes, laundry and general cleaning takes up my remaining time.  Any spare time I have left is used to knit mittens, socks, slippers, hats, scarves and toys for my family.


Bethany: Usually I serve my family through normal stay-at-home-daughter activities like; cooking, cleaning, yard work and shopping (I help Naomi with the shopping but hopefully one day I’ll take it over :)). I like to help out wherever I am needed. I believe that stay-at-home daughters can also reach out and bless the community with their time and resources. I have been able to help the believing community in our area and even travel (with my parents blessing) to help believers who are not living in such a close proximity to our house.

13 Daughters Share How They Bless Their Families

Valerie: Abba presses new areas on me throughout this season and since there is not much I can physically do for them with our current situations as of right now, the best way He has shown me that I can serve them is through submission. Also, learning to trust their judgment and acknowledging that they hear from the Father through Ruach Kodesh (Holy Spirit), so my obedience to them is the same as my obedience to Abba Yah. From there, both they and I can see and feel the shalom (peace) in the home, as well as order.


Ruth: I had an interesting thought process not long ago, that I will try to share. When I do an extra chore for someone, we would consider it a chance to bless them, or a chance to serve, right?  What if it was my responsibility to do that chore? Is it still a chance to serve? When I go to do the dishes every day, I consider it as one of my jobs, when really it is another opportunity to serve!  Some practical ways I help out around the house are taking care of getting my father and brother ready for work. Getting their breakfast, lunch, and drinks, is something my sisters and I have done for a while now. It is such a blessing, although sometimes that line between duty and opportunity gets gray :).  I have been blessed with the ability to sew and I enjoy doing it, as I can make clothes for my family when needed.  The Holy Spirit nudged me awhile back that I needed to be more helpful so I have tried to do better, sometimes I will be caught up in my school or some other thing, when I realize I need to look around and see what needs to be done, and then do it. It could be simply picking up a pillow, vacuuming the floor, washing the dishes, making a meal, reading a younger sibling a book, helping someone with a math problem … the list could go on and on. I would encourage you to do that sometime, it gives me so much pleasure!

There is no “path to perfection” when it comes to serving our families … we can’t just read some exhortations and then become pros!  There are many incredible ideas out there but each of us are different with unique gifts, families and environments.  Our goal needs to be to hear what the Father is calling us to do, or not do.  Our families are definitely a mission field but is there more?

It is so crucial to rededicate ourselves to the Master’s service regularly.  We can do good things all day long but if HE is not the one giving orders, all of our fabulous intentions mean nothing.  Get knowledge, work hard, be wise, be loving and pray, pray, pray.  Don’t waste this life … not even one day of it.