Friday, October 28, 2016

Tips for Bringing Autumn Inside


While the earth remains,
Seedtime and harvest, and cold and heat,
And summer and winter, and day and night
Shall not cease.
Genesis 8:22

The faithfulness of our God is seen in the rhythm of the changing seasons.  They always come in the right order!  And they come right on time.  In our area, trees are changing colors, bears are raiding garbage cans to get ready for hibernation, elk and deer are coming down from the high country, and a chill is in the evening air. That speaks of autumn at Sky Ranch Ute Trail in Colorado!

Bring a flavor of autumn into your homes and celebrate the changing beauty God displays.  Start with something that smells good and warms you on a chilly morning!  This tea mix recipe came from my best friend and we often drink it while visiting together. I always save this recipe for autumn and winter months.

Russian Tea Mix
2/3 cup instant decaf unsweetened tea mix
1 cup powdered orange juice mix (Tang)
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 tsp ground cloves
2 Tbl powered lemonade mix
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon

Mix all ingredients and store in air tight container.
About 3 tsp of mix per 12 oz of boiling water.

Other ideas: 

  • Put together your favorite “comfort soup” and have it cook slowly in a Crock pot or on the stove top. It will make the whole house smell good!
  • Decorate with lots of pumpkins and pine cones! Place little ones on the table tops and counters. Then, put big ones on the porches. 
  • Pull out the old quilts and use them for table cloths! It just speaks of warmth!! Then cozy up to the table and eat some of your “comfort soup!”
  • Buy a bag of marshmallows for the children to roast over the first fires you build in the fireplace . . . if you don’t have a fire place, use a gas stove top! The kids will love it!
  • Don’t throw out the seeds when carving pumpkins, they make great snacks that are rich in fiber as well as vitamins B and E. Those of us that are purists will want only salt as a seasoning and those of us feeling adventurous can experiment with seasonings blends.

Gourmet Roasted Pumpkin Seeds

1 1/2 cups pumpkin seeds
2 teaspoons melted butter or oil (olive oil or vegetable oil work well)
salt to taste

Preheat oven to 300ยบ F.
Clean off any major chunks of strings and pulp on your seeds.
Toss pumpkin seeds in a bowl with the melted butter or oil and seasonings of your choice. Spread pumpkin seeds in a single layer on an oiled baking sheet.
Bake for about 30 minutes, stirring occasionally, until golden brown.

Flavor Combinations for Gourmet Roasted Pumpkin Seed Snacks:
• Italian Style Pumpkin Seeds -- Italian Seasoning Blend, Parmesan Cheese,
Olive oil, salt and pepper.
• Pumpkin Pie Pumpkin Seeds -- Cinnamon, Ground Ginger and Pinch of
Nutmeg, and Butter
• Greek Style -- Lemon Pepper Seasoning Blend, Oregano, Salt, Olive Oil
• Buffalo Wings Pumpkin Seeds -- Butter, Tabasco Sauce, Salt

Happy autumn!
Love always,

Saturday, October 15, 2016

"Perfect" Encouragement!

“Perfect” Encouragement! 

It’s going around and I guess if I have bumped into, you have as well.  It’s been around forever but it seems to be kind of an epidemic of sorts.  Perfect!  To play the game of mom, friend, bible study girl, keeper of the home, volunteer at the school, neighbor next door, kid’s resume overseer…. you need to be, well, perfect!  But I want to encourage you on another set of rules to the game and it’s the gospel. 

The gospel is for the imperfect!  No matter how you did today or your child did today, this is what the guidebook of life, The Bible, has to say: 

For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and all are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus. Romans 3:23-24 

As it is written: "There is no one righteous, not even one Romans 3:10  

We all stumble in many ways. Anyone who is never at fault in what they say is perfect, able to keep their whole body in check. James 3:2 

Go ahead and ask your friend to pray for that other prayer request you would just really like to have covered, but doing so might seem a little too needy or imperfect. 

Go ahead and prayerfully share with your children your hurts, habits, and hang ups when you were their age or even better, your current age! 

Go ahead and let the mom know who is sitting by you at the game and a little discouraged about her child’s overall performance lately that you too have been there or are currently there with your own children! 
We all need the grace of the gospel for the imperfect we did nothing to inherit other than coming into this world as a sinner in need of a savior!  It’s a perfect weakness with a perfect solution!

Wednesday, October 5, 2016

Adam and Eve and Jesus

Adam and Eve and Jesus

Family Fun Icebreaker: What is a comforting scripture for you? Why?

Question: How Does God Relate to Others?

Today’s Big Idea: God, Adam and Eve, and Jesus

God’s relationship with Adam and Eve illustrates mankind’s struggle with sin. Rebelling against God is sin, and sin has consequences. In Genesis 3, Satan deceives Adam and Eve with his lies. They both choose to eat the forbidden fruit, listening to Satan rather than staying away from the tree God instructed them not to touch. From that moment on, the world changes through the lasting effects of that original sin. Satan’s temptation for you to sin is a real, daily struggle. Genesis 3 explains how Adam and Eve (mankind) begin pure, but fall into sin. Thankfully, God has a plan! Jesus, God’s Son, also faces temptation from Satan to sin. However, Jesus’ response to Satan is quite different from Adam’s. Jesus is the only sinless man. In His struggle, He conquers sin through knowing God’s Word. Jesus is an example for you. He counters each sin Satan presents with the truth found in the Bible. Read Matthew 4:1-11. God sends Jesus to repair the damage done by Adam and Eve, giving you a way to find freedom from sin’s control over you.

Talk with God: Read the scriptures aloud.

The man replied, “It was the woman you gave me who gave me the fruit, and I ate it.” 
The LORD God asked the woman, “What have you done?” 
“The serpent deceived me,” she replied. “That’s why I ate it.” Genesis 3:12-13 NLT

Then Jesus was led by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted there by the devil. Matthew 4:1 NLT

Walk with God: Read aloud and discuss.
God knows from the beginning that you need His help to defeat sin. Sin is difficult to overcome, especially when Satan accuses and tempts you. Jesus shows you examples of how to resist temptation through scripture. There is
power in God’s Word! 

James 4:7 says, “Submit therefore to God. Resist the devil and he will free from you.” 

Spend time confessing your struggle with sin to God. Search scripture and find verses that teach you how to counter your problem through His Word. The next time you feel temptation, pray the scripture aloud and resist the urge to sin.

Discuss with your family: God calls scripture “the Sword of the Spirit” because it is your weapon against the attacks of Satan. What truth in scripture helps to keep you from sinning?

Prayer suggestion: Pray for God to help you learn the scripture that will help you the most.

Stacy A. Davis, Author
Sky Ranch Family Devotionals, from the book 
All In
© 2015 Stacy A. Davis, Inc. All rights reserved

Monday, October 3, 2016

A Mother Daughter Weekend and God's Plan Through Sky Ranch

Hi friends, my name is Sydney Woychesin.

I have gone to Sky Ranch summer camp for 6 years now, and have loved every second of it! Sky Ranch and I have a lot of history. In the spring of 2010, my mom was diagnosed with uterine cancer. My parents did not tell me about this at first because they did not want me to worry about my mom. My mom did not know what the outcome was going to be and was really worried about potentially not being there for me.

She decided that we should get away to bond and grow closer as mother and daughter, so she went to the internet searching for mother daughter retreats. Sky Ranch was the first thing that popped up on her browser, and I am eternally grateful for that. 

In the fall of 2010, we went to our first mother daughter retreat in Van, TX. Little did I know that I would be back several times over the course of my life. The excitement of the counselors and staff was overwhelming as we walked into the activity center that day. The staff’s smiles made us feel so welcome and at home. Over the course of the weekend we were engaged in several activities around camp as well as theme nights, worship, and Bible study. All of these things brought me and my mom closer and we are both so thankful for Sky Ranch and all they have done for us. At the end of the weekend we received a coupon for summer camp in Van. My mom automatically signed me up for summer camp and ever since then I have attended camp at Sky Ranch every summer.

That following summer I went to camp in Van. The atmosphere was amazing and all of the counselors were super excited that I was there, making sure I had a great time. A full week away from my parents was hard for a 4th grader, but camp mail was awesome for me to receive, knowing that my parents missed me too! Each day we were involved in a multitude of activities and had set aside time for Bible studies, small groups, and one on one’s. That summer I accepted Jesus as my personal Lord and Savior. The decision I made that summer has changed me forever. The combination of extreme fun and Jesus easily makes Sky Ranch one of my favorite places ever! Every year after that I have returned to camp, excited and ready to learn more about God and his plan for me.

As I grew older, I had the opportunity to enroll into the leadership camp that Sky Ranch offers. At this point in my life, I knew who Jesus was and that He died for me and all of my sins that I have committed, but I did not have a relationship with Him. Throughout Morph and Quest leadership camps I have found my identity in Christ pursuing a personal relationship with Him. Morph and Quest camps have more set aside time for deeper and challenging Bible studies which I have loved. This summer I had the opportunity to go to the Horn Creek campus for Quest Colorado. The staff both there and in Van are equally as excited and pumped to see you. Every summer I have returned the same week (the past two years landing on my birthday) and the relationships that I have formed have changed me forever.  I have several counselors and friends that I continue to keep in touch with and am beyond blessed to have all of them in my life. All of these girls are God-fearing ladies that have loved, prayed, and encouraged me and I will look up to them for the rest of my life. These people have inspired me to work at a Christian day camp, sharing the gospel with children every day! My hope is to eventually return to Sky Ranch as a counselor, changing lives in the same place mine was changed. Sky Ranch has been a huge part of my walk with the Lord and I cannot express enough how thankful I am for every single staff member who has made an impact in my life. 

I am also excited to announce that I have been invited to return to Colorado this summer for two weeks as a Sigma! Sigma is Sky Ranch’s last tier of leadership camp and I will be attending Sigma Junior for juniors in high school. I am super excited for what the Lord has planned this summer for me, Sky Ranch, and all of the campers who will go through Sky Ranch’s gates. If my mom would not have typed into that search bar I would not have met so many people who love the Lord and care for me so much. I am convinced the Lord knew from the beginning of time that Sky Ranch would quickly become my home away from home and it is amazing to think that a God so great loves me so much.

Thanks for reading,

Sydney Woychesin