Saturday, June 21, 2014

A New Beginning

 I am sorry for the lack of posting for the last month. Life has been just a tad bit crazy with preparations for our grand trip to London, England. That and the fact that a cup of coffee was spilled on my laptop are the reasons you haven't heard from me lately.
 Please keep us all in your prayers as we leave day after tomorrow for our eleven day trip across the world. Pray that all little ones sleep soundly during the flights, and that our luggage arrives at the same time we do. (We have a connecting flight.)
 On to some exciting news! You have probably already heard that my family is starting a new website and we would like for you all to check it out. My personal blog posts are added onto our new website and I will be closing this one down and posting there from now on.
  We hope you enjoy all further Houston updates there from now on! God bless!

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Great Quote

"Homemaking is surely in reality the most important work in the world. What do ships, railways, mines, cars, government, etc. exist for except that people may be fed, warmed, and safe in their own homes? ...The homemaker's job is one for which all others exist."

~ C.S. Lewis

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

A Taste of Home

Today I made a jar of ranch dressing. I discovered the deliciousness of homemade salad dressings at a dear friend's home. After having tasted such amazingness I couldn't eat the store bought stuff any longer. There was no flavor at all! Especially a certain Hidden Valley! 
 It seemed so impressive that they made it from scratch. They assured me how easy it was so I thought that I would try it. They were right! 
Here is a recipe for ranch that I found and that is super easy. 

1 1/3 cup mayonnaise 
1 cup buttermilk (or 1 cup milk with 1 tablespoon lemon juice)
1 cup sour cream
4 cloves of garlic
2 teaspoons dried dill (or 1 tablespoon fresh dill)
1 teaspoon dried parsley (or 1 tablespoon fresh parsley)
1 teaspoon onion powder
2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon pepper

This fills a 1 quart jar. I doubled the recipe for you. So if you have a smaller family just divide in half! I hope you all will try this and enjoy some better tasting salad this summer! 

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Great Quote

"Why do bad things happen to good people? That only happened once and He volunteered."

~ R. C. Sproul, Jr.

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Happy Birthday!

Today is the birthday of a very special friend! 
It often surprises me to remember that we have only known each other for a little over two years because it feels as though I have known her my whole life. She is a precious gift from God! He placed her in my life during some of the most trying times I have ever experienced. 
Many of you know that she lived with us last summer during my sister's cancer treatments. For this reason alone I cannot imagine life without her! She was a friend that encouraged me during those long and hard days. I don't know if I would be who I am today had she not been there with me during that long season. God knew that I would need a friend to hug me when I cried, to laugh with me, to sneak to the kitchen in the middle of the night for a spoonful of peanut butter, to go exercising on the track, to go to the store, to drive to the library and then walk to Starbucks, to sit on the porch late at night looking at the moon, eat strawberry rhubarb pie, and the list goes on and on. 
Yes she is amazing!
Thank you God for this precious friend! 

Happy Birthday Anna!

Saturday, March 15, 2014

Until We Meet Again

"The Lord is my Shepherd; I shall not want.
 He maketh me to lie down in green pastures: He leadeth me beside the still waters. He restoreth my soul: He leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for His name's sake. Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me. Thou prepares a table before me in the presence of mine enemies: thou anointest my head with oil; my cup runneth over. 
Surely goodness and mercy shall  follow me all the days of my life :and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever."
~Psalm 23

Yesterday my grandfather, Larry Houston, went to dwell in the presence of his Savior Jesus Christ. 
I love you Grandpa!

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Great Quote

"It would seem that Our Lord finds our desires not too strong, but too weak. We are half-hearted creatures, fooling around with drink and sex and ambition when infinite joy is offered us, like an ignorant child who wants to go on making mud pies in a slum because he cannot imagine what is meant by the offer of a holiday at the sea. We are far too easily pleased."

~ C. S. Lewis, The Weight of Glory and Other Addresses

Thursday, January 16, 2014

I Can Do All Things...

If you laughed when you saw this picture, you are not alone. It's funny. In fact it's hilarious! And yet we often read the Bible as if every story in there did not appear this impossible to the people facing them at the time. We just think, "Oh they were really godly people who never faced anything as difficult as what I'm facing right now."
Have you ever really read the story of David and Goliath with the realization that he was just a "ruddy youth"? He didn't miraculously not face the same fears every other human being. The difference is that He truly had faith in His God. God promised him strength to fulfill His will and David trusted Him. Because of that faith he overcame his earthly fears knowing that God had already won the victory. 
God can do this in our lives as well if we truly give our lives to Him and trust Him to do the rest. You may wonder, "What would God want to use me for?" Well, what did He want with a little shepherd boy tending his father's sheep? We tend to think that God only has as much power in situations as we do. Yes we are lowly creatures. There is a reason for that.
 God shows His glory through using us, weak and helpless humans, to do Mighty things in His strength alone.
This picture is just a funny example, but this is the way we often look at things in life. We don't really believe in a Sovereign God who has it all in His hands. 
Let us now look at life as a gift from a God who chose you and me to glorify Him. All we need to do is trust in His strength to fulfill His desires for our lives. I know, this is most definitely easier said than done. But When things are difficult we just go to our Heavenly Father.

"I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me." 
~Philippians 4:13

Saturday, January 11, 2014


Grace (grase) noun
The free and unmerited favor of God, as manifested in the salvation of sinners and the bestowal of blessings.

"For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son that whosever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life."
~John 3:16

Thursday, January 9, 2014

Great Quote

"No matter how plain a woman may be, if truth and honesty are written across her face, she will be beautiful."

~Eleanor Roosevelt

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Crazy Christmas Week

Our beautiful tree.
 Our crazy Christmas week was full of so many things that I really don't know where to begin. We spent the first day relaxing while Dad and Mom rushed around finishing the Christmas shopping. Then we hectically tried to wrap as many presents before Christmas Eve as possible so that we wouldn't be up until Christmas morning. That was of course mission impossible as it always is. I think that this year was a record year though with the last head, Mom, being pillowed at 5:30 a.m.. 
 Christmas Eve was a full day of preparations and celebration until the early hours of Christmas morning. Christmas day was a very relaxing day spent opening presents, eating, and most everyone taking a nap while Anna and I went on a walk. 
 The next day is sort of a blur as Dad and Samuel were gone most of the day. I do have one thing that is very clear and that was that I was bit by a dog for the first time. This was an unpleasant experience but thankfully the dog's owners had kept up on all of his shots and so we had nothing to worry about. 
 Friday and Saturday were filled with Daniel's Eagle Scout Project as well as last minute shopping for Dad and Samuel's trip. 
 Sunday we had a wonderful morning in God's house and then drove to the airport where we said our farewells to Dad and Sam. They will, Lord willing, return on January 22. Please keep them in your prayers as they seek to be a blessing to the Tracht family as well as minister to the people of Uganda, Rwanda, Burundi, and the Congolese border. I know that they would appreciate it. 

Our walk on Christmas Day.

My first dog bite.

Goodbye kisses. :-)

The ride to the airport.

Dad looking at us kids in the mirror.

Somebody was tired!

The four oldest. Anna, Samuel, Daniel, and I.

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Christmas Eve Party!

 Our Christmas Eve began, with a beautiful candlelight service at our church. All of the lights in the church were dimmed as everyone held their candles high while we sang O Holy Night, Silent Night, and many others. Dad then gave a wonderful reminder of the reason that we celebrate this holiday.
 After the service we went home to the delicious smell of prime rib. Our dinner was as follows, prime rib, twice baked potatoes, asparagus, brussels sprouts, homemade bread(compliments of a friend from church), and pumpkin roll for dessert. Everything was AMAZING!!! Thank you mom! We enjoyed this meal with old and new friends alike. It was truly a blessed time of fellowship.
Dinner was followed by a game that my dad received for Christmas from my mom. It is unfortunately no longer being made but we found it on e-bay and it had never been used. All of the guys played while Anna and I watched, and Mom and Mrs. G. talked in the living room. 
 The game started around eleven and ended at almost two. Or was it three? I don't really remember as it was a late night that night. The reason for the length was trying to figure out all of the rules while playing, thus making it go longer than it normally is.
 We had a wonderful time that night/early Christmas morning. There is nothing like ringing Christmas morning in with good friends!

Sweet Smiles!

Somebody has chocolate.

Goofball senior.

Fun Fellowship!

Our somewhat disorganized looking table after a quick clearing. :-)


Passing out gifts to our guests.

Merry Christmas Eve!

Say Cheese!

Somebody is happy! 

Time to unwrap gifts!

Our beautiful star.

Opening gifts!

Reading the instructions while setting up.

Goofball junior. 


Dad's fun new game "On Assignment with National Geographic".

Trying to remember those geography lessons. 

It wouldn't be a party without this character! ;-)

Monday, January 6, 2014

A Thanksgiving Story


 Thanksgiving is an important holiday in the Houston house. It is a wonderful time of thanking God for all that He has done. And because we get to have a day of feasting! 
 We had one dinner guest and then had more friends stop by later for fellowship, games, and dessert. We had a wonderful time that night, but it wasn't one of those Thanksgiving days that goes without a hitch.
 First off, I wasn't really expecting a big Thanksgiving due to the fact that my mom always goes a couple of weeks late with her pregnancies, which would land around Thanksgiving day.  I was very sad about this as I love having lots of people over. We did end up making plans however, so we knew that dinner would be up to Anna and I, due to the fact that my mom was in no state to prepare the meal. This wasn't too much of a stress as I had made Thanksgiving dinner last year and enjoyed it very much!
 Well surprise, surprise the little Houston decided to arrive Thanksgiving week. It started Monday afternoon with a regular check up at the Obstetrician's office and a non-stress-test. The doctor became concerned with the baby's heart rate decelerating, so they decided to monitor my mom and baby over night. They began to discuss whether my mom would need a c-section or if they could proceed with a natural birth. This, of course, caused concern for all of us back home. Anna and I were both supposed to be present at the birth but they decided that, in case anything went wrong, we should remain at home with all of the others.  
 Well, Tirzah Hope Houston was born at 6:22a.m. and she is a perfect little beauty!
Sleeping Beauty!
 Needless to say that the excitement of mom going to an appointment only three days before Thanksgiving, made us forget some very important things on our "To Do List". Keep in mind that we have only three days until Thanksgiving. 
 We shared the wonderful news when everyone else had woken up, and then we started the preparations to visit our new little sister. After we made our visit, Dad took all of us to Red Robin for a celebration dinner with some very close friends. After dinner we headed to our friend's house for a couple hours. As soon as we arrived home, everyone quickly got ready for bed as we were all quite exhausted from the day's excitement! 
As we pillowed our heads a small glimmer of remembrance entered my head. I knew that there was something that I was forgetting for Thanksgiving! Was it the turkey? But I succumbed to the sleep that I needed so badly.  
 Wednesday we spent trying to prepare the house for the upcoming holiday. That night we had Bible study and I went to the hospital to help Mom while Dad left to teach. As I sat there gazing into the face of this precious little girl and listening to my mom recount the story of the birth, I was hit like a bolt of lightning. Yes I had forgotten THE TURKEY!        
The infamous midnight turkey!


Oh don't get me wrong! We had a beautiful 25 pounder sitting right in the freezer. But that was the problem. It was still in the freezer!
 Seeing how exhausted my mom was after having a c-section caused me to bring my feelings of horror, distress, etc. into check. 
 This was no easy task as you can probably imagine. If you are struggling with imagining yourself in my place, let me help you out a bit. How would you feel if you realized the day before Thanksgiving that you had forgotten to take your twenty-five pound turkey out of the freezer?!!! Starting to understand?
 I frantically began trying to figure out a way to thaw this huge turkey by the next day. As these thoughts were rushing through my head, my mom told me that she figured it would be good to get it put in the roasting pan around 9 a.m. so that the turkey would be nice and ready for our 5p.m. dinner.
 I did venture to ask my mom exactly how long she usually thawed her turkey. I became very sick when she confirmed my fears with the answer, "Oh, usually about three days." I sort of figured that would be the answer but was foolishly hoping for a shorter answer.
 As my stomach continued to tie up into a bigger knot I frantically sent a text to one of my dear friends asking her what I would do. She tried to calm me down a little. Telling me that we would figure it all out. It didn't really help.  
 When my friend arrived to pick me up from the hospital, we began a Thanksgiving Eve search for a fresh 25lb turkey. This was very stressful but I knew it was in God's hands and I was willing to stay up till all hours to find one. Praise the Lord we found one! 
 The next day, after I had safely deposited the turkey into the roasting pan, I was able to laugh about it! I even shared our crazy midnight hunt that night with our guests and was shocked to find out that I was not the only one to have experienced this horror. That made me feel a little better.
 At the end of the day we had enjoyed food, made new friends, enjoyed fellowship with fellow brothers and sisters in Christ, and hey, we even had some funny stories to tell. I am just thankful that even though my Mom and newest sister weren't able to join us that day they were both alive and healthy, my sister and best friend Anna, was still with us and is now cancer free.
 It has been a wonderful year full of God's bountiful blessings! I thank Him for all that He has wrought in our lives this year! May we always be thankful for His wondrous blessings throughout life! 

"Thank you Lord for saving my soul. Thank you Lord for making me whole. Thank you Lord for giving to me, thy great salvation so rich and free!"



Pumpkin Pie

Pecan Pie

German Chocolate Pie

Michael cut an excellent cheese tray!
I love this pair!
Michael looking very intense or is it tired from the midnight turkey hunt?
Dr. T. W.

Our dear neighbor.
Enjoying food and fellowship!

One of the beautiful place cards that a friend made for me!

Food, food, and...

More food!