Sunday, September 2, 2012

Button Swap--interview with Art's Chili Pepper

So my lovely, amazing bloggy friend Bree recently suggested/coordinated a fun event entitled "Button Swap". And. . .amid all the hustle-bustle of life and potential blogging "breaks". . .I decided to play along. I was partnered with Kat, a mother of eight and authoress of the delightful blog "Art's Chili Pepper". Kat is becoming a dear friend of mine--I have so enjoyed working with her and peaking into her colorful, God-honoring life. She is an inspiration, and boy does she have a palate of fun, encouragement, and insight to share. Read along and follow this special ladies blog! 

{don't forget to check out my interview over at Kat's blog}

  •  Please tell us a little about yourself, your family, and life as a homeschool mom.

Thanks for welcoming me into your blog.  I have so enjoyed getting to know you and a little about your family.  After talking back and forth, I feel like I could sit and enjoy a few hours worth of coffee just chit chatting about our family and Lord.  I had to laugh out loud when you said about shortening your answers and that you were worse in person because I think I am the queen of it...  long answers.  ☺  Thanks to Bree for hosting this event.  

Now to actually answer your questions... 

I am a born again believing, blog writing, homeschooling wife to one amazing best friend of a man and mama to 8 incredible blessings.  

My husband, Allen, is an Electrical Engineer.  We live in a small house in the country that we have been renovating for 10 years.  

Our family is made up of 5 girls... Kaitlin 20, Brianna 17, Emma Rose 12, Elisabeth 4, Carmella Joie 1.  They each have such unique characteristics and yet they work so perfectly together it is easy to see why the Lord placed them in the same family.  They share the common characteristics of always loving and serving those around them... the saved, the lost, the sick, the church and their family.  They are a constant encouragement and inspiration to me.

We have 3 young men... Nathaniel loves all things with wheels and hopes to be a Pastor one day.  At 10 he is very mechanically minded and a great asset to have around.  Aedan is 9 and also desires to be a Pastor one day.  He amazes us daily with his insight to the scriptures and a heart that seeks always after the heart of God.  Samuel is 7 and has aspirations to be a fireman, garbage man or something that involves dirt.  No matter what he will be, he is convinced he will marry Ellie one day.  He always has scraped knees and looks great in overalls.  With a sprinkle of freckles over his nose he is the quintessential boy. 


Baby Gussie went to be with Jesus in 2010 and we all look forward to meeting him in Heaven right after we see our blessed Jesus.

Our life is usually not what anyone would expect (loud, chaotic or messy) and has everything to do with a fun adventure.  I truly can think of no other place I'd rather be or anything else I'd rather be doing than here and now with this gang. 
  • I would love to hear your testimony! Did you grow up in a Christian home? If not, how are you and your choice of lifestyle accepted by unsaved family members?

Wow!  That could take a while.  My testimony sure isn't short.  I did not grow up in a Christian home.  My parents were Catholic and we were raised in the Catholic church following all the traditions that go along with it.  I went to Catholic school as well.  I always had trouble with the conflicts between the Bible and what we were taught in the church, at school and at home.  Things were more confused by a lot of hypocrisy in our "perfect" family which involved alcoholism, violence, abuse, neglect and adultery.  I married a not so very nice person when I was 18.  18 months later I gave birth to a daughter.  18 months later he left me for another woman.  This was such a blessing as our time together was defined by his drug use, alcoholism and physical abuse toward me and our daughter.  At that time I was completely destitute emotionally, physically, financially and spiritually.  That's when I came to know my Jesus.  

My brother invited me to attend a Bible study on his military base in New Jersey.  For the first time as I sat listening to that preacher talk about Abraham, Jacob and Moses I realized they were real people, not just some fairy tale characters.  This got my attention.  I don't think I drew a single breath as I listened to him teach about the plaques in Egypt and the parting of the red sea as the real life miracles they were.  All of a sudden it hit me like a ton of bricks.  There were so many things we were taught which didn't line up with the Bible.  For example, why did we have to be Baptized to get to Heaven if the Bible said Jesus died to save us?  Priests, Nuns, Teachers, my parents... when I would question things like that they told me that the church's teaching was right and I wasn't understanding it properly or I lacked faith by asking such questions when it ought to be clear.  But once I came to know without a doubt that the Bible is 100 percent literal and accurate, I came to know it wasn't my understanding of the Bible that was wrong, it was the teaching of the church.  I came to know it wasn't hard or complicated and I didn't have to get my life perfect to come to Jesus.  I didn't have to work myself to death wondering if I had ever done enough or been good enough.  I just had to simply BELIEVE.  And I did.  My life was instantly transformed, permanently changed and eternally blessed from that moment forward.
Within both Allen's and my own family there are no other believers with the exception of my brother, Frank.  He was stationed in Italy for a number of years following the Bible study and he went through many tragedies of his own.  In 1999 he finished his enlistment, returned to Maryland and came to live with my family.  He is the one who lead me to the Bible study in 1994 and seven years later I had the amazing honor of being instrumental in his own journey to salvation.  My heart sings each Sunday when I walk into worship and see him there.  

How do our families respond?  At first, when we left the Catholic church and joined a Bible believing church, my parents were kind of insulted, shocked, something.  But they actually got over it very quickly.  I think because they saw the difference the Lord made in my life and in my brother's life.  But there were many things it took time for them to get used to, such as our decision to home school, our daughters not dating, etc... What's very amusing is over time, even though none of them are saved, both my father, step-mother, sister and brother-in-law have had much involvement with our local church.  My father and his wife even attended Bible college with Allen and I for a number of years.  

 Sadly, as is often the case in families, our family has been estranged more years than not.  Once in a while they will drop back into our lives for a time but this is a season when we are not welcome in their lives.  We trust the Lord is working in the situation and I know He has a greater plan we can't see.  I believe very strongly it may be the path which leads to their salvation.

Allen's parents are a funny sort.  They are lovable but not very loving.  They have always been standoffish people, per Allen's recollection and my 20 years of observation.  But they are "good" people and live by duty and honor.  They believe in God but not on Jesus.  Like my parents, they are no longer opposed to our church and will sometimes attend services with us.  We pray for the Lord to save them.

  • What advice would you give, as a married sister-in-Christ, to an aspiring homemaker?

Use your time wisely!  While you are still single and living at home you have amazing opportunities you will never have again.  

There will never be a time in your life when you can completely give yourself over to developing a better relationship with the Lord.  Spend LOTS of time each and every day in study, prayer and outreach.  Nothing will bring a greater return to your life.  Treat this as a full time job in itself.  Just take my word for it.
You will never again have so many opportunities to serve without the conflicts of meeting responsibilities for your own family.  Look for chances to minister in every corner and you will not be disappointed in how you have spent your time.  

Learn all you will need to know.  I had to learn as I was going along and I think I've done well.  But it would have been so  much easier starting out if I already knew about household management, how to build a good marriage, child training, and more.  

Use this time to develop your interests and find ways to use them for the Lord's service.  I always wanted to learn how to sew but didn't learn until I had 3 children.  Now I have no time to do it.  LOL.  My girls have been sewing since they were 7 or 8 and have  not only won many competitions but have used it time and again to help out moms who have many small children, lots of sewing and no time to do it.  Kaitlin is building an online business to raise money for mission work.  This is possible because of the skills she has spent years developing and perfecting.  Likewise, with cooking, canning, crafting, computer skills, etc... my girls have many diverse interests...  we try to encourage them to develop each and find ways to make them into a ministry.  I get so disgusted when I see young people sitting around wasting time instead of using this time to their fullest ability.

Invest in your siblings and other young people.  Not only will you get on the job training for raising your own children you will be carrying out the Lord's will through discipleship and you will infinitely be blessed by the rich and loving relationships you develop.  

Think of this time in your life as an apprenticeship and shadow Titus 2 and Proverbs 31 women.  More is caught than is taught... pray to catch a lot through their examples and you won't go wrong. 

  • How long have you been homeschooling and how did you first begin? Do you have an especially memorable or challenging homeschool experience?

I started to homeschool when Kaitlin entered kindergarten at age five.  That's 16 years ago this September.  The Lord had laid home schooling on my heart when Kaitlin was still a baby.  We knew nothing about it and we knew no one who home schooled.  Allen wasn't even on board with it.  But... he knew he did not want her to attend public school and when she reached the age when school was mandatory we couldn't afford private school.  So by default he agreed.  It wasn't but a few weeks before he came around to see there was no other option for our family.

Our extended family was strongly opposed to homeschool.  That was a challenge.  To constantly have them interrogating the kids and implying we were backwards.  Three of the greatest victories of my home school career were when my father, mother and step mother (each separately) said they now fully supported home school as the better way to educate children simply because of what they had seen in our kids.  Approval doesn't come easy in our family so that was such an encouragement to me.  

Early on we faced a very long drawn out court battle with my former husband for custody of Kaitlin.  One of their major platforms was homeschool versus public school education.  Everything we did was scrutinized by lawyers, judges, social services, psychologists and educators.  It was so scary and painful at times.  However, in the end the Lord used it in an amazing way and our faith was strengthened by leaps and bounds because of what He did in that trial.


One more trial and amazing victory was learning how to teach a dyslexic child.  I am not a teacher by training and learning how to overcome a learning disability in which we had no experience took a lot of trial and error and most of all prayer.  Brianna still doesn't spell well but I consider it blessing that she LOVES to read.  She is often found reading far more challenging books than I would even care to try.  When she was in Middle School she read the Double Helix as pleasure reading one summer.  She is also a very accomplished writer.  

  • Ok, so I’m curious. . .where did the name Art’s Chili Pepper come from? It’s so whimsical and fun. . .

Chuckling to myself.... My husband calls me his chili pepper and he is my Arthur.  Thus I am Art's Chili Pepper and a blog was born.  For those who want to read the corny and not so clever tale of where those nicknames came about you can read this post over at my blog.  

  •  You have a beautiful blog design! Did you make it yourself? If so, what program do you use?

Rolling on the floor laughing my head off!  I am fortunate on days when I can turn the computer on without blowing the thing up.  And that skill has taken me years to master.  Take for instance yesterday afternoon when I was working on this interview.  All of a sudden my power supply just quits.  That's it.  No warning.  No if, ands or buts... just quits.  Which is so stinky.  We have three dells in this house and of course they all have different power cords.  That leaves me out of luck, so to speak.  And then today, this very day, I am again trying to work away on two deadlines when I got locked out of my gmail account.  Which, of course, even I know is linked to my blog and my email and everything I need to access right now.  Major bummer when I am in the middle of two deadlines.  And what's a girl to do?  In walks my brilliant, she can't spell to save her life but she sure is amazing with computer issues, daughter...  Brianna, more
 commonly known as, Nana.

No, seriously.  Thank you!  I will pass your compliments on.  Brianna is a self taught code writing, blog making, web page designing 17 year old.  And she likes it, too.  Go figure.  Periodically, I open my blog and it is redone.  It's always fabulous and I can take absolutely no credit for it.  Well, except that I did bring her into the world.  LoL.  The current design was a Mother's Day gift which came complete with the gift of my own domain.  I thought that was clever and nifty.  I never even knew I would like to have my own domain until she set it up for me.  I think she did it because she got tired of me asking her my blog address.  Now my domain is and even I can manage to remember that.  ☺  The photo on my header was taken by my friend, a very gifted photographer, Susan Schmidt of Susan Schmidt Photography.  You can check out her work at Just Photos.    

You can see Brianna's blog and check out her design work at By The Way.  She has a large portfolio, good references and very reasonable rates.  While you are there, I highly recommend reading some of her posts.  She loves the Lord and it is so evident in her writing.  You will be blessed!

  • What is a scrumptious family favorite? Care to share the recipe with my readers?

Depends on the day.  We can and do cook just about anything.  I think we do it quite well, too.  Italian and Mediterranean cuisine is definitely our specialty.  We dwell in the peasant realm of cooking.  Good fresh ingredients and simple "no recipe" meals.  We keep the focus on the fellowship of meal preparation and dining.  Dinner regularly lasts an hour or two or more in our kitchen.  The food is always good but the conversation is usually better.

One of our favorites is hand made Cavetelli, Meatballs and a Ceasar salad.  

All these recipes are available on my blog.

Caesar Salad

Our favorite holiday meal is seafood stew, fried smelt, pasta with anchovy sauce, and a great salad on the side.    

But you know what, we love a good sandwich just as much as the next guy, too.  It's not what you eat, but who you eat it with that makes a good meal.   

  • Have to ask. . .do you like coffee? :)

You are kidding, right?  It is my one weakness.  I love, with a big old capital LOVE, coffee.  If I had to order the important things in my life it would go like this... God, my Savior.  Allen Robert Wachter.  My kiddos.  Coffee.    

You can read a bit about my coffee loving life in this post.

  • What are some of your favorite pastimes, hobbies and activities?

What don't I love???  Writing, scrap booking, music, reading, playing games, cooking, sewing, quilting, crocheting, gardening and the list goes on and on and on.  


We've been remodeling our house for ten long years.  My hubby is very talented in this area and has done all the work himself.  Needless to say it is very consuming. I am not always able to actually help him so my official job is mostly to keep him company while he works on various projects in the evenings or on weekends.  I think I have made an actual sport out of it.  ☺  A few times he let me swing a hammer.

I am also a Bible college student in our local church.  During the semester I spend  alot of time in studying and home work.  


 My girls call me a life coach.  That is a fancy way of saying I disciple others.  I do this in many different realms.  Sometimes by answering questions that come in emails from readers.  Sometimes by phone or text message.  I am a big letter writer, too.  Of course, my favorite way to work with someone is face to face.  However we touch base we cover issues from health, to child training, homeschooling, marriage, home management, fashion, hair care, decorating...  you name it, I've probably answered it.  This has become a passion of mine.  I love being able to minister and serve the Lord while watching women grow in their faith and love for the Lord.  To share our experience in a way that improves the lives of others is truly a gift and we should all take advantage of each opportunity as it arises.

I have recently returned to the world of running and I love it!  In fact, I have never loved it as I do now, even though I have run on and off for nearly 30 years.  I think it is largely because my husband has taken up the sport and we do it together each morning.  I love that he is reaching his exercise goals and that I can be beside him as he does it.  I am proud of him for taking control of his health and doing all he can to have the best quality of life possible.  That makes something I enjoy even better than it ever could have been when it was just "my" thing.

  • If you could spend the day with a book or movie character, who would it be? Would you visit in a far off land, at home, in another time? What would you talk about? What things would you have in common, and/or possibly disagree on?

This was the hardest question you asked me.  I had to save it for the end because I totally lack imagination and couldn't think of anyone except Bible characters, and I was thinking that wasn't what you intended.  Once I posed the question to my girls the answers became so obvious and the ideas wouldn't stop flowing. 

Well, I would have a blast spending some time with Jeeves and Bertie Wooster.  They are always having so much fun!  While Bertie is very frivolous and often silly, I love that he never thinks twice about taking every opportunity to enjoy life.  There is not enough of that in this world.  And Jeeves.  Ha!  He just cracks me up.  I love his expressions.  We quote them all the time in our house.  I might pick Jeeves brain for some home management tips.  He makes it all look so effortless.  I love the way he brings elegance to everything but in a very simple and understated way.  

So has anyone seen the movie or "A Good Year"?  Even though the movie takes place in France the whole look and feel of the place reminds me of Italy.  My family, on my father's side, owns a vineyard in Attel and I imagine it would be much like Uncle Henry's (played by Albert Finney).  Likewise, I would delight in traveling the Italian country side with the cast of Letters to Juliet.  It is just so beautiful and peaceful.  I've never been to that part of Italy but it reminds me of the areas I visited several years ago.    

Okay, just one more.  I LOVE the Dowager Countess, Maggie Smith, from Downton Abbey.  First, let's face it, she oozes posh.  What's not to love about that?  Second, I love that she isn't worried about pleasing people or what anyone else thinks.  Third, everything she says is so witty, in her droll little way.  I also love the way she find a place and an order to everything and doesn't want it upset, even if a pesky little war should happen along.  Of course, on the other hand, she should probably be a little gentler, don't you think?

  • What stand-by passages in scripture help you cope with tough situations?

Most people have a life verse that defines who they want to be in the Lord.  I think we should always be changing and growing and so should our goals. So I have a new life verse each year.  By the end of a year, I find I have outgrown my goals, and consequently my verse, from the previous year.  When I reach that point I start asking the Lord to show me what next year's verse should be to see me through.  

Sometimes that verse holds promise of something wonderful to come.  Sometimes it is a verse showing challenges are in my future.  Always it is just what I needed.  

 2010, the year we lost our baby Gussie and my family disowned us.  That was a hard year.  My theme verse was Job 1:21  "And said, Naked came I out of my mother's womb, and naked shall I return thither: the Lord gave, and the Lord hath taken away; blessed be the name of the Lord."  

2011 my verse was from Psalm 30:11 "Thou hast turned for me my mourning into dancing: thou hast put off my sackcloth, and girded me with gladness;"  That was the year our Carmella Joie was born.  We didn't know what a miracle she truly was until after her birth, when the danger was passed, but it sure did cause us to marvel once again at the Lord of all!

This year I turned 40 and I thought it would be hard.  On January 2nd the Lord gave me this verse from Isaiah 43: 18-19 and I knew it would be fabulous!  "Remember ye not the former things, neither consider the things of old.  Behold, I will do a new thing; now it shall spring forth; shall ye not know it? I will even make a way in the wilderness, and rivers in the desert."

I've had this amazing friend for 17 years.  She lives about six hours from my home.  She and I hold each other accountable for all sorts of things... exercising, eating well, Bible study... this year she had a great idea that we should memorize a verse a day.  We both had been struggling to memorize more scripture.  It does not come as easy when you are an adult.  This has been such an encouragement to me.  I don't remember the verses word for word come the next day but something amazing has happened.  Almost every single morning the verse (which is completely random from a calendar Dawn's Pastor gave her last Christmas) is exactly a verse I need at some point in the day.  God has been so good to give us His word!  How can we narrow it down to just a few verses?  ☺

  • If you had the opportunity to eat at a restaurant of your choice, what would you order?

My husband loves to eat out.  I much prefer to eat in.  But we do eat out quite often... nearly once a week and sometimes more.  We eat late and there aren't many places open after 8 or 9 that don't serve your food in a paper bag.  LoL.  We have a Bonefish Grill, though.  We go there so frequently, all the employees, even many of the kitchen staff, have come to know us.  If we don't go one week they want to know where we've been.  When I was first pregnant with Carmella I couldn't eat for about three months because I was so sick.  We didn't go there for all that time.  When we went back the Manager came over to our table and said, "Where have you been?  We were afraid we offended you somehow!"   Going there, I imagine, is as close to the personal style you might find in a small family restaurant in Italy.  

My husband always has the Salmon.  Which is delicious and cooked to perfection.   I often have the Ahi (Sushi) Tuna which is the best I have ever had anywhere.  But I also like crab cakes, fish tacos, ceviche....  and they make some great salads and a Jasmine rice that is worth the meal on its own.

  • Describe your idea of a romantic date-night.

Oh, gee.  How long do you want this answer to be???  I really am a simple kind of girl.  My favorite date nights are sitting by a stream in the park eating olives and sipping sparkling cider...  a candlelight dinner on our deck listening to the cicadas sing...  giving each other massages and talking about life and memories and what the Lord is doing until crazy hours of the morning.  Once in a while we will go to a theater production or take in dinner and a movie here in town.  

We have a few couples that we really enjoy going out with on date night.  When you only get a few hours a week just the two of us, its hard to share it with someone else, but it is always fun in the ends.  

Sometimes we will go to the basement and watch a video together by the wood stove with some carryout for dinner.  We call that a home date.  We like to play cards, too.  

Once in a while date night is about errands and some coffee, but we try not to do that much.   A few weeks ago I needed new running shoes so we went shopping on date night.  As we were pulling out of the parking lot fireworks started at the ball park signaling the end of the game.  We pulled over and took in a beautiful display.  There is something incredibly romantic about fireworks. 

I don't know what the most romantic is.  In my book romantic is anytime I am with my good husband and he is holding my hand.

He often does something that just makes my heart swoon as if we had just fallen in love.  He bought a tux, for instance, to wear to the sweetheart banquet in February.  There is something fabulously romantic about a man in a tuxedo.  

A few years ago he whisked me away at the last minute for a weekend getaway so we could go see Billy Joel.  That was really romantic because a Billy Joel concert was one of our very first dates... and let's face it the guy isn't getting any younger so there may not be many more replays.  We stayed in an amazingly beautiful hotel.  The next day it rained like crazy and we just sat there on one of the upper floors cuddling and watching rain for hours.  It's hard to get more romantic than that.

And a few weeks ago he surprised me with a dozen yellow roses (a special carryover from when we were dating) and tickets to a concert.   Romance is more a state of mind than any one action.  It is knowing someone is thinking about you and looking forward to their time with you enough to make it special in any little way, that is romance.  And romance with my husband is a way of life so how could I name just one thing?  ☺          

  •  Name three of your favorite songs and what they mean to you.

Anyone who had read my blog for any length of time must know that music is a very important part of our life.  We all love music and there is always someone singing or playing or listening to some form of music.  And to nail down my favorites, oh my!!!  It changes from week to week or year to year, depending on my mood or what's going on in my life.  

One of my favorite hymns is Lily of the Valley... but if you asked I could probably name 50 other favorites, too.  

I don't really listen to a lot of secular music but if I had to choose a secular song that would be easy... 2,000 years by Billy Joel.  Because that was a song on the River of Dreams tour... from that date I mentioned earlier.  And it became our song.  We went through a lot of trials for the Lord to bring us to the marriage altar and we both knew that it would not be easy as we continued on.  We had many obstacles to overcome but we believed our relationship would stand strong until our last breath.  This song told our love story.  "2000 years" symbolizing our forever commitment to each other is engraved in our wedding bands.

So all that is left is my favorite Christian piece... and that is HARD!!!  Let me see... Okay I couldn't narrow it down so I decided to grab my running play list and make myself choose from there.  I think today it's East to West by Casting Crowns.  This song really speaks to my heart.  My life was such a mess prior to Salvation.  I didn't intentionally do so, but my actions scorned my Lord.  Even now, every single day I do something that breaks His commandments or brings shame to the honour of being called His daughter.  The world never forgets and is quick to throw past sins up in your face but not my God. Once we have been forgiven our sin is as far from us as it ever could be.  I don't deserve that kind of mercy, grace and love but He gave it to me anyway... and He had already decided to do so long before I ever asked for His forgiveness.  That is just unimaginable to me.  When I am beating myself up or it feels the world is tearing me
 down, this song reminds me it is only His opinion which matters and He doesn't see my sin at all.  

  • How did you and your husband meet?


Not enough smiles in the world for this one.  ☺  so my hubby, Allen Wachter, knew a fellow in school with the same last name.  They were always seated next to each other because the classes were arranged alphabetically.  They had a large group of quirky  fellows they hung out with through school.  Anyway, after graduation they went to their own corners of the world.  Some joined the military, some went to work, some went to school... they all lost daily touch with each other.  This city isn't exactly a big metropolis so periodically these guys would run into each other.  

One day Allen came across one of the buddies, Steve.  And Steve says, Hey I'm just heading across town to help E.H. move into his house.  So Allen, being that kind of fellow, said "Hey, I'll grab my brother's truck and come along."  That's where we met.  When he helped me and my (now) former husband move into our first house.  

But don't think it was like...that!  Our house became the spot where everyone hung out.  Because of the recession, many of our friends moved back home to live with their folks.  A house with no parents was very desirable.  Remember this was not a crowd that knew the Lord.  Allen and I were the tame ones so we would try to maintain control of the party while we sat and played cards and talked (about what I have no idea today).  We became good friends, like brother and sister.  When Kaitlin was born he became her God father.  I saw he was such a man of character and he never dated anyone so I was always trying to fix him up with someone else.  I just knew he'd make a good husband.  Isn't that a ironic?   

After my husband left me, Allen came around to try and reconcile things between us.  I was completely helpless and didn't have a job or a penny to my name.  My ex-husband had even stolen my car when he left so I lived 20 miles from town with no transportation.  I didn't have any family who would have helped out with even the most basic needs.  Allen was very careful to not do anything that would cause an inappropriate situation or sully my name, but he took his role in making sure Kaitlin was provided for very seriously.  He would come by when I was away and mow the grass.  Or he would get a box of produce from his parents garden and bring it by saying they had more than they needed.  He worked several jobs while attending school, one of which was at a car wash.  He asked to borrow my loaner car once under some false pretense and took it to the car wash and cleaned it and filled it with gas.  He knew I was having trouble getting money for gas to get to my college classes..  He even babysat Kaitlin when I had night classes.  

It was not any kind of romantic or hitting on me or taking advantage business like you would expect from some people. Believe me, I would know. Many of our single male friends did come by in those days and tried to use my misfortune to their advantage. After some time of that he invited Kaitlin and I to attend a family reunion picnic His parents host every year. I can still see him as I saw him with his family for the first time. I appreciate it even more today than I ever could have back then. 

Anyway, we started seeing more of each other in social situations but my heart was definitely not ready for any kind of relationship.  As a matter of fact, I truly thought I would go to school, raise my daughter and remain alone for the rest of my life.  Between my marriage, my parent's, and my brother's relationship with his wife, I had no desire to ever enter into another relationship.  I was completely knocked off balance the fall day when he said he was in love with me.  I never expected it.  In retrospect, I guess I should have, but I was just too messed up to even contemplate such a thing.  We completely stopped seeing each other even as friends, shortly after that.  He wanted a wife and children and I was definitely not ready.  

 After I was saved, the Lord changed my view of marriage and family.  He took the pain and bitterness from my heart and filled it with joy.  I was then able to open it up to this good man who had put up with so much only to get nothing in return.  He asked me to marry him three times but I was still a bit shell shocked.  But he was irresistible and the Lord had been working on my heart.  After three years together, I realized I wanted nothing more than to be his bride.  But I had been so plain and clear about not marrying I was certain he would never ask me again.  So I asked him.  Which he loves to tell people.  He accepted and the rest is history.  
  • What are some of the standards and/or goals you’ve set for your family? In other words, what is your life mission?

My life's mission is simple.  I desire to live every breath for the Lord. Right now that means raising my children to know and love Him and helping them to find that person the Lord created for them.  I will feel I have finished this season when they have started their own families to continue the legacy of the Lord.   

  • How did you become a blogger?  How long have you been blogging?  What is your favorite thing to write about?  What is you dislike about blogging?  What is your favorite part of being a well read blogger?  How have your grown in your blogging and because of your blog?  Consider your past posts and tell me what your three favorites are.

I started blogging in 2009 as a way to keep in touch with family and friends around the world.  So that is... what 3 1/2 years ago?  I love to blog about the Lord.  Sharing what He does for me and what He can do for you and what He is teaching me... it brings me such pleasure!  I prayed for many years for more ways to minister with my limited exposure to the world.  God turned my blog into an answer to prayer.  What started as a way to scrapbook our memories and share it with those we love, has become a way to love those we don't even know.  Almost every day I get emails from ladies looking for answers and I have been blessed to see many of them come to the Lord.  I have seen their lives changed.  And in watching all this occur, I have been blessed immeasurably and my family has grown in their faith and their walk with the Lord.  We have come to know so many amazing people in real life because of the contacts we made at Art's Chili Pepper.  It
 is always a pleasure to meet other Christians, particularly those who share similar values.  We also have a long list of great people we would like to meet someday.  What do I dislike most about blogging?  Eyes rolling... deep breath.  Some people can be hateful.  There have been times when I have received unpleasant mail because someone didn't agree with our beliefs.  Which I really don't get.  If you don't like us and you don't agree with us, why read my blog?  But that, too, can be a growing experience.  Probably my greatest challenge as a blogger at this time is finding time to minister with all the needs that come in.  I don't blog when my kids are up and I don't like to take from the evenings and weekends when my Allen is home to blog so replying to those requests... or rather not being able to... makes me really feel like I am letting someone down.  My family is so supportive, though.  I often contemplate giving up blogging and they
 always talk me out of it.  The other night I had an email I had not been able to reply to for a few days and it was so heavy on my heart.  Allen and the girls put the kiddos to bed and put me alone with my computer while they worked in the basement.  I spent three hours on that email and when 12:30 rolled around I was so frustrated at the amount of time it had taken.  My husband hadn't even had dinner and any other man would have been fussing.  But no.  I was more upset than he was.  The next day my girls said something along the lines of how much it meant to them that I took time to write for other people.  It really is something I could not do without the amazing gang I have.  

  • For my readers who have never been to your blog, sum up yourself and/or your blog in ten words or less.

My blog and my life are eclectic.  Family... Food... Fun...  Faith. 

  • If I came to your home, what would we do?  Where would we go?  What would we eat?  What would you most want to show me in your real life world?

It depends on the season.  Right now we are still in pool mode.  We'd probably hang out at the pool.  Play games.  And EAT!  Something on the grill.  Salmon, probably.  And some great garden veggies.  I love to serve fresh fruit with every meal.  Peaches and watermelon are good this time of year.  

In spring or fall I'd take you to the gardens.  I love sharing my gardens with visitors.  We'd sip lemonade and gab.  We might make a bonfire and sing hymns and camp songs until late at night or pull out croquet and laugh at how pathetically I hit a ball.

If it was Christmas season we'd bake some cookies, sip eggnog and sing carols by the tree in the living room.  

If there was snow we'd take some fast rides down the hill on the side and make a bonfire.  Eventually, we'd come in to sit by the wood stove and drink hot chocolate with grilled cheese sandwiches and tomato soup.

If it were a Friday we would likely make home made pizza and watch a video in the family room.  And if it was football season you'd bet we'd take in a game... preferably the Rams but maybe a local high school game.

I love to share our home with others so you would likely get sick of hearing all about what's happening in our current project.  If Allen is working, I might even put you to work.  

We love to play board games so we'd probably pull out a few after dinner and have some laughs.  

Both my mother's and father's family excelled in the gift of hospitality and I feel I am succeeding when my guests kick off their shoes, let their hair down and have a good time.

  • Who has had the greatest impact on your life and why?

Sweet Jesus.  He saved me.  He loves me.  He guides me.  Amen!

Thank you so, so much, Kat! You are a blessing.  What did you think, readers?? If you want to see more of THIS, lemme know. I'm seriously considering interviewing bloggers every month of so. And guess what? If I'm feeling especially nice, I might pick YOU. ;) 


  1. I love the Wachters. :) Brianna and I are dear friends and have emailed and read each other's blogs for going on three years now (we've also been wanting to meet in person for nearly that long, but so far, it hasn't happened yet). Mrs. Wachter is up there with my mom and a few other dear ladies I know who are truly living and breathing Proverbs 31 women, and her blog is such an inspiration to me. With that in mind, I suppose it goes without saying that this was one of my favorite interviews I've read during the button swap. Bree and I still think it's hilarious that you and Mrs. Wachter were paired together, since you guys are so similar. ;)

    Much love,
    Elizabeth Rose

  2. This has got to be one of the best interviews I've read, EVER! Mrs. Wachter is truly an example of a Proverbs 31 woman, and her story and life are truly an inspiration. :)

  3. Thank you for a beautiful post, dear Michaela! You did a great job with the pictures. I really appreciate you stimulating me to answer a lot of questions my readers keep sending. In fact, I think I might paste them into a series of posts for the time we are away on vacation this month.

    I am sorry you had trouble with the recipe links. Here they are again...



    Caesar salad

    Darling, Elizabeth Rose... thank you for your kind words. I am humbled by your love, sweet friend.


    Mrs. Kat Wachter ~ Art's Chili Pepper

  4. Oh, I love Mrs. Wachter!!! She's such a wonderfully hospitable person - I've thoroughly enjoyed every trip their home and every time they've come to visit us. And the testimony of their family is such an encouragment...God is so powerful and so capable of anything - how could we not praise Him everyday! What a great interview - yay for Bree's great ideas :D

  5. WOW! That is so amazing! Her testimony amazes me because many times we feel that if we've made mistakes, or had hurts in our youth there's no hope for us ever having a joyful family and bringing glory to God with our lives. But nothing could be further from the truth, as we see in scripture and in modern example like this! Great tips oh homemaking, great honor to the Lord in testimony, and great fun in reading about this wonderful woman. Thanks!!

  6. I've lived with my mom all my seventeen years (imagine that!) and I still loved reading this interview when she asked me to preview it for her and again here :) Yes, she is an amazing woman and if you think she's awesome as a friend/online chum imagine the privilege it is to live with her and always have her fantastic counsel, encouragement, common sense, humor and even the not always appreciated but always much needed kicks in the pants forever at your finger tips! She does everything she does with such passion it takes my breath away...and yes this includes loving me and everyone she comes in contact with with everything inside her.

    Oh, and her story? I've grown up knowing it and still constantly marvel at it and feel that if God can take her through those times and on the other side she remain such a beautiful and victorious woman I can do anything through Him.

  7. p.s. I love that you pulled all these pictures from old was a walk down memory lane for me of "aww...look how little "so and so" was! :)

  8. I so enjoyed reading this, what a blessing :)

    Michaelas mom :)

  9. This is a very beautiful, inspirational post! (And I alwasy love reading "interviews" -- especcaially ones like this, if you decide to continue!) :)

  10. @nana - did you recognize the one of your mom and dad on our sun room couch from like two years ago? :D

    1. @ Jo: Funny you should mention that because I was reading this post for the first time and said, "Hey Mom. This picture was taken at the (insert your name here)s' house." Actually, did you take it? Now that I think about it I kinda remember you taking one of them sitting there...


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