Tuesday, October 28, 2008

IOW: I'll Try Again Next Tuesday

I've been intrigued by this week's quote from Psalm 91. Unfortunately my cold has gone, but left a sinus infection. I'm just trying to keep up with the Dynamo and nurse my aching head. I'm heading to the health food store in a couple hours to stock up on my favorite natural remedies.

I'll try to read some of all my blogging friends' posts later. That and a cup of peppermint tea will surely leave me feeling better.

I will probably address today's topic in another blog later in the week. In the meanwhile, Happy Tuesday and Happy Blogging.

Leaving you with a little inspiration that I found:
The Lord nurses them when they are sick and restores them to health. -- Psalm 41:3 (NLT)

Monday, October 27, 2008

Fall Into Flavor: Friendship Tea

The original recipe for this came to me from my friend Meg when we both lived in North Carolina.

She would make it and bring it to county soccer league games in a large thermos and pass it out to those of us shivering in the stands during the never-ending soccer season of 1995.

It rained so much that the season went all the way to the weekend before Thanksgiving.

The tea has morphed into the recipe below, because I kept adding things and shifting ingredients; then I lost the original recipe somewhere among our many Air Force moves.

Friendship Tea
4 cups boiling water
2 family-sized tea bags (I favor Luzianne brand)
1 bottle cranberry juice
2 cups sugar (or to taste, I start with a 1/2 cup and add as I think it's needed)
1 can frozen pineapple juice concentrate
1 can frozen lemonade concentrate
1 cinnamon stick
2 whole cloves

Steep the tea bags in the boiling water for about 15 minutes. Remove the tea bags and place the tea in a Dutch oven or large saucepan. Add cranberry juice, sugar, pineapple, and lemonade concentrates ; bring to a boil over medium heat. Turn heat to a simmer and let simmer about 10-20 minutes, stirring occasionally. Remove cinnamon and cloves. Taste the tea. If it seems too strong, add water, one cup at a time until it suits you. Store leftovers in a covered container in the refrigerator.

Note: I tie my spices in a square of cheesecloth for easy removal. You can vary the spices and their amounts according to your taste, just use whole spices. Caution, adding to many cloves overpowers the other flavors.

You can prepare the steeped tea and then add it and the other items to a crockpot. Cook on high for an hour, then remove the spices and turn to low. You can easily serve the Friendship Tea at parties and gatherings this way.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Thankful Thursday: Prayers That Avail Much

"The effective, fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much." --James 5:16b
My Word-Filled Wednesday was written in response to a situation I was told about Tuesday evening that immediately caused me to jump on the emotion roller coaster (btw, I do NOT ride roller coasters voluntarily, real or emotional!). In early morning I went back and added a request for prayer...then I had to go into town to pick up my grandson. As I was heading there, my heart started to settle. By the time I got to our daughters' house, I had a strategy for addressing the situation. When I got home, I was calm and peaceful about everything. And...when I logged on to my blog I saw that my blogosphere friends were praying for me.
"...always laboring fervently for you in prayers, that you may stand perfect and complete in all the will of God." --Colossians 4:12
I was also blessed to see that God had prepared the WFW posts to affirm my trust in him. At least 2 others that I went to had used God as a strong tower for their pictures/verses. (Lisa @ Pockets of Time & Christy @ Critty Joy) Isn't it a wonderful God we serve that can take believers from all over and give them a spiritual like-mindedness?
"Trust in the LORD with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding." --Proverbs 3:5
I have time today to finish going through the WFW posts and to read today's TT posts as the Dynamo and I are both laying around drinking juice and inhaling medicated air from the vaporizer. He has a cold...and I'm not sure if I caught mine from him (he gives wonderful, sloppy kisses right on the mouth--even if he has to hold your head between his two little hands--no turning a cheek to him) or because I kept visiting Laurie Ann's blog while she was sick. ;->
"I thank my God always concerning you for the grace of God which was given to you by Christ Jesus." --1 Corinthians 1:4
My Thankful Thursday list includes, but is not limited to:
  1. An awsome God who always hears prayers and never lets me down.
  2. Friends who pray. I can't express how much I appreciate you.
  3. Wisdom and comfort straight from the Word of God.
  4. Sloppy toddler kisses.
  5. A husband who serves his sick wife in the best ways he can think: bringing me drinks and supper; starting a fire in the wood stove; and, giving the best hand massages!!
  6. My son who isn't afraid to jump in and throw a pot of chili together for supper, asking only for only a few instructions (another up and coming fly-by-the-seat of his pants cook).
  7. My daughters who trust me to jump in where needed, to give advice when asked, to be a mom who is there for them, and who will show up with chocolate and hugs when I need them.
  8. My mother who sat with a busy toddler in the waiting room for an hour and a half while I had a test done, choosing to do that rather than watch him at her house in case I didn't feel like driving myself home.
"But he who trusts in the LORD, mercy shall surround him." --Psalm 32:10b
Thank you...friends who prayed. The comfort came as promised. Please keep this unspoken situation on your prayer list. It may take some time to resolve. I am confident of this: however the resolution comes, God is faithful and, as He has proven in the past, He protects my loved ones. I can trust Him.
"Trust in the LORD, and do good; dwell in the land, and feed on His faithfulness." --Psalm 37:3

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

WFW: Our Strong Tower

"It is better to take refuge in the LORD, than to trust in people." Psalm 118:8
I tend to be really upbeat and positive. I'm happy and bubbly and friendly.


someone or something lets me down.

Then I become fearful, angry, sad, fretful, depressed.

I spend hours, days, weeks in soul-deep ----and physical---- PAIN.
While all along, a still small voice reminds me: "Patty, I love you." John 3:16a

The chattering WORRY at first overpowers the soft voice but doesn't completely drown it out.
For thus says the LORD God, the Holy One of Israel: "In returning and rest you shall be saved." Isaiah 30:15a

And I turn toward the voice and my panic begins to settle...
"In quietness and confidence shall be your strength." Isaiah 30:15b

My hands unclench...
"Rest in the LORD, and wait patiently for Him." Psalm 37:7a

the tightness in my chest eases.....
"Great peace have those who love Your law."
Psalm 120:165a

And I reach up to take His outstretched arms...
"And nothing shall cause them to stumble."
Psalm 120:165b

I curl in to Him and I fall into the sleep He gives His dearly loved ones.

"He gives His beloved sleep." Psalm 127:2d

*******Dear friends, if you have gotten this far in today's blog, let me make a request of you. I wrote this in response to a situation that has just come up...but has been around for years. It involves my loved ones and someone on the outside of our family circle with the potential to cause harm. Please pray for us. I'm at the panic level right now...trying to lean so hard on the Lord's word. ********
***Update 10:35 est --- I've had an upgrade level....I'm at the turning toward His voice level. Thank you for praying.***

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

New Posting @ QRP: Japan

Take a short visit to Japan...and a bit of my past @ Quiet Resting Places.

IOW:An Honest Look in the Mirror

"Friends, if we be honest with ourselves, we shall be honest with each other." ~George MacDonald
I am a gadget gal. I like fast computers, smart phones, kick-butt mixers (I my Bosch!), cappuccino machines.

But among the modern technology in my house you'll find:

**a hand-crank meat grinder that hooks onto the side of the table which my husband's Granny gave me 25 years ago when I fell in love with her "boloney salad" (don't ask--yes, it clogs arteries).

**an apple seive with its wooden press that my grandmother used to make apple jelly (unfortunately I don't have her recipe).

**an 1835 wooden bread bowl that I found on e-bay (I use it to let my bread rise each time I bake).

**and an early 20th century Hoosier cabinet that still has a working flour sifter with cover (I'd use it to store my flour, 'cept for the buggies -ewww).

So who am I: a modern 21st century woman or a do-it-from-scratch throwback to simpler times?

The answer: both.

I can enjoy the intricate designs in a blog's layout language as much as I enjoy the plain language of the Creator when I gather eggs each day and prove the "which came first" question.

For me to be honest with myself, I have to accept who I am.

What does that honesty look like?

The book of James describes me as it describes the tongue:
"Sometimes it praises our Lord and Father
sometimes it curses those who have been made in the image of God." --3:9 (NLT)
Paul discussed this duality in Romans 7:
"...the trouble is with me, for I am all too human, a slave to sin. I don't really understand myself, for I want to do what is right, but I don't do it. Instead, I do what I hate." --verse 14b (NLT)
Thankfully, the story doesn't end on that depressing note. There is victory:
"Oh, what a miserable person I am! Who will free me from this life that is dominated by sin and death? Thank God! The answer is in Jesus Christ our Lord. So you see how it is: In my mind I really want to obey God's law, but because of my sinful nature I am a slave to sin.

So now there is no condemnation for those who belong to Christ Jesus. And because you belong to Him, the power of the life-giving Spirit has freed you from the power of sin that leads to death." --7:24-8:2 (NLT)
Today's quote is a great check-point for me:

Am I being honest with myself about who I am and why I do what I do?

If I can answer yes to that, then I am the kind of daughter of the King, wife, mother, friend, I want to be.

If I have to answer no, it's time to put away the pen and keyboard and pick up the Book and bow until I allow God to bring me back in line with the words He gave to James:
"If you are wise and understand God's ways, prove it by living an honorable life, doing good works with the humility that comes from wisdom.

But if you are bitterly jealous and there is selfish ambition in your heart, don't cover up the truth with boasting and lying. For jealousy and selfishness are not God's kind of wisdom. Such things are earthly, unspiritual, and demonic. For wherever there is jealousy and selfish ambition, there you will find disorder and evil of every kind.

But the wisdom from above is first of all pure. It is also peace loving, gentle at all times, and willing to yield to others. It is full of mercy and good deeds. It shows no favoritism and is always sincere.

And those who are peacemakers will plant seeds of peace and reap a harvest of righteousness." --3:13-18 (NLT)

My prayer today is:

"Create in me a clean heart, O God. Renew a loyal spirit within me. Do not banish me from Your presence, and don't take Your Spirit of holiness from me. Restore to me the joy of Your salvation, and make me willing to obey You."--Psalm 51:10-12 (NLT)


Lynette is hosting In Other Words at her site Lynette Kraft: Dancing Barefoot on Weathered Ground. If you want to participate, write a blog about the quote at the of the page on your site then click on the link to Lynette's blog and leave your URL in the Mr. Linky box. You will also find links for the other participants' blogs.

Monday, October 20, 2008

Fall Into Flavor: Wanda's Drunken Chili

I asked my sister what meal said fall to her family and she gave this one to me. We had to discuss it quite a while to get the measurements close, as she is one of those "dash of this" kind of cooks. ;->

Wanda's Drunken Chili

1 lb. ground beef
1/2-1 clove garlic, minced
1 large onion, finely chopped
up to 1 tsp. ground cinnamon, optional
1 tbsp. chili powder, or to taste
1 tsp. cumin
2-3 cans tomato sauce
1 cup (or 1/2 a can) beer
1 can diced tomatoes
1 can black beans -OR- dark red kidney beans
1 tbsp. vinegar
1 tbsp. sugar
salt and pepper to taste
Angel hair pasta
shredded extra-sharp cheddar cheese (or your choice of cheddar)
sour cream

Brown ground beef with garlic, add onion, cook till onions are translucent. Add rest of ingredients except pasta, cheese, and sour cream. Bring to a boil. Turn down heat and simmer 2 hours, stirring occasionally.

Near the end of chili cooking time, cook the angel hair pasta. Serve the chili over the pasta and top with cheese and sour cream.
Wanda's Note: For an interesting change of flavor, do not add cinnamon. Instead, add 1/4 cup very strong coffee. Her friend adds coffee to everything and she leaves out the cinnamon and the beer and just adds the strong coffee. Wanda prefers to leave in the beer for the yeasty flavor it adds to the chili.

Patty's Note: This is my sis and my good friend...ain't she grand!?!

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Sunday Psalms: Psalm 89:1-13

  1. I will sing of the Lord’s unfailing love forever!
    Young and old will hear of your faithfulness.
  2. Your unfailing love will last forever.
    Your faithfulness is as enduring as the heavens.
  3. The Lord said, “I have made a covenant with David, my chosen servant.
    I have sworn this oath to him:
  4. ‘I will establish your descendants as kings forever;
    they will sit on your throne from now until eternity.’”


  5. All heaven will praise your great wonders, Lord;
    myriads of angels will praise you for your faithfulness.
  6. For who in all of heaven can compare with the Lord?
    What mightiest angel is anything like the Lord?
  7. The highest angelic powers stand in awe of God.
    He is far more awesome than all who surround his throne.
  8. O Lord God of Heaven’s Armies!
    Where is there anyone as mighty as you, O Lord?
    You are entirely faithful.
  9. You rule the oceans.
    You subdue their storm-tossed waves.
  10. You crushed the great sea monster.
    You scattered your enemies with your mighty arm.
  11. The heavens are yours, and the earth is yours;
    everything in the world is yours—you created it all.
  12. You created north and south.
    Mount Tabor and Mount Hermon praise your name.
  13. Powerful is your arm!
    Strong is your hand!
    Your right hand is lifted high in glorious strength.

Saturday, October 18, 2008

New Posting @ QRP

Introductions have been posted at Quiet Resting Places. Go on over and meet the family (well, at least the two-legged ones *grin*).

Saturday Selah: A Reminder for Refreshing

Have you not known? Have you not heard? The everlasing God, the LORD, the Creator of the ends of the earth, neither faints nor is weary. His understanding is unsearchable.

He gives power to the weak, and to those who have no might He increases strength.

Even the youths shall faint and be weary, and the young men shall utterly fall,

But those who wait on the LORD shall renew their strength;
They shall mount up with wings like eagles,
The shall run and not be weary,
They shall walk and not faint. --Isaiah 40:28-31
I wanted to post today's Selah early...but I found myself heavy with fatigue from the goings on of the whole week. I needed to rest. Thankfully, a little extra sleep and a morning spent with a cup of coffee and the Word have refreshed me for my day ahead.

All week long I have been able to find a little time to spend in the Lord's word...but not in the kind of fellowship I wished to have with Him. So, He slowed me down. Not by anything He did...but by allowing me to overload myself so that I became clumsy and caused a minor accident that sat me down for some time of rest and reflection.

The local Methodist church has a wonderful program for preschoolers and, even though we plan to homeschool our little Dynamo, I love the pastor and his wife so much that I volunteered to my daughter to pay the tuition. Yesterday was I was trying to cram in some tasks while the little guy was at his once-a-week preschool day:

While walking with a bowl of cereal in my hands I grabbed a piece of window frame to lay out for painting (we're refreshing the bathroom a bit). As I did that, I knocked the whole stack to the floor, which tripped me. Out of balance, all my weight came down on my left foot--which stopped my fall on a piece of the frame. The problem: in my hurry to get on with the project I hadn't removed the nails. Sneakered foot + exposed nail = Ouch! And cereal all over the sub-floor of the bathroom.

Instead of painting, I got to clean up the mess, run out to pick up the Dynamo, head over for a tetanus shot (12 years since the last one) and they threw in a flu shot. Then I had to head into town to get Spiderman's (our 19 yr old son) cell phone fixed. By the time I got home, it was time to fix dinner for Mr. Amazing. No rest...no real work accomplished...and I was feeling yucky from the shots and balancing my weight mostly on one leg.

Even though I caused my own exhaustion, the Lord provided rest: Mr. Amazing decided that we should order take-out subs from a local restaurant... Then he went and got them and served me. Now, Friday is his second busiest day on the mail route and he usually comes home very tired...yet God knew I needed rest and gave me this small blessing.

Here is the refreshing devotion I found this morning, so applicable for me this week:

From The Woman's Study Bible:
God can use fatigue:
  1. to cause you to look to Him for satisfaction.

    He said before, "This is the time and place to rest, to give rest to the weary. This is the place to lay down your burden." But they won't listen.

    So God will start over with the simple basics and address them in baby talk, one syllable at a time—"Da, da, da, da, blah, blah, blah, blah. That's a good little girl, that's a good little boy." And like toddlers, they will get up and fall down, get bruised and confused and lost.
    -Isaiah 28:12-13 (The Message)

  2. to administer correction as He pulls back His hand of strength to force your body to slow down for refueling

    "And you have forgotten the exhortation which speaks to you as to sons: 'My son, do not despise the chastening of the LORD, nor be discouraged when you are rebuked by Him; for whom the LORD loves He chastens, and scourges every son whom He receives.'" -Hebrews 12:5-6 (NKJV)

  3. and, to prepare you for a greater challenge.

    "So, Jeremiah, if you're worn out in this footrace with men, what makes you think you can race against horses? And if you can't keep your wits during times of calm, what's going to happen when troubles break loose like the Jordan in flood?
    -Jeremiah 12:5 (The Message)
God has promised to satisfy fully the weary soul and replenish faithfully the sorrowful heart.

"For I have satiated the weary soul, and I have replenished every sorrowful soul." -Jeremiah 31:25 (NKJV)

Sometimes that means,
"He makes me to lie down" -Psalm 23:2. (NKJV)
Thank You, Lord, for slowing me down so I can hear Your voice. Thank You for hard lessons in obedience. I know You only give them because You love me. Amen.

Friday, October 17, 2008

Come to Quiet Resting Places

Our family blog will be coming online shortly. I've been transferring some of my homesteading blog posts there and I expect to have a journal of home life in rural western West Virgina.

Go visit for a taste of our beautiful countryside. I posted a short slideshow from last weekend when Mr. Amazing said, "Let's blow off chores and go for a ride." We spent the day riding the motorcycle all over and he indulged me by stopping every little bit to take pictures.

You might even recognize the words to John Denver's tribute to WV in the captions.

More pictures and stories from our home life will be there soon. I'll introduce you to our whole gang: Pastry Princess, Orchid, Spiderman, and of course, our little Dynamo! (And all the animals...)

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Just a PostScript: On the theme of Joy

From The Practice of Godliness by Jerry Bridges:

So the choice is ours. We can be joyless Christians, or we can be joyful Christians. We can go through life bored, glum and complaining, or we can rejoice in the Lord, in our names being written in heaven, in the hope of an eternal inheritance. It is both our privilege and our duty to be joyful. To be joyless is to dishonor God and to deny His love and His control over our lives. It is practical atheism. To be joyful is to experience the power of the Holy Spirit within us, and to say to a watching world, "Our God reigns."

Joy is a fruit of the Spirit. It is a result of His work, but it is also something we must do. We must, by His power, rejoice. This is part of the practice of godliness.

Thankful Thursday: God's Love Letters

I was awakened in the early hours this morning. Unable to fall back to sleep, I realized my wakefulness was from the Lord. I began praying for my dear ones, those sleeping here in our home and those sleeping in their own home.

After a time, I grew restless to have my Bible in my hands so I could seek the Lord's direction to pray and I rose from the bed.

Soon the spiritual struggle of one of my dearest ones came to my mind. I sought words from the Scriptures specifically for this dear one's situation. I'm so thankful God has given us His Love Letters when we need to hear from Him.

First, from 1 Timothy 1:19 --
Cling to your faith in Christ, and keep your conscience clear. For some people have deliberately violated their consciences; as a result, their faith has been shipwrecked.
Next, from 2 Corinthians 6:14-7:1 --
Don't team up with those who are unbelievers.

How can righteousness be a partner with wickedness?

How can light live with darkness?

What harmony can there be between Christ and the devil?

How can a believer be a partner with an unbeliever?

And what union can there be between God's temple and idols?

For we are the temple of the living God. As God said:

"I will live in them and walk among them. I will be their God, and they will be my people.

Therefore, come out from among unbelievers, and separate yourselves from them, says the LORD. Don't touch their filthy things, and I will welcome you.

And I will be your Father, and you will be my sons and daughters, says the LORD Almighty."

Because we have these promises, dear friends, let us cleanse ourselves from everything that can defile our body or spirit. And let us work toward complete holiness because we fear God.
And, from Proverbs 18:10 --
The name of the LORD is a strong fortress; the godly run to Him and are safe.
Finally, beloved, from Exodus 14:13-14 --
Don't be afraid. Just stand still and watch the LORD rescue you today. The LORD Himself will fight for you. Just stay calm.
Thank You, Father:
  • that you are faithful and true,
  • that joy in You gives us strength,
  • that Your word guides and comforts,
  • that the believer can stand steadfast on Your word.
Amen, Lord!!

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

WFW: Love Pouring Over


Pastry Princess and Dynamo @ a roadside waterfall in West Virginia. So refreshing on a hot summer day...Just like the love of God to His children.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Morning Glory Farm: Homesteading on God's Little Acre (& a half!)

Homesteading begins in the heart. I discovered that after years of packing up every three years when the Air Force had some new job for my dear husband in a distant place. My early attempts at homesteading were little pots of flowers and herbs, maybe the occasional tomato or bush cucumber plant on the patio or porch of military base or rented housing. Those years I yearned for acres and acres of land on which to grow my own grains and vegetables. Each time we moved my longing grew deeper.

As of today, our homestead, Morning Glory Farm, is an acre and a half on the property my husband spent his teen years. But that is exactly enough for me right now. You see, I have discovered the joy of heart-steading…that is living where God has put me and making the most of what He has blessed me with.My first seed catalogue of the season arrived a week before Christmas. It was like getting an early present! I love spending the cold winter days planning my spring planting. I draw out elaborate plans on cheap graph paper and plot everything carefully.

I use raised beds, 4-foot square each. We have three established beds and I hope to add at least that many more this year. My husband is planning to move my beds to the best, sunniest spot in the yard so he can change the way we drive to his garage. I’ve already picked out several new varieties from the Jung seed catalogue to put in my herb bed. I have four little plants that seem to winter over very well in our climate, a rosemary plant, an oregano plant, and two bunches of chives. This year they will be joined by some pineapple sage (wonderful for tea, especially during sore throat season!) and some chocolate basil (just for fun).

We fight the little rabbits, voles, and squirrels for the strawberries in one raised bed. But the strawberries that we get to eat are so amazingly sweet and flavorful that I’m starting another bed using the offspring of the original plants. I need tips on using/growing my rhubarb. I have three plants at the back of my strawberry bed (with visions of strawberry-rhubarb pie dancing in my head). I can’t seem to figure out when I should cut the stalks and they seem to be favorites of tiny little insects that riddle the leaves with holes.

If I can convince my dear son to help, I will get to build my first cold frame in the next week or so. My father has been working hard to turn our carport into a wonderful and spacious master suite. Some of the construction cast-offs are the four brick columns that supported the roof before he put in the outside wall of the bedroom. They broke into nicely-sized pieces when they fell. I saw a great reuse of bricks in a book my mother brought me today and I have all the materials needed to have a bed ready to take early spinach, lettuce, and hardy herb seedlings that I will start in two weeks. Bricks have the wonderful benefit of holding even little bits of heat from the winter sun. I have a lot of old windows to choose from that will serve as the top of the cold frame.

I have to admit, I am an early-bird planter! My corn seed was in the ground three weeks early two years ago. Every time the forecast predicted frost, I had to run out and cover up all the bright green little stalk-lings. I kill seedlings every year because I just can't wait to start growing!

IOW: Overcoming the Pharisee Within

Amy is hosting In Other Words at her site In Pursuit of Proverbs 31. If you want to participate, write a blog about the quote in the box below on your site then click on the link to Amy's blog and leave your URL in the Mr. Linky box. You will also find links for the other participants' blogs.

"A pharisee is hard on others and easy on himself, but a spiritual man is easy on others and hard on himself." ~A.W. Tozer~
Discipleship training is so important for people young in their walk with Christ. A spiritually mature Christian's perspective is crucial in helping a new Christian sift through all the doctrine preached, i.e. lifestyle choices (clothing, to watch movies or not, etc.), to get to the real meat of walking with the Lord.
"Now the Spirit expressly says that in latter times some will depart from the faith...forbidding to marry, and commanding to abstain from foods which God created to be received with thanksgiving by those who believe and know the truth...If you instruct the brethren in these things, you will be a good minister of Jesus Christ, nourished in the words of faith and of the good doctrine which you have carefully followed. But reject profane and old wives' fables, and exercise yourself toward godliness." --1 Timothy 4:1-7
As a young wife, I went through a time of thinking like a pharisee. Although I had been a believer for eight years, I had never had my faith stretched or challenged. My husband's military career moved us all over the country and to many different churches. I was raised in a church that taught the freedom a believer has through grace.

But for several years, while seeking out Bible-teaching churches, we ended up in congregations that tended to focus on works more than grace. This wasn't so overt that it was easily detected. And there lies the danger -- are we being taught to love others while hating sin, or to focus so much on the sin we can't see the person in need of help in growing in grace, or the person in need of a Savior?

It took a hard lesson for me to realize how much of a pharisee I had become.

I called my parents' North Carolina home from our home in Mississippi one day. My then-18 year old sister answered. During the ensuing conversation I found out that she was going through one of the biggest trials of her life. She was unmarried and expecting a baby in a couple months.

She hadn't let anyone tell me because of my previous "holier than thou" behavior concerning loud opinions on everything from bathing suits to short hairstyles. She "was afraid I would judge her and hate her" for her mistaken choices.

That conversation was a turning point in my life. I realized that I was reflecting the doctrines of whatever church I was attending instead of reflecting the love and grace of Christ.

It took me years to get to the place where I can look at the person beneath the outer appearance. I still fight the pharisee within when I see someone in obvious rebellion against his or her Creator.

I have to remind myself--
"But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us." --Romans 5:8

"And be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God in Christ forgave you. --Ephesians 4:32
I want to be the person who makes others feel safe and loved--
"Oh, the comfort, the inexpressible comfort of feeling safe with a person; having neither to weigh thoughts nor measure words, but to pour them all out, just as they are, chaff and grain together, knowing that a faithful hand will take and sift them, keep what is worth keeping, and then, with the breath of kindness, blow the rest away." ~George Eliot~
Believers, we have the responsibility to see through Love's eyes.
"This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you." --John 15:12

"Let us look at our own shortcomings and leave other people's alone; for those who live carefully ordered lives are apt to be shocked at everything and we might well learn very important lessons from the persons who shock us. Our outward comportment and behavior may be better than theirs, but this, though good, is not the most important thing: there is no reason why we should expect everyone to travel by our own road." ~Teresa of Avila (1515-1582)~

Monday, October 13, 2008

Fall Into Flavor: Pumpkin Muffins

First of all: Happy Birthday to my sister, Wanda!!!!!

My mother and I had a little get-away about 13 years ago to the old Moravian village of Old Salem, North Carolina.

We stayed at a lovely bed and breakfast inn called the Zevely Inn. Part of the stay included a tour of the Winkler Bakery, where they still use a brick oven to make wonderful treats.

I bought several recipe cards from the Winkler Bakery. These are authentic recipes from the time period (early 19th century). This recipe has become part of our fall breakfasts ever since the trip.

Pumpkin Muffins

2 cups sifted flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ginger
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
1/3 cup raisins
1/3 cup soft butter
3/4 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup molasses
2 beaten eggs
1 cup canned pumpkin
1/2 cup milk

Sift together flour, baking powder, salt, and spices. Add raisins and stir to coat. Cream sugar, butter, and molasses; add milk eggs, and pumpkin, and blend well. Stir in dry ingredients blending only until flour disappears.

Fill greased muffin pans full. Bake at 375 degrees for 16-18 minutes. Makes 12-15 large muffins.

**I like to make mini-muffins and freeze the ones we don't immediately eat. They can be thawed and reheated as needed.
**I play around with the additions: sometimes I use 1/2 raisins and 1/2 chopped nuts; sometimes I use shredded carrots and chopped nuts.
**These muffins are great with stews and chili, in the place of cornbread.
**To make this recipe similar to the Panera Bread pumpkin muffin: mix 1 teaspoon cinnamon with 2 tablespoons sugar and sprinkle on top of muffins before you bake.

Go visit Linda @ 2nd Cup of Coffee for more recipes and/or to join in. ;->

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Saturday Selah: The Call of Love

"Call to Me, and I will answer you and show you great and mighty things, which you do not know." ~~Jeremiah 33:3
I've been led toward having a specific, organized prayer time. I started using Beth Moore's prayer journal, Whispers of Hope. It is a lovely 10-week journey to commit to 70 days of consistent prayer.

I started Day One with a beautiful experience of prayer and worship. Then bang! My week got so busy and, what wasn't yet a habit was pushed away, just a sorrowful glance thrown at the journal on the end table as I rushed from one urgent activity to another.

All throughout the week, this verse sang in my mind urging me to slow down and pay attention to the Lord's voice.
"Be still, and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth!" Psalm 46:10
I really crave more than a dashed prayer with breakfast. I do most of my Bible study and writing at night. I am inspired by a fellow blogger, Ann Voskamp @ Holy Experience, to set aside a spot in the house specifically prepared for an organized prayer time.
"I kneel, strike a small halo at bench’s edge, and watch lights, one slight and wavering, one full and rising, seep through blackness.

And in a bit, in the glowing, fingers find leather bookmark, and eyes find passage, and heart finds it’s way home.

I linger there. Verses from Philippians push back the dark; light." ~~from A place for everything, 09-12-2008
Beautiful picture isn't it? Go, visit her blog (click on her name above), soak up the blessing the Lord gives just from reading her words.

The Woman's Study Bible says this about giving priority to prayer:
Prayer should occupy a place in the heart; it also needs a place in the home. While every believer does not need a prayer closet (Matthew 6:6), all believers should have a place of solitude free from distraction in order to pray in private.

To help make prayer a priority, you may want to use a prayer journal or devotional book or write out a prayer list and revise it often. Share your commitment to prayer with others, both to encourage them and to hold yourself accountable for praying regularly.
Becoming still and listening to the Lord, through His word first and then as He guides our thoughts to "great and mighty things," is our way to express our love and reverence to the One who created us for fellowship with Him.

Just as He invited the prophet Jeremiah to pray and then promised to answer that prayer beyond Jeremiah's understanding, we are invited to do the same. As we call to Him, He calls us to immerse ourselves in His presence and be surrounded by His love.

My goal this next week is to be intentional about meeting the Lord each morning in the sunroom. I will have my Bible, journal, pencils, and notebook on the table at the ready by the wicker rocker. All I need to bring is myself...He will be expecting me.

Hold me accountable this week and ask me if I've spent time alone with the Lord each day. I will do the same for you if you email me a note asking me to.
"[Sisters], pray for us." ~~1 Thessalonians 5:25

Friday, October 10, 2008

Friday Fun: The All About Me Edition

Amazingly, I have all day today to myself. I'm going to spend most of it doing all those little things I've put off all week (like cleaning the bathroom and washing the linens). I thought while I sit here eating a bacon, egg, and cheddar bagel and drinking coffee with Chocolate Mint Truffle creamer for lunch, I'd blog something fun. I found this meme by Kiki @ Friday Fun in a Google search.

Today's Q&A:

1. What is your idea of a perfect relaxing day?

On the beach...a warm, salty breeze blowing...reading my favorite novel (Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte)...Mr. Amazing in the lounge chair next to me reading something, too. Oh, and a vente Pumpkin Spice Latte in the lounge chair's cup holder.

2. Your first real boyfriend/girlfriend,… do you look back fondly or do you get the shudders? Where are they today?

A miniscule bit of fondness. I see that kind of puppy love from a different perspective 3 decades later. I think he's a lawyer with a wife and 2 little kids. Living somewhere in New Jersey.

3. What was your favorite subject in school?

Writing through elementary, and junior high...Journalism in high school.

4. What is your favorite show on TV? Favorite book? Favorite song?

TV: It's a toss up between Criminal Minds, Numbers, and The Closer. Book: See question 1. Song: Amazing Grace (My Chains are Gone) by Chris Tomlin - clicking opens a Youtube video.

5. My husband’s only real competion is Wentworth Miller from Prison Break. Who is your celebrity crush?

Ok, this will age me: Sean Connery...ooo0, that Scottish accent... *wink* BTW, Mr. Amazing does a pretty good imitation.

6. Since I got my first gray hair at 16, Miss Clairol and her friends are my close, personal friends! What about you? To dye or not to dye the hair? If so, what color is your natural hair (if you remember!) and what color do you dye it?

Natural color: sorta dark mousy brown with gray patches in a most unattractive pattern. With a little help it's: Medium Golden Brown (Loreal Superoir Preference 5G ).

***Don't forget to join me sometime tomorrow for the Saturday Selah and share how the Lord has been teaching you to Be Still and Know.***

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Thankful Thursday: Sweet Aroma

"I will give You thanks in the great assembly; I will praise You among many people."~~Psalm 35:18

I bake bread for my family regularly and for me there is great pleasure in this basic task. Everything about it from measuring the ingredients to forming the loaves to tasting that first bite fresh out of the oven is sensory bliss for me. And the bonus is that I am doing something truly good and healthful for those that mean the most to me.

Similarly, one of my favorite things about communicating with other believers through this blog medium is that I get to enjoy their offerings to the Lord through the gift of writing He has given to them. Such a simple thing, sharing an experience that means much to one in a way that another is blessed.

I discovered something wonderful during my Bible reading...simple offerings such as these are a sweet aroma to the Father as well. Let me share a passage from my study Bible concerning a beautiful offering the Hebrews practiced:

Minhah. The Hebrew name for the grain or cereal offering simply means "gift." This offering expressed the worshiper's spontaneous gratitude to God. No specific requirements regarding its time and frequency were given. The gift involved the product of a woman's daily activity in the home: flour or baked cakes. Dedication of life expresses itself in the simplicity of everyday activity. This offering also produced a "sweet aroma" to the Lord. ~~The Woman's Study Bible, Thomas Nelson Publishers
Done with a servant's heart, every action becomes an offering of gratitude to God. It is not really something one can plan. It is an overflow of the abundant grace the Father has given us through His Son, Jesus. In this way He uses us to bless others.
"Now thanks be to God who always leads us in triumph in Christ, and through us diffuses the fragrance of His knowledge in every place. For we are to God the fragrance of Christ among those who are being saved and among those who are perishing." ~~2 Corinthians 2:14-15
I am so very thankful for
  • all my friends who blog about the Lord.
  • the opportunity to serve the Lord through serving my family.
  • His patience as I, stumbling along, learn to have a servant's heart.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

WFW-Climb God's Mountian

Do you want to know your purpose in this life? Go, seek out the One who made you.

"Seek the LORD while He may be found, call on Him while He is near." ~~Isaiah 55:6
He knows you and has a plan for your life.

"For I know the thoughts I think toward you, says the LORD, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope." ~~Jeremiah 29:11
He has been planning for you since before you were born.

"My frame was not hidden from You, when I was made in secret, and skillfully wrought in the lowest parts of the earth. Your eyes saw my substance, being yet unformed. And in Your book they all were written, the days fashioned for me, when as yet there were none of them."~~Psalm 139:15-16

You can find Him in His word. He will guide you to Himself.

"Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path." ~~Psalm 119:105

"Your testimonies I have taken as a heritage forever, for they are the rejoicing of my heart." ~~Psalm 119:111
Praise Him on His holy mountain!

"For I know that my Redeemer lives, and He shall stand at last on the earth...this I know, that in my flesh I shall see God, whom I shall see for myself...how my heart yearns within me!" ~~Job 19:25, 26b-27