Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Psalm 8

O Lord, our Lord,
how excellent is thy name in all the earth!

All things were made by Him and point to His power and glory. 
          Thank you, Lord, for sharing this beautiful world with me. 
                    Your name is to be praised.

Monday, December 28, 2009

Holiday Treats

Here are two treats that we enjoy during the holiday.  Quick and easy, can be done ahead, and last well!

Olive Tapenade

3 c olives (black, green,or combo)
3 tsp olive oil
3 tsp balsamic vinegar
1-2 cloves garlic

Throw all ingredients in blender or food processor.
Serve on crusty bread, melba toast, or crackers

We first had tapenade in Victoria, Canada when I got to take a trip on the USS Abraham Lincoln from Canada to Everett, WA.  Quite a momentous trip!

Cheese Spread

1 c sour cream
1/4 c milk
1 8oz cream cheese (can be reduced fat)
4 oz cheese (cheddar, pepper jack, or smoked)
1/8 tsp flavor (smoke, tobasco, or A1)
real bacon bits (opt)

Finely grate cheese and mix all ingredients.  Refrigerate.
Serve with crackers, pretzels, or crusty bread.
Choose flavor addition, based on cheese choice.

I am enjoying a few days off with my hubby - hope you are having a wonderful holiday!

Friday, December 25, 2009

Merry Christmas from the Bickishes!

Especially remembering and missing our immediate families in New York, Tennesee, Oregon, Idaho, Washington, Monthana, and Alaska.  We love and miss you all!

Thursday, December 24, 2009

The Blessing of Christmas

I am thankful for the incarnation of my Savior.

Philippians 2:6-8
Who, being in the form of God,
thought it not robbery to be equal with God:
But made himself of no reputation,
and took upon him the form of a servant,
and was made in the likeness of men:
And being in fashion as a man,
he humbled himself,
and became obedient unto death,
even the death of the cross.

Christ knows me, he understands me, he left me an example of humility, love, and compassion to follow.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Glad for a Simple Christmas

Not doing anything out of the ordinary today.  Did some laundry, some cleaning, made a cheese dip for this weekend, and plan to get some potatoes ready to bake tomorrow.  Hubby wants all the "work" done before Christmas so we can enjoy the day and not have to be regulated by the oven or a piece of meat.  I thought that sounded good.  I don't like being extremely busy when hubby has the day off.  So tomorrow I will bake the ham, bake the scalloped potatoes, and make some rolls.  Who knows what Christmas day will hold ... a long walk, a trip to see Christmas lights, a drive to an undisclosed location, or just a quiet day at home?  I hope you have a great day!

Being a holiday week, I will resume my book reporting after the new year.

Looking forward to hearing my favorite preacher tonight ... and again on Sunday night!

The Angel's Song

Yes, I know that the Bible says "...praising God, and saying,"  But I will be singing these words this week.

Luke 2:14
Glory to God in the highest,
and on earth peace, good will toward men.

May God recieve all praise this Christmas, and every day!

Monday, December 21, 2009

A Different Kind of Recipe

Like this little Snow Buddy, I am enjoying the little bit of snow that NC recieved on Friday and Saturday ...

With all of the treats floating around, I can hardly think about cooking or baking today.  I do need to bake a loaf of bread to make hubby's sandwishes this week.  I have passed the "magic number" on the scale and so the treats are going to hubby only.  Oh, it is hard to pass on that pumpkin roll from a church friend (I had a piece yesterday and it was delicious - how could it not be with cream cheese filling) and the custard apple pie that I baked on Friday. 

So today I will share a recipe for foaming soap dispensers.  A while back, I hit a triple coupon sale and got some Dawn foaming dish soap - it lasted so well and I loved it ... but it is so pricey.  I also hit a freebie at a Drug Store for a foaming hand soap.  So with a little research, I found that I can refill these with regular soap and water.  I now use only 6 TBS of dish soap each week and about 1 TBS of hand soap a week.

Foaming Dish Soap  - Add 6 T dish soap to a Dawn foaming dispenser and then fill with water to fill line.

Hand Soap - Mix 3 T liquid soap and 2/3 c water to foaming dispenser.

You may have to swirl the mixture a little and may have a little sputtering at first when air gets in the dispenser, but the little frustration is worth the savings.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Running late, but still giving thanks

Thursdays are always very busy, but this one almost escaped me.  I taught my last piano lessons for 2009, ironed a huge pile of dress clothes, did laundry, raked more leaves, and wrote more Christmas cards.  Hubby is done with finals - only chapel tomorrow and then Christmas break! 

"YOJ" blocks made by a childhood friend and mentor.
"YOJ" because my brothers never liked to leave them in the right order.

I am thankful for God's faithfulness in spite of our faults and failures.  God daily shows me new areas that need work and I am thankful for His patience.  I am thankful that He hasn't given up on me.

Lamentations 3:22-23
It is of the LORD'S mercies
that we are not consumed,
because his compassions fail not.
They are new every morning:
great is thy faithfulness.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Know Your Man

It has been a fun week.  Hubby is finishing up finals - 3 today and 1 tomorrow.  He has extra time this week, so we have gone shopping together, had some special treats, exercised together, wrapped packages, raked leaves, and in general just enjoyed the extra time together.  The housework has been a little bit on the back burner as we spend time together.  He will be at the farm full time next week, so there will be plenty of time to attack the dust!

The chapters in Created to Be His Helpmeet were again on wisdom.  Chapter 8 was on knowing your man.  The author breaks things down into 3 types of men - each man having characteristics of all 3 types - but often more of one then another.  The first is "Mr Command Man" - he likes to lead, to be in charge, and to be served.  He delegates and does not participate well in small talk.  The wife of Mr. Command Man is busy all the time.  She knows what he wants, how he wants it and can anticipate his needs and desires.  She must act in such a way as to bring respect and honor to her husband.  She may be "pitied" by society because of her activity in the home, but when she cares for her husband, she becomes his queen and is loved, adored, and respected by him.  The second is "Mr. Visionary" - he likes to plan new ways of doing things, he wants a "perfect" world where everyone is following the "rules,"  He engages in confrontation and debate over side issues.  His wife must be positive and supportive while also sharing common sense and truth.  She must be flexible and "enjoy the ride" - her life will be anything but boring.  She must be content to make his dreams, her dreams and be at peace with the results.  The last type is "Mr. Steady" - the servant, the slow,rational thinker, he is balanced and stable, he wants to please.  The wife of Mr. Steady needs to be thankful and appreciate her husbands calm ways and deliberate thinking.  She must learn to share her man as he serves the needs of others.  She must not push her husband to become something that he is not.

Both hubby and I enjoyed this chapter.  We could both see a type that he fit into best, but also felt that he had some of all the characters.  The key is, that I am created to help and serve my husband and that may be different than the way another woman serves her husband.  Hubby is primarily a "Mr. Command Man" and it took awhile to adjust to that role when I was used to a home with a primarily "Mr. Steady."  They are different and that is the beauty of life.  There are times when hubby is "visionary" and I need to support or bring the word of common sense or put out fires.  There are times when he is "steady" and I need to be grateful for his service to me.  The author says "Wisdom is knowing what you 'bought' when you married that man, and learning to adapt to him as he is, not as you want him to be."  It is the wife who changes and show flexibility - not in her personality, but in the way that she helps and supports.

Philippians 2:5
Let this mind be in you,
which was also in Christ Jesus.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Evil Christmas Carols?

a small nativity purchased when hubby spent a few weeks in January in an RV park

I truly love Christmas - the lights, the goodies, the gift giving, the sparkle, the carols, the focus on our Savior born so long ago, the gatherings of family and friends.  We enjoyed a second singing of the "Messiah" at BJU on Saturday night followed by Peppermint Pancake Puppies at Denny's.  I enjoyed being out looking at Christmas lights last night with my hubby.  It was a gray night and there was a low fog, but it cut down on the traffic through a local "Christmas town."  Unfortunately, it seems that there is a movement among Christians to vilify Christmas because of all of the commercialization.  "The carols are empty," "there is too much worship of a baby and not His work," "we lose our focus with all of the trimmings."

May I answer the first claim.  There are some carols with little meaning, but not all.  I always enjoy the singing of the "Messiah" through the Christmas season.  Who can say that the singing of Scripture is empty?  One of hubby's favorites is "What Child is This?"  The first time I heard him singing it, I did not recognize it.  Our common hymnbooks take out some of the meat and the meaning of his birth adding a repetitive chorus instead of the full verse.  Enjoy the verses of this precious carol, especially the gospel in verse 2.

"What Child is This?"

What Child is this, Who laid to rest, on Mary's lap is sleeping?
Whom angels greet with anthems sweet while shepherds watch are keeping?
This, this is Christ the King, whom shepherds guard and angels sing:
Haste, haste to bring Him laud the babe the Son of Mary.

Why lies He in such mean estate where ox and ass are feeding?
Good Christian, fear for sinners here the silent Word is pleading.
Nails, spear shall pierce Him through, the cross He bore for me, for you:
Hail, hail the Word made flesh - the babe, the Son of Mary!

So bring Him incense, gold and myrrh - come peasant, king to own Himl
The King of Kengs salvation brings let loving hearts enthrone Him.
Raise, raise the song on high - the Virgin sings her lullaby:
Joy, joy for Christ is born - the babe, the Son of Mary.

Friday, December 11, 2009

Slower Pace

It has been a slower week!  We try to keep our days at a reasonable pace - but school and church activities sometimes keep things busy.  Some people feel the crunch at the end of the semester, but hubby gets more free time at the end of his - in fact he has started work for his next semester of Greek - translating I John!  This morning, he did not have to be at school until chapel (9:00) so we enjoyed a slower morning that started at 6:15 instead of 4:30!

Around the house, we are enjoying the decorations of Christmas and some simple baked goods.  We hope to decorate gingerbread men together some evening next week and I think that I will make a "few" peanut butter cups.  The card making is complete and now they just need some personal messages for the season and a trip to the mailbox to be delivered to friends near and far.  There is bread rising this morning (or trying to rise in the chilly morning).  I am thinking of those loved ones who are waking to snow this morning with the promise of more.  There is nothing like the appearance of fresh fallen snow.  We are hoping that the wind dies down here so that we can rake and bag leaves this weekend and in the coming week - what a difference.  Hoping to go here the "Messiah" again this weekend if the weather cooperates!

Hope you have a great weekend wherever you are! 

Thursday, December 10, 2009

My God reigns!

The Lord reigneth;
let the earth rejoice;
let the multitude of isles
be glad thereof.
Psalm 97:1

It seems that I need to really learn how to rejoice. 
I had another word study on rejoicing this week. 
It is a comfort and reason to rejoice that my God is in control.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

A Wise Woman

The fear of the Lord
   is the beginning of wisdom.
      ~ Proverbs 9:10a
                                 Every wise woman buildeth her house:
                                     but the foolish plucketh it down with her hands.
                                         ~ Proverbs 14:1

This week's study in Created to Be His Helpmeet was on wisdom.  The Bible says that the fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom.  The author challenged the reader to trust God and to believe his Word.  It is easy to read of God's plan for the family, and then to find our "out," our excuse, the exception that God "forgot" to record in His Word.  God lays out in His Word that I was created to be a helpmeet and that I am to honor, submit, and revere m y husband ... no exceptions.  If I rest in God's design, I can also rest in the results of my obedience.

Just this week, I failed a test in this area - one that will most likely make you laugh, but it shows the humility and the strength of God that we need.  I grew up eating cookie dough - yum!  Hubby grew up concerned about salmonella and raw eggs.  He has asked me repeatedly (to my shame) not to eat cookie dough.  I fell again this week while making some whole wheat chocolate cookies.  I took a bite and looked up to find him looking disappointedly at me.  I had failed to honor his request.  I apologized and prayed for strength and determination to do better in all areas of submission.
Disobedience to God's plan has consequences.  My actions and reactions will reap blessing or cursing.  God wants me to be a helper, not a conscience or my family's spiritual leader.  I can practice joy and gratitude in my position or practice anger and bitterness.  True godly fear will keep me on the right path - fearing God's judgment of my sin, recognizing that God fights for those who fear Him, and knowing that it is a step to wisdom.  Fearing God is work, a choice, but it is a treasure with the reward of riches, honor, life, peace, and satsfaction.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Songs of Praise at Christmas!

After the birth of John the Baptist, his father Zacharias, was enabled to speak again.  His first words were of praise to a mighty God and of the glories of salvation.  So often our first words in the day, or first words when meeting a friend, or first words when hubby comes in the door are those of grumbling, complaining, and discontent.  What a rebuke and an example!

Luke 2:68-79
Blessed be the Lord God of Israel;
for he hath visited and redeemed his people,
And hath raised up an horn of salvation
for us in the house of his servant David;
As he spake by the mouth of his holy prophets,
which have been since the world began:
That we should be saved from our enemies,
and from the hand of all that hate us;
To perform the mercy promised to our fathers,
and to remember his holy covenant;
The oath which he sware to our father Abraham,
That he would grant unto us that we being delivered out of
the hand of our enemies might serve him without fear,
In holiness and righteousness before him,
all the days of our life.
And thou, child, {John the Baptist} shalt be called the prophet of the Highest:
for thou shalt go before the face of the Lord to prepare his ways;
To give knowledge of salvation unto his people
by remission of their sins,
Through the tender mercy of our God;
whereby the dayspring from on high hath visited us,
To give light to them that sit in darkness
and in the shadow of death,
to guide our feet into the way of peace.

Monday, December 7, 2009

It missed us!

The paper this morning showed pictures of snow in Louisiana - it was in our forecast for the weekend, but it missed us.  The news of a pending flurry brings a "flurry" of reactions from love to disgust!  Hubby and I laughed at the comics yesterday.  The cartoon showed Snoopy atop his house covered with snow.  As he awakened, he complained about the snow because he couldn't see when he awoke and he was cold, and then he started wondering if it was not snow at all - perhaps he was BLIND!  The last frame showed Snoopy jumping around excited again about the snow.  How many times am I reminded that so many things come down to perspective?

I am still watching those calories  for this month, so I will share another lo-cal with you today.  I have learned in the last 6 years that "diet" food can be GREAT if one makes use of spices - and this one has it!  The cayenne and the teriyaki are great flavor and the seeds add a crunch.

Sesame Chicken

4 skinless chicken breast halves
non stick cooking spray
3 TBSP sesame seeds
3 TBSP flour
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
3 TBSP bottled reduced sodium teriyaki sauce
1 TBSP butter/marg melted

Lightly coat baking sheet with nonstick spray.
Combine seeds, flour, salt and cayenne in large bag.
Dip chicken in teriyake sauce.
Shake shicken in bag to coat.
Place chicken bone sides down on prepared sheet.
Drizzle butterover chicken.

Bake at 400* for about 45 min. or until tender.
I use boneless which only take 20-25 minutes.
Garnish with pineapple wedges and shredded spinach.
(this step rarely happens in my home)

This chicken is great with a side of brown rice and green beans (especially if fresh and sauteed with garlic).  It is not anything like sesame chicken at a Chinese restaurant (which is so tasty because it is not all that healthy), but it has great flavor and is not a lot of work!  Don't think we'll be having this tonight.  We have some leftovers and it is time to make some more lentils and brown rice (YUMMY). 

Friday, December 4, 2009

Just enjoying the morning!

I wish that I were more of a morning person.  It was so enjoyable this morning to watch the sun rays stream in this morning as I nursed a cup of pumpkin spice coffee. The coffee was especially inviting after putting a load of wash on the line at dawn!  Wet clothes on a frosty morning are awfully cold!

I love Fridays!  It is my last violin lesson until January.  It will be nice to have a little less pressure on my practice for awhile.  The past two weeks have been very hard in regards to practice time.  I hope to really get some of the finer things down while reviewing pieces in the next month.  This afternoon I hope to cook up another pumpkin and get it in the freezer, and make hubby a cherry pie.  I mentioned the pie this morning and his eyes just lit up - often he gets pumpkin or apple because of availability and price.  I like to make hubby smile!

It was a great week here in NC.  The soaking rains on Wednesday which made my errand-running very soggy made the sun on Thursday seem extra bright.  It is the Christmas season and the reminders of the season all around me cheer my heart.  The Christmas tree went up on Tuesday and was trimmed yesterday.  The porcelain houses were arranged in their wintry setting last night.  Each decoration is a reminder of someone who has touched my life in some way.  There is still the Precious Moments Nativity to be set out which is my favorite decoration of all - a gift from my parents and my dear husband (over quite a few years time).  I like all of the trimmings of the season - at least in my home - and the reminder with all of the nativities of the sacrifice that an Almighty Lord would make in taking the form of man to make the sacrifice for my sin.  When I was going through college, one of the choir's favorite Christmas anthems was "How should a King Come?"  The song suggested on a fine white horse, or dining on the finest foods, or wearing the best of clothes.  Yet our King came as a baby, born in a stable, laid in a manger, to poor earthly parents.  What sacrifice and condescension!

Philippians 2:5-7
Let this mind be n you,
which was also in Christ Jesus:
Who, being in the form of God,
thought it not robbery to be equal with God:
But made himself of no reputation,
and took upon him the form of a servant,
and was made in the likeness of men:

Thursday, December 3, 2009

I Can't Outgive God

It has been a phenomenal week.  There is much to be thankful for on this Thankful Thursday.  I am in awe of the Lord's provision.  The Lord is ever challenging us to give Him more (it's His anyway).  I read the other day that we should not look at it as how much we can give God, but how much we will keep for ourselves.  It doesn't matter how much I might "shovel" back to God; as Mueller said, "God has a bigger shovel!"

First, on Tuesday, we received a substantial financial gift.  It was such a surprise that we just stared at each other in stunned silence for quite awhile.

That same day we recieved an early Christmas gift and again, I was stunned (hubby had a heads up on this one).  It is a gift that will allow us to make better use of our garden next year as well as the seasonal fruits and vegetables when they are most economical.

On Wednesday, a light came on in the car (of course, while I was running errands).  This was sad news, but God was still in control.  Hubby called a local mechanic who was highly recommended by those around us.  The mechanic would charge $60 to read the code so that we knew what to fix.  Hubby was ready to take the car in for the reading, but the mechanic said that it would have to stay overnight.  Of course with one car, that wasn't going to work.  Back to "google" we went and discovered that auto parts stores like Advanced Auto and Auto Zone have the Diagnostic Tool.  Hubby went right in, had the computer read in minutes, and the cost ... $0!  The Parts store didn't carry the part, so we had to order the part from Ford.  It will be in tomorrow and the car will be fixed for less than the cost quoted by the mechanic for merely reading the computer.  If God had not orchestrated things, we may have taken the car in without further research - He led us to the parts store.  What a Blessing!

Jude 25
To the only wise God our Saviour,
be glory and majesty,
dominion and power,
both now and ever.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Still Thinking About Thanksgiving

The next chapters in Created to Be His Helpmeet were on Thanksgiving. 
How appropriate for this week! 

The author sums up the two chapters with this quote, "Thankfulness is how you think; joy is the abundance it produces."  My husband wants to please me and provide the best for me and when I show discontent at what he provides, I tear him down.  Thanksgiving and contentment are a choice and something that must be practiced and developed.  I truly have been working on this and long to make it an easy habit in my home and marriage.  I have the ability to affect the atmosphere in my home.  My reaction to my family will in turn regulate their responses.  As I said last week, I don't want to be a thermometer reacting to the moods and actions in my home, but a thermostat that affects the people in my home. 

The joy that the author spoke of in the last chapter is produced by thankfulness.  When I am thanking God and my darling hubby, my mouth is full of praise instead of grumbling and complaining.  It is hard to be discontent while looking for ways to be thankful. 

Do you need some help getting started with thanksgiving? 
Here are a few from my word study this week ...
...God's provision
   ... Wisdom from God
        ... answered prayer
            ... fellow-Christians
               ... deliverance from sin and death
                  ... God's grace, goodness, mercy, holiness
                     ... God's plan and power
                        ... God's call and enabling
                           ... encouragment of other believers
                              ... salvation, the sacrifice of Christ
                                  ... God's Word
                                     ... daily food and healing

Psalm 107:22
And let them sacrifice
the sacrifices of thanksgiving,
and declare his works with rejoicing.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

A Pre-Christmas Carol

Actually, I am not sure if this song of praise was sung or spoken, but it is a beautiful bridge between Thanksgiving and Christmas.  It is what is often called the Magnificat or the Song of Mary.  Imagine being that young virgin so many years ago.  Thousands had hoped to be the vessel that God would use, and Mary was chosen.  What a humble spirit she shows in her praise to God and her acknowledgment of His power and her weakness.

Luke 1:46-55
And Mary said, My soul doth magnify the Lord.
And my spirit hath rejoiced in God my Savior.
For he hath regarded the low estate of his handmaiden:
for, behold, from henceforth all generations shall call me blessed.
For he that is mighty hath done to me great things; and holy is his name.
And his mercy is on them that fear him from generation to generation.
He hath shewed strength with his arm;
he hath scattered the proud in the imagination of their hearts.
He hath put down the mighty from their seats,
and exalted them of low degree.
He hath filled the hungry with good things;
and the rich he hath sent empty away.
He hath holpen his servant Israel, in remembrance of his mercy;
As he spake to our fathers, to Abraham, and to his seed for ever.