Tuesday, August 31, 2010

A Large Place

Psalm 118:5
I called upon the Lord in distress:
the Lord answered me,
and set me in a large place.

I read this verse last week in my quiet time - yes, while wrestling with complete trust in God during uncertain situations.  God hears and answers ... meeting our needs and putting me in a better place.  His ways are not my ways and His plans are far better than my own.

Monday, August 30, 2010

Apple Dumplings

We made it to the foothills for some apple picking on Friday.  I promised to organize hubby's mountain of school work to keep him on schedule as we drove and he took me for MACS!  It is a little bit of a search for Macintosh here.  The man at the orchard says that they are hard to grow here and that they fall fast ... they were falling as we picked and could be gone by next week.  Our next trip to the orchards I will have to settle for another type of apple.  The trip always reminds us of fall in NY, especially at the beautiful Sky Top Orchards.  We have lived in 3 states that pride themselves in apples - NY, WA, and now NC!

I am enjoying the fresh Macs and grapes that we picked and am baking for hubby.  I made some apple dumplings on Saturday night along with some stuffed peppers for the crock pot on Sunday.  Hubby didn't like the new recipe that I used because it had a sauce similar to sticky buns - a carmelly, gooey mess of yumminess... (of course, I liked the reminder of Grandma Hadley's specialty).  So today, I will make dumplings anew with the "old" sauce.

Apple Dumplings

2 1/2 c water
1 1/4 c sugar
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 c plus 6 tsp butter, divided
2 c flour
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
3/4 c shortening
1/2 c milk
5-6 small tart apples (peeled and cored, or chopped to make 2 c)
Cinnamon sugar

In a small saucepan, combine water, sugar, and cinnamon.  Cook and stir over med until sugar is dissolved, about 5 minutes.  Add 1/4 c butter; stir until melted.  Remove from the heat; set aside.

In a bowl,combine the flour, baking powder and salt.  Cut in the shortening until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs.  Stir in milk.

On lightly floured surface, roll dough into 12 x 18 rectangle.  Divide into 6 - 6" squares.  Place an apple or 1/3 cup diced apples in the center of each portion.  Sprinkle with cinnamon-sugar, dot with remaining butter.  Bring corners of pastry to center.  Brush edges with milk or water; pinch edges to seal.

Place in a greased 13x9 in dish; drizzle with syrup.  Bake, uncovered at 375* for 35-40 minutes or until golden brown.

Friday, August 27, 2010

Still Working on It

Nahum 1:7
The Lord is good, a strong hold in the day of trouble;
and he knoweth them that trust in him.

Psalm 112:7
He [the righteous] shall not be afraid of evil tidings:
his heart is fixed, trusting in the Lord.

It has been a week to work on putting my trust in the proper source - the Lord.  All things are in his hands.  He does all things well.  I just need to rest in Him ... so easy to say, so hard to practice.

Headed to the mountains this afternoon to pick some apples.  We had just missed the Macs last year, but should be right in the middle of the season if we make it this afternoon!  Hubby is looking forward to some fresh cider juiced at home and I just like snacking on a good fresh apple and hope to can some applesauce!

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Back to School

It was not hard to choose what to be thankful for today.  I am thankful for the start of another semester.  We are halfway through our training here.  Only 3 semesters to go - if the Lord wills.  Hubby again has a busy schedule which includes Life of Christ, Pentateuch, Homiletics, Greek (part 3), Poetical Books, Bible Geography and Archeology, and Dispensations.  It should be a good semester.  Hubby is looking forward to getting into Greek again and having the challenge of a particularly strict teacher for Bible Geography (along with the interest in the subject).  I will soon be back to violin lessons.  I did not do as well on practice this summer, but will benefit from the accountability that the school year provides.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Good Manners

"[charity] doth not behave itself unseemly,"
I Corinthians 13:5

Love is mannerly.  Love knows how to behave in all situations.  There is such a joy in being married to someone who knows how to act in social situations.  True love will work to be appropriate in speech, in dress, in behavior in any situation that it is in.  How I long to be a "crown" to my husband by showing good manners wherever we are.  For me the work is to be appropriate in a "shooting" party, or when out camping - these are more unfamiliar than "stuffy" occasions.  Hubby on the other hand has to work harder at the formal events.  We were privileged to have such a social situation to be involved in this past weekend.  I was pleased when hubby wanted to arrive appropriately early, when my usually possessive hubby bowed to tradition as the usher seated us, when we were seated a few times in "awkward" company and hubby rose to the occasion in involving all around us in conversation.  On the flip side, I was embarrassed for those who stalled the beginning of the wedding by arriving so close to the start of the wedding that they could not sign the guest pages and be seated before the given time. 

Love also knows the right way to express itself in public without becoming cold and without making others uncomfortable. 

Today was a big yard work day.  It has been slowly cooling off, so there was much to do.  The yard was mowed, some dead flowers pulled, some vegetables trimmed back, some mulching done.  It is a good start - still much to do, but it will keep until tomorrow.  Time to clean up in the house!

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Psalm 113

Psalm 113:9

He maketh the barren woman to keep house,
and to be a joyful mother of children.
Praise ye the LORD.

This verse never ceases to encourage my faith and prayers when I read it.  While it may be that God will never bless our home with children, there are many ways to be a teacher and nurturer to those that I come in contact with.  Praise ye the LORD!

Monday, August 23, 2010

Nothing to share

Due to a wedding rehearsal dinner and a wedding reception, I did not do much cooking this weekend.  The rehearsal dinner was delicious with salad, prime rib, baked potato, and mixed veggies.  There was a rich cake for dessert, but it was chocolate, so I passed.  Hubby even passed on his ... it was VERY tempting.  At the weddinge reception there was wonderful bbq pork with rolls to make sandwiches, potato salad, cole slaw, and baked beans.  It too was delicious.  The wedding cake offered 4 different flavors - chocolate, spice, carrot, and strawberry.  Hubby had chocolate, I had strawberry.

Hubby cooked on Sunday.  We threw some potatoes on the grill and made chicken kabobs with garden peppers and onions - YUM! 

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Congratulations James and Elisabeth

Here is a picture of the wedding cross-stitch that I was recently working on.  We are headed to the wedding later this afternoon.  James has been the song leader in our church this since last summer and his bride was also a student at ABC and has helped with church music this summer, allowing me to take a break from the piano to either play the flute on Sunday nights or to sing beside hubby on Wednesday nights.  They are now headed to a new ministry. 

Congratulations James and Elisabeth!

Friday, August 20, 2010

Different Weekend

It is hard to believe that it is Friday already.  I spent much of the week putting  a Sunday School program together and dodging raindrops with my laundry.  Tonight we will go to a wedding rehearsal dinner.  I don't have a big part, and it is definitely a different role.  Usually I am a pianist or organist, but this time I get to play the flute.  Tomorrow is the "big day" for James and Elisabeth.  Hubby took the day off, so we will probably take a run in the morning.  He wants to clean the car and I will try to get some work done in the garden.  The wedding is in mid-afternoon and we should have the evening together.  Since my Saturday is "different,"  I need to get to the house cleaning today.  TTFN

Surprise Days

I am a day late on my Thankful Thursday entry.  Why?  Because hubby awoke to a phone call that he had the day off yesterday.  So today I am thankful for the days that God gives us to just rest or catch up from the hustle and bustle.  We enjoyed "sleeping in" after about 3 hours of intense storms through the night.  It was nice to have hubby's help as it was our week to clean at church.  We rested again in the afternoon and even took an evening run together when the heat broke a little (though the humidity was such that I think we were swimming).  I am also thankful that God impressed hubby to work on Tuesday so that he was not even short of work hours!

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

charity vaunteth not itself, is not puffed up,

I had a wonderful anniversary yesterday.  It is simply amazing to get to spend your life with your best friend.  I am exceedingly glad to have been able to spend the day together rather than in thought from a ship and an apartment.  Hubby worked much of the day, but we had a lovely meal at the Olive Garden last night and then a cup of Dunkin' Donuts coffee while we walked around a local park.  (I did find the will power to refuse a DD donut - though they are my favorite)  Hubby found just the sweetest anniversary card in the "Kim Anderson" style of black and white children with a color accent here and there.  It said "Just so you know, I only plan to tag along until about the end of time or so."  Two years ago, I had found a similar card as he was completing his final deployment.  It read "Now and always ... the only two times I want to be with you."

Back to thinking about true charity in the home.  Love is not egotistical or self-centered.  One who truly loves will not boast on their abilities or push their ideas as the best.  A loving woman seeks to lift Christ up first and then to see the promotion of those that she loves.  Love does not seek to impress others or draw attention to her own actions.  A wife, mother, or daughter does not seek acknowledgement for their acts of love, for they view their activity as "normal."  How much of your daily conversation is about self?  Are you content to serve "unnoticed" in the home and promote the welfare of others in the home?  This may be a good test of the quality of your love.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

August 17, 2002 ... 8 Wonderful Years!

Sorry for the picture quality ... a picture of a picture is pitiful!
Mr. and Mrs. Christopher Bickish

Monday, August 16, 2010

"Fru-fru" Cookies

I am not much for fussing with recipes.  Food is serviceable to me and hubby knows that while it might not always be as pretty as the picture, I do try to make it tasty :)  I had been admiring these cookies for about 2 years and with a church fellowship yesterday, I decided to try my hand at them.  They really look harder than they are ... they are homemade slice and bake cookies ...

Watermelon Slice Cookies

3/4 c butter, softened
3/4 c sugar
1 egg
1/2 tsp almond extract
2 c flour
1/4 tsp baking powder
1/8 tsp salt
Red and green gelfood coloring
1/3 c raisins
1 teaspoon sesame seeds

* In a large mixing bowl, cream butter and sugar.  Beat in egg and extract.  Combine the flour, baking powder and salt;  gradually add to creamed mixture.  Set aside 1 c of dough.
* Tint remaining dough red; shape into a 3 1/2 inch long log.  Wrap in plastic wrap.  Tint 1/3 c of the reserved dough green; wrap in plastic wrap.  Wrap remaining plain dough.  Refrigerate for 2 hours or until firm.
* On a lightly floured surface, roll plain dough into an 8 1/2 inch x 3 1/2 inch rectangle.  Wrap red log with white dough.  Repeat with green but roll to a 10 x 3 1/2 inch rectangle.  Wrap in plastic and refrigerate overnight.
* Unwrap and cut into 3/16 in slices.  Place 2 in apart onunreased baking sheets.  Cut raisins into small pieces.  Lightly press raisin bits and sesame seeds into red dough to resemble watermelon seeds.
* Bake 350* for 9-11 minutes or until firm.  Immediately cut cookies in half.  Remove to wire racks to cool.

Have you heard of telling the "Wordless Book" with the watermelon?  These would be a great snack for kids after telling the story.  "My heart was black (seeds) with sin, until the Savior came in.  His precious blood (fruit) I know has washed me white (inner rind) as snow.  And in his word I'm told, I'll walk the streets of gold (watermelon blossom).  To grow (green rind)  in Christ each day, I'll read my Bible and pray."

Thursday, August 12, 2010


Today I am thankful for the family that God gave me.  I have a wonderful family that was given to me at birth.  I am sure that I am daily covered with their prayers for me.  I am thankful for their graciousness as I continue to learn and grow.  I am thankful for the opportunities that my parents gave me as a child that prepared me for various ministries today.  I am thankful for the examples of my 3 brothers and their wives as they serve faithfully in various churches in whatever aspect the Lord chooses.  I am thankful for parents who taught me the need for hard work and a contentment with simple things.

I am thankful for the husband that God gave to me and for his family.  I am thankful for a husband who just wants God will for our lives.  I am thankful for his work ethic that takes him through the heat of the day in outside work, that means working a job and going to school full-time.  I am thankful for his caring family that also covers us in prayers and has been so generous in so many ways.

God designed the family unit and what a blessing they are to me!

Wednesday, August 11, 2010 envieth not; ...

It is easy to desire the gifts, abilities, praise, attention, activities of others ... especially in the home.  The Lord says in His Word that true love does not envy.  Love is generous in all situations.  It is eager to praise with sincerity.  How are you rejoicing in the success or activities within your family today?  It is not about competition, but about serving together.  If my husband is a success, I feel like a success.  I hope that his actions reflect well upon me and that my actions complement and build him up as well.

I am off to take hubby to work today and then to run ALOT of errands.  I like the prospect of being out for the day, but I must say that I must work to rejoice as I drive around in this HEAT! 

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Psalm 92:1-2

It is a good thing to give thanks unto the LORD,  and to sing praises unto thy name,  O most High:  To shew forth thy lovingkindness in the morning,
and thy faithfulness every night.

Monday, August 9, 2010

Enjoying the Fruits of the Season

I love the fresh fruits and vegetables of summer.  While not having a great year in the garden, we have enjoyed fresh cucumbers and carrots.  The tomatoes have made wonderful homemade salsa or broiled tomatoes.  I long for the day when I live somewhere long enough to have fruit trees.  We are enjoying the fresh peaches from SC right now.  I found this pie recipe last year.  Hubby turned his nose up at first, but now it is a frequent request in the summer with the fruits are at their peak and the prices are not!

Peach Plum Pie

2 c sliced, peeled peaches
2 c sliced peeled plums
1 T lemon juice
1/4 tsp almond extract
1 1/2 c sugar
1/4 c quick cooking tapioca
1/2 -1 tsp grated lemon peel
1/4 tsp salt
Pastry for double-crust pie
2 T butter or margarine

In a large bowl, combine 1st 8 ingredients.
Let stand 15 minutes.
Fill pie crust, dot with butter.  Cover with top.
Cover edges loosely with foil.
Bake 450* for 10 minutes.
Remove foil and bake 35 minutes at 350*.

I haven't been doing too much baking due to the heat, but I will work quickly one morning this week to get a pie made for hubby before the heat of the day.

Saturday, August 7, 2010

Fun Day of Spending

The last 2 posts of the week are late because hubby has had the past 2 days off from work.  After 2-3 weeks of very long days, he needed some rest.  We spent Thursday at home working on projects and then on Friday we got the itch to go out.  So after lunch we started to drive.  We were headed to the mountains for some relief from the heat and humidity, when hubby suggested a stop at the Discount Grocery Store.  This is basically a store filled with food that was refused by "real" stores because of dents, tears, or "sell by" dates.  I love this store.  Salad dressing for 29 cents,  Triscuits for 50 cents per box.  Hubby found some "Pot of Gold" chocolates for 99 cents yesterday.  Anyway, when we fiished there, we needed to take some things home, so the mountains were OUT!  We headed to Gastonia to go shopping with some birthday money that hubby had been given.  It ends up that we hit a great sale and tax free weekend.  He ended up with a whole new outfit (pants, shirt, tie) and a candle for his wife with the given money.  Then when we checked out, the clerk gave us a coupon that left us with $8 on the gift card.  We still haven't spent that, but what a gift a blessing from the Lord!  Then we hit Subway to finish using a birthday gift card there as we shared a $5 foot long.  Then on to McDonalds to use 2 Free coupons for smoothies or Frappes.  Then onto Sonic for a free Slushie (they also gave us another coupon for a free Rte 44 to use in the future).  There are those who complain about frugal living, and perhaps I slip more than I should, but there are many days when it is rewarding, exciting, and an adventure!

A relief from stress

For many years (OK, probably about 20), I have had an increasing problem with tremors, nerves, and heart disturbances.  Many a friend and family member has asked, "Why are you shaking?" "Are you nervous about something?" Sundays were becoming the worst day with the increased pressure of music responsibilities in two services. What was manageable for many years was becoming incapacitating.  Exercise, diet, removal of caffeine were no longer seeming to help.  Doctor's appointments showed no problems without a barrage of costly tests.  The past year has been a great struggle with more rough days than good days.  I described the problem to hubby as living in "fight or flight" mode almost constantly.  This quite often left me with NO energy to do the things that I needed to do or wanted to do. 

The Lord has been gracious.  While researching a prescription drug that a friend had told me about, I came across something called Magnesium Deficiency.  After reading the description and discovering that it was hard to overdose on the mineral, I decided to try supplementing.  Wow!  What a difference it has made.  I have had 4 weeks of energy and Sundays have been much less debilitating.  I am so amazed that our bodies are so masterfully made that the slightest imbalance can create very poor health.  I am thankful for a God who leads our steps and cares for us.  I am thankful for natural remedies to many health problems. 

Colossians 1:16b-17
all things were created by him, and for him:
And he is before all things,
and by him all things consist.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

...and is kind; ...

Last week,  we looked at the characteristic of love that we call patience or long suffering.  It is a continual, patient enduring of offense.  Now, lest I get cocky and say that I will endure in silence, but I am doing nothing extra in my home while the offense continues or until the offense is made right; Paul continues to describe charity as kind.  It is going out of my way to do something nice for someone else.  Here is some ACTION!  How will I do this today?  You know that pile of farm dirt that has accumulated at the front door and drives hubby crazy ... I will sweep it up before he gets home!  I can have the clippers ready and the counter cleared when he is ready to give himself a hair cut tonight.  I can plan meals that I know he really likes.  Get the idea?  Do something kind to show your love today!

In addition to looking for ways to show love through kind actions, I am continuing a cross stitch project - I am about 1/3 of the way done.  Must get going ... this one has a deadline!

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Unnecessary gods

Psalm 81:10
I am the LORD thy God,
which brought thee out of the land of Egypt:
open thy mouth wide, and I will fill it.

This psalm was written about the children of Israel, but my God is still the same gracious and giving God today.  He asked His children to listen to Him, to turn from other gods and He would abundantly bless.  How often do you evaluate the "gods" in your life?  Since being married, I have seen the need to give up the god of television and the god of facebook along with the god of unnecessary shopping.  These are not a problem for everyone, but they stole time or money that should have belonged to God.  I have to be careful not to serve the "garden god" or the "home god" or even the "hubby god" or "service god" and cut out the God who gives me these things to enjoy.  I see the blessings of God each day and wonder how much more He wants to give when I give EVERYTHING over to Him.

Monday, August 2, 2010

Fruit Salsa with Ginger Chips

I came across this recipe while looking for healthy recipes for church gatherings.  I so appreciate when others bring dishes that show a concern for my health and my waistline.  Of course, I still have to exhibit the characteristic of moderation or temperance at buffet-style meals, but what a blessing others have been to me, and I hope to be to them by choosing healthy alternatives!  This is also a cool snack during the hot months and the drained pineapple juice can be added to iced tea for a special cooling treat.

Fruit Salsa with Ginger Chips

1 can (20 oz) unsweetened crushed pineapple
1 large mango or 2 medium peaches, peeled and chopped
2 medium kiwifruit, peeled and chopped
1/4 c chopped macadamia nuts
4 1/2 tsp brown sugar
4 1/2 tsp flaked coconut
8 flour tortillas (8 inches)
1 Tbls water
1/4 c sugar
1-2 tsp ground ginger

Drain pineapple, reserving 3 Tbls juice.  In a large bowl, combine the pineapple, mango, kiwi, nuts, brown sugar, coconut, and reserved juice.  Cover and refrigerate for at least 1 hour.

For chips, lightly brush one side of each tortilla with water.  Combine sugar and ginger; sprinkle over the moistened side of tortillas.  Cut each into 6 wedges.  Place in a a single layer on ungreased baking sheets.  Bake at 400* for5-7 minutes or until golden brown and crisp.  Cool on wire racks.  Serve with salsa.

Makes 12 servings.  1/4 c salsa and 4 chips equals 190 calories.  (Whole wheat tortillas would be even better)

Hubby also encouraged me to make the "chips" with cinnamon, or with a variety of spices (garlic powder, basil, oregano, Parmesan, ...) just for a snack.  Have some FUN!