Thursday, August 30, 2012

The Gift of Encouragement

Today I am thankful for a family that has been such an encouragement to me personally. 
If you have read this blog long, you will know that we have made some changes around here
with the prayer that God would choose to use those changes to provide us with children. 
(If he continues to say "no," we are still being better stewards of our health.)
This dear family has faithfully provided us with natural cleaners and homeopathic remedies
for the past few months. 
Their efforts are allowing me to keep even more toxins and allergens out of our home. 
I was home sick on Sunday morning and Sunday night they sent me organic tea
and some natural vaporizing treatments - what a blessing!

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Like A Ship

Proverbs 31:14
She is like the merchants' ships;
she bringeth her food from afar.

Like a ship?  This one gave me some trouble.  How can I be like a ship?
Then some similarities came ...
the ship needs a captain,
the ship is well stocked,
the ship provide for others,
the ship goes through all types of waters.
Easy enough to apply, right?
I should be led and directed by the Lord and my husband.
I should plan ahead to provide for my home.
(I should not just spend the whole paycheck without thinking about the future.)
My job is to serve in my home - I should not be self-serving.
I can certainly relate to the last similarity - ALL types of waters.
Some days are smooth-sailing,
other times I am in mild rains,
and still other times - HURRICANE force winds!

Bringing food from afar.
This virtuous woman wanted the best for her family.
She sought for healthy food, nourishing food, different foods, perhaps even surprises.
She wanted the best that she could offer whether it was just next door or afar off.
This has been a hard lesson for me to learn.
I am easily a junk-food addict and easily fall into ruts in my cooking.
BUT, it is important for me to feed hubby and myself well.
It is wise to use our resources on healthy living today, rather than medical treatment later.
Hubby should look forward to "surprises" waiting for him after a shopping trip.
Modern conveniences mean that I do not often have to go far,
but I should be providing variety and healthy options in the home.

On another note:
I planted last Friday ...
beans, peas, beets, and cucumbers are all visible today!

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

At the End of Myself

Psalm 73:28
But it is good for me to draw near to God:
I have put my trust in the Lord GOD,
that I may declare all thy works.

One of my greatest struggles is keeping my eyes on my own life.
In this, I have something in common with the Psalmist, David.
Throughout Psalm 73, he struggles.
To him, it seems that the wicked are prospering.
Why?  Why?  Why?
I watch others and wonder, "how come they can have what they want?"
"why do things seem so easy for them?"
But, like David, I need to return to the Sanctuary of God
(private or public worship)
The difficulties of today are simply to strengthen my relationship with Him.
God wants me to be rid of self and to draw near to Him.
I might want the "easy" ride,
but I wouldn't want the sickly relationship that might go with it.

Monday, August 27, 2012


Didn't do any fancy cooking this past weekend. 
Nasty cold.
Somethings been going around at church and I guess it picked me.
Starting to improve.
Still resting up.

Friday, August 24, 2012

Rested and Ready for Thanksgiving

This is the first day this week in which I have to be anywhere at a certain time.  It has been a restful week and I feel very refreshed.  The house was cleaned and I have kept up on it.  The garden has received much needed attention and may actually get a fall planting today.  The laundry and ironing is not backed up.  We have found more "Stuff" to sell on e-bay.  I even tried my hand at gluten free baking again (I am getting closer to an edible loaf of bread).

Why the second comment?  I do love Thanksgiving.  I do love the changing leaves.  I do love the cooler temperatures.  BUT, I was truly excited to walk into my discount grocery store and to find seasoned, gluten-free stuffing!  HOORAY!  I just love stuffing.  I may just have to make some before Thanksgiving :)

Thursday, August 23, 2012


Psalm 38:15
For in thee, O LORD, do I hope:
thou wilt hear, O Lord my God.

I know that I am supposed to ask and keep asking ...
to knock and keep knocking ...
to seek and keep seeking ...
but sometimes my heart wants to give up ...
faith does not ever make worldly sense.

Today I am thankful when God gives us current, real-life testimonies to renew hope.
It is as if He says, I know it is hard, but with me NOTHING is impossible.
I read one of those encouraging words yesterday and am grateful for it.

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Not A Drama Queen

Proverbs 31:3
She seeketh wool, and flax,
and worketh willingly with her hands.

While meditating on this aspect of the virtuous woman, my mind kept coming back to today's drama queen and the desire of people today to "one - up" the next guy.  Is it your first tendency?  I often have to hold my tongue, because sometimes I just need to listen and sometimes my work does not need to be known by others.

This verse explains that the virtuous woman is a willing worker.  While it is self-explanatory, I can't help but imagine that she not only was working willingly, but she was quiet about it.  She is a stark contrast to the typical woman of today.  While she may "willingly" work, you will here how hard it was, how many interruptions were caused by her family and friends and ministry, and you will now that you have never had an experience like hers.  I know ... I have been there ... perhaps embellishing to get sympathy, perhaps sharing details that do not need to be known by others.

The "Drama Queen Syndrome" is prevalent today, but is one that I try not to embrace.  A servant doesn't look for praise, attention, etc., but rather just to meet the needs of others.  As a servant of God and a helper to my husband, shouldn't I have that same quiet, contented spirit. 

Tuesday, August 21, 2012


Psalm 72:18 
Blessed be the LORD God, the God of Israel,
who only doeth wondrous things.

While I can mess things up in a grand fashion,
it is a comfort that God only does "wondrous things."
His doings are often beyond our comprehension.

Monday, August 20, 2012

Week to Catch up

Last week, seemed a little like a whirlwind.  It started with the Sunday School party, some extra physical work on the church, piano lessons as normal, 2 atypical tract distribution opportunities, and a day to celebrate our anniversary.  All of the work was needful and a blessing, but we do plan to have more "home time" this week. 

Today was for cleaning, catching up on laundry, and getting back to schedule.  I barely fit it in, but I am baking banana bread.  As I mentioned in an earlier post, I now own a grain mill and hubby took me to some Charlotte "healthy" stores to look for whole grains.  We didn't find all of the ones that I was looking for, but I did find millet and buckwheat.  I also discovered that I can actually get the grain cheaper through Amazon then our "city" stores.  Yesterday, what should appear in the paper but a gluten-free recipe for banana bread using millet and brown rice flour!  So, tomorrow morning we will enjoy some sweet bread with our smoothies :)

Banana Bread

5 Tbsp unsalted butter, room temp
1 c sugar
2 eggs
1 1/2 cups mashed banana
1 c brown rice flour
3/4 c millet flour
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp xantham gum
1/4 tsp baking powder

Beat butter and sugar with mixer on high until mixture is light yellow and fluffy.
Add eggs one at a time mixing on med. until thoroughly combined.
Add banana and 1/3 c water and mix on low for 1 minute.
Sprinkle remaining ingredients over batter.
Stir batter just until combined.
Spoon into foil lined, sprayed 9x5 bread pan.
Bake at 350 for 50-55 min.
Cool on wire rack for 5 minutes in pan.
Lift bread out of pan and cool completely on rack.

Next week, I'll share with you the recipe for yummy quinoa stuffed peppers
that we tried tonight.

Friday, August 17, 2012


"There is no more lovely, friendly and
charming relationship, communion or company
than a good marriage".
~ Martin Luther ~

Mr. and Mrs. Christopher Bickish
August 17, 2002

"Our wedding was many years ago.
The celebration continues to this day. "
~ Gene Perret ~

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Never Thought It

It is a beautifully cool August morning here. 
I believe that the house is about 71* with the windows open. 
My morning coffee is much more enjoyable on a day like today!

The title of the blog is spurred by the thought that I can now grind my own grain to make gluten free flour.  I feel rather homestead-ish.  This weeks "Thankful Thursday" entry was a no brainer.  After mentioning that I had discovered that I could make my own flour for a fraction of the cost with a grain mill, my entire family decided to help me in that endeavor.  I am so thankful for this early Christmas gift and the generosity of my dear family.  I am very excited to see how this may change my experience with gluten free baking. 

This week, my grain mill arrived and tomorrow hubby is taking me to the "big city" of Charlotte to see if we can find some grains and set to work making some gluten free flour blends.  The weather is cooling and it will soon be possible to do more baking.

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Forget "Me First"

It is a common idea in the Bible, but a hard one to practice.

"Look not every man on his own things,
but every man also on the things of others."
Philippians 2:4

While considering the next aspect of the virtuous woman in Proverbs 31, the two ideas seemed to connect.  As a simple meal of Biscuits and Sausage Gravy elicited rave reviews, I realized that the next trait is one of humility and selflessness.

Proverbs 31:12
She will do him good and not evil all the days of her life.

Sure, I could come up with a list of ways to "do good" to my husband.  Do I make his favorite meals?  Do I wear clothes that please him?  Do I praise him at home and in public?  Do I refuse to speak ill of him to others?  Do I keep discipline in the home as he would like, or wait for him to exercise the "tough love"? 

I think that all of these ideas would be a great start, but there is no way to list all the ways that I can "do good" to hubby.  The thought to remember is that I put his feelings, his desires, his likes and dislikes ahead of my own.  I should not belittle hubby to compete for the sympathy of the other women.  I should not throw him the discipline of the children, the house work, the laundry, etc. just because I am tired.  Doing good to hubby is work - but the rewards are endless.  Try it for yourself - whether your work is recognized by hubby, or simply by God - the blessings will come.

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

A Mouth of Praise

Psalm 71:8
Let my mouth be filled with thy praise
 and with thy honour all the day.

Monday, August 13, 2012

A No Cooking Party

Today I hosted a "Back to School" Sunday School party and I decided not to give my picky eater students a taste of Gluten Free ... so I let someone else cook.  We had a fast food Progressive Lunch.  The girls chose a drink at Jack in the Box (they have a large for 99 cents), fries at Burger King, main dish at Wendy's, and then went on to Cook Out for milk shakes.  We returned to the "Bickish Mansion" for games before pick-up.  Then it was on to dinner prep for hubby - a simple hamburger meal with broiled tomatoes.  I love broiled tomatoes when the garden is bursting with the yummy fruit.

Crumb-Topped Tomatoes

2 large tomatoes (or just a bunch)
2 Tbls fine dry bread crumbs
2 Tbsp grated Parmesan
1 Tbls butter melted
1 1/2 tsp fresh herbs or 1/2 tsp dried herbs
1/8 tsp pepper
dash garlic or onion salt

Remove stems and cores from tomatoes; halve tomatoes crosswise.
Place toatoes cut side up, in a a baking dish.
Combine crumbs, chees, butter, herbs, pepper, and garlic/onion salt.
Sprinkle atop tomatoes.
Bake 375* for 15-20 minutes.


Friday, August 10, 2012

Donut Day will Continue

If you have been reading the blogs here for any length of time, you know that hubby and I LOVE donuts.  Every February 17th we celebrate "Donut Day," which is the anniversary of our first date.  When we decided to switch to a gluten free diet, I wondered if Donut Day would cease to be ... Would there be hope for a family tradition?

Last week, we watched some of our favorite kiddos while their folks went out for dinner.  As a thank you gift, the parents brought us some gluten free donuts.  Wow!  they were outstanding ... cinnamon and sugar.  In doing a little research, I have found that they make a pumpkin spice in the fall and an apple cinnamon around Valentine's Day (which happens to be around Donut Day).  And so, the tradition will continue ... 

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Another Business Trip

What a change from the days when we were associated with the Navy.  I am thankful that hubby is currently working for a "family-friendly" business.  While not scheduled for today or tomorrow, our next trip is NORTH.  Yes, North!  Looks like there is some schooling to be had in Amish country and I think that we shall combine a 10th anniversary get-a-way at the same time.  I am also thankful that we celebrate 10 years next Friday!  I am feeling young these days, for hubby keeps referring to me as his 10 year old wife :)

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Safely Trust

Proverbs 31:11 
The heart of her husband doth safely trust in her,
so that he shall have no need of spoil.

* trust *
assured reliance on the character, ability, strength, or truth of someone or something

Can my hubby trust that I am making the best use of my time while he is at work?
Can my hubby trust that I am a good steward of our funds, time, and resources?
Can my hubby trust that the meals I prepare are economical, well-balanced, and healthy?
Can my hubby trust that there will be dinner on the table (or in the making)
when he comes home from work?
Can my hubby trust that he will have clean, pressed clothes when he needs them?
Can my hubby trust that his home will be a sanctuary from the chaos of the world?
Can my hubby trust that I am having private time with the Lord?
Can my hubby trust that I speak well of him to others?
Can my hubby trust that I keep my word?
Can my hubby trust that my actions and dress before other men is appropriate?
Can my hubby trust that there are no secrets between us?
Can my hubby trust me?

Just a few thoughts from my meditation on this verse this week.
Plenty to work on and motivation to do better.
Did you come up with some different ideas?

Next week:

Proverbs 31:12
She will do him good and not evil all the days of her life.

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Unlimited Supply

Hubby and I sang this song on Sunday morning - probably why it is still going around in my mind.

He Giveth More Grace

He giveth more grace when the burdens grow greater;
He sendeth more strength when the labors increase.
To added affliction He addeth His mercy;
To multiplied trials, His multiplied peace.

When we have exhausted our store of endurance,
When our strength has failed ere the day is half done.
When we reach the end of our hoarded resources
Our Father's full giving is only begun.

His love has no limit;  His grace has no measure;
His pow'r has no boundary known unto men.
For out of His infinite riches in Jesus,
He giveth, and giveth, and giveth again.

Monday, August 6, 2012

A Tribute to Friendly's

I am sitting at the computer enjoying the sound of a healthy rain.  It has been taunting us for a number of days and finally arrived!  The gardens and planters will enjoy a good soaking and I am glad that the skies waited till the Monday wash was all dried before opening.

Tonight I am cooking a tribute to my favorite Yankee restaurant - FRIENDLY'S.  Primarily Friendly's is known for their sundaes ... of course, how can you go wrong with ICE CREAM!  I am so surprised that they are not popular down here where ice cream is so inviting on the hot, humid days.  Anyway, I digress.  They also have awesome Super Melt sandwiches.  Basically, they are grilled cheese sandwiches stuffed with yummy stuff - chicken, or turkey, or bacon, ... there are quite a number to choose from.  I have not mastered gluten-free bread, yet, but am making Super Melt pizza tonight.  One will be BBQ chicken and bacon with Monterrey jack cheese.  The other will be ham and cheese (with tomato and pickle and maybe a little mustard for hubby).  Perhaps it won't quite be like enjoying my New England favorites, but I hope it will come close!

Friday, August 3, 2012

Kind Rebuke

Oh, how I deserved a good, swift kick in the skirt. 
Yes, I was nursing a bad attitude. 
And what did my loving Heavenly Father do? 
He gave me a Sunday School lesson to prepare on the life of faith. 
How could I teach what I was struggling to live?
AND THEN, He gave me 2 unexpected blessings. 
Yes, I deserved the highest penalty,
but instead, I received a merciful rebuke in the form of a reminder
... "I am still here."

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Gladly Different

On this Thankful Thursday, I am grateful that God uses all kinds of people in all different ways. 
The world would be a very borrowing place if everyone was like me. 
The world would lack a lot of abilities if everyone was like me. 
And yet, I was created to add something to the world as well. 

I Corinthians 12:14 
For the body is not one member, but many.

We each have gifts and abilities to be used by God.
We choose whether to use them for His glory,
 or to hoard them,
or just to squander them in vain activities.

I am thankful that God made me special.
I am glad that you are special and unique as well.
Now, I just need to remember to take my eyes off of you and your abilities
and use MY abilities for Him today.

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

A Precious Jewel

Ecclesiastes 7:27-28
Behold, this have I found, saith the preacher,
counting one by one, to find out the account:
Which yet my soul seeketh, but I find not:
one man among a thousand have I found;
but a woman among all those have I not found.
Proverbs 31:10 
Who can find a virtuous woman?
for her price is far above rubies.
I read Proverbs 31 again yesterday (the 31st of July).
I am always challenged by this lady.
So challenged that I am going to study it out once again and
try to find practical ways to be the Proverbs 31 woman today.
In Ecclesiastes, Solomon was looking for wisdom, for the one that pleased God.
It is interesting that Solomon had 1000 wives/concubines.
Is it coincidence that he mentions that out of 1000 woman,
he could not find what he was looking for?
Solomon realized that the woman that is full of virtue is rare and of great value.
I have so many sinful tendencies that are contrary to this pattern of the virtuous woman.
But, Oh how I long to be that rare jewel!
So I will start with meditating on:
Proverbs 31:11
The heart of her husband doth safely trust in her,
so that he shall have no need of spoil.
I will let you know if I came up with any practical ideas
for earning and meriting hubby's trust this week on next Wednesday's blog.