Tuesday, December 31, 2013

I Won!?!

It is the nature of humans, I guess. 
There is that desire to win.
I am on a number of money saving email lists
and often enter to win free prizes.
The pool must be huge, and the wins are few and far between.
I did win a wallet once, but it never came :(

For the past month, I have been researching for a new exercise program.
I love what I do now which includes 
aerobics, strength training, circuit training,
kick boxing, pilates, walking ...
I love variety.

One new plan was one I had never heard of ... T-Tapp.
The reviews looked outstanding.
I was thrilled that the exercises were billed as helping to balance hormones.
I was thrilled that the basic program only took 15 minutes - 
- so I could keep doing the other exercises that I loved.
The plan is bodyweight only so it can go ANYWHERE!

While I researched, I found an entry form to win a T-Tapp DVD.
While I was away for the holidays, I received a confirmation email that I had won.
I won a DVD and then 50% off another DVD if I so chose.

I ordered my DVDs yesterday and look forward to starting in the New Year.

I'll report back in February and let you know how it goes!

Monday, December 30, 2013

Back in Place

I am not usually this early,
but the Christmas decorations are coming down today.

It is cleaning day,
just the living room and kitchen are left.

I am branching out in the recipe world again.
I am fairly confident in the gf - cf realms,
but we are entertaining a family with yet another diet need.

So ...

I am trying a "just like" potato recipe to go with a ham.
I haven't tried it yet, but sometimes you just have to risk it.

Twice Baked Mashed Cauliflower

1 large head cauliflower florets, cut off stem
3 c chicken broth
1 tbsp butter
1 c shredded cheddar
1 clove minced garlic
1/2 -3/4 c sour cream
salt and pepper

Boil cauliflower in broth - 10-15 min.
Drain cauliflower well.
Process in food processor  1/2 c sour cream, 3/4 c cheese, and garlic.
If not creamy enough, add remaining 1/4 c sour cream.
Add salt and pepper to taste.
Use butter if desired.

Place mix in baking dish.
Top with remaining cheese.

Bake 350* for 20 minutes.

I also found a new cookie recipe ... pumpkin cream pies!
We'll see how it goes.

Weekly Meal Plan:
Monday: Spicy Cod with Veggies and Cilantro Rice
Tuesday: Ham
Wednesday: Lunch with Friends: Taco Salad
Thursday: Split Pea Soup
Friday: Chili Chicken

Friday, December 27, 2013

Friday Forum: Resolutions

Psalm 119:133 
Order my steps in thy word: 
and let not any iniquity have dominion over me.

We are looking at a new year ... 2014 is right around the corner.
With a new year comes reflections on the past
and plans and hopes for the future ...
at least it does for me.
I am still contemplating directions that need to be changed
and disciplines that need to be kept or reinforced.
I will share these next Wednesday - January 1, 2014.

The above verse will be covered in our next Wednesday service - I think.
It jumped out at me as the perfect New Year's Resolution.
Direction based on God's Word
and freedom from the bondage and control of sin.

Have you ever made resolutions?
Do you plan to make any this year?
What are your thoughts about resolutions?

Thursday, December 26, 2013


It is not to be taken lightly.
Today I am thankful for safety as we traveled this past week.
Clear sailing from NC to NY and back again.
Safety for family members who drove to see us.

God is good to us ... far better than we deserve.

Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Even a child ...

Proverbs 20:11 
Even a child is known by his doings, 
whether his work be pure, and whether it be right.

On this day when we celebrate our Savior's birth,
we remember Him as the perfect example.
I am sure that He was known as a helpful, respectful, intelligent child.
His actions showed His character.

Do you think of this verse as you watch the children around you?
Some children are known as foolish, because of their actions.
Some are known as lazy, because of their actions.
Some are known as intelligent, because of their speech and actions.
Some are known as diligent, because of their behavior.

Have you ever heard or said,
"Well, that is just the way a child is ..."
"Well, boys will be boys ..."
"Well, it is just childishness and he will outgrow it ..."

"Even a child is known by his doing, ..."

Can you imagine Mary making excuses for the growing Jesus.
Was there recklessness, laziness, foolishness?

Yes, children will play,
but may I encourage you to train character early.

Merry Christmas

A Savior is born.
We rejoice!

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Carols with Meaning

Last week, I shared hubby's favorite carol.
This week, one of mine.
Again, I think it tells the whole story from birth to death to return.

Thou didst leave Thy throne and Thy kingly crown,
When Thou camest to earth for me;
But in Bethlehem’s home was there found no room
For Thy holy nativity.

O come to my heart, Lord Jesus,
There is room in my heart for Thee.

Heaven’s arches rang when the angels sang,
Proclaiming Thy royal degree;
But of lowly birth didst Thou come to earth,
And in great humility.


The foxes found rest, and the birds their nest
In the shade of the forest tree;
But Thy couch was the sod, O Thou Son of God,
In the deserts of Galilee.


Thou camest, O Lord, with the living Word,
That should set Thy people free;
But with mocking scorn and with crown of thorn,
They bore Thee to Calvary.


When the heav’ns shall ring, and her choirs shall sing,
At Thy coming to victory,
Let Thy voice call me home, saying “Yet there is room,
There is room at My side for thee.”

My heart shall rejoice, Lord Jesus,
When Thou comest and callest for me.

Monday, December 23, 2013

Sweet Bread

My friend and I found a pumpkin on the side of the road on Visitation one Saturday.
It appears that someone was done with their fall decorations and had just thrown it across the street.
I couldn't let a pumpkin go to waste.
It provided 6 cans of pumpkin.
And so ... I make pumpkin bread.
Some to give ...
some for meals and snacks ...
maybe some for the freezer.
This is not the most healthy recipe ... but it is the BEST!
This bread also smells tremendous while baking.

"Delicious Pumpkin Bread"

5 eggs
1 1/4 c vegetable oil
1 can pumpkin (15 oz)
2 c flour
2 c sugar
2 pkg (3 oz each) cook and serve vanilla pudding mix
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp salt

Beat eggs.
Add oil and pumpkin.  Beat until smooth.
Combine remaining ingredients; gradually beat into pumpkin mixture.
Pour in greased loaf pans.
For 5 - 5 x 2 1/2 x 2 pans - cook 325 for 50-55 min.
For 2 - 8 x 4 x 2 pans - bake 75-80 min.
Cool in pans 10 min. before removing to wire racks to cool completely.

This Week's Menu Plan:

Monday - BBQ Pork
Tuesday - Out to Chipotle Mexican Restaurant
Wednesday - Cold Cut Sandwiches
Thursday - Ham and Corn Fritatta
Friday - Mexican Pork Chops

Saturday, December 21, 2013

In the Hustle and Bustle

Just another reminder - there is more than cookies, lights, and presents ... is the night of the dear Savior's birth!

Friday, December 20, 2013

Friday Forum: Christmas with Focus

Do you get heartburn over the covetousness that Christmas seems to breed?

What is the answer?

As a couple,
I think that it is easier to have a proper focus on Christ.
But even as adults it is easy to lose the focus.
The ads, the gifts, the sales ...

For us,
we have often opened our home to others on Christmas day.
We can take the morning to study our Bibles.
We typically like to share one gift that we choose for each other.

Do you have a plan to ward off the covetousness?

Thursday, December 19, 2013


I have not had occasion to use that word recently, 
but today I do.
I am thankful that hubby is coming home today.
Work took him to Raleigh for some training.
Usually I go along, but there was much to get done at home.
The days felt funny with that strange deployment feeling from 5 years ago.

I am thankful that hubby will be home.
I am thankful that he has a job.
I am thankful that training is only 2-4 days and not 6 months!
I am thankful for some time off next week.

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Wherever You Are

Proverbs 20:7 
The just man walketh in his integrity: 
his children are blessed after him.

What mother does not desire to see God's blessing on her children.
God gives us a clue how to see this ... it is not a mystery.
Live in a morally upright fashion.
Have integrity.
Be predictably consistent and uncompromising in your values and principles.

It is easy to be one thing in public and another in private.
(Remember last Wednesday?
Most men will declare their own goodness.
It is those in our homes who know if we have true integrity.

So, I remind myself to stop playing games.
This wife should be the same,
and hold to the highest standards

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Carols with the Whole Story

It wasn't until we moved to NC that I was made aware 
that there are people who do not like Christmas carols;
that there are many who do not celebrate the Savior's birth.
Those who are "anti-carols" say that the carols celebrate a baby and not His work.
I do not agree.
This is hubby's favorite - when not abbreviated - 
it tells the WHOLE story.
What do you think?

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 Christians, fear, for sinners here
The silent Word is pleading.
Nails, spear shall pierce Him through,
The cross be borne 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 Him;
The King of kings salvation brings,
Let loving hearts enthrone Him.
Raise, raise a song on high,
The virgin sings her lullaby.
Joy, joy for Christ is born,
The Babe, the Son of Mary.

Monday, December 16, 2013

Zucchini Wedges

E-meals continues to surprise and delight us.
I have been thrilled with the balanced approach.
I have been surprised by the tasty dishes.
I am pleased with the ease of the recipes.

Last week, I made Chipotle Zucchini Wedges - YUM!

6 large zucchini
2 Tbls. olive oil
1 Tbls. chopped chipotle pepper in adobo
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper

Toss zucchini wedges, oil, chipotle, salt and pepper on baking sheet.
Bake at 350* for 25 min. or until tender stirring once.

The meal plan for this week - 
Monday - Leftover Italian Pork and Mashed Potatoes
Tuesday - Leftover Egg Roll in a Bowl
Wednesday - Chicken Caesar Salad
Thursday - Fried Rice
Friday - Soup and Sandwich

Friday, December 13, 2013

Friday Forum: The Local Library

I worked at a local library during my last years of high school.
It was a great job.

When hubby was at sea, I spent much time walking to our local library
in Washington for the exercise and to borrow books by the score.
I read about relationships, health, child training, exercise, fiction, biographies ...

Our library here in NC is a little weak, in my opinion;
but I have been using it this week ...
free internet ...
some exercise dvds ...
some Christmas books to read during our holiday travels ...
and some informational books to fill the evenings when hubby is at training.

How about you?
Is your local library a treasure?
Perhaps you are a collector of books and your home is the library?

Thursday, December 12, 2013

The Sights and Sounds

This week, I am thankful for the sights, sounds, and smells of Christmas.
I love the pretty lights as we drive around town at night.
I love the luminaries around the churches.
I love the wreaths and pine boughs and the bright red ribbons.
I love the Christmas carols playing around the house.
I love playing Christmas arrangements at church.
I love singing Christmas carols - congregationally, as a special, or while caroling. 
I love the winter scented wax burning in the Scentsy burner ... spruce and minty spruce.
I love the scent of Christmas cookies in the oven and sweet breads cooling on the counter.

Hope you are enjoying the season as well.

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Honorable or Foolish

Proverbs 20:6 
Most men will proclaim every one his own goodness: 
but a faithful man who can find?

Does this pairing catch your attention as it did mine?

I want to be a faithful woman.

If I keep the couplet together;
a faithful woman does not proclaim her own goodness ...
and, might I add, does not lead the conversation to bait a complement.

Oh so difficult for prideful humanity! 
I love praise.

God's idea of faithfulness 
is the unsung hero.

So wife or mother,
keep going ...
keep serving ...
and if it is unnoticed ...


Tuesday, December 10, 2013

The Answer to Covetousness

Proverbs 19:23
The fear of the LORD tendeth to life: 
and he that hath it shall abide satisfied; 
he shall not be visited with evil.

I know of many folks who are torn on the celebration of Christmas.
Why would there be a dread to celebrate the birth of a Savior - my Savior?
Many of the concerns stem from the covetousness that the season breeds.
What do I want?
What will I get?
What's in it for me?
Just looking at store flyers and catalogs or walking through a store
breeds thoughts of "I need that ..."

But satisfaction and fulfillment rests solely in the fear of the Lord.
If I look appropriately at God,
I know that He has given me what I need.
I know that He knows what is best for me.
I will fear the punishment for my covetousness.

What a thermometer!
Right now, I don't like the reading,
but God is faithful and I am claiming I John 1:9 
and seeking to know God better and to fear Him as I should.

Monday, December 9, 2013

Quick and Easy

We had a church fellowship yesterday. 
Hubby perked up when he looked over from his study
and saw the double boiler.
He equates double boiler with candy ...
and he was right.

This time it was pecan-cranberry clusters.

12 oz of chocolate, melted (I used enjoy life chips)
2 c. pecan halves
1 c dried cranberries

Melt chocolate.
Add nuts and berries.
Drop on parchment or waxed paper.


The original recipe added some cinnamon to the chocolate
and sprinkled the candy with salt.
I ignored that.
Of course this would work with any nut or any dried fruit.
How perfect is that?!?

This week's menu plan:
Monday - Tilapia
Tuesday - Almond Rice Chicken
Wednesday - Tater Tot Casserole
Thursday - Thai Turkey Lettuce Wraps
Friday - Chicken Nuggets and Fries
Saturday - Egg Roll in a Bowl
Sunday - Italian Pork

Friday, December 6, 2013

Friday Forum: Fall/Winter Maintenance

The work continues in the new trailer.
Hubby fixed the shower stall door last night.
It was worn to the point where it would pop open whenever it had a mind to.
This weekend we get to cut a hole in the wall to access the pipes of the master bath.
I am so glad that we found an access panel to install 
to make it easier next time and to keep the project neater.
We are planning to cut back the Bradford Pears early in January
to keep them strong and prevent loss during large wind storms.
The gutters have been cleaned out (though they might need it again).

What maintenance do you do around the house each fall/winter?

Thursday, December 5, 2013

Righteous Judgment

 Psalm 98:9 b
... with righteousness shall he judge the world, 
and the people with equity.

I have been thinking about righteous judgments this week.
I am so thankful that the Lord will do and does do righteously.
I am biased.
I am overly critical of the way others parent their children.
Hubby struggles with those who do not care for their health and bodies.
I know some who are particularly judgmental of dress.

I am so glad that the Lord does not show partiality ...
that the Lord does not see "degrees" of sin (because they do not exist).
I am thankful that the final judgment comes from the Lord and not from fallible men.

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Keep Going!

Proverbs 19:18 
Chasten thy son while there is hope, 
and let not thy soul spare for his crying.

I hope this is a blessing to a mother today.
We have all seen and heard the verse before.
A parent needs to discipline a child from the very beginning.
We all have a sin nature and the desire to have our own way from birth,
and we show it VERY early in life.

I was drawn to this verse when I read a note in my study Bible.
The second half of the verse is well written,
but could also be written ...
"...and don't lift up, or let up, or ease up to his destruction."

Mom or dad,
discipline is hard work, but worthy work.
If you slack, you may be leading your child to their destruction.
The destruction could be physical or spiritual.
How much better to learn discipline and character as a child,
then to have to learn it as an adult,
or to never learn it at all.

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

It's Beginning to Look A Lot Like ... ♪♫♪♪♫

Hubby had the day after Thanksgiving off ...
so out came the decorations.

I had a little bit of a hard time with the Christmas decorations
because the yard was still full of fallen leaves.

I finished mulching and/or raking them yesterday.
Aah!  That feels better.

Ready to make some Christmas greetings tonight.
Have been cinching up the shopping on the internet.

Monday, December 2, 2013

Praline Sweet Potatoes

Well, the leftovers are almost gone.
The rest of the turkey will soon be soup.
I am eating the last of the sweet potatoes for lunch as I type.
They were an addition for a college student far from his home in Iowa.
Sweet potatoes aren't a big favorite for hubby,
but I did find these an improvement on the marshmallow covered,
diabetes inspiring dish I grew up with :)

Melanie's Praline Sweet Potatoes

3-4 lbs sweet potatoes - baked or steamed with skins removed

1/2 c chopped pecans
1/2 c coconut
1/2 c brown sugar
1/4 c flour
1/4 c butter, melted

Place chunks of cooked sweet potatoes in a buttered baking dish.
Combine topping ingredients and sprinkle over sweet potatoes.
Bake uncovered at 350* for 20-30 minutes.

This week's menu plan:
Monday - dirty rice with pork sausage
Tuesday - Calzones
Wednesday - Fiesta Quinoa Bake
Thursday - Pork/Vegetable Soup
Friday - Hungarian Beef with Pasta

Friday, November 29, 2013

Friday Forum: Accountability

 Proverbs 27:17 
Iron sharpeneth iron; 
so a man sharpeneth the countenance of his friend.

Two weeks ago, the forum on discipline brought comments about  the benefits of accountability.
Accountability is a great help in the struggle with discipline.

My greatest accountability partner is my hubby.
He asks about my Bible memory,
encourages me to get back on track,
asks me about the snacks I have eaten throughout the day,
encourages me to deal with problems rather than burying them.

As a child, I also had a Bible memory accountability partner.
Oh, how I wanted to run each Sunday when I saw the church member who would listen to my verses 
(or my pitiful excuses).
But it was good for me.

Unfortunately, I have found that those outside of my home
are often weaker partners.
Is it a fear of hurting someone's feelings?
Is it a fear of being held equally accountable?

What are your thoughts on accountability partners?
Do you have a partner or partners?
Do you fear them?
What are you held accountable for?

Thursday, November 28, 2013

A Year of Thanks

God is good all the time.
It has seemed to be an unusually stressful year.
In the difficult times, there is a God who shows us "tokens for good."

January - a work trip to Amish country, a special week with my hubby

February - the love of my life, 11 years since we met

March - the wind that dries the laundry, spring and new beginnings

April - a new job for hubby

May - the growth in the garden and fresh produce to eat

June - wisdom and guidance to wait for the right house

July - the resources to make a house a home

August - into our first home

September - hope and encouragement to keep hoping

October - strength to leave my comfort zone, our first overnight guests

November - grace to help in difficult days

December - a trip to NY

Wednesday, November 27, 2013


Proverbs 19:14 
House and riches are the inheritance of fathers: 
and a prudent wife is from the LORD.

The challenge of prudence.

pru·dent  adj.
          1. Wise in handling practical matters; exercising good judgment or common sense.
          2. Careful in regard to one's own interests; provident.
          3. Careful about one's conduct; circumspect.

I want to be a prudent wife.
As I meditated on this verse,
some of the verses surrounding the verse
were a challenge to me.

Proverbs 18:15 
The heart of the prudent getteth knowledge; 
and the ear of the wise seeketh knowledge.

If I am going to be prudent,
I need not fear knowledge.
In fact, I need to be ever learning ... seeking truth.

Proverbs 19:11 
The discretion of a man deferreth his anger; 
and it is his glory to pass over a transgression.

In this verse, "discretion" is from the same Hebrew root as "prudent" in verse 19:14.
If I am going to be prudent,
I need to practice self control.
I need to be willing to be selfless ...
to forgive and forget.

Proverbs 19:15 
Slothfulness casteth into a deep sleep; 
and an idle soul shall suffer hunger.

Though not specifically mentioning prudence,
this verse reminds me of one aspect of prudence.
A prudent wife is diligent, not lazy.

Plenty to think about ...

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Wonderful Works to Worms

Psalm 107:8, 15, 21, 31
 Oh that men would praise the LORD for his goodness, 
and for his wonderful works to the children of men!

What an ungrateful worm I am!
I try to be grateful ... to appreciate all that I have been given.
But I am not unlike the children of Israel.
I always need these four reminders in one Psalm!

God is good.
He always does wonderfully.

Remember the dehumidifier mentioned here.
The recall check arrived yesterday.
It was enough to cover a laptop that we are planning to buy online on Thanksgiving day.
What a blessing!

It is a rainy/icy day here ...
a rarity for us.
Glad that I can be "in" this morning.

Monday, November 25, 2013

Thai Turkey Lettuce Wraps

I was apprehensive about this new recipe in the emeal plan sent to me.
I love PF Changs lettuce wraps.
Would it be as good?

It was delicious,
and better still - hubby was impressed.

The plan served the meal with Sesame Steamed Broccoli
and that was AWESOME too!

Thai Turkey Lettuce Wraps

2 Tbsp toasted sesame oil
1 small onion, minced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 1/2 lb ground turkey
1/4 c soy sauce
1 Tbsp Thai chili paste (I couldn't find this so I used Thai chili sauce)
2 Tbsp fresh basil chopped.
Lettuce leaves

Heat oil in skillet over med-high heat.
Add onion and garlic.  Cook until brown.
Stir in turkey, soy sauce, chili paste.
Cook until turkey is brown - stir to crumble.
Stir in basil.

Separate lettuce leaves and fill leaves with turkey mixture.

I think I will add some cooked rice next time to stretch it a little more.
It really has GREAT flavor.
We drizzled it with some chili oil as well - YUM!

Menu Plan this week:
Mon. - Italian Pork Chops
Tues. - Herb Roasted Chicken
Wed. - Egg/Sausage Scramble
Thurs. - Turkey
Fri. - Pizza or Leftovers

Friday, November 22, 2013

Friday Forum: Thanksgiving (Part II)

Thanksgiving seems to get crowded out.
It is sandwiched between the growing event on Oct. 31
and the big holiday on Dec. 25.
It is crowded out by shopping,
by football,
by FOOD!

We once attended a church that had a service on Thanksgiving Day.
It was hard to plan the cooking around a morning service,
but ... I loved the service and the focus for the day.

Do you do something special to keep the "thanks" in Thanksgiving?

Friday Forum: Thanksgiving (Part I)

Thanksgiving used to be very predictable for me.
There was always a trip to western NY
and a large dinner with one side of the family or the other.
There were homemade rolls on both sides
and oodles of pies!

Once I went away to school,
the event changed.
Dinner on campus with "dressing" instead of stuffing,
dinner out - Ryans or Dennys,
dinner with navy coworkers,
dinner with church family ...

As I have prepared meals for others,
I often ask them what would make it seem more "like home."

One year I made baked corn (or corn pudding) for a PA native.
This year it is sweet potato casserole with coconuts and pecans on top for a college student.

Hubby likes his cranberry sauce.
I love STUFFING and squash!
Don't forget the pumpkin pie!

What is your favorite Thanksgiving treat?

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Back at the Sewing Table

I am back at the sewing machine.
I have not used it since creating valances for the new house.
Christmas gifts this time.

Recently, I did some mending for a friend.
She decided to buy this "ring" pin cushion to say "thank you."
I wondered at its usefulness.
I am thankful for this little trinket.
I am enjoying it as I sew this week.

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Drip ... Drip ... Drip

Proverbs 19:13 
A foolish son is the calamity of his father: 
and the contentions of a wife 
are a continual dropping.

con·ten·tion  n.
                           1. The act or an instance of striving in controversy or debate. 
                           2. A striving to win in competition; rivalry: 
                           3. An assertion put forward in argument.

Are you a constant drip?

Each time I read this verse, I remember the months of rain in the Seattle, WA area.
It seemed that from October to March, 
it rained, or we were enveloped in a thick fog each day.
The constant drip wore on my spirit, on my nerves, on my disposition.
Perhaps you don't have that experience, 
but maybe you have listened to a leaky faucet with its constant drip.

The writer of Proverbs describes the contentious wife in this way.
Do you strive to be in charge?
Do you argue until you get your way?
Do you question your husband's every decision?
Is there rivalry in the home?

Why not practice your plumbing skills and stop the drip today?

Tuesday, November 19, 2013


Psalm 103:1-2
Bless the LORD, O my soul: 
and all that is within me, bless his holy name.
 Bless the LORD, O my soul, 
and forget not all his benefits:

Though society-at-large may have moved on to the Christmas season,
may we not forget this season of Thanksgiving.
There is so much to be thankful for.

If you are having trouble thinking of some ...
read the rest of Psalm 103.

Monday, November 18, 2013

Christian Hospitality

We had an open house picnic on Saturday for our church family.
We wanted to share our new home with our friends 
and to thank God publicly for his provision in our lives.
The day was "iffy" but eventually the sun broke through the clouds.

One of my friends asked me on Sunday if I could relax now.
I realized what a peaceful event the picnic had been.
That is as it should be.
There was no one I felt was going to critique me.
There were so many hands to help if I needed a hand.
Many of my guests assumed host/hostess roles if they saw a need.

It was just FAMILY.

The menu was simple.
Baked Chicken Nuggets
Slow Cooker Baked Beans
Sweet Corn from NY
Baby Carrots with Dip

Baked Chicken Nuggets

1 lb chicken
1/4 c flour
3/4 p salt
1 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp paprika (I used Smoked Paprika)
1/8 tsp cayenne
1/8 tsp black pepper
coconut oil - melted (1/8-1/4 c)

Cut chicken into small chunks.
Mix flour with seasonings.
Sprinkle flour and seasoning mix over chicken and mix well to coat.
Melt oil and drizzle over chicken to coat lightly.
Bake 450 for about 14 min.

This weeks menu plan:
Mon. - Cheesy Meatloaf and leftover baked beans
Tues. - Cumin/Cinnamon Beef Stew
Wed. - Italian Pork Chops
Thurs. - Chicken Fiesta Soup
Fri. - Turkey Lettuce Wraps
Sat. - Chicken Broccoli Rice Casserole

Friday, November 15, 2013

Friday Forum: Discipline

I recently started cleaning out some church book shelves.
This week, I was posting a series of books to sell on Ebay.
They were 3 books for women about discipline.
Disciplines of the home, of the heart, of a godly woman ...

Discipline ... a tough word to swallow.
Children fight it and unfortunately, I do as well.

I know a few people who are tremendously disciplined -
those people who do "first things first"  ...
and I know more people like me who battle through daily.

There are many disciplines to practice in my life -
clean home,
healthy eating,
regular sleep,
daily prayer and Bible reading,
Bible memory,
music practice,
yard care ...

I must admit that the hardest discipline for me is that of Bible memory.
It demands time ... and the ultimate focus.
It is not a multitasking activity.
It demands consistent review.
I am still working on this discipline.
I have found that if I combine it with fitness walking,
the memory goes better.
Yet there is still the discipline to combine the two!

What disciplines are you working on?
Have you found a way to help a common 
"problem discipline?"

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Wake Up Call

This week I have been thankful for our thermostat - 
Yes - a little piece of technology that makes a big difference in the morning.

For years, I have desired a programmable thermostat.
With rental properties, it never seemed like a great investment.

When we moved into our new home,
still no programmable thermostat,
and I could not bear to waste what was there ...
but then it BROKE!

Off to Lowe's we went - and into the cart went the programmable thermostat.

It is so much easier to get up at a disciplined hour when the house is not 55*,
to have a time of Bible study in the morning without a blanket over my head.
It is nice to be able to have the heat off while at church or running errands, 
but then to come home to a warm house.

Simple Blessings!

I am thankful,

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

God's Delight

Proverbs 18:22 
Whoso findeth a wife findeth a good thing, 
and obtaineth favour of the LORD.

For all of you wives today  ...
a bit of encouragement - you are designed to be a blessing!
That gives new perspective to my day.

It is God's delight for a man to be married.
God wants man to find a wife - a good wife.
It is not just any woman, or another friend, or a business partner,
but a wife.
The man who finds this wife secures God's blessing.

Would hubby agree?
Are you a blessing to him?
Are you seeking to do your best to encourage your home?

It really does not matter if your are "appreciated" in your role.
If hubby does not praise you, admire you, commend you ...
if the children are ungrateful ...
if the in-laws are still warming up to you ...
if you feel lost without the affirmations you once received in the workplace.

Dwell on God's delight and pleasure in your role as a wife and helpmeet.

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Be Still My Soul"

I just love hymns set to Classical Music.
One of my favorites is "Be Still, My Soul."
As we left our home in WA for the unknown in NC,
the words seemed to take greater meaning.
It is always a great comfort to me.
When things seem uncertain, it is a great blessing.

As I prepared for Sunday services,
I really wanted to play this song as an offertory,
but my selection for this song was weak at best.
I did a "swagbucks" search for a free piano arrangement
and actually found a beauty.

I think that a piano solo communicates so much more
when it is ministering to the pianist.

Be still, my soul: the Lord is on thy side;
Bear patiently the cross of grief or pain;
Leave to thy God to order and provide;
In every change He faithful will remain.
Be still, my soul: thy best, thy heavenly Friend
Through thorny ways leads to a joyful end.

Be still, my soul: thy God doth undertake
To guide the future as He has the past.
Thy hope, thy confidence let nothing shake;
All now mysterious shall be bright at last.
Be still, my soul: the waves and winds still know
His voice who ruled them while He dwelt below.

Be still, my soul: the hour is hastening on
When we shall be forever with the Lord,
When disappointment, grief, and fear are gone,
Sorrow forgot, love's purest joys restored.
Be still, my soul: when change and tears are past,
All safe and blessed we shall meet at last.

Monday, November 11, 2013

Beyond Being Picky

I was raised as a picky eater.
I may have actually thought that the only 2 vegetables were green beans and corn :)
When we began serving in ministry,
I was convicted of this bad trait.
It showed ungratefulness and a discontented spirit.
It hindered and discouraged others from ministering to me.

In my search to simplify,
I recently enrolled in "emeals" for some new ideas, variety, and ease of menu planning.
The plan was discounted through Groupon.
They offer all kinds of plans - g-f, healthy, vegetarian ...
Last week,
one of the meal options was herbed butter beans.
I bought the butter beans and waited for the day to try them.
I was discouraged when I opened the bag to find a very close kin to lima beans.
I do not care for lima beans and I just knew that hubby would be less than enthusiastic.
To our surprise - the dish was DELICIOUS!


What a pleasant surprise to find something new to enjoy with our meals.
Perhaps you will like them too!

Herbed Butter Beans

3 c frozen butter beans
1/4 c chopped fresh parsley
1/4 c lemon juice
1/2 tsp thyme
1 Tbsp sugar
1/2 tsp ground red pepper
1/4 tsp pepper
2 Tbsp olive oil
1 tsp salt

Cook beans per directions on bag.
Combine cooked beans and remaining ingredients.

This week in the Bickish house

Sunday - Italian Pork
Monday - Chicken Cobb Salad
Tuesday - Spaghetti at a friend's house
Wednesday - Mustard Pork Chops
Thursday - Black Beans, Beef and Rice
Friday - Tuna and Rice
Saturday - Open House Picnic

Remember and Appreciate

5 years removed from the military lifestyle...
Veteran's Day still holds a special place.
There are those who gave their lives,
those who gave their loved one,
those who are in harms way today,
and those waiting anxiously for loved one to return.
All for the sake of my freedom.

1 father,
1 brother,
1 brother in law,
5 cousins,
1 husband
many, many friends
who have served and/or continue to serve.

I am thankful.

Friday, November 8, 2013

Friday Forum: Strength and Encouragement

Should not be a hard question today ...

What is your go-to verse for strength and encouragement?

Here are mine:

Hebrews 4:14-16
 Seeing then that we have a great high priest, that is passed into the heavens, 
Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast our profession.
 For we have not an high priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; 
but was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin.
 Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, 
and find grace to help in time of need.

 II Timothy 1:7 
For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.

Thursday, November 7, 2013

Reminder to Be Thankful

I really try to practice thankfulness in my life.
Part of the reason for a "Thankful Thursday" blog is to look at the blessings around me.
I want to be appreciative for all that God has given,
for those who give of themselves for me and for the work of the Lord,
for the people who love me and care for me,
for daily health and strength.

Periodically, I am reminded to be more thankful.
For many years, I suffered with a nervous problem --
the feeling that I was always in a stressful situation,
a "fight or flight" adrenaline rush all day.
Since changing my diet and finding some herbal supplements,
I have felt so much better.
More energy ... more peace ... less exhaustion

The past 2 months have been quite stressful and really escalated in the past two weeks.
For the past three or four days, I have struggled with the old adrenaline issues.
It is finally subsiding and I hope to be feeling myself by the weekend.

I am thankful for health.
I am thankful for the reminder that my health is from the Lord.
I am thankful for a husband who is patient when my body can do no more.
I am thankful that I no longer struggle for months on end.
I am thankful.

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Where Do You Run?

Proverbs 18:10 
The name of the LORD is a strong tower: 
the righteous runneth into it, and is safe.

The portion of Psalm 119 that I have been reading this week
along with this Proverb have been a real blessing.
God certainly knows what I need and when I need it.

As a woman, I often seek to run.
I run from stress.
I run from confrontation.
I want to run from difficulty.

But where?
As a child, it was to dad or mom.
They could fix the problem,
fight the foe,
adjust the perspective.
Now I want to run to hubby.
His shoulders are strong enough to carry the burden.

But the righteous run to the Lord.
He is the strong tower, the refuge, the place of safety.

I feel like I am in a gulf coast hurricane season this year - 
one struggle, one storm, one flood to another.
But the storms have also led me to pray as I never have before.

How about you?
Are you running to man?
or running to the Lord?

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

At Its Peak

I think that we are seeing the peak of color here in the foot hills.
This weekend was absolutely beautiful.

Monday, November 4, 2013


It is not often that I have attempt something crafty.
I am not a crafty person.
Sure a homemade card made from old cards,
but nothing all that creative.
But this weekend I put together a fairly crafty gift.
felt ... ribbon ... skewers ... empty bucket ... dollar bills

I sure am wishing I knew more crafters in my area.

Oh well,
here goes nothing!