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!

Safe Spices II

It is a bit more obvious why this spice blend is often unsafe.
I simply use a gluten free flour blend in place of all purpose flour ...
and we are joining the fiesta again.
By the way - typically Mexican food is typically a great gluten free option  - 
just use corn tortillas and chips instead of flour tortillas.

 Mexican Spice Seasoning Mix
1/4 c flour
2 T chili powder
1/4 c onion powder
2 tsp garlic powder
4 tsp salt
4 tsp paprika
1/2 tsp cayenne
2 tsp sugar
2 tsp cumin
2 tsp oregano

3 TBSP = 1 packet of taco or chili seasoning mix

Friday, November 1, 2013

Friday Forum: Balance

The longer we remain in one location,
the more it seems that our life fills with ministry and activity.
Some busy weeks are filled with "highs" - the joy of seeing changed lives, including my own.
Some hectic weeks, my flesh just wants to move -
to walk away from it all or to retreat to the mountains for a week or two.
Some weeks there are great burdens,
other weeks there are such encouraging events that the weight is lessened.

We regularly evaluate what is taking our time.
What should be cut?
What can be streamlined?
Can some jobs be delegated?
Should some ministries be changed?
Is the family life suffering?
Am I too focused on "me" time or on the desires of others?

To help with balance, in the past year,
I have instituted a monthly meal plan with a mix of freezer meals,
 easy meals, and more intensive recipes.
I try to spend the whole day at home at least 3 days each week.
We try to have one "date" each week - 
often this is a trip for a #5 - grilled at Chick-fil-A, a long walk,
or just an hour or two to talk one evening a week with no other distractions.
We try to exercise at least 3 days each week to keep our minds sharp and our bodies healthy.

I know that there are many ministry families that read this blog regularly.

How do you balance the responsibilities of home and ministries?
How do you evaluate the value of your activities?
How do you know when there is just one activity too many?

While this post was still waiting to be published,
God showed me that He helps to balance too.
I felt slightly overextended yesterday
which involved a trip to Charlotte (an hour away) ...
the appointment was cancelled :)
...only the hand of God!