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Thursday, December 28, 2017

Button Up!

The holiday work schedule kind of threw off my week.
Yours too?

Chances are you are in the middle of some super winter cold weather.
We are uncustomarily below 32* today.
Today I am thankful for warm clothing,
for a warm car,
for the protection of a warm house.
God has given us SO much!

The cold weather brought the perfect opportunity to get the Thanksgiving turkey carcasses out of the freezer.
The Harvest Turkey Soup is on the stove
ready to warm up the chilled mechanic who will walk in in the next 15 minutes
(the shop is closed from the weather, but not heated),
the cranberry apple crisp is in the oven in preparation for breakfast the next two days,
and a new ebook is in the formatting stage (about 1/2 done).

I am thankful that we finished the new  print book on Tuesday.
We made our 2017 goal by a mere week :)

Button up and stay warm!

Monday, December 25, 2017

Merry Christmas!

It is the night of our dear Savior's birth.
Merry Christmas to y'all!
It is the Incarnation Celebration.

We have so much to be thankful for
and it is all because of the birth and subsequent death of our Savior!

Our day has been quiet and reflective.

Candles lit most of the day.
Christmas music in the background.

We woke and did a workout (of course),
had vanilla orange french toast,
read the Bible account of the incarnation from Matthew 1-2, Luke 1-2.
(I am always amazed at the impossible that becomes possible with God)
talked with family on the phone and skype,
enjoyed bagel and cream cheese and lox for lunch,
went for a walk,
edited the last bit of the new book,
had some supper,
and then are relaxing this evening.

We hope you have had a wonderful day
and remembered to praise God for the best gift of all - the Lord Jesus Christ!

Tuesday, December 19, 2017

It Just Makes Me Smile

A pleasant memory of meals with my niece and nephews 16 years ago,
a gluten free lattice top that doesn't look half bad,
knowing that hubby loves anything in pie form,
a huge thank you to Walmart for making a gluten free condensed tomato soup :)


Happy Dinner to Us ...
We may be dining al fresco tonight,
quite a pleasant day weatherwise.

And yes,
the wreath pizza looked like a wreath (I left the bow off) ...
and the crudite Christmas tree was cute (and hubby said it was good).
If you have no idea what I am talking about,
see yesterday's post :)

Monday, December 18, 2017

Seasonal Fun in the Kitchen

Hubby's Work is having a sort of potluck for Christmas tomorrow.
Finger food always seems to go the best.

So ...
I chose to go with festive.
But something that hubby could make a lunch of.

How about a pizza wreath?


Out of red peppers at the store, so I will have to make do with a green bow ...
or do something with a tomato?
Was going to do basil leaves after it came out of the oven,
but hubby opted for spinach.
That will be good too.

And for a veggie tray ...


Cucumber rounds,
cream cheese dill spread,
cherry tomatoes.

Sounds like fun to me!






Friday, December 15, 2017

A Pleasant Tradition

I get to enjoy my Christmas present today🎁
The Charlotte Symphony will be presenting Handel's Messiah tonight.
We enjoyed it 3 times in Seattle.
We enjoyed it twice at BJU.
This will be our second time to enjoy it in Charlotte.
I think I should make a bucket list to visit all of the major symponies for their performance of the Messiah!

Hubby and I will make a date of it.
The music will be lovely,
the mind will be focused on the true meaning of the Christmas season,
and I get to spend the day and evening with my hubby. - always a treat.

Thursday, December 14, 2017

Headed to the Hospital

Did I make you look?😁
No, I am not sick and I am not visiting anyone who is sick.

I am thankful this morning for the opportunity to interview for a volunteer position at the local hospital.
I know general positions that they fill, 
but am excited to see what spot may be best for me.

And if it doesn't work out...
I will be looking for another place to volunteer.

I am looking forward to expanding my interaction in the community
and finding new ways to meet people and minister to them.

Tuesday, December 12, 2017

Praying the Psalms

The Lord has brought us to a place of complete reliance again.
I remember this place as a young adult - seeking direction for college,
seeking direction in employment,
seeking God's will for a spouse.
As I have aged,  it is easy to get self-reliant and assured of myself.
But the past weeks have been full of prayers for wisdom and direction.
A friend sent me this "prayer" this morning.

Shew me thy ways, O LORD; teach me thy paths.
Lead me in thy truth, and teach me:
for thou art the God of my salvation; on thee do I wait all the day.

Monday, December 11, 2017

Where's the Beef?

One of the challenges of homemaking is stretching the budget.
In our home, another is avoiding allergens and irritants in the food categories.
Another is incoporating foods that may not be a favorite in flavorful ways.
Sometimes another is bulking up on foods that are very healthy.

Tonight's dinner was one of those.
It is a relatively cheap meal (cheaper if you don't need g-f tortillas).
It avoids red meat which doesn't really agree with everyone in this household.
It gives beans a flavorful twist.
It uses "oh-so-healthy" beans for lowering cholesterol and increasing fiber.
It is also a good recipe to serve with avocado for an increase in healthy fats.

Black Bean and Corn Tortilla Bake

1 c cottage cheese
2 tsp ground cumin
2 tsp chili powder
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper
4 tortillas (whole wheat if that is not a problem for you)
2 cans black beans (drained and rinsed)
1 can diced tomatoes with green chiles
1 can whole kernel corn (drained)
8 oz shredded Monterey Jack cheese (or cheese of choice)

Instructions:

Preheat oven to 400*
Blend cottage cheese in blender with cumin, chili powder, salt, and pepper.
Spread mixture on one side of each tortilla.
Combine beans, corn, and tomatoes.
Place one tortilla in round pan, top with 1/3 of bean mixture and 1/4 of shredded cheese.
Repeat layers twice.
Top with remaining tortilla, and sprinkle with remaining shredded cheese.
Bake 15 minutes or until cheese is melted and filling is bubbly.

We like ours with a dollop of sour cream and some taco sauce.
It is also good with diced avocado or homemade guacamole (avocado, lime juice, and garlic salt)

Saturday, December 9, 2017

A December Rarity


Yes, that is a picture in NC in December.

Usually our snows are in February,
but we got one early.
It started about noon on Friday,
and ended a little after noon today.
Probably should be called a "slush" instead of a snow,
but folks around here sure have enjoyed it.

Hubby and I have taken 2 - 4 mile walks in the snow.
We also enjoyed a nice beef stew with biscuits last night for dinner.
The snow was also a beautiful backdrop for putting up some decorations INSIDE last night.

By Monday, we probably won't have much sign of it,
but we will enjoy it for now.

Friday, December 8, 2017

Bizarre Question of the Day

To Lighten a Heavier Week
and in honor of one of my brothers
(who shall remain nameless, though we all know who)


Didn't see that one coming, did you?


My answer is ... thanksgiving stuffing - just don't think it would work for me.
Hubby says ... General Tsos Chicken (or any awesome Asian food for that matter)

Thursday, December 7, 2017

Another Member of the Family

How Could I Neglect to be Thankful ...

I am thankful that another one of hubby's books is just about finished.
We have edited on the computer and are waiting for our proof copy to arrive this weekend ...
and then after another round of edits ... on to the next one.
Hubby has been very excited for this study in Revelation.

We are also excited about the study in Isaiah.
He has completed up to chapter 49 and we hope to finish the 3 volume set in 2018!

Encouragement

Thankful Thursday
We are thankful for the encouragers in our life.


We are so grateful for friends and family who pray.
God has been answering:
Emails of encouragement
Visits of encouragement
Empathy and Sympathy from Unexpected Sources
Words to remind us that God has a plan for us
Words that remind us that we are not alone
Reminders of Bible verses and biblical characters

Thank you!

Wednesday, December 6, 2017

You Can't Avoid the Difficult Days

We all have them,
those days that stand out as the most difficult of days.

I remember one in August of 1993.
My parents had taken me to the college of my choice.
I had been accepted sight unseen.
There I stood - a graduate of a class of 6 - 
joining a class of more than 1000!
When I had to say goodbye,
I turned,
the loneliness and fear overwhelmed,
but I mustered every ounce of strength I had with God's help
and did what God wanted me to do!
In the tough time, there was also excitement.
I made it through 4 years and even stayed longer to teach.

Then in August of 2004.
There I stood in a new state - 
a whole nation away from friends and family.
I stood on a pier and stared at CVN 72 pulling away for 5-7 months.
There was that low whistle - 
I was lonely,
I was scared,
and I threw myselft on God's mercy.
Through 4 years and 3 deployments, He was faithful.
He provided a family to meet my needs and gave me unique opportunities in the long months.

And now December 2017...
we once more stand in an undesired position.
Lonely, scared, and grieving
but relying on God's grace and help
and excited at what he might choose to do to show himself strong.

The details cannot be shared,
but I can beg you to pray for us today.
Pray for wisdom, strength, and grace if you will.

Tuesday, December 5, 2017

Amazing Grace ♪♫♪



Needed this reminder this week.
Grace is available for more than my salvation.
It is available for the every day.
Obedience to God's Will will open that well of grace available for each day.

Monday, December 4, 2017

Cookies for Breakfast

If you have read the blog long,
 you know that this couple is very habitual.
Weekly Breakfast ... in the order that they appear:
Oatmeal
Avocado Toast
Granola
Smoothies
Granola
Baked Treat
Baked Treat Leftover

Breakfasts require little thought,
but the baked breakfasts on Friday and Saturday
keep us from getting bored.

For years we have been eating Oatmeal Cookie Granola.
It is a great recipe.
We recently tweaked it.
The Coconut Oil was traded for Peanut Butter.
Now we have Peanut Butter Cookie Granola!

Check it Out!

Ingredients:

3 cups oatmeal 
1/4 cup natural peanut butter
1/4 cup honey
1/4 tsp salt
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp vanilla 
1 cup raisins
1/3 cup chopped walnuts

Makes 8-10 servings of granola

Directions:

In a medium mixing bowl, add and thoroughly stir all of the dry ingredients into the dry oatmeal.
In a separate bowl, mix the peanut butter, honey, and vanilla together.
Once this is well blended, add to the oatmeal mix.
Spread thinly on a baking sheet (you wont need to grease anything) and
bake at 350° for 12 minutes or until slightly browned, turning once or twice.

Tuesday, November 28, 2017

A Song of Comfort

Singing a song of comfort this week.
It is needed reminder that my God sees and understands.
My Savior cares.
I have a High Priest who is the example of grace that my heart wants to follow.
Perhaps you need the song today too.


Does Jesus care when my heart is pained
Too deeply for mirth or song,
As the burdens press, and the cares distress,
And the way grows weary and long?

Refrain:
Oh, yes, He cares, I know He cares,
His heart is touched with my grief;
When the days are weary, the long nights dreary,
I know my Savior cares.

Does Jesus care when my way is dark
With a nameless dread and fear?
As the daylight fades into deep night shades,
Does He care enough to be near?

Does Jesus care when I’ve tried and failed
To resist some temptation strong;
When for my deep grief there is no relief,
Though my tears flow all the night long?

Does Jesus care when I’ve said “goodbye”
To the dearest on earth to me,
And my sad heart aches till it nearly breaks—
Is it aught to Him? Does He see?


Monday, November 27, 2017

Just A Little Bit of Heat and a Frugal Meal

We are definitely in the Fall months now.
The evenings are cool.
The days are pleasant, especially when the sun is shining.
We are excited for a return to soup weather.
I have a turkey carcass from Thursday in the freezer just waiting to become soup.
We tried a fennel and chicken sausage soup last week that was oh so yummy.

But a couple of weeks ago,
I tried this bean recipe.
So easy, and so good.
It is also a good excuse to make cornbread muffins
or any fresh bread for that matter.
It also goes well with the leftovers of the pork from earlier this month.

The key is in the jalapeno lime oil that is drizzled in the end ...
Don't skip that step!

Jalapeno-Lime Black Beans

6 TBSP olive oil
2 c chopped green bell peppers
1 1/2 c chopped onion
3 cloves garlic, minced
3 cans no salt black beans (drained and rinsed)
3 c vegetable broth
3 jalapeno peppers - minced
3 limes
1/2 tsp salt

Heat 1 TBSP of oil in Dutch oven over Med-High heat.
Saute bell pepper and onion for 4 minutes.
Add garlic and saute 15 sec.
Stir in beans and broth and bring to boil.
Reduce heat to med; cover and cook 10 min until veggies are tender.

Stir together 5 TBSP oil, jalapenos, juice of 1 1/2 limes, and salt.

Divide bean mixture between 6 bowls; drizzle with jalapeno mixture.

Cut remaining limes and serve with beans.



Tuesday, November 7, 2017

When You Have to Walk the Walk

Sometimes it is so easy.
Sometimes it is incredibly hard.

We have the reminder on our wall.


Sometimes you can't see the path that you will walk,
but you know the One leading you down the path.

"Oh for grace to trust Him more!"

Monday, November 6, 2017

Using the Slow Cooker

Usually one night a week I get home after hubby,
or we walk in together.
One night a week I am giving piano lessons to a family and we can't begin them until after school at 3:30.
On these nights, easy or make ahead meals are a must.

Today, I used the crock pot to make Pork Carnitas
basically Mexican Shredded Pork-
which we then put on corn tortillas with black beans and avocado and tomatoes.
The topping options would be endless which is nice for when we have been super busy and may need more calories, or it is easily scaled back when we have not been as active.

Pork Carnitas

Carnitas Meat:
3 lb. pork loin
1 bay leaf
1 1/2 C. water

Carnitas Rub:
2 Tbsp. chili powder
2 tsp. cumin
1 tsp. coriander
1/2 tsp. cloves
1 tsp. onion powder
1 tsp. garlic powder
1 tsp. sea salt
1 tsp. oregano

Combine spices and rub on pork loin.
Place in slow cooker along with bay leaf and water.
Heat on low for 6-8 hours, until pork falls apart.
Shred the pork with a fork, then continue to heat on low until serving.

Carnitas Topping/Filling Options:
Corn or whole wheat tortillas
Black or pinto beans 
Brown rice
Cilantro
Onions or scallions
Romaine lettuce
Diced tomatoes
Diced avocado
Shredded Cheddar cheese
Green chiles
Salsa

Carnitas Sauce:
1½ C. Greek yogurt
1 teaspoon ground cumin
½ teaspoon sea salt
1 tsp. lime juice
½ cup skim milk

I didn't try the sauce, but it sounds like something that I would really enjoy.

Wednesday, November 1, 2017

Just Have Faith

Many of you make a habit of reading through the Bible each year
(or maybe each time through takes longer than a year).
It often amazes me that new things stand out each time through.
It should not amaze me, but it does.

As wives, mothers, or wives and mothers-in-training,
we must be filled with the Scripture in order to help to protect and guide the home.
I was reminded of that this week.
Hubby reminded me of a Bible account that I had used in our decision making a few years ago - 
it had returned in some decision making this past month.
Yes, you can make a difference!

This week, I have been reading in Matthew.
I just finished reading about a variety of people who were rewarded for their simple faith.
Most of these examples had faith for healing,
but the heart of the passage applies to many situations.
Are you doubting?
Do things look impossible?
Are you in a hard place?
Place your faith in the One who deserves that faith.
He will not let you down.

Are you in the Word?
Dig, glean, hide it in your heart.
It will never be time wasted.

Tuesday, October 31, 2017

Relief


Relief:  

*alleviation, ease, or deliverance through the 
removal of pain, distress,oppression, etc.
* a means or thing that relieves pain, distress, anxiety, etc.
* money, food, or other help given to those in poverty or need.
* something affording a pleasing change, as from monotony.
*release from a post of duty, as by the arrival of a substitute orreplacement.

God is definitely our strength and has been sustaining us through a wilderness experience of many years.
Flesh and heart can fail and have failed, but God has been faithful
and He has now also given direction out of the wilderness.
Praise the Lord for His peace, His leadership, the relief that only He can provide.

Monday, October 30, 2017

Interruptions

Well, last week had good intentions.
Weeks of tree hauling,
2 days of power outages,
more wind storms,
more trees to haul ...
It has been a busy few weeks.

Before the craziness,
we had an Italian themed dinner at church.
Lasagna was the dish I brought,
but dessert was the fun one.
I wanted to stick with the theme.
In my search, I came across a Gluten-free Pumpkin Spice Tiramisu.
I had never tasted plain tiramisu,
but how could pumpkin spice, coffee, and cookies go wrong?

I ordered the Gluten-free ladyfingers.
I found some single serve instant espresso packets.
I set to work.
It was actually a very easy recipe and quite quick to make.

It was a success in my home and requested for Christmas :)
We expected a very sweet treat,
but it was just perfect.

Gluten-free Pumpkin Spice Tiramisu.

Ingredients:

1 1/2 cups heavy cream
2 large eggs, separated
1/3 cup plus 1 tablespoon sugar
1 cup mascarpone, at room temperature
1/2 cup canned pumpkin puree
1 1/2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice
1 1/2 cups brewed espresso, at room temperature
One 5.3-ounce package gluten-free ladyfingers, such as Schar

Directions:

In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment,
 beat the cream on medium-high speed until stiff peaks form; 
transfer to a small bowl and refrigerate. 

In the cleaned bowl of the stand mixer fitted with the cleaned whisk attachment,
 beat the egg whites on high speed until soft peaks form. 
Add 1 tablespoon sugar and beat until stiff peaks form; transfer to a small bowl. 

In the cleaned bowl of the stand mixer fitted with the cleaned whisk attachment, 
beat together the egg yolks and the remaining 1/3 cup sugar on high speed until thickened and pale yellow. Gently fold the mascarpone, pumpkin puree, pumpkin pie spice and a third of the whipped cream into the egg yolk mixture.
 Gently fold in the whipped egg whites and refrigerate. 

Place the espresso in a shallow plate. 
Dip both sides of the ladyfingers into the espresso and 
arrange in a 9-inch pie dish to completely line the bottom. 
Top with half of the pumpkin mixture, 
more espresso-dipped ladyfingers and the remaining pumpkin mixture. 
Top the pie with the remaining whipped cream and chocolate shavings. 
Refrigerate 8 hours or up to overnight, until ready to serve.


Tuesday, October 24, 2017

Two Times Tuesday

For the second time in two weeks,
we have been shown God's power and His protection.
Yesterday we were in the path of a tornado again.
By the time I got word, it was too late to seek shelter in a brick building
(typically the local college about 1.5 miles from us).

I sat in the bathroom for about 20 minutes while the rain and wind escalated.

A tornado passed through the park again.

tree behind (with what is left of our wood pile - thankful to have found folks to share it with)

neighbor beside us

trailers and tornados are a bad combination


I am thankful that we had finished our tree.
Now there are 3-4 more down.
2 at the trailer behind us,
2 at the trailer beside us.

Power has been out for 15 hours so far.
So thankful that the weather is not cold yet.
Thankful for the gas hot water tank.
Thankful for the grill to heat my breakfast soup πŸ˜€

Thursday, October 19, 2017

Timing is Everything

On this Thankful Thursday,
I am thankful for God's perfect timing and protection.

This morning,
hubby went out to a truck with a flat tire.
Chances are that in the 25+ trips to the dump
I picked up the screw that had caused the flat.

We were both thankful that it did not leave me stranded on the side of the road,
that the trees were finished,
that hubby wasn't delayed at work.

I am thankful that my lessons were cancelled today so that I could get the tire taken care of.

We are also thankful that we had 2 tires for the truck that we had saved.
Instead of having to purchase a new tire, we just swapped out the rims.

Yes, we could grumble and complain,
but God's timing is perfect and His protection is evident.

Wednesday, October 18, 2017

Being Selective




Perhaps one of the hardest things in being a SAHW (Stay At Home Wife)
is making the best choices.
I guess it really is a hard thing in most jobs, unless your boss sets your priorities.
I have almost 10 hours alone each day,
but I want to those hours profitably.
I want to focus on the things that will please God and my hubby.
I want to choose those things that make my home a haven,
those things that point other people to my Savior.

Sometimes,
that means that I have to say "no."

Trying to do every "good" thing is definitely the enemy of the best.

So today,
I need to choose the best.
I may need to say "no" to some good things.

Maybe you do as well.
This week, I am praying that God helps me to choose the best.
There may be time for some "good"
but I want the priority to be the best.
And guess what?
My "best" and your "best" may look different.

This week,
my best seems to be to focus on creating healthy meals
and removing a large tree from my yard to help save as much time for hubby as I can this weekend.

Tuesday, October 17, 2017

Tuesday Tree Transformation

Hubby and I spent most of Saturday hauling the neighbors tree to the dump.
(the rest of the day was spent cooking for a fellowship dinner
and preparing Sunday School lessons and sermons).
Before the chainsaw was put away,
hubby cut down the rest of the limbs on our broken tree ...
and so, this week I am hauling tree again.
3 loads yesterday,
and hopefully another 3 today.
It will probably take most of the week for me
and hubby will help on Tuesday night and Saturday as his schedule allows.

**UPDATE**
Only 2 loads today, but they were profitable ones.
Gave hubby the night off ... so we could take a long walk and enjoy the cool evening.

This is what I face tomorrow -


At the beginning of the week, there were branches around all sides of the tree.
Just two smaller piles on either side of the tree left - maybe just one more day -
3 Loads?

Monday, October 16, 2017

It's Not Beans and Rice

There are a lot of different recipes in our home.
We try to make every meal and snack COUNT,
but we also don't like to be deprived which leads to bingeing.
Two weeks ago, I posted hubby's go-to morning snack ...
Black Bean Brownies.
He had eaten it everyday for about 5 months.
I would ask if he wanted a change,
but "no," they were just that good.

Last week,
he decided a change might be nice.
So I went to work looking for a new recipe,
high in protein and fiber and lower in sugar.

We first did the black bean gingerbread bars,
they're good, but not as good when we cut the sugar back for a snack instead of dessert.

The second attempt was Chocolate Chip Cookie Bars,
and, well, we are on the second pan alread.

All of these recipes do require a strong blender or food processor to get the beans blended well,
but with that blender they are easy-peezy.
Not only that, but no egg, so ... you can lick the batter πŸ˜„

Chickpea Chocolate Chip Cookie Bars

INGREDIENTS

1 can (15 oz) chickpeas, rinsed and drained
1/2 cup all natural almond butter or peanut butter
1/3 cup pure maple syrup
2 teaspoons vanilla
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/3 cup chocolate chips 

INSTRUCTIONS

Preheat oven to 350.
Spray 8x8 inch pan with nonstick cooking spray.
In a food processor or high speed blender, add all ingredients except chocolate chips
and process until batter is smooth.
Fold in 1/3 cup of chocolate chips, I like to use dark chocolate because it has less sugar but it's up to you. Spread batter evenly in prepared pan
.Bake for 20-25 minutes or until toothpick comes out clean and edges are a tiny bit brown.
The batter may look underdone, but you don't want them to dry out!
Cool pan for 20 minutes on wire rack. 

Thursday, October 12, 2017

Just a little tug ...

It has been a busy week.
I am so thankful for the little bit of help that was given.

With the currently 11 trips to the dump,
I had help on 8 out of 11.

I lined the bed of the truck with a tarp.
I filled the bed with branches.
I backed up to the large refuse container.
3 times I had to empty the truck 1/2 way by hand until I could physically pull the tarp out of the bed.
8 times - someone came and helped me pull the tarp for a 1 minute empty of the bed.

I am thankful for the dump workers and the one everyday citizen who just gave that little tug on the opposite side of the truck.

Sometimes we want to do the great things ...
to make the BIG difference in someone's life ...
but sometimes, the BIG thing is just the little tug.

And the tree trimming ...
is going well.

Sunday Afternoon


Tuesday afternoon after 7 trips to the dump

Wednesday night after 4 more trips to the dump and about an hour of chainsaw work.

And this is what will be tended to on Saturday.
Another full day of sawing and toting!

If you look to the left of the trailer behind our tree.
You can see that they lost a big tree as well,
It only missed the trailer by inches.
This tree is on our agenda as well.




Wednesday, October 11, 2017

Fidelity

I am currently reading through Hosea in my daily Bible reading.
Hosea - a picture of God's faithfulness with an unfaithful people.

Fidelity to God.
It is so easy, like Israel, to be drawn in by the world,
to be distracted by "shiny objects,"
to place God on the back burner.
He deserves first place!
Often Israel thought they were doing right,
they thought they were pleasing God.
They may have been following the letter of the law,
but they often missed the heart of the law.

Fidelity in marriage (or friendship) is a big deal as well.
How do you show faithfuless and loyalty?

Do you place a priority on your time with you spouse?
Is he/she the most important person in your life?

Do you turn to your spouse first (after God) in difficult situations?
No friendship should be above your spouse.

Do you make decisions with your spouse?
Do you value and desire their opinion?

Do you stand up for and respect your spouse in private and in public?
No "old bag" or "old man" jokes.  No divulging private matters that should stay private.

It is easy to fall into a "worldly" mindset - 
one that cuts down the partner in marriage,
one that focuses on independence rather than togetherness.
God values fidelity and has given us His perfect example.
STRIVE - STRIVE - STRIVE





Monday, October 9, 2017

Thankful Thursday: The Monday Edition

Often, we are reminded to be thankful.
We are reminded that God is powerful.
We are reminded that our safety is in God's hands.

We had that experience yesterday - 
a little residue from hurricane Nate.

We sat eating some dinner before church
and we watched the wind kicking up.
Soon the chair cover from the front porch was in the back yard.
In two minutes it was over.

It was a mini tornado.
It wiped out one of our Bradford pear trees - 
the one that we had not yet pruned back.

We are thankful that it blew into the yard and not the house.
We are thankful that the trailer is still standing WITH a roof.
We are thankful for God's grace today and every day.


And this week - 
I am thankful for the strength to work on removing this monstrosity from the yard - 
one Ranger truckload at a time.

Wednesday, October 4, 2017

An Example to Follow

In my Sunday School class of one,
we recently began trying to be more specific and intentional in our daily Bible reading.
One popular method (I was introduced to it by some of my nieces and nephews)
is the SPECK method.

My student and I look for:

Sins to Avoid
Promises to Claim
Examples to Follow
Commands to Keep
Knowledge of God

I have been reading through the Major Prophets.
It has been a great comfort to me this time through.
As sin swirls around in the world,
as I (in sin) want to "fix" things on my own,
as I get frustrated with events beyond my control ...
God has been reminding me to leave things to Him.

I have seen the prophets as the example to follow.
They gave God's Word - often with no response from the listener - 
and they then had to leave the rest with God.
They were asked to do hard things - 
endure hunger, imprisonment in the worst of situations,
running for their life, walking naked as an example ...
They did the hard things because they were asked by God.
How often I complain when asked to do the smallest things for Him.

I have gained knowledge learned to appreciate the judgment, righteousness, and holiness of God.
It seemed like the wicked prevailed, but God's judgment did come - in His time.
And there was always the reminder - I, God, am judging so that all men will know that I am God.

Have you read something that has been an encouragement to you?
Would you share it?

Tuesday, October 3, 2017

Go-To Verse

While it is not a Psalm or a Song on this Tuesday,
it is a go-to verse of encouragement.
I guess you could call it a Tuesday Transformation,
because it sure does change my outlook when I focus on it.
It is a reminder of God's power.
It is a reminder that we serve a God of miracles.
Look around you.
Only an all-powerful God could create such a heaven and earth.


Monday, October 2, 2017

Our New Favorite Sandwich

A relatively "whole foods" diet without a doubt takes quite a bit of work.
I am always looking for a quick meal when time is just not there.
While looking through a home magazine one night,
we found a veggie sandwich that hubby wanted to try.
We "tweaked" the recipe and it has become a favorite.

The sandwich is simple.
Two slices of bread, toasted.
Two triangles of Laughing Cow Cheese any flavor.
(This is just a soft, spreadable cheese in preportioned packages.
Any creamy veggie spread would do.)
Sauteed or grilled red onions and peppers.

That's it!

Easy Peasy! and a new favorite.

Monday, September 11, 2017

As Promised

I mentioned hubby's daily work snack last week.
It is a different black bean brownie recipe.
I make at least one 8 x 8 pan a week cut into 9 pieces.
Two pieces go to work each day to be devoured mid morning.
They are a good source of proteint (beans and eggs)
and use honey as a sweetener (a win in our book).
For me they are are a win because they mix up in the VITAMIX
and quickly dump in the pan.

Here's the recipe from our friend Dr. Axe (He specializes in fixing "gut" issues.)

Black Bean Brownies

1 can 15 ounce black beans, drained
½ cup cacao powder
4 tablespoon coconut oil, melted
¾ cup raw honey
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3 eggs
½ cup gluten-free flour (you can use regular all purpose as well)
¼ teaspoon sea salt
¼ cup water

DIRECTIONS:
Blend all ingredients together.
(I add the ingredients from bottom to top for ease of blending)
Grease 8 x 8 pan.
Bake for 40 min. at 350 degrees.


Today, we are feeling minor effects of Tropical Storm Irma.
A lot of rain and occasional wind gusts.
I have seen a few broken branches so far ...
Weather in the 60's today,
so I made a warm pot of chili and some corn bread muffins for dinner ...
 will also be good in hubby's lunch tomorrow.

Monday, September 4, 2017

A Little Celebration

It is Labor Day.
Are you celebrating the ability to work?
Work was never meant to be a curse.
Work is one of God's means of providing for us.
Today we are thankful for jobs that God has provided to meet our needs.
I have been a book shelver, a nanny, a cashier, a phone operator, a teacher ...
Hubby has worked fast food, at a hardware store, as a nuclear mechanic,
as a farm hand, as a stocker, as a tractor mechanic ...
God has always met our needs.

Today hubby has the day off.
While we enjoyed celebrating our anniversary last month with family,
we are enjoying celebrating again today.
We enjoyed some extra rest this morning,
enjoyed a four mile walk/run,
exercised for another hour at home,
grilled lunch outside,
studied our Bibles for over an hour in our sweet little front yard,
are looking forward to French Dip Sandwiches and Watermelon for supper,
Breyers almond milk peanut butter ice cream for a treat,
and a four mile walk to finish with a bang.

Just the perfect day together celebrating 15 years and looking forward to another 15+ as the Lord allows.

Last week for our baked good breakfast on Friday and Saturday,
I made some Morning Glory muffins.
I made them with a little fear and trepidation ...
they are one of my favorites,
but the last time I made them,
hubby was not impressed.

I had not been shopping and the recipe just suited what I had on hand.

This time, hubby raved ...
not only are we to keep the recipe,
but it might also become a lunch box snack
(it takes a lot to overthrow the favored black bean brownie).
 ** I was going to create a link to the latest black bean brownie recipe,
but I guess I haven't posted it yet ... maybe next Monday. **

While there are many recipes out there,
this is the one that I am using right now.

Paleo Morning Glory Muffins

2 large eggs
8 T. pure maple syrup
¼ c. coconut oil
½ c. shredded carrots
8 oz. crushed pineapple, drained
2 tsp. vanilla extract
2 c. almond flour
¼ c. coconut flour
½ tsp. baking soda
½ tsp. kosher salt
2 tsp. cinnamon
¼ tsp. nutmeg
⅓ c. raisins
⅓ c. coconut
¾ c. chopped walnuts

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Whisk together the eggs, maple syrup, coconut oil, carrots, pineapple, coconut and vanilla in a small bowl until combined. Set aside.
Toss the flours, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg, raisins and walnuts in a medium bowl.
Pour the wet ingredients into the dry and mix until well combined. Do not overmix.
Scoop batter into 12 cupcake wells and place into preheated oven for about 20 minutes or until inserted toothpick comes out clean.
Allow muffins to cool in the pan for at least 5 minutes before removing. 


Monday, August 21, 2017

Thankful Thursday: the Monday Edition

Well, as life goes,
my schedule has been anything but scheduled.
My "Thankful Thursday" post is late,
but ...
better late than never.

Thursday was our 15th anniversary.
It is not hard to think of what to post in honor of this day.
How thankful I am for 15 years of marriage.
How thankful I am to be loved so unconditionally.
How thankful I am for a God who grounds us when life's turmoil would seek to overthrow.
How thankful I am for a union that truly is most often unified.
How thankful I am for the transformation of mind that has happened to both of us to make us more like God and better able to serve and love one another.

I am thankful for the strong man by my side ...
the one who challenges me ...
the one who encourages me to do right ...
the one who props me up or lets me rest when strength is failing...

On Thursday,
we began our day with an interval run.
How we enjoy the time together.
Time to work on health together.
Time to talk (when I am able).
Time to challenge and encourage.

15 years and prayfully many more

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Everyone Needs It ...

God continues to show me that everyone ... EVERYONE ...
needs fellowship.
There are those who may claim to be loners,
but even they need the touch of others.

For many years, I have feared to "just stop in"
to see people in the church.
I felt intrusive.
I wondered if it was only meeting a need that I had for company.
But with each additional visit,
the chatting increased,
the visits lengthened,
people grow more comfortable.
Sometimes they remind me that they value it.
Sometimes they make sure that I am making a return visit.
I am shown that I need to give fellowship.

The need is great.
It becomes harder in a fast-paced world.
My days are filled with other ministries and home responsibilities.
It is hard to skip the text and arrive in person.
But I need it, and so do the people in my life.

Is there someone that you can minister to today?
Is there a visit that you can make this week?
Later this month?

You may meet someone's needs.

Monday, August 14, 2017

A Challenge Until May

I have been given another wedding challenge.
The last one was corn meal muffins for a reception,
the next one is for May ...
a gluten-free apple, cherry, or apple-cherry pie.

The bride and groom are not gluten free,
but they have a brother-in-law who is.

My first attempt will be this Sunday for a fellowship dinner.
An apple-cherry pie.

Hubby is excited 
and the groom-to-be thought it would be good if I tried
every month for the fellowship dinners at church.

Have you ever made a cherry-apple pie?

What did you think?
Success? Failure? Just stick with the "old faithfuls"?

Update:
The pie was a success.
Hubby loved it.
We both thought it was the best gluten free crust that I had ever tried.
The bride really liked the mix of the two pies
(her favorite is cherry and his is apple)
In honor of the wedding,
it has now been named the "Chapel" (ch-apple) pie!

Thursday, August 10, 2017

Cloud Cover


Do Hoops and YoYo make you smile?
They are Hallmark characters and they definitely cheer me.
They were a regular part of electronic correspondence between hubby and me
while he was out at sea.

Typically, this solar-powered girl is looking for every bit of sunshine she can.
But this month, I am thankful that August has been a little more mild than usual.
I am thankful for the overcast days.
I am thankful for the days of rain.

The grass is still green.
The cherry tomatoes are plentiful without too much extra work.
While we wait on our new a/c unit to arrive and be installed,
it spares the old one from overworking
and spares me from more sopping towels that are catching the drain pan overflow πŸ’§

What are you thankful for today?

Update: as of 11 am ...
the old a/c unit is ripped out.
If hubby can fix the floor (water damage) tonight,
the new unit will be installed tomorrow!
And today is cool, breezy and comfortable ... so we shouldn't suffer too much tonight.
God's timing is perfect - we will be up and running and comfortable for our guest.
We are also thankful that they are installing a heat pump
that is supposed to cut our heating and cooling bills substantially!

Wednesday, August 9, 2017

The Old Switcheroo

This summer I have spent a lot of time outdoors.
The house got painted including trim.
The porches were resealed.
Last week, I repainted the white parts of the decks.
I also worked in the gardens last week to tidy them up.

This week, I was back in the house.
Not only did the rain drive me in,
but we needed to fix up a room for my MIL's upcoming visit.
We had moved the guest room to the smaller of our two extra bedrooms,
because most of our guests are one nighters and that was sufficient.
Since our guest will be with us about 2 1/2 weeks,
we switched the guest room back to the big room.
Because that room gets the bright morning sun,
we added some room darkening curtains.
I finally replaced the sheets which were left from my college days πŸ˜€.
We emptied part of the closet (and once again realized that we have a lot of stuff).
We emptied a chest of drawers.

The room is ready for Saturday and so are we!

Tuesday, August 8, 2017

A Change in the Garden

Often when we throw outdoor parties,
folks will ask me what flowers are in my garden.
I know most of them, but often in the middle of entertaining, the names escape.
So this weekend,
I made some sweet little labels for my plants (which are fading in the summer heat).



I took used canning lids,
sprayed with leftover spray paint,
used sharpie for the names,
used old paint for the flowers,
then used some wire left from making our many wall hangings for the stakes.

I still have a few to finish,
but I was pleased with the result 
and using odds and ends was even better.

Enjoy your trip into my garden.

Monday, August 7, 2017

Quick and Easy

Every once in a while you have to hit the "reset" button.
That button where you remind yourself and refocus on goals.
I guess the middle of the year is a good time ...
that and results of recent blood work :)

We are back to focusing on getting more veggies.

We tried an excellent recipe for a grilled veggie sandwich on Friday night.
It was simply grilled zucchini, peppers, and onions brushed with oil and balsamic vinegar
and sprinkled with salt and pepper.
The bread was toasted and spread with a cheese spread.
It was a big hit.

Tonight's quick and easy recipe was:

Spicy Mexican Pork Chops with Pepper and Corn Saute

The pork chops were sprinkled with salt, pepper, and chili powder.
Then they were sauteed for 2 minutes per side in 2 TBSP of olive oil.
Next dump a can of diced tomatoes and green chilies on top and simmer for 20 minutes.
DONE!

The brown rice takes the longest, but it is still easy.
Just follow instructions on bag.

For the Pepper and Corn Saute,
Sautee chopped red onion and two bell peppers
(red, green, or orange look good with the corn).
Then add a bag of frozen corn and heat through.
DONE!

Enjoy!