Thursday, July 31, 2008

Quick Corn On The Cob

BK and I had this for lunch today. Yummo!

FRESH CORN ON THE COB (MICROWAVE)

Cook fresh corn on the cob in microwave with husks and silk intact. They will cook in their own natural moisture. If your microwave doesn't have a turntable, turn ears over and rearrange after 1/2 cooking time.

Cooking Timetable:
1 ear - 1 1/2 minutes
2 ears - 3 to 4 minutes
3 ears - 5 to 6 minutes
4 ears - 7 to 8 minutes
6 ears - 8 to 9 minutes.

When ears are hot to the touch, remove and wrap in kitchen towel or foil. Let stand at least 5 minutes. Remove husks and silk (which is easier than when cold) and serve salted & buttered.

A Blog You Should Check Out

http://blog.cooklikeyourgrandmother.com/
The address of this blog says it all...great old-timey recipes, complete with pics...with some humor thrown in on the side for no charge.

Monday, July 28, 2008

What I Most Want You To Know - Timing Is Everything

Today's guest blogger is my sister Debbie. She has always been an inspiration to me...showing that no goal is ever too big...and that I can do anything I make up my mind to do.

Timing Is Everything

When it is the right time, the Lord will show you the way. Your job is to have faith.

At age 40, after working 20+ years at insurance offices as a secretary, I was given the opportunity to start my own insurance agency. However, this is not something that I was actively looking for.


When I divorced, my boys were 12 and 7 years old and because they were active in every sport out there, I spent all of my time going back and forth from practice and games - times two. I guess being so busy with them saved my sanity. I could not have taken on a job that had me out at night on appointments. I was not satisfied in my job but knew in my heart that this was where I needed to be at that time in my life, so that I could spend time with them.


In 1988, one of my friends became an agent with a good insurance company. I called her to see how she was doing. She told me that I needed talk to this company and start my own agency. I called her manager, made an appointment with him the next day and was hired. Later, I found out that I was the first divorced female my company had ever hired. This manager will always be a hero in my mind as he gave me this great opportunity. Within three weeks, I was in Montgomery, Alabama for training.

When the time is right, things just fall into place with no effort. At this time my boys were 20 and 15, clearly capable of cooking themselves a hot dog or pizza if I was out at night...and I was out at night a lot. The first two years, I put in a lot of 12-14 hour days. This was a HUGE step for me as I knew that I had to make money and this was a commission job. I had no safety net to fall back on. I HAD to make it. I knew I could do it; I just had to have faith in myself and know that this was what my Lord wanted me to do. My first month on the job, I almost doubled my old paycheck.

God has been good. In January of this year, I celebrated my 20th anniversary with my company. Although I am now 60 years old, I have no plans to retire as I love what I do. I have been fortunate to have my oldest son work with me for the past 19 years and cannot imagine what I would do without him. I am also blessed with wonderful customers who have, over the years, become friends.

Another milestone this year is the birth of my first grandchild (my boys are slow starters). I had no idea that I would love this little person so much.

Bottom line, (and I say this a lot as folks who know me will tell you) keep your eyes, mind, heart and soul wide open so that you will recognize the opportunities that God sends you. Don’t be afraid to go out there on a limb. If it is where you are supposed to be, the limb will not break. Have faith.


Sunday, July 27, 2008

Battles

As Christians, we are always in a battle...whether we want to be or not. The enemy of our souls wants to kill and destroy us. Thankfully, Jesus came to bring not just life, but abundant life.

I am in a fierce battle right now. Some days I feel like I am battling for my very life. There are days that I feel like I'm gaining ground...and other days that I know I am being defeated. The main area of struggle is my desire to adopt a healthier lifestyle and the biggest area of concern is my weight.

I know that it is God's desire for me to be healthier and to glorify Him with my life. He has brought some incredible people to encourage and pray for me during this journey...people who have been on the journey as well and have seen victory in their own lives. Sometimes I just want to whine "It's just too hard!" and throw in the towel. But these new friends refuse to give up on me...and I know that God has not given up on me either.

I was working in my First Place Bible study book tonight and I read in 2 Chronicles 20 about Jehoshaphat's run-in with the Moabites and Ammonites (and a few Meunites thrown in for good measure). Jehoshaphat heard that a vast army was coming and verse 3 says "Alarmed, Jehoshaphat resolved to inquire of the Lord, and he proclaimed a fast for all Judah." Now there is a man who knows from where his help comes.

The Lord spoke to them in verses 15-17 saying "Do not be afraid or discouraged because of this vast army. For the battle is not yours, but God's." He gave them instructions on what to do and then in verse 17, He said "You will not have to fight this battle. Take up your positions; stand firm and see the deliverace the Lord will give you, O Judah and Jerusalem. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged. Go out to face them tomorrow and the Lord will be with you."

I started thinking about our battles that we have today. They might not be against vast armies, but boy, the battle seems just as fierce. We are told in the Bible to fight the good fight. In Ephesians, we are given instructions about the weapons of our warfare, so we know that there are times that we have to fight. But then there are other times that we are not required to fight because that battle belongs to the Lord. I'm not sure how we know the difference. I guess that is why we must depend on the Holy Spirit to lead us.

Notice that twice in that passage above, He tells them to not be afraid or discouraged...apparently that was important if He felt the need to repeat it. I think that we let fear and discouragement steal far too many victories from us.

When things are getting tough for me, I like to remind myself that He is able "to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us." (Ephesians 3:20) Even when we are called to fight, the battle is never truly ours alone.

I Think I Can

One of my sisters brought BK this shirt back from a vacation in Cozumel. It is very cute and the beads make a clicking noise when she dances. She wore it for the first time this week and the more I look at it, the more I think I can make some shirts like this. I mean, how hard can it be? Get some scissors and go to town on a t-shirt...string some beads and tie some knots...right?

Saturday, July 26, 2008

Restaurant Quality?

I've noticed something strange lately on a few TV commercials. To describe the goodness of certain food items, the commercials claim that they are "restaurant quality."

The reason this seems strange to me is that once upon a time, the standard of goodness was "as good as homemade." When did restaurant quality trump homemade?

Today I was thinking about this strange paradigm shift and I decided that it is due to the fact that we have raised a generation of women who do not cook. They eat out. They drive-thru. They thaw out and heat up. But they don't cook. Either they don't want to...or they don't know how.

I love to cook so much that I guess I just don't understand why a wife and mother wouldn't want to prepare a home-cooked meal for her family. Even after all these years of cooking, it is such a wonderful feeling of satisfaction in hearing yummy noises around the table and knowing that my efforts are being enjoyed.

I have always said "If you can read, then you can cook." There are some great cookbooks out there...and the Internet is FULL of recipes. You can Google any food your heart desires and instantly have a hundred recipes for it.

Restaurant quality?

Hmph....give me home-cookin' anytime!

Friday, July 25, 2008

Sample Menus

I worked up a sample two-week menu using the current Kroger sale paper. What I came up with was three meals a day for two weeks, spending just under $127.00 (total will be less if some items are already on hand). This should feed at least four people...often allowing leftovers. Some prices on the shopping list are approximate because there are items that are not on sale this week. Sale items are marked with an asterisk*. Recipes are available for the meals printed in blue here.

Shopping List:
*Ballpark Franks $2.00
*Kens Ranch Salad Dressing $2.00
*Sargento Shredded Cheedar Cheese $2.00
*Cattlemans BBQ sauce $1.50
*El Monterey Burritos - 10 pk $3.00
*Snackpack Pudding 12 pk. $3.00
*Kroger Apple Juice 1.50 X 2 $3.00
*Act II Popcorn 10 pk. $2.50
*Pictsweet frozen broccoli 2 lb. $2.50
(Kroger promotion - buy 10 items - get $5 off)

*Romaine Lettuce $1.29
*Tomatoes .99 lb. X 3 lb. $2.97
*Blueberries 2/$5 - 1 pkg. $2.50
*Grapes 1.89 lb. $4.00
*Strawberries 2/$5 - 1 pkg. $2.50
*Cantaloupe 2/$6 - 1 $3.00
Baby carrots $1.50
*Onions 3 lb. $1.77
*Ground beef 5 lb. roll 1.78 lb. $8.90
*Land'O'Fresh turkey 1 lb. $2.99
*John Morrell Bacon 2/$5 - 1 $2.50
*Tyson boneless chicken breast 2.5 lb. $6.99
*Sanderson Farms Thighs .97 lb X 6 lb. $5.82
*Boneless English Roast 1.97 lb $6.00
*Eggs large - 2 dozen $3.26
*Milk gallon 2% 3.88 X 2 $7.76
Margarine $1.00
Sliced American cheese $2.00
Kroger yogurt .50 X 5 $2.50
*Kellogg cereal $2 box X 10 boxes $20.00
(Kroger promotion - buy 10 cereals - get $5 off)

Hot dog buns $1.00
French bread loaf $1.00
Kroger sandwich bread 1.19 loaf X 2 $2.40
Canned corn $.60
Canned peas .60 X 2 $1.20
Canned green beans .60 X 2 $1.2
Mexi-corn - 1 can $.75
Kidney beans - 1 can $.50
Black beans - 1 can $.50
Taco seasoning x 2 $1.00
Onion soup mix $1.00
Egg noodles $1.50
Cream of chicken soup $.75
Cream of mushroom soup $.75
Tortilla chips $1.50
Rice 3 lb. $2.00
Brown sugar $1.50
Spaghetti 16 oz. pkg $1.00
Hunts spaghetti sauce $1.00
Russet potatoes 5 lb. $4.50
Total $126.40

MENUS

Breakfast:
Cereal & Milk
Fruit

Lunch:
Turkey sandwiches
Leftovers
Salads
Hot dogs
Grilled cheese sandwiches

Dinner Week 1:
Sunday - Roast, rice & gravy, green beans
Monday - Taco Salad
Tuesday - Scrambled eggs, bacon (1/2 pkg), toast
Wednesday - Stir-fry chicken w/ broccoli & onions, egg noodles w/ margarine
Thursday - Hamburger steaks & onions, homemade fries, glazed carrots
Friday - BBQ thighs, mashed potatoes, peas
Saturday - Frozen Burritos, corn

Dinner Week 2:

Sunday - Fiesta chicken salad
Monday - Leftover night
Tuesday - Baked potatoes, roast & gravy (leftover), broccoli
Wednesday - Omelets w/ cheese, bacon (1/2 pkg.), toast
Thursday - Meatloaf, mashed potatoes, peas
Friday - Chicken & Rice Bake, green beans
Saturday Spaghetti & meat sauce, salad & french bread

Snacks: Yogurt/ Popcorn/ Fruit/ Pudding

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Free Downloads

Check out Menu Planning Central and you will find three totally free ebooks for you to download. Here is Christine's description of the ebooks:

-- great summer activities to make memories with your children
-- a summer exercise guide for mom (because exercise is a great stress reducer)
-- and because I know how aggravating all of this extra meal preparation can get, I've put together a bunch of delicious & fun recipes that dad and the kids can make. I also included simple recipes that you can whip up in minutes, and a restaurant guide for those days when you just don't feel like cooking. (Why not? it's your summer break too after all.)

Enjoy!

http://www.menuplanningcentral.com/stress-relief.html

Hope Chest

When I was a young girl, my mother gave me a cedar chest and she told me that we were going to use it for my hope chest. (The photo at left is not mine, but it sure is pretty, isn't it?) For those younger readers who may not be familiar with it, a hope chest is used by a young woman to accumule domestic furnishings and in anticipation of her marriage.

Over the years, we filled it with many items that I would need to start housekeeping...beautiful pillowcases, kitchen linens, dishes...and many other useful items. I can remember sitting for hours looking through all the items and dreaming about the day when I would become a wife.
I plan to have one for BK. I've already started thinking about some of the things that I will put inside for her...things that will help and encourage her to be a great wife one day.

The tradition of having a hope chest isn't very popular anymore. In fact, I haven't heard anything about hope chests in many, many years at all until last night.

Our pastor was talking about a tragic accident that happened over the weekend in which the daughter of one of his friends was killed. While telling the story, he called the casket that they buried the girl in a hope chest. He went on to explain that to the world, death signifies an end. To believers, however, it is far from the end...but rather a glorious beginning.

In that case, the casket is a "hope chest" because it signifies the hope that we have because Jesus has gone to prepare the marriage supper of the Lamb (see Rev. 19:9). Just as surely as He went to prepare a place for us, He will return for his bride.

He is our only real hope.

And now, brothers and sisters, I want you to know what will happen to the Christians who have died so you will not be full of sorrow like people who have no hope. I Thessalonians 4:13 (NLT)

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Works For Me Wednesday - Crockpot BBQ Beans

I made these beans for a family get-together recently and they were REALLY yummy.

Head over to Rocks in My Dryer to check out other great tips and ideas.

Hearty BBQ Beans

1/4 c. water
1/2 c. honey
1/2 c. ketchup
1/2 c. BBQ sauce
1 tsp. vinegar
1 lb. ground beef, cooked & drained
1 envelope onion soup mix
2 tbsp. prepared mustard
3 cans (15 oz.) pork and beans

1 can (15 oz.) kidney beans

Place all ingredients in the crockpot and stir. Cover and cook on low for 6 - 8 hours, or 3 - 4 hours on high. Delicious...I promise! ; )

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Crying Through The Window

I pick my grandsons up for church every Sunday morning. For the longest time, I only took the three oldest ones (they are 9, 7 and 4), but the two-year-old would stand at the window and cry as we drove away. That just broke my heart, so we have started taking him too.

My daughter-in-law is a stay-home-mom, so he's not used to staying with anyone else. When I leave him at his class he cries and cries. I stand in the hall for a few minutes...out of sight...until he calms down and starts to play. It's a hard thing to do week after week, but I know that he will eventually get used to staying...and he really does enjoy the class. When I pick him up, he's just bubbling with excitement, telling me how fun it was.

I wondered if it would be better to leave him home for a while longer before pushing him into staying in a class. Then I would remember that little face with tears streaming down as I pulled out of the driveway. He's too young to understand why I take the older three, but not him. So we will persevere.

I started thinking about all this and it occurred to me that sometimes we act like spiritual babies. We can't see the big picture of what God has in store for us, so we cry when we feel left out. Then when He begins to move us out of our comfort zone, we cry because we are afraid, stressed...not knowing what the future holds.

Why is it so hard to trust? We know that God has said, "For I know the plans I have for you," declares the Lord, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future." (Jer. 29:11 NIV) We know that He is in control. We know that He promises that "...in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose." (Romans 8:28 NIV)

But many times, whenever something new or difficult comes along, there we stand...looking out upon a world that we just don't understand...too sad to stay where we are...but too afraid to step out in faith.

God knows where we are...and we don't have to stay stuck. My prayer today is that we will reach out to Him so that He can help us to move beyond the seen into the unseen. It's there in that place where we will find peace and joy.

Monday, July 21, 2008

What I Most Want You To Know: Apparently Unanswered Prayer

Our guest blogger this week is Deborah Taylor-Hough. I first learned of Deborah years ago when I read a copy of her book Frozen Assets: How to Cook for a Day and Eat for a Month (by the way, this is a GREAT book!). Then I began reading her blog and subscribed to her e-Newsletter. She not only inspires many to live simply, but the testimony of her life points to Jehovah Jireh - God her provider.

Apparently Unanswered Prayer
by Deborah Taylor-Hough

I’ve learned a lot about God’s faithfulness through all of the changes and trials of my life lately. God doesn’t always answer our prayers the way we want them to be answered, but He does answer.

For example, I’d been praying for several years that God would send a man into my teenage son’s life to act as sort of a spiritual Mentor. My son had even said to me on several occasions that he feels he’s at an important time in his life when he needs to be learning what it means to grow into a godly, Christian adult man. But because of the degenerative brain disorder my husband suffers from, he isn’t able to be the example of a consistent adult man that our son needs.

Well, I’d prayed and prayed and PRAYED that God would send someone to my son… but you know what? He never did.

It was a bit unnerving. I knew I wasn’t praying or asking for a bad thing. I knew it was a need that not only I saw, but even my son was aware of for himself.

Several times, men had stepped forward who said they’d like to be that role model in my son’s life…but each time, they never followed through. They never did a thing. They never even talked to him. Good intentions don’t amount to much if they’re not followed through with action.

But one day as I was praying, I remembered the Psalm that says that God will be a Husband to the widow (Hooray! That’s what I needed for me!) and a Father to the fatherless. Suddenly it dawned on me that God actually was answering my prayer…that He, God Himself, was being that example to my son.

My son was seeking after the Lord as best he could, and the Lord was being faithful to teach him, step-by-step and need-by-need, how to grow up into the type of godly adult he desires to be. I’d been expecting God to send a flesh-and-blood person…but instead, God decided to show up Himself. I guess that isn’t a bad trade.

The answer to my prayer sure didn’t look the way I expected it to look--and it was quite a test of faith to believe God was still listening to my prayers when it had the appearance that He wasn’t doing anything at all about a huge need in our lives.

I’ll admit that I still keep praying for a flesh-and-blood Christian man to come forward…but if it doesn’t happen, at least I now know that God’s capable and willing to meet my son at his point of need.

~Debi (Deborah Taylor-Hough)
Author: Frugal Living For Dummies(R), A Simple Choice, and Frozen Assets:
How to Cook for a Day and Eat for a Month
Editor: Simple Times and Bright-Kids eNewsletters
http://thesimplemom.wordpress.com/

Sunday, July 20, 2008

The Funeral

This was sent to me in Mountain Wings tonight.

THE FUNERAL

One day all the employees reached the office and they saw a big sign on the door on which was written:

Yesterday, the person who has been hindering your growth in this company passed away. We invite you to join the funeral in the room that has been prepared in the gym.

In the beginning, they all got sad for the death of one of their colleagues, but after a while they started getting curious to know who was that man who hindered the growth of his colleagues and the company itself.

The excitement in the gym was such that security agents were ordered to control the crowd within the room. The more people reached the coffin, the more the excitement heated up. Everyone thought: 'Who is this guy who was hindering my progress? Well, at least he died!

One by one the thrilled employees got closer to the coffin, and when they looked inside it, they suddenly became speechless. They stood nearby the coffin, shocked and in silence, as if someone had touched the deepest part of their soul. There was a mirror inside the coffin; everyone who looked inside it could> see himself. There was also a sign next to the mirror that said: There is only one person who is capable of setting limits to your growth: IT IS YOU!!!!!

Your life does not change when your boss changes, when your friends change, when your parents change, when your husband or wife change, when your company changes, when your church changes, when your location changes, when your money changes, when your status changes...Your life changes when YOU change, when you go beyond your limiting beliefs.

Examine yourself, watch yourself. Don't be afraid of difficulties, impossibilities and losses. Be a winner, build yourself and your reality. It's the way you face life that makes the difference.

~Author Unknown~

Five Friends

I found this great article online...

Five Friends Every Woman Should Have
By Michelle Burford

"Friends are the family we choose for ourselves," writer Edna Buchanan once said. I consider the "family" I've gathered—with five kinds of pals I count on for completely different things—among the wisest choices I've made. If you can find even one who embodies any of the characteristics that follow, you can consider yourself fortunate.

1. The Uplifter
This woman's favorite word: yes. You could tell her you're trading your six-figure income for a career in offtrack betting, and she'd barely pause before yelping "Go for it!" Don't you need someone who looks past the love handles to notice the extraordinarily gorgeous you?

2. The Travel Buddy
When the hotel in St. Lucia is a bust, one characteristic becomes all-important: flexibility. This agreeable companion need not be the girl you traded pinkie swears with on the playground; it's enough that she's comfortable with quiet (between gabfests) and is a teensy bit mischievous (as in tequila after midnight).

3. The Truth Teller
Intent is what separates the constructive from the abusive. Once you've established that the hard news is spoken in love (not in jealousy or malice), you'd be smart to seek out this woman's perspective.

4. The Girl Who Just Wants to Have Fun
One Saturday a pal and I—and yes, we're both over age 12—pored over every glitter lip gloss in a drugstore aisle for an entire 45 minutes. Forget the crisis download (for that, see the Uplifter); this partnership is about spontaneous good times.

5. The Unlikely Friend
"Each friend represents a world in us, a world possibly not born until they arrive," Ana├»s Nin wrote. My friends—some twice my age, others half, some rich, others homeless, some black like me, others Korean, Mexican, Caucasian—have added richness to my life that only variety can bring.

Read more
High Fives! in the May 2005 issue of O, The Oprah Magazine.

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Hmm...Don't I Wish

I ran across this comic strip this morning and it reminded me of how much I used to enjoy Calvin and Hobbs. There's just something about the little guy that made me love him.

As moms, we all want to fix everything for our children...but some things just can't be fixed. That's a hard lesson for them...and for us.

Friday, July 18, 2008

A Couple of Good Reads

Tony Snow, President Bush's former press secretary, died this week from cancer. He was a Christian and you can read his inspiring testimony about his illness on the Christianity Today website here: http://www.christianitytoday.com/ct/2007/july/25.30.html
It's well worth the time to read.

Tom Davis with Children's HopeChest has some tough (but true) words for us in his article "Why Christians S**K". Here is the link:
http://www.beliefnet.com/story/234/story_23432.html
I dare you to read this article and not feel compelled to make a change.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Freecycle

I have been a member of a local Freecycle group for several years and I've had a chance to give away many things that normally would have either been trashed or dumped at Goodwill. For those of you who are not familiar with Freecycle, here is a blurb from their website:

"The Freecycle Network™ is made up of 4,552 groups with 5,485,000 members across the globe. It's a grassroots and entirely nonprofit movement of people who are giving (& getting) stuff for free in their own towns. It's all about reuse and keeping good stuff out of landfills. Each local group is moderated by a local volunteer (them's good people). Membership is free."

To find a group near you, the website is: http://www.freecycle.org/

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Works For Me Wednesday: Spreadsheet Budgeting

This is my first Works For Me Wednesday post. Click the WFMW banner to read over 300 great ideas from bloggers on the Rocks in My Dryer website.

What I want to share is how I use an Excel spreadsheet to keep up with what we spend.


I have struggled for several years with having a budget and tracking our spending. About a year ago I realized that the easiest thing would be to do away with the register in my my checkbook and create a spreadsheet that combined a register, along with columns for the different categories in our budget.

The top row of the monthly spreadsheet lists the amount of my husband's check (he gets paid once a month) and then the I break that amount down, funding each budget category. As I list a check, debit card transaction, draft or deposit in the first few columns that keep up with the balance in the checking account, I also deduct or add that amount to the appropriate category (or categories). It sounds complicated, but once it's set up one time, I just copy and paste to start a new worksheet the next month and it doesn't take that much time.

This way of keeping track of spending helps us to see at the end of the month where our money is really going...which enables us to make the changes that are needed in order to meet our financial goals.

If you would like for me to send you a sample spreadsheet just so you can get a visual of what I'm talking about, leave a comment with your email address and I'll get it right out to you.

What's Going On With Us

In a way it feels like summer just started, but in a way it seems to be winding down. Mike will have to report back to school in about two weeks...although we aren't sure yet to which school he will be reporting back. JPS held a budget review meeting tonight (Tuesday) and the plan was to finalize their budget for the coming year. One way they were thinking of lowering the budget was to close the school where Mike had been assigned for the coming school year. We didn't hear anything on the local news tonight about a decision, so we are still waiting to find out.

BK will be starting Pre-K3 at our church in about five weeks. She will be going three days a week. Whenever we mention it, she jumps up and down laughing...and then launches into her rendition of the happy dance. I hope this excitement lasts through the first week. We are still contemplating homeschooling her when she is old enough for "real" school...but we decided to give her the opportunity to meet some new friends and be exposed to some new discoveries...in a Christian atmosphere.

As of last week, I've been given more contract work to do by computer at home. That promises to keep me busy...along with volunteering for CPC one morning a week and helping with the First Place program at my church. I also have a new honest-to-goodness snail-mail pen pal who lives in Michigan and I'm enjoying getting to know her. I am trying to blog more...and that has been fun. I've set a goal for myself to post something new every day. Last weekend, I dusted off my library card and went to the local library to request some books on scrapbooking ideas. I'm still hosting a monthly scrapping group at the library...and next week I will be starting a scrapbook class two mornings a month for the girls at CPC.

I have met some very interesting and inspiring women this summer. I feel like God is broadening my horizons. For some time, I've kind of felt "stuck"...wanting to get out of my rut, but not seeming to be able to...until now. This will be a summer to remember...for a lot of different reasons...and it's not over yet. I can't wait to see what God has up His sleeve for us all!

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

An Opportunity For You To Bless

I received an email today from my friend Elysa. She and her family have gotten to know the folks at the Wingard House and they have taken some of their church youth and adults to minister there this summer. Wingard House is the only place of its kind in the Jackson area that adults with their CHILDREN can seek refuge...a place where people can live together as a family as they get their lives on the right track.
Elysa received an email from the Wingards this morning telling her of some urgent needs they are facing right now. Please take the time to read this email and see what God would have you to do. This is your chance to make an eternal difference in

**********************************************
Bless you all in Jesus Name,

I feel as if the summer is flying too quickly and I certainly know that the “school season” is upon us. We have a whole new group of children this year. They must be equipped for the task ahead of them. Since we never know who we will serve from one week to the next, general supplies and gift cards (for clothing and uniforms) are best for us.

This is your “opportunity time” to do something good for someone in need. Take it and run with it!!

There are homeless children here who need to go to school and have supplies just like every other child. They don’t need or want to be or look “different” from the other children. We at Wingard Home depend on God to work through you to help us meet the needs of these children and teens.

After school begins, we will need certain color notebooks and certain this and that —the teachers have their own special requests and there are workbook fees and athletic fees and such. You are in an awesome position to have a positive impact on the future of a child this year.

Our Spring grant from the Morgan Foundation has been a blessing all summer, but is gone now. The summer has been a hard one and the needs of families and battered women have been many times greater. We have seen some miracles out of these times and, I am certain, we will see many more. The good work must continue. If you ever wanted to reach out to someone in dire straits, homeless, battered, abandoned, or threatened, then, this is your time to “show out” for Jesus.

WE MAX OUT AT 42 PEOPLE! TO ADOPT ONE OF THE BILLS LISTED BELOW FOR THE MONTH, YOU WILL BE HELPING US HOUSE ALL THESE FOLKS………WANNA BE A BLESSIN’ ?? NOW IS YOUR OPPORTUNITY!

Entergy (due 8-1)……$50.66 & $49.73
Entergy (due 7-21) ……$577.65, $386.70, $1,036.49, & $287.66
City Services (water bills) ……$211.66 *due for cut off on 7-17 & $367.20 (due on 7-18)
Cellular South (due 7-27) ……$507.36
Atmos Gas (due 7-14) ……$189.02, $16.62, $35.75, & $26.51
Sam’s Club (where we get gas for the pick-up truck) $1,604.95 (due on 8-1)
Aregood Technologies (past due) $192.49
Allied Waste (due 7-16) …… $101.16
Bank of America (past due) ……$2,280.69 development of Natchez Trace Children’s Ranch

We present these to you for your prayerful consideration and for your help: a large part or a small part - any help will be a blessing and will, indeed, bless many!……We must move quickly, though, because these must be paid now.

May God bless you and keep you healthy, sober minded, prospering you above all measure physically, mentally, and spiritually.

Wingard Home Ministry
Roy & Charlotte Wingard
1279 N.West St., Jackson, MS, 39202-2059
http://www.wingardhome.org/
wwjdcaw@aol.com
phone: 601-355-9589

Monday, July 14, 2008

Crock-Pot Give-Away!

Stephanie (aka The Crock-Pot Lady) is giving away ten REALLY nice crock-pots. All you have to do to enter is go to her blog post telling about the contest and leave a comment with your email address. Here is the address: http://crockpot365.blogspot.com/2008/07/crock-pot-give-away-blog-design-and.html

If you haven't had a chance to check out Stephanie's blog yet, spend some time looking around. She has some great recipes...and she is funny and entertaining too. She was featured on the Rachel Ray show last week and did a great job...way to go Stephanie!

What I Most Want You To Know - Never Ending Love

This week our guest blogger is my sister Diane. She is a special lady who has a wonderful testimony of God's love and grace.

NEVER ENDING LOVE
The year was 2002 and I was a happily married southern lady. I married my first love J.C. after dating for four years. In our 41 years of marriage, we produced a daughter who gave us two wonderful grandchildren. Life was good. We were happy and content. We were headed for retirement and that dream of travel. My husband was a Southern Baptist Minister. We had faith in our God.

My mom came to visit us to see a doctor in our area in July of that year. She was diagnosed as being terminally ill. While my mom was in the hospital, my husband was diagnosed as terminally ill in early September. My mom passed away in October 2002 and I was diagnosed with breast cancer that had spread in November of that same year. I had breast surgery on Christmas Eve and spent Christmas Day 2002 in the hospital.

God blessed me with a daughter who is a nurse. She had her hands full with all three of us being in the hospital in 2002. My daughter lived 2 ½ hours away and could only help on the week-ends.


J.C. and I realized that we only had a few months together. We made the decision that we would have all the joy that we could have on a daily basis. The year 2003 was my husband’s best year of his entire life, so he told me. We were at peace. We lived only for the day and packed all that we could into the day. We listened to music, I would read to him, we talked and prayed. Sometimes on a good day, we would go out to lunch or for a ride in his new truck.


We had 11 hospital stays in the year 2003. We took chemotherapy together in the same room at our cancer facility. We packed picnic lunches and laughed and joked while drinking our juice and eating our sandwiches. The nurses all wanted to talk with us because we were happy people.

My husband knew he could not live long and he spent hours telling me what to do from time to time when he was gone. He instructed me to find someone what I could be happy with and remarry. He did not want me to be sad and alone. He told me to get out of the house and find something to do. He said that I needed to be active so that I could live.

J.C. lost his battle with cancer January 2004. My battle with cancer ended after my surgery. I have been cancer free for 5 ½ years now.


People were so kind to us during our illnesses. They always wanted to know what they could do. I found that most people do not know how to help those with cancer or illnesses. Things that I could have used are as follows:


  • A gift certificate to a quite place to eat out
  • Home made soups that are not highly seasoned
  • A special desert
  • Books or magazines that are good clean fun
  • Cook a favorite homemade food (I wanted pot roast and gravy). If one in the family has cancer, then bring food for the other members of the family. Most family members are tired and always like good food.
  • We were blessed with a cancer policy but many are not...money is a good gift (there are very few organizations that will help with finances)
  • Gift certificates from a music store
  • Offer to clean house or run errands

I could rejoice for my husband that he had gone to a better place. I know that he is happy now and free from all illness. He is receiving his rewards from our God. I still miss him so much. People told me that I would miss him less in a year, but that is not true.

I found another good man. God blessed me with two husbands who love me. My new husband Andre' will hold me and let me cry when I miss J.C.; he is not jealous of my first husband. What a blessing!

My life is full. I now have a great-granddaughter. She is a wonderful little girl who loves me. I still have that dream of retirement and traveling. God is good.

~Diane

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Where Did My Baby Boy Go?

Thirty years ago today, I was a VERY pregnant 18 year-old, anticipating the arrival of my first child the next day. I was two weeks past my due date and miserable. My doctor finally decided to induce, so the plans were made. Bright and early I woke up on the morning of July 14th...in labor! We headed to the hospital as scheduled.

It was a long, hard day, but around 4:00 that afternoon I saw for the first time a little face that would change my life forever. My sweet baby boy weighed in at a hefty 9 lb. 12 oz. They called him "Big Mac" in the nursery because he was so much bigger than the other babies in there. He had a head full of dark hair and was the most beautiful baby I had ever seen.

We had a birthday party for Jeremy tonight. I looked at him and I can't help but be amazed at the man he has become. He thinks his youth is over since he's turning 30, but I know that his life has really just begun.

For all you young mothers out there...give your little ones an extra hug today because you will blink and they will be grown...trust me...I know.

Saturday, July 12, 2008

Fun Night

We let BK stay with one of my sisters last night so we could have a "date night." BK was super excited about her first sleep-over. After she left with with her aunt, Mike and I went in search of dinner out...somewhere we had never tried. We ended up at the Fresh Market Cafe on Spillway Road.

Oh boy, it was good! The place is set up cafeteria-style. Immediately after picking up our trays and utensils, we faced a variety of desserts that made our mouths water...but we decided to wait and see if we still wanted some after eating. They offer several different meats and side dishes...and a choice of a yeast roll or cornbread. The servings are hefty...and it is oh so good...tastes like homemade. Needless to say, there wasn't room for dessert, so we skipped it...but the banana pudding and pecan pie sure did look good.

After dinner, we hopped in the van and realized that we had no idea what to do on a Friday night alone. We ended up stopping at the new bowling lanes close to the restaurant, just to look around since we've never been there. I thought we might shoot some pool, but their one table was out of order. Bummer. Then we went to Borders at Dogwood to do one of our favorite things...look at books! We each got a few books and found a comfy chair to look at them. It was kind of fun just hanging out. Of course, Mike had to get a cup of latte' before we left. It was a refreshing night out as a couple...and one that was badly needed.

I had told my sister that if BK had trouble staying with her all night, to call me no matter how late it was. Around midnight, Mike and I were still up watching TV, when the phone rang. So we headed back out to go get her. I guess she is not quite ready for that adventure yet. Truthfully, I'm not sure WE were ready for it either. I think we slept better knowing that our little munchkin was in the room across the hall.

Friday, July 11, 2008

Wise Words

Our life is fritered away by detail. Simplify, simplify.
~Henry David Thoreau

Thursday, July 10, 2008

CPC Needs You!

I have recently started volunteering at the local Center for Pregnancy Choices. This is an incredible ministry that I have supported (from the sidelines) for years...wanting to help in some way, but not sure how. Now that I am there, I can see many opportunities for others to give of themselves.

Volunteers are needed in many areas. Here are a few, just to give you an idea.
  • Host a baby shower
  • Sponsor a diaper drive
  • Donate office supplies
  • Be a client advocate or mentor mom, working directly with the girls
  • Be a church liaison
  • Offer your services for childcare at the Center
  • Volunteer for the 24-hour Helpline
  • Answer the phone at the Center
  • Resource Room Organizer
  • Commit to prayer support of the ministry
  • Make a monetary contribution
  • Lawncare service
  • Provide labor for handy-man type projects
  • Offer to bring refreshments for the girls

Surely you see something in that list that you can do to help. Their telephone number is listed - give them a call today. You won't be sorry!

For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.' "Then the righteous will answer him, 'Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?' "The King will reply, 'I tell you the truth, whatever you did for one of the least of these...you did for me.' Matthew 25:35-40 (NIV)

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Tuesday Tips

GROUND BEEF: I buy ground beef/chuck in a 5 lb. roll when it goes on sale. I will buy 10 - 15 lbs. at a time. A while back I bought a bunch of Tupperware patty-shapers from eBay and I use them to make patties to freeze with several lbs. of the meat. I usually use about 2 lb. to make my favorite meatball recipe, cook them on a cookie sheet in the oven, and then freeze them in meal-sized portions. I put the rest of the meat in a large pot and cover with water. Boil until done, stirring to break apart. When it's done, I drain in a colander, separate the cooked meat (a little over 2 cups) into small containers...one container for each lb. of meat cooked...and freeze. These containers of cooked beef are great for a quick meal like tacos, chili, or any casserole that calls for ground beef. Boiling does not effect the taste and the grease washes off easily. This method cuts way down on the mess when it's time to cook my meals.

GREEN BAGS: I picked up a box of Debbie Meyer Green Bags at Walgreens. I thought I would give them a try since I HATE to throw fresh fruit and veggies away because they went bad before I could use them. The verdict? They work! The box had 20 bags (each bag can be used up to 10 times each) for $10.

NETFLIX: We made the decision several years ago to go with the lower-priced base service from the local cable company, because the price for the premium service ($50+ vs $15) just wasn't justified for us. Last month we tried a free 14-day trial of Netflix and it's great! There are several plans available. We chose the one for $8.95 per month. This is the way it works: we go to the Netflix website (www.netflix.com) and pick out the movies that we would like to see. They are placed in a queue, in the order that we want to see them. They mail us the first movie and it usually gets here the next day. We can keep it as long as we want, but we try to mail it back the next day (in a postage-paid envelope). When they receive it back, they mail us the next movie in our queue. Using this process, we can easily get 8 rentals a month, which is a great deal for the $8.95. They have thousands of movies from which to chose...classics and new releases.

Monday, July 7, 2008

What I Most Want You To Know: Raising Royalty

I am very excited to begin my new blog project. Every Monday I will feature a different guest blogger who will address the topic of "What I Most Want You To Know" in their own special way. Prepare to be blessed, as these extraordinary people share their hearts with us.

Our first guest blogger this week is my friend Nikisha Ware. Nikisha and I met several years ago when we were both working for the MS Department of Education. She is a wonderful godly woman and a testimony of God's faithfulness. She and her husband David live in the Central Mississippi area with their sons Solomon and Asa. Nikisha says that she is "abundantly blessed and living the good life!"

RAISING ROYALTY

Three years ago, my husband David and I walked into the Catholic Charities office filled with lots of doubt due to a long roller coaster ride of fertility treatments and failed pregnancies, still wanting a child. After meeting with Angela Griffin, we felt confident that we had found the right place for us. Shortly after our informational meeting, we returned to sign up; we’re so glad we did.

The staff worked very hard to place our bouncing baby boy. God’s puzzles begin to fall surprisingly into place—the paperwork, the references, the background checks, and the home visits all seemed to happen so quickly. We will never forget the day we met our little king, Solomon Taylor Ware on Friday, April 22, 2005.

The transitional family brought our two-week-old son and placed him in our arms. From that day, we knew we were raising royalty. On December 1, 2005, the adoption was complete; King Solomon was ours unconditionally, lovingly. We had our king in under a year. This was unheard of so we definitely had angels on our side.

Miracles do happen! On April 4, 2006, exactly 38 years after the death of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., another king was born and our dream of becoming (biological) parents was realized when Asa McPherson Ware was born. Since then, we have celebrated many firsts and numerous milestones and Deidra’s loving support has been there for every one of them. Our days and nights have been so much richer since this dream began.

I am so thankful for the chance to share my story and stand witness that if you open your heart and home to the least of us, God can open all kinds of blessings for you.

~Nikisha Ware

Sunday, July 6, 2008

Taking Our Stand

Some of you know that I am participating in a First Place group at my church. First Place is a wonderful Bible-based program that focuses not only on weight loss, but on bringing balance and wellness to the whole person...physically, mentally, emotionally and most important, spiritually. Our Bible study lesson this week is teaching us about expecting opposition as we commit areas of our lives to the Lord.

As Christians, we must remember that we have an enemy whose main goal is to steal, kill and utterly destroy all things. He is a murderer and a liar who likes nothing better than to stir up trouble. All you have to do is turn on the evening news to see that he's working overtime these days. The good news is that we are not defenseless.

The battle is in the spiritual realm...the unseen world. It is so easy to get caught up in the junk that is going on around us and to forget that. When we face opposition, we want to lash out at someone...to accuse and blame. But the Word of God makes it clear that our fight is not against other people, no matter what they have done. Our true enemy is Satan. Our fighting gear and battle plan are outlined in the following passage from Ephesians.

(The emphasis on the word "stand" is mine because I find it encouraging that we don't have to run and hide or be afraid when trouble comes, but rather to stand against the attacks in God's power.)

Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. Put on the full armor of God so that you can take your stand against the devil's schemes. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand. Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. Ephesians 6:10-18 (NIV)

Saturday, July 5, 2008

New Feature Coming

I'm so excited about a new weekly feature that I am planning for the blog. It will be called "What I Most Want You To Know." I got this idea from the Rocks in My Dryer blog and I thought it would be great to invite some incredible people to be guest bloggers here. It promises to be awesome! If you would be interested in being a guest blogger and telling your story, send me an email and I will contact you.

Keep watching for more updates. I'm hoping to have the first blog post ready to go soon.

It's All Good

After receiving encouragement from my friend Elysa, I bought some untoasted wheat germ to hide in add to foods to make them more nutritional. Today I cooked grits and eggs for breakfast, so I decided it might be a good time to experiment. I cooked a pot of grits (4 servings) and when it was done, I added light butter along with about 1/4 cup of wheat germ.

The results?

Read the title of this post. : )

Friday, July 4, 2008

WFMW, 5 Ingredients or Less Recipes

Shannon over @ Rocks In My Dryer is doing a themed edition of Works For Me Wednesday. This time, she asked for the best quick & easy recipes. There are already over 400 recipes listed on her blog, so head over and check them out. I thought I would add a few here of my own.

Crockpot Ham & Potatoes
6 potatoes, peeled & thinly sliced
1 onion, chopped
2 c. cheddar cheese
½ - 1 lb. ham, thinly sliced
1 (10 oz.) can cream of mushroom soup

Layer the potatoes, then some cheese, ham & chopped onion. Continue to layer and then pour soup over top. Let simmer for several hours in crock-pot until potatoes are cooked through. Serves 4 – 6.

Egg Custard Pie
½ stick margarine, melted
1 ¼ c. sugar
5 eggs, beaten
1 ¾ c. milk
1 t. vanilla

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Mix sugar and margarine. Add eggs and mix well. Add milk and vanilla. Pour in pie shell. Bake 10-15 minutes.

Bisquick Peach Cobbler
½ c. margarine
1 c. milk
1 c. Bisquick
1 c. sugar
1 can peaches

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Melt margarine in baking pan. Mix milk, Bisquick, sugar and pour into pan. Add the peaches and bake for 35 – 40 min.

Perfect Pancakes
2 eggs
1 c. milk
3 T. melted butter
1 ½ c. flour
3 T. sugar

Grease griddle lightly and heat. Mix all ingredients just until large lumps disappear. Cook until bubbly and flip.

Butterfinger Cake
1 pkg. German Choc. cake mix
eggs & oil
6-8 Butterfinger, crushed
1 can condensed milk
1 large Cool Whip

Bake cake according to directions in 9X13 pan. Let cool. Poke holes in cake and pour condensed milk in holes. Top with crushed Butterfingers and then spread the Cool Whip on top.


True Freedom

Today is the day that our country celebrates Independence Day. We as Americans have much for which to be thankful and one of the biggest is our freedom. Most of us have known nothing other than living in freedom, so it's easy to take it for granted. This is a day to reflect on the sacrifices that many have made through the years so that we can live freely.

But my mind automatically goes to the fact that the greatest sacrifice for our freedom came over two thousand years ago...in a distant land...on a hill...on a cross.

So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed. John 8:36 (NIV)


Thursday, July 3, 2008

Savings Tips

Here are a few frugal ideas:

I've slowed down to 60 mph while on the interstate. I read that is about the speed to get maximum miles per gallon.

I bought a coupon book a while back from http://www.entertainment.com/discount/home.shtml
Right now they have a special...if you reserve the 2009 book, they will send you the 2008 book free. It's full of buy-one-get-one free meals from restaurants all over the metro area...definitely worth the money. When we go out to eat, we buy one meal, get one free, ask for an extra plate and share our food with BK. We always get water instead of tea or cola...saves $3-$4 dollars.

I've started playing the CVS game. Tonight I went there and bought a small crockpot that was on sale for $12.99. I had $10 extra-care bucks that I had been given from a previous visit, so I only paid $2.99. Then when I got the receipt, there was another $9.50 extra bucks from what I've spent there the last few months. I get stuff there all the time free or almost free. It's so much fun to get the sale paper and see what kind of deals they have each week.

I bought a liter of Philosophy Amazing Grace shower gel/shampoo from QVC as a Christmas present for myself Dec. 2006. It came with a pump. A year and a half later, I still have at least 1/3 of the bottle left and I use it exclusively for my shampoo. Nothing special about this lasting so long...it's the pump that does it. Put your shampoo and shower gel in a pump container...it lets you control how much you use and it lasts a long time.

If you use liquid soap, buy a large refill (generic...like Fred's brand) and add a little water when you refill the pump. It keeps the soap from being so thick and makes it last longer.

We have breakfast for dinner once in a while. Eggs, toast, grits (or Cream of Wheat), pancakes. Even if I use a whole dozen eggs, they are only about $1.50 (which is less than a meat dinner).

More to come...