Monday, October 27, 2008

Pumpkin Cheese Bread

I made this tonight and my whole house smells like pumpkin and spice...perfect for a chilly fall day. YUM!

Pumpkin Cheese Bread

2 1/2 cups sugar
1 - 8oz block cream cheese (softened)
1/2 cup butter (softened)
4 eggs
1- 16 oz can pumpkin (NOT pumpkin pie filling)
3 1/2 cups flour
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
1 cup chopped pecans (optional - I forgot to add)

Combine sugar, cream cheese and butter until well blended. Add eggs, one at a time, mixing well after each. Blend in pumpkin. In a separate bowl, mix together all other ingredients (except nuts). Add dry ingredients to wet ingredients...about a third at a time...blending until just moistened. (Do not over blend). Fold in nuts at the end. Pour into 2 greased and floured 9 X 5 loaf pans. Bake at 350 for 50-60 minutes or until middle is done. (check with a toothpick) Cool for 5 minutes, remove from pan, set on racks and cool completely.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Fall Festivals - Not Halloween

Several of the local churches are having Fall Festivals as an alternative to Halloween. Our family made the decision some time back to not celebrate Halloween. Now that BK is getting a little older, I need to remind myself of why that decision is right for us.

I remembered that I had saved a great article, Why We Don't Celebrate Halloween, written by Kelly McCausey. Click here if you would like to read it.

Tonight, we took BK and my grandsons to one of the Fall Festivals and they had so much fun. Here are a few pics.

Friday, October 24, 2008

Who Do You Know?

Most of us know at least one family who is struggling financially and could use help this holiday season. Angel Food Ministries is offering a Thanksgiving box for $30. Would you please consider buying a box to bless a family? You can begin ordering next week and the distribution date will be November 22nd. Click here to find an Angel Food distribution center near you.

(Quantities are Limited, So Place Your Order Soon!!)

The special holiday box contains everything you need for a traditional Thanksgiving meal. Order one for your family and one for a family in need this holiday season. Feeds an average family including 2 adults and 2 children. $30

7lb. (avg.) Perdue Roasting Hen
2 lb. Heat and Serve Mashed Potatoes
2 lb. Heat and Serve Corn
2 lb. Heat and Serve Green Beans
17 oz. Cornbread Dressing
4.5 oz. Brown Gravy Mix
15 oz. Cranberry Sauce
8 Dinner Rolls
1 Dessert Item

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Run In The Rain

This was sent to me in an email. I've read it before, but we all can use the reminder...

Run In The Rain
By Dee Martinez

A little girl had been shopping with her Mom in Target. She must have been 6 years old, this beautiful red haired, freckle faced image of innocence. It was pouring outside. The kind of rain that gushes over the top of rain gutters, so much in a hurry to hit the earth it has no time to flow down the spout. We all stood there under the awning and just inside the door of the Target.

We waited, some patiently, others irritated because nature messed up their hurried day. I am always mesmerized by rainfall. I got lost in the sound and sight of the heavens washing away the dirt and dust of the world. Memories of running, splashing so carefree as a child came pouring in as a welcome reprieve from the worries of my day.

The little voice was so sweet as it broke the hypnotic trance we were all caught in, "Mom, let's run through the rain," she said. "What?" Mom asked.

"Let's run through the rain!" She repeated. "No, honey. We'll wait until it slows down a bit," Mom replied.

This young child waited about another minute and repeated, "Mom, let's run through the rain."
"We'll get soaked if we do," Mom said. "No, we won't, Mom. That's not what you said this morning," the young girl said as she tugged at her Mom's arm. "This morning? When did I say we could run through the rain and not get wet?"

"Don't you remember? When you were talking to Daddy about his cancer, you said, 'If God can get us through this, he can get us through anything!'"

The entire crowd stopped dead silent. I swear you couldn't hear anything but the rain. We all stood silently. No one came or left in the next few minutes.

Mom paused and thought for a moment about what she would say. Now some would laugh it off and scold her for being silly. Some might even ignore what was said. But this was a moment of affirmation in a young child's life. A time when innocent trust can be nurtured so that it will bloom into faith.

"Honey, you are absolutely right. Let's run through the rain. If God let's us get wet, well maybe we just needed washing," Mom said. Then off they ran. We all stood watching, smiling and laughing as they darted past the cars and yes, through the puddles. They held their shopping bags over their heads just in case. They got soaked. But they were followed by a few who screamed and laughed like children all the way to their cars.

And yes, I did. I ran. I got wet. I needed washing.

Circumstances or people can take away your material possessions, they can take away your money, and they can take away your health. But no one can ever take away your precious memories... So, don't forget to make time and take opportunities to make memories everyday. To everything there is a season and a time to every purpose under heaven. I hope you still take the time to run through the rain.

Take the time to live!!!

Keep in touch with your friends, you never know when you'll need each other -- and don't forget to run in the rain!

Tuesday, October 21, 2008


(Today is Works For Me Wednesday over at Rocks In My Dryer. Head over there to check out some great tips and ideas.)

My mother lived through the Great Depression. She knew how to use and then resuse things. In the age of disposible everything, this kind of frugality hasn't been valued very much.

Many years ago, when my parents were alive, they both liked to shop at places like Hudson's and Big Lots, looking for deals. They would pick up food items dirt cheap and when they would find a great deal, they would stock up. Eventually there was so much food in their house, my dad had to build several large wooden shelves to stock it. Whenever we would go to their house we laughed and rolled our eyes at their own private "grocery store."

Times, they are a changin'.

It seems like many of the blogs and website geared toward frugality that I like to read are recommending that folks begin to stockpile groceries and other items around our homes that we use frequently, like soap, shampoo and paper products.

The reasons that they give are varied. Some are doing it from a survivalist mentality. It is abundantly evident that our country is having economic trouble. These people believe that we are heading for even more trouble, including food shortages, and that we need to be prepared now so that we can continue to feed our families if that were to happen.

Others are doing it from a purely frugal motive. It just makes sense to stock up on items that you know your family uses often when they are one sale, then you don't have to pay the regular (and sometimes outrageous) prices when you need them. I have come to the realization that this is an excellent way to stretch my food budget, so I have begun to buy extras when shopping for sale items. I am slowly building up a stockpile of items that I know we will use.

The trick is to find storage for all this extra food. I had to get creative about that. One thing I've done is to utilize an unused cabinet in my spare bathroom.

I found a good article on stockpiling. Check it out if you are interested:

How to Create a Stockpile of Food - for Little Money

Breakfast for Dinner

I found this great recipe for a breakfast casserole and had to try it, so I picked up the ingredients I needed on my last shopping trip. The original recipe called for bacon (cooked & crumbled - 8 slices), but I cooked a ham over the weekend and decided to use some of it instead. I whipped it up this morning and it's sitting in the fridge waiting for dinner tonight. (By the way...for more great recipes, head over to Tempt My Tummy Tuesday at Blessed With Grace.)

Breakfast Casserole

Assemble this hearty dish the night before, and bake the next morning.

1 (16-ounce) Hawaiian bread loaf, broken into 3/4-inch pieces
2 cups (8 ounces) finely shredded Mexican four-cheese blend
1/2 pound ham,chopped fine in the food processor
8 large eggs
2 1/2 cups milk
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1 teaspoon dried mustard
1/2 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce

Arrange bread cubes in a lightly greased 13- x 9-inch baking dish. Sprinkle with shredded cheese and ham. Whisk together eggs, milk, salt, pepper, mustard, and Worcestershire sauce. Pour over prepared dish; press down bread cubes with a spoon to allow bread to soak up liquid. Cover and chill 8 hours. Let stand 30 minutes before baking. Bake at 350° for 35 minutes or until set and golden.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Fun Day At The Museum

I took BK and my grandsons to the Natural Science Museum today. This is the first time we've been since the dinosaur exhibit has been featured. We had a blast.

T-Rex! The little guy wasn't too thrilled with this one. He moved and growled and showed those huge pearly whites.

Watching the fish. It seemed that the fish swam right up to the kids as if to say "Hi!"

Feelin' Froggy!

Watching the giant albino catfish. We were trying to decide how old this fish must be because it's been there as long as I can remember.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

It's Not Debatable

I just watched the Presidential Debate. I know that it's probably not "politically correct" to talk politics, but at the risk of offending some, I feel that I have to say what's on my mind.

The candidates were put in a position that they had to lay out their stands on many controversial issues on which many people have very strong opinions. One of these issues was abortion. The question that brought up this topic had to do with appointing Supreme Court Judges and whether or not the potential judge's belief on pro-life issues would influence Obama/McCain's decision to appoint them.

Senator Obama was very clear about the fact that he believes Roe v. Wade was a good decision and he supports a woman's choice to abort. He also made it clear that a potential Supreme Court Judge's view on this subject would matter to him.

I realize that there are other issues on the table. Our country is in a serious economic meltdown and we are in a war that many citizens do not support. Lack of health care is a problem for many and our educational system needs help.

But I cannot help but think that the issue of abortion is a fundamental one that sets the moral climate of our country. Until this practice of allowing mothers the option to have their babies killed is stopped, NOTHING in our country will be as it should.

I'm a big believer in the principal of sowing and reaping. If American Christians vote in a man who promises tax breaks and health care, choosing the promise of economic help, while turning a blind eye to the fact that this man supports the mass murder of innocent lives, then we will all reap from that decision.

Our country hangs in the balance of what happens at the polls in a few weeks.

Pray, people...please pray.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Freezer Cooking - Ground Beef

I bought two 5 lb. packs of ground beef this week and today was the day that I had to do something with it. What I like to do is cook ahead and freeze some meals. Not only does this save time, it's also a very frugal way to cook. I thought I would post about what all I did step-by-step so you can see how easily it all comes together. (By the way...for more great recipes and tips, head over to Tempt My Tummy Tuesday at Blessed With Grace.)

First, I decided that since I was planning to be in the kitchen most of the morning, I would bake some bread too. I threw all the ingredients for my honey wheat bread to mix and knead in the KitchenAid so it could be rising while I went on to the next thing.

I took out two large pots. In one, I put one 5 lb. pack of ground beef, covered it with water and turned the heat to high. In the other pot, I filled it with water, added salt and put over high heat to come to a boil.

I got out my food processor and chopped three onions. Two of them I used in the recipes and the other one I put in a small freezer bag and froze to use later.

When the water started warming in the ground beef pot, I began stirring to break up the meat. As the water in the other pot came to a boil, I stirred in 2 lb. of ziti and set the timer.

After the pasta and beef were cooked and drained, I used 1 lb. of the ground beef and assembled four pans of Baked Ziti, covered with aluminum foil, wrote on the top with a Sharpie and popped them in the freezer (we love Sister Shubert rolls and I keep the pans to use for this).

Then I put 2 lbs. of cooked meat in containers and put them in the freezer.

With the other 2 lb. of cooked beef, I made a pot of Sloppy Joes. When that cooled, I divided it into three containers and froze them.

By this time, the bread was ready for the oven, so I put them in to cook.

I opened the other pack of ground beef and set up my kitchen table with:

2 large bowls
a cookie sheet (with sides)
two cooking racks (inside the cookie sheet)
an oblong baking dish
Tupperware hamburger press and 4 containers
disposable gloves

In one bowl, I dumped all the ingredients for meatballs (using 2 lb. beef). In the other, I put the ingredients for meatloaf (using 2 lb. of beef). With the last pound of ground beef, I formed 4 hamburger patties and froze them.

Wearing the gloves, I mixed the meatloaf and formed two loaves, arranging them sideways in the baking dish. Then I mixed the meatballs, formed them into balls (about 3 dozen) and arranged them on the racks inside the cookie sheet.

As the bread finished baking, I put the meatballs and meatloaves in the oven for 25 minutes (this will half-cook the meatloaves and I'll finish cooking them when I take them out to defrost). After they cooled, the meatballs went into 3 freezer bags and the loaves were wrapped individually in aluminum foil to freeze.

So after a busy morning, I ended up with at least 15 meals in my freezer:

2 lb. cooked ground beef (to use for tacos or casseroles)
4 pans of Baked Ziti
3 bags of cooked meatballs (to use with spaghetti, BBQ sauce or brown gravy)
4 hamburger patties
3 containers of Sloppy Joes
2 meatloaves

Here are my recipes:

2 lb. ground beef
½ c. bread crumbs (or oatmeal)
¼ c. milk
¾ t. salt
¼ t. pepper
½ t. Worcestershire
1 onion, chopped
1 egg

Mix all ingredients; shape into 1 ½-Inch meatballs. Bake on racks on cookie sheet at 425 degrees for 25 minutes. Freeze in freezer bags.

2 lb. ground beef
¼ c. chopped onion
1 small can tomato sauce
¼ c. ketchup + extra for top
2 slices bread, crumbled
1 egg, beaten
salt, pepper, garlic powder to taste
brown sugar for topping

Mix all ingredients and form into loaves. Bake at 350 for 30 minutes. Take from the oven and drain grease. Wrap individually with foil. When ready to cook, defrost and spread additional ketchup on top & sprinkle with brown sugar. Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes.

2 lb. dry ziti pasta
1 onion, chopped
1 lb. ground beef, cooked
2 jars/cans spaghetti sauce
Provolone, sliced (6 oz.)
Mozzarella Cheese, shredded (8 oz.)
2 T. grated Parmesan cheese

Cook pasta & drain. Saute' onion and then mix with pasta and spaghetti sauce. Divide into 4 aluminum baking pans. Arrange slices of provolone cheese on top and sprinkle with Mozzarella and Parmesan. Cover with foil. After defrosting, bake 30 minutes at 350 degrees, or until cheeses are melted.

2 lb ground beef, cooked
1 onion, chopped
1 green pepper, chopped
1 1/3 c. ketchup
1 ½ c. Coke (or other soft drink)
3 T. vinegar
2 T. Worstershire Sauce
2 t. honey
2 t. dry mustard (or 4 t. prepared)
2 t. garlic
Salt/Pepper to taste
1 T. cornstarch

Sauté onions and peppers in a little olive oil. Add all ingredients except cornstarch. Mix well. Simmer 15-20 minutes. Stir in cornstarch and cook another 5 minutes. Freeze in individual containers.

Monday, October 13, 2008

Are You Done?

Lorie Newman wrote an article called I'm Done with Playing Church.

If you haven't read it, you should. Click here...

Friday, October 10, 2008

Stressful Times

The news today is that this was the worst week ever in the history of the stock market. I don't understand a lot about investments, but when I hear the words "global economic crisis," it doesn't take a genius to figure out that we are in deep trouble...and they say that it's only going to get worse.

When the market goes down, stress levels go up. At this point, it's impossible to predict the toll that all this mess will have on our society. I heard a report today that says domestic violence has increased, along with emotional and health problems. Statistics show that financial problems are the leading cause of divorce, so when the dust clears, it is heartbreaking to know how many families will be destroyed.

As Christians, we are told to be in the world, but not of the world. The cares of this world should not effect us as those who live without hope. Perhaps that should be easier to do, but I think for most of us, we are used to living our lives in a certain manner and we feel that we deserve to be able to continue that lifestyle.

Tonight I was thinking about the verses that tell us to not worry about what we are going to eat or drink and to not worry about tomorrow. God promises to provide for all our then why do we worry? Is it that we just don't believe, or are we like the Israelites in the desert? I fear that manna would not be good enough for our palates. We expect more. After all, we are Americans!

Lord have mercy on us.

We are a proud and stiff-necked people. We plan our days and weeks and live as if we are in control. We put so much value in the things that are temporal, but we are slow to consider the eternal.

I have to remind myself that God is not an American. He is not a Republican. He's not even a Baptist. Our efforts to "flavor" the Gospel to suit our agendas does not change the Truth of the Word of God.

What is the best stress reliever that I can think of in these scary times?

Psalm 91

1 He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High will rest in the shadow of the Almighty. 2 I will say of the Lord, "He is my refuge and my fortress, my God, in whom I trust." 3 Surely he will save you from the fowler's snare and from the deadly pestilence. 4 He will cover you with his feathers, and under his wings you will find refuge; his faithfulness will be your shield and rampart. 5 You will not fear the terror of night, nor the arrow that flies by day, 6 nor the pestilence that stalks in the darkness, nor the plague that destroys at midday. 7 A thousand may fall at your side, ten thousand at your right hand, but it will not come near you. 8 You will only observe with your eyes and see the punishment of the wicked. 9 If you make the Most High your dwelling-- even the Lord, who is my refuge-- 10 then no harm will befall you, no disaster will come near your tent. 11 For he will command his angels concerning you to guard you in all your ways; 12 they will lift you up in their hands, so that you will not strike your foot against a stone. 13 You will tread upon the lion and the cobra; you will trample the great lion and the serpent. 14 "Because he loves me," says the Lord, "I will rescue him; I will protect him, for he acknowledges my name. 15 He will call upon me, and I will answer him; I will be with him in trouble, I will deliver him and honor him. 16 With long life will I satisfy him and show him my salvation.

Butternut Squash Recipe

I tried a new recipe and it turned out great. If you didn't know better, you would think you are eating sweet potato casserole. This came from a new cookbook I just got: Marlene Koch's Sensational Splenda Recipes.

Butternut Squash Soufflé

3 cups cooked mashed butternut squash

2/3 cups Splenda Granular
1 large egg

3 egg whites
1 tablespoon margarine, melted

¾ teaspoon cinnamon
½ teaspoon vanilla

1 teaspoon baking powder
¼ teaspoon salt

1/3 cup light sour cream

2 tablespoons flour

3 tablespoons Splenda Granular
1 tablespoon margarine, melted

¼ teaspoon cinnamon
3 tablespoons pecans, finely chopped

Preheat oven to 350. Coat a 2-quart casserole with Pam. Prick squash with a knife in several places and place in microwave. Cook on high for 8-10 minutes. Remove and cut squash in half lengthwise. When cool enough to handle, scoop out seeds. Place halves, cut side down, in a glass baking dish; add ¼ cup water, cover tightly with plastic wrap (or lid), and place back in microwave for 10 more minutes or until flesh is very soft. Scoop out flesh into a large bowl. Add remaining soufflé ingredients and beat until well blended. Spoon into a baking dish and smooth top.

In a small bowl, combine all topping ingredients and mix with fork or fingers until crumbly. Cover top of soufflé with crumb mixture. Bake 30-35 minutes until soufflé puffs up in the center and top is well browned.

(Per ½ cup serving: Calories 120, Fat 5 grams (2 saturated), Carbs 15 grams, Fiber 3 grams, Protein 4 grams, Sodium 180 mg)

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

A Hard Truth

Today I am posting something that was written by my friend Elysa on her blog Musings from Graceland this past Monday. God has given Elysa a heart for the "least of these" around the world...and around the corner. This post is heartbreaking and convicting...and we all need to hear what she has to share.


This past week two little ones had birthdays.One little girl we call our princess. She turned 7 amidst much rejoicing complete with presents, a special breakfast, cards, decorations, plenty of photos and videotaping, and love and laughter. This little princess is greatly cherished and the memories of almost losing her during childbirth make us all the more grateful. She is being given the best that we can give her in life. Most likely, she will have scores and scores of birthdays in her life...a life full of promise and amazing possibilities.

The second little one we don't know. She was born this week on her one and only birthday. There will never be parties thrown for her. She won't open up presents and smile for the camera as her daddy says "cheese" for the umpteenth time. She won't be asked what kind of cake she wants or receive "happy birthday" calls from her grandma. She won't grow up with a gaggle of brothers and sisters teaching her how to jump rope or dance to The Wiggles. She'll never sit on her earthly daddy's lap and be told how much she is loved. Only her Heavenly Father will hold this little girl and let her know that she is His precious one forever. For the day that was her birth day, is the only birthday this little one will ever know.

On Sunday morning, within walking distance of the state capitol building, several churches, ministries, and hospitals, a dear friend made a tragic discovery. This person is one of the homeless people who worships alongside our family at the outdoor worship service we attend on Sunday afternoons. She smiles at me and my heart is blessed to overflowing. I love her heartfelt hugs and how sweet she is to my baby. But this dear woman is absolutely devastated because yesterday morning, she found a little baby, one of God's precious creations, dead beside a's umbilical cord cut with a broken bottle and left lying there to die.

You'd think that something of this nature would be headline news. You'd think that folks would be both outraged and appalled...that our city and those who are Christians would be stirred up out of their complacency and worries about trivial matters and saying "we've got to do something to change the lives and hearts of those in our city!"

But there is no widespread grief or outrage...because except for the few that live down in that crime-ridden, impoverished area, no one knows. The police know. And any other involved officials are going to know...but where are the articles and tv news features? I've been searching the tv stations and newspaper websites since yesterday and I can't find that anyone knows about it or if they know, finds it newsworthy enough to write about.

A baby...a precious, made-in-God's-image baby was found in a TRASH DUMPSTER and that's not news that our community needs to know about? Be shocked about? Be horror-stricken over? Be motivated to DO something about? We can't save this little one, but what about others like her? What do we need to be doing as Christians to bring about change? It's not stricter laws nor more lenient laws. Good laws do help...laws that allow new moms to leave their babies in safe places with no questions asked are good.

But that's not enough.

The basic problem lies in an inner-city culture that has not only been consumed by death and destruction, some of it self-inflicted, but also by a suburban culture that has turned it's back on the inner-city. The majority of folks living in the burbs have either fled Jackson due to crime, high taxes, poor public schools, and a messed up city government or they've never lived there and plan on spending as little time there as possible.

Many people are downright afraid of Jackson. They watch the news and hear of all the murders and robberies and rapes. They drive through with locked doors on their way to the zoo or the museums or the concerts and see the crack houses and gang graffiti.

They can afford to stay away, live someplace safe, and in the process, they can forget about the inner-city and those who desperately, desperately, desperately need the love of Jesus ministered to their lives. They need to know that God loves them. They need to know that there is hope in Jesus. They need to know that they can escape this hell-on-earth. They need to know that they are not forgotten. They need to know the love of a Father that they've never seen on this earth.

I'm not naive. I've been around long enough to know that there are some people that are not going to change no matter what. There are some people that will choose crime and death over redemption and life. But there are others who are willing to change....they just need someone to help show them the way. I've met those who have changed. It can happen. God is the author of beautiful life stories...stories of beauty from ashes.

I can't help but think how different the headlines would be today if that precious little one had been found dead in one of our affluent suburbs. But she wasn't. She was born among those left behind...those who couldn't afford to flee. She was born to "one of those" kind of people.We know some folks who God has called. Amy Lancaster and her family left a big house in an affluent neighborhood in a safe town outside of Jackson and moved back to be among "those" kind of people.

They love their neighbors and do everything they can to point them to God and His good, redemptive plan for their lives. And she hears on a regular basis that what they are doing is crazy and pointless. That "those kind of people" will never change. That basically, they just need to be walled off from the rest of society until they kill themselves off.

Two little ones.

Two different lives.

One is greatly treasured and has a beautiful life ahead of her.

One is now with her Heavenly Father because she was born to someone who didn't know the value of life...her life and her baby's life.

And all over our state, our country, our world, there are two kinds of little children....those who are loved and have hope, and those who are living surrounded by death and destruction.

And all over our world are two kinds of people...those who know and do nothing, and those who know and are called to action.

If we bear the name of Christ, if we call ourselves Christians, there should be no doubt which camp we find ourselves in.

Not all of us are called to move into the inner-city. God has unique callings on each Christian. I am not about to sit here and say that we should all be carbon copy ministers.

But we should all be making sure that we are doing what God has called us to do in this world.

We should not let fear or laziness or ignorance stop us.

Shane Claiborne says that it's not that American Christians don't care about the poor, we don't know the poor.

I would expand that to say that it's not just the poor that we don't know, we also don't know those in desperate need of spiritual hope and deliverance. We've become isolated from them for a myriad of reasons...busyness, laziness, ignorance, selfishness, fear, insecurities, cynicism, prejudice, fear of failure, and even plain and simple lack of love.

I had a friend one time who told me she didn't want to hear the facts about a hard subject because then she would have to act. I think that's how many of us in the Christian church think.

I can't go down to the innercity ministries and not get emotionally involved. If I go, I'm going to get to know "those kind of people". I'm going to hear about the abuse they are experiencing, the closets they sleep in, the fears they have, the addictions they fight, the diseases that are killing them, and I'm going to care.

And once I care, I must act.

I can't do it all. But I can do what He has called and equipped me to do.

It hurts to care. But it hurts too badly not to hurts them, it hurts me, and it hurts my Lord.

For whatever I do, or don't do , for the least of these, I do it, or don't do it, unto Him.


Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Rembering Christmas

I've been thinking a lot about Christmas lately (after all, it will be here in 78 days!).

When I was younger, Christmas was a huge deal. My mother loved the holidays. She loved decorating the fact, almost every room had decorations somewhere. She loved to give gifts. She would start months ahead, shopping for bargains...and hide them away until it was time (more than once she discovered hidden gifts long after the holiday). She would have some little something tucked away for unexpected visitors. She loved cooking her traditional Christmas cakes and pies. On Christmas Eve, she surrounded herself with her family for our seafood gumbo dinner and then we all gathered around the huge decorated tree with mountains of gifts that we all exchanged.

After I moved away, it seemed the older I got, the more I lost the Christmas least until I would drive the 150 miles to her house. When I opened the door, the sights and smells of the season would assault my senses and I would be transformed into the child that I once was...anxious to poke around the tree to see if I could find any gifts with my name on them...and to taste a slice of my mom's squash pie. When it got dark, I would turn off the lights in the living room and watch the colored lights twinkling on the tree, while listening to a scratchy Bing Crosby LP singing White Christmas. It was during those times that I realized that Christmas for me meant coming family and traditions.

Those days are long gone. My mom has been gone six years now. Even before she died, she didn't have the energy to "do" Christmas like she always had, so we had started having our family celebration at other places...but it just never was the same again.

Now I am the mother and the grandmother. What I've been thinking about is the traditions that I want my children and grandchildren to remember when I am gone. I want to create special memories with them that will carry through to their families...and that they will remember as a wonderful time to just enjoy being a matter how old they are.

I also want them to learn the joy of giving know that it is indeed more blessed to give than to receive. I think that might be one of the greatest gifts that I can give them.

Saturday, October 4, 2008

Date Night - Fireproof Movie

I went to see Fireproof last night with my honey and we both really liked it.

This movie is the third production for Sherwood Baptist Church in Albany, Georgia. With a low-budget (compared to Hollywood), one camera and a mostly volunteer cast, they have turned out a top-notch, must-see movie.

We laughed...we cried...and we were challenged to cherish each other and our marriage more. If you haven't had a chance to see it...go...and encourage others to see it too.

Friday, October 3, 2008

Home Management Website

I want to share a great resource on home management topics, Homemaking 911. This website has such a wealth of information...I haven't even had a chance to check out all of the many topics myself.

Baby Steps To Freedom

Chapter One
I walk down the street
There’s a deep hole in the sidewalk
I fall in
I am lost and I am helpless
It’s not my fault
It takes a long time to get out

Chapter Two
I walk down the same street
There’s a deep hole in the sidewalk
I pretend I don’t see it
I fall in
I can’t believe I am in the same place but
It’s not my fault
It takes a long time to get out

Chapter Three
I walk down the same street
There’s a deep hole in the sidewalk
I see it there
I fall in
It’s a habit, my eyes are open
I know where I am
It’s my fault
I get out immediately

Chapter Four
I walk down the same street
There’s a deep hole in the sidewalk
I walk around it
Chapter Five
I walk down another street
-- Portia Nelson

I came across this poem and I was struck by the insight the author has concerning habitual and addictive behavior. It is always amazing to me how I can look at others’ lives and see very clearly the pattern of wrong choices and the consequences that come because of these wrong choices. It seems that some people just keep doing the same thing over and over and expect the results to be different every time. But then I have to stop and look at my own life and realize how many times I have walked down the same road, and fallen in the same deep holes again and again. It makes me wonder what we can learn from this little poem.

“Chapter One” begins with me seemingly ignorant of the big hole looming in the sidewalk. As I walk down the street, suddenly I fall in. I feel lost and totally helpless. I refuse to take any responsibility, and I stay stuck in the hole for a long time. This hole can be anything that keeps us from being all that God wants us to be. Some of the holes I have fallen in have been rebellion, unbelief, depression, rage and just blatant disobedience.

In “Chapter Two” I know that the hole is there but I pretend that I don’t see it. I know that the way I am acting and the choices I am making are not pleasing to God, but I just don’t want to deal with them right now. So I fall in the hole again, and I just can’t believe it. I still refuse to take any responsibility, trying to blame anyone but me, and I stay in the hole a long time.

“Chapter Three” finds me walking on the same street. This time I see the hole, and I realize that I’ve fallen down that same hole before. I really want to avoid falling in the hole again, but because I am so used to walking that certain way, and doing things my way, I fall in again. This time, however, I am quick to admit my responsibility, repent, and I get out of the hole immediately.

We see further progress in “Chapter Four” when I walk down the same street, but I am finally able to walk around the hole and avoid falling in.

Then in “Chapter Five” wisdom kicks in and I just avoid the street entirely. Why expose myself to temptation when there are perfectly good alternate routes?

I realize that this is a very simplistic view of the process of freedom, and sometimes there are addictions and strongholds that are very difficult to break. However, even the strongest strongholds are no match for our God. We can all walk in freedom through Him. The point is that sometimes God does choose to deliver us immediately. But I think the majority of us must walk through the stages of freedom.

It could be that we look at the sin in our lives as just a habit. Maybe something that we have done all our life. Maybe even something that we saw our parents do. We have to begin by asking God to open our eyes to see what it is that keeps drawing us to our falling places. And then as He shows us, let us be aware of the danger, and avoid it if possible. If it is not possible to avoid, then we can be diligent to keep our eyes open, and depending on Him for strength, we will overcome. Habits can be broken and patterns can be changed. It might be something small, or it might be something big, but it’s always growth. And remember, we may not be where we need to be, but thank God we are not where we used to be! Press on toward Him this week.

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

The Lord Is MY Shepherd

Some great conversations with BK happen these days while we are going places. We listen to her CDs almost exclusively when we are in the van. The one that is in there now is Sunday School know, those little verses that we used to sing when we all were kids.

Yesterday on the way to pick up Mike, BK was singing along with The Lord is my Shepherd. I told her that was in the Bible and if she would ask her Daddy, I bet he would tell her the whole thing. She said "I'm going to say it over and over so I won't forget." Then she began her litany: "The Lord is my shepherd...the Lord is my shepherd"...over and over and over...

All of the sudden there were tears in my eyes as I heard that little voice proclaiming that the Lord is her shepherd. I asked her who is the Lord and she said "Ahh...that's Jesus!"

In these times of economic hardships and uncertainties, we could all take a cue from a child and loudly proclaim...

The Lord is MY shepherd, I shall not be in want.
He makes me lie down in green pastures,
He leads me beside quiet waters,
He restores my soul.
He guides me in paths of righteousness for his name's sake.
Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death,
I will fear no evil, for you are with me;
Your rod and your staff, they comfort me.
You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies.
You anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows.
Surely goodness and love will follow me all the days of my life,
And I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever.

October Angel Food

Here is the Angel Food menu for October:


Four 6-oz Ribeye Steaks

4.5-lbs (avg) Split Chicken Breast Family Tray Pack
26-oz Heat & Serve Meatloaf & Brown Gravy

1-lb Chicken Breast Fajita Strips
Four 4-oz Boneless Center-Cut Pork Chops

1-lb Fully Cooked Meatballs
1-lbs All Meat Hot Dogs

1-lb Frozen Sliced Carrots
1-lb California Blend Vegetables

1-lb Pasta
28-oz Marinara Sauce

48-oz Hawaiian Punch
32-oz Borden 2% Reduced Fat Shelf-Stable Milk

12-count Corn Tortillas
One Dozen Eggs

One Dessert Item

They also now offer a Senior Box. If you have an older family member who could use prepared meals, you might want to check this out:


- BBQ Chicken, slow roasted chicken diced & served w/Western flavor BBQ sauce. Served w/Southern-style black-eyed peas & collard greens and cinnamon apple sauce.
- Meatloaf w/Brown Herb Gravy, traditional meatloaf topped w/herb seasoned brown gravy, served w/sweet potatoes w/brown sugar & maple, green peas, mushrooms & green beans.
- Sweet & Sour Chicken, slow cooked chicken chunks served in a sweet'n sour sauce over steamed rice w/steamed broccoli, mushrooms & wax beans.
- Meat Patties w/Country Style Gravy & Onions, lightly floured & seasoned & served w/rich brown gravy & onion. Creamy mashed potatoes, steamed broccoli w/sprinkling of cheese accompainied by diced beets.
- Thyme Baked Chicken, slow cooked chicken chunks served in a savory thyme sauce w/parsley potatoes, 3-bean salad and diced peaches.
- Salisbury Steak w/Brown Mushroom Gravy, traditional salisbury steak patties w/brown mushroom gravy, mashed potatoes, peas & carrots, and diced pineapple.
- Spaghetti w/Meat Sauce, speghetti noodles served w/rich traditional Italian meat sauce, seasoned Italian green beans, diced pears & an oatmeal cookie.
- Ground Beef Stroganoff, tender ground beef in a rich stroganoff cream sauce served over parsley egg noodles, green beans & onions, with frouit cocktail.
- Chicken Curry w/Vegetables, cooked tender chicken w/cut green beans & yellow corn over seasoned onion broth rice w/broccoli oriental vegetables & diced pears.
- Creole Baked White Fish, delicate white fish baked with a Creole sauce served w/red beans & rice, creamed spinach, and a chocolate chip cookie.

Click here to find an Angel Food distributor near you.