My offering of 5 loaves and 2 fish

Sometimes I feel like I don’t have much to offer with my story. You know, not a lot of teachable moments to offer up as learning tools. But I feel God impressing me to offer you my five loaves and two fish. In John chapter 6, Jesus asks Phillip a question. Seeing a very large crowd coming towards Him, Jesus turns to His disciple with these words on His lips… “Where are we to by bread so that these people may eat?” Jesus already knew the plan for feeding this massive group. Phillip answered His question with what I kinda envision to be a bit of an attitude. Lord, are you kidding me? It would take nearly a year’s wages to give each of these people just a little bit of food.

There was a young boy hanging around this crowd for some reason or another and in my imagination, he overhears the exchange between Jesus and Phillip and steps forward. ”I have some food” I can hear him saying. Another skeptical disciple named Andrew relays the information to Jesus with a scoff… “What good is the little bit of food this youngster has with him?” Oh I wish I could have been among that crowd to witness first hand how Jesus took the only offering to give everything he had from a little boy, and multiplied it so much they had left overs! Let me offer to you my five loaves and two fish and I pray God multiplies it as needed.

As I have mentioned before, I grew up feeling like I could just never be like everyone else in the areas of driving, sports or dating. Well, having the feelings that no man would want damaged goods, I was so delighted when, at eighteen years old, my knight in shining armor came into my life just when I needed him to. Oh he was so attentive and romantic. He called me all the time to tell me he missed me and loved me. When we would go out, he always wanted me next to him to let people know we were in love. I was so blind (if you’ll pardon the pun).

After being together for just a couple months, he began to show signs that I didn’t see then but are crystal clear now. He bought a cassette tape that he said was his message of love to me. The title of the song was “Possession”. I thought this was so incredibly romantic and demonstrated just how much he loved me. Oh, how wrong I was. The main verse in the song says “you’re my obsession, I want possession of you.” He made that very clear over the next several months.

He began showing signs of jealousy when we would go out. He accused me of “checking out” other guys. Mind you I couldn’t even see if it was a guy or a girl but never-the-less, I was cheating with my blind eyes. He began insisting I keep some memento from every place we went. These were literally items anyone one else would throw in the trash. Empty cups, plastic spoons, wrappers, that kind of thing. He demanded I display them in my room so others would know how in love with him I was and no one would stand in the way of that. I quickly was no longer allowed to wear makeup or style my hair to much. This of course was to eliminate drawing any attention from another man. Just who was I trying to impress anyway? It eventually escalated to him pushing me. I don’t honestly remember the incident that triggered that, but it really didn’t matter what it was. Pushing turned into slapping, slapping turned into punching and kicking. It always does! It never mattered what I did, anything would trigger him. Something that never triggered him before, would trigger him another time. The question always gets asked in these situations… Why did you stay?

The answer is different for everyone. For me, it was more than just a fear of leaving. He made me understand in no uncertain terms that no other man would ever want damaged goods. The very term I used on myself for many years. No one would know how to “take care of me” nor would even want to besides him. I witnessed many violent outbursts from him that usually were “my fault.” I suffered many bruises and bloody noses and lips at his hand. One stays with me to this day. I have a fifty-five percent hearing loss in my left ear as a result of his abuse.

I remember very clearly my last violent interaction with him. I am going to share it with you in the hopes the scene will help even one young woman get out of a bad relationship. He had picked me up and brought me back to his house. He still lived with his parents as did I. They however were gone for the whole day. After we arrived at his house, he was called into work. This meant I could either have him take me back home or sit at his parent’s house for the next eight hours by myself. I knew no matter what answer I gave, it would be the wrong one. If I wanted to go home, it was so I could hang out with another man. If I wanted to stay, it was so I could have said other man pick me up where no one would see us. I chose to go home to my parent’s house. At least other people were around to vouch for the fact that I spent the day in my room alone. Mistake.

He flew into a rage accusing me of cheating on him with multiple men and I just couldn’t wait to get home to one of them and make a fool of him. I freed myself from his grasp and ran to the bathroom and locked the door. Unfortunately, the window in that bathroom was not big enough to get out of. He pounded and pounded on the door. Screaming at me to let him in. I didn’t. I heard him move away from the door. I’d hoped he would give up and just go onto work. He didn’t. He had gone to get a screwdriver or something to help him gain entrance to the bathroom. The next thing I knew, the door flew open. He charged at me and drug me out by my hair. He threw me around and shoved me to the floor. Repeatedly grabbing my hair and forcing me to look at him, he called me many horrible names. Never quite sure what direction he would toss me next due to my vision loss, I hoped he would just tire of doing what he was doing and just leave for work.

I don’t really remember how long it went on but he eventually did leave me there and go on his way. Stiff and completely disheveled, I called my parents to pick me up. I of course didn’t mention the real reason why. Just that he didn’t have time to bring me home after getting called into work. They were on their way so I went into the bathroom again and brushed my snarled and ratted hair. I washed my face and returned my clothes to their proper arrangement. I awaited pick up. I went home and never told anyone. A short time later I left him for good because I had my family who knew more than I realized, and friends who were willing to keep me occupied so as not to go back to him and all his lies of promising to change.
That’s all those promises are… just lies. He was lying to me and himself. He could never change without professional help. If I can get one message across to young women who think they are in love and want to protect and help the person abusing them it’s that YOU can’t. You can’t love them out of abusing you. Your love is not the problem. No amount of patience or understanding will stop the abuse. I had and still have healing to do from that situation. God brought into my life another man a few years later who truly loves me. Loves my independents, my desire to follow Jesus, and my passion for helping others. He encourages me to be all God intends for me to be. He doesn’t need me to be at his side every waking moment but loves when I make time for he and I to sit together. Friends, this is the kind of love God wants for us. Freedom to love! God’s love is not demanding and accusatory. It’s open and free. He loves us with an unconditional love and has His arms open to us to CHOOSE Him. It is my prayer and hope that this ministry will help someone understand God’s free gift of love.

God’s word is filled with examples of His love for each of us. Seek those words out and read them over and over. Insert your name into those promises of His love. If you are in a situation like the one I write about here, I will be praying for you. Please consider getting the help you need to find freedom. God be with you friends.

This was food for thought… may I offer you some comfort food to go with it?

This is an old family favorite and many of you may have your own version of mac and cheese. But it’s a great comfort food and maybe this one is a little different…

Pan of baked macaroni and cheese

Baked Bacon Mac & Cheese

2 1/2 cups milk

2 Tbsp. flour

3 Tbsp. butter (the real thing)

8 oz. Triple cheddar cheese

8 oz. Sharp cheddar cheese

2 oz. mozzarella cheese

Dash of season salt

1 16 oz. box Cavatopi noodles

6-8 Slices turkey bacon; cooked

1 sleeve Ritz crackers crushed

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Boil noodles as label directs in a Dutch oven. In medium sauce pan, simmer milk and butter together on medium low heat until butter is melted. Add flour and whisk constantly for approximately 3 minutes. Begin adding cheeses a little at a time to melt evenly. When all cheeses are added and melted, put in a dash of season salt. Drain noodles and return to Dutch oven. Pour melted cheese sauce over noodles and mix well. Cut cooked bacon into pieces and add to mac and cheese. Pour into 9 x 13 casserole dish. Sprinkle crushed crackers over top. Bake uncovered for about 20 minutes or until golden. Enjoy the ooey gooey deliciousness.

 

Guest Post: Lynn Cowell

When I first started blogging a year ago, I was honored and privileged to have Proverbs 31 Ministries author and speaker Lynn Cowell, invite me to guest post on her blog just one short month after my blog was live. I had just had a conversation with God telling Him I was giving this blog into His hands to grow it as He saw fit. Later that same day I received Lynn’s Email with the invitation.

Lynn has now graciously agreed to guest post for me just two months shy of one year from my guest post. I am so honored to share a post from Lynn with you this week. My special and heart felt thank you to her for many things, including this post…

When I Doubt My Confidence
Lynn Cowell

Lynn Cowell seated on steps outdoors “Mary therefore took a poundof expensive ointment made from pure nard, and anointed the feet of Jesus and wiped his feet with her hair. The house was filled with the fragrance of the perfume.” John 12:3 (NIV)

Why did this memory come back now after so many years?

All was quiet in the early hours of the morning as I spent some time with the Lord…when an unwanted memory popped in my mind.

Painful and hurt-filled, this memory from years ago, involved me unknowingly letting someone down. She felt I had failed her and that my failure was an indication that I was unqualified. She let others know what she thought as well.

I was well past that blow, wasn’t I?Why did it return now of all times?

As I reflected for a few moments, the Holy Spirit helped me understand. I had recently made a new move with the Lord, saying yes to a challenging assignment. Once I saw my returned memory in that light, it made sense. The enemy would remind me what he had tried to drill into me years before: you don’t have what it takes, trying to bring my confidence into doubt.

It’s not the first time Satan has used this tactic.

We see him do the same to Mary as she anointed the feet of Jesus in John 12:3.

Mary knew her culture’s rules, just as you and I know ours. She was very aware that her place was not at the feet of Jesus; women were not “allowed” to learn directly from a teacher. Yet, it didn’t matter to her what others thought.

MarymayhavefeltscaredofthecrowdsurroundingJesusasshe approached Him, but she didn’t allow fear to hold her back. Confidence in the love of Jesus compelled her.

Mary’s heart and eyes were on one person: Jesus. As her perfume drifted through the air, others turned toJesus, from whom this lovely fragrance emanated. As Mary made her move toward Jesus, the enemy made his.

Through Judas, Satan tried to push Mary and all who were witnessing her love to look anywhere but on the King of Glory. Push Mary to become self-conscious and look to herself.

PushMarytodrawattentiontoherselfthroughherreaction.Pushothers to doubt Mary’s sincerity and look to judge her. Push the entire room to validate Judas and look to exalt her accuser. Anywhere but looking upon Jesus.

The enemy hates God’s glory, this radiance, this confidence, which is the Holy Spirit Himself in us. This is why the enemy tries to crush our confidence, and one of his main tactics is diversion—getting our eyes off of Jesus.

We have to be aware that where God moves, the enemy moves. As long as we are on this earth and “the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour” (1 Peter 5:8), there will be opportunities for our confidence to be attacked and for us to turn to our God for His help.

The day my failure came to mind, the enemy might have thought he was being oh-so-sneaky. He knows we reflect the beauty, goodness, and love of his enemy, Jesus. He will do all he can to push down this glory, and he will use any tactic, including our past failures and fears.

When you make your move toward Jesus, like Mary did, that means the enemy looks to move as well. He looks for an opportunity to bring opposition. Even while you are in the very act of advancing and growing in your faith, the enemy will try to stop you. When he presses, pushing us to abandon Christ’s confidence in us, we must push harder toward Jesus and remind the enemy that he is not qualified to do that.

Jesus, when the enemy uses his tactics to try to get me to take my eyes off You, help me to not abandon the confidence I have gained in You. Instead, help me to remember who You have proven Yourself to be to me and who You are in me. You are my confidence. In Jesus’s name, Amen.

Resources:

Lynn Cowell’s newest Bible study for women, Make Your Move: Finding Unshakeable Confidence Despite Your Fears and Failures,empowers women to build their confidence on Christ alone.

If you know a young girl who needs to learn to be brave and become courageous, confident and fearless, Brave Beauty: Finding the Fearless Youis the book for her! Order your copy here.

Reflect:

Take a moment to reflect on a time when the enemy attempted to steal God’s glory in you. It may have occurred, when like Mary, you were pointing others to your Jesus.

The enemy does not have the right or the power to steal from us what Jesus has already died to give us: freedom and healing. Take this time to once again thank Jesus that He is the King of Glory and deserves all our worship.

© 2017 by Lynn Cowell. All rights reserved.

Thank you again, Lynn! And now for this week’s recipe to share around the table:

Twisted Green Bean Casserole

3 16oz. cans green beans, drained

1 ½ cups frozen corn (approximately 1 can)

2 cups sour cream

1 can cream of celery, onion, or mushroom soup (cream soup of your choice. I usually use onion or celery)

4 oz. buttery round crackers

½ cup butter melted

1 ½ cups shredded swiss cheese

Preheat oven to 350 digrees F. Place the green beans and corn into a 2 qrt. Dish, spread evenly. In medium Bowl stir sour cream, cream of soup. Spread over greenbean mix. Sprinkle cheese over the top. Stir together melted butter and crushed crackers, spread over the top.  Bake for 15-20 minutes.

This is a delicious new twist on an old classic for Thanksgiving. I hope you get a chance to give it a try!

 

I am so over this… I think

I have been evaluating my mobility, expectations of myself, what’s realistic for me… that kind of thing. For most of my life, I have wanted and tried to keep up with everyone else— figuratively and literally. If my friends were running to their next class, I wanted to run with them, no matter if it was safe for me to do or not. I didn’t want to be left behind. If my friends were all driving, then I wanted to try it too. No matter if was safe for me to do or not. I didn’t want to be left behind. If my friends were playing hide and seek in the dark (and I do mean DARK), I wanted to play it too. Even though it wasn’t safe for me to do… well… you know what comes next.

I just wanted to fit in with how everyone else was doing life. Even as an adult, I never wanted to use my cane out in public for fear of standing out from everyone else. I could hear the whispers before they even happened. You know the ones, “oh wow, look at that… she’s blind”, or “oh I feel so sorry for her”, or my personal favorite, “I could never go out in public if I was blind”. Mind you, these comments were not actually said to me, I just knew somehow that they would be. I did hear phrases like “what are you blind or something?” if I cut someone off in a grocery store isle. I’ve heard “Are you trying to smell that item?” when I’ve had to put something REALLY close to my face to see it.

-Just a little side note in case you are a new reader… I have 10 percent vision so I do see a little bit-

I have had people tell me how sorry they are that I’m blind. I’ve had people tell me they couldn’t do it. I’ve had people say how awful it must be to be blind. All those things and more. This didn’t exactly give me a lot of oomph to be using my cane and draw more attention to my blindness. The people who say how awful it must be or how sorry they are for me, really don’t mean to sound cruel or disrespectful in any way. I’m sure most of them are simply expressing sympathy for my situation. But this leads to feelings of being broken in some way.

But I can’t keep trying to keep up with other people. My blindness does not permit me to walk as swiftly as others do. I must be mindful of my steps to prevent me getting injured. The reality is that I would probably get much more of the “I feel so sorry for you” if I was trying to keep up and fell down a flite of stairs, as opposed to taking my time, using my cane, and walking with more grace and confidence. Don’t we all rush to much anyway? This is an adjustment for me in many ways. Slowing down is just necessary but not easy. I never wanted to be different from other people. I wanted to be as competent as anyone else. Slowing down was not proving that I could be. Not in my mind anyway. I just wanted to be like everyone else! But I’ve learned that I’m not meant to be like everyone else. Neither are you!

Psalm 139:14 says “I praise You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made.”

This use of the word “fearfully” means respectfully— reverently! Isn’t that cool? God made you with the upmost respect and reverence. Wonderfully means extremely well. You are extremely well made my friend! And so am I. Don’t we want to purchase things that are extremely well made? Don’t we honor things that are made with reverence and respect? Guess what? You have been bought, you are honored because you are well made and with respect. Jesus bought both of us with His very blood. Bet ya won’t find that on Amazon!

If I am fearfully and wonderfully made, I should be very careful with God’s merchandise huh? I am so over trying to keep up… I think. It’s a road I am traveling with Jesus. Maybe you’re on a road too? No matter what has happened… YOU ARE fearfully and wonderfully made! Will you pray for my journey? Will you let me pray for yours?

Now, may I offer you something to eat?

This is my kids’ favorite part of fall baking. My banana bread…

10-31

1 ¾ cups unbleached flour

1 ¼ tsp. baking powder

1 ½ tsp. baking soda

¾ tsp. salt

2/3 cup sugar

1/3 cup butter flavored shortening (you can substitute 1 stick of real butter) softened

2 eggs

2 Tbl. Cream (half & half)

Splash of vanilla

3-4 very ripe bananas

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Combine flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt together in medium bowl. With electric mixer, beat softened shortening or butter together with sugar in large bowl. Add eggs, cream and vanilla, beat well. Add dry ingredients slowly to sugar mixture. Add smashed bananas and beat together. Pour into greased loaf pan (3 x 9). Bake for 50 minutes or until tooth pick inserted in center comes out clean.

Tip- parchment paper is the way to go on this if you have it. Easy clean up and keeps the bottom from getting to overdone.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

What do you want from me anyway?

I have been trying to build this ministry for a while now and I want nothing more than to do what God is asking of me. Sometimes I feel like I need to do more work on growing this ministry. You know, seminars on growing your blog, workshops on getting more subscribers and followers, Email lists… all that techy stuff. It can feel like a battle against all the other blogs and social media pages on line to get content out there. I for sure want this ministry to reach more people so that more people can find Jesus. Not that this blog is a person’s only link to find Him, but I certainly wouldn’t be apposed to being one of the bricks in a path to Him. That’s all… just a brick. If God decides to grow this more than a brick, well, I’ll do my best to keep up.

I recently had a moment of frustration with people/circumstances going on around me and felt so powerless to change it. God reminded me of a verse… over and over, in fact. It’s one I have read many times and one I have breezed by many times. When you feel powerless, I pray this verse will comfort you and bring you some peace.

Exodus 14:14 “The Lord will fight for you, you need only to be still.”

Oh if I only knew how to be still! Do you know the dictionary definition of still? As an adjective, it means not moving or making a sound. As a noun it means deep silence and calm. WOW! Those are pretty strong words. Deep silent? Not making a sound? How hard is that? This is so hard to do in our multitasking, ladder climbing, time is money, way of life. Even in those moments that we simply don’t want to fight the battle anymore and we wish someone would just fight it for us… we will do something to help the person who steps up to fight for us, don’t we?

Exodus 14:14 is a clear statement that God will do the fighting and we need only to BE STILL! No amount of workshops, seminars or on line courses can grow this ministry the way God can. No amount of our own strength can work out a situation the way God can.

Now I’m not suggesting any of these things are bad to do. I’m just saying that God WILL fight for us! When you feel that sorrow will overtake you… God will fight for you. When you feel like people step in front of you, God will fight for you. When you feel hopeless, God will fight for you.

Defeat can seem overwhelming. But it’s in those moments of feeling defeated that being silent is the only thing left to do. Now God can fight for you. I need to be silent more often and let God do the fighting. He already has a plan for this ministry and He has a plan for your life as well. Just be still.

The baseline purpose for this blog is to serve. Serve God and serve my readers. When you go to a restaurant, a server will come to your table and ask you what you would like to order. You have perused the menu and made your selection. You give the selection to the server and soon you received what you desired to have from the menu. I am going to ask my family of readers here to tell me what you would like to order. What would you like to see more of from my table? I want to bring you what you’ve ordered. I want to hear your opinions about what I should write to you each week. I truly want to serve my readers what they want. What would you like to order?

Here is my selection from my menu for you this week:

Chicken in a Hurry

10-24

8 chicken tender loins (or 4 chicken breasts) -these can be cooked from the frozen state-

1 cup ketchup

½ cup brown sugar

½ cup water

2 envelopes dry onion soup mix

In medium bowl, stir together ketchup, brown sugar, water, and onion soup mix. Place chicken in crock pot. Pour ketchup mixture over chicken. Cover and cook on low 7-8 hours or on high for 3-4 hours. Serve with your favorite side dishes or over pasta. This also makes a great 1 dish meal like chicken bowls. Simply Cut chicken into bight size pieces and place over mashed potatoes and add corn. Voila! 1 dish dinner!

Is God really like that?

I often read or hear about people who have gone through something challenging and said, “well, it’s just God’s will”. You know, like the loss of a job, a natural disaster leaving them homeless and without anything, or even the death of their child. I have wondered for years, is God really like that? I mean does He really want for me to suffer the death of my child? Is it really His will to leave me with no home and no basic needs met? Did He really want me to be blind and go through the everyday struggles of that blindness… just because? My friends, I mean no disrespect or argumentative viewpoint here but I would like to offer another way of seeing God.

This is merely my own way of seeing God in my life and gives me a little different view of Him that, for me, is a little easier to swallow. For those of us with children, imagine if you will, that child jumping on the bed to spite all your warnings that they would get hurt doing it. The dreaded and warned about day comes that they are jumping on the bed and bounce right off and hit their head on the dresser, causing them to cry out in pain. You come rushing into the room to find them sitting on the floor, hand on head, tears streaming down their face. As a parent, our natural instinct is too crouch beside them and wrap our arms around them and very gently say “didn’t I try and warn you that this would happen?” Ok, maybe it wasn’t always as gently as I had hoped, but ya know what I mean. Now you have told your child over and over not to jump on the bed, but they did it anyway and now they are feeling the consequences. Does this mean you pushed them off the bed? Does it mean that you wanted them to fall off the bed?

Your child falling off the bed was a natural result of the choice they made not to heed your instruction to not jump on the bed. Now what if their younger sibling was also in the room playing with their toys and obeying the rule to not jump on the bed. The child jumping falls off and lands on the sibling. Now both children are hurt. But the obedient child is hurt because of the free choice of their sibling. It was never in your plan for either child to get hurt. But because of the fact that your children are not robots and have the ability of free choice, the deed has happened.

Friends, this is how I see my heavenly parent. Back in the garden of Edan, God’s children Adam and Eve were going about their day and the one who chose to go his own way tempted Eve with a piece of fruit of which God, (AKA; their parent), instructed them both not to touch. God knew what would happen if they chose to eat of it. They were both aware of the instruction God gave. Eve repeated it to the serpent in Genesis 3:2-3; “The woman said to the serpent ‘we may eat fruit from the trees in the garden, but God did say, you must not eat fruit from the tree that is in the middle of the garden, and you must not touch it , or you will die.’”

The choice Eve made, knowing that her Father gave specific instructions about that tree and its fruit. Because of the serpent’s choice to go against God and Eve’s choice to do the same, we become that sibling who got crushed under the one who jumped on then fell off of the bed. So you see, it wasn’t Gods plan for suffering… it was Satan’s plan. He wanted the suffering, he wanted the loss, he wanted the pain and heartbreak. Our loving Father sits with us on the floor with His arm around us, drying our tears after the fall. Whether it is our own choice or that of another, the natural result of sin is heartbreak, pain, sorrow, and much more. We can stay very close to Jesus and He will see us through all those sorrows, but because of sin being in the world, there will be sorrows. Not because God wants it, but because He gave free choice to A L L of His creation. He, like us as parents, has to let the natural result of sin be seen so we can make a FREE choice to always want to follow Him. The end of all these results will come, after everyone has had a fair chance to choose for themselves.

Just as our children are not robots that can be programed to do exactly what we demand they do, God’s children were not created to be robots to be programed. He created us to freely make the choice to love Him. I want to choose to love Jesus because I have that freedom to do so. He will hold me and dry my tears when I fall off the bed or get crushed by the one who fell. I hope this helps someone to see God as the loving Father He is.

 

I wanted to share that bit of sweetness with you… and this bit of sweetness too:

Mini Apple Turn overs

1 can crescent rolls

1 large apple

Brown Sugar

Cinnamon

2 Tbsp. Melted butter

Powdered sugar

Preheat oven to crescent roll package directions. Peal apple and slice into 8 wedges. Open, unroll and separate crescents. Melt butter in microwave safe bowl, about 30-45 seconds or until completely melted. Brush butter over crescent one at a time as you work. Sprinkle brown sugar and cinnamon over crescent. Place one apple wedge on crescent. Roll up from widest edge towards the point. Place on non-stick or lightly greased cookie sheet, point side down. Repeat with remaining crescents. Bake as directed on package. Pull them out after directed time and while they are still warm, sprinkle each one with powdered sugar. Serves 8. Unless you are in my family… then it serves 1! ME!!!

 

 

 

 

What exactly are you saying?

Have you ever said something to someone and then wished you hadn’t opened your mouth at all? Oh friends, I have done this more often than I care to admit. I have gotten on my kids’ cases about cleaning their rooms. Now what I want them to understand is that a clean room helps them to have a clearer mind. The ccaos of their rooms spills over to their moods. They can’t find something so they stomp around in a bad mood because they need it and it’s “just gone”. I want to speak encouraging words to them, but what comes out of my mouth is usually something like “You need to clean up this pig sty right now!” Sigh… my frustration speaks louder than my reasoning. I’ve lost the ability to share why it’s a good idea to keep our rooms clean.

I have taken this same approach with my husband. When he is late at work, I wanted to convey that I missed him and wanted him to be home. What came out was something like “You never consider that I might need you here!” Sigh… again. Why oh why can’t I just say what I mean, what’s in my mind to say?

Friends, anytime we come at someone with the word “YOU” on our lips, it almost always means certain disaster. It is attack mode. Can’t you just see the imagery? A nagging old prune faced person with index finger shaking, tsking you for your bad behavior. Like an old school marm looking disapprovingly down her long nose at you. One hand on a hip and the other shaking with emphasis on every syllable. This is the image given when we start with the word “YOU”. No matter what we intend to say, if we are not mindful of what comes out of our mouth, then anything can come out of our mouth.

I know that frustration can sometimes get the better of us, that’s why this is such an example of what self-control looks like. I want to share some words from the bible with you that draw another picture of this.

James 3:2-5 says, “For we all stumble in many ways, and if anyone does not stumble in what he says he is a perfect man. Able also to bridle his whole body. If we put bits into the mouths of horses so that they obey us, we guide their whole bodies as well. Look at the ships also, though they are so large and are driven by strong winds, they are guided by a very small rudder wherever the will of the pilot directs. So also the tongue is a small member, yet it boasts of great things. How great a forest is set ablaze by such a small fire.”

You see, we actually have the ability to guide our loved ones based on our manner of speech to them. My son might be in a perfectly fine mood, then I come in with guns a blazin’ and demand he clean his room right this minute. Now I may have asked him a million times already (which is usually the case) but I can choose to be encouraging with my request thus guiding him in a more positive direction. My daughter might be just chillin’ on the couch watching a movie, then I come in hand on hip, shakin’ that finger, lookin’ down my nose and declaring that she always leaves a mess in this room for me to clean up. I could have given a gentle reminder… again, to please pick up her things when the movie is over because I’d love her help with dinner as soon as she puts them away. My husband could have had a terrible day at work and just needed me to be his rock and understand that though he’d rather be home, he is stuck there at the job having to finish it. I should respond with a loving and sympathetic tone. Not the wicked witch of the west assuring him I would get him for this. My dear loving readers, we must realize the power our words carry. It can make or break the day of a loved one or friend. It can also make or break our day as well. Speak kindly to yourself too. I’m working on this one. Choose the road less traveld and speak kind words to your people. Tell them what exactly your trying to say with loving words.

Now for that recipe…

This is a side dish to accompany… well, anything. It was a new find and we had this over the weekend and it was a hit!

Herbed Baby Potatoes

Herbed golden brown potatoes on a baking sheet

1 lb. baby golden potatoes

4 Tbls. Butter melted

1 tsp. thyme

2 cloves fresh garlic minced

Salt and pepper to taste

8 oz. (approximately) grated parmesan cheese

Preheat oven to 450 degrees Fahrenheit. In Dutch oven, place scrubbed, unpeeled, whole potatoes and fill with water to completely cover potatoes. Boil until tender (about 20-25 min.) drain. Return to Dutch oven. Melt butter in microwave or on stove top. Add Thyme and garlic to butter. Mix well. Pour over potatoes and toss to completely coat potatoes with butter mixture. Place potatoes on cookie sheet with sides in a single layer. With mason jar or large glass, smash down each potato but still keeping it in tact. Sprinkle on salt and pepper as desired. Sprinkle on parmesan cheese. Bake for 25 minutes. Ooooooohh, they are soooooo good!

Additional tip— To dress these up a bit for an appetizer for a party or just for your own pleasure, you can also top these with:

  • Green onions
  • bacon bits
  • French fried onions
  • other cheeses
  • sliced mushrooms

t’s really up to your personal tastes!

God’s love is like a warm fireplace

Well we have entered into my most favorite time of year, like it is for many of you. When autumn is ushered in by all the beautiful autumnal colors, my soul just settles back with a warm drink, a cozy throw, and a warming glowing fireplace to snuggle by. I know a lot of you may be Summer junkies and I love being able to just throw on a pair of flip-flops and run out the door, but there is just something about autumn that lifts my spirits to new heights. I have many candles and small sparkling lights in various places in my home. It’s comforting and just seems to welcome visitors into my home, as well as welcoming my husband and son home from work. The smell of dinner cooking and a fall candle burning does more than you think to a weary soul.

I’ve always wanted my home to be a haven and resting place for people, first and foremost, my family. But when I started decorating my home for autumn and my daughter’s friend made that comment that she loved when we decorated for fall, that it made her happy… that’s for me! It warms my soul. You know what else warms my soul like a glowing fireplace? God’s love for me. When those flames are waving in the fireplace with that orangey glow, it reminds me of God waving to me and saying, “hey, just so you don’t forget, My love for you is burning brightly.”

Jeramiah 31:3 reminds us, “The Lord appeared to him from far away, ‘I have loved you with an everlasting love. Therefore, I have continued my faithfulness to you.’” God’s love has no boundaries. It has no limits. It burns like that fire in the fireplace, steady and strong. Giving off warmth to a weak and weary soul— one who feels like they are out in the cold. They can come to the hearth of God’s loving fireplace and warm themselves. If it’s hard to imagine that God loves you this way, ask yourself: does a fire choose who it will keep warm?

A fire warms any and every person who comes to be warmed by it. It just gives warmth freely. Come to Gods’ fireplace and get warm.  Open His word and feel your soul being wrapped in the Glow of Gods’ everlasting love for you!

Now about that smell of dinner cooking… I want to share this recipe with you. It’s a great comfort food dish for a fall family meal around the table. This can easily be modified to be a vegetarian dish if that is a preference. I hope you like it!

Turkey Ham Pasta

1 pound spaghetti

1 bag frozen broccoli

1 chub turkey ham (or veggie meat)

1 cup sour cream

½ cup milk

½ cup butter

½ cup parmesan cheese

In a medium sauce pot, heat sour cream, milk butter, and parmesan cheese over medium low heat until butter is melted. Cook pasta as label directs, Drain. Cook frozen broccoli as label directs. Return pasta to pot. This should be a Dutch oven pot. Add broccoli. Cut turkey ham into 1 inch cubes and sauté’ in a skillet over medium high heat for about 10 minutes. Add to pasta and broccoli.   Pour sour cream mixture over pasta, turkey ham, and broccoli. Mix well. Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Pour pasta into a 9×13 baking dish and cover with foil. Bake for 20-30 minutes or until heated through. Sprinkle additional parmesan cheese on top if desired. Bake up your favorite rolls and ENJOY!