My word for 2019

Since many of you shared your word for 2019 after reading Beth Vogt’s post a couple of weeks ago, it inspired me to share mine as well. I had never really thought about a special word like that to focus on until last year. My word for 2018 was “whole.” But I needed to rid myself of the words like “broken,” “damaged” or “unusable”. I also set three goals for myself in 2018. Unfortunately, I didn’t meet those goals in the way I had hoped. I do feel However, that I have made progress on being “whole.” After reading, praying and talking with many spiritually lead women, I feel I can let go of those negative words. In fact, I’ve written quite a bit more on the book I’m writing on the subject. This will be part of my 2019 goals.

I have chosen my word for 2019. It will be (drum roll please), “Renew.”

Psalm 51:10 says, “Create a clean heart in me, oh God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me.”

I want to be Renewed by God in this new year. Renewed in every way! Spiritually, physically, in my writing, in my acts of obedience, in my relationships, and so much more. I love that Psalm 51 says a “steadfast spirit.” The word “steadfast” means- – Firmly fixed in place. Unwavering. WOW! Wouldn’t it be awesome to be fixed in place where our faith is concerned? Unwavering in our relationships?

As I move forward in this ministry, I want to be steadfast in my faith that God will grow it in His timing. I want to make the commitment to be present for my husband and kids. I want to be fixed on the word of God and in turn being His hands and feet. That’s the beauty of a new year. We get to “renew”.

This was just a quick note to share my word with you all. Will you choose a word? Pray and ask the Lord what He would have you to learn about in this new year.

Well as you know, the holidays are a bustling time of year. We all need some time to rest after all the festivities. I’m going to take some time to be present with my fam and get “renewed” for the new year. We have lots of left-overs ‘round here as I’m sure that you do. Finish off those yummy goodies and I’ll have a recipe for you in the new year. I’ll meet ya back here at the table on January 9. I can’t wait to see how the Lord moves in this brand-new year! Happy New Year!!!!

Sleepy Dog.jpg

My gift to you

Small house with a lighted window in a snow covered pine forest
Well as promised… here is your gift for celebrating Around The Table’s birthday with me and a special Christmas gift! But first, grab a mug of that cranberry tea (recipe below) and snuggle in by the fire or under a fuzzy blanket to read a holiday story! Enjoy and Merry Christmas!

Click here to read “Christmas Dream or Memory”

Cranberry tea

1 qrt. WaterCeramic mug with steam rising form it nestled in in a sprig of pine and pinecones in the snow

16oz Whole cranberries

In a dutch oven filled with the quart of water, bring water to a boil then add cranberries. Cover pot and let all the berries burst. This should take about 10 minutes. Using an aditional large stock pot, place strainer over stock pot and drain cranberries reserving the juice.

Add to juice-

1 qt water

¾ cup cinnamon candies

1 ½ cup sugar

12 whole cloves

2 cinnamon  sticks

Simmer 7 minutes, drain using dutch oven again so as to reserve juice. Return juice to stock pot.

Add to juice-

6 oz. frozen orange juice from concentrate

6 oz. frozen lemonade from concentrate

3 qrt water

Simmer 15 minutes to blend flavors. Serve hot. Your house will be filled with a glorious smell of Christmas spices!

Putting it into words

There are many aspects of blindness that can be a Struggle. Sometimes it can even be a struggle to verbalize what the struggles are…

The following video clip of this young woman’s struggles with blindness put things into words that just… well… say a lot. It resonated with me on many levels…

As for this week’s recipe, I’m including it along with your gift that posts this Friday! See you in a couple of days!

Celebration time!

Hey everyone! There is a celebration to be had! Around The Table is one year old this month! Par’tay!

two small dogs, one wearing a party hat, are sitting amongst party decorations and plates of treats

To celebrate, let’s sit “around the table” and read something a little bit different together. This is something unusual that all of you haven’t seen from me before. Interested? Well stick around the table to find out what’s new!

If you love to share gifts with your friends and family at this time of year, tell them there is a place setting with their name on it here at the table. There is plenty of room for everyone. My faithful table family will receive this freebie next week along with new family members as a special Around the Table birthday/Christmas gift. Tell folks to head to:

And sign up to get Table posts in their inbox weekly, as well as periodic bonus posts!

Or forward the email with the link to make it as easy as possible for friends and family to get the freebies.

Thank you all so much for pulling up a chair and getting full at the table. See you in a few days with the surprise gift for the birthday party.

And be sure to subscribe to the blog.

Thank you and Merry Christmas!

The power of one word


Beth Vogt
Beth Vogt

As the new year approaches, we will start setting our new years goals. Some people find a word for the year to focus on. My friend Beth does just that. Please help me welcome to the table this week, Christy Award winning fiction author, Beth K. Vogt. She has some wise words on this topic. She also has a gift to give for Christmas! There of course will still be a recipe for you at the end. Enjoy the conversation today and enter to win the gift!



“Words have the power to make things happen.” Frederick Buechner (1926-), American writer & theologian

I believe in the power of words, both spoken and written.

The words we speak can either encourage or alienate other people. As an author, I want the words I write to do more than entertain my readers. I pray over my novels, weaving in truths and threads of hope.

But in the past 13 years, I’ve discovered the power of one word to change my life.

The New Year used to be a time for making my list and checking it twice – a list of New Year’s resolutions, that is. I’d plot out my do’s and don’ts for the coming months, all in hopes of becoming a better me by the time the next New Year rolled around.

The only problem? I always lost my oh-so-carefully-thought-out list within a few weeks of writing it. All my good intentions gone, leaving me feeling like a failure, year after year.

And then I discovered the idea of focusing on one word for an entire year. Just a single word, instead of a numbered list. It’s hard to forget one word, right?

My steps for determining my One Word each year are simple:

  1. Each September, I start mulling over my One Word for the coming New Year. No decisions … just tossing words around in my head. And yes, I pray through this process, too.
  2. God uses a variety of methods to help me decide my One Word. I watch for a repeated word to rise up, possibly through what I’m reading in my Bible, or through the books I’m reading, or songs I’m listening to, or maybe a sermon series.
  3. Once I know what my One Word is, I look for a Scripture verse to go with it.
  4. I also look for some sort of visual to go with my One Word: a graphic or a photograph.

My One Word becomes my focus for the next 12 months, something I concentrate on, allowing God to deepen my understanding of the word and to change me – how I act and react to people and situations.

Some of my One Words have been:

  •  gratitude– I kept a gratitude journal and found my “glass-half-empty” attitude revolutionized.
  • forgiveness– I had a lot to learn and unlearn about forgiveness, praying through broken relationships.
  • collaborate– Collaborate means “to work jointly on an activity, especially to produce or create something.” I focused on collaborating with God in my writing life.
  • kind– Ephesians 4:32a encourages us to “Be kind to one another.” In 2018, I started each week with a quote on kindness, sharing it on Instagram and Facebook, and looking for opportunities to be compassionate and kind.

anchor hanging on side of boat near shore
My One Word for 2019 is “anchor.” After compiling a series of my anchor verses – key Scripture verses that have helped me through the years – I’m going to focus on where I anchor my thoughts.

What about you? Are you a New Year’s Resolution kind of person or do you focus on One Word? Never heard about choosing a word for the year? You can read more about it the  book My One Word: Change Your Lifewith Just One Wordby Mike Ashcraft and Rachel Olsen.

BIO:Beth K. Vogt is a non-fiction author and editor who said she’d never write fiction. She’s the wife of an Air Force family physician (now in solo practice) who said she’d never marry a doctor—or anyone in the military. She’s a mom of four who said she’d never have kids. Now Beth believes God’s best often waits behind the doors marked “Never.” A Christy Award winner, as well as an ACFW Carol Award winner, Beth’s first women’s fiction novel for Tyndale House Publishers, Things I Never Told You, released May 2018. Moments We Forget, book 2 in her “Little Women gone wrong” series releases May 2019.

Cover of Things I Never Told You
Want a chance to win a copy of Beth’s book, Things I never Told You? Comment on this post and you’ll be entered into a drawing for a copy of her book! Complete rules can be found by clicking Contest Rules

Now, for this week’s recipe:

Dinner plate with 2 sloppy joes and a side of cheesy tomato pasta

Sloppy Joes with Cheesy Tomato Macaroni

Sloppy Joes:

1 lb. ground beef/turkey/chicken

1 can tomato soup (condensed, no water added)

Approximately 1 Tbsp. Mustard

Approximately 2-3 Tbsp. Ketchup

2 Tbl. Brown sugar

Dash or 2 of season salt

Brown ground beef/turkey/chicken in a large skillet. Drain. Before returning the meat to the pan… empty contents of tomato soup, add mustard, ketchup, brown sugar, and season salt. Stir together until well blended. Add additional of any of the ingredients (except tomato soup) if desired. Return meat to skillet and heat through on medium low heat for about 10 minutes. MMM MMM Good!

Cheesy Tomato Macaroni:

1 lb. Spiral noodles (or noodles of choice)

1 large can (28 oz.) crushed tomatoes

4-6 oz. triple cheddar shredded cheese

4-6 oz. mild cheddar shredded cheese (this depends how cheesy you like it)

1 stick butter

In large crock pot, place butter, crushed tomatoes, and cheeses. Turn on high with lid on to get things melting. Meanwhile, cook noodles as lable directs. Drain. When cheeses and butter are mostly melted, add noodles and mix well. Place the lid back on and continue cooking on high about 30 minutes to infuse flavors and finish melting. Comfort food for sure!








What… she’s pregnant?

Hello again my friends. I would like to make just a little adjustment to my blog posts…

I would like to begin them with a short prayer:

Father in Heaven, I ask that You remove me from this post and stand in my place. Let these words be Yours Lord and let them be heard from You and not me. Go before this post is read and be with those who are reading it. In Jesus name, Amen.

Thank you for allowing me this addition.

I want to tell you a little bit about a young woman who found out a bit of shocking news at an unexpected time. This young woman discovered she was pregnant when she was quite young. Around fifteen years old or so. She was frightened at first. She was confused, alarmed and uncertain how to handle this news. She knew the talk about her condition would not be kind. People would whisper as she walked by, looking condemningly down their noses at her. Then there was the dreaded task of telling her fiancé that she was with child… and it wasn’t his baby.

As she stood ringing her hands and pacing the floor, she mulled over her options. She could simply disappear from her community so no one would know, including her fiancé. She could pray that her husband to be would be understanding about this and marry her anyway, although in reality that was not likely to happen.

Oh how she agonized about this situation. Her mother was presumably not available for consultation since she never mentioned her as being able to talk to. For that matter, neither was her Father. She did, however have a trusted cousin she could turn to for advice. So much so that she spent three months with her to discuss, plan, pray, and just talk as women in a similar situation. Ya see, her cousin was also pregnant. She was farther along than her youthful cousin. The older cousin’s pregnancy was a shocker as well. Her age too was a bit scandalous. Though she was married, it was something unusual to be having your first child at such an advanced age.

Both women leaned on each other in their situations. The younger woman, feeling more assured of her situation. She returned home to her soon-to-be spouse and shared the news with him. He was understandably upset and initially wanted to break things off and go their separate ways. So now she has no parental support, fear of judgment from her community, and no shoulder to lean on from her beloved. She was alone.

But she felt a calling on her life and a reason for this pregnancy. She remained faithful to that calling. She trusted in the bigger plan.

It’s a good thing she did. Otherwise we wouldn’t have a savior.

The young woman we are reading about here is the young betrothed Mary.

I pray that I would have this kind of trust and faithfulness this young woman had. Blindly trusting in such an outlandish and unpredictable plan. Sometimes life throws us some major curve balls and we have no control over the outcome or the events surrounding it. But if we will trust in the bigger plan, it can have amazing, outrageous, lifesaving results!

This young woman was certainly terrified and unsure of how she would get through this. But ultimately she trusted in her Lord and His plan for her life. Even when she had no one to lean on at the beginning of the journey. She got the news and faced it without another person to face it with her. But she was not alone. Her Lord was her shoulder to lean on. That’s all she needed to get through the initial shock of what was to come. God did give her people to lean on after she told Him she would trust Gods plan for her and be completely willing to go along with all of it. If we are willing to follow Gods’ plans, no matter how crazy they may seem, we just might be surprised at what He has in mind. Will you trust Him with your plans? Will I?

I want to share a homemade gift idea with you for this Christmas season. Many times, we need a little something for a teacher, nail tech, hair dresser, secret Santa and the list goes on…

This is inexpensive and adorable for anyone… and it’s homemade!

You will need:

  • 1 whole orange
  • ¼ cup cinnamon candies
  • ½ tsp. nutmeg
  • About 6 cranberries
  • 1 large/2 small cinnamon sticks
  • About 10 whole cloves
  • Holiday cellophane treat bags with ties

Slice the orange in half. Place it and all remaining items into bag and tie shut with the tie. Voila! Homemade potpourri! Add a tag with the directions to place items in a medium sauce pan with water and simmer for a home filled with the fragrance of Christmas! I plan to use a few of these myself this year.

P.S. If you haven’t signed up to get Around The Table posts in your in-box, now is a good time to do that. Share it with a friend too. Next week I have a special guest on the blog who will be doing a give away of one of her books! Intrigued? Come on back to the table next week to learn more…









All or nothing

Well Hello dear friends! I hope your Thanksgiving was very blessed and filled with joy. May I now wish you my first Merry Christmas of the season? I am happy to report that my turkey came out perfectly as you can see on my Instagram account. Food was on the table on time and everything went off without a hitch. Wheeeew! I have been taking down m Fall decorations and putting up the Christmas bobbles. Most of my trees are up. Yes, I said most. I put up five trees ‘round here. My two main trees are up. I am also happy to report that the lights on said trees are all working. Wheeew again. It’s never fun to find out that after putting the tree up and getting it strung with lights (although ours is pre-lite) only to find out that half the lights don’t work! UGH!

11-28-18My daughter and I usually are in charge of the inside décor while my husband and son are the outdoor crew. The icicle lights hang from the roof, rope lights are around the lamp post with the grapevine snowman standing proudly next to it, and the garlands with lights are wound around the windows and doors. It looks so festive and we usually try to have it all ready to be turned on thanksgiving night. This year we were a couple days late but it was still in the holiday weekend time frame.

This process also went pretty much the same way as the trees did, all the lights were working, but then that most frustrating thing about Christmas lights happened… half a strand stopped working! Heavy sigh. Of course no one wants to leave a strand of half baked lights up on display, right? So the testing begins. Which bulb is it? Eventually one of two things happens… either my guys find the defective bulb and replace it, or the whole strand comes down and a new one is put up.

After this hiccup is resolved, the Christmas lights display is once again shining and festive. Because let’s face it, if half a strand isn’t lit, people will definitely notice it.

Have you ever noticed that it’s just like this in our Christian walk as well? If we haven’t given our whole selves to Jesus, we won’t shine as brightly. People notice when only half a strand is glowing. The whole display of Jesus in our lives has a blotted-out section if we keep a little of ourselves back from Him to do the things “WE” want to do. Maybe those Christmas lights didn’t want to glow. Maybe they wanted to remain in darkness. But then they miss out on the beautiful glorious display that is going on around them.

Maybe there are things in your life that you want to still hang onto for yourself and not give over to Jesus. Maybe something is still in darkness. Maybe you feel like you’re in darkness. I certainly have felt that way before. I didn’t want to trust that God had a better plan when He asked me to surrender the independence back to Him after I prayed so long for it. I wanted to hold on to it for myself. My bulbs blew out at that point. God had to show me my burned-out lights and I didn’t want to have them worked on. So God had to restring a different strand. One that would shine brightly and once again be a part of His display going on in my life.

Galatians 2:20 says, “I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live but Christ lives in me. The life I now live in the body I live by faith in the Son of God who loved me and gave Himself for me.”

Friends, if we let Jesus fully live in us, our display will be nothing short of beautiful! If we keep parts of ourselves back from Jesus to remain hidden in darkness, the beautiful display is interrupted by burned out lights. God already has your beautiful display planned out so let Him display it fully. Let others see that display. Let them ooohh and aaahh at the array of shimmering colors twinkling and glistening.

Remember driving around, looking at all the houses decorated at Christmas? Be the one people want to stop at and comment how beautiful the display is. Let Jesus replace bulbs or restring a whole strand if needed. Give it all over to Him and let His light shine in you!

Ok lets just jump right in with some Christmas cookies, shall we? I know you can buy premade sugar cookie dough in the store but… lets make ‘em from scratch huh?

Sugar Cookies

1 cup sugar

½ cup butter, softened (no cheating, the real thing)

½ tsp. salt

1 tsp. vanilla (the real thing)

2 eggs

2 ½ cups flour

2 tsp. baking powder

½ Tb. Cream (half & half)

In large bowl, beat sugar and softened butter together. Add the eggs, vanilla and cream and continue beating with mixer until well blended. In separate bowl, blend together the dry ingredients. Add dry ingredients to sugar mixture and beat together. It will be stiff so you may half to use your hands to form into a ball. Chill in refrigerator for at least one hour before using. Roll out onto floured work surface and use your favorite Christmas cookie cutters to cut out shapes. Place on greased cookie sheet or better yet, one lined with parchment paper. Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Bake for 8 to 10 minutes. When they are cooled, frost them with the following icing…

1 cup powdered sugar

2 Tb. Cream to start with

2 Tb. Softened butter

Splash of vanilla

Beat together and add more cream if needed 1 table spoon at a time. Get creative and add colors or flavors such as peppermint, eggnog, or almond to spice up your icing. Gather the fam and bake, bake, bake!