Free Gift With Purchase…

Father in Heaven, send Your Angels ahead of this message and open the hearts and minds of all of us to hear You Lord, Amen.

Oh how awesome to receive a free gift when you have purchased something, isn’t it? I Store front with a sign outside that says free gift with purchaselove seeing the advertisements that say “Free Gift With Purchase”. My favorite place to get a free gift is Bath and Body Works. I love their products! I always look forward to their holiday sales that will often include a free gift when you make a purchase of $10 or more. Then there is their buy 3 get 3 sale which is awesome too! I purchase three body care items and get an additional three items free! Whoohoo! I can get a lot of gifts with that kind of sale!

It can, of course, depend on the free gift— whether or not it is worth anything to us. Ever seen that “free toaster” with your purchase of say, $1,000,000? Not exactly an even tradeoff there. Especially if you already have like six toasters stored away in your basement. The value of that free gift is determined by the person receiving it.

Around my daughter’s birthday, she wanted to go to a couple of her favorite makeup stores because they had a special offer to their perks members, of which she is one, that you get a free birthday gift… NO purchase necessary! Now your talkin! This was very valuable to her because as a seventeen-year-old, she loooooooves makeup. We hit all those stores that offered this whopper of a deal to get her free gifts. I in turn went the next month to get the same birthday free-bees, however, it wasn’t the same thrill for me as it was for her. I still love to get free gifts though.

What type of free gift holds value for you?

How about if someone gave their life so you could live? Wouldn’t that be the ultimate free gift?

Matthew 20:28, “Even as the Son of man came not to be served but to serve, and to give His life as a ransom for many.”

Friends, there is no more costly gift than someone’s life. Our free gift with purchase is just waiting for us to receive. Jesus offers it to us each and every day. We need only to accept it. We did not have to make any purchase, but there was a purchase involved. Jesus bought us with His very blood! He made the purchase but we get the free gift that comes with it. But it is only as valuable as the receiver deems it to be. God values you and I so much that He gave His one… and… only… Son, so we could live forever in eternity with Him. Now that’s value! Can you imagine sacrificing your only child so that someone else could live with you? Not only that, but that sacrifice would be rejected by so many.

There is no gift that can top that gift. God knew what it was going to take to redeem His people who willingly chose to sin against Him, but He did it anyway. I could never make a purchase as costly as Jesus made. But I am so eternally grateful that I get the free gift of His purchase. Aren’t you?

And now for the physical food…

Creamed Corn

We could go to our local grocery store and pick up some cans of creamed corn, but making it homemade is so much richer and tastier. It is easier than you might think! If you freeze your own corn, then use about six cups for this recipe. Otherwise you can freeze canned corn in the off season or like in my household, you simply run out of fresh before summer.

3 cans corn; frozen (pour into freezer bags and freeze overnight)

½ stick of real butter

1 8oz. block of cream cheese

2-3 Tbl. Sugar

In large sauce pan or Dutch oven, break up frozen corn to fit in pan. Place butter in pan with corn. Cut up cream cheese into cubes and drop over corn to coat top with cubes. Sprinkle on sugar. Cook on medium heat about 20 minutes or until steaming and cream cheese and butter are completely melted. Serve with burgers and fried potatoes and… mmm-mmm. Hope you like it!

 

 

 

 

 

 

God, did you delete my email?

Lord I open this message with a request from You, please be with each and every word written and read Father so that it is You alone that is seen. In Jesus name, Amen.

Well, here we are again at the table and I’m so glad to have you all seated in your Closeup of a laptop computer with a woman's hands typingappointed seats. They are appointed ya know? God’s timing is perfect and He brought you and me here for such a time as this. I had a wonderful but emotional vacation time as many of you know, and it’s time to get back to reality. I so desire my reality to be sitting on the beach listening to the waves as I type these words, but alas, I here no waves among the snow drifts… SIGH!

With traveling and packing and all the to-do with vacations, I hadn’t checked my Email in a couple days. When I got home and set my computer back in place, I opened my Email to find… well, too many to read every… single… one. So I began deleting the ones I knew were not important. Like advertisements, recipes, things like that. I sat for a bit with my finger poised over the delete key and clicked away. I had a strange sense of feeling a little guilty for just dismissing something that someone had taken time to send me. Now I know they were junk mails and went out in mass formation to countless others. But I couldn’t help thinking how I would feel if I knew someone was just sitting with their finger over that delete key, ready to click when my Email pops up.

Have you ever felt like God has done that to your prayers? Like you’ve sent that prayer up over and over and there is just no response? Do you feel sometimes like God has just hit that delete key on your request? I have. I’ve felt that God just wasn’t hearing me or wasn’t interested or didn’t have time for my insignificant prayer or had more pressing requests to get to. Other peoples circumstances often seemed so much more vital than mine. Someone was very ill, someone had a financial crisis, someone had their child tragically taken from them. You know, real requests. I had prayers like;

Lord lead me in this decision to take on this ministry…

Lord give me someone to witness to today…

Lord help me to be a better wife and mother…

These hardly seemed to measure up. Yet I could end up feeling ignored by God. Yes, I might see these as insignificant, but wasn’t God supposed to care about them anyway? I had times that I didn’t feel like He did. Truth be told, I will probably have them again. Even though I have seen God work in truly miraculous ways in my life, not just once or twice, but multiple times over. I can tend to have a short memory sometimes, I guess. But there is scripture that tells us that God hears our prayers…

1 John 5:14, “And this is the confidents that we have toward Him, that if we ask anything according to His will He hears us.”

God does hear our prayers. I know that it can feel like you’ve been forgotten in the huge mountain of requests that God hears on a second to second basis, but He does hear you! He does not have a delete key at all. He values your prayers and mine just as much as ones that we can view as more significant than ours. God doesn’t rank them in order of importance or even in order of who asked first. He is not limited on answers. He is not understocked on ways to respond. He hears you as though you are the only one speaking to Him at any given time. That’s His amazing divinity! Imagine that conversation you are having with your best friend just sitting at the table or out on the back deck sipping lemonade and you are confiding in them what has been on your heart. They are attentive and looking at you as you speak every word. They may not have a response for you right then but you know they are hearing you. They might even say, “I wish I knew what to say” and you would probably reply with, “No I just really needed you to listen”.

Friends, God is never at a loss of what to say or how to respond. But His timing is not our timing. He sees the end result of every situation before we ever bring it to His ears. Trust that the one who already knows the end will answer in just the right timing. I know it’s so incredibly hard to wait when we don’t know the end. But it all comes down to trust. Remember the ways God has shown up in your life before. If you are a knew believer, or are on the fence about some things, look back at your life and recall how certain situations should have turned out very differently. God is in those moments too. Even if you didn’t call on Him right then, He just may have had a different plan for your life and that’s why you are here now, right where you are.

God hears every single prayer that you pray. Keep praying… keep trusting. God’s timing is perfect!

I pray these words have fed you spiritually. May I give you something to try to feed you physically? I just love this breakfast dish, it’s so comforting and yummy…

Breakfast Casserole

6-7 eggs

5-6 potatoes

Turkey Ham/sausage/bacon

½ an onion

Shredded cheese of choice

Crack the eggs into a medium size bowl and scramble them. Add about 2 Tbls. Of milk to make them fluffy. Set aside. Peel and dice the potatoes and the onion. Place in bowl together and toss so they are fairly evenly distributed. Cut up your meat of choice into chunks. In large skillet, pour in enough oil to coat the bottom generously. Place the potatoes and onions in pan and fry to golden brown. Transfer back to bowl. Fry up the meat in the grease created from the potatoes. Return to same bowl as potatoes. Again, using the same grease, pour in eggs. Using a rubber spatula, cook eggs until almost set. Just before they are completely set, place the potato combination back in the pan and finish cooking to completion. Sprinkle on desired type and amount of cheese. Place lid on pan and turn off the heat. Let the cheese melt, then serve. You could also add other favorite ingredients such as green pepper, olives, tomatoes, scallions, or any other item you like. It’s so yummy and filling. Adjust the amounts needed to feed guests or just extra hungry family and gather around the table to enjoy a weekend breakfast together.

 

 

A quick note

Father in heaven, go before this message and let Your presence be seen first, last and always. In Jesus name, Amen.

Welcome back everyone. This will be just a quick note to keep in touch with you all. I amCloseup on woman's hand writing in a journal.
still out of town and it’s been a very strange vacation to say the least. You read last week about all the things that were going on. Well there have been things within the things that have been… well… eye opening. Some of it not so good. But in the midst of it, I have been focused on an idea that God impressed me with a few days ago. I posted it on my Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter accounts. It says this… we shouldn’t live our lives afraid like we might die tomorrow, we should live our lives boldly for Christ like we might die tomorrow.

We can’t make everyone happy, we can’t make anyone see us in any other light than what they choose to, we can’t teach anyone anything that they are not willing to learn. What we can do is live boldly for Jesus and leave the results up to Him!

1 Corinthians 10:31 says, “So, whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God.”

This has been the verse that has struck me in conjunction with the idea of living boldly for Jesus. I was asked to speak at a church in about three weeks and this along with some other thoughts is what I plan to speak on… what God has impressed me to speak on. No matter what we do each day, we should ask ourselves, “will this honor God?”

It’s not an easy question to ask myself. It can be challenging, thought provoking, painful, and many more things I would rather not examine. But it can also show me where I need to spruce up my spiritual life. It can show me where I need to do some repair work on the path I am walking. It can show me how to choose better ways to speak to my family (or anyone) along my journey. No, it’s not always enjoyable, but it is always necessary,

like a surgery that is needed to correct a life-threatening affliction. The surgeon comes in and explains what needs to be done so that you are aware of what he or she will be doing. You obediently disrobe and put on the fashionable hospital gown, kiss your loved ones and say a prayer that all goes well. Knowing this surgery is vital to save your life, you are not likely to tell the attending nurses to stop the gurney as they wheel you into the operating room, because you have changed your mind and decided to just wait and see what happens.

You know there will be pain and healing to be done but the outcome will give you a longer and healthier life with your family. You decide it is totally worth doing right? The surgery God wants to perform will likely cause some discomfort and a change in life style so as not to repeat what brought you to this point in the first place. But it most definitely will save your life… your eternal life!

Ok so this wasn’t such a quick note, I guess I had more to say than I thought. This has been a life altering vacation in many ways. I pray God keeps all the things I’ve learned with me and keeps teaching me. I pray He does the same for you my table family.

–XOXO

I was trying to decide what recipe to give you all this week. Then I heard an ad on the radio talking about Orange Julius, well that’s when it came to me to do that one because, as kids, my friends, Nina and Paula, would make these and Nina’s sister Erin just loved them so she always joined us when we made them. If you missed last week’s post, go ahead and check it out to be caught up on the people I’m referring to…

Orange Julius

1 cup milk (whole, 2 percent, or skim)

6 oz. can frozen Orange Juice

½ cup sugar

2 tsp. vanilla extract

1 ½ cups ice

Add milk and vanilla together in blender and pulse until combined. Add the frozen OJ, sugar and ice. Blend until ice is chopped. This makes 2 glasses. Pour into clear glass cups and grab a straw. Yummmmm, it’s like a creamsicle. Takes me back to those childhood days.

 

 

 

 

 

 

What is happening

Ocean waves coming to shoreFather in heaven, I ask that those who will be reading this see Your words and not mine. Lord, remove all human involvement in these words and let Your lite shine through so very brightly. In Jesus name, Amen.

I have not been putting those prayers up as I had mentioned wanting to do. I was convicted of that on this post. I have had a very strange couple of weeks and just kinda wanted to share with you what’s been going on.

My neighbor’s husband passed away VERY unexpectedly. Their fifteen-year-old daughter came home from softball practice and found him. As soon as we heard about it, my daughter and I went down to her house. We found her in the exact same place and posture as we did two years ago in the same month right after she received the news that her son had just been in a horrific car accident and did not survive. Grief filled the space in their home that had just hours earlier been filled with hugs and kisses and promises to see each other that night at the dinner table. I held her while her body shook with emotion. My daughter retrieved a cool wash cloth for her red swollen eyes. We just did what we could.

Just a few days after this happened, my daughter’s beloved pet died. We had gotten our kids each their own bunny for Easter about eight years ago. (Real original, I know) She had gone in to feed them both as they roomed together in a large bunny hutch. She found him and of course tears followed. This had been her first pet that was her very own. We had been planning our yearly trip we take as a family and were leaving just a few days after this happened. The two bunny bro’s have never ever been apart. They were literally brothers. It was sometimes hard to tell them apart. When I would hold them up on one shoulder, they looked like a pair of bunny slippers. This became their nick-names. We feared my son’s bunny would meet the same fate while we were gone on vacation. My brother-in-law was coming over to the house to check on them and our kitty.

The day after we arrived, we got the dreaded call, “the other bunny has passed away”. Once again, a time of grieving. We had learned of a girl who had been in a terrible accident and they didn’t expect her to make it. She didn’t. Not someone we knew well, but another tragic loss.

Then I received a call just one night later.

I have written before about my two life long girlfriends that I took a trip with last summer. One was approaching her first anniversary after her husband’s untimely death. The other, Nina, had a sister that we all three called our little sister. She never really annoyed us like younger siblings can tend to do. She was just like that kid sister that wanted to be with her three cool older sisters, and we usually let her. She looked up to us and we didn’t mind having her around. Of course, as adults, we’re not that far apart in age anymore so we all had marriages, kids, jobs, homes and all of that in common. Erin (kid sister) still clung to some of her youthful ways like having a thing for boy bands, but she could share that interest with her daughter.

Whenever we got together, she always came along as adults. We never really made the distinction that she is Nina’s sister, she has always been all our sister. I love her, we all love her. Just two nights ago she and her daughter were going up the road to grab some dinner when they were broad-sided pulling out of their neighborhood. Emilee (the daughter) received minor injuries. Erin, like any mother would do for her child, took the worst of the impact. She died instantly.

My kid sister is gone. I’m out of state, Nina is out of state, Erin’s parents are out of state. Thank God our other third, Paula, was not far away. She went to the hospital and saw Emilee. She was doing amazingly well. She said there was such a peace as she saw her mother take her last breath just seconds after the crash. Thank God Erin’s thirteen-year-old son was not with them but he too feels a peace about how everything happened. Erin had been raising her kids to know and love Jesus. They obviously do. What an inspiration they are in this whole thing. What a testimony to Erin’s mothering. We will stay connected to Erin’s children thus remembering her forever. There will be a missing link in our chain that has linked our friendships, no, sisterhood, but she will be celebrated whenever we get together. I’ll miss her terribly, but I’ll learn a lesson from her amazing kids to find the peace and trust that God will be with her kids and they will lean on Him. Isaiah 40:31, “Those who wait on the Lord will find new strength…”

With all the things happening and me not doing very much cooking right now, I will return next week with some sort of recipe. Maybe one I have tried while on vaca. Blessings to all of you and I’ll see ya next week at the table.

Our Little Patch of Ground

close up of hands planting a small plant in the groundThis week at my table is my dear friend and sister in Christ, Kasey McFarland. She has been studying the book of Joshua and found some things that have captured her attention and I’ve asked her to share with us what those things are. Kasey and I have known each other for a few years and have grown our friendship abundantly over the last year or so. I have a tremendous amount of respect for her as I see her wanting to follow hard after God’s truth and plan for her life.

You know those chapters of the Bible where the genealogies are listed… the ones where so-and-so begat so-and-so and half way through you want to gouge your eyes out and all you can hear is the voice of Charlie Brown’s teacher until your ears burn? Ah…I see you know what I’m talking about! I love the Bible, but some parts are a much easier read than others. However, because the Holy Spirit directed God’s servants to write these letters and scrolls, there must be something important to be learned in every part, even the genealogies!

So…with that thought in mind, my Bible reading plan for today had me in Joshua chapters 16-21 and if any of you know about some of the chapters in Joshua after the little battle of big Jericho and the big defeat of little Ai and Achan’s sneaky sin, there are about a half a dozen or so chapters of how Joshua divided the promised land for the tribes of Israel. These chapters list all the tribes, sons, some grandsons, and all the Levite descendants of Aaron, the names of cities and towns, the sanctuary cities, and the border towns to the North, South, East and West and who got what. It is a monotony of names that you can’t pronounce, with directions you can’t understand, and people you have no emotional connection to. Remember that eye gouging, ear burning thing we talked about…yah, it’s like that.

So, on my way to work this morning, my audio Bible app began reading these chapters over the Bluetooth radio and because I had been studying the book of Joshua leading up to this section, I noticed something very interesting…there were names, places, and people that I recognized! My ears stopped burning and I tuned in!

To give a little context, In Joshua chapter 11, the last battle scene is a union of five powerful kings who gather all their war horses and an army that can’t be numbered and who go out to defeat the Israelites. But God wins the victory and the chapter ends with “so Joshua took the whole land according to all that Lord had said to Moses; and Joshua gave it as an inheritance to Israel according to their divisions by their tribes. Then the land rested from war.” Finally, the battles for who controlled the promised territory was decided. And it was now time to parcel out the land.

Joshua called the remaining nine and half tribes (2 and half had been given land on the other side of the Jordan, which is a story for another time!) and one by one he designated where each tribes patch of ground was to be located. There were tribes that got more land than they could handle, and some who got too little who asked for more. There were some who shared their inheritance willingly, and some who needed to be asked to give a little more. There were tribes whose lot it was to give a portion to those seeking refuge for unintentional crimes, and some who gave a part of theirs to the Levites for their cattle because they had no inheritance (in accordance with God’s instruction to Moses and Aaron). Then there some who complained that they had too much forest area and requested an expansion into the fields in another tribe’s territory. Joshua gently dealt with each situation, sometimes accommodating an expansion, sometimes telling the tribe to put their shoulders to the grindstone and work out their own expansion. Some tribes even had those pesky defeated enemies still living in their territory who needed to be constantly dealt with. No inheritance was perfect. It was going to be work in one way or another for this war-torn land to become a peaceful, fruitful home. Everyone had a job to do and a part to play in the success of the whole nation.

So today, our Joshua has defeated the seemingly invincible enemy, securing for us an inheritance, and then He has assigned us each a patch of ground. Do you find your little patch of ground a little too big to subdue alone? Or too small? Is your inhabitable space closing in on you to the point that it’s time to get to work and expand into the trees? Maybe it’s time to open up a spot to those who need some refuge, or to provide a portion to the priests? Are the defeated enemies that seek to rule us getting stronger or are they still a defeated foe? What do you need to do today in your little patch of ground?

Joshua chapter 23 ends with this, “So the Lord gave to Israel all the land of which he has sworn to give to their fathers, and they took possession of it, and dwelt in it…not a man stood against them…not a word failed of any good thing which the Lord has spoken to the house of Israel. ALL CAME TO PASS.”

It’s time to take possession of our little patch of ground…to settle down in it and work it. The promise is that no one will be able to stand against us, and everything that God has said will come to pass.

Who knew that the division of the promised land would be soNOTboring! That it could teach us so much? It’s my prayer that our hearts are planted even more firmly in the spot that God has for us to work and that we will be wise to seek our leaders counsel for help, or expansion, or if we are called to work harder, go to battle, or allow someone else to shelter in our spot. Let’s resolve to tend our little patch of ground, as good stewards of the inheritance we’ve been given…with our eyes and ears intact!

BBQ chicken foil packs

Chicken breasts or tender loins cut into chunks

Pineapple tidbits

1 Red bell pepper

1 small red onion

2 cups BBQ sauce

Toss chicken bites and BBQ sauce together until coated. Spoon about ½ a cup onto individual foil sheets (big enough to make foil packets). Top with chopped red onion, chopped red pepper, and pineapple tidbits. Bake at 375 digrees, For about 40 minutes. Make as many foil packs as you have ingredients. This can also go onto the grill for backyard BBQ gatherings. Add any additional items you like! Serve over rice, or noodles, or just the packs. Enjoy!

 

 

 

 

 

 

Oh no! She saw me!

Hi everyone, welcome back and pull up a seat. I want to share another blast from my past with you. When I was about eleven years old or so, I had a paper route. My vision was not as such that it prevented me from having this first little job. I would walk up to the doughnut shop that was right across the street from my road and get a couple of cream filled long-Johns and a milk to start my morning.

I would walk the neighboring streets delivering my rolled-up newspapers that I had lovingly (more like grudgingly) rolled up and placed a rubber band around. I stuffed them all in my bag, slung it cross body over my shoulder, and laced up my sneakers. Off I went for about three hours, tossing papers onto porches. Then came the day of the week that I hated the most about this job. Collection day. Uhhh! It took at least five times as long because now I had to knock on all those doors to collect the money for the newspapers. Some people paid monthly, some people paid quarterly, but most people paid weekly.

On collection day, I walked along carrying my bright orange money bag displaying the name of our local paper. Most of the time it went pretty smoothly. There were some instances when people swore they paid me last week for this weeks paper. I would have to get out the card that showed when they paid and how much and that they signed it before convincing them to turn loose of that 25 cents. I always felt like I was taking a meal off their table when I presented the card that explained that they hadn’t in fact paid yet and they had to go search the couch cushions for a nickel, a dime, and ten pennies.

There was a time I remember very well when I came upon a house that had a glass storm door. I knocked and stepped back awaiting the homeowner. No one came. I knocked again a little louder this time… no one. I knocked one last time and while I stood there, I began swinging the money bag around in a circle. Then back and forth. Then… crash! My bag full of coins connected with the glass door.

My mouth gaped open and my eyes bugged out. I made a snap decision and bolted hoping not to be caught. Anyone could have broken that door, right? How in the world would they ever know it was me? I fled to the next house which was blessedly on the next street. My nerves were on point. I was sure the police sirens I heard in the distance were coming for me.

Quickly finishing my route, I raced home, tossed off my empty newspaper bag and went to the task of counting out the money. I would gladly chip in the quarter for the house whose window I just shattered. Getting all of that in order and realizing that the cops were not interested in putting me on the America’s Most Wanted list, I relaxed a bit and went about the rest of my day. Then it happened.

The phone rang. My mother answered and said “Hello? Yes, my daughter delivers the newspaper…” My stomach lurched. I paused and listened. “Uh, I’m not sure but I will certainly talk to her and get back with you.” I began searching for places to hide. It was no use, my mom marched into my room and posed that terrible mom question that no one wants to answer, “Do you have something you want to tell me?”

Arms folded and foot tapping, I responded with “mmmm, nope.”

She proceeded to tell me how the neighbor heard the crash and quickly looked out her back door to see the papergirl standing there looking shocked then bolting away. Just my luck. I hung my head and started to cry. “Now, now” , my mom had said, “you know it was wrong to do what you did.” She went on to tell me that everyone makes mistakes and we need to own up to those mistakes, take responsibility, and learn from it. I lifted my head and confessed my deed.

1 John 1:9 says “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and cleanse us from all unrighteousness.”

God so wants to extend forgiveness when we ask for it. We could try and bolt from our wrongdoings but like a parent, God always knows what we do or don’t do. It’s not that He is waiting to punish us, He is giving us the freedom to choose His forgiveness. God will never force His will or mercy on anyone. No, He offers it as a gift to be accepted freely. When we do accept it, He is faithful to wipe that sin away like marker off a white board. No trace of it left behind. Each time we come to Him with a wrong doing, He simply asks us to tell Him what it is we did so we know why we are asking for forgiveness. Then He says, “because I love you and I know you will make mistakes and you are coming to me with it now, I forgive you and you can forgive yourself too.”

It took me a little bit but after I told the homeowner what I had done and why I ran, she said she understood that I was probably scared and didn’t know what to do. But once I got everything out in the open, I could put it behind me and learn from my mistake. I’d like to tell you that I confessed everything I’d ever done after that, but that wouldn’t be realistic. It’s a process to get there. I’ll keep ya posted as to when I am close.

God isn’t looking to bring the hammer down. Friends, He already knows everything about us. He is waiting not with arms folded, but with arms open waiting to hold us and say “I forgive you”. No toe-tapping, no tsk-tsking, no finger shaking. Just patient love waiting to be poured out over us. Run into His open arms and receive that forgiveness.

Winter Fruit Salad

mixed fruit with sauce in a bowl1 can pears

1 can peaches

1 can chunk pineapple

1 can mandarin oranges

1 can cherry pie filling

Open cans and drain liquids from all but the cherry pie filling. Empty contents of all cans into a pretty glass bowl for visual appeal. Stir together and serve.

Note: For an added bit of sweetness, top with whipped cream or sprinkle on dry instant vanilla pudding and stir in. This makes a great party dish. Just double or triple cans if needed for the size of your gathering. You could also alter the pie filling to your favorite kind; apple, blueberry, peach, whatever you like.

 

I Thought he liked me… but he didn’t

Hi all! Welcome back! We are nearing the “month of LOVE” as they say. I will be having a dear friend of mine guest posting in February on this topic. But I wanted to share an experience I had in high school with you that actually had to do with St. Patrick’s Day but sort of intermingled with Valentine’s Day too.

As I have mentioned before, I was not the girl in school that all the guys wanted to date. In fact, I was the girl all the guys wanted to make sure they DIDN’T date. Not many guys at that age were willing to go out with the chick who couldn’t see! You can imagine the jokes and inferences that went around about that.

Well long about St. Patrick’s Day, my school student body put together a “send a shamrock” type event. Students could purchase a card stock cut out of a shamrock, write a message on it, attach a Blow Pop sucker, and have it waiting for their recipient at lunch time. In the words of Charlie Brown… “I know nobody likes me, why do we have to have a holiday season to emphasize it?”

I knew there was not likely to be a shamrock waiting for me on the lunch table that day, but for whatever reason, my friends and I decided to check out the table in the event THEY might have received one from that special someone. As they were sifting through the pile, one of my friends said “Cyndi! Here’s one for you!” “WHAT!” I yelped in disbelief. She thrust it at me and I quickly turned it over to see who it was from. I could still read large enough print at that time and the messages were written in marker. My mouth gaped open and I very noticeably shrieked… loudly! I couldn’t believe who it was signed by. The coolest guy in school! He was a friend of my brothers and I had been crushing on him for two solid years. More like full blown in love with.

He would come over to the house to work on cars and jam out to the latest tunes. He had a super cool swagger to his walk. He played football and was just the whole reason I got up and went to school for two years.

Now here in my hands I held a paper shamrock signed by him, to me, with the message that surely meant we were going to prom together, going to the same college, then getting married and having children together!

It said… Have a nice day!

If that’s not a marriage proposal, I don’t know what is. I walked… no… floated through the rest of my day and clutched that shamrock to my heart. I never did eat the sucker. I thought maybe he would want to use it to propose with. The feeling and wedding plans came to a screeching halt when I found out that it wasn’t really him who sent it. It was from someone who knew I had strong feelings for this boy and tried to give me some joy. It truly was not meant in malice, it was from the heart meant for good. Unfortunately, the emotions I experienced after learning that all my wedding plans were for not, still left me with a devastated heart.

When we feel such a let down from people, it’s easy to think we must not be very valuable. We must not be important enough for someone to find us worthy. Sometimes we can project these feelings of not good enough, not valued, worthlessness, onto our heavenly Father. For me it often sounds like this…

If this person who is physically, tangibly, part of my life doesn’t find me valuable, then how can the creator of all the universe find me valuable. I mean of everything He has made— mountains, oceans, jungles, and every living thing known and unknown, these have to be higher on His list of valued creations then little ol’ me. Have you ever felt like that? Let me share a couple verses with you…

Genesis Chapter 1— and God “said” let there be light, and there was light, and God saw that the light was “good”…  and God “said” let the waters under the heavens gather together into one place and let the dry land appear… and God saw that it was good…and God “said” let the earth sprout vegetation…

You see where this is going…

Now in verse 27, it says God “created” man in His own image.  Do you see the difference? God spoke all His creation into existence. But He Himself CREATED you and me! Created with His own hands from what He already spoke into creation.

Genesis 2:7 tells us that God formed man from the dust of the ground. I can imagine God getting down on His hands and knees and lovingly molding man like a child makes forms out of mud and presents it like a master piece to his parents. God loved you so much that simply speaking you into existence was just a little to impersonal. He wanted a hands-on approach for this job. Then He breathed His own breath into you and gave you life! Even then, God gave of Himself for you and for me. Oh, and He called this creation “very” good!

If a God like that values you and me this much, no shamrock in the world can compare!

It took time to get past my hurt over the shamrock sham, but I eventually did. I also got over the two year hold that boy had on me. God had another plan. A plan to lead me to a man that cherishes me and values me. God also lead me to Himself, the one who cherishes and values me more then even my husband could; and friends He has this same value and love for all of us. Trust His message for you over any ol’ shamrock message.

So now that we have our spiritual nourishment, let’s grab a “soup-er” easy soup recipe. Soup is so very comforting, kind of like God’s word, only His food needs no extra flavors…

 

5 Can Mexican Soup:

Bowl of Mexican Soup topped with cheese and sourcream1 can corn

1 can pinto beans

1 can diced tomatoes with chilies

1 can vegetable broth

1 can black beans rinsed and drained

½ pkg. taco seasoning if you want to kick it up a notch.

 

You quite literally dump all the ingredients together in a Dutch oven. Liquid included, minus the liquid from the black beans. Sprinkle on some Mexican style shredded cheese and a dollop of sour cream and mmm mmm, so good!