Stuffed Mushrooms

Well here we are on the first “Foody Friday”.

 

I thought since many times at the start of a meal, there is an appetizer, that we might start with that? So you will need:

 

Large mushrooms (which ever type you prefer)

 

Bacon bits (artificial or real… your choice)

 

Shredded cheese (your favorite. Swiss is delicious or any kind of smokey flavored cheese is wonderful but it’s really up to you.)

 

Diced onion (you could also use scallions)

 

Remove stems from mushrooms and wipe mushrooms off with a damp paper towel. Sprinkle in a pinch of the shredded cheese. Layer with pinches of bacon bits, onions/scallions. For garnish, you could sprinkle on some parsley.

 

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Place mushrooms on cookie sheet and bake for about 15 minutes or until cheese is completely melted. Serve warm. Make as many as you like!

 

Hope you enjoy this appetizer!

ALRIGHT… WHERE IS HE?

Father in heaven, may the words written here be pleasing and acceptable in Your site. In Jesus name, Amen.

Welcome, welcome everyone grab your seat at the table and let’s dig in.

Have you ever found yourself in a trying situation and wondered if God saw it happening?

Have you ever gone through something heart-breaking and questioned where God was in all of it?

I think we’ve all been in those moments. Probably more then once. I know I have.

A loss of a job… “God are You there?”

The unexpected death of a loved one… “God can You see me at all?”

Your dream just doesn’t seem to want to come to fruition… “God don’t You care?”

The child you’ve raised to know the Lord is now making choices that leave you drying your eyes. “God how can You let them just walk away like that?”

I’m sure you can fill in all sorts of blanks here. We want to “feel” that God is very near when tragedy strikes. After all, aren’t we told in Gods’ word that He is an ever-present help in time of trouble? (Psalm 46:1)

But then there are those times that we just bask in His nearness. We feel His presents and just glow with His love evident on our faces. We boast of His blessings in our lives and sing His praises loud and proud.

In those moments, we forget how we had questioned His presents in times of trouble. We share with others how we simply bring our problems to the Lord and give them all to Him in complete trust that He will work everything out for our good.

Then trouble strikes and… there we go again.

Do you remember the terrific Fall special, “It’s the Great Pumpkin Charlie Brown”?

It is by far my favorite holiday special of that season still to this day.

Here is poor Linus sticking to a belief in something that everyone thinks he’s foolish to believe in. Ever-faithful to her commitment to Linus, Charlie Browns little sister Sally wants to show her support.

After learning what it is Linus is waiting for in the pumpkin patch, Sally wants to share in his faithfulness and wait right along with him. So, there the two of them sit waiting. Linus shares his belief with Sally and she is skeptical but trusts her pumpkin patch partner and waits patientlyAfter some time passes, the gang of friends happen by the leafy over-grown patch and mock the pair of pumpkin dreamers for waiting on something they can neither see nor touch. Sally jumps to Linus’s defense and shouts to the crowd “He’ll be here” (referring to the Great Pumpkin) “You can bet on that! Linus knows what he’s talking about… Linus knows what he’s doing!”

After the gang is out of ear-shot, Sally whirls on Linus and shouts at him “ALRIGHT, WHERE IS HE?”

Isn’t that how we can be with God? I know I have. I sing His praises and tell of how He answers prayers. I defend Him to those who mock Him and declare that He is always present and sees all things. I rebuke those who claim He’s not real. But when tragedy strikes, I’ve found myself asking “ALRIGHT, WHERE IS HE?”

Friends one of the things that we must cling to is that we do not have to “feel” Gods presents, to “know” God is present.

As the verse in Psalm 46;1 promises that “God is our strength, a very present help in times of trouble.”

We can be assured that He does in fact see all things and knows all things. He hasn’t lost track of you my friend.

When we are hurting in those times of trouble, be comforted that God, like a good parent, is holding us and rocking us and telling us He is there.

Can’t you just hear Him saying, “Shhh,Shhhh… it will all be OK, Daddy’s here.”

When we feel tempted to doubt, hold on to the words you speak on Gods behalf when others question His goodness. Remember that He is near even if it doesn’t feel like He is. He loves you and will be near to you when you call on Him.

Let these words from Sally be the ones that echo in your mind… “He’ll be here, you can bet on that!”

Knock, Knock, Knock… anyone home?

Father in heaven, My prayer is for You to be seen and heard through this faulty human instrument. In Jesus name, Amen.

 

Hello my friends, welcome to my table once again. There is a place card  with your name on it. I hope your full after being at my table.

 

Look for “Foody Friday” to begin on July 5.

 

Have you ever dropped over to a friend or neighbors house, perhaps with a yummy baked goody that you made just for them, only to discover that they are not home?

 

Maybe another  situation has happened to you like finding out that your friend or neighbor is having a get-together and you were not invited.

 

You again dropped over and are now looking through the glass of the front door and watching everyone enjoying delicious food and humorous conversation. But you are on the outside looking in.

 

You see everything happening, you can even hear the laughter and smell the food, but you are not part of the event.

 

Often times we can feel so left out of things. It doesn’t have to be big things or even important things.

 

Remember those horrible days in Junior high when it was time for the dreaded gym class activity of dodge-ball? As if dodging a ball isn’t torturous enough in and of itself, add in the humiliation of being the last person standing against the wall to be chosen.

 

Watching everyone running around laughing and having fun while you stand way out in the out field because… well… you were the last person chosen after all. That feeling of not being included is so… solitary, isn’t it?

 

So often, when I was in school, this feeling was part of my life. Not to many people wanted to “answer the door” when I knocked. They might “catch” my eye disease or even worse, they might have been caught being my friend!

 

Don’t get me wrong, I had friends. They are who made those school years tolerable. But there was always the “outside looking in” feeling that followed me around. I had to watch other girls be cheerleaders. I had to watch my friends get their drivers licenses. I had to watch other people get after school jobs and gain independence.

 

As an adult, I have learned to appreciate my friends successes and rejoice with them. I’ve watched friends get new careers, homes, church positions and ministries. I’ve been happy for all of them. I’ve helped them move into those new homes, or listened to what a great new job it is and I am truly  excited for each and every one of them.

 

But I would be dishonest if I didn’t say I have felt the feelings of knocking on the door of opportunity, only to hear echos and say the words “is anyone home?”

 

I have felt like my knuckles have wrapped on that door so much, there must be an imprint on it by now! HA.

 

Knock… Knock… Knock. Anybody here?

 

Our move to Florida felt like an answered door. But that door slammed shut. Thankfully we had a chance to get our fingers out of the way first!

 

But I want to share with you a door that will be opened any and every time you knock on it.

 

Luke 11:9 says “and I tell you, ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and it will be opened to you.”

 

Jesus is just waiting on the other side of that door for us to knock on it. There is no need to ask if anyone is home. He has His hand poised on the door knob. I mean one knock, and that door is comin’ open, so you don’t have to knock very hard. He will definitely hear you and He is ALWAYS home!

 

Ya know, He knocks on doors too. Sometimes He is met with crickets. But He has a promise for us about His knocking.

 

Revelation 3:20 says “Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If any man hear my voice and opens the door, I will come into him and sup with him and he with me.”

 

We don’t use the word “sup” very often these days. we generally use the word dine or eat. Many translations use these types of words and that’s fine. However, I had done a search on the word sup. It means so much more then dining. It is a fellowship. Becoming one with. An intimate time spent together in sharing and communicating. I like that definition a lot!

 

I want to be filled with the fellowship and intimacy of Jesus, don’t you?

 

If you hear a gentle knock… knock… knock, open the door of your heart and sup with your creator. He loves you so very much and you are never the last one chosen. He also has the perfect timing for those opportunities that are reserved for us.

 

I’ve learned that my opportunity to be a published author is already tagged with my name and reserved for me. I will trust Him with my dreams and goals. Will you allow Him to have yours too?

 

 

Part 3– Bakers Chocolate

Well we are here at the last part of this three part series. I didn’t call it the conclusion because it most definitely is not the end of the story. I’m sure you are scratching your heads a little at the title. Well let’s get into it then huh?

 

As I walked back and forth from one side of my bed to the other, pulling sheets up and straightening blankets, I was listening… again, to Job.

 

I smoothed wrinkles out from the sheets that had recently been a mess resembling my emotions. Perhaps I was trying, in vain, to smooth out my rumpled feelings along with the sweeping motion of my hand across the flower patterned flat sheet.

 

The wrinkles disappeared but seemed to reappear in my heart. I would try in vain again, to put the misplaced pillows in order and tuck the cheerful yellow bedspread under each mound, and it seemed as though each little flower  was mocking my pain.  I never wanted to run from the comfort of my bed or climb back into it, in the same thought, so much in all my life.

 

I kept listening to the bible and nodding my head in agreement every time Job was speaking and conveying his heart break. I thought my neck was on some sort of spring that just bobbled back and forth, I was nodding so much. But then a set of verses jumped out at me…

 

The whole thirty-eighth and thirty-ninth chapters of Job, God steps boldly into the picture. He begins to, in His Fatherly wisdom, gently rebuke Job for continuing to question Gods’ reasons for allowing such calamity to befall him. Job has gone on with this for thirty-five chapters, don’t forget. Now God is telling Job to pull himself together.

 

Do you remember having to tell your own children, or be told by a parent, after many sniffles and or wails, “OK, that’s enough now. There is no need to carry on this much.”

 

This was God being the good Father that He is. Please take some time and read these two chapters, but don’t miss Jobs’ response in chapter forty verses three and four, Job answers the Lord and says:

 

“Behold, I am of small account, what shall I answer You? I lay my hand on my mouth. I have spoken once and I will not answer, twice, but I will proceed no further.”

 

Woe! Job got the message. You see God will allow a grieving process for His children. But He also wants us to put our trust in Him that He knows what He’s doing and we need to pull ourselves together (so to speak) and let Him move us forward.

 

God tells Job in verse seven, to dress for action like a man. He goes on to tell Job to adorn himself with Majesty and honor.

 

In our trials, God still has work for us to do! It is often work to be done that comes out of that trial. Sometimes we want something so badly that we question why God wouldn’t give it to us.

 

We get so caught up in our grief that we can’t see that God has something better. We can’t possibly see anything negative in our desires. But there may be negatives that we refuse to see, to spite Gods’ all knowing wisdom.

 

I remember in my mothers kitchen, there was a cabinet that held all sorts of baking goods. It always smelled of cinnamon and chocolate. I loved the smell of that cabinet.

 

It held something I would always beg my mom to let me have. It was the biggest bar of chocolate I’d ever seen! Oh how I wanted to grab that candy bar and dive in! I had visions of sitting down in front of my favorite show (which was Little House On The Prairie BTW) and breaking off one delectable square after another. Devouring every chocolaty piece, licking the melted goodness off my fingers.

 

After many many warnings to NOT eat the chocolate however, my mother had had enough of my begging and pleading. I simply didn’t trust that she knew what she was talking about. I mean it was chocolate after all! How in the world could it not taste GOOD? She, in her motherly wisdom, gave me just one square to try. She unwrapped it, I took hold of it in eager expectation and plunged the whole square into my mouth.

 

As was expected by mom, my mouth pursed, my nose wrinkled, and my eyes went squint y.

 

“Y U C K!” I shrieked, quickly spitting the bitter disappointment out of my mouth. Mom responded as you might expect… “I tried to warn you.”

 

Friends this experience has taught me that sometimes I ask things of God that I’ve been asking of Him for years. His answer had always left me with the desire to keep asking for that thing. I feel now that the desire I’ve had may be another version of that bakers chocolate. It seems sooooooo good and I just want to dive right in. But our good and wise Father knows the bitterness of that desire.

 

My mother let me taste the thing I was certain would be good so that I didn’t blame her for simply keeping something wonderful from me for no reason. My dear readers, our Father, in His infinite wisdom and not wanting us to see Him as unfair, allowed just a taste. Enough to see that Florida may not be right for us now. Maybe never, but I trust my Father to warn me against other versions of bakers chocolate. Will you trust Him too?

 

Gods’ chocolate is so much richer anyway!

 

 

Oh dear…

Oh my, I woke up this morning and realized what day it was. My kids are away at a church camp meeting so my days are very off right now. My apologies. I will have my post up tomorrow morning or even later tonight if possible. Thanks for being patient with me. I’ll get it together! Love you all…

Part 2–Why Oh Why?

Father in Heaven, lead all of us in these words and let it be Your message. In Jesus name, Amen.

 

So here we are again. Thank you for returning to your reserved seat at the table. I want to share with you all, the “why oh why” moments of this journey. As I mentioned in the last post, I will use sensitivity and discernment in my words.

 

So we left off with  Jeremy and I just coming to the resolution that our dream would stay just a dream. He would be returning home by the middle of the next week and we would take some time to morn and move forward from this terrible disappointment. Our kids were also disappointed, but since they could resume their lives as usual, complete with friends and prospects for new ones, they bounced back pretty quickly. I was grateful for that. I didn’t want my kids to feel the way I was feeling.

 

I remember standing in the shower one day and the water was streaming down. It was simply no match for my waterfall of tears. All the reasons for wanting this move flooded my mind as the shower and my tears flooded my face.

 

Images of pulling out my cane to use in public came to mind. Many of you know that I haven’t been overly comfortable using it in my outings. I’m fearful that someone I haven’t seen in a long time will see me using a cane and assume I’ve been “reduced” to having to use a white cane now. This would leave even more room for the pity train to pull on through and blow it’s whistle… loudly.

 

I heard in my mind the words of those who care for me, “do you want me to do that for you?”. Not ever wanting to hurt feelings, I would often step aside and let said person do what they thought I needed help with.

 

Always feeling like an habitual teenager asking for a ride to the mall, feeling like I’m burdening someone for said ride somewhere. Feeling like people see me as “disabled” in more then my blindness. The question was asked “whose going to take care of Cyndi?”, after we announced our plans.

 

Being overlooked in areas I would like to be involved with because someone assumes I won’t be able to do it or isn’t willing to possibly pick me up to do it. Being asked repeatedly if I  need help.

 

Now don’t misunderstand me. I appreciate everyone’s concerns for my well being. This is part of the struggle of having a disability. You kind of fight to have independence. Though that fighting leaves you exhausted and depleted. It is a cycle that keeps on cycling.

 

Moving to Florida had been our dream for over fifteen years for many reasons:

 

Warmer whether

More opportunities

Starting a new life

Using my cane in front of people who never knew I hadn’t been using it

 

and many other reasons that would take up far to much space.

 

I began reading the book of Job.Now I’ve read Job many times, but I wanted to really READ it. I took note of something interesting.

 

Job has forty-two chapters, thirty-five of them are filled with Jobs lamenting, frustrations, tears, depression, and alike. He had lost almost everything:

 

His children

His servants

His livelihood

 

But there were those who survived. (See Job chapter 1)

 

With each calamity that happened, someone said “and only I escaped to tell you”. He also retained three specific friends and his wife. We don’t hear much about his wife though. She simply told her husband to give up on God and die. Pretty harsh huh? I’ll do another post about Mrs. Job another time.

 

I found it fascinating That God just let Job morn for thirty-five chapters. No telling him “ok, ok, that’s enough”. No “how dare you question Me”. No “I hope you’ve learned your lesson now”. Nope, God allowed him time to grieve.

 

Job was a just and upright man. Many people scratch their heads at why this sort of thing happened to him. But make no mistake, even though Job was a Godly man, he was terribly confused and grieved by what had taken place. He questioned why he had ever been born.

 

Job 3:1  After this, Job opened his mouth and cursed the day of his birth.

 

That gives you a pretty good idea of how depressed he was. Even though I didn’t lose my children or my livelihood all in a matter of moments, I did lose what felt like my whole future in a matter of days. I was confused as to why God would answer this long awaited prayer only to have it come crashing down.

 

I had been very honest with God in telling Him that my response would not be pretty if the answer to our prayer to move was “No”. I told Him I would be upset, I would cry, I would probably question why. But ultimately I wanted His will to be done.

 

I would get over all those emotions in a short amount of time. I truly wanted Gods will because He sees all things and would see how this could not be the best thing for us. He has the telescope and I do not. I trust His answers.

 

But this… this I just didn’t understand. I fell to my knees and wept aloud. “I don’t understand this!” I wailed. “I asked You to close this door along time ago if it was going to be a bad thing!”

 

My tears soaked my pillow, my words poisoned the air, my thoughts were consumed with the loss of our dream. It was simply too much. I had lost my neighbor, I had lost my dear friend, I had lost pets, I had been separated from my husband for almost a month, not to even mention anything else I was struggling with in my family. Hurtful words, surprising realizations, the list is long. All within a matter of just a few short months. It was just too much!

 

I was wounded, I was bleeding, I was shaken to my core. I wanted to know why God was asking me to go through all of this… again. I felt like I had been through enough and He should just answer my prayer for this dream to come true. I wanted answers as to why He yanked back our answered prayer!

 

Have you ever felt like this? Like God was being unfair? Have you just wanted to know why? Oh how these feelings plagued me, and if I’m being honest, still want to creep into my thoughts now and then.

 

Come back to your reserved seat again next week and I’ll share some lessons I’ve been learning from all of this. I am thinking about having a separate day for the recipes. Perhaps like Foody Friday or something like that. I would love your thoughts on that and any other thoughts you have.

 

Until next week my lovely readers, stay in Gods word and always seek His face.

 

God allowed me my 35 chapters

Well I guess after taking a break there was bound to be a little glitch. My apologies for the post that went out this morning. Here is the updated version for you… hope you like it.

Father in Heaven, may the lessons You’ve been teaching me be evident in these words. In Jesus name, Amen.

Oh my dear readers, how good it feels to be writing to you again. I have you all in my mind as I write this. I pray that someone will glean what God desires you to glean from this post.

You know now that my hearts dream and desire of moving south that appeared to be coming true, is no longer happening. Oh how my heart is broken over this realization. It bleeds and cries for this loss.

Some may feel like this is a bit extreme, but I’d like to give some context to why this has been so devastating. I will use sensitivity to others while trying to shed some light on my heartbreak. I have been learning a lot through this process and I hope it helps someone else too. I’m thinking this may be like a three part series. There is simply to much to put into one post. I want to respect my readers time and keep my posts reasonable in length. So here we go… part 1— Finding Out…

My husband had been in Florida for a couple weeks and getting a little stressed out with trying to find a place that would work for our unique needs. Not all rental homes accept pets. We have a cat and a dog. There were lots of apartments that were pet friendly, but this posed a problem for me. Depending on what floor we would be on, getting my pooch out to do her business and back to the right apartment would be a challenge.

For those of you who don’t know… I’m blind.

The last thing I needed was more challenges. However, if this what God was asking, then I knew He would work out the details. But alas, this wasn’t coming together as we’d hoped. Rent was higher then originally told to us. So we already started the first thoughts of this not working out. But we held onto what we felt like was a God sanctioned open door.

Then my husband began seeing aspects of the job that weren’t lining up with his “letter of intent to hire” had specified. He kept a positive attitude that it was just because he was new and had to go through that probationary period. But after conversations with others, he learned that not much would be changing. This too added another seed of doubt for our dream to come together. But we still held on.

The financial side of things began to rear it’s ugly head and we learned that some of the things we intended to get rid of to reduce our monthly output, was now expected to be held onto. Thus creating more bills then we counted on to make this work. Strike three. The realization of our dreams coming to an end was more then I could bare.

My family had been separated for almost a month by this point. I know some folks live this way on the daily, but we are not among this hardy group. I respect our military families a little more now. I wanted my husband and I to be living in the same house again. I remember saying to Jeremy not three or four days before all this happened that I didn’t care if it was here or there, I just wanted us all back together again. Hmm, if I had known what that would mean…

There was never really that moment of saying out loud “ok, this isn’t going to work. Do we agree that I’ll be coming home this weekend?” That conversation didn’t take place. We just somehow silently came to that understanding together.

I walked through my house looking at all the progress I had been making to prepare for our dream to come true. Boxes were stacked up in the dining room, art work was standing up against the wall together, my empty china hutch, my bare coffee and end tables in the living room. My heart sank and my tears rose up. I had an impulse to just lash out and start smashing the glass doors of my hutch. Y’all I was heart sick, tear filled, not thinking straight kinda upset.

Now rest assured that I did not act on this impulse. My hutch doors are completely in tact. In fact my glassware and crystal platters are safely back in place. I have more room in there now too since I purged so much in anticipation of moving.

As I unpacked each box, returning everything to it’s former place, a tear christened each knick-knack, forever staining it with my disappointment. I know this seems very extreme, but I will be explaining why in the next post. I just wanted to give you all the facts as it were for now.

Until the next post, I ask you to do a little homework assignment. Envision yourself with a life altering disability (if you don’t actually have one) and think of what it would mean to gain some independence  after a lifetime of dependence. This will broaden your understanding of this for next week. I know it’s difficult to do if you don’t know what it would really be like but I think our imaginations can give us a pretty good insight.

I look forward to sharing more next week. This has been life changing for me in many ways and I believe God wants me to share it with others. I hope you’ll come and grab your seat at the table. Blessings to you my valued and treasured readers.