Tuesday, November 30, 2010

A great treasure...

I rejoice in your word like one who finds a great treasure.
Psalm 119:162

According to Webster, a treasure is wealth of any kind or in any form stored up or hoarded, a store of money in reserve, something of great worth or value, a collection of precious things, also a person esteemed as rare or precious. I often refer to my grandchildren as Nanna's treasure.  They are precious to me and I am well aware of the power of my influence on them, which can be for godliness or for selfishness. 

As Nanna, I have a different perspective and find myself chuckling, sometimes laughing out loud, when my grandchildren's sin natures show themselves.  When my daughters were young and would be naughty, I often took it as a personal failure instead of realizing that it is all part of the training process described in Proverbs 22:6, Train a child in the way he should go...  It is so much easier as a grandmother!  I can just love them and encourage their parents in the training process. They have the responsibility of caring for a great treasure.

God's Word is my greatest treasure.  It is truly a living book which convicts, comforts, informs and instructs me.  When I don't spend daily time reading and studying my Bible, there is an unrest in my spirit.  It's like having a huge chest filled with all sorts of treasure sitting in my living room and I walk by, ignoring the beautiful things that can be found there. Other pleasant activities fill my time but don't satisfy that longing to spend time with my Father; making wonderful discoveries as a result of digging into the great treasure found only in His Word. 

Throughout December, each day we will look at a different name for Jesus found in Scripture.  I look forward to the study time that will be required to make sure that what I write is true to God's Word.  I hope what is written here will be of great encouragement those who read - a great treasure revealed.  I'm so excited!

Christmas Decorations

This is another of my favorite Nativity items.  Most of them have been found at Hobby Lobby at 50% off or at Cracker Barrel, where they are inexpensive as well. 

Today's Recipe - Yummy and Healthy Slaw
This slaw is healthy and colorful.

2 large carrots, shredded
2 medium apples, shredded
2 cups fresh baby spinach leaves, thinly sliced
1/4 cup dried cranberries
Raspberry vinaigrette

Using a food processor or a grater, shred the carrots and apples.  Place in a bowl.  Slice the spinach leaves in thin ribbons by stacking them on a cutting board and slicing them with a sharp knife.  Place in the bowl with the carrots, apples and cranberries.  Mix well.  Just before serving, pour some raspberry vinaigrette over the slaw and toss. 
This slaw is delicious with grilled chicken.

Monday, November 29, 2010


I love Thanksgiving leftovers!  There are so many creative tasty ways to reuse the leftover food - green chile turkey soup, hot turkey sandwiches, spinach raspberry salad with turkey, turkey stir fry, turkey tetrazzini, turkey tortilla soup, omelets with turkey, cranberry chutney, potato cakes (if you have mashed potatoes left)... If you aren't able to come up with ideas on your own, you can always google "recipes for Thanksgiving leftovers" and get more ideas than you will probably ever use.

I love that God can take the "leftovers" of our lives and make something fabulous out of them.  Satan likes to make us think when we've gone through something difficult, that God is done with us.  He puts nagging little thoughts in our minds of guilt and unworthiness.  But, our God is the God of redemption!  He takes what is left and uses it for His glory.  I am amazed and humbled every time He forgives me, comforts me, then uses me to minister to others. He is the King of leftovers!

Decorating for Christmas

We generally decorate for Christmas the weekend after Thanksgiving.  Honestly, I didn't enjoy it as much as I have in the past.  It's just not as much fun without the kids.  I had to pray about my attitude!  But, as I got the boxes out and started pulling out my collection of nativity sets, I began to get excited about our home being a place where the story of Jesus' birth is so evident this time of year.  Jesus was not born on December 25, the day we celebrate His coming, but was probably born sometime in September.  More on that to come...

Unfortunately, our outdoor lighted nativity has lost so much of its paint that the baby looks like he has third degree burns where I have tried to touch it up.  Maybe my honey and I can put our heads together and come up with a replacement. 

This week's decorating pictures will be shots of some of my nativity collection.  I need to get a plastic set to put on the fireplace hearth that the grandkids can play with when they are here...

I love this plate!  It is always the first nativity item that I put out each year.  The looks on the faces tell a story:  Mary is overwhelmed with love and exhaustion, Joseph is looking towards heaven with worry creases in his forehead,  the oldest shepherd is in awe, the young shepherd has his hands raised in praise and the child shepherd is simply smiling and enjoying the wonder of the baby boy and what is happening around him. Baby Jesus looks right at whomever is looking at the plate!  Hmm...

The small white nativity item is an ornament with the hanger removed.  Between the two are several silk poinsettias.  I purchased several "bushes" of poinsettias over twenty years ago and cut them apart with wire cutters.  I used to put them in the Christmas tree near the trunk to cover up wires and add color.  But, I bought a wide transparent garland last year.  So, now the poinsettias get spread around the house for little touches of Christmas everywhere.

Today's Recipe - Pasta with Broccoli (Dr. Andrew Weil)

With all the rich foods that are consumed this time of year, it's important to eat healthy whenever you can.  This is one of my favorite pasta recipes and it's spicy enough for my husband.  You can add some of your leftover turkey, if you desire.

1 large bunch broccoli, cut into florets
1 pound dried pasta (twists, penne, or rigatoni)
4 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
6 cloves garlic, minced
1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
salt to taste
2 tablespoons capers
1 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese

Heat a large pot of water to cook the pasta.  Add the pasta to boiling water.  While the pasta cooks heat the olive oil in a small pan and add the garlic, red pepper, and salt to taste.  Cook for 1-2 minutes, stirring, then remove from heat. 
When the pasta is 2 minutes short of being al dente, add the broccoli.  As soon as the broccoli is crunchy-tender, drain the broccoli-pasta mixture in a colander, return it to the pot and add the oil mixture.  Add the capers and season with salt to taste.  Serve with the grated Parmesan cheese.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Thanks to God...

Thanks, O God, for bound-less mercy from Thy gracious throne above;
Thanks for every need provided from the fullness of Thy love!
Thanks for daily toil and labor and for rest when shadows fall;
Thanks for love of friend and neighbor and Thy goodness unto all!

Thanks for thorns as well as roses, thanks for weakness and for health;
Thanks for clouds as well as sunshine, thanks for poverty and wealth!
Thanks for pain as well as pleasure, all thou sendest day by day;
And Thy Word, our dearest treasure, shedding light upon our way.

Thanks, O God, for home and fireside, where we share our daily bread;
Thanks for hours of sweet communion, when by Thee our souls are fed!
Thanks for grace in time of sorrow and for joy and peace in Thee;
Thanks for hope today, tomorrow, and for all eternity!

August Storm and John Hultman

This old hymn is a wonderful reminder of looking at life from God's perspective.  I don't know about you, but I need that reminder.  I have been sorely tempted the last couple of days to feel sorry for myself and my honey.  None of our children are going to be able to come home for Thanksgiving.  I have to keep reminding myself that we will get to spend two weeks with our oldest daughter and grandson and we will see everyone for two days at Christmas.  Two days...(sigh) 

I am thankful for oovoo and iphone face time and that we can see family through video conference. I am thankful that they are all serving the Lord and they all live within a ten hour drive. They could be serving overseas.  They could be living for themselves.

I am thankful that we will spend Thanksgiving will some of our spiritual kids and grandkids.  They are precious to us and we will have a wonderful time of fellowship with them.  I am thankful for Romans 8:28:
And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to His purpose.

I am thankful that God is at work for our good, especially in the difficult things of life.  They are not without purpose!  He's not being mean, He's using everything that comes about in life for good.  If we look back over our lives and really think honestly about the hard times, we can see the hand of God working and molding us.  His purpose is to make us more usable in His kingdom. I am happiest and most at peace when I live my life trusting in His purpose, whether I understand or not. 

Today, I choose to give thanks to God!

Today's Recipe - Pumpkin Waffles (cooks.com)

In large bowl mix:
2 cups flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/2 tsp ginger
1/2 tsp nutmeg
1/2 tsp salt
2 tablespoons brown sugar, packed
1 tsp cinnamon

In small bowl mix:
2 slightly beaten egg whites
1 1/2 cup milk
2 tablespoons oil
1/2 cup canned pumpkin

Add small bowl mixture to large bowl.  Stir just until moistened.  Heat waffle iron, brush lightly with oil. Pour batter in hot waffle iron.  Sprinkle with chopped pecans. Makes 5 round waffles.

Enjoy your Thanksgiving! I will be back on Monday.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010


When we consider all God's gifts
And all that we possess,
A grumbling mood of discontent
Gives way to thankfulness.      - Sper

This powerful little poem comes from Our Daily Bread (Radio Bible Class Ministries), a devotional booklet that I have enjoyed for most of my life. Now, I love poetry and used to teach a poetry unit in my language arts classes the first month of school. We always started out with haiku poems which are simple three line poems with a certain amount of syllables in each line.  I was amazed each year when the students that complained the loudest about having to write poetry - the boys - wrote the best poems.  They took me seriously when I told them they could write a poem about anything.  Some of them made me laugh out loud, like the poems about snot or what happened when someone put their tongue on a piece of metal in the freezer. Some of them had profound messages, like the poems about abuse or abortion. Amazing what can be penned in a little poem!

The above poem talks about gratitude and counting our blessings.  When we stop and take time to do so, the opposite of discontent happens - thankfulness.  I had a friend in college who taught me a little game.  Whenever someone was complaining about something, he would shout out, "Thankful Game!" We all would groan, but get the point as we all had to name five things we were thankful for.  Hmm...that would be a great game to teach my grandchildren!

Today's Recipe - Pumpkin Pie Cake (homecooking.about.com)
This cake is so good, you won't even miss the pie!

15 oz can pumpkin puree
12 oz can evaporated milk (not condensed milk)
1 cup sugar
2 eggs
1/4 cup butter melted and cooled
1 tsp pure vanilla
1/2 tsp salt
1 1/2 tablespoon cinnamon
1 1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
1 package butter cake mix

Cream Cheese Frosting:

8 oz cream cheese
1 cup powdered sugar
1 tsp pure vanilla
1 tablespoon milk or cream
1/2 cup chopped pecans

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Spray a 9x13 baking pan or a bundt cake pan.  In a large bowl, beat pumpkin puree, evaporated milk, sugar eggs, melted butter, vanilla, salt, cinnamon, and nutmeg until well combined.  Add cake mix and stir only until combined.  Pour into prepared pan.  Bake 50-55 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center of the cake comes out clean.  Let cool to room temperature.

Cream Cheese Frosting - Mix frosting ingredients until smooth and fluffy.  Frost cooled cake.  Sprinkle pecans evenly on top.  Serves 24-36

Monday, November 22, 2010

An attitude of gratitude...

It somehow seems easier to come up with something to be thankful for on Thanksgiving.  After all, that's what the holiday is for and, just in case someone asks, it's always good to have a ready answer.  But what if we had an attitude of gratitude every day and regardless of what is going on during that day, we voiced our gratitude for at least one thing every day.  Here's a good one:

Thank you, Lord, for the opportunity to participate in a new day.

That certainly would start your day off well, wouldn't it?! So many times I wake up and my to do list starts running through my mind.  I have to purpose to stop and spend time with the Lord and to exercise.  If I don't, I crawl into bed at night regretting that I saw those two activities as a chore on my list instead of a preference and let the unnecessary replace the necessary.  What if I saw each day as an opportunity to participate in life from God's perspective?  What amazing opportunities do I miss because I automatically get up and get started on my to do list instead of spending time in prayer, asking God what He has for me that day?  Starting the day with an attitude of gratitude and obedience to His purposes for me and my day are definitely a better choice!

Thanksgiving Decorations

I purchased a bag of faux pumpkins and squash on clearance a couple of years ago and place them in different spots around the house.  With these, I added two faux pears with leaves and some wooden acorns that I had. Quick and easy.

One of our table decorations has become a tradition with a definite purpose to promote an attitude of gratitude.  During the leanest time of the Pilgrim's first winter in Plimoth Plantation, the food was so scarce that they only allowed themselves five kernels of corn each day. So, I place five kernels of corn (candy corn, if I remember to buy it at Halloween) on each plate at the table and we take some time before we eat to reflect on at least five things for which we are thankful.

Today's Recipe - Maple Sweet Potato Cups (Southern Living)

I made these for Christmas dinner last year and liked them so much I am making them for Thanksgiving this year.  They are quick and easy and look so fancy!  It is also an easy way to help prevent gluttony - everyone gets one serving.  It's not like anyone is going to starve!! And you can make up a small casserole to set aside for leftovers.

2 - 24 oz. packages frozen steam-and-mash sweet potatoes

1/2 cup butter, cut up
1/3 cup firmly packed brown sugar
1/3 cup pure maple syrup
3 tsp orange zest (opt)
1 tsp salt
4 egg whites
1/2 cup granulated sugar

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.  Steam potatoes according to package directions.  Mash together sweet potatoes and next five ingredients.  Spoon mixture into 8 (6 oz) custard cups.  Place on a baking sheet.  Beat egg whites at high speed with an electric mixer until foamy.  Add sugar, 1 tablespoon at a time, beating until stiff peaks form and sugar is dissolved.  Dollop meringue over sweet potato mixture.  Bake at 400 degrees for 10 minutes or until golden brown on top.

Friday, November 19, 2010


I just spent an interesting morning on the Internet reading through a website I learned about on the Glenn Beck show yesterday.  Now, I don't normally watch Mr. Beck but heard that he was going to talk about being prepared in case of an emergency.  The topic keeps coming to my attention.  Interesting...

The website is The Survival Mom (thesurvivalmom.com).  It contained tons of information, practical ways to get started, lots of links to other websites, and even an article debunking myths.  I was intrigued by the fact that she mentions several times the importance of putting a compact Bible in your emergency pack.  Interesting...

There was a lot of information on food storage, solar energy, and survival skills. What I found to be very helpful was the information on getting healthy and staying healthy.  This is great information to have if you like to avoid having to go to the doctor, whether you believe we are on the verge of a global economic meltdown or not.  Interesting...

Two other websites mentioned on the show are, As A Mom (asamom.org) and 912 Super Seniors (912superseniors.org).  These websites help you keep track of inflation, especially as it affects what you purchase.  Interesting...

Are we in the end times?  I don't know, but there are plenty of signs that we are getting there.  Again, I would encourage you to read Joel Rosenberg's weblog for a Biblically-based source for what is going on in today's world.  His fiction books are really great as well. They are the type of books that you can't put down once you start reading.  His latest book is The Twelfth Iman and is based on Biblical prophecy Should we be afraid?  No!  The Bible tells us how things will turn out and it is great - if you are a Christ-follower.  Interesting...

Thanksgiving Decorations
After reading this information all morning, I am ready to turn my mind to something lovely - being thankful and looking at something pretty.

I was so excited when I found Pilgrims with colorful clothing!  It is historically accurate and a better reflection of what they believed and lived. (see note in yesterday's blog post)

And, of course, there would have been no Thanksgiving celebration without the local Indians.  They helped the Pilgrims survive by teaching them the farming methods they used, among other things.

Oops, I just noticed the candle is crooked.  I will fix that asap! 

Today's Recipe - Egg Sausage Casserole
There are many varieties of this recipe.  This is a basic recipe - you add whatever you like to the mix.

6 eggs
2 cup milk
6 slices bread, crumbled
1 pound sausage
1 tsp salt
1 tsp dried mustard
1 cup grated cheddar cheese
7 oz can diced green chiles (my own personal tweak to the recipe)

Cook sausage, drain.  Beat milk, eggs, salt, and mustard. Blend in the bread crumbs, sausage and cheese.  Pour into sprayed 9x13 baking dish.  Soak overnight.  Bake at 350 degrees for 40-50 minutes until edges pull away.  Serves 12

Note: Also delicious if you add 1 cup sauteed vegetables - onion, asparagus pieces, bell peppers and garlic.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Don't forget to do good...

Don't forget to do good and to share what you have with those in need, for such sacrifices are very pleasing to God.          Hebrews 13:16

It's very easy this time of year to get focused on your family - what you are going to feed them, what you are getting them for Christmas, etc.  God says that it is good to share with those in need.

I heard a story today on KLOVE about a family that gets Christmas boxes to fill for needy children every year.  The time to fill them came around and the family had enough money to fill the boxes or go to a movie.  The parents presented the choice to the children and they, without hesitation, chose to do good and share what they had to fill the Christmas boxes.  That sacrifice was very pleasing to God!

I would love to hear what your family has done during the holidays to do good and share with those in need.  Please leave your comments.  Maybe we will all be inspired!

More Thanksgiving Decorations

I picked up this corn husk pilgrim so long ago, I don't remember where I got her!  This year she is sitting on the hearth with some of those fall leaves and a cute little pumpkin that says, "In everything give thanks," that I found at Big Lots for $3.50. 

Note: On a trip to Cape Cod several years ago, we took our girls to Plimoth Plantation.  It is a living history museum with costumed interpreters who each portray one of the Pilgrims who came over on the Mayflower.  They act like they really live there and go about their days working, cooking and playing. It is really a fantastic experience.  We had been studying that time period in history and had read The Light and the Glory.  So the girls felt like they were stepping back in history and seeing with their own eyes how those people lived.  One of the things we learned is that although the Pilgrims (Separatists) are portrayed as severe people dressed in black and white, the reality is that they wore lots of different colors and even their furniture was ornately carved and had lots of color, as well.  Interesting!

Today's Recipe - Healthy Pumpkin Custard
This can be put into a pie crust, if you must have pie!

Mix together:
1 tablespoon stevia (6 packets)
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp ground ginger
1/4 tsp ground cloves
1 tsp cinnamon
1/4 cup pure maple syrup

2 beaten eggs
15 oz can pumpkin puree
12 oz. evaporated milk

Pour into a sprayed 1 qt. casserole dish.  Bake in preheated oven at 425 degrees for 15 minutes.  Reduce heat to 350 degrees and bake for an additional 40-50 minutes or until knife inserted in the middle of the custard comes out clean.  Cool and serve with fresh whipped whipping cream. 
Bonus - the custard is gluten free!

Wednesday, November 17, 2010


This blog so far has focused on spiritual issues, family and homemaking.  I must admit that I am most comfortable writing about these things because they are my priorities and take up most of my thoughts and energy. I do know, however, that it is SO easy for these to get out of balance.  Decorating can become an idol if I let it be my focus and ignore other things or relationships.  Hmm...

It is also easy for me to focus on these three topics and to ignore what is going on in our nation and our world.  You could call it Ostrich Syndrome...really just a name for irresponsibility as a Christian citizen. I would much rather think about pretty things, my wonderful family and what I learn when I open my Bible and study.  However, it's the Bible study that kinda throws a kink in things - especially when it comes to the study of prophecy and the parallels with what is happening in our world.  Hmm...

As Christians with the written Word of God, we have an advantage in that we can be aware of what is coming.  We can interpret what is going on in Washington, our country and world, based on Scripture, and be prepared.  Obviously, we need to rely on the Holy Spirit to lead us into truth with wisdom.  We don't need to be afraid because God is very much in control!  Check out Joel Rosenberg's Weblog.  Hmm...

For example:  If there was to be an electrical brownout in your area, a natural disaster or a terrorist attack, would you have the supplies on hand to survive?  Did you know that most grocery stores only have a three day supply of products? What if your water supply was compromised? What would your family need to survive?  Have you thought about it? Chances are if you live in hurricane country, this is just an accepted fact of life. I was reminded of all of this again this morning. As much as I love spending extra money on decorations or gifts for others, I need to spend that money on stocking some survival items.  Hmm...

I recently went to pick up my husband at a major airport and wasn't allowed to wait at passenger pickup.  A police officer graciously informed me that waiting wasn't allowed because the threat level was very high across the country.  They didn't want vehicles sitting any where there would be a lot of people. The possibility is there and it is wise to be prepared.  Hmm...

One of my favorite subjects to teach in school was history.  Amazingly, history has repeated itself over and over because leaders and citizens do not study history and do not recognize the things that lead to the demise of a country.  Do you know why the news people keep talking about inflation and the national debt?  Because it is a big deal!  It is a sign of serious trouble for our country.  Do you know what happens to a country that prints paper money without the gold reserves to back it up?  Do you know that America is not mentioned as a world power in Biblical prophecy?  Be informed and be prepared.  Hmm...

Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests  be made known to God.  And the peace of God, which surpasses all comprehension, shall guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.  Philippians 4:6-7

I love that that verse is followed by this verse:

Finally, brethren, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is of good repute, if there is any excellence and if anything worthy of praise, let your mind dwell on these things.

Thanksgiving Decorations
Let's think about something lovely while we enjoy the peace of God!

I love the plate that my youngest daughter gave me for my birthday a few years ago.  I grew up singing the hymn, but have become aware of how important it is to name every one of my blessings.  The plate sits on the mantle year round as a reminder to count my blessings.  The glass and metal container was purchased using a printable 40% off coupon on Hobby Lobby's website.  I used some of the pieces of that fall leaf bush that is spread around the house and some jeweled faux pumpkins that were 80% off to fill the container.  I will change out the contents for each season.  Simple and lovely!

Today's Recipe - Skillet Cauliflower (Relish magazine)
I'm not a big fan of cauliflower, but this recipe is delicious and easy!

1 cauliflower head, outer leaves and stalk removed and cut into chunks (about 3 cups)
3 tablespoons butter
1/2 tsp coarse salt (I used coarse sea salt)

The recipe says to boil the cauliflower, but I steamed the cauliflower until it was tender, about 15-18 minutes.  Drain well.
Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat.  Add butter.  When sizzling, add drained cauliflower.  Saute until slightly golden, about 10 minutes.
Sprinkle coarse salt on cauliflower before serving.  Serves 3 / 130 calories per serving
Note: It would be pretty to add some diced pimentos and dried parsley to the cauliflower before serving for some color.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

A time to bless others...

Thanksgiving is a wonderful time to bless others.  So many opportunities are made available this time of year to sign up to provide Christmas gifts for those in need.  We have a LEAF (Learning English Among Friends) program at our church and they give church members the opportunity to bless the immigrant children with gifts.

We also get a World Vision Christmas catalog every year with many items to choose from to bless others from our country and other countries around the world at Christmas.  Did you know that $100 will buy a goat and two chickens for two or more families in Africa? Or that $575 will buy two oxen and a plow for a farmer in a third world country?  Or that $160 will buy ten rabbits for a family of AIDS orphans?

We heard about some retired widows who live on social security.  They are good friends and would love to go out to dinner or go see a movie together.  But, finances are tight and they usually end up meeting at McDonald's for coffee.  So, our family decided that instead of making $5 gifts for each other (even though the kids were really creative) or bringing white elephant gifts for an exchange (what do you do with those?), we decided that we will all pitch in to make a Girls' Night Out basket to bless these ladies.  We're going to get gift certificates for a nice restaurant, a movie, and popcorn. How fun will that be?!  "Pure and lasting religion in the sight of God our Father means that we must care for orphans and widows in their troubles..." James 1:27

It would be great to hear how you and your family have blessed others during the holiday season.  Please leave a comment!

Decorating for Thanksgiving

I always decorate for Thanksgiving at the end of September, as soon as the sunshine changes from lemon yellow to golden yellow.  We choose not to celebrate Halloween for personal reasons. 

Right after Halloween is the best time to take advantage of the fall items clearance sales at craft stores.  I went to Hobby Lobby yesterday and they were pretty well cleared out of fall items.  One of the salespeople told me I might be able to get some of the clearance items online.  I might look into that for next year...

Several years ago, I bought a large fall leaf "bush" on clearance.  I took it apart and now place the smaller branches in different places around the house.  The pop of fall color is so pretty.

Today's Recipe - Potato Casserole
This is my mom's recipe and she has been making it for holiday meals for years.  Everyone loves it!  

2 pounds frozen hash brown potatoes
1/2 cup melted butter
1 tsp salt
2 tsp dried minced onion
1 can cream of mushroom soup or cream of chicken soup
2 cups sour cream
2 cups shredded cheddar cheese
1/2 tsp pepper

crushed potato chips
1/4 cup melted butter
2 cups crushed corn flakes

Thaw potatoes and mix all ingredients.  Add topping and bake in a buttered 9x13 glass dish or 2 1/2 qt casserole for 45 minutes at 350 degrees.

Monday, November 15, 2010

A day to stop and reflect...

Thanksgiving is like the calm before the chaos of Christmas in today's world.  Thanksgiving is a day with family and friends and I love that it is a day to stop and reflect on what God has done in our lives.  We don't have to buy anything but food.  And I love setting a beautiful table with amazing food for everyone to enjoy, whether it is just four people or a whole table full, plus some.

Last Thanksgiving was a precious time with family.  We had buried Dad the day before and a sister-in-law and her daughter-in-law put together a feast for us all.  It was a sweet family time as we all had the painful shared experience of losing the patriarch of our family. There were lots of hugs and loving conversations.  And we laughed and played together, as well. 

My honey and I are having Thanksgiving with our "adopted" son, his wife and daughter.  We will miss the rest of our family, but I'm sure we will have a wonderful day of fellowship as we stop and reflect on our blessings and enjoy the yummy gluten free food.  My favorite Thanksgiving recipes (which are gluten free) will be posted the rest of this week and the first three days next week.

Decorating the Table
I learned this little trick from a friend: layer dried beans, peas and lentils in a large glass vase or apothecary jar for an inexpensive base for a pillar candle. I found these orange pods a couple of years ago that look like tiny little pumpkins.  They're so cute!
I purchased a beautiful fall wreath from Hobby Lobby on clearance two years ago to put around the base of the vase (which I got for very little because of a nick in the glass) and placed them both on a fall table runner that I have had for many years. A sprig of faux cattails was tucked under the wreath on each side between the turkeys. The little turkeys are salt and pepper shakers that I also purchased quite a few years ago on clearance. (see the above photo) I'm thinking of adding pheasants or squirrels to the tablescape this year - they are on sale right now at Hobby Lobby. Hmm...

Next week: a family tradition for the Thanksgiving table.  It involves kernels of corn...

Today's Recipe - Moist Pumpkin Muffins

15 oz can organic pumpkin puree
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup half & half
1/4 tsp nutmeg
1 tsp cinnamon
1 large egg
2 tsp vanilla
1/2 cup chopped pecans (opt)
2 1/2 cups flour (use Pamela's Baking Mix if making GF)
Mix all ingredients together and spoon into greased muffin tins.  Sprinkle muffins with raw sugar. Bake at 350 degrees.

48 mini muffins - bake for 15 minutes
12 regular muffins - bake for 18-20 minutes

After baking and cooling:  decorate each muffin with a rosette of cream cheese frosting and a pecan half.

Friday, November 12, 2010

For a wife to be submissive...

We woke up this morning to huge fluffy snowflakes covering everything outside.  It is the first snow of this season and it is beautiful!  The weather forecasters thought we might get a light dusting, but there is already three inches on the ground and more coming down.  The first snow always makes me want to grab a cup of organic spiced cider, a good book or movie and to cozy up on the couch under a warm blanket.  If only I had time to do that this morning...
I have Bible study and then will finish preparations for the girls' retreat that starts tonight.  The topic of study and discussion for the retreat will be the biblical role of a wife.  I'm going to try to keep it simple, let the girls ask questions and have frank conversations with them.  The following quote is from the book Recovering Biblical Manhood & Womanhood - A Response to Evangelical Feminism.  "Within a healthy Christian marriage, as we explain elsewhere in this book, there will be large elements of mutual consultation and seeking of wisdom, and most decisions will come by consensus between husband and wife.  For a wife to be submissive to her husband will probably not often involve obeying actual commands or directives (though it will sometimes include this), for a husband may rather give requests and seek advice and discussion about the course of action to be followed (cf. 2 Corinthians 8:8, Philemon 8-9).  Nevertheless, a wife's attitude of submission to her husband's authority will be reflected in numerous words and actions each day that reflect deference to his leadership and acknowledgment of his final responsibility - after discussion, whenever possible - to make decisions affecting the whole family."
God created Eve because He said it was not good for man to be alone and He created a helper suitable for Adam. What I didn't know, until doing a word study, was that the definition for "helper" means "to surround, protect or aid".  Wow!  I had always thought that only the husband had the protector role in the relationship.  But, girls, part of our role as a wife is in protecting our husbands.  What does that mean? Hmmm... I think that warrants further study! More to come on this misunderstood topic...
I would love your questions or comments on what you have discovered on this issue through Bible study.  It could be a heated discussion in Nanna's Kitchen, but let's keep it loving and honest!

Thanksgiving Decorations

I bought a large silk leafy fall bush and faux sprigs of berries on clearance several years ago and cut all the branches apart to scatter around the house, placing them in random arrangements. Some are the same every year and some are different, depending on how much time I have to decorate.  Have I mentioned lately how much I love fall?!

Today's Recipe - Cream of Mushroom Soup
Colorado Cache
4 servings

1/4 cup butter
3/4 cup chopped green onions, including tops
2 cups chopped fresh shitake mushrooms ( I use baby portabella)
2 tablespoons flour (I use 1 tablespoon cornstarch added to the liquid)
1 cup half & half
1 cup chicken broth
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon black pepper

Saute onions in butter over low heat for five minutes or until tender.  Add mushrooms and cook, stirring, for two minutes.  Add flour and cook, stirring, for three minutes. Remove the pan from the heat and add chicken stock and half & half in a steady stream, whisking.  Bring the soup to a boil over moderate heat.  simmer, stirring, for five minutes.  Add salt and pepper.  Serve.
Note:  Better if made ahead and reheated.
Serve with french bread slices broiled with sliced baby Swiss cheese on top.  Delicious!


Thursday, November 11, 2010

Something delicious...

I remember Mom taking all the homemade leftovers out of the fridge on Saturday and heating them up, providing us with our own buffet from which to choose something delicious to eat. Yum!  So, I didn't understand the reluctance of some of our young married life group when teaching them how to precook dinners to put in the freezer to use on those days where there wasn't enough time nor energy left to prepare a good homemade meal. Then it hit me!  These young couples lived on fast food.  Leftover fast food is gross!  No wonder they were reluctant!  I have since explained to them that precooked meals are NOT the same as leftover fast food.  And they have been more willing to try preparing homemade meals at home. Some of them have become proficient enough to cook something delicious for extended family and friends.  I'm so proud of them!
I enjoy the challenge of using leftover meat and vegetables, adding other ingredients to make something delicious that is entirely different than the original dishes.  It is good stewardship of our grocery money, as well.
Consider this illustration from Priscilla Shirer, "God's good at taking our messes, our leftovers, and doing something good with them.  Parts of all of our lives we'd just as soon forget, yet in the hands of a Master, our mess can become the greatest miracle of all.  He has a way of chopping, dicing, and reconfiguring the parts that we thought were of no use.  He's got a knack for pouring on His Spirit and sprinkling on a bit of grace and mercy.  Then, voila! Fresh out of the oven of a trial or two, there's something delicious from your life that you never thought possible."
Encouraging, isn't it?!

Decorating for Thanksgiving

Now is the time to buy fall decorations at Walmart or Hobby Lobby.  Everything is on sale or on clearance and  you can get some great deals.  I used some things I already had to decorate the front porch - fake mini pumpkins and gourds I bought on sale two years ago, a silk fall leaf "bush" that I had taken apart, several sprigs of fake berries, a large glass vase, a brown candle in a clear votive holder, leftover transparent gold Christmas ribbon and a bag of hazelnuts.  I hit the clearance aisle at Walmart this year and found the rug ($12) and two fall wreaths ($5 each). I paid $8 for the two pumpkins.  I plan on checking out large fake pumpkins at Hobby Lobby to see if I can get them on clearance so I won't have to buy pumpkins each year.  Maybe I will spray them with a little bit of metallic paint to give them some character...

I also have a metal basket that hangs on the wall to the left of the door.  Most of the year it has plants or flowers in it and occasionally a robin's nest complete with eggs, but during the holiday season it gets decorated. 

I put the wreaths on two plant stands that I already had and then put the pumpkin in the middle.  Easy as pie!  You could put a pot of mums inside each wreath instead of the pumpkins. They are inexpensive this time of year and can usually be found at Walmart or home improvement stores.  I always forget to water them so I went with pumpkins this year.

For nighttime ambiance, I put a candle in a clear votive holder into a large clear glass vase (I'll have to find out if there is a way to make this vase amber...that would be lovely) and poured in a bag of hazelnuts, tying the ribbon around the neck of the vase.  So pretty at night!

You can have more elaborate decorations like my friend, Pam, has at Jitters (listed under followers).  Check out her pictures! She has some great ideas for stacking pumpkins in urns.

Today's Recipe - Red Beans and Rice
Our family was first introduced to this simple tasty dish when our oldest daughter went to seminary in New Orleans. You can use leftover rice or leftover beans to make this recipe for something delicious for dinner.

2 - 25 oz cans organic red kidney beans
2 cups water
2 cups chicken broth
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 bay leaves
14 1/2 oz canned diced tomatoes
1 large onion, chopped
1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
1/4 - 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1/4 - 1/2 teaspoon Tabasco
1 teaspoon paprika
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1 teaspoon Tony's Creole Seasoning
1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
hot cooked rice

Put beans, water, chicken broth, garlic and bay leaves in a Dutch oven.  Bring to a boil; then simmer for 20 - 30 minutes. Add the rest of the ingredients, except the rice, cover and simmer for 1 hour until thickened.  Remove the bay leaves.  Serve over hot rice.  It is something delicious!

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

I sing of circles...

It never ceases to amaze me when I discover how people's lives are connected in overlapping circles; when I find something in common with a random person that I meet.  Circles are everywhere; in nature, in our relationships, in our homes.  Look around your home today and see how many circles there are.  It will probably surprise you!  Enjoy this poem from Luci Shaw titled, Circles:

I sing of circles, rounded things,
            apples and wreaths and wedding rings,
        and domes and spheres,
                           and falling tears,
               well-rounded meals,
                                 water wheels,
                 bottoms of bells
                   or walled-in wells;
            rain dropping, golden in the air
                                   or silver on your shining hair;
              pebbles in pewter-colored ponds
                   making circles, rounds on rounds;
        the curve of a repeating rhyme;
                   the circle of the face of time.
    Beyond these circles I can see
                           the circle of eternity.

Does passing of each season fair
                 make of the four a noble square?
          No.  For to each the others lend
             a cyclic, curving, rhythmic blend
      Remember, spring in summer gone
           comes round again.  New spring comes on.

                     The circle in the eagle's eye
            mirrors the circle of the sky,
      the blue horizon, end to end,
                                end to end,
                        over earth's never-ending bend.

The arc of love from God to men
               orbiting, goes to him again.
         My love, to loving God above,
                captures me in the round of love.

Today's Craft Project - My mother-in-law's amazing lamp makeover

My mother-in-law is a very busy woman.  She watches one of her granddaughters during the day, taking her to her different activities.  She also goes to dance recitals, ballgames, horse shows and school programs that her other grandchildren participate in.  Then there are her personal activities - bookkeeping, Bible study, etc.  Yes, she is busy!  So, when my husband told her what I had done for my mom in her home office, she quickly offered her own home office for a makeover.  My middle daughter and I had about six hours to do the makeover.  It still needs painted and some finishing touches, but she loved what we were able to get done.  And we spent about $60 for curtains and sheers, spray paint and scrapbook paper.
When I mentioned to my daughter that I planned on using the lamp that was on her desk, she looked skeptical.  Well, it used to be a fashionable lamp...  I had a few tricks up my sleeve, however, and one of them was using an eggplant colored lampshade we found in the basement.  Glossy white spray paint would finish it off.  And it gave us a jumping off point for our purple and green color scheme - both colors my mother-in-law likes.  When the lamp was finished, I brought it into the office and placed it on the desk.  My daughter couldn't believe how fabulous it looked - for the price of a can of spray paint!  She looked at me and said, "You know...there is another lamp like this in the basement..."



Isn't it pretty?!  Now we need to get some new curtain rods, paint for the walls, a few accessories, fabric for the bulletin board and a fabulous reading chair to replace the dining chair we borrowed from the basement.

Today's Recipe - Italian Vegetable Soup 
Country magazine

1 pound ground beef
1 dup diced onion
1 cup sliced celery
1 cup sliced carrots
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 can (16 oz) tomatoes
1 can (15 oz) tomato sauce
1 can (15 oz) red kidney beans, undrained
1 cup water
1 can (14.5 oz) beef broth
1 tablespoon dried parsley flakes
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon oregano
1/2 teaspoon sweet basil
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
2 cups shredded cabbage
1 cup frozen or fresh green beans, cut in 1-inch pieces (optional)
1/2 cup small elbow macaroni
shredded Parmesan cheese

Brown beef in large heavy kettle; drain.  Add all the ingredients except cabbage, green beans and macaroni.  Bring to boil.  Lower heat; cover and simmer 20 minutes.  Add cabbage, green beans and macaroni; bring to boil and simmer until vegetables are tender.  If you prefer a thinner soup, add additional water or broth.  Sprinkle with the Parmesan cheese before serving.  Yield: 12 servings / 152 calories per serving

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Unrealistic expectations...

Do you ever experience the angst of unrealistic expectations?  I have been thinking about and preparing for a mini-retreat that I am hosting this weekend for the girls in our Life Group.  Unfortunately, my mind went into full blown retreat gear.  I was involved in the leadership of a women's ministry at our church in our former city.  We had wonderful retreats that were fun and creative and always involved a speaker with several sessions each day.  I desired to provide that experience for these girls. I'm a detail oriented gal and my mind went crazy thinking of all the activities and the amazing Bible study we could do.  Houston, we have a problem! My unrealistic expectations for this weekend were plugging my ears to hearing what God wants for this weekend and causing my husband unnecessary  financial anxiety!  
After talking to my daughters about the retreat and listening to their wisdom, I put aside my unrealistic expectations, let God direct my thoughts, and now am looking forward to providing one devotional each day that will encourage them as wives and then just hanging out with them, getting to know them better.  And, of course, we will have a simple but cute craft project that will be a reminder of our weekend. Funny, I don't feel anxious about the weekend anymore...

Decorating Project - Mom's Home Office

Since my dad died, Mom has been overwhelmed with piles of paperwork.  Her home office is in the laundry room and certainly didn't exhibit the beautiful environment that exists in the rest of her home. So, we painted two gray accent walls, organized the paperwork piles, gathered some of her baskets and organized all the little things that one finds in a home office, and made a fabric covered bulletin board for her pictures.  I went to Walmart and purchased a Better Homes & Gardens accent lamp ($10) for the shelf and a couple of desk boxes ($7 each) for paperwork that needs entered into the computer and paperwork that needs to be filed. Mom loved the makeover!


I found little label tags and ribbon in Mom's scrapbook supplies and labeled the little baskets on her desk and shelves - pretty and useful!

Tomorrow: the amazing lamp makeover for my mother-in-law's home office.

Today's Recipe - Roasted Tomato and Black Bean Soup (Reader's Digest)
Makes 4 servings

7 medium tomatoes, quartered
1 large onion, cut into large pieces (about 1 1/2 inches)
3 garlic cloves, peeled
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
5 cups low-sodium chicken or vegetable broth
2 (15.5 oz) cans black beans, drained and rinsed
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cumin
1 teaspoon chili powder
1/4 teaspoon Tabasco
1/4 cup sour cream
1/4 cup chopped cilantro

Preheat oven to 375F.  Toss tomatoes, onion, and garlic with oil, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and 1/4 teaspoon pepper in large bowl, then transfer to baking sheet.  Roast until garlic cloves have softened, edges of onions are browned, and tomatoes have collapsed, 35 to 40 minutes, stirring once after first 20 minutes.
Transfer roasted vegetable mixture to 4-quart saucepan.  Add broth, beans, cumin, chili powder, and remaining 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper.  Bring to boil, reduce heat, and simmer 10 minutes.
Remove from heat and blend until smooth with immersion blender or in batches in regular blender. 
Stir in Tabasco.  Divide among 4 bowls and garnish with dollop of sour cream and sprinkle of cilantro.

Monday, November 8, 2010

Not up for discussion...

I love this quote from Beth Moore, "There is one thing that is not up for discussion - my God, who knows me completely, loves me unfailingly!"  I made a custom frame with this saying for each of my daughters.  More on that below in the craft section...
I have mentioned Beth's new book, So Long, Insecurity - you've been a bad friend to us.  It is a book that every woman of any age should read, especially young women.  All of us girls experience insecurity at some level.  I am so glad I have read it and each of my daughters have read it.  What a difference it has made in our lives.  John 8:32 says, "and you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free."  It has become very apparent in our family that lies that bind and enslave you are passed down through the generations until someone learns the truth.  Many times God uses that person to bring freedom to others in their family.  What a wonderful redemptive God we serve!  I am so grateful that truth is not up for discussion

Today's Craft - Custom Frames

I purchased  simple wood frames with peg stands at JoAnne's Fabric and painted them with black acrylic craft paint.  Then I turned each frame face down on the wrong side of a piece of scrapbook paper and traced around the outside and the inside.  After I cut the shapes out, I put them on the front of the frames and trimmed anywhere it extended past the frame.  Using Mod Podge, I then glued the paper to the frames, using my fingers to smooth out any bubbles.  I bought a wooden initial for each of my daughters at Hobby Lobby and sanded any rough edges.  I painted them black and let them dry - about 10-15 minutes.  When dry, I covered the fronts, sides and backs (that would show after glued to the frame) with green iridescent glitter glue. While the initials were drying, I painted three chipboard hearts black and then covered the front of each one with a scrapbook paper that coordinated with the paper used on each frame. Then I painted each frame and heart with satin finish Mod Podge.  After everything was dry, I glued the initials and hearts to the frames, embellishing them with dimensional stickers. Quick and easy and cute. And a great reminder of what is not up for discussion!

Today's Recipe - Gold Point Potato Soup
When our kids were little, my parents had a week at a condo in Breckenridge, Colorado, every October.  The crisp mountain air and beautiful views made soup a perfect choice for a chilly evening dinner.

6 potatoes, diced
2 tablespoons butter
3 medium carrots, diced
1/4 cup chopped onion
Put in a dutch oven with a little water and cook until vegetables are tender.

2 tablespoons flour
1 quart milk
2 tablespoons parsley
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon Tony's
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 can chicken broth
1/2 cup Velveta cheese, diced
Mix flour and small amount of milk.  Add to the vegetables with the rest of the ingredients and heat through, putting cheese in just before serving.  Delicious with corn bread. 

Friday, November 5, 2010

Grandkids and Chili...

I just enjoyed singing, "I love you a bushel and a peck, a bushel and a peck and a hug around the neck..." to my granddaughter while cuddling and rocking.  Even with her two year old tantrums, she is so precious! I'm going to enjoy every moment with her until we head back home in two days. I won't see her again until Christmas.  But we will get to host our daughter and grandson for two weeks in December.  Can't wait!

Today's Recipe - Calico Chili
This is a recipe that I developed and tweaked over the years.  It is a cold weather favorite.

1 lb. hamburger
1/2 medium onion, diced
1-2 cloves garlic, minced
large can cut tomatoes
1 can each of pinto beans, black beans, red kidney beans, white navy beans (drained and rinsed)
7 oz can diced green chiles
1 tsp oregano
1/2 tsp cumin
2 heaping tablespoons chili powder
1 cup frozen corn kernels
2 shakes Tabasco
water or chicken broth to cover above ingredients

Mix all the ingredients and cook in a dutch oven or crock pot.  Serve with cornbread or chili fixin's - Fritos, chopped onions, chopped tomatoes, sliced black olives, sour cream, avocado, cilantro and shredded cheddar cheese.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

A heart attitude...

"Every time we open the Scripture or hear the Word proclaimed, it ought to be with the prayer that God will open our eyes to see any areas where we have been deceived, and with a heart attitude that says, 'Lord, Your Word is Truth; I will submit to whatever You say.  Whether I like it or not, whether I feel like it or not, whether I agree with it or not, whether it makes sense or not, I choose to place my life under the authority of Your Word - I will obey.'"
                                                                                        Nancy DeMoss

Ok, her heart attitude is a little convicting, isn't it!  The above statement is easy to agree with but difficult to carry out.  I find selfishness creeping in too often. Too many times I do not ask God what it is He has for me that day because I have my own agenda.  None of them are bad things and alot of them are things that have to be done.  But lately I have been wondering what blessings I have missed because of a sinful heart attitude.  I know this is all part of God's work in my life and I am so grateful that I am becoming more and more willing to obey where ever He leads. 

Decorating Project:
Mom's home office is finished!  It is so cute and hopefully a place where she will be more comfortable while she takes care of distasteful tasks.  I will post pictures next week.  So cute!

Today's Recipe - Yummy Healthy Vegetables
It's easy to get stuck in a rut when making vegetables.  So, one day, I experimented with some spices and came up with this tasty recipe.

2 cups mixed frozen vegetables
1/2 cup minced onion
1 clove garlic, minced
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
1/2 teaspoon Tony's Creole Seasoning
1/4 teaspoon tumeric
1/4 teaspoon oregano
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves or cinnamon
salt and pepper to taste

Saute the onion and garlic in the olive oil.  Add the vegetables and saute until soft. If they get dry, add a little water.  Mix the spices and sprinkle over the vegetables, stirring well. 
Can be eaten with a piece of whole grain garlic bread for a quick lunch or served with lean meat or fish and a salad for dinner.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Will I play my part with grace and joy...

Here is an interesting quote from Susan Hunt I ran across in a book I was reading.  I hope it will inspire you.
"History is the story of redemption.  This story is much bigger than I.  I am not the main character in the drama of redemption.  I am not the point.  But by God's grace I am a part of it.  My subplot is integral to the whole.  It is far more significant to have a small part in this story than to star in my own puny production.  This is a cosmic story that will run throughout eternity.  Will I play my part with grace and joy, or will I go for the short-run, insignificant story that really has no point?" 

Tonight, God provided an opportunity to play my part with grace and joy by playing hymns for my aunt on her piano. At first I hesitated when she asked me to play because she has always been such a gifted pianist and still is, even though Alzheimer's is causing her repertoire to become much smaller.   But I conceded and she loved every song I played, telling me it was alright when I hit wrong notes.  She made me laugh, she was so enthusiastic.  My uncle gave me the biggest hug!  Playing my part with grace and joy...

Today's Recipe - Sweet Polenta Pie (from How It All Vegan!)
This is a good recipe to try if you have ever wanted to experiment with a vegetarian recipe.  It is so tasty!

Roasted Veggie Topping:
1 medium carrot, chopped
1 small zucchini, chopped
4 mushrooms, quartered
1 small green pepper, sliced
1 small red pepper, sliced
1 small red onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced

1/2 cup water
1 1/2 tablespoon tomato paste
1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
1 tablespoon pure maple syrup
1 tablespoon olive oil
4 leaves fresh basil, finely chopped
4 Roma tomatoes, chopped
salt and pepper

Preheat oven to 450 degrees.  In a large bowl, combine the vegetables.  Drizzle with a touch of oil and mix well.  Lay them out on a cookie sheet or lasagna pan and roast them in the oven for 15-20 minutes, stirring occasionally, until vegetables are browned.  When done, place 1/2 a cup of the roasted vegetables into a blender or food processor and blend with the water, tomato paste, vinegar, maple syrup, oil, basil, and tomatoes.  Transfer this sauce and the remaining roasted vegetables to a medium saucepan and cook on medium-high heat for 10 minutes.  Add salt and pepper to taste.  Simmer on low heat.

Pie Crust for Sweet Polenta Pie:
1 cup coarse cornmeal
3 1/2 cups water
1 tablespoon oil
salt and pepper

In a medium bowl, whisk together the cornmeal with 1 cup of cold water, then set aside.  In a medium pot, bring the remaining 2 1/2 cups of water to a boil.  Once boiling, add the cornmeal mixture to the water and turn the heat down to medium-low.  Add the oil, salt, and pepper.  Continuously stir the mixture for about 10-15 minutes, until the mixture sticks together and becomes very stiff.  Pour into a lightly oiled pie shell or a casserole dish.  Let set for 5-10 minutes.  Pour veggie topping into pie crust.  Cut into slices.  Makes 4-6 servings.

Monday, November 1, 2010

Please pass the kleenex...

It's almost been a year since Dad passed away, so I was surprised by the emotions that welled up when I saw the plaque under the clock that Mom bought in his honor to put up in the back of the church sanctuary.  Dad was known for his punctuality and the clock is an appropriate reminder of him and his love for his church family.  Please pass the kleenex...
After lunch we drove to the cemetery where I saw the headstone for the first time.  It still seems so surreal that he is not here anymore.  I was ok until we were about to leave.  I know it's just his body in that grave and he is with his Lord, but I have been missing Dad alot lately and seeing the headstone made it undeniable that he really is gone.  Please pass the kleenex...
Mom and I went to Grief Share last night at her church and it was such a blessing to be able to talk openly about how we have all been affected by grief and how we have all handled it and experienced it differently.  No one was judged for their feelings and no one was blown off or patronized or told things like, "It's got to be such a comfort that he/she is in heaven," which I will never say to anyone ever again!  We also talked about things that made us feel guilty - things we could have or should have done. It was a relief to talk about it with people I have known most of my life. God is the God of comfort! I was able to smile through the tears.  Please pass the kleenex...
So, the next time you encounter someone who is grieving, just give them a long hug and tell them you are sorry for their loss and that you are praying for them as they journey the road of grief. And please pass the kleenex...

The weather has been beautiful and we might have a few days left to use the BBQ grill.  This recipe comes from a military wife who is a wonderful person, Lisa Nilsson.  It can be used with any kind of meat and vegetables and always gets lots of compliments with requests for the recipe.

Today's Recipe - Grilled Vegetable Kabobs

Marinade: (put the meat and vegetables in separated baggies or containers)
     1 1/4 cups vegetable oil
     1/2 cup red wine vinegar
     3 cloves garlic, minced
     2 teaspoons brown mustard
     1 1/2 teaspoons dried basil
     1 1/2 teaspoons dried oregano
     1/2 teaspoon dried marjoram
     1/2 teaspoon dried rosemary
     1 teaspoon salt
     1/2 teaspoon pepper

12 new potatoes (1-2" diameter)
2 carrots, cut into 1/2" slices
2 medium zucchini, cut in 1" slices
1 small red pepper, cut in sixths
1 small green pepper, cut in sixths
1 large onion, cut in sixths and separated in 1/4" layers
6 large fresh mushrooms
meat for 6 people, cut in chunks

Cook potatoes in water until tender.  Cook carrots about 6 minutes until crisp tender.  Divide all vegetables between two large gallon baggies and put meat in another baggie.  Whisk together the marinade ingredients and pour 1/3 of the marinade in each baggie and seal.  Shake to coat vegetables and meat and let marinate in the refrigerator for 2-4 hours, turning bags several times.
Drain and reserve vegetable marinade for basting during grilling.  Put vegetables and meat on skewers and grill for 15-20 minutes.

Ok, I have to get back to helping Mom wade through the overwhelming piles of paper in her home office.  Her office beautification was one of my main goals for this trip so she will enjoy being in her office as she takes care of the unpleasant business of paperwork and bills. I will post pictures next week of her office makeover.