Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Recipe of the Week - Baked Beans

For all of you who knew and loved Marie Terry, this is her baked beans recipe.

BROWN:  1 lb. ground beef
                1 diced onion
                1 diced green pepper (bell)
Drain above after cooking

Mix and add to beef mixture
                 2 cans (1 lb. each) pork and beans
                 1 cup catsup
                 1/2 cup brown sugar
                 3 TBSP mustard
                 2 TBSP Worchestershire Sauce

Bake UNCOVERED  for 45 minutes.

As all of you know, there is no such thing as a 16 oz can of anything.  What I do is buy an extra can and measure out to exact amount.  You can eyeball and it would be ok.


Monday, March 28, 2011

Sharing Your Oreos - Nellita Young

I had a good laugh the other day while watching a clip of a video by the comedienne Chonda Pierce.  She was talking about trying to lose weight and said that she had even gone so far as to buy a new workout tape.  However, she added, “Every time I put the tape in, I GAIN four pounds!”  (Much laughter ensued.)  Then she explained, “I put the tape in the TV, sit on the couch, open up a big bag of Oreos, and yell, ‘Go, Jane!  Go, Jane! Go, Jane!’”  Sadly, I can relate!!

However, even though Chonda was relating something about her physical life, her story seems to parallel the spiritual lives of many of us.  Our churches are literally FILLED with those of us ladies who have been believers for years, seldom missing a Sunday School class, a ladies’ retreat, or a Bible study opportunity.  In fact, most of us have enrolled in every Bible study that Beth Moore, Kay Arthur, Phyllis Shirer, and many others, have ever written.  Yet, we tend to sit in our pews week after week shouting, “Go, Beth!  Go Kay!  Go Phyllis!”   We have become content putting in the tapes, then sitting comfortably while we reach into our bags of spiritual snacks, feeding ourselves, and cheering others on to do the work for us.  In so doing, many of us have become spiritually sluggish and are weighted down with a few extra pounds of apathy. 

Lest you think I am beginning to sound like Jillian Michaels (“The Biggest Loser”) -- criticizing weaknesses and pointing out faults -- I can assure you that I am not.  It is just time for us to take that wonderful knowledge that we have gleaned from all those studies as well as from years of experience and begin pouring it into the lives of others.  It is time to start sharing that bag of “Oreos”!!!  There is just a great need for our ladies to mentor other young members in the faith who may need our godly support and guidance. 

Titus 2:3 (NIV) says, “Likewise, teach the older women to be reverent in the way they live, ... . “  Verse 4 then follows with … “Then they can train the younger women … .”  Now, I will admit that most of us would resent someone approaching us and asking, “Would you like for me to give you a little advice on  …  how to raise your children, how you ought to be dressing or acting or treating your spouse.”  However, deep within, I think most of us truly desire to grow in the Lord and we want to be the best mother, wife, sister, daughter, friend, neighbor, co-worker that we can be!   So … how do we accomplish this scriptural mandate without becoming offensive in our approach?  I think a key lies in verse 3 of Titus 2 when it says “… in the way they live.”  In other words, much of this is connected to building relationships with others. You can bet that even though others may not ask for our advice, they are more than likely watching how we live our lives!

So how DO we accomplish this?  One way is to begin building relationships with others in our church and in our community.  You may notice a younger woman who could really benefit from having a couple of hours off just to run to the grocery store.  Maybe you could offer to baby sit for her every so often.  Build that relationship!  Share your “Oreos!”  Or perhaps you have some gifts that you could share with others:  couponing, quilting, cooking meals for the month, organizing, making jewelry, scrapbooking, etc.  Maybe you could invite a few ladies over who seem to be interested in what you are skilled in.  Over time you will begin to develop a special relationship where the younger women might eventually feel comfortable in asking you questions in areas where you could give godly advice.  Or how about doing what OUR mothers and grandmothers did … asking someone over to sit on the front porch and swing, sharing a glass of iced tea and a plate of cookies and just chatting!!  You see, you do not have to teach a class or stand on a stage in front of a microphone in order to mentor someone else.  You merely have to be willing to pour your life into theirs.

Now, the sticky point is … who IS considered older and who IS considered younger?  Will all the “older women” please raise your hands??  Ooops!  I don’t see any!!!  If you are like me, there are days that I feel like I am 16 inside and can do ANYTHING, and there are other days that I feel too old to even get out of bed!!  But, I can tell you this … NONE of us “have arrived.”  None of us know it all.  We are older than some ladies, but we are also younger than others.    In other words, we can be trainers to some women, but there are always women stronger in the faith from whom we can learn. 

So … it is time to get up off your pew and ask God to show you how you can share your “bag of Oreos” with others!  Then, LISTEN and be willing and available to do what He tells you to do.  “ … train yourself to be godly.  For physical training is of some value, but godliness has value for all things, holding promise for both the present life and the life to come”  (I Timothy 47b – 8).

Friday, March 25, 2011

Stories - Tony Manley

 “But He knows the way that I take; when He has tested me, I will come forth as gold.” Job 23:10
“…let us run the race marked out for us.”  Heb. 12:1

I love a good life story.  The fairy tale of “and they lived happily ever after.  The End.”  I love the movie, Steel Magnolias - the camaraderie of these women who know the good, bad, and ugly of each other’s lives, the years of friendship, and the great dialogue/writing in the movie!  I say all of this because hearing, watching, or reading someone else’s story is one of my absolute favorite pastimes.  I am amazed and drawn to a life that has experienced the joy of being raised in a Christian home, receiving the gift of salvation at a young age, going to church all their life, finding their Christian prince charming, having children – who in turn start the cycle all over and get to enjoy the journey without baggage – I love these stories!!  I also love stories – like mine- that are messy and have mistakes made throughout them.  Yet, God graciously and faithfully attends to those life stories by transforming “ashes into beauty.”  (Isaiah)

I have just gulped down two books about two mothers’ lives that are on my heart.  Dancing With Max by Emily Colson and Choosing to See by Mary Beth Chapman.  Two women who love the Lord with all their hearts that are living stories they would not have gone to the store and bought, but they are faithfully staying on the path that God has marked for them.  Both mothers have suffered loss to some dreams, seek the truth of God’s presence and peace in pain, and (this is what I love) are telling their story from hearts of gold – they are reflecting Christ to the reader.  Their transparency about not wanting this story, the difficulty and disappointment of what they are living as their daily normal is an encouragement to me as I “listen” to God’s overwhelming  goodness to provide the strength to persevere and to experience joy, peace, provision, and protection in their hearts.  My husband and I talk often about our commitment to not grow old with a bitter and weary heart.  Life can do that.  While reading these women’s hearts (stories) I loved hearing the praise (sometimes, a lot of time) of their testimony that God handles their mads, questions, fears, resentments, all the emotions I can identify in my heart from time to time – all the while I see gold coming forth from their heart.  Again, I love people’s stories and as Truvy in Steel Magnolias says, “Everybody’s got a story!”  I want to be faithfully willing to tell the story of God’s way for me and to reflect gold as I run with perseverance His race marked out just for me!

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Hot Fudge Brownie Cake

Ok girls, lets go for this yummy, yummy cake this week

1 cup all-purpose flour
2 Tbsp. unsweetened cocoa
2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
1 1/4 cups granulated sugar, divided
1/2 cup milk, at room temperature
3 Tbsp. vegetable oil
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa
1 1/2 cups boiling water

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Stir together flour, next 3 ingredients, and 3/4 cup granulated sugar in a large bowl; stir in milk, oil, and vanilla.  Spread batter in a lightly greased 8-inch square pan. 

Recipe does not call for butter, however, when I make this next time, at this point I will put some small pats of butter on batter.

2. Combine brown sugar, cocoa, and remaining 1/2 cup granulated sugar in a small bowl; sprinkle over batter in pan.  Using a spoon, gently drizzle 1 1/2 cups boiling water over batter, being careful not to disturb layer. (DO NOT STIR)

3.  Bake at 350 degrees for 45 minutes or until a cake layer forms on top and layer springs back when touched.  Let cool on a wire rack 25 minutes.  (IF YOU CAN WAIT THAT LONG)  Serve warm with whipped cream or ice cream.

I actually checked mine at 38 minutes and I felt like it was done. Use your own judgment.

This is one of the easiest recipes you will ever try.  Also, an 8x8 pan doesn't sound like much, but this stuff is so rich it goes a long way.


Monday, March 21, 2011

Fill My Cup Lord by Laurie McTier (On The Go Ministries)

Fill My Cup Lord by Laurie McTier  (On The Go Ministries)

"According as his divine power hath given unto us all things that pertain unto life and godliness, through the knowledge of him that hath called us to glory and virtue: Whereby are given unto us exceeding great and precious promises:."  2 Peter 1: 3,4

One morning, I woke up a little late as I didn't hear my alarm going off. I just up out of bed, grabbed a cup of coffee, and a shower, and then went into my office to spend time with the Lord.

In my heart, I knew I was running late, but I really wanted to hear a word from God, so I knew I needed to spend time with Him in the Word and in prayer. As I began to pray, God reminded me of a hymn we have sung for years, "Fill My Cup Lord."

This has become my prayer each morning as I start my day. As I read today's scriptures, God gave me the following prayer points.

Fill My Cup Lord with Your Divine Power.

Fill My Cup Lord with Your Abundant Blessings.

Fill My Cup Lord with Your Zeal for Life and Godliness.

Fill My Cup Lord with Your Knowledge of Your Word.

Fill My Cup Lord with Your Calling through which I Glorify You.

Fill My Cup Lord with Your Exceeding and Precious Promises.

God wants us to set out each day to accomplish His agenda for our lives. He wants us to start each day with Prayer and His Word. As we seek to know Him intimately, He will Fill Your Cup to Overflowing!

Prayer Focus: Pray for a Renewed Sense of God's Presence, His Power, and His Promises.

Friday, March 11, 2011


"Oh how feeble is man's power that if good fortune fall
cannot add another hour nor a lost hour recall!
But come bad chance
and we join to it our strength and we teach it art and length.
Itself over us to advance."
Song by John Donne

Tomorrow in British Lit. we will study John Donne. Tonight as I prepare for my lesson, this particular stanza reminds me that life's misfortunes, though temporary and staining, leave lifelong impressions that require of us strength and steadfastness.

Something terrible happens to us, sometimes in a moment. It seems harsh, I mean harsh in the abruptness of it. We wonder about the warning. Was there no warning at all or did we just not see it? For me, it was a sudden car crash that resulted in the death of my father at age 21. As Donne so proudly put it, we "cannot add another hour nor a lost hour recall!" So I am again reminded that I cannot add time to or subtract time from any misfortune. Although, as Donne so beautifully says, " we join to it our strength, and we teach it art and length." So Jesus, the perfect author of our faith, more importantly tells us He makes all things come together for good to those who love Him. I reflect back on the two years we have lived in Ghana. I think of how much harder the first year was than this second year. It was not only financially difficult, but emotionally and physically. As with every hard trial in life, we look back now and see how God was adding to us strength and steadfastness..

Growing up we are often taught not to discuss money matters outside of the family. This is reason enough to explain the hesitation Chris and I feel when writing in a newsletter how God continues to provide for us financially. Of course, generally speaking, one might believe it is sufficient to stop at that. However, this morning I can't stop thinking about what God actually meant when he said if I keep quiet, the very rocks will cry out. What harm really is there in being completely honest about the details in answered prayer? Will God be offended? I decided He can only receive as much glory as the amount of information I choose to provide about what is actually taking place in our prayer life.

Most of you are aware that our house stayed empty and for sale for an entire year. This put some financial strain on us, especially when the pipes burst and flooded some rooms last Christmas. Altlhough each month as our needs were met, at the end of the month we were back at zero. Two weeks before we were to return to Africa from summer break, we received a call from Mr. Manley who is the headmaster at SBEC in Southaven, MS. He told us he had heard of our situation and our homeowners assocation was not allowing us to rent our home. He asked us if we might be willing to have a family whom he had recently hired to live in our house rent free until they could sell their house. He explained how they would take care of any bills we had each month including the upkeep of it. This relieved us of the water, electric, yard care, property taxes and insurance which had increased drastically since our house was empty. This family has been such a blessing to us this year, as they have fixed many things around the house and kept it looking presentable to show.

We thank God for the sale of our house. We have been asking God to provide enough money for us to fly home this summer. Because the sale of our house is a unique situation, after closing costs, attorney fees, and paying back the money owed after the pipes burst, we did not have the funds available to fly home for the Summer.

I woke up one morning and in prayer told God if He wanted us to stay in Accra this summer, I would be fine with that. I told Him I really truly believed in His soverereignty and in His provision for us. Two hours later I received a call from Chris. He explained to me that he had just recieved an email from an unexpected source telling us that 11,000 dollars was to be put in our account that week. This was enough to cover the costs for our family to fly home.

We thank God for providing land for a new school. Oil has been discovered in Ghana and with this discovery will come many new people coming to Accra. We expect to make available a new Christian school facility capable of educating and ministering the gospel to more students by August 2012. One of Charlye's muslim friends discussed with her that her that he believes in Jesus and would like to make a profession of faith when he gets older. As a muslim, a child can be ostercized from his family for converting to Christianity. Please pray not only for Charlye's friend but for her brother.

*Spreading of the gospel in Ghana. More and more God is showing us that is the 1 main reason we are left on earth. That is the mission we are all a part of.
*Summer for us. A time of rest and refreshing.
*School Unity
*School building
*Good health and safety for our family

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Recipe of the Week - Chicken Chow Mein

From Saundra Stroud: 

This is so easy, however, you will have everyone thinking you have spent hours in the kitchen cooking.


1/2 cup butter
1 medium onion, chopped
2 cups celery, cut on bias
1 1/2 cups chicken broth
1 tsp salt
dash black pepper
1 can bean sprouts (drained)
1 can mixed chinese vegetables (drained)
1 can fancy chinese vegetables (drained) - These are "kinda" hard to find.  You can use just the chinese vetetables. 
You could also add a can of the small ears of corn on the cob  (optional)
1 can water chestnuts,sliced (drained)
2 cups cooked chicken  (Sam's roasted chickens are great)

Melt butter in large pot.  Add onions and cook for 3 minutes.  Add celery, salt and pepper, and broth.  Cover and cook for 5 minutes on medium heat.  Add all the drained vegetables and chicken.  Mix throughly and cook an additional 5 minutes.

Combine:    2 TBS cold water, 2 TBS cornstarch, 1 TBS soy sauce, 1 tsp. sugar. 
Pour into pot and simmer for 2 or 3 minutes or until liquid is thickened (some)

Prepare rice.  Plate over the rice.
If not enough soy sauce for you, just add individually to your plate.
For some crunch, add chinese noodles (hard) on top.  These are found in a can along with the other items above.

Serve with a salad and you have a quick and easy meal.

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Recipe of the Week - Mexican Lasagne


1 lb of ground beef
1 onion chopped (medium)
1 can corn (whole)
1 can black beans
1  pkg cream cheese
1 pkg taco seasoning
1 can rotel
2 to 3 pkgs of shredded cheddar or mexi blend (or whatever)
1 cup water
9 lasagne-----Boil in water according to directions

Brown meat----drain
Add onion
Sprinkle taco seasoning-------add cup of water
Stir cream cheese into mixture
Add corn and beans    (Make sure these have been drained)
SIMMER  10 minutes

Spray 10 x 13 pan  (metal or glass)  Pampered Chef is great

Layer noodle----meat-----cheese
End with noodles & cheese   (I  really like for the top to be completely covered with the cheese)  Makes for a nice top

Bake 20 minutes @350  (COVERED)  or until the cheese is bubbly


Perfect hardboiled eggs

Bring eggs to a boil in pan.  Boil less than a minute.  Turn off heat.  Leave in pan with water for 15 minutes.  Rinse and peel and you will never have green eggs again.