Monday, June 27, 2011

I Want To See - Tony Manley

“What do you want Me to do for you?”  Jesus asked him. The blind man said, “Rabbi, I want to SEE.”  Mark 10:51
“Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall SEE God.” Matt. 5:8
“Open my eyes that I may SEE wonderful things in your law.” Ps. 119:18
“Mary Magdalene went to the disciples with the news: “I have SEEN the Lord!”  John 20:18a
“The disciples were overjoyed when they SAW the Lord.”  John 20:20b

I love the question Jesus asked the blind man.  The answer is expected, yet complicated!  A blind person would say, “I want to see” because he knows he is blind, but what about the person who doesn’t know what he needs?

I have asked and lately been answering this question in my heart.  What do I want Jesus to do for me?  I found that the things I wanted I had already been given –joy, peace, forgiveness, contentment, faith, His presence, His attention, His guidance, comfort, His Word, promises, His ways.  So, what is it that keeps me from SEEING clearly and correctly that I have what I want? 

I think I am learning (SEEING) that God wants me to SEE Him in my moments - the good, bad, and the ugly.  God wants me to SEE Him in people –the good, bad, and the ugly.  God wants me to SEE Him in the circumstance – the good, bad, and the ugly.  This is my struggle: to SEE God in the everything and the everywhere.  Yes, I want to know He is in the “thing,” but I want to make His image fit my expectation or “how I think this should be!”

SEEING God with my heart in the moment (after all, isn’t life just a whole bunch of moments stacked together?) frees me.  The times I truly SEE Him, I catch myself at peace!  The warring is diminished and the moment is given to faith in His heart.  Can I just say- I love when my “heart eyes” are focusing well!!!

All of us as pilgrims are at different places on the path…so I know the terrain for our place on the journey looks different, but each of us has access to the One who opens our eyes and causes us to SEE clearly.  Whether raising children, navigating marriage, juggling people, work, health, finances, or calamities, the number one need for a child of God is to SEE God.  He always SEES us, our hearts, thoughts, and loves us perfectly.  I say let’s learn to SEE Him moment by moment and encourage one another to keep SEEING – never giving up. Blind Bartimaeus made a spectacle of himself shouting at Jesus when he heard that Jesus was coming, even when people told him to hush! (MK. 10:47-48)

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Receipe of the Week - Mrs. Nellita's Banana Bread

If you have ever eaten Nellita's Young's banana bread, you know how delicious it is.  So simple and makes two loaves.


Banana Bread:

1 cup butter                            
1 ½ cups sugar 
4 very ripe bananas, mashed 
2 large eggs, beaten   
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
4 tablespoons buttermilk                    
2 cups all purpose flour
1 ½ teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon salt

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Cream butter and sugar.  Mash bananas; add beaten eggs, vanilla and buttermilk, mixing well.  Add banana mixture to butter and sugar mixture.  Sift together flour, soda and salt; add to banana mixture, beat well.  Pour into 2 greased and floured 9x5x3 inch loaf pans.  Bake for 45-50 minutes or until bread pulls away from sides of pan.  Yield:  2 loaves


4 tablespoons butter
7 tablespoons dark brown sugar
3 1/2 tablespoons milk
1 cup (or more if desired) chopped nuts

Melt butter in saucepan.  Add sugar and milk, mixing well until sugar dissolves.  Cook until consistency of syrup.  Remove from heat and add chopped pecans.  Spoon evenly over each loaf, spreading to all corners.  Place under broiler until bubbly and brown.  Watch closely so topping does not burn.

Hope you enjoy!!

Monday, June 20, 2011

Hawaiian Punch!

I came across this drink recipe the other day and thought it looked too good not to share!   Definitely a yummy summer treat! - angie

Yummy vitamin filled punch!

2 medium bananas, cut into chunks
1 ripe mango, cut into chunks
1 ripe papaya, cut into chunks
4 cups unsweetened pineapple juice
4 cups seltzer

In a blender add bananas, mango, papaya, and pineapple juice. Puree until smooth, and pour into glasses.

Serves 8

Friday, June 17, 2011

Therefore - Tony Manley

“Therefore, as God’s CHOSEN people, HOLY, and DEARLY LOVED, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience.  Bear with one another and forgive whatever grievances you may have against one another.  Forgive as the Lord forgave you.  And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity.” Col. 3:12-14

“I now pronounce you man and wife.  Let no man put asunder what God has joined together.”

I have just celebrated thirty four years of marriage!  Happy anniversary to me!  I was chosen, perceived holy (?), and dearly loved by my groom.  Recently, I mentally went over the marriage trip I have been on and continue traveling.  Having married in college at the mature age of barely twenty, I had spent a lifetime majoring in self.  So, I was the guru of marital advice and believed I was THE standard for marriage bliss!  How hard could it be…? 

Then three months later, I became a saved church member and life was soon to take a new direction – the Holy Spirit along with God’s word became my new standard, teacher, and desire.  A new heart can revolutionize any circumstance or relationship!  God’s clothing would become and still are my “necessary” garments (every season shouts the “necessary” pieces) – whether armor, daily wear, or even the beautiful linen He provides.  But the list in Colossians 3 is an absolute must to be worn before I ever begin the appointments God has for me that day as a wife or child of His! I have learned that marriage is a revealer of the heart and is a wonderful way to grow in grace!

My desire for my grandchildren or anyone thinking of being a bride is:  spend your life preparing and becoming the best bride to Christ, your Groom, so that if or when you become a “skin” bride, the transition will be a more smooth and enjoyable trip!  The Colossians verses are such a necessity in being a beautiful bride!

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Recipe of the Week - Fry Batter

Ok. I know we all claim we do not fry food anymore.  But every once in a while it is fine.  This is a fry batter you can mix up and use more than one time.  I love to use it for fried tomatoes, squash, zucchini, and eggplant.

Fry Batter

3/4 cups cornstarch
1/4 cup flour or meal (Actually I always add a little corn meal to mine)
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 cup water
1 egg
salt & pepper to taste

Mix well

Recipe of the Week - Zucchini Bread

Garden items will soon be in abundance.  This Zucchini Bread is easy and freezes well.  How many times have you wondered, "What in the world am I going to do with all of this zucchini?"  Well, make this bread, wrap it in foil, put it in a Ziplock bag, and pull it out of the freezer when needed.  It is great with a cup of coffee.  

Zucchini Bread

1 cup oil
3 eggs
2 cups sugar
2 cups grated zucchini, peeled
1 tsp salt
2 tsps vanilla
3 cups flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp baking soda
3 tsps cinnamon
1 cup chopped pecans (optional)

Blend oil, eggs, sugar, zucchini, salt, & vanilla. STIR in dry ingredients and nuts.  DO NOT BEAT.  Spoon batter into 2 well greased & floured loaf pans.  (I add some sugar to the bottom of my pans after I flour and grease them. Just some more calories. Ha Ha)

Bake 1 1/2 hours at 300 degrees

As you can see, this will have the same consistency as banana bread.

Extra tip: Did you know you can freeze raw zucchini?  Just grate it and bag it in amounts for your favorite recipes.  Then freeze it until needed.  Be sure to thaw and squeeze out excess water before using.  

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Beat the heat! Watermelon Gazpacho recipe!

This is a mildly spicy soup.

8 cups cubed seeded watermelon
1 apple, diced
1/2 cup finely chopped Vidalia onion
1/2 cup finely chopped green pepper
2 teaspoons fresh basil
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon coarsely ground pepper
1/2 teaspoon chili powder
1 tablespoon cider vinegar

In a blender, puree watermelon with the apple and 1/4 cup each of the onion and green pepper; pour into a large mixing bowl. Stir in the remaining ingredients (including the other 1/4 cup of onion and green pepper). Refrigerate, covered, for at least an hour to blend flavors.

Serves 4-6

Friday, June 10, 2011

Sharing a Little "Dirt" With You - Nellita Young

Dirt under the fingernails … sweat dripping from the forehead … back aching from bending over.  Yes -- I LOVE IT!!!  SPRINGTIME … one of my favorite times of the year!  I am not a painter, but in a sense, the yard is my artist’s palette.  It has also become my textbook each year because God continually manages to use my yard and flower garden to remind me of many of His life’s lessons as I dig into the soil and enjoy His beautiful nature.  I will share just a few of those lessons with you now.


“Wait a minute!!  Don’t I know you???  I am almost certain that I recognize you!!  You are that stinkin’ weed that I pulled up last year in this very flower bed … and the year before that … and the year before that!”

But, then I remembered … last year I was preparing for an event at my home, so in a moment of haste, I just jerked the head off that weed.  No one could see its head above the ground now!  However, neither could I see its roots growing deeper and gaining strength underneath!  And not only that, it was also producing more weeds like itself so that when it returned the next year, it brought many more with it!

Each year as I pull weeds from my flower beds, God gently but firmly reminds me of Hebrews 12: 15 … “See to it that no one misses the grace of God and that no bitter root grows up to cause trouble and defile many.”  Just as I need to deal with the root of the weeds in my flower beds, I also need to deal with the root problems of any personal conflicts I may have.  Outwardly, I may pretend that everything is fine, but unless I deal with removing the ugly growth hidden deep within me, that bitterness will only continue to grow.  And as it grows, it spreads and begins to affect others … family members, friends, co-workers, church members, neighbors.  My bitterness will not only destroy me, it will defile MANY others as well! 


As I was out walking around my yard the other day, I noticed one tiny pansy poking its head up from the hard-packed soil on the side of my driveway.  It was definitely a mistake!!  Perhaps the plant had been dropped there by an overzealous bird or possibly it was a remnant from the clean-up of my winter bed of pansies, just refusing to die!  Nevertheless, it was certainly out of place there!  So I took my trowel and gently slid the blade beneath the root of that plant, lifted it up, and then carefully moved it to a safer environment, giving it a much needed second chance to grow and to flourish.  How grateful I am for a God of Second Chances in my own life!!!  Psalm 32: 5 says, “Then I acknowledged my sin to you and did not cover up my iniquity.  I said, ‘I will confess my transgressions to the Lord’ – and you forgave the guilt of my sin.”  Psalm 103: 12 adds the crowning jewel:  “… as far as the east is from the west, so far has he removed our transgressions from us.” 

A cartoon once appeared in the New Yorker Magazine showing a frustrated daddy speaking to his prodigal son … “O.K., this is the fourth time we have killed the fatted calf!”  Yet, God has forgiven us (ME) over and over again … by carefully sliding His blade beneath my roots and moving me gently to a place beneath His protective arms where I can flourish under His care, giving me yet another chance to “grow in grace.”


Are there some spring flowers that are your absolute FAVORITES?  I am always so excited when the delicate, lacy, pink and white peonies open up in all their glory.  And what about the regal irises!  So beautiful!!!  The bright yellow forsythia and the purple phlox put on quite a show as well.  But have you noticed that as lovely as they are, they only last a short period of time, and then they are gone!  I still love these beautiful, splashy flowers and anticipate their arrival each year, but I have also learned in recent years to appreciate more those plants that are steadfast.

As I have closely observed the unusual leaves of the hostas, the interesting fronds of the various ferns, and the fascinating shades in the evergreens, I have come to value these steadfast plants more and more.  They come back year after year; they do not seem to need a lot of special attention; and yet they provide an exceptional beauty all their own.  Most of all, they always seem to make the other plants look prettier.  These are the “background plants,” not flashy but dependable.  Almost as if taking on the humility that Jesus inspires in all of us, they seem to “… esteem others better than themselves”  (Phil. 2: 4b).  We could certainly learn from these steady plants – faithful, dependable – always maintaining their position in the garden of working to make others better, to put value into those around them. 

So often we are taken with the beautiful face or the stylish dresser, that we tend to overlook those steadfast, background people.  .  “Instead, it should be that of your inner self, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is of great worth in God’s sight”  (I Peter 3:4).  “Charm is deceptive, and beauty is fleeting; but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised  (Prov. 31:30). 


Several years ago at the end of school, a student presented a fellow teacher and me with beautiful potted plants as a parting “thank you” gift.  Since I worked most of the summers, I just kept my plant in my office, but my friend, Ann, took hers home.  At the beginning of the next school year, here comes Ann up the hall lugging this huge (No, … make that HUGE), lush potted plant that looked like it had just leapt off the pages of a glossy garden magazine!  She had even transplanted it to a different, much larger pot from the pink foil-wrapped plastic one that the original plant came in.  I took a quick glance over my shoulder at the scrawny little “stick” on my desk to make sure it was the same plant.  Surely enough, the leaves were somewhat recognizable.  And, yes, my bright pink foil was still wrapped around my pot, though it was a tad faded, and the sad ribbon was still hanging loosely by a thread.  But my plant was now made up of about three tall, scraggly stems with three or four yellowish-green leaves desperately clinging for life – certainly not like the green flowering “bush” that Ann had brought in.  Our plants were reminiscent of the girl from New York who had come back home to visit her country cousin -- the one bright and flashy, the other puny and homely!!

What was the difference?  It was the same plant.  We received them both at exactly the same time.  The fact is, Ann lovingly and faithfully fed hers, watered and fertilized it (and knowing her, she probably even SANG to it!).  I, on the other hand, might have dumped a cup of water in mine maybe every couple of weeks or so, if I thought about it.  And feed it??  Never!!  I was just too busy with other things to even think about it. 

This reminds me so much of our Christian walk.  Have you ever noticed perhaps when two people made a commitment to Christ at the same time?  Both seemed genuinely excited and ready to serve Him.  Years later you may have observed that one is still excited about the Lord, seizing every opportunity to minister.  This person may have even gone through some intense times of trials and heartache; yet, she has remained strong in the midst of tragedy, relying totally upon The Lord to see her through.  The joy of The Lord has truly been her strength!  It has only caused her to grow and to flourish.  Yet, the other person seems to have remained at the starting gate.  She never has time to serve in any capacity because of other “personal obligations.”  Just “too busy!” When hard times have hit, she has become angry, confused, and even depressed and discouraged – often to the point of quitting!  What is the difference?  The first person has taken the time to be fed and watered – to “grow in grace and in the knowledge of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ” (2 Peter 3:18).   She has been willing to “study to show herself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the Word of truth” (2 Tim. 2:15).  She has continued to “work out (develop; mature) her salvation …” (Phil. 2: 12b).

You see, just like our plants, if we are going to grow in the Lord and mature and flourish as Christians, we must be fed and watered and fertilized daily.  We have got to study our Bibles.  We have got to take the time to talk with the Lord – our Creator – to get our instructions for the day.  We have got to be willing to give of ourselves in order to serve others.  And it is through this that we will see tremendous growth in our lives. 


As I plant new seeds each year, it is with a hope that something special will emerge as a result of the work that I have put forth.  I have noticed that if I do it right – plant in the right soil; apply the “Big Three” at the proper times – food, water, & fertilizer; and abide by the directions (correct sunlight or shade, right distance apart, etc.) – then I usually have a pretty good chance at success in growing what I have planted.  Our lives carry the same rules for the most part.  We do indeed “reap what we sow” (Gal. 6: 7).  So … what are you growing in life’s garden???

            Ephesians 4:16 … “From him the whole body, joined and held together by every supporting ligament, grows and builds itself up in love, as each part does its work.”

2 Peter 3:18 …  “But grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.

            2 Thess. 1:3 …  “We ought always to thank God for you, brothers, and rightly so, because your faith is growing more and more, and the love every  one of you has for each other is increasing.”

            Isa. 40:31 …      “… but those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength.  They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary,
they will walk and not be faint.”

However, just as we can glean some wonderful plants from our efforts, if we are not careful, we can raise a crop of undesirable things as well.  I have some kind of ground cover that has managed to get into my flower beds that I absolutely cannot seem to get rid of.  I do not know if it came in with another plant that I planted or if it blew into my yard from a neighbor’s garden; nonetheless, I cannot seem to get rid of it, and it tends to take over wherever it lands. The worse part is that it chokes out some of my more desirable plants.  And it grows EVERYWHERE … even in the gravel!!!  There are just some plants that we do not want!!!

Likewise, there are some things that we must guard against that will crop up in our lives if we are not careful, and they are so difficult to remove once they get there!!  So, watch out for these undesirables:

            Matt. 24:12 …   “Because of the increase of wickedness, the love of most will grow cold … .”

          Jer. 5: 27 - 28 …”… they have become rich and powerful and have grown fat and sleek.  Their evil deeds have no limit;”

            Psa. 143:4 …    “So my spirit grows faint within me; my heart within me is dismayed.”

            Isa. 40:30 …      “Even youths grow tired and weary, and young men stumble and fall;”

            Job 17:7 …       “My eyes have grown dim with grief;”

            Prov. 20:13 …   “Do not love sleep or you will grow poor; stay awake and you will have food to spare.”

            Ezek. 28:5 …     “By your great skill in trading you have increased your wealth, and because of your wealth your heart has grown proud.”

 Are you growing in love, grace, knowledge, faith, and strength?  Or are you growing cold, fat, faint, tired, weary, dim, poor, and proud??? So … to paraphrase a popular commercial … “WHAT’S IN YOUR GARDEN???”


Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Recipe of the Week - Layered Salad

Thank you to Mrs. Saundra for sending in wonderful recipes for our blog, including this great summer salad!

We usually think of salads as low calorie; however, this one is probably not!   But it's delicious for hot summer days when you don't want to heat up the kitchen.  

Layer the following in a 7 x 11 pan: 

Lettuce-----I use regular iceberg----I use most of the head
1/2 cup diced celery
1/2 cup diced onion
1 can sliced water chestnuts
1 cup diced bell pepper
2 cups chicken, diced or shredded
1 (10 oz.) pkg- frozen green peas------Cook these only until barely done--drain--cool before placing on salad 

Dressing (mix the following together):
1 cup Mayo or salad dressing
1/2 cup sour cream
3 T of sugar

Top with shredded cheddar cheese--last item to be applied

You can assemble this anyway you choose, but I usually do it as listed.  

I usually put it in a  7 x 11 pan, but it would be beautiful in a trifle bowl too.  

2 cups chicken

Dressing----1 cup Mayo or Salad Dressing
1/2 cup sour cream---you could use low-cal
3 TBLES--sugar
Mix these items well

Your can layer this salad any way you choose.  The last item I usually use before topping with dressing are the peas.

I usually assemble this in a 7 x 11 pan.  This will keep several days in the refrigerator.

Monday, June 6, 2011

Summer 2011 Bible Study!

The church will be having a men's Bible Study and a separate women's Bible Study on Sunday nights this summer.  The women will be studying Angela Thomas's Do You Think I'm Beautiful? Each week includes 5 days of individual study and then a video on Sunday night. The ladies will meet in fellowship hall 6:00-7:00 on June 5, 12, July 10, 17, 24, and 31.  On August 7 there will be an adult fellowship to wrap up the summer series.  It isn't too late to join!  Don't miss this exciting summer study!