Thursday, May 31, 2012

HOLIDAYS ALONE by Vicki Taylor

I seem to get a little nostalgic on the lesser holidays, Memorial Day, Fourth of July, Labor Day - days for family cookouts and fun times spent together. I’ve noticed that we seem to spend most of them alone, just Dad and I. And since both of our sons have chosen vocations in other cities, we do not have the luxury of every holiday with them. Our time together is often a hurried weekend spent trying to see everyone they can in the short time they are here. One lives close, about sixty miles, the other lives in Atlanta, not so close. Both have children, my grandchildren! 

I really don’t mind spending time with Dad alone, not at all; he is, after all, my best friend. We do everything together and have fun at that. He makes me laugh all the time and I assure you I keep him in stitches too. But as we were traveling down to the “annual lake cookout” to spend the day with friends, I admit I got a little teary eyed as I thought of my own sons and their families. I missed them. Really missed them! You know that heart wrenching “miss them” that causes the heart to ache. I wanted to be with them, laugh with them, hug them. 

As I’m looking out the window watching the scenery pass by quickly, I am reminded just how quickly life goes by. It is but a vapor. And I am saddened with the realization that the sons don’t realize this. They are in their prime of life, living it as they should, consumed with life, family, jobs, vacations. Not even noticing life passing by. Unlike us, who are watching it “fly” by. 

We see life differently now. Our job of parenting is over so to speak, and now we are more in the advisory stage of life, giving advice when asked or needed. We guide them through the rough stages of child raising, encouraging them and laughing at the same mistakes we made, all the while wishing we were closer to help more and hug more. Family needs family. It is the cord that binds us all together. One cannot make it without family or without family help or prayer. Our sons realize this and we communicate as often as we are able through phone, text, and Skype.  They are always asking Dad for advice. Hmmm, did I just say Dad? Ok, so I raised boys to men. They need their dad!  

Anyway, back on the road to the picnic. The closer we got to the lake I began to realize although we do not have family here, we do have an extended family in our church family. Friends we can call “family.” They have been with us through years. Friends who have stood by us and prayed for us when our sons were born, when they got married and had children, when our parents passed on from this life into the next. The friends who make sure we really don’t have to be alone on holidays or special events, they include us in their grandchildren’s lives and let us love on them, too. They are by our side in the good and bad of our lives. They are our church family of friends. God has blessed us with this family and I am so grateful for them and the way they minister to us and pray for us. It fills the void and eases the ache in my heart when that ole nostalgia rears its ugly head.  

Wednesday, May 30, 2012


Are you facing a really hard day today...or a really tough week? Sometimes it helps just to know someone cares. Well, God cares. He's thinking about you and is so crazy about you, he's singing a love song about you! 

The Lord your God is with you,
he is mighty to save.
He will take great delight in you, 
he will quiet you with his love, 
he will rejoice over you with singing.
Zephaniah 3:17

Monday, May 28, 2012


This is a wonderful Salad Dressing for Pasta Salad.  Donna Clayton, from Nellita Young's Sunday School Class, made this for our Sunday School social.

1/4 cup vinegar
1/4 cup water
1/4 cup sugar
1/4 tsp. salt
1 tsp. prepared mustard
dash pepper
2 eggs, beaten well
1 cup mayonnaise

Combine first six ingredients.  Bring to a boil, reduce heat, gradually beat in well beaten eggs.  Cook, stirring constantly until thickened (approximately 5 minutes).  Take off heat & stir in mayo.  Add to cooked pasta. 

Donna used seashell pasta, shaved carrot pieces, celery, red onion, yellow, orange & green peppers. Feel free to change it to suit your taste.

Friday, May 25, 2012


As a “dabbler” in jogging, I have grown into a “Conditions Freak!” I guess this title "Conditions Freak" can evolve in anyone as they become a student of a hobby or new learning.  Before a jog, I intentionally check out temperatures, humidity, wind speed and direction, heat index or wind chill, and then I consider how all of these conditions will affect the route and distance for my jog.  Of course, if the route is not experientially known, I am left to a certain amount of “ unknownness” (basically, faith has to kick in). So, I find myself less likely to pursue the unknown routes and stay with the more familiar ones. After all, I know what I’m taking on as long as I stay in my comfort zone!

Yesterday, I did my homework trying to decide if this would be an inside or outside jog. Inside – elliptical and treadmill...or outside – roads.  Outside won. Beautiful sunshine and the wind on my back, which makes for a little bit of ease by pushing me to the goal!  As I was actively involved (code words for out of the driveway and on the street), some of the conditions were not what I had planned or anticipated.  Dogs barking and advancing toward a jogger can affect the heart rate and breathing – fear does that! The unexpected wind gusts at the same time a hill shows up, and then the distracted driver on the cell phone. 

The Holy Spirit can be quite talkative to me on these little adventures! I believe He knows I am a better listener when I can’t talk and breathe at the same time.  As He began to point out my deliberate studies of this hobby, the questions began from Him to my heart. 
     “Each day as I think through my schedule, am I guilty of rehearsing my conditions to the extent I decide whether or not I will be available?”
     “What about the unknown conditions-the blindsides (car trouble, work problems, health issues, money issues, interruptions, relationship unexpecteds) that inevitably pop up that weren’t factored in for this day?”

Then the Holy Spirit pushed further on the familiarity issue in the corner of my heart.
     “Are you as willing as you were when we met all those years ago to go to unchartered paths with Me, to go out of the box and take a risk with Me leading you in the ways of the Word?"  (*growing older or getting too comfortable can be a hindrance to change).
     “How about your attentiveness? Are you becoming distracted as you “run the race” set out for you and missing others and opportunities I give you daily?”

At the end of the jog, I was so grateful we – the Holy Spirit and I -  had taken that time together, Him talking and me listening.  After all, He does know everything about my heart and ways.  I am humbled that He stays actively engaged with me day in and day out.

“But when He, the Spirit of truth, comes, He will guide you into all truth.  He will not speak on His own, He will speak only what He hears, and He will tell you what is yet to come.”  John 16:13

Thursday, May 24, 2012

SETTING THE TABLE by Stacy McSpadden

The art of setting the perfect table. Those of us who grew up in the 80's and 90's have a faint clue of what this is all about, but the generation that is growing up in the 21st century is being deprived of this lost art.  As an adult, I have grown to appreciate lessons that my mom and grandmother taught me about entertaining.  As a young child, I was expected to set our dinner table at night.  I know you are thinking, I thought Stacy was supposed to give us design tips.  Well, it's that time of year that is packed with showers, graduation dinners, weddings, and fun gatherings among friends.  There is no better time to refresh our table setting skills.

I was on Pinterest earlier and found this great diagram that can be used for a guide.  I think it might even be a great reminder to place a copy of this information on the refrigerator so that you or your children can refer to it when setting your table.


Now I know you are all thinking, "Who really has time to set their table for breakfast!!!"  For me, breakfast is usually consumed in my car on the way to work.  But other than that, and the European setting, I think these are great guidelines.

I also found a website that discusses the importance of proper table settings.  It does a great job explaining what each glass, plate, and utensil is used for.  It gives even more details on other decorative parts of tables for different occasions.

Whether you are a mom, grandmother, or aunt, let not the art of a proper table setting pass this generation. Take time to teach young girls and boys this lost art.

Happy Decorating!


Stacy McSpadden
Manager of Interior Design Services
Chestnut Hall Interiors
3075 Forest Hill Irene Road
Germantown, Tennessee 38138

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

BACON AND CHEESE DIP by Saundra Stroud

This was one of our favorite dips at a recent Sunday School social. Martha Stephenson brought it but got the recipe from Tony Manley. This was really, really delicious!!!!!!!!!!!

Bacon & Cheese Dip
2 (8 oz.) pkgs. of cream cheese
2 (16 oz.) containers of sour cream
4 cups of shredded cheddar cheese
2 pkgs. of real bacon bits
1.  Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
2.  Spray a 9 x 13 pan with cooking spray.
3.  Combine all ingredients, mixing well, and place in pan.
4.  Bake in oven until bubbly. 

This recipe can easily be halved.

Monday, May 21, 2012


Always by prepared to give an answer to everyone 
who asks you to give the reason 
for the hope that you have. 
But do this with gentleness and respect.
I Peter 3:15

As Christians, we will be put on the spot to answer for our faith. This verse clearly tells us to be prepared for that, to have our answer ready to go. But it also tells us how to do it. Let's not be guilty of giving Christians a bad name by being rude, judgmental, and condemning. Instead, let's demonstrate the love of Christ with a gentle and respectful attitude.

Sunday, May 20, 2012


Summer Bible Study
Kelly Minter's Nehemiah: A Heart That Can Break
Cost: $14.00 
Monday nights, June 11-July 23
6:15-8:00 in Fellowship Hall
Themed meals each week 

Sign-Up Sheets are on the Ministry Table. Be sure to sign both the registration sheet and the sheet to bring food.

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

MEET MY NEW FRIENDS by Stacy McSpadden

So I know that everyone has so much to read with emails and the wonderful blogs, such as this one for our Women's Ministry, and Beth Moore's great blog.  But I want to introduce you to two of my favorite internet finds: Meet StyleBlueprint Memphis and Houzz.   
StyleBlueprint Memphis is a wonderful blog that makes a daily post about fashion, cooking, home design, and the culture of Memphis. They feature all kinds of businesses and events in our area and write interesting articles about such topics.  They feature a weekly post called FACES, which goes inside with local celebs and upcoming personalities that you might want to know about and neat events that I had never heard of, like the Memphis Fashion Weekend.  A recent post was on the Memphis in May International Festival that kicks off the week with the Beale Street Music Festival and what you might want to consider wearing to each event.  They even feature different homes in Memphis that give you great design ideas. StyleBlueprint's website address is:

Another one of my new faves is Houzz.  If any of you participate in Pinterest and have a love for home furnishings, then you will definitely want to check this website out.  Houzz is a virtual home decorating magazine.  You can do searches for the type of room you are wanting to view, define your style, create a budget, etc.  Then once you find pics of the ideas that you like, you can create a portfolio to keep on file for your next design project.  This website is

Even a designer needs inspiration and new ideas for projects. Consider each of these publications for your future design needs. Happy Decorating!!!

Stacy McSpadden
Manager of Interior Design Services
Chestnut Hall Interiors
3075 Forest Hill Irene Road
Germantown, Tennessee 38138

Tuesday, May 15, 2012


I have not made this recipe yet, but the name is enough for me to want to make it----Blushing Apple Julep.  It is a Southern Plate recipe.
4 cups Apple Juice
1 cup Orange Juice
1 cup Pineapple Juice
1/4 cup Lemon Juice
1 Jar Maraschino Cherries
1.  Pour all juices into a 2 qt pitcher; stir well.
2.  Add in 3 to 4 Tablespoons of juice from the jar of cherries and stir again.
3.  Chill until ready to use.
Serve over ice, with a cherry in each glass.

Monday, May 14, 2012


 Then the Lord God made a woman 
from the rib he had taken out of the man, 
and he brought her to the man. 
The man said, "This is now bone of my bones 
and flesh of my flesh; 
she shall be called 'woman,' for she was taken out of man." 
For this reason a man will leave his father and mother 
and be united to his wife, and they shall be one flesh. 
Genesis 2:22-24

Since yesterday was Mother's Day and the sermon included these verses, I was reminded of the decision I made when both my children married: to love the spouse as I love my own flesh and blood child. 

Scripture says they are "one flesh." 

Would I be angry and unforgiving to my own son?

Would I talk about my daughter to others and list all her faults and flaws?

Would I give a measly token of a gift or no gift to my son on his birthday or Christmas?

Would I go for days without speaking to my daughter?

Would I never pray for my son or daughter?

Of course, the answer is NO to all the above questions. If my child and his/her spouse are one flesh, then I should treat them equally and love them equally. When my two children married, I didn't lose them, I gained two more to love!

Is it possible that God might be asking you to examine your relationship with your son-in-law or daughter-in-law? Have you really accepted them? Are you making an effort to love them as your own flesh and blood?

Friday, May 11, 2012

GRATITUDE by Vicki Taylor

I have always thought of myself as a grateful person, thankful for all things. That is until I read Ann Voskamp’s book One Thousand Gifts.    

Ann Voskamp puts a completely different perspective on thanksgiving.  The Greek word for thanksgiving is eucharisteo.  Thanksgiving with joy. God’s Word states, “In all things give thanks for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.”  I Thessalonians 5:18But… can we truly say that we give thanks in all things?  In the good, yes, but in the bad? 

When we are walking through that valley of pain, can we honestly look to God and say, "Thank you for this mess and praise you for the grief I am struggling with"?  Can we say, “Lord you are my Shepherd, I have everything I need,” and mean it and be thankful too? 

Ann made me look deep inside myself and ask those tough questions, and honestly, I really didn’t like what I saw there.  I realized that I did not experience that deep joy that God wants me to experience when I am in His presence, in His presence with thanksgiving.  That my thanks was really shallow (ouch!).  Did this mean that my love for Him is as shallow?  I mean I love my husband, my sons, my daughters-in-law, my grandchildren, my neighbors. Why, I even love my neighbor’s cat!! 

But, it really does go much deeper than that.  To experience the pure joy that God gives, the thanks we give to Him must be with a pure heart. 

Ok, so that’s good, but in my rush to have my "quiet time" in the morning, eat breakfast, throw a load of laundry in the washer, shower, make-up, hair, and dress, then rush out the door only to face school traffic in three school zones...yes, I said three school zones.  I can’t honestly say I’m thankful by the time I get to work.  That ten minute drive takes me over thirty minutes during the school year.  Sometimes I’m so frazzled all I can do is make it to the coffee pot, put on my Christian smile and say, “Good morning.”  Trying to remember, at that point, if I even had my quiet time yet?  And now I’m supposed to be thankful!!!!?

Yes, in all things!  I give Him my thanks and He gives me His joy.  It really is that simple.  My heart is filled with joy. My anxiety is relieved because my heart is now filled with His peace and His joy.  I like what Ann says about this - “God extravagantly pays back everything we give away and exactly in the currency that is not of this world but the one we yearn for: Joy in Him.”

I am learning to give Him thanks in all things because I yearn to receive the joy that comes only from Him.

Thursday, May 10, 2012


As a teacher, a disheartening moment for me is when I pull something out to “check” my students’ retention on a skill previously taught, and they look at me with fear, shock, or even a blankness, and then say, “I don’t know how to do this” or worse “I have never done this before!”
This morning, I heard a speaker say, “It is more difficult to work through a hard thing than to run from it.” Running doesn’t help; it just avoids because eventually we learn the hard thing shows up again with a new name or circumstance, so the wise person works through it in preparation to see and live it better the next time.  Isn’t this so true! As I listened, I knew the Holy Spirit said to me, “You do the same thing when I pull something out to “check” your retention of what I have taught you previously!”  I will begin to murmur, “I don’t know how to do this” or “I have never done this before!” Then the trail of frustration, anger, resentment, entitlement, betrayal, rejection…all the uglies of the flesh can begin to lead me to a disheartened, discouraged, even disengaged heart! (Fertile ground for the enemy to whisper)

God is such a Master Teacher. He never gives up on any student. His methods are just and perfectly individualized.  His timing and presentation are perfect every time.  So, what’s the problem?  Let me digress (good word for rabbit chase). I often hear “so and so is just not a good teacher” for whatever reason.  I am not na├»ve enough to believe everyone is a good teacher, but I am also aware that often that opinion has more to do with me and “mine’s” comfort, compatibility, preference, and compatibility of presentation than the teacher’s ability.  Again, I must be careful before I throw a teacher under the bus, just as I must be careful as a teacher not to throw a student under the bus! I/We must be careful not to resist the message due to the messenger!

Now, back to the Master Teacher.  When I think about it, I have no right to resist, resent, or reject Him.  He has the full knowledge of the material being taught to me.  As the Creator of the student (me), He alone has the right to use whatever materials (this includes people), methods, and timing to teach.  The Word tells me His objective is to conform me into the image of His Son (Rom. 8:29). When I became a Christian, I signed up as a student under the Master Teacher for the rest of my life. I can tell you if I had a heart, classroom, family, and society that lived with full trust that the Master Teacher was who He said He was, and that He is doing what He said He is doing, this life and day would look very different!

“Submit yourselves, then, to God..” James 4:7a. He knows what He is doing and where He is going.

Wednesday, May 9, 2012


I read that Vice President Cheney had a heart transplant recently.  He is now seventy-one, but he began the journey of heart trouble almost forty years ago in his thirties after a heart attack.  I heard several comments that I thought interesting: 

~Is seventy-one too old to receive a new heart?
~Should we still be giving hearts to people after age sixty five…because the average extension of life will only be five more years?
~Did he have connections to get a heart? (the inference was he had connections over someone else who might not have the means or position)
I am grateful for and amazed that medical science can take a heart from one person who has died and place it into the body of a living person!

As I read this, I realized that I, too, can celebrate having a heart transplant! I was dead for twenty years and received a new heart! You see, God intervened in my life as a newlywed and gave me a new life with a new heart, one that is eternal and will never have to be replaced (refreshed and revived from time to time, but not replaced).  I couldn’t help but think back to that time in my life because truly I was dying with the heart disease of a sin nature I had had since birth.

Not only did I get a new heart, but God gave me all the medicines/equipment that I would need to live with my new heart. A person that receives a heart transplant must live with certain medications to protect them from rejecting the new heart.  When God transplanted His heart into me, He gave me the Holy Spirit and the written Word as my anti-rejection medicines.  Oh, I can assure you I have had seasons of rejecting my new heart with attitudes and behaviors, but my ever vigilant Physician never allowed me to reject or neglect my medicines (the Holy Spirit and the Word) for long.
What joy I feel as I am sure VP Cheney does to be given “a second chance” to live life with a new heart!  The difference between my heart transplant and his transplant is that mine is eternal. All who want can receive the same heart – the heart that cannot be taken away, a heart that is fully paid for, and a heart that will last eternally!

Tuesday, May 8, 2012


Strawberries are at their peak right now, so I thought I would give you a couple of recipes I've been  enjoying lately.

This recipe is called a Virgin Strawberry Daiquiri, but the reviewers on Allrecipes complained quite a bit about that name, saying it was nothing like a daiquiri. Well, I don't drink alcohol and I've only had one virgin strawberry daiquiri in my entire life, so whatever this is, it's fabulously cool and refreshing, and I love it! Plus I make everything very low cal by using Diet 7-Up and Splenda.

Virgin Strawberry Daiquiri

2 large strawberries, hulled (I use a handful because 2 is not enough to even taste)
1/4 cup white sugar (I use Splenda)
1 tablespoon lemon juice
3/4 cup chilled lemon-lime soda (I use Diet 7-Up)
4 cubes ice (I use 8 to get a slushy effect)

In the container of a blender, combine the strawberries, sugar, lemon juice and lemon-lime soda. Add the ice and blend until smooth. Pour into a fancy glass to serve. Serves 1.

The following recipe is a wonderful appetizer or substitution for regular chips and cheese dip. I used an all fruit no sugar raspberry jam and totally omitted all additional sugar. It was plenty sweet for me.

Annie's Fruit Salsa and Cinnamon Chips

2 kiwis, peeled and diced
2 Golden Delicious apples - peeled, cored and diced
8 ounces raspberries
1 pound strawberries
2 tablespoons white sugar
1 tablespoon brown sugar
3 tablespoons fruit preserves, any flavor

10 (10 inch) flour tortillas
butter flavored cooking spray
2 tablespoons cinnamon sugar

1.  In a large bowl, thoroughly mix kiwis, Golden Delicious apples, raspberries, strawberries, white sugar, brown sugar and fruit preserves. Cover and chill in the refrigerator at least 15 minutes.
2.  Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C).
3.  Coat one side of each flour tortilla with butter flavored cooking spray. Cut into wedges and arrange in a single layer on a large baking sheet. Sprinkle wedges with desired amount of cinnamon sugar. Spray again with cooking spray.
4.  Bake in the preheated oven 8 to 10 minutes. Repeat with any remaining tortilla wedges. Allow to cool approximately 15 minutes. Serve with chilled fruit mixture.

Monday, May 7, 2012


And let us not be weary in well doing; 
for in due season we shall reap, 
if we faint not.
Galations 6:9 

 In what area have you become weary? 

Child rearing...

Your career...


Your marriage...

Praying for your family...

Your ministry?

Yes, we can become weary doing those things we know for sure that God called us to do. But here's the promise: We shall reap a wonderful harvest...IF we don't quit and give up. 

So here's the thing to keep in mind: Yes, it's hard. Yes, you'll require God's strength. Yes, it may take time. But don't give up. The season of reaping is a promise that will be fulfilled.

Whatsoever a man soweth, 
that shall he also reap. 
Galations 6:7

Friday, May 4, 2012


Did you know...

Nearly all belts that come with outfits are not the best of quality. Owning belts that are beautiful, good and versatile can make a stunning difference to your outfit! A belt can dress an outfit up or down.  You can dramatically change how an outfit looks merely by changing the belt.

Earrings frame the face. Whether you prefer simple studs every day or dangly drops, earrings have a big impact on your outfit. Yes, they are relatively small, but they are in the direct line of vision of anyone you talk to, so they should be considered.

Kristi Childs
Premier Designs Independent Distributor

Wednesday, May 2, 2012


What does one do with disappointment?  I have had a situation in my life for months that has caused me great pain.  It is something I have prayed about, prepared my heart about, and intentionally read scripture that would help my thoughts and emotions to be correct before the Lord. As I anticipated the time set to deal with this thing, I envisioned healing, restoration, and reconciliation as the miracle of all miracles!  I am truly a fairy tale girl, in that I do believe “they lived happily ever after.” And when they don’t, that is my signal to run away. So, this was the big day…and the big miracle of healing, restoration, and reconciliation didn’t happen. Now I am dealing with disappointment. The kind of disappointment that makes your stomach feel like it has a heartbeat. The kind that makes your heart beat fast and hard. My face feels frozen and blank because my heart feels frozen and blank. I do know at some point I will go cry and get it all out.

I am grateful that with all my preparation and with all the time God gave me in the waiting, He has been teaching me hard and fast that His ways are right. His ways are good. His heart for me is perfect. He wants to use this thing to change me to look more like Jesus. After all, how can I be changed if I am not put in situations that bring disappointment and other hard emotions? When the circumstance did not go “and they lived happily ever after,” I did quickly say, “Ok, Lord, now what?  Help my heart to respond with peace and trust.”  That may be the miracle God wanted – my response. 

Oh, there is much I want to say about the thing. Much I want to set right, but it is one of those things that I can’t tell all that I know and if I could I would be hurting other people. So, I keep saying, “God knows the whole story, and only He can change another’s heart.” My responsibility is to be obedient and leave the results to Him. So, I will walk away knowing “she has done all she could.”  I will beg Him for help and His grace to protect me from allowing my disappointment to turn to disillusionment. 

“I call on you, O God, for you will answer me; give ear to me and hear my prayer.” Psalm 17:11

“In Him my heart rejoices, for I trust in His holy name. May your unfailing love rest upon me, O Lord, even as I put my hope in You.” Psalm 33:21-22

Tuesday, May 1, 2012


Recently, a friend brought me some strawberries, straight from the field. They were all different sizes and a beautiful ripe red color. They were not at all like those impostors in the grocery store! I had about 8 quarts of them, so I used to look up different recipes. I made a salad, pancakes, fresh syrup, muffins, and strawberry bread, which was my favorite. This bread was so good, warm from the oven, slathered in butter, but it was just as good two days later. 

Strawberry Bread (from allrecipes)

2 cups fresh strawberries
3 1/8 cups all-purpose flour
2 cups white sugar
1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 1/4 cups vegetable oil
4 eggs, beaten
1 1/4 cups chopped pecans

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Butter and flour two 9 x 5 inch loaf pans.
2. Slice strawberries, and place in medium-sized bowl. Sprinkle lightly with sugar, and set aside while preparing bread mixture.
3. Combine flour, sugar, cinnamon, salt and baking soda in large bowl: mix well. 
4. Blend oil and eggs into strawberries. 
5. Add strawberry mixture to flour mixture, blending until dry ingredients are just moistened. 
6. Stir in pecans. 
7. Divide batter into pans.
8. Bake for 45 to 50 minutes, or until tester inserted comes out clean. 
9. Let cool in pans on wire rack for 10 minutes. 
10. Turn loaves out, and cool completely.