Wednesday, October 31, 2012

THANKFULNESS by Ashley Newman

(Articles between now and Thanksgiving will be based on questions to ask yourself so you can prepare your heart to truly be thankful. They are written by different women in our church. You may want to read the first one, Preparing for Thanksgiving, by Christie Smith.

“Where do I want to be a year from now? 5 years from now? 10 years? 20 years?”

My time in college has consisted a lot of me thinking, “Where do I want my life to be in the next 5 years?” That thought consumes much of my time, especially now that I am graduating in about 6 months. There are so many things that I want to do and see and accomplish. Personally, when I think about the next 10 years, let alone just the next year, I get stressed out. I don’t know about you, but it seriously stresses me out. There is no way I can do all the things that I want to.

Now, I know most of you are probably not in college. Maybe you have already accomplished many of things that I want to. Maybe you have an awesome job that you love; maybe you are married; maybe you have kids, who drive you crazy, but they are the best thing that has ever happened to you; maybe you have traveled the world and seen so much. These are all things that I want for my life in the next 20 years. If at this point you’re thinking, “How can I relate to this college girl,” don’t worry. Here’s how: 

God doesn’t promise these things to anyone. He doesn’t say that any of these things will for sure happen for me, or you. There is no verse that says, “I will give you a husband and kids, a great job, a lot of money, and everything you want.” And that’s for everyone. Not just me.

This frustrates me because I want to know that I’m going to have all those things. And even if you do have all these things, I guarantee you that there are things that you long for, things that you hope will come your way soon. Maybe you don’t like your job, or you don’t have a husband or kids, and you desperately long for them. Maybe you feel like you can’t respect your parents because they have hurt you in the past.

Recently, I’ve learned that although God does not promise to give us everything we want and when we want it, He does promise this:

Psalm 37:3-5 - “Trust in the Lord, and do good; dwell in the land and befriend faithfulness. Delight yourself in the Lord, and he will give you the desires of your heart. Commit your way to the Lord; trust in him, and he will act.”*

*Disclaimer: When it says that he will give you the desires of your heart, remember that it says to delight yourself in him first. And it doesn’t mean that he will give you everything you want if you delight in him; it means that once you delight in him, his desires for your life will become yours. 

We just need to love God, trust in Him, and serve Him. That’s the most important thing we can do with our lives. Nothing matters more. For this truth, I am thankful. I need to be thankful for my life, and ALL of it, because I am not entitled to any of it. And neither are you. Jesus gives us life, joy, struggles, bad days, good days, hope, and love because He loves us.

So where do I want my life to be in a year, 5 years, 20 years?

I want to be serving my creator and serving His creation.

Take time today and reflect on God’s workings in your life. Be thankful for your life, and ALL of it, even if it isn’t where you want to be at the moment. Be thankful that you serve a God who cares about the little details of your life, just because He loves you and wants to.

Tuesday, October 30, 2012


(Articles between now and Thanksgiving will be based on questions to ask yourself so you can prepare your heart to truly be thankful. They are written by different women in our church. You may want to read the first one, Preparing for Thanksgiving, by Christie Smith.

What are the major sources of stress in my life? Do my view and approach of them make things more or less stressful?

A couple of weeks before we left to come to the States for 4 months, we were at immigration trying to get my work permit renewed in Uganda. The process had changed, and it had cost us time we didn’t have to get the permit. I stood in the hot sun at immigration stressing about how we could make the process go faster. But who was I kidding? There was no way to make the process go faster. So I began to think about what was the worst thing that could happen if the permit didn’t get processed in time. I realized it really wasn’t something worth stressing over because I would still be able to do the process when we got back. I also realized there was absolutely nothing I could do to make the process go faster, and stressing wasn’t going to help. Later, I was talking to a friend who told me her dad calls that kind of stress “junk stress.” So often the sources of my stress come from things that really are not that big of a deal or things I couldn’t change or do anything about even if I tried—it is just junk! All the stress we can exert can't cause that circumstance to change, so why are we so focused on stressing about it? Jesus told the people, “And who of you by being worried can add a single hour to his life?” (Matthew 6:27 NASB) I am trying to learn to put perspective on junk stress. There are lots of things that I stress over that take up my time and keep me from being productive. Jesus continuing to talk said, “So do not worry about tomorrow; for tomorrow will care for itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.” (Matthew 6:34 NASB)

Sunday, October 28, 2012


With Thanksgiving approaching, I've found myself wondering how I get into this "pit" of joyless living over-and-over again. Haven't I had my eye-opening experience and really seen what the Joy of the Lord is and what it can do in my life? Why can't I continue living in that Joy everyday? I want to really feel thankful when turkey day gets here, so what can I do to re-focus...again...on what it means to be thankful? What am I doing that keeps me from living that way everyday?

I find in my life I tend to just "survive" at times. I do what I have to do to get it all done. I move from one chore to the next without a lot of thought. There's my mistake. I think that if we take time to ask ourselves questions, it triggers answers and thoughts and emotions...and more times than not...even more questions. This habit of asking myself questions helps to get my focus back to where it needs to be. Too often, I get caught up in the expectations of life, whether those expectations are from others or myself. When I actively stop and think about my life, think about what my days look like, what my relationships look like, what my personal walk with the Lord is looking like...well, more times than not, I find I need to do a little tweaking from time to time. But it all starts with asking yourself the questions, hard questions at times and actually being brave enough to answer them! So, who's with me? I've asked some of the women in our church family to help me in this journey to a more meaningful Thanksgiving. When you begin to understand what being thankful means to you...not just what others tell you what being thankful should feel truly begin to find the Joy of the Lord for yourself. We will never change and never get better by doing nothing. We can't keep doing the same thing everyday and expect anything to change. So, how do we change? It all starts in the mind, and changing our thought process means intentionally thinking...not just mindlessly walking through our life. So, can we be honest with ourselves and with God? Can we be that brave???

I hope you'll join us here everyday as we try to prepare our hearts to truly be grateful this Thanksgiving.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012


Recently, I fixed these little desserts for Care Group. It's like having your very own personal pumpkin pie! I topped mine with Cool Whip sprinkled with a bit of cinnamon, but I've seen them served plain or even with candy corn pumpkins. The original recipe is from Allrecipes.

Individual Pumpkin Pies (makes 18 mini pies)

1/2 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons Spice Islands® Pumpkin Pie Spice
2 eggs
1/2 cup Karo® Lite Syrup
1 (15 ounce) can pumpkin
1 (12 fluid ounce) can evaporated milk
18 baking cups, size 2 1/2
18 vanilla wafers

1. Mix sugar, salt and spice in a bowl. Add eggs and beat slightly. Stir in corn syrup, pumpkin and evaporated milk; blend well.

2. Portion baking cups in muffin pans and place 1 vanilla wafer in each. Fill each two-thirds full of pumpkin mixture.

3. Bake at 300 degrees F for 25 minutes, or until knife inserted in center comes out clean. Cool in pans for 5 minutes; remove.

4. Cool a minimum of 1 hour before serving. Garnish as desired.


You are BELOVED...REST in Him...get your SECURITY from Him...from HIM

Friday, October 19, 2012

FINDING JOY by Vicki Taylor

I drove this morning in the pouring rain to yet another doctor’s appointment with yet another doctor for the same ailment I have had for the past four years. And I am to be thankful in all this? Honestly, I was having a hard time just being nice, much less thankful. It was raining so hard I could hardly see. Traffic unnerves me, and the rain just compounded my stress. Not to mention the “yet another doctor” scenario. I literally felt like screaming. Then I got to do it all over again on my way back to the office. At least it was not raining so hard then.

When I got back to the sanctuary of the peace and quiet of my office, I had time to reflect on my morning. Yes, the doctor wanted to schedule more tests and another biopsy. Thankful? Not yet!! Whilst speaking with my sweet husband, he asked the question, “When will this be enough? When does the insanity stop?” Which I thought were two very good questions. I have been going from doctor to doctor, test to test, and still don’t know what is going on. So, when does this insanity stop? When is enough, enough? Do you sense our frustration here?

Here’s what I’ve decided… If I am going to change my life, I need to change the way I see things first. Second Corinthians 10:7 says, “You are looking only on the surface of things.”  That’s where I have been looking, only on the surface, at “see” level. I need to look at things differently, through an eternal lens. Instead of running around looking for answers from the “experts,” what I really need to do is go to the Great Physician and seek His counsel and what He wants me to do in this situation that He has given me. Seek His counsel and His wisdom for my thorn in my flesh… for my weakness (literally).

I need to find the Joy in my situation. Joy is a function of gratitude and gratitude is always a function of perspective (Ann Voskamp). Finding joy in every situation means seeking Him in every situation. Ok, that really is easier said than done. I’m just sayin. 

Finding joy means… not leaning on my own understanding, but seeking Him and relying on His understanding in a circumstance that I do not understand, but by faith I will trust His direction for me and be thankful. Whew. Now I said that, but living that is a whole different story… to be able to trust Him through the strain and pain to the joy. I really do want that. I want to get to the place in my life where rain, traffic, stress, and disappointments no longer get in the way of my joy. When I can enjoy fellowship with my Lord without all the baggage I drag along with me. When my gratitude trumps my circumstances and I can see the joy in every situation. Oh my, what a day that will be!

In the meantime I must dwell in this sinful shell of a body and fight the good fight and not lose faith. I really want to be able to say what Paul said in Second Corinthians 4:16, “Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day.”  I don’t know about you, but I want to be renewed day by day with Christ in me. So let’s lift our eyes above “see” level and put them on the One who can make all our problems seem like momentary troubles. Because you know what?  It’s not going to matter when we all get to heaven anyway. And it won’t be raining there either.

Thursday, October 18, 2012

PRECIOUS PRAYERS by Cathy Westmoreland

One of the many blessings of teaching children in Sunday School is that I get to hear their sweet prayers and pray with them. I always tell the children to just talk to God, that He is their heavenly father. Just as they seek their dad's attention and want to be near him and share with him the excitement of their day, so it should be with their heavenly father. Sometimes, their earthly fathers may be too busy to hear what they have to say to him, but GOD is never too busy. It's always the right time to talk to Him. The right place is any place. A little child prays from the heart. They don't worry about the length of their prayer or whether it is articulate or what their friend thinks!! They carry on a simple conversation. They know He is listening. Why do we as adults sometimes fear praying in a crowded room? Who are we talking to? Maybe we should take our cue from God's youngest...children who just talk to Him. He is waiting to hear from us. He is listening!

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

THERAPY by Tony Manley

Therapy  (I just gotta talk to somebody!)

Why did I ever let myself believe a lie?  I don’t think I went into the seasons of life intentionally believing a lie. God says to live the crucified life (Gal. 2:20) and He also says we reap what we sow and where we sow (flesh vs spirit Gal. 6). I didn’t always, along the journey, take to heart that God says what He means and means what He says! I am continually learning and loving the truth of His truth. Having His truth in my heart means even the details are important!

You see, God is teaching me very intensely that the words DESERVE  and ENTITLEMENT are not to be spoken, pampered, watered, believed, or hidden in my heart! These two synonyms have caused hurt feelings, unforgiveness, bitterness, fear, and insecurity at different times of my life (can I tell you that as great a couple as repentance and freedom are, deserve and entitlement are horrific as a couple – bad marriage).  Sadly, I have fallen for these lies periodically. There is fruit still in my life being produced from caring for that ugly couple and their seedlings. God promises forgiveness when I repent and there is true freedom, but He also teaches there are consequences to planting and nurturing lies. May I flee lies for the rest of my days!

“It is for freedom that Christ has set us free.  Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened AGAIN by a yoke of slavery.” Gal. 5:1

I love that promise and truth!  I am free from the lies of deserve and entitlement. 
I am free from fear of rejection.
I am free from living with hurts, wrongs, and betrayals from the past.

Then God is so kind to tell me to stomp my foot in standing firmly on Him – His word - His heart.  SO THAT I do not have to live in the AGAIN in Gal. 5:1 – the again of putting on that yoke of slavery. 

Father,  No more! No more deserves and entitles in my heart. Only dying and freedom. Dying to self and living in freedom to esteem, serve, and honor You.  Amen


I made this for Care Group this past Sunday night, and every bite was gobbled up. Be careful. It's very addictive! The original recipe comes from

Classic Caramel Corn

Mazola Pure® Cooking Spray
4 quarts popped popcorn
1 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup Karo® Light OR Dark Corn Syrup
1/2 cup butter OR margarine
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon Spice Islands® Pure Vanilla Extract


1. Spray large shallow roasting pan with cooking spray. Add popcorn and place in preheated 250 degrees F oven while preparing caramel.
2. Mix brown sugar, corn syrup, butter and salt in a heavy 2-quart saucepan. Stirring constantly, bring to a boil over medium heat.
3. Boil 5 minutes without stirring. Remove from heat. 
4. Stir in baking soda and vanilla; mix well.
5. Pour syrup over warm popcorn, stirring to coat evenly.
6. Bake for 45 minutes, stirring occasionally. 
7. Remove from oven and spread on foil that has been sprayed with cooking spray.
8. Cool; break apart. Store in tightly covered container.

Caramel Corn Treat Bags is a great Halloween treat for kids. I must admit, though, adults like it too. I carried gummy worms,     M & M's, marshmallows, and candy corn for add-ins to Care Group, and they didn't turn them down :)

Monday, October 15, 2012

Thursday, October 11, 2012

I LOVE YOU, JESUS by Cathy Westmoreland

As moms, we yearn to hear our children say those wonderful words, "I love you, Mommy." I think we could all shut our eyes, and memories of our young ones saying those words would be so vivid. As a Nana, it melts my heart when one of my grandchildren says those words to me. I can only imagine how much our Heavenly Father wants to hear those words said to HIM. How sad it must make Him when we go through our busy day and never take the time to say, "I love you, Father God." All through the day, our children may hear us say we love this and we love that, but do they hear us say, "I love you, God"? Are we teaching them by our example? Our children and grandchildren are watching and listening to us! We teach them to sing "Jesus Loves Me." Shouldn't we also teach them to say, "I LOVE YOU, JESUS"?

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

PERSPECTIVE by Vicki Taylor

Isaiah 55:8 – For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways.

Have you ever wondered why God allows certain things to happen in your life? I know I have. Why does He allow “bad” things to happen to us and to people we love? Disasters, disease, and death. How can a good God allow so much sorrow to come into our world/lives if He plans everything? Why does He allow this?

It’s all in our perspective. Can disaster come to a city (life) unless the Lord has planned it? (Amos 3:6)  No, He is over every disaster, hurricane, storm and trial that comes our way. And if we believe Romans 8:28 is true…that all things do work together for our good to those of us who love Him and have been called according to His purpose…then we need to have the faith to trust Him in those trials and storms.

And what about the tsunami storms that knock us off our feet? The ones we are not prepared for like cancer, loss of jobs, or even death? The ones that leave us asking, “Why God?” Can we expect good things and not the bad? That which seems bad only seems so because of our perspective. 

God tells us that His ways are not our ways and His thoughts are not our thoughts. How can we expect anything any different since we cannot know the mind of God? But … we can know His heart. We get to know His heart by spending time with Him. We begin to see things from His perspective when we get to know who He is.  He has a plan for my life and He has a plan for yours, not to harm you, but to give you a future and a hope. (Jeremiah 29:11)

I looked up the word perspective in the dictionary, and it means to see clearly. It takes the lens of God’s Word to see His world clearly. Without it we have a distorted view, an earthly view, a humanistic view. I don’t know about you, but I want to see clearly. I desire to have a spiritual perspective of everything I do and to be able to do that in order to bring Him glory. I believe Romans 8:28. I live Romans 8:28. I have seen my world crash around me and things looked pretty hopeless, but I was not without hope! Hope changes everything. Hope can bring new life to the drought-ridden heart and make it swell with love, God’s love. Hope can give one that heavenly perspective. Hope opens the eyes of the heart and allows the light of God’s love to pour in and dispel all the darkness that the world wants us to believe. Yes, hope changes everything.  

It’s all in our perspective.

Tuesday, October 9, 2012


1 package (19-21 ounces) brownie mix (plus ingredients to make cake-like brownies)
1 cup milk
1/4 cup instant coffee granules
1 container (12 ounces) frozen whipped topping, thawed, divided
2 packages (3.4 ounces each) cheesecake instant pudding and pie filling
20 chocolate crème-filled sandwich cookies, coarsely chopped
1/4 cup semi-sweet chocolate morsels, grated
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon

1. Preheat oven to 350ºF. Lightly spray rectangular baker (9 x 13) with oil. Prepare brownie mix according to package directions for cake-like brownies; pour into baker, spreading evenly. Bake 25-30 minutes or until cake tester inserted in center comes out clean. Remove to cooling rack; cool completely.

2. In a bowl, combine milk and instant coffee granules; stir until dissolved.

3. Add half of the whipped topping and all of the pudding mix; whisk until smooth.

4. Coarsely chop cookies; fold into pudding mixture.

5. Spread filling evenly over cooled brownie.

6. Take the easy accent decorator; fill with remaining whipped          topping. Pipe something that would remind you of a wedding (or       just spread the whipped topping on top).

 7. Grate chocolate morsels over whipped topping. 

 8. Sprinkle with cinnamon.

 9. Chill 30 minutes. Slice and serve.

Brenda Riden
Pampered Chef Consultant

Monday, October 8, 2012


How hard it is to just be still! My mind has a million thoughts a minute, I'm anxious thinking about the what-ifs, I'm planning all the possible scenarios and what I would say to each of them. 

Right now I am going to just be still...and wait on God to be my protector and provider. 

Friday, October 5, 2012

KRISTI'S KRAFTS Bronze Embellished Initial by Kristi Childs

Bronze Embellished Initial

This is a Pinterest inspired project that is fairly easy to make. You can use the finished project as a beautiful and inexpensive gift or as a nice addition to your home decor. I gave this example as a wedding gift.

Supplies that you will need:
Paper mache letter - (can be found at most craft stores)
Thick craft glue
White craft paint
Brown shoe polish
Paper towels
Wipe on Polyurethane
Soft cloth - (use something that you don’t mind trashing afterwards)

1. Take the paper mache letter and draw designs on it with your glue. (This is the most time consuming aspect of the project. I think it took about 20 minutes.) Be sure to work top to bottom and left to right so that you don’t smear your glue designs. Don’t worry if you make a mistake, just wipe it off and try again.

2. Let this dry completely. I suggest letting it dry overnight.

3. Put a light coat of white paint over the entire letter.

4. Allow time to dry. Maybe 20 minutes or so. You’ll know it’s dry
when it doesn’t feel sticky to the touch.

5. Wipe on brown shoe polish (over the entire surface) making sure to get plenty around the glue bumps. If you put too much, you can always wipe the extra off.

6. Allow the shoe polish to dry.

7. Gently wipe on the poly over the entire surface.

8. Allow time to dry (follow the directions on the poly.)

9. Add one more coat of wipe on poly.

10. Allow to dry overnight.

11. You’re done! Gift it or display proudly in your home!

Thursday, October 4, 2012


He heals the broken hearted and binds up their wounds. Psalm 147:3

My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever. Psalm 73:26

Yet, O Lord, you are our Father. We are the clay, you are the potter; we are all the work of your hand. Isaiah 64:8

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

DID YOU SEE IT? by Cathy Westmoreland

I enjoy taking photographs. My pictures pale in comparison, though, to the ones GOD shows me each day. The greatest pictures ever viewed are pictures that GOD places in the sky every day for me and others to enjoy. Did you take the time to look up at the majesty He painted this morning? This evening? Are you pointing out to your children the beautiful sky, sunrises, and sunsets that GOD provides us each day? He changes the picture all day long, yet we miss so many great scenes. Shouldn't I be more excited to see the pictures my Creator makes than the ones I take?

Please teach me, Lord, to be more grateful for the wonderful creation You have made.

Psalm 19:1 - "The heavens declare the glory of God; and the firmament shows His handiwork."

Tuesday, October 2, 2012


I love everything pumpkin, so when I saw this recipe at, I knew I had to try it. It is a wonderful breakfast to usher in the fall season. Of course, I changed it a bit, but I think for the better!

Pumpkin Oatmeal  - serves 1 (original recipe can be viewed here)

1/2 cup quick-cooking rolled oats
1/4 cup + 2 T. milk, or as needed (and you WILL need more milk)
1/4 cup canned pumpkin puree
1/8 tsp. pumpkin pie spice
1/8 tsp. cinnamon, or to taste (I used 1/4 tsp.)
Coffee Mate's Italian Sweet Cream liquid creamer, to taste

1.  Mix together oats and milk in a microwave-safe bowl. Cook on high for 1 to 2 minutes, stirring once, adding milk if needed.
2.  Add more milk to achieve the desired consistency and cook for another 30 seconds. 
3.  Stir in pumpkin puree, pumpkin pie spice, and cinnamon. 
4.  Heat through.
5.  Stir in liquid creamer and heat again if needed. 

Monday, October 1, 2012


I have to re-evaluate my life every now and then just to make sure I am still seeking God and his righteousness first and not the world and its pleasures. What about you?