Friday, June 28, 2013


Fine Living....Oh to be a Crawley!

I don't know how many of you have gotten yourselves locked into the new obsession that is "Downton Abbey," but I can tell you, I am one! I had heard many Facebook comments on how great the series is and how they can't wait for it to return on t.v. Well, stories that take place in the early 20th century are just not my taste, but one of my oldest clients told me that I have to watch. She brought me the DVD's back in March and after a few episodes, I was hooked. I will go ahead and admit, I have now watched every episode, some twice. The first time was to catch the story, the second, to catch the parts of the plot that I missed, but more importantly, to observe the beautiful interiors that create such a majestic castle. If you don't know this already, Downton is a real castle in England called Highclere Castle. Many of the scenes from the t.v. show are filmed in the actual castle, including that fabulous dining room. There is talk in the home furnishing industry that there will be new lines of furniture inspired by the show, and I think as a result, we will see a resurgence in Victorian styles that are influenced by this era in English history.

I think the most spectacular room in the castle is the Dining Room. Anchored by the large triple pedestal Regency dining table and Hepplewhite chairs, the Lord and his wife are able to entertain the most elite in England. But just so you know, you also see him dining with his unmarried daughters every morning for breakfast (the Lady of the house gets breakfast in bed, of course). The large painting at the end of the room is of King Charles I and was painted in 1635. Add in intricately woven linens, the finest of china and crystal, and spectacular silver candelabras and it is a fabulous room in which to dine.
My other personal favorite is the large room or space in the entry of the house also known as the Saloon. The rug in this room has to be one of the most spectacular rugs I have ever seen. I know that it must be of the highest quality Turkish rugs produced. The tufted back chairs with rolled arms are classic English style. The velvets add a luxury that this space demands.

In coming weeks, I will add more rooms to the blog. We will examine the Count and Countess's spectacular bedroom and the library. And if you haven't seen the show, I suggest you look it up on Hulu Plus or buy the DVD's!

Thursday, June 27, 2013

COMPLACENCY VS. REST by Christie Smith

Titus 2:11 (MSG) - "God’s readiness to give and forgive is now public. Salvation’s available for everyone! We’re being shown how to turn our backs on a godless, indulgent life, and how to take on a God-filled, God-honoring life. This new life is starting right now and is whetting our appetites for the glorious day when our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ, appears. He offered himself as a sacrifice to free us from a dark, rebellious life into this good, pure life, making us a people he can be proud of, energetic in goodness."

I read an article by Ed Welch the other day and he used the phrase "rest versus complacency." He said "rest" is spiritual. "Complacency" is sinful.   

This thought was a new take on a very old struggle in my life...that pattern of sin that defeats me most of the time. I sin, I confess, I feel bad, I try to forget about it and do better the next time. Then, I sin again. After a while that cycle gives me a sense of failure that ends up closing God off to parts of my life. That's exactly what Satan wants! That's exactly why he uses those feelings of guilt and failure. He wants me to stay wallowing in my "pit" because then I'm closed off to God's voice, to God's love and grace, and closed off to God's power in my life. When I sin and then truly confess, it's over and forgotten in God's mind. So why is it so hard for me to forget?!?!  

Instead of resting in His grace and forgiveness, I hang on to the feelings that keep me feeling and living conquered and useless. Satan tells me (in his best Christie voice) that I can't be used by God. How could He possibly use me for anything eternal when I can't seem to make it through one day without messing up...again? So, I let my mind and soul slip into a "whatever" attitude. That's the sinful complacency Welch is talking about. We let ourselves take a break from the trying, take a break from the guilty feelings by simply not dealing with it anymore. We turn our minds off to any spiritual pursuits because we feel so unworthy and incapable. Satan wins every time we do this. Jesus died on the cross to defeat that sin. It's done. He did it. He won and therefore we've already won. Why is it so hard for us to feel that and then live that!

One of my favorite songs right now is Mercy Me's "You Are I Am" mainly due to one part of the song that says ... 

"The veil is torn.
 And now I live with the Spirit inside.
 The same one, the very same one
 Who brought the Son back to life." 

The very same power that raised Jesus from the dead lives in us! Why do we continue to let Satan's lies keep us living a defeated life instead of living a victorious life?!?! Instead of allowing those guilty feelings to send us into a complacency that kills our spiritual souls, we have to learn about God's love for us. We must begin to understand His grace and learn to rest in that instead of becoming overwhelmed and then apathetic! Rest vs. Complacency. A new take on a very old concept. - the song You Are I Am

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

TOO MUCH...WHICH TRUTH? by Tony Manley

“How hard is it to trust someone?  With a 1 being very easy and 10 being extremely hard.”

“What would it take to put my heart out there with complete abandonment to others?”

“Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength.” Deut. 6:5

God is trustworthy. God is worthy of all my trust.

Week two of Deuteronomy Bible study…too much. I think if there were nothing else or no one else in this world or day to attend to, I could handle all God wants me to grasp about Him, His heart, and His ways. 

As a teacher, I am the type I want all of your attention because I believe what I am presenting is of utmost importance to your learning and because I know how the information is going to be useful in your life. I want my students to have all the tools they need to be successful and confident in the moments now and to come!

So, when the questions about trusting and putting my heart out there were thrown out and then the verse about loving God with my all, I was stirred up. I don’t have a very good history with trusting and loving people well. For whatever reason, trusting and loving God is a different story. I do trust Him and do love Him, but when the truth of loving people reflects my love for Him, I can get frustrated. I almost get the feeling I am being forced to do something against my better judgment…uh, oh, I just typed out a truth…loving people like God loves people IS against my better judgment. Key words - MY BETTER JUDGMENT. My better judgment is birthed from a sin nature. God’s better judgment is from a pure, holy, and just nature full of love, grace, and forgiveness.

I said in the beginning of this rambling that there was “too much” and “which truth” during Monday night’s teaching, so...what do I need to embrace/focus on to bring clarity of vision? (I don’t multitask as well anymore…one truth at a time, please! ☺)
In the spirit of persevering, I dissected the article written about the lesson by Melissa in the study guide (A God So Near).  I substituted my name (insert your own name) for Israel’s name in the major points from the text. Narrowing down all the information seems to help me “see” more clearly (regain my vision).

Place your name in all the blanks: 

___________'s keeping and performing the commandments is a matter of life and death to my heart and walk with Christ. 

God’s nearness to __________ makes me unique and exceptional in and to the world.

____________'s obedience to and keeping of God’s commands is the way God is known and found in community.

The way I live – faithfully or unfaithfully as a daughter and co-heir with Christ, will draw conclusions and questions from the world about God.

To bring all of this to a summation, God is worthy and trustworthy enough for me to not only love Him completely, but to love others with His love. Risky? Yes! Possible? Yes! Easy? No! But “We love because He first loved us.”  1 John 4:19.  This is the truth I must embrace.

Tuesday, June 25, 2013


The theme for last week's Bible Study meal was Italian. Pizza, spaghetti, and an Italian lasagna! Mmmmm! We are fed well...physically and then spiritually!

Ramen Salad by Paula Roten
Make a tossed salad with your favorite ingredients. (I used an entire head of iceberg lettuce, grated carrots, diced cucumber, chopped purple onion, and diced tomatoes)

1 pkg. Ramen Noodles, chicken flavor
1 small pkg. sliced almonds
1/4 - 1/2 stick butter

1. Before opening the pkg. of Ramen Noodles, beat the pkg. with something heavy like a rolling pin or a meat mallet, just enough to make smaller pieces of the noodles but not enough to pulverize them. 
2. Melt butter in a skillet. Add the dry noodles and almonds and saute until lightly browned. 
3. Drain very well on paper towels. 
4. Add to the salad right before serving.

1/2 cup oil
4 T. white vinegar
2 1/2 T. sugar
seasoning packet from the Ramen Noodles

Mix all ingredients for dressing. Add at last minute before serving. 

***When I carry this salad somewhere, I always make the salad in a large oblong container. Then I put the tomatoes on top at one end, wrapped in plastic wrap. On the other end, I lay the noodle/almond mixture on top, wrapped in plastic wrap as well. Right after the blessing and before everyone is ready to eat, I dump the tomatoes and noodle/almond mixture in the salad, add the dressing, and mix. (This salad gets soggy if it sits in the dressing too long.)

Lasagna by Pam Gross
     yield: 12

for the sauce-
2 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 large onion
1/2 red bell pepper, chopped
1 small zucchini, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 pound lean ground beef, cooked and drained1-6 oz. can tomato paste
1-8 oz. can tomato sauce {+1/2 can water to wash out can}
1-14.5 oz. can diced tomatoes
1 tablespoon dried basil
1/2 tablespoon dried oregano
1 bay leaf
1 teaspoon sugar
salt & pepper to taste

for the cheese filling-
1-10 oz. tub Philadelphia Italian Herb & Cheese Cooking Cream
1/3 cup grated parmesan cheese
3/4 pound mozzarella cheese, grated & divided
1/3 cup ricotta cheese
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1 egg

21 lasagne pasta sheets

For the sauce- heat olive oil over medium heat and saute onions, pepper, zucchini and garlic until tender, 5 minutes. Stir in cooked ground beef and tomato paste until well incorporated. Stir in remaining sauce ingredients and bring to simmer. Reduce heat to low and cook 30 minutes or so. {The longer it cooks, the better it will taste!} This will be very thick.

For the cheese filling- stir all ingredients together excluding half of the grated mozzarella cheese. Set aside.

For the pasta- Bring large pot of salted water to boil. Cook pasta sheets 2 minutes less than package directions and drain. Place pasta on greased baking sheet until you are ready for assembly.

For assembly- Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spoon about 1/4 of the sauce into the bottom of a 9 x 13 casserole dish{#1}. Next place lasagna noodles side by side on top of sauce to cover bottom of dish {#2}. Top pasta sheet with a generous tablespoon of sauce {#3} and then a generous tablespoon of cheese filling {#4}. Repeat this pasta-sauce-cheese layering one more time being sure to press out any air bubbles. Top with a 3rd layer of pasta, more sauce and the remaining mozzarella cheese. Bake for 25-30 minutes or until everything is hot and bubbly. Serve hot.

Blueberry Cobbler by Martha Stephenson

Make a blueberry pie filling:
I used 4 cups of blueberries 1 cup of sugar - 3/4 cup is probably better
1/2 stick of butter
Make a thickening of corn starch and water.  I used 2 T. of  corn starch and a cup of water.
Heat until it is slightly thickened.

2 cups of Bisquick
2 cups of sugar
2 cups of milk
1 stick of butter (melted)
Mix all together until as smooth as you can get it.

Pour crust in bottom of a 9 x 13 pan and pour berry mixture of top of that.  Bake at 350 degrees for an hour.

Serve with ice cream, if desired.

Monday, June 24, 2013


"Why do the wicked live on, 
growing old and increasing in power?
They see their children established around them,
their offspring before their eyes.
Their homes are safe and free from fear;
the rod of God is not upon them.
Their bulls never fail to breed;
their cows calve and do not miscarry.
They send forth their children as a flock; 
their little ones dance about.
They spend their years in prosperity
and go down to the grave in peace. 
Yet they say to God, 
'Leave us alone! 
We have no desire to know your ways.'"
Job 21:7-11, 13-14

Do you, like Job, ever find yourself saying, "IT'S JUST NOT FAIR!"?

It's pretty easy for us to put our eyes on what others are doing and getting away with. I've found I have to intentionally look back to God and His Word to get my heart right again. 

Do not fret because of evil men
or be envious of those who do wrong;
for like grass they will soon wither, 
like green plants they will soon die away.
Trust in the Lord and do good;
dwell in the land and enjoy safe pasture.
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 do this:
He will make your righteousness shine like the dawn,
the justice of your cause like the noonday sun.
Be still before the Lord and wait patiently for him;
do not fret when men succeed in their ways,
when they carry out their wicked schemes.
Psalm 37:1-7

Friday, June 21, 2013


Make plans now to attend the Extraordinary Women conference in Southaven at the Landers Center October 18-19. Discount offered if you register before June 28. Check this link to see who speakers will be and to register.

Thursday, June 20, 2013


Recently, I had to take my teenage daughters shopping for bathing suits. We each had different ideas of what we considered cute, modest, and appropriate…and their dad and brothers had THEIR own ideas of what THEY considered cute, modest, and appropriate. (Sorry, Dad, but I’m pretty sure a full length turtle neck parka would be a little too much for the pool! :)

To be honest, I was dreading this shopping trip before we even got to the store! I knew from experience that there would be self-esteem issues, peer pressure issues, personality issues, and generation gap issues that would all come to full head in that dressing room! If we left still loving (or even liking!) each other…it would be a miracle! So we did something different this time…something we’ve never taken the time to do before bathing suit shopping (which may explain our failures in the past!)…something that changed our hearts and attitudes and minds and preconceived ideas: We prayed. 

We prayed that God would show us what HE thought was cute and modest and appropriate. We prayed that God would help us find the perfect balance of fashion and modesty. We prayed that He would help us to be mindful of how we can protect the minds of guys we encounter by the way we dress. We prayed that He would remind us (while we were standing in front of three way mirrors that seem to accentuate every flaw in our figure) that we were beautiful to Him. We prayed that God would remind us that He doesn’t look at our outside…He looks at our hearts!

I have read/watched two very thought provoking articles about this issue recently. I understand that this is a “gray area” of scripture. My standards may be different than yours. There is no Bible verse that says what the exact proportions of material should be to cover you when you go to the pool. The point is not to be legalistic…the point is to pray. I’d like to encourage you to take the time to watch/read these two links, and then stop and ask God what HE wants you and your girls to wear this summer!

Wednesday, June 19, 2013


Something strange happened to me the other morning during my prayer time, and since most of you know that I am strange anyway, I thought I would share it with you. As most of you know, I have this disease that leaves me incredibly weak. Well, it was one of those mornings and, brother, was I weak and feeling rather wretched. I was debating with myself whether or not to go to work and actually arguing with the Lord about it (yes, I argue with the Lord, yes I am human and yes, He always wins). Praying and asking for Him to just come on back that day as I really did not have the strength to mess with it any longer. I had all I could just about stand. When all of a sudden, He got my attention about someone I have been praying for regarding their salvation. He reminded me that they were not saved and it was His will that they be saved. It literally caught my breath because (1) I heard and (2) I listened. I immediately repented of my pity party for one and prayed for that lost person. I also learned a valuable lesson.  

During this season of my life, I have been really angry with them. I mean really angry. They have created the perfect storm in our family with the destruction of an F5 tornado. My heart has been in shambles for months. I have been trying to patch up and clean up the mess left behind, all the while, keeping it together on the outside for everyone else. It’s just plain exhausting (remember I did mention I was in a weakened condition).  

What my Heavenly Father showed me that morning was that during this season I had not missed a day of praying for them. And what I found out about myself is that one cannot stay angry at someone when you are praying for them, especially if you are praying that the Lord will bring them to His salvation. It is my heartfelt, earnest prayer. Love the sinner, hate the sin. Now I have prayed for people before, probably not quite like this before, mainly because it has not affected me so personally. I love them and I want them to know the Lord and be in heaven with the rest of us. It grieves my soul to think that they might not be there. That’s when it dawned on me…I had come full circle. When I was able to let go of my anger and earnestly pray for my loved one because I love them and desire to see them saved, there was a shift in my praying for them. Now I have a burning desire for them and an urgency to see them saved that I never had before.  

Do I still struggle? Yes, but I am reminded that it’s not His will that any should perish. And I am praying for His will in their life and my life too.  

II Peter 2:9 – The Lord is not slow in keeping His promise…He is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance.

Tuesday, June 18, 2013


We celebrated Mexico for our first Bible Study meal. People always want recipes for the dishes that are brought, so over the next 6 weeks you'll all the benefit! 

Mexican Lasagna by Rachel Dowdy
1/2 lb. ground mild pork sausage
1/2 lb. ground beef
1 (15 oz.) can Jalapeno Ranch Style Pinto Beans, drained
1 can diced tomatoes and green chiles
1 tsp. garlic powder
1 tsp. ground cumin
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. pepper
1 (10 3/4 oz.) can cream of celery soup
1 (10 3/4 oz.) can cream of mushroom soup
1 (10 oz.) can enchilada sauce
9 (6 in.) corn tortillas or flour
2 cups (8 oz.) shredded cheddar cheese
1 cup (4 oz.) shredded Monterey Jack cheese
1 medium tomato, seeded and diced
4 green onions, chopped
1/4 cup chopped cilantro

1. Cook sausage and ground beef in large skillet over medium-high heat. Drain all grease.
2. Stir in beans and next 5 ingredients and cook until thoroughly heated.
3. In another pan, stir together celery soup, mushroom soup, and enchilada sauce until thoroughly heated. 
4. Spoon 1/3 sauce onto bottom of a lightly greased 9 x 13 baking dish.
5. Top with 3 tortillas. 
6. Spoon 1/2 of beef and sausage mixture and 1/3 of the sauce over tortillas. 
7. Sprinkle with half of cheddar cheese.
8. Repeat layer of  tortillas, beef mixture, sauce, and cheese. End with a layer of tortillas.
9. Sprinkle top of tortillas with Monterey Jack cheese, tomatoes, onions, and cilantro.
10. Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes. 

Chicken Enchiladas by Tony Manley
4 cooked chicken breasts, shredded
10 flour tortilla shells
1 (16 oz) container sour cream (I don't use all of it, about 2/3ish :)
1 can cream of chicken soup
1 (16 oz.) pkg. shredded cheddar cheese (sharp or mild)
salt and pepper to taste (for a spicier taste add hot seasonings)

1. In a large bowl, combine sour cream, soup, 1/2 pkg. cheese, and seasonings.  
2. Stir in shredded chicken.  If the mixture looks dry, add the remaining sour cream.
3. On a tortilla shell, spread about 2 tbsp. of the chicken mixture and roll tightly. Place in a sprayed 9 x 13 pan.  
4. Continue this process until you fill the pan.  
5. The remaining chicken mixture is to be spread across the enchiladas.  
6. Sprinkle the other half of the cheese over the top.
7. Bake at 350 degrees till bubbly.

Fruit Pie - by Nellita Young
2 unbaked pie shells  (I like Pillsbury)
1/2 cup chopped pecans
2 bananas
1 8-oz. pkg. creamed cheese
1 cup sugar
2 pkgs. Dream Whip
1 can peach (or blueberry) pie filling

1. Press 1/4 cup pecans into each pie shell.  Bake according to directions on crust pkg.  Let cool.
2. After baking crust, slice one banana into each of the pie shells.
3. Pour 1/2 can peach (or blueberry) pie filling into each pie shell. (See note at bottom)
4. Prepare the 2 pkgs. of Dream Whip according to directions on pkg.  Set aside.
5. Cream the creamed cheese and sugar together.  Whip until smooth.
6. Mix the Dream Whip mixture with the creamed cheese/sugar mixture.  Mix until smooth.
7. Top each pie with the Dream Whip & creamed cheese mixture.  Refrigerate until ready to serve.

*NOTE:  The recipe calls for one can of pie filling to be shared on the two pies. I usually buy 2 cans and use about 3/4 can on each pie. I like to make one peach and one blueberry. 

Monday, June 17, 2013


You have stayed long enough at this mountain. 
Break camp and advance...
Deut. 1:6-7

Tony Manley's post spoke to me this past Friday. Go back and read it. What's the mountain in your life that you need to leave?

  • unforgiveness?
  • a deadend job?
  • fear?
  • unresolved issues?
  • lack of trust?
  • disbelief?
  • worry?

(Remember, Beth Moore said this is not permission to leave a marriage!)

As I read some more in Deuteronomy, I found these verses:

See, I have given you this land. 
Go in and take possession...
Do not be terrified; 
do not be afraid... 
The Lord your God, 
who is going before you, 
will fight for you...
Deut. 1:8, 29-30

I find great comfort in two things: 
     (1) knowing I'm not walking into the "unknown" blindly. God has already gone before me. Nothing will take Him by surprise. 
     (2) knowing I have a God who will fight for me. I don't have to do it alone, or possibly at all! 

Anybody, besides me, need to break camp and advance? 

Friday, June 14, 2013

"SEE" by Tony Manley

Lock in on Deuteronomy 1:8.  A key word in Deuteronomy is “see.” One of our major goals in this series will be to regain our vision.

Welcome to the first night of the Deuteronomy Bible Study! This was the #5 point in the fill-in-the-blanks of the listening guide. Of course, each person walked away with a specific point that gripped their heart personally, and I don’t know that this is the one that got me on Monday night, but as the week has progressed, God has repetitively brought “see” and “regain our vision” to my attention! It seems there are so many people in my life circle who are living in circumstances they never anticipated they would be living…health, relationship, broken/betrayals, financial, basically - “I don’t want or deserve this” type life. So how does this line of thinking connect with “see” and “regain our vision?”

In the four gospels, Jesus healed the blind by speaking, touching, having him wash with mud, and even spitting. (*I love the creativity of Jesus’ healing ways!) The blind’s need was obvious –seeing. Seeing clearly. When I think about regaining my vision, it is apparent, I am not seeing clearly. I have begun developing  a questioning heart or have lost what was once so clear. “Is God still good?” “Is God watching and/or listening?”  “Is He really FAITHFUL and PRESENT?”  My vision is becoming blurry, which reveals a heart becoming muddied. Possibly, the beginnings of a wandering life.

Life has a way of stepping in as a form of a mountain blocking a view or vision. But God has a response  in Deut. 1:6: “You have stayed long enough at this mountain.” Isn’t that a gentle (?) rebuke/reminder/statement to say, “It’s time to move on from whatever has blocked your vision of ME?”  I must grieve and deal with the mountains, but I do not have permission to get stuck at the mountain. Thus, the theme of Deuteronomy –“He brought us (me) out that He might bring us (me) in.”

Father, “I want to see” (Luke 18:41), to gain again/to keep the vision of truth. You are greater than any life mountains I face. You have purpose in placing or allowing mountains, but I know the mountains are not for getting stuck! I know, Father, Your heart is trustworthy, so today, I claim You as greater than any mountain and by Your grace I will walk and not quit.  Amen

Thursday, June 13, 2013


Have you ever wondered how many storms you’ve ever chased? Now, I bet you’re thinking that’s a strange question, aren’t you? Let me explain … this morning I was listening to the weather channel and was hearing about three storm chasers who had died over the weekend chasing a tornado in Oklahoma. Immediately the Holy Spirit asked me, “How many storms have you chased?” I thought, how odd, but yet He got my attention. (Funny how He gets my attention in the morning when I'm getting ready for work. Usually my thoughts are on, well … me, since I'm getting ready for work.)

Storms can be anything or anyone. Anything that takes our attention off Christ will more than likely turn into a storm. Whatever we chase after and give our affection to is a storm; in other words, anything that controls our hearts or minds. Storms can knock us off balance, suck the wind out of us and throw our life into a crisis. Some even entice us to follow them, which is what storm chasers do.  

Here’s what a storm chaser does…they drive from storm to storm trying to be the first there to get the best shot of the storm or tornado to send back to their station with the first bit of information. Sound familiar? Don’t we all run around trying to find the right car, the right house, the right friend, the right church, the best vacation, the right pair… of… shoes? Just so we can let everyone know that we have the best? And we don’t even have to say a word about it; it shows. We are running ourselves ragged just keeping up with the Kardashians of life. Chasing storms…

Jesus says in Matthew 6:33: “Seek first the Kingdom of God and His righteousness and all these things will be given to you.” When we stop the insanity and realize that what we need to do is to seek Him first and His Kingdom, He will allow, in His time, everything else to fall into place. When we come to the realization that things, people, church hopping, vacations and the right pair of shoes are not going to make us happy, but only a right relationship with Jesus Christ will complete us and fill us, there will be a shift in our thinking and desires. We will no longer crave what the world has to offer. We will not want to chase after things that no longer satisfy, but only want what truly satisfies the heart and the soul. We will desire a closer relationship with Christ because only He can satisfy.  

I know in my own life when I’ve chased storms, I usually just end up cleaning up the debris left behind by the mess I’ve made. But when I’m seeking the Lord and looking for His direction in my life, really seeking, my life seems to run smoother. Now, I’m not saying He moves quickly in my life because He usually doesn’t, but He does do a work in my heart first… then in my life. And that’s where it all begins, in the heart first. It’s a heart issue, the things we crave, whether heavenly or earthly, it’s all an issue of the heart. 

Now I don’t know about you, but I get weary chasing storms… I think I’ll just sit back and learn to be content with what I have.

Wednesday, June 12, 2013


On the morning of the big visit to West Clinic, I awoke with the song "Redeemer" playing in my heart and mind. I didn't think too much about it...just enjoyed that private concert most of the day. My daughter Jinni came to take me to see Dr Wheeler. She was armed with many questions that needed answers. We visited over coffee and, as always, attempted to solve all the world's problems.  

We headed for West Clinic with me feeling a little like a lamb led to slaughter. Waiting is a fine art developed by patients there. I knew that so many of you were praying that day and the power of those prayers was almost palpable.  

With "Redeemer" still playing on my mental radio, I asked Jinni to find it and play it off her phone. Please take time to watch this video by Nicole Mullen.  Girls, we had "church" right there in that waiting room, and no one sitting near us seemed to mind a bit.

THEN GOD broke through with this scripture that became the victory cry of this third journey with this tacky cancer:

Hebrews 7:25 AMP -  "Therefore He is able also to save to the uttermost (completely, perfectly, finally, and for all time and eternity) those who come to God through Him, since He is always living to make petition to God and intercede with Him and intervene for them."  

Now, Girls, if my theology is flawed, please correct me gently, but I believe that says that Jesus was and is interceding for ME and YOU and that He would actually have to cease to exist and therefore stop praying for anything to happen that wasn't in line with His perfect will for me in that doctor's office. Therefore, anything that comes to us has to be in agreement with His prayers for us!!! I guess after that revelation and worship in that waiting room, Dr Wheeler could have said he was going to cut off my head and it would have been OK at that moment. 

Tuesday, June 11, 2013


Here's another microwave recipe for those hot days when you don't want to turn on the oven.

Upside-Down Cherry Cheesecakes

5 tbsp. butter, melted and divided
3 whole graham crackers
5 tbsp.  powdered sugar, divided
6 oz. cream cheese 
1 1/4 tsp. vanilla extract, divided
1 lemon
1 small pkg (9 oz) white cake mix or 1 2/3 cups white cake mix from a regular-size package
1/2 cup sour cream 
1 egg
1 cup canned cherry pie filling, divided

1. Brush sides of wells of Single Servings Pan (or ramekins) with 1 tbsp. of the butter. 

2. Process graham crackers in Manual Food Processor until finely chopped. Add 2 tbsp. each of the butter and powdered sugar; process until incorporated. Sprinkle about 2 tbsp. of the crumb mixture into wells of pan; lightly press into bottom using Mini-Tart Shaper. Set pan aside.

3. For filling, microwave cream cheese in Small Batter Bowl, uncovered, on HIGH 10-20 seconds or until slightly softened. Add remaining 3 tbsp. powdered sugar and 1/4 tsp. of the vanilla; mix well.

4. For cake, zest lemon using Microplane® Zester to measure 1 tsp. Combine zest, cake mix, remaining 2 tbsp. butter, remaining 1 tsp. vanilla, sour cream and egg in Classic Batter Bowl. Whisk well. (Batter will be very thick.)

5. Divide batter evenly among wells of pan using Large Scoop. 

6. Scoop filling over batter using a level Medium Scoop. Press one cherry from pie filling into bottom of each cake.

7. Microwave on HIGH 4-6 minutes or until tops of cakes appear cooked (edges will still be moist). 

8. Carefully loosen sides of cakes with releasing tool. Carefully invert pan (or ramekins) onto flat side of Large Grooved Cutting Board (or individual plates) and let stand 2 minutes. 

9. Microwave remaining pie filling in Small Micro-Cooker®, covered, on HIGH 1-2 minutes or until warm, stirring once. 

10. Carefully lift pan (or ramekins) to release cakes. Serve cakes with pie filling.

Yield: 6 servings 
Nutrients per serving: (1 cake): Calories 510, Total Fat 29 g, Saturated Fat 14 g, Cholesterol 95 mg,
Sodium 520 mg, Carbohydrate 59 g, Fiber 1 g, Protein 6 g

© 2013 The Pampered Chef used under license.

Brenda Riden
Pampered Chef Consultant

Monday, June 10, 2013


Do you find your mind thinking on the negative...the what-ifs...the sad and sorrowful, the hurts and pains of life...all your burdens? I've seen both these photos lately. I think God might be trying to tell me something. You too maybe?


Summer Bible Study begins tonight in Fellowship Hall. 

Check the right hand margin for all info. 

Join us!

Friday, June 7, 2013


While helping my 5 yr-old get ready for the day, he started to cry. I immediately asked what was wrong and he said, "I wish it was still night time." Yeah. Your guess is as good as mine at this point. But upon further inquiry he explained, "I was in the middle of thinking about being brave when I fell asleep, but now it's morning and I don't have time to decide whether to be brave or not!" You see, he was sick and knew we were going to the doctor first thing in the morning. But morning came before he was ready!

As cute as this conversation was, it was also a little too familiar for my comfort. In the middle of the "night" when things are calm and peaceful in my life, it's easy to say that when the hard times come I'll be ready. It's easy to have a head-knowledge of the Scriptures, but when daylight comes and I see the scary times ahead, will I still be so brave? These questions ran through my head as I sat there in the waiting room with my son. And when we moved into the exam room, I tried to prepare my little man for what might happen.

"Will they stick that big stick in my throat?"  

"Will they put that long q-tip up my nose?" 

"Will I have to get a shot?" 

"Will it hurt?" 

I wanted to be honest about what was in store. I wanted him to be prepared. But I also told him that it would be ok, and even though it might hurt, it was for his best. Does that sound familiar (Jeremiah 29:11)?

After the doctor walked out after telling us he needed a shot, another conversation ensued. Amidst the crying I tried to remind him of all the shots he got when he was a baby where he didn't cry at all. His reply, "But I was a baby and didn't know any better. Now I'm 5 and smarter and I know that it will hurt. I didn't know then!" I so understand his logic. I was telling a friend just the other day how I get so tired of constantly having to think of everything I'm doing and the effect it is having on my eternal life, on my kids' futures, on my grandchildren's futures! The pressure of becoming spiritually aware of the choices you make can become so overwhelming at times. I sometimes long for the "ignorance is bliss" days when the choices I made didn't come with such generational consequences. But as Paul says in 1 Corinthians 13:11: “When I was a child, I spoke as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child: but when I became a man, I put away childish things.” True...when we were "babes in Christ," we didn't know any better. But as my son pointed out, we're smarter now! We know better now. So let's start living in the knowledge of God's Word. Let's trust that preparing ourselves during the quiet times will give us the courage to be brave during the hard times. And just as I was trying to convince my son, we have to trust that even if it's for our good! 

Thursday, June 6, 2013


Hebrews 12:2 – Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before Him endured the Cross …

I’ve been asking myself this question for the past few days. Do I know how to endure? The Lord has been burning Hebrews 12:2 into my heart lately because of my circumstances. I truly believe He wants me to live through them and not under them.

I kept asking myself and the Lord what it actually means to “endure.” I decided to look up the definition in the dictionary and of course Strong’s. Here we go: Webster’s definition of endure is “to last, persist, to suffer firmly, bear, tolerate.”  Ok, we are going somewhere with this. Now, Strong’s goes even further: “to stay under, remain, to undergo trials, persevere, suffer, and the last definition is… ‘ye shall take it patiently.’ ” Wow, that’s a tough one.

In other words, when Jesus endured the Cross for you and me, He suffered firmly, persisted to the end, persevered, remained, took it patiently all the way to the Cross for us. Now, I don’t know about you, but there are not too many people I would go that far for. My husband and my children, but that’s about it. Ok, maybe a close friend … well, you get the point. How many people would you endure suffering for? And take it patiently? Probably not too many.  

The difference, I believe, is what we set our “sight” on. Jesus was able to see the joy on the other side of His suffering, all the way to His Father. The joy of seeing His Father helped Him to endure the Cross and all His suffering, even His separation from His Father during that time of suffering. He saw the joy. I think He wants us to fix our eyes on the joy also. Keeping our sight planted on Heaven sure beats seeing what goes on around us and living in our circumstances. Yes, we do live in this fallen world, but we don’t have to live bound by it. I know in my own life right now, my circumstances can look pretty bleak, but I want to see the joy on the other side of those circumstances. I want to experience the joy that comes from knowing Him deeper through those circumstances. I want to live my life in the light of eternity and teach my boys that this is not our home and to live that way too. What we do for Christ is all that matters…all else is just wood, hay, and stubble.  

Now, I’m not there yet and I struggle daily, as we all do. That’s why it’s a daily walk of faith, and my desire is to leave our sons a heritage of faith.  

Hebrews 12:3 states that Jesus endured such opposition from sinful men, so that we would not grow weary and lose heart. Boy do I grow weary. Don’t we all? But I do not want to lose heart. And we do that, I believe, by looking for the joy beyond the suffering. Now I’m not going to say that it’s easy, because believe me it’s not. We want to be close to the Lord, but heaven forbid that we suffer to get there. What I will say is that if you are a Christian for any length of time and growing in the Lord, you will go through times of suffering, and the only way to endure those times is to fix your eyes on Jesus. I can say that with confidence because I have been there. The promise here is “don’t lose heart” because Christ has overcome the world.

I don’t know about you, but I’m going to start looking for that joy...

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

TRUSTING GOD by Lynda Leeson

Return to your rest, O my soul, 
for the Lord has dealt bountifully with you. 
Psalm 116:7 (AMP)

Matthew Henry's commentary explains it this way:  (1.) He will live a life of delight in God (Ps. 116:7): Return unto thy rest, O my soul! [1.] “Repose thyself and be easy, and do not agitate thyself with distrustful disquieting fears as thou hast sometimes done. Quiet thyself, and then enjoy thyself. God has dealt kindly with thee, and therefore thou needest not fear that ever he will deal hardly with thee.”

After leaving Dr Wheeler's office at West Clinic on the 21st, I definitely felt like The Lord had dealt bountifully with could have been soooo much worse. 

"Return to your rest" says to me to continue as I was...resting in Him and His sovereignty over my life and this tacky cancer. After 26 years you'd think I wouldn't still need these refresher courses. Subtle changes in this disease don't affect Him at all.

"The Lord has dealt bountifully (don't you love that word!!!) with you" continue with the shots and no additional treatment was such an answer to many prayers. While not much fun, it's certainly "doable."

One of the side effects of Faslodex is fatigue and tiredness. Please pray that I'll get use to it. I'm learning to put my mental list on hold and take advantage of stillness and resting. I believe that brings me back to the beginning of the verse..."return to your rest, O my soul."

What an awesome privilege to be taught these lessons by The Lover of my soul. Never forget He's also the Healer, Redeemer, and Provider.  Smiley face...

Tuesday, June 4, 2013


It's getting hot. Using the microwave seems like a great way to keep the kitchen cool!

Grilled Chicken Penne al Fresco

4 garlic cloves, peeled 
2 cups grape or cherry tomatoes 
3 cups uncooked mezze penne pasta 
3 cups chicken broth
3/4 cup dry white wine such as Chardonnay*
1/2 tsp. each salt and coarsely ground black pepper 
1 1/4 cups lightly packed fresh basil leaves, divided
1 oz. Parmesan cheese, grated (about 1/4 cup packed) 
2 cups diced grilled chicken breasts
Additional grated fresh Parmesan cheese and coarsely ground black pepper (optional)

1. Spray Deep Covered Baker with olive oil using Kitchen Spritzer. Slice garlic into baker using Garlic Slicer. Add tomatoes. Cover; microwave on HIGH 4-5 minutes or until tomatoes begin to burst, stirring after 2 minutes. Crush tomatoes using Mix ‘N Chop. Add pasta, broth, wine, salt and black pepper.
2. Return baker to microwave; cover and microwave on HIGH 16-18 minutes or until pasta is tender, stirring after 10 minutes. Meanwhile, coarsely chop basil with Chef's Knife. Reserve 2 tbsp. for garnish. Grate cheese using Rotary Grater.
3. Carefully remove baker from microwave and remove lid, lifting away from you. Add remaining basil, cheese and chicken to baker; mix well. Garnish with reserved 2 tbsp. basil, additional Parmesan cheese and black pepper, if desired.

Yield: 8 servings 

Nutrients per serving: Light (about 1 cup): Calories 240, Total Fat 2.5 g, Saturated Fat .5 g, Cholesterol 25 mg, Carbohydrate 35 g, Protein 17 g, Sodium 450 mg, Fiber 2 g 

*Cook’s Tips: An additional 3/4 cup chicken broth can be substituted for the wine, if desired.

Any tube-shaped pasta requiring 9-11 minutes cook time, such as penne or rigatoni, can be substituted for the mezze penne pasta.

To grill chicken in the Grill Pan, season 2 chicken breasts, about 6 oz each, with salt and black pepper. Heat Grill Pan over medium-high heat 5 minutes. Spray pan with oil. Cook chicken 4-6 minutes or until grill marks appear. Turn chicken over; cook 4-6 minutes or until center of chicken is no longer pink and Digital Pocket Thermometer registers 170°F.

© 2013 The Pampered Chef used under license.

Brenda Riden
Pampered Chef Consultant

Monday, June 3, 2013


Summer Bible Study

Monday Nights - 6 wks.

June 10 - July 15


The Law of Love:
Lessons from the Pages of Deuteronomy
videos by Beth Moore

no written homework

themed potluck meal each week


What is your weakness?

  • Shut in?
  • No eloquence?
  • Shy or introverted?
  • Physical limitations?
  • Not "qualified?"
  • Feelings of inferiority?
  • Financial limitations?
What weakness do you wish was different in your life?

Remember...God wants to show His power through you and your weakness. Are you willing to let Him?