Friday, August 30, 2013


Beth Moore, Travis Cottrell, and the Living Proof Live team will be coming to Memphis on August 22-23 of 2014. Many of our ladies are already setting aside that date next year.  It's Friday night and Saturday morning, so no work missed. The early bird tickets are only $59.00. If you would like for Lisa Newman to order your ticket, give her or Paula Roten a deposit check for $20.00 ASAP.  

Thursday, August 29, 2013


What do the words change, unconditional, and anything have in common? Or would it be better to ask how can they be tied together? Answer - each one is a part of God’s heart for me! Each one is to be laid down before the Lord!

Summer has gone by the wayside, fall is in the air…decorative pumpkins and fall colored M & Ms are on display, along with Friday night football. Definitely the most wonderful time of year – fall!  But in this one sentence of moving from three months of life to the next three months, there has been a lot left unsaid.

Change is good, exciting, hard, scary, and necessary. Change is a part of life from the moment of birth to the day our faith becomes sight. Unconditional is a term implying no limits, like God’s unconditional love. Anything is any thing. The summer in the rear view mirror was a stretch of my heart and a setting of teaching me how far I have to go with embracing change with an unconditional love and a heart of any thing.

Praying daily for God to bless, use, and grow me had become more of a ritual than a “thought through” desire. The reason I know this now is because God took me up on this sentence prayer. He is extremely faithful and creative to do “above and beyond all I can ask or imagine.” In order to change me, He had to bring people and circumstances to me to start the change I needed for my heart.  As long as I am having a life that is the same yesterday, today, and tomorrow there will be no change, just a feeling of “I got this.”  Pretty comfortable!

To teach me about unconditional living, He had to break down my conditions I had set about my life. “Don’t mess with it if it ain’t broken” can become my status quo, but the truth revealed is – my heart can get very stuck in a rut of checklists of conditional boundaries…feeling in control and content in my box.

But the big project was and is the overwhelming work of revealing how “unanything” I am. God is so desirous for me to be an anything girl. Anywhere, anyone, anytime, anyhow. This is my great awakening – I am a status quo, conditional, and unanything girl. I do not want to sound defeated or self pitying, but hopeful. I know “He’s still working on me, to make me what I ought to be…” 
As I begin a fresh new season and new heart class (truth be known, it is a repeat of heart classes I have attended in the past), my prayer is “Father, change me, remove my conditional ways, and take me to the anything life for You. I pray for no fear, no resistance, no regret as I walk with You.”  Amen.

Wednesday, August 28, 2013


John 6:16-21 (ESV) 
16 When evening came, his disciples went down to the sea, 
17 got into a boat, and started across the sea to Capernaum. 
It was now dark, and Jesus had not yet come to them. 
18 The sea became rough because a strong wind was blowing. 
19 When they had rowed about three or four miles, 
they saw Jesus walking on the sea and coming near the boat, 
and they were frightened. 
20 But he said to them, “It is I; do not be afraid.” 
21 Then they were glad to take him into the boat, and immediately the boat was at the land to which they were going.

This is a passage of scripture that often gets overlooked because it immediately follows the miracle of Jesus feeding the five thousand. But for the past week God has brought it to my attention several times and that can only mean one thing...He's trying to tell me something! So I finally had the time to sit down and really give it my full attention (which as a mother of 5 under the age of 10 is VERY RARE). 

After Jesus fed the five thousand with the 2 fish and 5 loaves of bread, He retreated into the mountain alone because He knew this mob of people that had just witnessed a miracle would want Him to become their king against the Roman authorities. He could definitely overtake the Roman government, but this wasn't His wasn't His time. His kingdom was not to be a worldly one, but a Heavenly one and these people couldn't grasp that just yet. So while Jesus was alone in the mountains, His disciples headed to Capernaum by boat, which was a 6 mile trip. As they rowed, a storm hit. 

When I'm reading a story in the Bible, I try to stop and really imagine the scene. I can picture these men in the middle of the winds and waves, rowing with all their might, struggling to see what's in front of them. Their arms getting tired from struggling to row, their faces being beaten by the whipping water. I'm sure a couple of them were wondering, "Hey! Where is Jesus for all of this? We sure could use His help right now!" Does this sound familiar to anyone? Think back over your life, over the past 5 years of your life, over the past 5 hours of your life. How many times has God blessed you? How many miracles has He performed? If you can't think of any then I highly suggest a total reworking of your thought processes. How often do we get into the pit of dissatisfication, of thinking that everyone else has it better or easier than we do, of become depressed when we have so much to live for? God does amazing things for us and in us and the very next breath seems to bring complaining and doubt. This passage in John helps me understand that no matter how "good" we may seem, we all struggle with the same issues...even the disciples did! Here they have just witnessed one of the greatest miracles in the Bible and the very next problem they are faced with brings self-reliance and struggle. They had the power of the Lord living among them. They were hand-chosen by the human form of the almighty God. They ate, slept, served shoulder-to-shoulder with the living embodiment of the creator and ruler of the universe. And here they were fighting the winds and the waves on their own. But did Jesus leave them there in the storm? Did He make them find the shore alone? Of course not! Yet I find it all too familiar that He appeared and the disciples didn't recognize Him and were even "frightened." Can you blame them? I mean, you're in the midst of waves that are overtaking your boat and all of the sudden this guy appears just strolling along on the water...seemingly not affected by the waves at all. A little unnerving, but exactly the way God appears in the middle of my darkest days. And do I recognize Him? Usually not. I usually continue to fight and suffer through the hurt and tears instead of really seeing Him and inviting Him into my "boat." We see in John 6 that when the disciples "were glad to take Him in," the boat was IMMEDIATELY at their destination. I tell myself so many times that the reason God allows hard things in our lives is to teach us something, to show us something new, to reveal Himself in a new way. So why do I keep rowing in vain with my own strength when all I have to do is recognize Him in the situation and I'll immediately be where I need to be? Maybe not at the end of my trial, but where I need to be spiritually, and isn't that our real destination here on earth???

Tuesday, August 27, 2013


We had some really yummy snacks at the retreat this past weekend. Sweets, dips, cookies, and even fruit for the health conscious. Recipes for two of the favorites are below. 

Strawberry Chess Squares by Leann King

1 box strawberry cake mix
1 egg
1 stick butter, melted

8 oz. cream cheese
2 eggs
1 tsp. vanilla
4 cups powdered sugar

Preheat oven to 300 degrees.

Mix the cake mix, 1 egg, and melted butter together and press in the bottom of a 9 x 13 pan.

Beat the cream cheese, 2 eggs, vanilla and powdered sugar together 1 - 2 minutes and pour on top of the strawberry layer.

Bake at 300 degrees for 40 minutes.Center should barely jiggle when shaken. Let cool completely before cutting. 

BLT DIP by Pam Gross

1 medium tomato, seeded & chopped, divided
1 8 oz. pkg. cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup Ranch dressing
8 strips of bacon, cooked & crumbled
1/2 cup finely chopped celery
3 T. finely chopped onions
1 1/2 tsp. sugar
Assorted crackers or toasted French bread slices

Set aside 2 Tablespoons tomato for garnish. In a small bowl, combine cream cheese & salad dressing. Add bacon, celery, onion, sugar & remaining tomato; mix well. Cover & refrigerate for at least an hour.

Garnish with reserved tomato. Serve with crackers or French bread slices.

Yield: 2 1/2 cups

Monday, August 26, 2013


One man gives freely, yet gains even more;
another withholds unduly, but comes to poverty.
A generous man will prosper;
he who refreshes others will himself be refreshed. 
Proverbs 11:24-25

He who is kind to the poor lends to the Lord, 
and he will reward him for what he has done.
Proverbs 19:17

If a man shuts his ears to the cry of the poor,
he too will cry out and not be answered.
Proverbs 21:13

I am thrilled that our women's ministry will be involved in ministering to Leah's House, a home for women where they will have their physical, emotional, and spiritual needs met. We have the opportunity to provide some specific items that are immediate needs. If you are willing to give them, please contact Ramona or contact Lisa at church ( ; 662 349 5005)

4 bathroom sized trash cans
5 RE Organize plastic containers with lids from Target (15 1/4 X 9 1/4 X 11 1/2)
4 small round laundry baskets
5 mid-sized Chest of drawers (4 drawers preferred)
2 Plastic drawer sets (3 drawers) like for a dorm room
4 small RE Organize containers with handled lids (size to hold 3 or 4 medicine bottles)
5 - 2 week daily pill dispensers
4 night stands
4 bedside table lamps
4 twin bed frames and matress sets
8 twin sheet sets (new or used)
laundry detergent
fabric softener sheets

Friday, August 23, 2013


I love the beginning of the new school year! I am nervous, scared, excited, emotional, excited, scared, nervous…did I mention I have emotions all over the board?! Being a teacher is a lifelong dream and one I do not take for granted. But each year as I walk back into the room that needs to be redone or moved, the meetings of reminders, and the receiving of the class list, my heart gets nervous, scared, excited, emotional...oh, did I already tell you this?

In my head, inservice means “heart prep.” These are the days to get me refocused on this calling and to refresh my vision. We always have one day of philosophy sessions that resonate with my heart at the level of my walk with Christ. I love being encouraged that my calling as a teacher is to permeate my talk, walk, preparation and presentation of the lessons to the lives of my God-assigned children and their families. Talk about humbling and needy! I need the Holy Spirit to be the lead Teacher while I assume the assistant’s roll. ☺

This year was particularly wonderful for me as the sessions were about having a Biblical Worldview. I was strengthened and excited about how God is Lord of every aspect of life in and out of the classroom and that as a teacher I am a living curriculum of Christ! The foundation of my life is Christ; therefore, as I teach, He should be the permeating fragrance and truth of room 111. The bottom line is - my view of everything in life should be filtered through God’s truth. 

I did walk away with some strong truths that I think will not only make it onto the wall somewhere in room 111 but also on the refrigerator at my house. As I listened, the Master Teacher was giving a one-on-one session with me in areas I need to have reinforced in the everywhere and everything of my life.

“But everything should be done in a fitting and orderly way.”  1 Corinthians 14:40

“Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for men.”  Colossians 3:23

“Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen.”  Ephesians 4:29

“He must become greater; I must become less.”  John 3:30

“And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love Him…to be conformed to the likeness of His Son…” Romans 8:28-29

“How good and pleasant it is when brothers live together in unity!"  Ps. 133:1

There. It. Is. My fresh, fragrant, and fun truths for room 111, my refrigerator, and everywhere in between! Check on me from time to time and hold me accountable to the truth of the Truth.  

Thursday, August 22, 2013


James, the half-brother of Jesus, said it first in his only recorded writing: 

James 1: 2-3  - Consider it wholly joyful, my brethren, whenever you are enveloped in or encounter trials of any sort or fall into various temptations. Be assured and understand that the trial and proving of your faith bring out endurance and steadfastness and patience. 

Keith Green expanded on it beautifully in his hymn, "Trials Turn to Gold." Many times The Lord speaks to me thru his lyrics and these have been bouncing around for days. Please take the time to be blessed and listen.

He's brought me here, where things are clear 
And trials turn to gold 
He shared with me, His victory 
He won in days of old 
Oh Lord, I don't deserve 
The riches of your word 
But You've changed my filthy rags 
To linen white as snow 
The view from here is nothing near 
To what it is for You 
I tried to see Your plan for me 
But I only acted like I knew 
Oh Lord forgive the times 
I tried to read your mind 
Cause you said if I'd be still 
Then I would hear your voice 
My Lord, my King, my urge to sing 
And praise the things above 
No words can say the glorious way 
You changed me with your love 
He's brought me low, so I could know 
The way to reach the heights 
To forsake my dreams, my self esteem 
And give up all my rights 
With each one that I lay down 
A jewel's placed in my crown 
Cause His love, the things above 
Is all we'll ever need He's brought me here, 
where things are clear 
And trials turn to gold

Isn’t it sweet and marvelous that Jesus gave us this method of dealing with our trials and so many promises of good outcomes when we deal with them His way?!?

Please don’t think I’m crazy, but the secular song by Johnny Nash comes to mind also. Look’s gonna be a bright, bright sunshiny day...

"I Can See Clearly Now" by Johnny Nash

I can see clearly now, the rain is gone, 
I can see all obstacles in my way 
Gone are the dark clouds that had me blind 
It’s gonna be a bright (bright), bright (bright) 
Sun-Shiny day.

I think I can make it now, the pain is gone 
All of the bad feelings have disappeared 
Here is the rainbow I’ve been prayin for 
It’s gonna be a bright (bright), bright (bright) 
Sun-Shiny day.

Look all around, there’s nothing but blue skies 
Look straight ahead, nothing but blue skies

I can see clearly now, the rain is gone, 
I can see all obstacles in my way 
Gone are the dark clouds that had me blind 
It’s gonna be a bright (bright), bright (bright) 
Sun-Shiny day.

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

PRINCESS PIE by Brenda Riden

Princess Pie

Coconut Cream Pie

Layer #1

1 cup flour ( I use self-rising)

½ c. butter, melted

2 T sugar

½ c. chopped nuts

Mix together and press into an 8 X 8 pan at 350 for 15-20 minutes.

Layer # 2

8 oz cream cheese, softened

1 c. powdered sugar

1 c. whipped topping (cool whip)

Mix well and spread over cooled crust.

Layer # 3

1 package of instant coconut cream pudding (small box)

1 ½ c. whole milk (makes it creamier)

Toasted coconut about ½ c.

Mix well until it begins to thicken.

Layer #4

Top with more cool whip.

Put another ½ c. toasted coconut on top.

You can use any flavor pudding you want.  I've done this and also lemon.

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

ANYTHING by Tony Manley

Now that I have completely embraced the truth that being Unglued by Lysa Terkeurst can actually be of value in my growing in Christ, I am being immersed in Anything by Jennie Allen! Two books and two truths! I invite inquiring minds to look into both books authored by wonderful women of Christ lovers.

It is time to return to school for parents and teachers. For me, it is exciting and scary all at one time…the thoughts that flood me as a teacher, also flood parents and students. “What ifs” and “what abouts” abound when I let my heart go to places of doubt, unbelief, and/or rebellion. Anytime I live out a Sarai heart (Gen. 16 – I can get what I want, how I want, when I want – without waiting for God), I can expect a mess to clean up afterwards (Gen. 21:8-10).  How does all this relate to returning to school? For me, I am reminded that God has a plan for the students and parents He has prepared for me this year. He knows who I need and He knows who they need. Don’t fight the One who knows all!

The “anything” heart requires abandoning whatever keeps me from living a life with Christ as Lord. The word abandon is an action, a verb. It means: to leave completely and finally; forsake utterly; to give up the control of; to yield oneself without restraint or moderation; to surrender one’s claim to, right to, or interest in; to give up entirely. As a teacher, parent, or student I must ask myself “Am I willing to pray anything - to abandon whatever is keeping myself or my child from living a life with Christ as Lord?   
I am learning a lot about the level of trust in God’s heart I demonstrate daily with my words and behavior. As a parent and teacher, when I see the name assigned to me, my response will reveal my belief about what God is doing in my life. As I approach that name, do I see and hear more what people say about that name or do I see and hear what God says? “Trust in the Lord with all your heart, lean not on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him and He shall direct your paths.” (Prov. 3:5-6)  “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love Him…to be conformed to the likeness of His Son…” (Rom. 8:28-29).

As a new year of new people comes into our lives – teachers, students, coaches, tutors, friends, coworkers – may each of us as new creations (2 Cor. 5:17), with new minds (Rom. 12:2), and new mouths (Eph. 4:29) embrace an “anything” heart toward the Lord and others.
“Tis so sweet to trust in Jesus, just to take Him at His word…”
“All to Jesus I surrender, all to Him I freely give…”
My  growing “anything” heart is loudly singing a few courageous songs of truth!!!!

Monday, August 19, 2013


Why are you downcast, O my soul?
Why so disturbed within me?
Put your hope in God,
for I will yet praise him, 
my Savior and my God.

My soul is downcast within me;
therefore I will remember you
from the land of the Jordan,
the heights of Hermon - from Mount
Deep calls to deep
in the roar of your waterfalls;
all your waves and breakers
have swept over me.
Psalm 42:5-7

Feeling sad, down, and depressed? You're human. Let's take a lesson from scripture about what to do when we feel that way:

1) Recognize that God is sovereign.

2) Go to God and put your hope in Him.

3) Praise Him...even in the sadness and difficulty.

4) Remember His goodness and deliverance in your life in times past. 

Thursday, August 15, 2013


I know I have been under the radar lately, but honestly, I have just been surviving. And to quote one of my favorite authors Susan Lenzkes from her book No Rain, No Gain, “Menacing storms have been lined up on the horizon of my life like a fleet of planes in a relentless landing pattern. And I can see absolutely no spiritual progress, no purpose, no good, no gain. And from where I am standing it is impossible to see what God is doing beneath the surface and beyond the moment.”  

I am in survival mode. There is enough going on in my family circle alone to keep me under until spring. I now know why Punxsutawney Phil only sticks his head out once a year. It’s safer that way. Safe sounds good. I want safe. I’m tired, I’m weary, I’m wounded, and I need relief.  

Thank goodness, God does not leave us in our grief and weariness. He gently nudges us out and reminds us that in His time, whatever He does will always turn out to be good because HE is good. He also reminded me that with eyes of faith I can see beneath my problems to His work within me and beyond them to the joy set before me (Hebrews 12:2)… the joy set before all of us who endure. I can endure because Christ endured for me. You see, we are not alone in our suffering, grief or weariness. He is with us. Sometimes I just need to look beyond the moment…

I’ll leave you with I Corinthians 13:12 from the Message…“We don’t yet see things clearly. We are squinting in a fog, peering through a mist. But it won’t be long before the weather clears and the sun shines bright! We’ll see it all then, see it all as clearly as God sees us, knowing Him directly just as He knows us!”

Wednesday, August 14, 2013


“Make good choices!”

A parent calling out that one last reminder…knowing what’s been taught, anxiously hopeful it will be remembered, yet fully aware of the dangers that await.

A child who knows the right answers in his head, but has to flesh out his beliefs in his heart.

I’ve been that kid this week. 

My loving, caring, concerned Father has called out that reminder to me this week, not just once, but twice. 


Perhaps I should pay better attention!

This was the first occasion:
“…for I called but you did not answer, I spoke but you did not listen. You did evil in my sight, and chose what displeases me.”  Isa. 65:12

The voice of my Father, inaudible to others, but deep, strong and clear to me said, “Kim, what about you? Are you making good choices? Are you choosing what pleases me?”

…but He didn’t stop there.

When my little one was telling me the longest story known to man, and I found my thoughts drifting and my responses perfunctory and uninterested, I heard Him whisper: “Is this a good choice?”

When I had a few precious moments of silence and began to fill my time with Facebook and Fox News, I heard Him again: “Perhaps you should use this time to pray for your children…THAT is what would please ME!”

He continued speaking…and then I started asking: 
 “Is this a good choice, Lord?” 
 “What do YOU want me to do here?”  
“Is THIS what pleases You?”

…and He answered! He helped me choose right responses and reactions! He helped me choose how to best use my time! 

He spoke. I listened.
I asked. He answered. 

I went to bed for the first time in a long time with much less regret and a greater sense of accomplishment about how I had spent my day. I fell asleep happy, contented, and committed to continue…and woke up the next morning completely back to normal.

Three days of normal.

Distracted, undisciplined…

Wrong responses, time wasted…

Frustrated, irritated, and filled with regret…

Different day, different chapter…same message, same Voice…

“…For when I called, no one answered, when I spoke, no one listened. They did evil in my sight, and chose what displeased me.”  Isa. 66:4

An excerpt from my journal on that morning:
“Father, Here it is again! That phrase is grabbing at my heartstrings:  ‘…they chose what displeases me.’ What choices am I making daily that displease You? I need to view my day as a series of choices…I can choose how to spend my time, how to respond to various situations, how to respond to people I come into contact with, etc. Am I making good choices? Choices that please You? 

I know in my heart I haven’t been making good choices. Please change me! You are BIG. You have the power to change my habits, my responses, everything! I have to lay down my will, though. Please help me to do this! Keep me mindful today whenever I’m faced with a choice to please You or please myself!! Help me to choose what pleases You!!! Help my husband and each of my kids to choose what pleases You too! Guard us from just going mindlessly through our day! Help us to evaluate what we’re doing through Your eyes and Your perspective! Help us to choose what pleases You! Help us to stop choosing what displeases You!”

I’m asking God to keep calling me…I’m praying that I’ll keep listening.

 “…Choose you this day whom you will serve….but as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.”  Joshua 24:15
What about you? Are your choices reflecting the One you desire to serve?

Join me in asking Him to help…He’ll answer! I promise!

Tuesday, August 13, 2013


Twice-Baked Potato Bites

4  slices uncooked bacon

10  "B" size red potatoes (about 2 1/4 in./5.5 cm in diameter), unpeeled

2  T. Three Onion Rub, divided

4  oz.  part-skim mozzarella cheese

2  oz. fresh Parmesan cheese

3  T. mayonnaise

3  T. sour cream

2  green onions

1.  Stack the bacon slices and cut them into 1/4-in. pieces. Cook in 8-in. Sauté Pan over medium-high heat 8-10 minutes or until crisp. Drain on paper towels.

2.  Cut potatoes in half crosswise. Carefully scoop out a 1/2-in. deep well from the center of each potato half using the scoop end of Core & More or spoon.

3.  Arrange potato halves, well side up, in Small Ridged Baker or square baking pan; spray with canola oil using Kitchen Spritzer. Sprinkle with 1/2 T. of the rub.

4.  Cover potatoes with Parchment Paper or waxed paper. Microwave potatoes on HIGH 9-12 minutes or until tender; remove baker from microwave.

5.  Meanwhile, grate mozzarella with Microplane(R) Adjustable Coarse Grater. Grate Parmesan with Microplane(R) Adjustable Fine Grater.

6.  Combine cheeses, remaining 1 1/2 T. rub, mayonnaise and sour cream in Small Batter Bowl or a 4 cup bowl.

7.  Using Small Scoop or 1 Tablespoon, scoop cheese mixture evenly into potato halves. Microwave, uncovered, on HIGH 1-2 minutes or until cheese mixture is melted.

8.  Meanwhile, thinly slice green onions. Remove baker from microwave. Sprinkle potatoes with bacon and green onions.

Yield: 20

Nutrients per serving: (1 appetizer): Calories 150, Total Fat 7 g, Saturated Fat 2.5 g, Cholesterol 10 mg, Sodium 210 mg, Carbohydrate 17 g, Fiber 2 g, Protein 5 g

Cook's Tip: Try chilling the mozzarella cheese to make it easier to grate.

Brenda Riden
Pampered Chef Consultant

Monday, August 12, 2013


But in your hearts set apart Christ as Lord.
Always be 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

When we have the opportunity to explain to unbelievers how we are able to walk through certain circumstances in our life, let's not be unprepared. Scripture tells us to be prepared to give the reason for that hope we have. And we should do it with gentleness and respect, not judgment and condemnation.

Friday, August 9, 2013

THE WORD WORKS by Lynda Leeson

If you were reared in the Southern Baptist Church as I was, you learned this verse early I’m sure: 

Malachi 3:10 King James Version (KJV) - Bring ye all the tithes into the storehouse, that there may be meat in mine house, and prove me now herewith, saith the LORD of hosts, if I will not open you the windows of heaven, and pour you out a blessing, that there shall not be room enough to receive it.

Remember those little envelopes we were given that recorded our presence, daily Bible reading, lesson prepared, and TITHING?!? At any rate, tithing was stressed and also practiced by my Mother. I was taught to give a tithe of my allowance from an early age without giving it much thought. Keeping the electricity on, the yard mowed and necessary things for the church building also made perfect sense to my young mind. All this to say tithing has been a life-long practice for me (except during the years of rebellion...and we won’t go there).

In my thirties I was introduced to the next verse during a financial crisis:

Malachi 3:11 - And I will rebuke the devourer for your sakes, and he shall not destroy the fruits of your ground; neither shall your vine cast her fruit before the time in the field, saith the LORD of hosts. 

Describing the crisis would take far more space than we have here, but a comforting friend taught me this verse in response to my frantic prayer request. I call it my “tithing insurance verse.” Simply put, the Leeson version reads, “If you tithe, God won’t let Satan steal from you.”

Recently my large windows in my dining room began to cloud with moisture. At first I thought nothing of it and weeks turned to months and it continued. We are blessed with caring men in our church who know about these things, and I consulted two of them. They gave me names of trusted contractors who could fix the windows. Long story short...prices ranged from $580 to $850, and I wasn’t thrilled at those prospects. My brother kept urging me to check the warranty on the windows. I was sure it wouldn’t apply after 8 years but I finally called. I bet you’ve guessed it...they are guaranteed 10 years and will be replaced for only $85!

Knowing that God watches over His word to perform it and never allows it to return void (Isaiah 55:11) immediately made Malachi 3:10-11 pop into my heart and head. Once again “prove me” stood out in bold letters. He rebuked that old devourer, Satan, from my checking account and saved me lots of money. I love Faithful God Stories...don’t you?!?

Thursday, August 8, 2013


As we took the short tour of interesting rooms in the main floor of  
Highclere Castle (AKA...Downton Abbey) last time, we caught just a glimpse of  what this magnificent home has to offer. But where do the residents spend their time of sleep and relaxation? I found some interesting history on the bedrooms and how they served over the years.

The Mercia bedroom is probably the most recognizable. This is the room that is occupied by "Lord and Lady Grantham." If you look closely, the bed is not that grand, but what makes this such a show piece is the canopy and fabrics used to define this sleep space. The textiles are 18th century silks that adorn the canopy with a long panel to display the design of the fabric. The Aubusson rug is placed in front of the bed to add extra color and texture.

The Arundel Bedroom is not one I recall seeing on the show, but its rich history is interesting. This bedroom looks more casual in its decor and was once used as an operating and recovery room in the First World War.

In all, there are 50-80 bedrooms in the house, but the current  
residents, Lord and Lady Carnarvon, claim they only use 15 bedrooms! Wouldn't you hate to have to make all those beds?

I found in my research that Highclere castle is absolutely  
magnificent, but I think that if you look at the different spaces,  
rooms like the Saloon and Library make the house fabulous. Not so much the bedrooms!

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

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

LIFE IS HARD by Tony Manley

Life is hard…life is harder when you are stupid! (quote by John Wayne)

Don’t you agree?! Stupid is as stupid does. I know this is the “S” word in early elementary grades, but I am confident this blog is not for early elementary readers! Stupid has nothing to do with intellect or lack of knowledge. Stupid is willfully wrong choices. This is the word that kept going through my heart during the intense teaching of the blessings and curses Monday night at Bible study. Deuteronomy is such a good daily guide of how to live life, which leads me back to the premise – stupid is the description of when instruction is ignored!

In Deuteronomy, basically, I can trace the degree I enjoy rest and surrender hinging on two truths: Love and worship God only and be good to others. Isn’t this what Jesus also taught in Matthew 22:37-40 “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.” As I think through the warring of my flesh, the culture, and the enemy, I can trace defeat back to either not loving God with my all of heart, mind, and strength or not loving others as myself. Think about it. Fear, worry, selfishness, bitterness, insecurity, and/or unforgiveness are not excuses for defeat when Jesus is Lord. (I invite you to go through your own list of defeating attitudes or behaviors.) Either He is greater and able, or He is not. Circumstances and people definitely evoke these attitudes, but circumstances and people are not lord unless I give them that position. 

Moses was intensely instructing the blessings of obedience to the people and to their descendants. Sometimes bringing the descendants into a decision will sober up the heart! Then, he described in great detail the consequences (curses) of disobedience to the people. This is the part I resonated greatly with. Obedience births blessing and freedom while disobedience births death, defeat, and bondage. Deuteronomy 28:15-68 lists the specific curses. This is a list that can be avoided by being obedient to God’s commands – His rules and statutes – which were given for the good of the people! 

Again, just to be repetitive – life is hard, life is harder when you are stupid.  2 Peter 1:3 says “His divine power has given us everything we need for life and godliness through our knowledge of Him who called us by His own glory and goodness.” Jesus said in John 16: 33 “I have told you these things, so that in Me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.”  

What good news!  I am equipped with everything I need to not be stupid and I am warned this life will have troubles, but Jesus is Lord, Overcomer, of the world. I repeat, I do not have to be stupid!

Father, today I will do battle with my flesh, I will be out of place in this world, and I will be attacked by an enemy who hates me and You. This is the "this side of heaven" life, but I rest and surrender to You, the One who is greater, the One who is Sovereign, the One whose heart is trustworthy, pure, just, holy, and perfect. Thank you that You have given me everything I need to live instructed and victoriously on this side of heaven.  

Tuesday, August 6, 2013


Too hot to turn on the oven? Make a light dinner in minutes using the microwave!

Summertime Spaghetti Recipe
 2 lemons 
12  oz. uncooked thin spaghetti noodles 
 2 cans (14.5 oz each) reduced-sodium chicken broth (about 3 1/2 cups) 
 1 cup grape tomatoes 
 3 garlic cloves, peeled 
 1 oz. fresh Parmesan cheese 
 1/2 cup fresh parsley 
 3 tbsp. olive oil 
 1/2 tsp. ground black pepper 
 2 cups diced cooked chicken breasts 
 1 cup small broccoli florets 

1. Zest lemons using Microplane® Zester to measure 1 tbsp; set aside. Juice lemons using Juicer to measure 1/4 cup.
2. Break noodles in half. Combine noodles, broth and lemon juice in Deep Covered Baker. 
3. Microwave, covered, on HIGH 11-13 minutes or until most of liquid is absorbed, stirring once halfway through cooking using Chef's Tongs.
4. Cut tomatoes in half lengthwise using Color Coated Tomato Knife. Grate Parmesan using Microplane® Adjustable Fine Grater. 
5. Process garlic, Parmesan, parsley, zest, oil and pepper in Manual Food Processor until parsley is finely chopped.
6. Carefully remove baker from microwave using Microwave Grips. Add Parmesan mixture to baker; mix well using Chef'sTongs. 
7. Stir in tomatoes, chicken and broccoli. Microwave, covered, on HIGH 2-3 minutes or until broccoli is crisp-tender. 
Yield: 6

Nutrients per serving: Calories 390, Total Fat 11 g, Saturated Fat 2.5 g, Cholesterol 45 mg, Sodium 440 mg, Carbohydrate 46 g, Fiber 3 g, Protein 26 g

Cook's Tip: To get diced cooked chicken breasts, you can either buy pre-packaged fully cooked chicken breast strips or you can microwave chicken breasts, covered with Parchment Paper, in the Small Ridged Baker, for 5-6 minutes or until 165°F. Cool before dicing.

Brenda Riden
Pampered Chef Consultant

Monday, August 5, 2013


Do not withhold good from those who deserve it,
when it is in your power to act.
Proverbs 3:27

How often do we withhold good...

good words?

a helping hand?


our friendship?


a listening ear?


a word of testimony?

Dear God,
Help me to be sensitive to people and their needs this week. Help me to get outside myself by caring about others. Let me make a difference in someone's life. 

In Jesus' name, 

Friday, August 2, 2013

GOD IS SO WISE by Tony Manley

Just in Case You Need Reminding – God is Wise!

As I am riding on a plane, I am so tired that I actually said out loud to David, “Will I ever actually be able to care for and love my children and grandchildren all at the same time again?”

Grancamp 2013 actually ended with closing ceremonies for parents this past Wednesday night. As five children, ages 2 to 5, graduated successfully from the Armor of God camp with certificates and armor in hand, I breathed a sigh of relief no stitches, hospitals, or broken bones occurred under my watch! This was an exceptional group of soldiers – all with the last name Manley! For the next two days the whole Manley group of fifteen (ages 1-56) ate, exercised, played, disciplined wayward soldiers, and even got some time to talk, cry, and pray about some areas of needs in the 4 very different worlds of the Desert, Dallas, and Mississippi Manleys!

In my exhaustion, God is so kind and wise. He supplies my needs, comforts, and encourages my heart when it is in a messy mode. I have found that God often uses my family to refine and polish my heart! (I feel like a silver teapot pouring out the emotions and lessons of camp and companions.) A tired body and mind tend to be a little on the emotional side…the filter is a little diminished!
As much as I hope my grandchildren will remember some good things about camp yearly, my greatest prayer is they will wear God’s Armor daily – to dress their minds, hearts, and then belt their lives in truth to the degree they believe it, live it, and speak it. Also, that their arm will not grow weary of holding their shield of faith up to protect themselves from all that the enemies of God throw at them. May they use their weapon of the Word to fight words of ugly, lies, wrongs, and hurts. 

Again I say, God is so wise. Guess who learned and was tutored the most in this mini boot camp? Yes, it was me! It is so wise of God to refresh me in dressing for the spiritual warfare I will be engaged in until the war is over in heaven. Isn’t it gracious, kind and loving of our Leader to give articles of protection for all the right places to do battle? 

I felt exhausted and emotional as I processed the moments of the week while David and I hurriedly vacuumed, washed, and mopped the campgrounds of our home before leaving for the airport (God had another assignment waiting for us!). Yet, we were humbled by God’s goodness to allow us to journey with this diverse group. May He strengthen, unify, change, and grow this army of Manley believers into an effective witness to our diverse worlds as we travel to life in the trenches in the Desert, Dallas, and Mississippi Mud!

*sidebar note…in my effort to travel presentably to this next assignment – I showered, shaved, and shampooed all in one setting for the 1st time in a week! I even wore white pants in an effort to look like a worthy updated travel companion. Since I have been seated on the plane, I have had a broken pen and turbulence with coffee in hand – all the while praying “please don’t mess the white pants up, this is the first pair I have ever owned and I would love to arrive somewhat clean and unstained.”