Thursday, October 31, 2013

LEAH'S HOUSE by Paula Roten

Our Bible Studies recently collected supplies for Leah's House. As I was putting them in the car to deliver, one of our Bible Study ladies brought me some things from her car, along with some Birds & Blooms magazines. 

She said, "I have these magazines, and they are so nice, I just hate to throw them away." 

Now, I have to tell you, at the time, I thought, "What in the world will they do with these magazines? Why would they want them?" 
But I decided that our go-between (Ramona) could make that call, so in they went with the toilet paper and hygiene products. 

I dutifully delivered everything to Ramona, told her the story about the magazines, and in her already full trunk it all went, for her to deal with now and get to its eventual destination. 

Several weeks passed and very early one morning, I received a text from Ramona that said, "I have something crazy and wonderful to tell you. Call me when you can."

Crazy and wonderful? I had to know right then, so I called her and heard the most crazy yet wonderful God story I'd heard in a while. It seems that Ramona had had a lot going on and hadn't been able to deliver those supplies until recently. Michelle, the founder of Leah's House, agreed to meet Ramona to get everything from her. When Ramona opened her trunk full of detergent, aluminum foil, toilet paper, garbage bags, and so many necessary things needed to run a household, it wasn't those things Michelle saw. It was the scattered Birds & Blooms magazines. She immediately started praising God and picking up the magazines, holding them closely as something precious. 

You see, Michelle had been in a doctor's office weeks before and had seen one of these beautiful, glossy-photoed magazines. She had read about how to attract birds and build birdhouses. And in one of her often held God conversations said, "You know, God, we could really use a magazine like this. There are instructions in here that we need, along with all these beautiful pictures. But we can't afford this magazine. It sure would be nice if You would provide it for us." 

And that's exactly what God did! He provided when a magazine subscriber had the thought of not throwing them away but donating them, when a dubious go-between wondered why in the world give these, and when the deliverer had so much going on she didn't have time to think about discarding them before they got to their intended destination. 

When I think about how God answered this prayer, I am humbled and ashamed, but amazed at how God answered this woman's simple request for a magazine. 

He used a nagging thought in one woman's head that these magazines were too nice to throw away. Ever have those simple thoughts? This woman didn't dismiss them. She just followed through, no matter how silly it seemed. 

And what did I do? I used my own logic to decide this was a non-useful donation. I'm ashamed to realize that I hadn't learned through the Bible Study I had just left on Gideon that God uses weakness. That God doesn't expect us to think through how He's going to work. He just expects us to offer ourselves as vessels to be used by Him and to expect Him to do the impossible. I thank God that somehow I transported those magazines rather than leaving them in the back of my car. 

And then they had to go through a third transport until they reached their final, intended destination. One where the receiver knew God had answered her prayer. And He had done it without it costing a dime...and without her telling a soul other than God what she wanted. 

I am so encouraged by this story. I'm encouraged to listen more closely for God to speak in the everyday mundane things of life. I am encouraged to go to God with everything, my needs and my wants, and to expect Him to provide in His way, His time, and His method. And I am encouraged that God still chooses to use me in His work, even when I try to think for Him. 


If you would like to show even more support for Leah's House, you can purchase a tee shirt from the site below. Click on the link to place your order.

Wednesday, October 30, 2013


Fall is the beginning of flu and cold season. I am regularly reminded of my need for a flu shot, hand washing, staying away from others with the flu or colds, and I am encouraged to stay in while I am the germ carrier! By the way, the stores have such great displays for remedies, I can feel guilty not buying something, because, after all, why let a good marketing strategy go to waste.

It hit me one morning, this is also the beginning of the yearly remembrance of gratitude. I know we are to live gratefully daily, but there is a growing  awareness of gratitude as November is moving in for thirty days. The retail world doesn’t even recognize Thanksgiving. It goes straight from Halloween to Christmas!  I can feel some ugly rising up in me because I love Thanksgiving the most of all days! Please don’t judge me. I love the whole picture of menu planning, shopping, setting the table, cooking, and the people. It is the last day of a good exhale before the focus turns to Christmas as a full time life for the next 30 days. Sorry, I had to get it off my chest.

What does flu and cold season have to do with Thanksgiving? Both are contagious!!! I am drawn to a “thanks giving” hearted person. They are contagious people. The appreciation, kindness, and joy that come from that type person make me want to be more like them. A  thanks giving heart knows “this is not as good as it gets.” It is as if they are living with a secret that speaks “I am in a win-win life.” I win because “to live is Christ and to die is gain.”  (Phil. 1:21)
To spread thanksgiving all year is a great responsibility, an enormous challenge, and an exciting perspective of living. I know life is not one big Norman Rockwell painting, but God calls me to “overflow with thankfulness” (Col. 2:7). My heart eyes are always in need of being reassessed for clarity. The Word is the perfect instrument the Holy Spirit uses to clear up the contagious spirit of my natural heart of  grumbling, anger, unforgiveness, fear, worry. He is, thankfully, the equipper and provider of the contagious heart of God within me. “…overflowing with thankfulness” is definitely contagious!

Monday, October 28, 2013


Not to us, O Lord, not to us
but to your name be the glory, 
because of your love and faithfulness.
Psalm 115:1

"When we neglect to boldly credit God as the Source behind our success, we begin, even if inadvertently, to assume the throne that should be His. 

The following are four indicators of self-idolatry.

1. Do I defer credit and recognition to God, or do I reserve it, even secretly, for myself?

2. Do I place more value on my own logic than God's Word?

3. Am I more passionate about pursuing my own comforts than God's mission for my life?

4. Am I tempted to make Christianity convenient by making up my own rules and parameters for relating to God rather than connecting to Him on His terms?"

          ~ taken from Priscilla Shirer's Gideon: Your Weakness. God's Strength, Week 6, Day 4, page 166.

Friday, October 25, 2013


I know the question “WWJD?” is or was very popular for a season a while back, but I have been asking another question…what and how would Jesus think and say…?

Frustration, anger, hurt, fear, and any other flesh emotion can lead to a thought followed by a response that does not resemble what and how Jesus would think or say. John 1:14 states that Jesus is full of grace and truth. This tells me, He did not overlook wrongs and hurts. He was present in the uglies of life, and He knew the hearts of all men – yet He was able to model for me a life of “grace and truth” perfectly and completely.
I am learning as an ambassador of Christ, I am privileged to represent Him as I go into circumstances or relationships. I must be willing to represent Him - deliver Him, His ways, His message, His heart. I am not commissioned to deliver me or my stuff. This leads me to want to know what and how Christ thought – how did He deal so well with criticism, rejection, wrongs, fame, popularity, or any of the other up and down ways of people? Knowing what His thoughts were reveals how He would speak. He spoke with the perfect balance of grace and truth. Seeing Christ have the hard conversations as well as the times of enjoyable interchanges with others gives me the picture of how His heart spoke truth in love, encouragement when needed, or even just testimony of His Father with others who were hungry and thirsty.

As God is growing in me a desire for an "anything" heart (one that responds quickly and without fear), I am experiencing a fresh way of living - growing a heart that thinks with the Word as my guide, which leads to speaking like Christ, and ultimately doing like Christ. 

“We are therefore Christ’s ambassadors…” 2 Cor. 5:20

“May the words of my mouth and the thoughts of my heart be pleasing in your sight, O Lord, my Rock and my Redeemer.”  Ps. 19:14

“Pray also for me, that whenever I open my mouth, words may be given me so that I will fearlessly make known the mystery of the gospel, for which I am an ambassador…” Eph. 6:19-20

Father, I pray I will honor Your heart and Your message as I represent You wherever I am. May You be seen and heard through me as I think “rightly,” speak “rightly,” and live out “rightly” You and Your Word. Thank You for giving me all I need to know and grow in “What and How Jesus would Think and Say.” 

Thursday, October 24, 2013

A SWEET AROMA by RaMona Callahan

I bought a handful of mustard seeds on a recent trip. I thought they would come in handy for something like crafting necklaces even if I never cooked with them. I was right. I used them to show just how small a mustard seed is when talking to a group of women at graduation. My speech was about continuing in faith. But as I opened the container, my talk took on a whole new direction and meaning.  

Each seed by itself holds wonderful meaning. The smallest seed the farmer sows, and yet it grows into the largest of garden plants and becomes a tree large enough for birds to perch. (Matthew 13:31, 32) And naturally it produces many, many more seeds. Faith produces faith. However, one seed by itself has very little fragrance. I suppose if you try to smell it, it might fly up your nose and create a sneezing frenzy. So all alone, the faith of one can move mountains, but it doesn’t do much for making the house or the recipe smell or taste very good.

But the collection of mustard seeds was a whole different story. A sweet aroma filled my nostrils as I handed them to each person. I realized then, this must be what it’s like when God’s people gather. When we pray together, combining our faith. Wow! What a wonderful picture of the pleasure we must bring to our Father.  “When two or three are gathered, there will I be also.” The sweet aroma of His children coming together pleases Him so much that His specific attention is drawn to us, but it’s because of the faith of many gathered in one accord, one mind, one scent.  

(Ramona is involved in on-going ministry with Leah's House, a home for women who need a fresh start in life. She spoke at their graduation from a 90-day program of learning life skills and being introduced to a Savior who loves them. Our Women's Ministry is providing practical items for running a house. If you would like to contribute, bring your items to the Welcome Center and place them in the large house on the ministry table.)

Tuesday, October 22, 2013


The Thanksgiving holiday has become one of my favorite days of the year, especially as I have grown older and had the opportunity to host my family on several holiday occasions. The meaning behind Thanksgiving is so simple and the menu is a favorite of most Americans. Decorating your home can be just as easy and fun as well.

Mother Nature has given us a vast palate of color during the fall season. All the reds, oranges, and golds blend with any style you might have in your home. This time of year is a great opportunity to enhance your décor with a piece of the outdoors. The dining table is the best place to make an impact with your Thanksgiving decorations. Whether it is formal or kid friendly, you have several style options depending on how you like to celebrate.

As a society, we have become less formal in all aspects of our living, but the holidays are a great time of year to serve dinner on your wedding china that is packed away for such special occasions.  The uses of traditional orange and blue tones are making a strong comeback this season, and are perfect for the Thanksgiving table.  Your china may be a basic bone color with a gold or silver rim, but introducing Spode Blue Italian serving pieces or Mottahedah Sacred Bird and Butterfly accent plates with their orange tones will really liven up your table. Add your Grandmother’s crystal and Strasbourgh silver, and you have set a formal table that even the residents of “Downton Abbey” would envy. You can still pull nature in with your centerpiece of colorful fall leaves and mums, as well as different root vegetables and nuts, like winter squash and acorns.

Handmade pottery is a great look for Thanksgiving and one of my favorites. The textures and hues that pottery provides mix in well with the pieces of nature that you bring in for your fall décor. In my opinion, the first Thanksgiving table was probably dressed with serving pieces that the Pilgrims created by hand. This part of the country is known for master craftsmen who specialize in hand-thrown pottery. I love setting my table with my collection of McCarty’s Pottery and a centerpiece of different sized pumpkins, gourds, and winter vegetables. All of these can be picked up for a great price while you do your shopping at the local grocery store.

For the large family full of kids, fun paper products are a great option. Thanksgiving can be a lot of work for the cook, so the last thing she wants to do is wash a lot of delicate dishes at the end of the meal. There are so many great paper products that are festive and fun. These aren’t your basic Chinet plates. You can find turkey motifs, as well as products that almost look like that fine china, but are disposable. The good news is that you can clean up in 10 minutes by throwing everything in the trash or recycle bin. If you have kids, a fun project to do before Thanksgiving is to make placemats decorated with handprint turkeys. And maybe you don’t want everything to be this informal, but paper products and handmade crafts are great for the kid’s table. 

No matter how you choose to serve your Thanksgiving meal, the important thing is to make it as easy and fun as possible. You may really like dressing up your formal table, but the important thing is to make memories, be thankful, and enjoy the day with your family and friends.

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

Monday, October 21, 2013


Thanks be to God for his indescribable gift. 
2 Corinthians 9:15

With the Thanksgiving season approaching, let's begin by thanking God for Jesus, who willingly gave His life for our salvation. I think too often we become apathetic about our salvation. We forget what a great price it cost. 

Friday, October 18, 2013

DONT BE ALARMED by Lynda Leeson

Check out this video on YouTube:

In light of Syria, Korea and other nations raging...let's keep our eyes on THE MAN JESUS!!!

And when you hear of wars and insurrections (disturbances, disorder, and confusion), do not become alarmed and panic-stricken and terrified; for all this must take place first, but the end will not [come] immediately. Then He told them, Nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. 
Luke 21:9-10 

Thursday, October 17, 2013


Nathanael and the fig tree was never a flannel board story in my Primary Sunday School class! (Or I could have totally missed it by being way too talkative). In Sunday School last week, we looked at John 1. Verses 43-49 are about Philip taking Nathanael to meet Jesus, “the One Moses wrote about in the Law.” Basically, he tells Nathanael, “Come meet the Messiah. He is from Nazareth.” 
Nathanael responded honestly and very possibly with doubt and disappointment, “Can anything good come from Nazareth?”

As Jesus approaches Nathanael, He speaks highly of Nathanael calling him “a true Israelite, in whom there is nothing false.”  Nathanael is surprised Jesus not only knew him but also that Jesus makes a personal comment about him. So, Nathanael asks Jesus how He knew him and Jesus tells him, “I saw you under the fig tree.”

Now, normally I would have skipped over the fig tree reference, but on this particular day, the fig tree’s significance is explained.  It is the place where the Rabbi would gather his students and teach the scriptures. Because Nathanael had been taught about and then found himself face to face with Jesus, he declared Jesus as the Messiah and the King of Israel.

I realized through this passage, I want to be a Nathanael, and I need the fig tree in my life. I want THE RABBI to teach my heart to recognize Him when He is teaching and working in my life daily. My time with Him devotionally is my fig tree – the place He teaches and prepares me to declare Him as “the Son of God, the King of Israel.”

Perhaps, I will plant a fig tree in my yard as a reminder to keep my heart in a teachable and attentive place to Jesus!


Don't forget movie night tonight!


6:30 in Fellowship Hall

Popcorn, candy, and drinks provided

Admission: Bring an item for Leah's House

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

PUMPKIN BREAD by Elizabeth Bowman

In 1992 the youth choir at church published a recipe book to help raise money for their choir trips. I find that I still refer to this book, Thank Heaven for Home Made Cooks, because everyone knows that church cookbooks are the best! Elizabeth Bowman submitted a recipe for Pumpkin Bread that has become one of my favorites. 

Pumpkin Bread
3 1/2 cups flour
1 1/2 tsp. salt
2 tsp. baking soda
3 cups sugar
1 tsp. nutmeg
1 tsp. cinnamon
1 can pumpkin (2 cups)
1 cup oil
2/3 cup water
4 eggs, beaten
1 cup pecans, chopped
1 cup golden raisins

Sift together flour, salt, soda, sugar, nutmeg, and cinnamon in a large bowl. Add pumpkin, oil, water, eggs, pecans, and raisins. Mix well. Pour into 2 large, ungreased loaf pans or 4-5 small ungreased loaf pans to half full. Cook 1 hour at 350 degrees. 

**Sara Crouch uses this same recipe for banana bread but omits the raisins and subs bananas for the pumpkin.

Tuesday, October 15, 2013


Grace in parenting. We’ve been discussing that for a few weeks now. But what does that mean to me personally? Dr. Tim Kimmel gives great advice and steps on how to be better parents based on the grace model demonstrated by our heavenly Father. Yet I’m trying to really understand what that looks like in my day-to-day life. 

I’ve been trying to understand the whole grace concept for a while now because one of my biggest pits I get into in my Christian walk is living defeated because of past mistakes. I let Satan use those things to keep me from being everything God wants me to be. This happens to me as a parent as well. I’m learning not only to extend grace to my children, but to extend grace to myself as well. I’m not supermom. And there are going to be bad days. It’s a fact of life. 

I had such a day this week. I’ll try to put it into words, but as you will soon see, there really are no words for some of the days we experience. It started at 2:00 am. Any day that starts at 2am can’t be good. And any day that starts at 2am with your husband trying to catch a rat is sure to be a disaster. So I really shouldn’t have been surprised when all five of my kids woke up with an extreme case of the “Mondays.” Oh yeah, did I mention it was a Monday? And my “babies” are just three and four. How do they even know to be in a bad mood on Monday??? So, we’re supposed to leave for school at 8:30 and at 7:45 no one is even out of bed yet. I wake everyone up at 7:00, so this means I’ve been “politely asking” everyone to get up for 45 minutes now. I’m really trying to hold it together when my daughter informs me that she has a poster due today. All weekend to work on it and she waits until we have 30 minutes before we have to leave to tell me about it. Now it’s 8:00 and I’m rushing around looking for poster board and markers when I slip on the kitchen floor which is covered in milk. My four-year-old son has decided to fix himself a bowl of cereal despite the fact that he can’t reach the cereal. He’s forgotten the bowl and the full gallon of milk weigh about as much as he does. So, I’m sitting there in a pool of spilled milk and even though the pun here is very obvious and funny… I was not laughing! I look up to see a creamy, white waterfall cascading from the table and there is my son playing in it with his boat. Yes…he makes lemonade out of lemons every time. A trait I’ve been so thankful for, but at the moment I’m having a really hard time being grateful for his optimistic outlook on life. 

Fast forward to bedtime which normally comes at 8:00 for the younger ones and 9:00 for the older ones, but today is 7:30 for all of them. Sometimes we just have to allow ourselves the grace to say, “Ok…today was really bad and I may have made a few mistakes, but it’s ok. Tomorrow is a new day full of opportunities to get it right.”

There will be bad days. Days where it seems like anything that can go wrong will go wrong. Days where the refrigerator and garbage disposal break at the same time and in the process of fixing them the hot water heater explodes, causing it to literally rain in the kids’ bathroom… I’m talking water coming from every vent and light fixture. Yes…that actually happened. And all we could do was clean it up and be thankful that nothing was permanently damaged and the bathroom got a floor to ceiling cleaning…literally. 

These days happen and even if we don’t react the way we should or be the greatest example of grace-filled parents in those moments…they don’t define us as parents. We know that tomorrow will probably be filled with just as many trials and tribulations as the day before, but we wake up and do it again with all the courage we can muster up. I think we have this picture of the perfect wife and mother…you know, that lady from Proverbs 31. And, when we don’t live up to that woman, we feel like failures. Well, I think there needs to be a new picture of the Proverbs 31 mom. One with a baby on her hip and a not so perfect hairdo carrying diaper bag and purse and the lunch box the other kid forgot this morning. That’s the real picture of grace to me. A parent just doing everything she can to hold it all together. And sometimes that’s not such a pretty picture, but it’s real and it’s not dependent on her being perfect. It’s dependent on her trusting a perfect God to get her and her kids through this messed up life. Grace as a parent is being able to admit that there are bad days and we’re not always going to get it right, but there will be opportunities to get it right tomorrow. 

Friday, October 11, 2013


Check out this video on YouTube:

In light of the challenge we received at our Refresher Ladies Retreat, please take the time to watch and meditate on this song.  

It's literally haunting me...Who's at the end of your pointing finger?

For God so greatly loved and dearly prized the world that He [even] gave His only begotten (unique) Son, so that whoever believes in (trusts in, clings to, relies on) Him shall not perish (come to destruction, be lost) but have eternal (everlasting) life. 
John 3:16 (AMP)

Thursday, October 10, 2013


Refresh Movie Night

Parental Guidance

Thursday, October 17


Broadway Fellowship Hall

Candy, Popcorn, Soft Drinks

Admission: bring a donation item for Leah's House

Chocolate Pumpkin Cake by Paula Roten

One of my favorite guilt-free dessert recipes is Chocolate Pumpkin Cake. Don't like pumpkin? I bet you would never know pumpkin is in this cake! I know it's hard to believe, especially since there are only two ingredients: a cake mix and a can of pumpkin. 

I first heard about this recipe at a Weight Watchers meeting. The fact that it's a dessert is the first thing it has going for it. And the fact that there are no eggs or oil just makes it contain fewer calories. So, it's a win-win for watching the calories and tasting great too!

Actually, I think it tastes more like brownies than a cake, but who really cares? When I want this just for family, I make it in a 9 x 13. But if I'm wanting to impress for a party, I bake these in a mini muffin pan in cupcake liners. Then when they come out of the oven, I top each one with a dollop of whipped topping and either a cherry half or a sprinkle of cinnamon. They make very pretty little bite sized desserts. 

You can actually use other flavors of cake mix like this spice one from

Chocolate Pumpkin Cake
1 (18.25 oz.) chocolate cake mix
1 (15 oz.) can pumpkin puree (not pumpkin pie mix)

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Generously grease a 9 x 13 in. cake pan.
2. Mix the cake mix and canned pumpkin by hand. Pour into prepared pan. 
3. Bake for 25-30 minutes or till done. Allow to cool before cutting. 

Tuesday, October 8, 2013


My husband and I have an ongoing feud. 
The thing that we cannot see eye to eye on 
after almost 25 years of marriage 
and 10 kids together?

 Light bulbs!

When my husband buys light bulbs for our home, 
he always gravitates toward high wattage bulbs. 
He likes things BRIGHT!
I, on the other hand, prefer low light. 
A dimly lit room connotes warmth and coziness to me 
(…at least that has always been my argument!)  
However, just recently, I realized a dirty little secret about myself.  The real reason I don’t like an abundance of light 
is that it exposes things 
that I would prefer to stay hidden! 

This came clearly into focus one night 
when we were preparing for a gathering at my house.  
I had spent all weekend cleaning, 
and was quite pleased with the results.  
The house smelled and looked great.  
We were ready! I left the room to freshen up.  
The guests were due to arrive any minute.  
When I returned to the kitchen, I was horrified!  
What in the world had happened to my clean floor?  
I had just swept and mopped it!  
How could I have missed so much?  
Just as I was beginning to think I was going crazy, 
it dawned on me what must have happened in my absence. 
My husband had replaced several burned out bulbs 
with new, brighter ones. 

(Thanks a lot, Honey!)

It wasn’t that the dirt hadn’t been there earlier…
it was simply that I couldn’t see the extent of the mess.  
I had done a little work of cleaning up, 
but it wasn’t nearly enough.  
The greater amount of light exposed the truth.

What a sobering moment 
to realize that the same thing happens often 
in my spiritual life. 

When I allow only small amounts 
of the light of God’s Word to penetrate my heart and mind…
I can convince myself that I look pretty good. 

So I ask you to consider:  

How clean are you…really?  
What’s lurking beneath your freshly polished facade? 
Has worry seeped into the cracks?  
Has bitterness left an ugly stain?  
Is there a bad habit that you’ve mopped up several times…
but it never really seems to disappear?
Perhaps it’s time to turn up the Light!

“This is the verdict: Light has come into the world, but people loved darkness instead of light because their deeds were evil. Everyone who does evil hates the light, and will not come into the light for fear that their deeds will be exposed.  But whoever lives by the truth comes into the light, so that it may be seen plainly that what they have done has been done in the sight of God.”  John 3:19-21

“If we claim to have fellowship with him and yet walk in the darkness, we lie and do not live out the truth.  But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus, his Son, purifies us from all sin. If we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us.”  I John 1:6-8

Monday, October 7, 2013


Gideon went in, 
prepared a young goat, 
and from an ephah of flour 
he made bread without yeast. 
Putting the meat in a basket 
and its broth in a pot, 
he brought them out 
and offered them to him under the oak. 
The angel of God said to him, 
"Take the meat and the unleavened bread, 
place them on this rock, 
and pour out the broth." 
And Gideon did so. 
Judges 6:19-20

When the time was right, Gideon had to be willing to bring out the meal and give it to the angel. Prepared gifts cannot serve their purpose if they're kept in hiding. They need to be brought out and presented to be used. 

Gideon probably had a certain expectation after going to all the trouble of preparing such a fine meal for his heavenly visitor. 
But the angel didn't lick his lips and dive into the meal as 
Gideon might have suspected. He (the angel) told Gideon to "take the meat and the unleavened bread and lay them on this rock, and pour out the broth."

Yes, the angel told Gideon to release the very thing he'd so painstakingly prepared. To put it down. And pour it out.

Releasing our gifts back to the Lord for Him to do with as He pleases is difficult and humbling - especially since we harbor desires of what we hope He'll do with them once we finally present them. 

The best use of our gifts is seldom what we imagined.

Prepare it.
        Present it.
               Put it down.
                    Pour it out.

~ Taken from Gideon: Your Weakness. God's Strength. Written by Priscilla Shirer, week 4, day 2.

Thursday, October 3, 2013


Have you seen all the pumpkins in the grocery stores and at every roadside market? They're everywhere! I'm also seeing pumpkin recipes in all the magazines now. There's just something about pumpkins that say the fall season is here (even if it IS still 86 degrees here in DeSoto County). 

I love anything made with pumpkin! Three really good recipes have been published in the past on this blog. You have to check out Individual Pumpkin Pies, Pumpkin Oatmeal, and Pumpkin Bars.

Today, I'm giving you a two-fer. These Harvest Pumpkin Cupcakes  make a great dessert in nicely portioned out sizes, I might add. But without the frosting, they make a hearty breakfast muffin as well. See? A two-fer - a delicious dessert cupcake and a breakfast muffin all in one! 

Harvest Pumpkin Cupcakes (found on allrecipes)

4 eggs, slightly beaten
3/4 cup Mazola® Vegetable Plus! Oil
2 cups sugar
1 (15 ounce) can pumpkin
1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 cup Argo® OR Kingsford's® Corn Starch
4 teaspoons Spice Islands® Pumpkin Pie Spice
2 teaspoons Argo® Baking Powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
3/4 teaspoon salt

1 (8 ounce) package cream cheese, softened
3 tablespoons butter OR margarine, softened
1 tablespoon orange juice
2 teaspoons Spice Islands® 100% Pure Bourbon
                    Vanilla Extract                
                1 1/2 teaspoons freshly grated orange peel
       4 cups powdered sugar

To make cupcakes
1. Blend the eggs, oil, sugar, and pumpkin in a large mixing bowl; set aside. 
2. Stir together dry ingredients in a separate bowl. 
3. Add dry ingredients to pumpkin mixture and beat until well blended. 
4. POUR into lined muffin tins. Fill about 2/3 full. 
5. Bake in preheated 350 degrees oven for 30 minutes or until center springs back when touched. 
6. Cool 30 minutes. Spread with frosting, if desired.

To make frosting
1. Beat cream cheese and butter until fluffy. 
2. Add remaining ingredients and beat until smooth. 
3. Spread over cooled cupcakes.

                                          photo by angie

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

THINGS I WILL REGRET by Christie Smith

Today I played a board game with my 9 year old daughter. I finally fixed my 5 year old son's powerwheel lawn mower and watched as he sped off with the biggest grin on his face. I picked flowers with my 3 year old daughter and she said, "Here mom... I picked this one for you. Jesus made it, but I picked it out special for you." 

None of these activities were on my "to do" list. And, to be honest, when they asked if I could play... I didn't really want to. And, I didn't want to stop what I was doing to show my 10 year old how to fix his bike. But, one day very soon, he won't need me to show him much of anything. He'll be so big, so smart, so busy with his own life that it will be a chore to keep ol' mom incuded. I'll wish I had this day back.

I'll want all these days back. I doubt I will ever pray to have these loads of laundry back or these floors to clean or these dishes to put away. One, because I will still have laundry and floors and dishes to contend with till the day I die...but two, because those things are really not that important. I know they have to get done. I know that life is so much nicer when things are clean and in their place. But, it's so easy to underestimate the speed of these days! They really are flying matter how slow they seem to drag on at times. 

We say, "Oh, I can't wait till they are all in school and I have a little time to myself!" 

"I can't wait till they can pick up after themselves and use the bathroom by themselves and read and write and entertain themselves!" 

But all too soon...they will entertain themselves. In fact, there won't be much you will be able to offer in the form of entertainment because they will be too cool for you. 

I know sometimes it's just easier to say no than yes. Like when you just have your schedule to complete and they want to join in which, of course, slows down the process. Or when they want to invite their friends over for those late night sleepovers. Or those times when you're tired and would rather just go to sleep than walk back to their room to lay with them or read them one more story.

I'm going to make a concious effort to let them help even though it takes longer than when I do it by myself. My job is not to clean the house as quickly and efficiently as possible. My job is to teach my children life skills. If I don't, I'm doing them a disservice. So, they're not in my way...they are simply wanting to grow up. And I'm missing it because I'm so busy doing it myself!

I'm going to say "I love you" more. I'm going to say "I'm sorry" more. I'm going to listen to them more...really listen. No tv in the background, no phone in my hand, no "Would you hurry up already!!!" look on my face. 

In twenty or thirty years, will I regret not answering that text right away or will I regret that look on their face when I say, "Just a second!"? Will I regret putting that chore off for another time or saying, "I can't right now. I have too much to do!"? 

I know the answers seem so obvious. But how do I stay focused on what really matters? That answer too often gets buried in activity and misplaced priorities. We have to figure out how to stay focused. We're running out of time to get this right!