Friday, August 18, 2017

Quieting My Heart: My Soul Thirsts for You

“As the deer pants for streams of water,
so my soul pants for You, O God.
My soul thirsts for the living God.”
(Psalm 42:1-2a)

Do you experience this thirst,
this deep longing,
this craving for something more?

Deer, by their very nature,
are created to thirst for water,
for their daily sustenance.

And we, created, by our Maker,
long for close connection with Him,
the living God.

It’s a daily longing,
for our thirst is not quenched 
with one drink;
a lifetime of drawing close
to drink from His love, His mercies.

“My soul thirsts for You,
my whole body longs for You
in this parched and weary land
where there is no water.”
(Psalm 63:1)

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Summertime Meals and Two New Grilling Recipes

We've had some beautiful summer days recently -
not too hot, just about perfect ...
making our patio our favorite place -

A place to relax at the end of a work day,
and the place we prefer to enjoy our meal
together - just the two of us.

Grilled meals are the best these days
and in recent weeks, I've come across
two new recipes to add to my collection ...

Grilled Asparagus and New Potatoes,
and also Bacon-Wrapped Tilapia,
both using our grilling basket.

Grilled Asparagus and New Potatoes

Bacon Wrapped Tilapia

Sharing these two recipes, 
adding them to my "Family Recipes" 
collection here on my blog ...

Click on the "source" link below the
little photos to print ...


Grilled Asparagus and New Potatoes

Course: Side Grill
Prep Time: 30 min
Total Time: 30 min
Yield: 1 Serving
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 12 teaspoon salt
  • 12 teaspoon lemon-pepper seasoning
  • 6 small red potatoes (about 3/4 lb) unpeeled, quartered
  • 1 lb fresh asparagus spears trimmed
  1. Heat gas or charcoal grill. In large shallow bowl, mix 1 tablespoon of the oil, 1/4 teaspoon of the salt and 1/4 teaspoon of the lemon-pepper seasoning. Add potatoes; toss to coat. Place in grill basket.
  2. Place grill basket on grill over medium heat. Cook 15 minutes, shaking grill basket occasionally to turn and mix potatoes.
  3. Meanwhile, place asparagus spears in same shallow bowl. Add remaining tablespoon oil, remaining 1/4 teaspoon salt and remaining 1/4 teaspoon lemon-pepper seasoning; toss to coat.
  4. Add asparagus to potatoes in grill basket. Cook about 10 minutes longer or until potatoes and asparagus are tender, shaking basket occasionally to turn and mix vegetables.
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Bacon-Wrapped Tilapia

Course: Main Grill
Prep Time: 30 min
Cook Time: 27 min
Total Time: 30 min
Yield: 4
  • 8 small new potatoes
  • 8 sprigs fresh thyme
  • 8 slices Hy-Vee sweet smoked bacon
  • 4 (6 oz each) tilapia fillets
  • 2 tsp Hy-Vee canola oil
  • 1 tsp onion salt
  • 12 tsp Hy-Vee paprika
  • 14 tsp Hy-Vee black pepper
  1. Spray grill rack and grilling basket with nonstick cooking spray. Heat grill to medium-high.
  2. Bring a pot of water to boiling. Add potatoes and cook 5 to 7 minutes or until they can be pierced with a knife, but not quite tender. Drain and pat dry.
  3. Place 2 sprigs thyme on each fillet. Wrap each fillet with 2 slices of bacon, covering as much fish as possible.
  4. In a medium bowl, combine oil, onion salt, paprika and black pepper; add potatoes and toss gently to coat.
  5. Arrange fish and potatoes in prepared grilling basket. Grill 8 to 10 minutes or until bacon is browned. Flip basket over and grill an additional 8 to 10 minutes or until bacon is crisp and potatoes are fork-tender.
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Friday, August 11, 2017

Quieting My Heart: God with Us

From the beginning,
an amazing plan, 
an overwhelming desire;
for God - to be 
“with us”.

How can we comprehend,
how can we even imagine;
our Creator, our Savior,
desiring to be “with us”.

All through the ages,
in the Old Testament days; 
in the Garden, with the Tabernacle,
with the cloud and the fire,
He came close, so close.

And then with Jesus coming,
the greatest Gift of all ...
Immanuel - God with us.

And as we fix our gaze on Him,
surrendering our hearts, our lives,
accepting His sacrifice -
He makes His home in us,
close, within, “with us”.

“Immanuel our God is with us
And if God is with us, 
who could stand against us
Our God is with us
(Michael Card)

My loving Father and Lord -
I cannot fathom, 
I cannot even comprehend
this most precious of all gifts -
“God with us”.

(Photo: our apple tree blossoms 2011)

Monday, August 7, 2017

Quieting My Heart: Peace is a Person

I always love a calm life, 
even a routine is welcome,
free from stress and worry.

But the opposite is often reality,
for life is full of the unexpected,
filled with storms that suddenly blow in.

I've experienced these storms:
an accident that almost took 
my dear husband's life,
leukemia, a bone marrow transplant
for a sweet daughter,
the pain of watching children
make wrong choices, turn away
for seasons, and some for years,
a stroke, emergency appendectomy,
and even a kidney transplant
for a precious granddaughter.

And I still struggle, as the disciples did,
to trust when the storms come up.
But I know and I am reminded that
Peace is a Person -
and Peace will get into the boat
together with us - always,
but especially when the storm 
is threatening full force.

"You will keep in perfect peace
all who trust You,
all whose thoughts
are fixed on You."
(Isaiah 26:3)

"The only certainty we can hold onto
is the Person who will never leave us:
(Bonnie Gray)

- - - - - - - - - -

Added note: It is fitting that I am posting these words on this day ... it was exactly 20 years ago today that our daughter had her bone marrow transplant. And also, the day when another daughter sacrificially and willingly gave of her own bone marrow for her older sister. How we praise and thank God for His Presence and His Peace during those scary and difficult days, and for the precious gift He has given us of the healing that He brought!

Friday, August 4, 2017

Quieting My Heart: My Daily Ambition

What is my ambition
each day? Today?
Is it to accomplish, to perform?
To strive for perfection
in all that I do?

Do I first of all focus
on my tasks?
Do I look for outcomes,
always wanting to
be successful in what I do?

The end result of 
being driven to perfection,
can leave us empty,
worn out, and depleted.

“I don’t see Jesus calling me
to excellence.
I do see Him calling me
to Himself.”
(Emily Freeman)

“The faithful love of the Lord
never ends!
His mercies never cease.
Great is His faithfulness;
His mercies begin afresh
each morning.”
(Lam. 3:22-23)

Lord, may my highest goal
each day, today,
be to lean into You -
Your mercies, Your grace;
may my daily ambition be 
to be in need of You.

Tuesday, August 1, 2017

Quieting My Heart: A Call to Pray

How many people do you know
who need Jesus? 
Who need His Love, His Peace?

Are some close in your families,
so very close to you,
as is the case for me -
and are some friends or neighbors?
And others, strangers
whom you have never even met,
but still, they are on your heart?

They are filling our thoughts and minds
for a purpose …
so that we can pray for them,
for no one can understand 
the things of true Wisdom and Life
without His Spirit to open their eyes.

“ … no one can know God’s thoughts
except God’s own Spirit …
It all sounds foolish to them
and they can’t understand it,
for only those who are spiritual 
can understand what the Spirit means.”
(from I Cor. 2:11, 14)

At the start of this new month …
a fresh call on my heart,
to pray -
to ask God to pour out 
His Spirit of understanding,
on those we love,
on those we are burdened for -
those who are close by, 
and those who are around the world.

- - - - - - -

(It is fitting for me to receive this fresh call to pray this week - it would have been my mother’s 98th birthday, today - she was a prayer warrior, and is still, in heaven. She told me about ten years ago, on a hospital bed, after a stroke - “I can’t do very much else, but I can still pray.”)

(Photo taken last month, while visiting a beautiful flower garden in Fort Collins, CO)

Friday, July 28, 2017

Quieting My Heart: Draw Near in the Moment

It's in the ordinary time
that we live and breathe;
it's not in the past,
or in the future -
but in the present, 
right where we are.

"But learning to live well
in ordinary time
isn't a call to elevate moments;
it's a call to draw close
to Christ."
(Emily Freeman)

For it is only in the present
that we can lean in close,
that we can draw near
to God.

"Draw near to God,
and He will draw near to you."
(James 4:8 ESV)

Lord, may my focus be
to live in the moment,
to draw close to You, 
to listen to You,
to receive Your love
each moment -
to listen to others
and reflect Your love
right where I am, 
now, in the present.