Thursday, September 25, 2014

The Beginning of Wisdom

Click here for source.


Oh, how we need wisdom. Especially in this fast-paced world that we live in, with so many things calling for our attention. Calling for our time, and for our hearts.

I recently purchased a brand new book, The Best Yes, by Lysa Terkeurst, as I was drawn to it's message: Making Wise Decisions in the Midst of Endless Demands. The first four chapters that I have read already have held so much wisdom, and now, this week, I am following along with an online study of this book. Click here if you'd like to join in with this six-week study ...
__________

Some of my favorite points from the first three chapters ...

"We must not confuse the command to love with the desire to please."
How often our decisions are based on wanting to please others, often being controlled by our desire to have approval from others. This is true for me, more often than I care to admit.

"The Best Yes is you playing your part."
In God's plan, He has a part for me to play - it is not doing everything, but it is doing my part.

"If we are to be Best Yes girls, we have to long for unbroken companionship with God. Unbroken companionship helps us hear His instruction so He can reveal His direction."
I love this! This is the key, isn't it - walking in close companionship with God so that we can hear His heart, His thoughts, His direction for us. His direction for me. Then the words of this verse from Isaiah 30 will be true for us ...


Whether you turn to the right or to the left,
your ears will hear a voice behind you, saying,
'This is the way; walk in it.'
(Isaiah 30:21)

"I have to change my approach to the way I make decisions."

The decisions we make dictate the schedules we keep.
The schedules we keep determine the lives we live.
The lives we live determine how we spend our souls.
(The Best Yes)

"I think it's important to understand this soul thing isn't about us ... It's giving voice to what otherwise just stays a quiet whisper locked inside. It's about letting out that cry of passion God entrusted to us. It's about letting it all the way out so as to touch others, help others, and bless others. To do this soul thing is actually the exact opposite of selfishness. Keeping it inside with no chance to bless others would be the selfish thing to do."
Life can become so very busy that we often neglect the things of our soul - our passions, our longings. I loved Lysa's explanation of how we must pay attention to these things, these things of the soul, that come from deep within us. Often we regard them as selfish things, but as we are walking in close companionship with God, these desires from deep within are an overflow of the way He has crafted us for His purposes. It is time that we set our souls free ... and how we spend our souls is, in part, determined by what we say 'yes' and what we say 'no' to.
__________

Yes, how we need wisdom in how we make decisions, how we live our lives, and how we spend our souls. There are so many voices to listen to, and the key - fear (or reverence) for God, having unbroken companionship/connection with Him.

The fear of the Lord
is the beginning of wisdom.
(Psalm 111:10)

Monday, September 22, 2014

Welcoming a New Season

(Thankful for encouraging words, gifts to share, from Holley Gerth's blog.)


I love the changing of seasons, and this new season of Fall is one of my favorites. The colors, scents, and anticipation of special holiday times ... the cooler weather after the heat of the summer ... candles, pumpkin recipes, and soups.

And I love that we can enjoy God's beautiful creation, and in our own unique ways, we can add beauty to our little corners of the world.

To fully live as the one God crafted us to be.

For we are God's masterpiece.
He has created us anew in Christ Jesus,
so we can do the good things
He planned for us long ago.
(Ephesians 2:10)

"You were born to make art. You were made to live art. You might not see yourself as an artist, but you are - in so many unexpected ways. In what you create, whether poetry or pie, sculpture or sand castle, calligraphy or conversation. It's time to uncover the shape of your soul, turn down the voice of the inner critic, and move into the world with the courage to be who you most deeply are." (A Million Little Ways by Emily Freeman)

Thankful for Family

Thankful for time to do some digital scrapbooking over the weekend. This time to record memories from a very special family meal about a week ago. Two September birthdays, and also a bittersweet time as it was our last family meal together before a son moves to NYC later this month. More times together with him before he leaves, but this was the last time around our table ... thankful for the gift of family, and for love that we share.





(Digital scrapbook supplies - Page Template: Scrap Girls JSM_dD_pageGrids; Embellishment: Sweet Shoppe - very girly birthday by brook magee; Paper: Coffee Shop - Diana Paper Pack.)

Saturday, September 20, 2014

All-American Bacon Cheeseburger


We are nearing the last official day of summer, and though we have had some cooler fall weather already, today felt like summer again with temps up in the 80's. The perfect day to post this new recipe for hamburgers that I tried out a few weeks ago. Even tastier with homemade hamburger buns ... click here for another new recipe posted last week.


All-American Bacon Cheeseburgers

Click to print: www.tasteofhome.com
Course: Main Course
Prep Time: 15 Min
Cook Time: 10 Min
Total Time: 25 Min
Serves: 4

Ingredients

  • 2 Tbsp onion finely chopped
  • 2 Tbsp ketchup
  • 1 garlic clove minced
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • 1 tsp Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 tsp steak sauce
  • 1/4 tsp cider vinegar
  • 1 pound ground beef
  • 4 slices cheddar cheese sharp
  • 4 hamburger buns split and toasted
  • 8 cooked bacon strips
  • Optional toppings: lettuce leaves and tomato onion and pickle slices

Directions

  1. In a large bowl, combine the first seven ingredients. Crumble beef over mixture and mix well. Shape into four patties.
  2. Grill burgers, covered, over medium heat or broil 3 in. from the heat for 4-7 minutes on each side or until a thermometer reads 160° and juices run clear.
  3. Top with cheese. Grill 1 minute longer or until cheese is melted.
  4. Serve on split, toasted buns with bacon and toppings of your choice.
  5. Yield: 4 servings.

Linking up with:
Melt in Your Mouth Mondays

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Perfect Peace


Such familiar words, ones which we have read often ... but words that don't just stay on the printed page, for they become more than just words. 

His Words become life to us, 
and reach us in our deepest places. 

How thankful I am for His Spirit, who breathes life into Scripture - and we are blessed to hear and to know the very heart of God. And we are strengthened, and we are filled up with His Peace.

There are many things on my own heart this month, and left to it's own course, my heart can be filled up with the opposite of peace. It is called worry. For this is the default when left to ourselves.

And I am thankful that we are not left to ourselves. I am thankful that in the midst of saying good-bye to a son this month (moving to NYC), whom we will miss so very, very much - that we can have peace. And as we wait and watch as a granddaughter's kidneys continue to fail (nearing time for transplant) - we can have peace. And with all the other concerns that fill our minds each day for our families and for our world - we can have peace.

It's really a choice. Whether we want worry, or peace. And by His grace and mercy - I choose peace. A gift from Him, as we keep our eyes on Him. 

You keep him in 
perfect peace
whose mind is
stayed on you,
because he trusts in you.
(Isaiah 26:3)

Thankful for His gentle reminders, each day and throughout each day, to keep my mind and my heart focused on Him ... the giver of peace. 

Click for more posts on this topic:
HELD SECURE: His Love in Time of Trial

Linking up with:
Spiritual Whitespace

Saturday, September 13, 2014

Homemade Hamburger Buns


Summer is definitely turning into fall around here, with some days of cooler weather this past week. But it's not too late to post about a new recipe for hamburger buns that I tried out a few weeks ago.

My bread machine sat unused for much of the summer, but a few weeks ago I started up using it again. One of my first things to make was a new recipe for hamburger buns.

I enjoy visiting Jessica Fischer's blog, Good Cheap Eats ... she has lots of freezer meal recipes, and all-around good tips on food prep. This is one of her recipes that I had printed out, saving for the right time to try it out.

Click here for her recipe for hamburger, or hot dog buns, using a bread machine. It will be good to use all year-round for sandwiches, sloppy joes, etc.

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Our Strong Refuge



In the busyness of life, 
in the calm and in the storm, 
do we sometimes live 
as if we are without hope? 
Or do we live each day 
quietly, hopefully, 
waiting on God?


These verses have grabbed my heart (again) this week. In the busyness of a new fall season with all the activity and events that come with it, in the calm of daily routines, and in the trials that are always present - how do I live my days? In a stressed, hurried state of mind and heart, or with a quiet hope, trusting in God? 

Lord, let all that I am wait quietly before You, for my hope is in You. You alone are my rock and my salvation, my strong fortress where I will not be shaken. My victory and honor come from You alone. You are my refuge, a rock where no enemy can reach me. Lord, help us to trust You at all times, and to pour out our hearts to You, for You are our refuge.

Thanking Him for reminders, and for His words to turn into prayers, helping us express the cries of our hearts. And thanking Him for being our strong refuge.



(Photo taken three years ago this month while on our 40th Anniversary trip to Italy - one of our favorite spots while there. The beautiful Cinque Terra region, and the village of Manarola, tucked amongst the rocky cliffs. Thanking God for the amazing trip we could take, a gift from Him - and for being our rock, our strong refuge.)

For more posts on prayer:
HEART CONNECT: Living a Life of Prayer

Linking up with:
Coffee for Your Heart
Thought Provoking Thursday

Saturday, September 6, 2014

Garden Bow Tie Salad


Always on the lookout for new salad recipes, I tried this one out last month. I like how it uses a variety of fresh veggies: cucumber, summer squash, zucchini, peppers, broccoli, and cauliflower. I picked some of those veggies from our garden a few weeks ago, and made this salad the day before we left for a little getaway celebrating our anniversary. I actually took a few homemade salads along, and picked up some deli chicken, too - a special meal while staying at a camping cabin together!

Print Recipe

Garden Bow Tie Salad

Course: Salad
Prep Time: 30 Min
Cook Time: 10 Min
Total Time: 40 Min
Serves: 24

Ingredients

  • 1 medium cucumber
  • 1 medium yellow summer squash
  • 1 medium zucchini
  • 1 medium sweet red pepper
  • 1 medium green pepper
  • 4 cups fresh broccoli florets
  • 3 cups fresh cauliflowerets
  • 1 small red onion finely chopped
  • 2 packages Italian salad dressing mix
  • 4-1/2 cups uncooked bow tie pasta
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1/4 cup red wine vinegar
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper

Directions

  1. Wash the first five ingredients but do not dry; chop and transfer to a large bowl. Add remaining vegetables. Sprinkle with dry dressing mix; toss to coat. Refrigerate, covered, 4-6 hours or overnight.
  2. Cook pasta according to package directions. Drain; rinse with cold water. Add to vegetable mixture. In a small bowl, whisk remaining ingredients. Add to salad; toss to coat.
  3. Yield: 24 servings (3/4 cup each).

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Linking up with:
The Party Bunch

Thursday, September 4, 2014

Ask Anything


"Give us this day our daily bread."
(Matthew 6:11)

Is there anything more basic, more universal, than bread? Each culture, throughout time, finds their sustenance on some form of this basic of all foods. 

Bread represents our most basic of needs; those things that are absolutely necessary. And also those things that maybe at times are so basic that we may treat them as insignificant. Those needs that we sometimes hesitate to share with anyone, or even with God, for we wonder how we could ask for something so simple, so commonplace.  

But He tells us to ask. For whatever our need is. 

"He wants to be part of all the decisions we make. He wants our material needs to draw us into our soul needs. This is what it means to abide - to include Him in every aspect of our lives." (Paul Miller, A Praying Life)

"Abiding is a perfect way to describe a praying life."
(A Praying Life)

Talking with Him about everything - bringing all (every) need to Him. Nothing is too small to talk with Him about. Nothing is too big to talk with Him about. He wants to hear it all. 

"One of the best ways to learn how to abide 
is to ask anything ...
Tell God what you want.
Before you can abide, 
the real you has to meet the real God.
Ask anything."
(A Praying Life)

Thanking Him for reminders to ask. For whatever is on my heart. For whatever my need is. Big or small. Significant or insignificant. If it is a need, ask. And we will find ourselves in constant communication, for we are in constant need. 

For more posts on this topic:
Heart Connect: Living a Life of Prayer

Linking up with:
The Weekend Brew
Spiritual Whitespace
Sharing His Beauty