Monday, September 24, 2018

In the Kitchen: September

Just for fun at the start of this new fall season ... a post I started working on a few weeks ago about a few things that have been happening in my kitchen! I always love to try new recipes, and here are a few I've tried out recently ...

Cheesy Skillet Pizza Dip

I made this on the first football game day of the season ... and we really liked it! Will definitely be keeping this recipe! So good!!

Print from Taste of Home: Cheesy Skillet Dip

Pumpkin Spice Cookies with Chocolate Chips

This was also a new recipe to try, and I do agree, the use of a pudding mix in the recipe adds to the deliciousness of these cookies! 

Jace's Breakfast Burritos

This is a great breakfast recipe! These breakfast burritos also freeze well, perfect for pulling out for future breakfasts.

Print from Good Cheap Eats: Jace's Breakfast Burritos

BLT Pasta Salad

Though I haven't found a link for this recipe (from All Recipes magazine) to share here, it was a great combination of bow-tie pasta, bacon, tomatoes, red onion, shredded romaine lettuce, and bottled ranch dressing. A good addition of a pasta salad to my collection.

Local Farmer's Market (Wenninghoffs)

Fresh veggies from a nearby farmer's market ... always a good addition to any summer/fall meal!

My New Instant Pot

I'll be trying out recipes in my new Instant Pot in the weeks/months to come! I purchased it a number of months ago at a great price (with some gift money!), and have been collecting recipes to try. 

What's been happening in your kitchen?

Thursday, September 20, 2018

On My Heart: Rest Amidst the Busy

Does the same thing happen to you when fall approaches?

Though I absolutely love fall, the change of season from summer to fall sometimes pushes an I need to get busier button in my heart. Not that I haven't had things to do in the summer, but maybe because the back-to-school season also brings a new set of responsibilities and deadlines with it. It's a busy season with Cru for us, and also maybe the glimpses of the end of the year approaching (and the holidays) can put me into a mode of hurry, wanting to get projects taken care.

But this beautiful season of fall is not made for hurry ...

And we do not operate well in hurry-mode. I don't. It brings stress and unrest. God intends for us to rest, and to refresh. Not just once during the year, but as a continual habit and routine. We are made for rest. 

Be still and know that I am God.
(Psalm 46:10a)

But how can we be still amidst the hurry? 

Sometimes it takes a concentrated effort ... to rest

Intentional effort, to rest.

We need to allow ourselves to stop from our never-ending responsibilities.

To take an hour, a few hours, even a day to just pause from our work. Not just once. But often. Making it a continual habit. Taking time, making time ... to do something that gives us joy and rest. A neglected hobby, a good book, time with a family member, a friend. 

To pause with His Word, with journal ... listening, letting truth soak down deep. Not hurrying, but purposefully slowing. Quieting our hearts, asking Him to teach us. Reading His Words ... listening closely to His Words. 

Let your roots grown down into Him,
and let your lives be built on Him.
Then your faith will grow strong
in the truth you were taught,
and you will overflow with thankfulness.
(Colossians 2:7)

Let's not let busy and hurry characterize this next season.

Let's "make rest realistic from now through the Advent season." (Shelly Miller)

"Women are heroes when it comes to loving and caring for others. But why is it so hard to give ourselves permission to rest and refresh, when we're stressed and need it most? Deep inside us, God created an inner spirit that needs nurturing." (Bonnie Gray)

Let's let the core of who we are, our deepest hearts, pause this season, letting our roots grow down deeper into His peace, His love, and who He created us to be ... His beloved.

For your encouragement, and mine,
a few blog posts by some authors on this very topic ...


(Note: I wrote these words for myself, as I have recently come off of a few weeks of feeling a bit more stress than usual ... reminding myself to pause and to rest, and, just maybe these words will be an encouragement to you, as well.)

Friday, August 31, 2018

Capturing our Summer with Digital Scrapbooking

It has definitely been awhile since I've shared a digital scrapbooking post. A fun little hobby of mine is capturing our memories by putting photos together on my laptop with digital scrapbooking. You can read about the way I do it later in this post ...

But since it's been awhile (my last post about this was in April), I'll catch up by sharing one page from each month since then.

From the month of May: some photos from our oldest granddaughter's wedding in Texas ... a beautiful day!

From the month of June: memories of a special three-day visit with our youngest granddaughter here!

From the month of July: a wonderful visit with family home from Texas, and celebrating a special birthday!

From the month of August: an end-of-summer treat -  a very fun day with family on a nearby lake!

And now, we are heading into September in a few days! It was great to have some time during our vacation week this summer to catch up with a lot of pages. Always a joy for me when I can work with photos, capturing memories.


Note: Most of the page templates and digital products that I use are purchased from Digital Project Life. About seven years ago I switched from paper scrapbooking, and took some online lessons from Digital Scrapper to learn how to digital scrapbook using Photoshop Elements(You can also click here for some great tutorials on the Digital Project Life website - maybe a quicker way to learn than the site that I used six years ago.) Also, besides being able to share my completed pages online, I also print them out at home in 8x8 inch size to fit in the albums that I purchase from Michael's.

Tuesday, August 28, 2018

On My Heart: Never Stop

every day, all
through the year.

Letting our roots grow down deep
into Him - reading His Words,
quieting our hearts, listening ...
soaking up every word, every thought
that comes from Him.

Remaining in, abiding in,
sharing all with Him.
Never stopping to pour out
our hearts to Him ...

"Never stop praying";
a continual, constant
relationship - what He came for,
what He died for; the greatest
of all relationships - a gift.

All year long, every day -
letting our roots grow down deep;
never stopping.

"Stand firm and secure.
Live your lives with unshakeable
confidence. We know that we
prosper and excel in every season
by serving the Lord, because we
are assured that our union
with the Lord makes our labor
productive with fruit that endures."
(I Cor. 15:58 The Passion)

"How do we remain steadfast?
Certainly, not by our own might or strategy.
Our only hope is to anchor ourselves
to the steadfastness of God,
who calls us to abide in Him."
(Ruth Chou Simons)

(Thoughts from my heart and my journal, overwhelmed with gratitude for relationship. Renewing my heart to the continual, constant listening and letting my roots grow down, to the "never stop praying" - what it means, what it is: the greatest privilege of being in relationship with Him.)

And the photo above: 
taken in 2016 while in the beautiful seaside town of Carmel by the Sea, California. 

Thursday, August 16, 2018

A Few Summer Recipes

A few more recipes to add to my collection here at home, and also to my Family Favorites collection here! I've tried out all three of these recipes in the past month, and definitely want to keep them in my collection.

This macaroni salad recipe made quite a bit - for just the two of us! But I found out that it kept well in the refrigerator. I also added a variety with some of the servings for the two of us ... adding cubed cucumbers and tomatoes, or even sliced kielbasa. Any way we had it was delicious!

Click on the "source" link below the
photo to print ...

The Best Macaroni Salad

Course: Salads
Prep Time: 10 min
Cook Time: 10 min
Total Time: 20 min
  • 1 pound elbow noodles
  • 4 ounces cheddar cheese cubed or shredded
  • 12 red onion minced
  • 4 ribs celery diced
  • 1 red bell pepper minced
  • 1 cup frozen peas thawed
  • 12 cup mayonnaise
  • 14 cup cider vinegar
  • 14 cup minced fresh dill
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 2 tablespoons sweet pickle relish
  • 1 tablespoon dijon mustard
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 12 teaspoon pepper
  1. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Cook elbow noodles according to package directions. Drain and rinse with cold water until pasta is cooled. Drain well.
  2. In a large mixing bowl, toss together cooked noodles with cheese, onion, celery, bell pepper, and peas.
  3. In a small mixing bowl, whisk together mayonnaise, cider vinegar, dill, sugar, relish, dijon mustard, salt, and pepper.
  4. Pour sauce over pasta and toss until everything is well coated. Cover bowl with plastic wrap and chill at least 1 hour before serving.
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Two more new recipes that I tried out in the past month used zucchini as one of the ingredients. These two recipes were a perfect way to use some of the zucchini that one of our daughters gave us on a visit the middle of July! (Thank you, Carrie!)

I made two loaves of each ... some to eat, and some for the freezer for another day. And we loved both of these recipes.

Click on the "source" link below the
photo to print ...

Parmesan Zucchini Bread

Course: Breads/Rolls
Prep Time: 10 min
Cook Time: 1 hr
Total Time: 1 hr 10 min
Yield: 1 loaf (16 slices).
  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 3 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 12 teaspoon baking powder
  • 12 teaspoon baking soda
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • 13 cup sugar
  • 13 cup butter melted
  • 1 cup shredded peeled zucchini
  • 1 tablespoon grated onion
  1. In a large bowl, combine the flour, cheese, salt, baking powder and baking soda.
  2. In another bowl, whisk the eggs, buttermilk, sugar and butter.
  3. Stir into dry ingredients just until moistened. Fold in zucchini and onion.,
  4. Pour into a greased and floured 9x5-in. loaf pan.
  5. Bake at 350 degrees for 1 hour or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
  6. Cool for 10 minutes before removing from pan to a wire rack.
Amount Per Serving (16)

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Click on the "source" link below the
photo to print ...

Banana-Zucchini Bread

Course: Breads/Rolls
Prep Time: 20 min
Cook Time: 50 min
Total Time: 1 hr 10 min
Yield: 2 loaves.
  • 4 eggs
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 1 cup vegetable oil
  • 2 medium ripe bananas mashed (about 1 cup)
  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1-12 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1-12 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1-12 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1-12 cups shredded unpeeled zucchini
  • 1 cup chopped pecans
  1. In a bowl, beat eggs. Blend in sugar and oil.
  2. Add bananas and mix well.
  3. Combine the flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon and salt; stir into egg mixture.
  4. Stir in zucchini and pecans just until combined.
  5. Pour into two greased 9x5-in. loaf pans.
  6. Bake at 350 degrees for 50 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean.
  7. Cool for 10 minutes.
  8. Remove from pans to wire racks to cool completely.
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Monday, August 6, 2018

Near the End of Summer and the Start of a New School Year: Stand Firm

Our focus
at the start of a new season,
a new school year,
or wherever we find ourselves ...

Stand firm. Let nothing move you.
Always give yourselves fully
to the work of the Lord,
because you know that your labor
in the Lord is not in vain.
(I Cor. 15:58)

Our focus is not the fruit;
our focus is the standing,
in the depending on God alone.
In the depending solely, completely
on Him to produce the fruit;
on giving ourselves fully to
whatever He places in front of us.

"We stand firm because our identity is secure: we keep standing because the outcome and fruit are His alone to produce. ... Keep standing, keep serving, keep working diligently unto the Lord." (Ruth Chou Simons)

Yes, I am the Vine; 
you are the branches.
Those who remain in Me,
and I in them,
will produce much fruit.
For apart from Me,
you can do nothing.
(John 15:5)

(Sharing thoughts from my journal at the start of a new school year of ministry with Cru, serving and loving middle and high school students, introducing them to the greatest love they can ever know ... to Jesus. The fruit comes from God alone as we live and work in Him ... no matter what God has called you or me to do.)

Photo above: taken of a page of the beautiful and inspiring Gracelaced book by Ruth Chou Simons.

Wednesday, August 1, 2018

Welcome August!

What will this new month bring?
For me, for you?
A new school year, a new job ...
new opportunities, new challenges?

Even at the season of life we are in -
empty nest, grown children,
and ten grandkids ... 
our lives revolve around the school year ...
with our family, and also with Cru -
loving and serving students.

Whatever our season,
whatever our life looks like today ...
these words are true.

Grabbing my heart this morning -
an invitation to bring every part 
of this new month of August
to the One who longs to be with us,
the One who gives peace to
guard our hearts and our minds.

Today, and each day ...

Photos: from an amazing and beautiful book, Gracelaced.

Tuesday, July 10, 2018

Summer: The Growing, and the Harvesting of the Fruit

It's that time of summer
when the fruit of our planting
is beginning to appear ...
we've been enjoying fresh cucumbers,
sprigs of parsley, snips of basil,
chives, and tomatoes will be coming soon.

Roots have grown down into the
fresh spring soil, soaking up the rains,
and burrowing down into the healthy ground.

And as we've had quiet moments to
rest (here and there, during busy days),
soaking up the Son, burrowing our hearts
down deeper into His Word, into Truth,
there has been growth, and fruit has come.

I love the fruit ...
the flavor of fresh herbs,
chopped up and added to salads
and butters, and main dishes.

And fresh veggies from the garden,
even from the produce stands
cannot be equaled -
they are a true taste of summer.

I love it, too, when I see the fruit
of His Word - in my heart, in my actions;
even as it blesses others, and points
them to His love for them.

But sometimes I catch myself
longing for more fruit, focusing
on the fruit, wishing
for more recognition, even for praise -
for fruit is beautiful.

But when I put all my effort and
all my focus on the fruit,
on the produce, on the goodness of it, 
I am disappointed, and life
turns out empty, devoid of beauty.

And I am reminded ...

"We long for showy fruit
when the Lord calls us
to focus on clinging to Him.
We want to produce, but He
reminds us that He provides
as we abide."
(Ruth Chou Simons)

"I am the Vine;
you are the branches.
Whoever abides in Me
and I in him,
he it is that bears
much fruit,
for apart from Me
you can do nothing."
(John 15:5)

Lord, may my focus be on You,
and You alone will bring the fruit.

For part one of this summer series, click here:

Monday, July 2, 2018

A Mother's Heart: In So Many Places

How can a mother's heart
be in so many different places?

Last week ...
my heart was in Omaha
helping a daughter pack
up her kitchen, her life,
as she made a move 300 miles away
with her dear hubby and two sweet kids.

And after going along
and being part of the excitement
of the move, of the settling in,
this same mother's heart 
overflowed with tears
as we said good-bye, and left
to drive 300 miles back to our home.

The very next day,
my heart was in San Francisco
(where it is every other day, as well),
as a dear son celebrated his birthday.
And I wished to give him a warm hug,
and an "I love you".

And now, two days after that day,
my heart is making preparations
to welcome another dear daughter,
her hubby and two of her kids,
for a sweet visit from Texas.

And as my heart is overflowing,
and is tearful, and is grateful 
for these two daughters, and son -
it also is stretched across the miles
to another dear son in New York,
and to two precious daughters
who live nearby.

How can a mother's heart
be in so many places?

Only by God's grace ...
held so close by the One who is Love,
and the One who holds all things