Wednesday, October 31, 2012

The Essential Ingredient - {Heart Connect}

"To those who listen to My teaching, 
more understanding will be given, 
and they will have an abundance of knowledge ...
 (Matt. 13:12a)

It's true that one can read His Words, and not be really listening to His Words. We can read merely with our intellect, out of routine, wanting to check off a duty done. Or we can read with our mind, heart, and soul alive, wanting to hear what He says. Desperately needing to hear from Him in the midst of our stressful, busy days.

And what if as we are reading, we are also praying/talking with God? Asking for understanding, verbalizing our faith and trust in Him, telling Him that we will follow whatever He says, wherever He says to go in our day ahead. Depending on Him for direction. Praising Him for who He is.

Having a heart and mind that truly want to listen to the great Creator God, our faithful, loving Savior. Desiring to linger, and to listen ...

"Linger in My Presence a while.
Rein in your impulses to plunge into the day's activities.
Beginning your day alone with Me is essential preparation for success ...
Your time of being still in My Presence 
equips you for the day ahead of you ..."
(Jesus Calling)

May the seeds of His Words fall on fertile soil of a heart that is thirsty and listening.

"The seed that fell on good soil represents those who truly hear and understand God's word 
and produce a harvest of thirty, sixty, or even a hundred times as much as had been planted." 
(Matt. 13:23)

Heart Connect: Living a Life of Prayer
Click here to read previous posts on this series.

Linking up with:
Work in Progress Wednesday

Monday, October 29, 2012

October Thanks

Such a treat to have Seth home for a short visit - we have missed him a lot since he moved to San Francisco this past March. So good to spend time with him, and we loved having him here for a Family Meal the end of October. It filled this mother's heart to have two sons home, and also two daughters - and so blessed to have a son-in-law, and four grandkids here, as well.  (And missing the two daughters, three sons-in-law, and six grandkids who could not be here). My heart just overflows when family fills our home. 

The evening was also our time to celebrate Levi's 10th birthday, which had been earlier in the month. Amy made a fun pudding/oreo cake for him with Halloween decor, as our celebration was just a few days before Halloween. The grandkids had so much fun together - love the sounds of children happily at play in our home. Happy 10th Birthday, Levi!

(Counting 1000 Gifts in 2012 #879-906 - the special treat of seeing Seth again, after his move to San Francisco last March / family together / being able to listen and hear firsthand from our son / warm hugs and love / joy of having two daughters and two sons home, plus a son-in-law, and four grandkids / blessed by family / sounds of grandkids at play / God's strength in a busy week / time for some cleaning of the house, finally / preparation of food / fall days / candles / more apples from our tree / my husband's faithful work in our yard, more preparations for winter / fun of helping a daughter with her son's Halloween costume / updates of things to pray for / joy of visiting a new church and being part of a friend's baptism / hearing of God at work)

Click here to read 1000 Gifts #838-855 from Our Trip to Texas - Part 1
Click here to read 1000 Gifts #856-865 from Our Trip to Texas - Part 2
Click here to read 1000 Gifts #866-878 from Our Trip to Texas - Part 3

(Credits for digital scrapbook page - Page Template: Get It Scrapped GIS_Sketch50at; Paper: mturnidge_autumnthgt; Embellishments: mturnidge_autumnthgt, and Scrap Girls - ASO_AlluringAutumn)

Linking up with:
A Holy Experience

Saturday, October 27, 2012

Trip to Texas - (Part 3)

Finishing up with photos of our recent Trip to Texas to visit Mark & Cristy & family - treasuring the memories in my heart, and preserving the photos with digital scrapbooking. And, looking forward to Thanksgiving Day when our whole family will be together here at our home!

(Counting 1000 Gifts in 2012 #866-878 - such sweet, beautiful grandkids - beautiful inside and out / joy of being with their church family / delicious food at a fun new restaurant / listening to Crystal's and Abigail's beautiful piano playing / sharing of hearts / warm good-byes / the gift of family / anticipation of time together again at Thanksgiving time at our house / our travels home in two days again / relaxing at Comfort Suites in Tulsa / time together with my husband / love of family)

(Credits for digital scrapbooking supplies: Top page: Page Template: Get It Scrapped: GISSketch48at; Paper: mturnidge_autumnthgts.  Lower page: Page Template: Get It Scrapped GISSketch86at; Paper: mturnidge_autumnthgt, ABR_BOY; Scrap Girls ABR_BOY.)

Linking up with:
Inspire Me Monday

Friday, October 26, 2012

Trip to Texas - (Part 2)

Sharing more photos of our recent Trip to Texas! Thanking God for the time spent with Cristy & Mark, and four of our grandkids. Time goes by so fast, and children change and grow so much with each passing year - thankful for photos to capture the memories.

(Counting 1000 Gifts in 2012 #856-865 - blessing of this trip as grandchildren grow up so fast / beautiful Texas day / glimpses into the everyday lives of family / time to connect and share / the whole day together / watching Abigail perform in a band competition / amazement at the performances by the area high schools / excitement for Abigail that their percussion section placing third overall / her beautiful marimba playing / and her school's band receiving third place in their division)

(Credits for digital scrapbooking supplies: Top page: Page Template: Scrap Girls - SM_dD-pageGrids02; Paper & Embellishments: Scrap Girls - ABR_BOY; Journal Note: SNU_Picturesque_WrdArt. Lower page: Page Template: Scrap Girls - JSM_dD-pageGrids01; Background Paper: Scrap Girls - ABR_BOY; Journal Note: SNU_Picturesque_WrdArt.)

Linking up with:
Saturday Show & Tell

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Trip to Texas - (Part 1)

We've been so blessed to be able to make the trip to Texas once each year since Mark & Cristy moved there back in 2004. This was our 9th trip - how can the years go by so fast? We are always so thankful for the trips that they make up our direction (several a year), but it is so valuable for us to spend time with them in their own territory each year, as well. Such a huge treat to be in their home, and to get a glimpse of their full, busy lives with two in high school this year, one in elementary, and one in kindergarten. I want the years to slow down - these grandkids are all growing up too fast ...

(Counting 1000 Gifts in 2012 #838-855: our 9th trip to Texas / spending time with Mark & Cristy, Abigail, Crystal, Luke, and Brianna / safety in travel / making the trip in 2 days for the first time / love of family / English Tea Party with Cristy & Brianna - part of Brianna's kindergarten homeschool curriculum / Cinnamon Chip Scones / Luke showing us some tricks that Patience their dog has learned / watching Crystal in her choir, performing at the football pre-game / Abigail playing marimba in the band / excitement at being at a Texas high school football game / God's strength in our weaknesses / joy of being with family)

(Credits for digital scrapbooking - Page Template: JSM_dD-pageGrids01; Background Paper: Scrap Girls BHA_SwtStrtGng)

Linking up with:
In the Studio

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

The Art of Listen - {Heart Connect}

"The art of communication is not in our ability to speak, 
but in our ability to hear."

My "word of the year" is Listen ... in fact, it has been the word that God has brought to my mind to focus on for two years in a row now. It seems that we are so ready to speak our thoughts - both to God, and also to those around us. And so often we fail to really listen. I am asking God to grow me in the art of listening. To Him, and to others.

And this mindset is so true with prayer. We think of prayer as our speaking, telling God our needs, asking for His help. Repeatedly. But do we stop to realize that all real communication is two-sided - it is the speaking, but it is foremost, the listening.

Prayer ... "an invitation into the presence of the Almighty. 
Once we truly enter that presence, our needs become secondary 
and fellowship with Him becomes primary."

Thanking God for reminding me often - to listen. Asking Him to teach me more, and continuing with a partial break from blogging due to other responsibilities this week, wanting to follow closely.

(The two quotes above are taken from Revive Us Again A Prayer Devotional Guide by Leaders from Greater New York and Beyond.)

Heart Connect: Living a Life of Prayer
Click here to read previous posts on this series.

Linking up with:
Life in Bloom
Thought Provoking Thursday
Faith Filled Friday
Fellowship Fridays

Sunday, October 14, 2012

He Wants Us to Ask - {Heart Connect}

In this closest of relationships, where we are drawn together with our Creator through continual dialogue - our listening to Him through His Words and his Spirit, and our ongoing sharing of our hearts with Him through prayer - we find that we have someone who wants us to ask for whatever we need. There is no limit to the number of times that we can ask. And there will be an answer.

When we, ourselves, are asked for something, whether it be a request from our husband, our children, our friends - we have a sense of obligation to answer. Whether it be yes, or no, or maybe later. An answer needs to be given.

And, amazingly, over and over again in Scripture, we read that we are to ask. To come to God with all of our concerns - the little, as well as the big. He wants to hear, and He will answer.

"For everyone who asks, receives.
Everyone who seeks, finds.
And to everyone who knocks,
the door will be opened."
(Matthew 7:7)

"Call to Me and I will answer you ..."
(Jeremiah 33:3a)

Thanking Him for this awesome, unbelievable privilege - and desiring for this to be my first response to any situation I am in, whatever need I am faced with - to ask

(Note: I will be taking a one week break from posting here, as we will be spending time with a guest, and also taking a brief trip - asking Him for His blessings and His refreshment - and asking the same for you. Thanks for your visits here!)

Heart Connect: Living a Life of Prayer
Click here to read previous posts on this series.

Linking up with:
Soli Deo Gloria
Work in Progress Wednesday
Word-filled Wednesday

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

The Goal of Prayer - {Heart Connect}

It is so easy to get it all backwards. To think that the goal of prayer is to have our requests answered. To get what we want. I slip into this mindset from time to time, and need to be reminded. In fact, I've struggled with this again just recently. Wanting a prayer answered, and becoming impatient.

But as we persevere in prayer, we find that we gain something even of more significance, of more value. The constant, continual dialogue with our Creator brings us to a place we didn't even dare to dream of - a close, intimate relationship with the One who loves us more deeply than any other.

Just as when we spend continual time with someone we love, sharing our deepest burdens and desires, listening and caring - we soon find ourselves in the closest of relationships. The time spent together draws our hearts together closer than we even imagined.

"We shouldn't seek answers as much as we should seek God. ... 
If you seek answers you won't find them, 
but if you seek God, the answers will find you." 

"Having faith is less about believing we'll get exactly what we want, 
and more about believing we'll get more of Who we need."
 (Heirs with Christ Blog)

And when we seek Him, we find all the answers we need - all in His timing, which is far better than our own. For we gain not only His perfect answers, but we gain Him.

(Lord, thank You for these thoughts and reminders from You yesterday afternoon, as my husband and I spent time together at DeSoto Wildlife Refuge - see photo above. I choose to not focus on the answers, but to seek after You.)

Heart Connect: Living a Life of Prayer
Click here to read previous posts on this series.

Linking up with:
Work in Progress Wed.
What I Know Now
Life in Bloom
Thought Provoking Thursday
Faith Filled Friday
Fellowship Fridays

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Pie Crust Mix {Freezer Fare}

The pie crust is the most time-consuming part of making delicious pies, and years ago I found a short-cut to making the pie crusts. That is, to make up a mix for 6 double-crusts or 12 single-crusts at a time, and store the bags of mix in the freezer. That way, when it comes to making a pie, half of the work is already done. I've combined a few ideas, and have come up with my own version of a pie crust mix recipe - one that I have used for many years.

Pie Crust Mix

12 cups flour (I use 6 cups unbleached white flour and 6 cups whole wheat pastry flour)
2 tablespoons salt
4 cups lard

Combine flour and salt in a large bowl. Mix well. With a pastry blender, cut in lard until evenly distributed. Mixture will resemble cornmeal in texture.

Put about 2 1/2 cups mixture each into 6 freezer bags. Store in freezer, and use within 12 months.

Yield: pie crusts for 6 double-crust pies, or 12 single-crust pies.  (Each bag will make one double-crust pie, or two single-crust pies.)

Instructions for using pie crust mix:

2 1/2 cups pie crust mix, thawed
1/4 cup ice water
1 egg, beaten
1 tablespoon white vinegar

Put mix in a medium bowl. In a small bowl, combine ice water, egg and vinegar. Sprinkle a spoonful of water mixture at a time over the pie crust mix, and toss with a fork until the dough barely clings together in a bowl. (You may not need to use all the liquid mixture.) Divide into two portions. Roll out each portion on a lightly floured surface. (Hopefully the photos below will help with these instructions.) Then follow the directions for the pie recipe you are making.

For a single-crust pie - trim, leaving the dough slightly wider than the edge of the pie plate, fold the dough under a bit at the edge, and then flute. 

My dear mother was a pie making queen, and seemed to put pies on the table effortlessly. I acquired a bit of her touch, but sadly, do not make pie nearly as often as I should. But when I do, these mixes come in so handy. Sometimes I roll out several pie crusts and freeze the unbaked pie crust in the pie pans, (instead of putting the mixture in the freezer bags), making it even easier when making single-crust pies.

In the photos below, you see the pumpkin pies I made last Thanksgiving, using the pie crust mix. And just last week, I took some time to put some apple pies in the freezer (and plan to do even more, as our apple tree did so well this year).  It was so handy to be able to pull the pie crust bags out of the freezer, and then proceed with rolling them out, filling them with apple filling, putting another pie crust layer on top, and then ... putting them back into the freezer to use in the months ahead.

(Please let me know if you have questions, or comments, as it's difficult to describe the steps to make pie crust!)

Note: In response to a question in the comments - the original Pie Crust Mix recipe that I tweaked mine from used shortening instead of lard. The proportions for the mix ingredients were: 12 1/2 cups all-purpose flour, 2 tablespoons salt, and 5 cups vegetable shortening. I use lard as it is my preference for a light, flaky crust - but thought I would share this added info for those who prefer shortening. Freezing the mix should work just as well with shortening as with lard.

Linking up with:
Tasty Tuesday
Delightfully Inspiring Thursday
I'm Lovin' It
Saturday Show and Tell
Melt in Your Mouth Monday

Monday, October 8, 2012

October Thanks - Apples, Apples

There is nothing quite as wonderful as beautiful fall days. And the beauty of a season is so often captured in the flavors and aroma of delicious food. Apples - just the word alone invites us to enter into the warmth and love of the fall season.

The first week of October was full of apples! Our Winesap Apple tree did amazing this year, giving us one of our very best crops of apples. These apples are excellent for apple pies, and a variety of other apple desserts. Also they make a delicious apple sauce.

Our tree is loaded with fruit, and we have just begun to use these beautiful, delicious apples. It's a good thing that the apples store well, so we will be enjoying them in the months ahead - and also will enjoy sharing them with family and friends.

After being gone for meetings and fun family events with family most every day of the last week of September, I found myself at home quite a few days the first week of October. Perfect timing to start with putting up apples! I worked on them two afternoons, and put ten apple desserts into the freezer. So thankful! Five double-crust pies, one apple crumb pie, and four of a new recipe called Slab Apple Pie. (Check back for tomorrow's post to get more details.)

The rest of our week was filled with blessings, as well. We were able to spend time on Tuesday with our Staff Team on Cru's Worldwide Day of Prayer, followed by a short Staff Meeting. And we continue to be amazed at all God is doing to open up new high school campuses to Cru this fall. My husband was super-blessed to be part of the very first student Cru meeting at Accelere Alternative school this past Thursday!

Other blessings and gifts from God the first week of October: another Devo Outing at Boyer Chute, finding some great buys of clothing items needed for the coming cooler weather, provision of an upgrade for our MacBooks operating system, digging of our sweet potatoes from our garden, and our first meal using them tonight - so delicious!

And so encouraged during the week with reminders that He Hears, and He lives Within Us. And today, these words, reminding us where overflowing thankfulness comes from:

"Let your roots grow 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."
(from Colossians 2:6-7)

(Counting 1000 Gifts in 2012 #820-837)

(Credits for digital scrapbook page above: Page Template: Scrap Girls - JSM_dD-pageGrids02; Background Paper: mturnidge_autumnthgts; Embellishment: mturnidge_autumnthgts)

Linking up with:
Multitudes on Mondays

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Within Us

We can search the world over for love, and for wisdom and understanding. And even as followers of Jesus, ones who have put our faith and trust in Him alone, we sometimes find ourselves looking for the elusive dream and the fulfillment of our desires, searching everywhere and everyday. Looking for fulfillment in our work, our hobbies, in securing material possessions, and the list goes on and on.

But all that we long for is so much closer than we think. So close that we sometimes miss it.

"And this is the secret:
Christ lives in you."
(from Colossians 1:27)

The Creator of dreams, of fulfillment, of family, of love, of all that we long for - lives within us. Offering the intimacy and love that we long for. Offering strength, wisdom, joy, contentment, rest, peace. All these are available to us in Him. And He is in us. 

"I want them to understand God's mysterious plan, 
which is Christ Himself.
In Him lie hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge."
(Colossians 2:2-3)

Treasures of wisdom and understanding, and of joy, peace, and rest - more than we can even imagine. Unbelievable. A gift. Closer than any other - within us.

"Trust Me in the depths of your being. 
It is there that I live in constant communion with you. 
When you feel flustered and frazzled on the outside ... 
remind yourself that I am both with you and within you." 
(Jesus Calling)

(Photo above: taken on the coast of Maine during our recent trip to the New England states. The trip - a gift from God - more than we dreamed of.)

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

He Hears - {Heart Connect}

"One of the great reasons for lack of prayer
 is the lack of a living, joyous assurance that God hears us." 
(from Andrew Murray's The Ministry of Intercessory Prayer)

It all depends on this - does He hear our prayers? Does the God of the universe, the great Creator God, the God who has existed for all time and who has all power - does He hear us when we pray? If He does, then prayer is most amazing, above even the greatest of all technological advances - always available, the fastest speed of any communication, and never out-of-order. And before our words are even spoken, He hears even our thoughts.

"So the Lord must wait for you to come to Him
so He can show you His love and compassion.
 For the Lord is a faithful God.

Blessed are those who wait for His help."
(Isaiah 30:18)

"You can be sure of this: 
The Lord set apart the godly for Himself.
 The Lord will answer when I call to Him."
 (Psalm 4:3)

"I love the Lord because He hears my voice
and my prayer for mercy.
Because He bends down to listen,
I will pray as long as I have breath."
(Psalm 116:1-2)

Thank You, Lord, that You hear. And as we grasp this in our hearts, we will ask boldly, and we will ask continually. For we are always in need. And You will bend to listen to us, just as we stop everything to listen to the hearts of our children, and just as we bend down to listen to the questions from even our littlest of grandkids.

Heart Connect: Living a Life of Prayer
Click here to read previous posts on this series.

Linking up with:
Work in Progress Wednesday
Life in Bloom
Thought Provoking Thursday

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Baked Beans

This recipe has become one of my favorites for baked beans. It starts with cans of great northern beans, and the addition of sliced hot dogs adds a fun taste. Perfect for summer picnics, and for campfire gatherings in the cool fall. I made it this past weekend for a family hot dog roast (see photo below), and then had enough for a hoagie sandwich lunch the next day (doubling the recipe).

Baked Beans

3 cans (15 1/2 ounce each) great northern beans, rinsed and drained
5 hot dogs, sliced
1 1/2 cups ketchup
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
2 tablespoons molasses
1 medium onion, chopped
1/2 teaspoon ground mustard
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper

In an ungreased 2-qt. baking dish, combine all ingredients. Cover and bake at 350 degrees for 1 to 1 1/2 hours or until heated through.

Click here to print recipe from Taste of Home website.

Linking up with:
Tasty Tuesday

Monday, October 1, 2012

October Thanks ~ Beautiful Autumn

My heart is overflowing with thankfulness today, this first day of October. I absolutely love this time of year with the changing colors of the season, the warm scents of fall candles burning, crisp apples ready for the picking, and the cooler days. And my birthday is tucked right into this beautiful time of year, during the last week of September. The very week when the change of seasons becomes quite noticeable.

"Open your mind and heart 
- your entire being -
to receive My Love in full measure ... "

The quote above, the reading in Jesus Calling for September 28 (my birthday), was a perfect description of what I sensed this past week. The beautiful autumn season - a gift from Him. Family and friends - gifts from Him. 

So much to be thankful for at this beautiful time of year.

the brilliant colors of fall
changing more each day
an artist's paradise
breath-taking beauty

fall decor out of boxes
so thankful for seasons
scents of pumpkin spice candles burning
apples ready for picking

blessed with four days of birthday
meal out at Cheddar's with my sweet hubby on Wed.
and the next day at Qdoba's with four of my six (grown) kids
filled with love for each one of our six

a day with three little grandkids on my actual birthday
beautiful weather, such happy kids
sweet daughter bringing pizza and birthday apple pie for supper
homecoming game with granddaughter as the sweetest kdg crown bearer

family fun (and birthday celebration) on Sunday
corn maze, hayride, and other activities at Skinny Bones
hot dog roast at a daughter & son-in-law's acreage
perfect weather, close connections, blessings beyond measure

phone calls from TX and CA
from my two that live far away
love that spans the distance
filled with thanks to God for His blessings of family & friends

(Counting 1000 Gifts in 2012 #795-819)

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