Friday, August 30, 2013

Fall Planning

A new season will soon be here! I love the changing seasons ... and I love organizing. And somehow, the start-up of another year of school signals a time for organizing/planning for me. My children are all grown, so there are no preparations here in our home for the start-up of another school year. But still, I am in that mode, maybe from having had children in our home for 34 years total (as our six have a range of 17 years between the oldest and the youngest). Also as we work with a ministry to high school students (with Cru), our year continues to cycle with the school year.

So, this busy, but wonderful time of year is here again! And as I am a lover of organizing and planning, I've come across a few ideas that I will be trying out this new season. In addition to my Organizher notebook planner and my planning on my iPhone with Evernote, I'll be collecting ideas and planning helps in what I will call my File Folder Planner. Click here to read where I got this idea.

File Folder Planner

The idea is to set up a folder for each week of the year and use it to collect ideas, recipes, planning charts, etc., that you would like to use each week. If you don't get to using the idea on the designated week, you can easily transfer it to another week. There will be so many ways that I hope to use this system.

For example, this file folder planner will help me with actually choosing which week to try out the new recipes that I clip from the Taste of Home magazine or find on Pinterest, etc., - designating a certain time to try and use each one, instead of having them get lost and forgotten in the busyness of life. I also plan to use it to collect fun seasonal ideas to use for our grandkids when they come over - fun ideas that I am always watching for.

Another way that I'll be using it is to hold the printed sheets of a house/holiday prep plan that I may use this fall season. Click here to read about the House and Holidays Plan that I came across recently online. I like how this plan not only covers planning for the holidays, but also incorporates cleaning into the prep for the holidays. I love organizing, but the actual cleaning of a home is a chore and challenge for me. This plan integrates them both and should help keep me on track with all the preparations, and all the cleaning of our home that are needed for the fall season, and also for the holidays - breaking them down week-by-week. The plan begins the first week of September, so it's the perfect time to start following along with the House and Holidays Plan.

For my File Folder Planner, I created printed labels (using cardstock, cutting them out, and attaching them to the folders) for each week, and also printed out more little labels for holidays and our family birthdays to attach to the front of each week's folder. (With our family of 22, there are a lot of special days to keep track of and plan for!) 

What are some ways that you would use a file folder planning system?

Linking up with:
I'm Lovin' It
Saturday Show & Tell
Works For Me Wednesday

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Grilled Spiced Salmon

We don't have salmon on our menu very often, but recipes like this one remind me that we need to have it more often. My hubby and I enjoyed this menu recently - so very delicious. I will need to keep a bag of frozen salmon (each individual serving fillet packaged separately so it's easy to just pull out the exact amount needed) on hand in our freezer for recipes such as this one. (I purchased mine from Sam's.)

Click on PRINT below for recipe.

Print Recipe

Grilled Spiced Salmon

Source: Taste of Home
Course: Main Grill
Serves: 6


  • 3 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 12 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 12 teaspoon ground mustard
  • 12 teaspoon paprika
  • 12 teaspoon pepper
  • 14 teaspoon dill weed
  • dash salt
  • dash dried tarragon
  • dash cayenne pepper
  • 2 tablespoons butter melted
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 1 salmon fillet (2 pounds)


  1. In a small bowl, combine the first nine ingredients (through pepper).
  2. Add the butter, oil and soy sauce; brush over salmon
  3. Coat grill rack with cooking spray before starting the grill.
  4. Place salmon skin side down on rack.
  5. Grill, covered, over medium heat for 10-15 minutes or until fish flakes easily with a fork.
  6. Yield: 6-8 servings

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(Credit for photo tag: click here for free downloadable chalk board tags.)

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Monday, August 26, 2013

From the Heart

"A good person produces good things 

from the treasury of a good heart."

These words from Luke 6:45 grabbed my attention during the teaching at our church yesterday. It's what's in the heart that is of most importance. 

Our words, our actions - all reveal what is in our hearts. And all are a result of what fills our hearts. What we are in our core, in our deepest places of the heart determines the kind of fruit that we produce. Even when we encounter the storms of life. It's what is inside that will determine our thoughts, our speech, our reactions, and our actions.

I am reminded to purposefully fill my heart with what is true, and what is good. What will produce good fruit - on the good days, and also on the hard days. My part is to pursue the One who can change hearts, who can fill our hearts, and who brings a continual harvest of good fruit. 

Thanking Him for continually shaping and filling our hearts as we pursue His heart ... and thanking Him for His gifts this past week ...

Peace and trust in the midst of our tears as we learned that our sweet 15 year-old granddaughter's kidney function has dropped to 24%, and preparations for kidney transplant have begun; the great blessing of seeing our granddaughter, Crystal's, trust in God through this ordeal, and also the trust and peace that her parents and siblings are experiencing, as well; love received and love shared across the miles through phone, email, texting; finishing of the book Draw the Circle - such good encouragement to boldly pray; strength and energy for three meetings in one day - with staff, and two with volunteer groups; a picnic meeting with our CityGroup - so thankful for their passion and heart to connect and serve; sharing life and ministry with my dear hubby; the fun day caring for 4 year-old Cruz and 1 year-old Eva, giving their mommy a break and time for projects; the joy of seeing this daughter's new kitchen redo; taking two 4 year-old happy and excited boys, Jake & Cole, to preschool for their mom; showering a son with some groceries in his new apartment - so happy for him in his very own place; all that I am learning as I am reading, and writing the words of Romans in my journal; a morning of good training for CityGroup leaders this past weekend; good, beautiful veggies from our garden - bountiful harvest from the seeds we planted in the spring, well watered and soaking up the sun from the Creator.

Linking up with:
Hear It on Sunday, Use It on Monday
Faith-Filled Friday

Monday, August 19, 2013

Our Hope

Thanking God for a week of hope, and of strength received ...

"But those who hope in the Lord
will renew their strength.
They will soar on wings like eagles;
they will run and not grow weary,
they will walk and not faint."
(Isaiah 40:31)

These words grabbed my attention this past week - a week filled up with family and ministry. For I was in need of strength, still trying to catch up with things from being gone much of the summer. How perfect to be reminded of where our strength comes from - and I am continuing to need this strength every day. A busy, but blessed time of year!

Thanking God for His blessings ... a relaxing and memorable anniversary day with my sweet hubby (42 years!), a phone call catching up with a son in CA, a great CityGroup gathering, more time planning and preparing for another school year of ministry through Cru, strength for my hubby as he continues to recover from rotator cuff surgery, some cooler days, more veggies from our garden, a visit to a son in his new apartment, time with grandkids on four different days, an unexpected evening to relax out in beautiful Chalco Hills, and reminders of Who we hope in and where our strength comes from.

(Credits and thanks to Rita for her free clothespin chalkboard photo frame in the digital scrapbook page above.)

Friday, August 16, 2013

Celebrating Our Love

We love because He first loved us.

Because we are loved, we love. Because the author of Love, the One who is Love, loved us by giving His very life for us, we are set free to freely give love.

The words above from I John 4:19 were printed on our wedding programs forty-two years ago this week. In our twenties, as we prepared for our wedding ceremony and hoped to capture the depth of what our special day would signify, these words came to our mind. Filled with gratitude to God for His Love and for the love we would celebrate together as husband and wife.

God's love is perfect, beyond our comprehension, and has no end. " ... Indeed, nothing in all creation will ever be able to separate us from the love of God that is revealed in Christ Jesus our Lord." (Romans 8:39)

And because of this never-ending, all-encompassing Love, we can live together in the best of love. On the days when all is well, and love bubbles up, overflowing and spilling out everywhere. And also when life is difficult - when we feel helpless to love. In all these days, we are held tightly together by His Love. For we love, because He first loved us.

You are invited to read the rest of this post at our family/ministry blog "Legacy of Love" ... sharing thoughts at our anniversary time. Thanks for clicking here ...

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Favorite Grilled Pork Chops

Home for the month of August after a summer of travels, we are enjoying fresh veggies, and some grilled main dishes. The title of this recipe is appropriate - for this is our favorite grilled pork chop recipe. I do not have a record of where I found this recipe, so am not able to give credit to the source.

We enjoyed it recently, and I used some bone-in pork chops that I had in the freezer, though boneless would work good, as well. It was amazing - so tender and tasty. I love the flavor that the marinade adds to the pork.

Print Recipe

Favorite Grilled Pork Chops

Course: Main Course
Serves: 4


  • 1 cup soy sauce
  • 1/4 cup green pepper diced
  • 4 teaspoons onion chopped
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar packed
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 2 garlic cloves minced
  • 4 pork loin chops (1 inch thick)
  • 2 teaspoons sugar
  • 2 teaspoons cornstarch
  • 1/2 cup water


  1. In a blender or food processor, combine the soy sauce, green pepper, onion, brown sugar, ginger and garlic; process till smooth. Set aside 2 tablespoons for sauce.
  2. Pour the remaining marinade into a large resealable plastic bag or shallow glass container.
  3. Add pork chops and turn to coat. Seal or cover and refrigerate for 8 hours or overnight. (Even 3-4 hours is fine)
  4. Drain and discard marinade.
  5. Grill, covered, over medium-hot heat for 5-8 minutes on each side.
  6. In a saucepan, combine sugar, cornstarch, water and reserved soy sauce; stir until smooth.
  7. Bring to a boil; cook and stir for 2 minutes or until thickened.
  8. Serve over chops.

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This is one of 132 of my recipes that I have imported or manually typed into Plan to Eat, the online recipe planner that I use. One of my many projects - to continue on with adding all of our favorites. It's great to be able to access my weekly menu plan (and also the recipes, as well as the grocery shopping list) from my iPhone. I also like how it gives me the option to share my recipes here on my blog.

What's your favorite way to prepare pork chops in the summer?

Linking up with:
The Inspiration Exchange
I'm Lovin' It
Saturday Show and Tell

Monday, August 12, 2013

At All Times

"O my people,
trust in Him at all times.
Pour out your heart to Him,
for God is our refuge."
(Psalm 62:8)

The days were very full last week, the time of year when we are gearing up for another school year of ministry to middle school and high school students. I have been very busy working alongside my husband, assisting with office work, organizing for the new year, attending staff meetings, and more. Also being his driver to various activities, as he is recovering from rotator cuff surgery. 

And when life becomes a bit too full, and we are in need - we can call on Him. And He will answer. My journal page was filled up this morning as I poured out my heart to Him. And I was filled up. For He is our refuge and our help.

Thanking Him for a week of His strength, His help, His gifts ...

summer days
our weekly devo outing
"rest" in the midst of busyness
reminders to surrender

staff meetings planning a new year
a visit from a son
time with a friend from afar
a summer venture finale event
traveling to share at a supporting church

recovery from rotator cuff surgery
minimal pain
good doctor visit, and therapy sessions
permission to drive, one week after surgery
our lawn mowed for us

bountiful garden produce
tomatoes, green beans, cucumbers
green peppers, carrots, potatoes
grilled marinated pork chop meal

of photos in iPhoto
a 52 week file folder system
new record system for our 25 volunteers
web-based MPDx 

pouring out my heart to Him
watching and listening
receiving His answers

"I am the God of all time and all that is.
Seek Me not only in morning quietness,
but consistently throughout the day.
Do not let unexpected problems distract you from My Presence.
Instead, talk with Me about everything
and watch confidently to see what I will do."
(Jesus Calling)

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Garden Veggies

Our veggie garden gives us a lot of joy. I'm a lucky gal to be married to a guy who has a "green thumb"! We prepared this 10 x 30 foot plot of ground last summer, with the help of our youngest son (now 23!). We are so thankful for his help. Planting this spring was so easy, especially as the straw cover kept the soil so moist and fertile through the winter. 

My hubby did the planting this spring, and we both are enjoying the produce, as well as the beauty! I picked out some decorative pole bean seeds for fun - and they are doing perfectly on the teepees our son constructed last summer.

So far, we are enjoying cucumbers, green beans, tomatoes, green peppers, and potatoes. We missed out on our salad greens and radishes, as we were gone on several trips this summer.

It's been quite awhile since I've posted a recipe (something I like to do on Tuesdays), so I thought I'd start out again by sharing a few little ideas on preparing fresh produce.


I learned this method of preparing a cucumber salad from my dear mother (she passed away in 2007, and would have turned 94 this August 1st). I simply stir together a mixture of salad dressing and a bit of honey, salt, and pepper - and then drizzle it over sliced cucumbers. 

Green Beans

My hubby and I came up with this method of fixing green beans - our favorite way to prepare freshly picked green beans. After cutting off the ends, bring to boil in a pan of water - till crisp-tender. Transfer the beans to a frying pan, and fry in a bit of melted butter. Add salt, pepper, and other seasonings as you wish. (I like using "Garlic Garlic Seasoning Blend" by Tastefully Simple.) Fry until very slightly browned, and to your desired degree of tenderness.


These homemade hash browns are delicious! Cube unpeeled potatoes and fry in butter. I fry till slightly browned, then lower the temp and cook for awhile covered until tender. I also add salt and pepper to taste, and also some of the same seasoning that I use for the green beans. After the potatoes are tender, remove the lid, increase the temp, and fry till well-browned. We didn't plant a lot of potatoes, but just enough to enjoy the taste of fresh new potatoes. 

What are your favorite ways to prepare fresh produce?

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Monday, August 5, 2013

Each Moment

"Moments. This is all we have. Moments.
Microscopic, fleeting moments.
How many moments of our lives
have our eyes been wide-open - 
but we've been rushing, racing,
sleeping right through?"
(Ann Voskamp)

A summer full of travels - helping family in need, and refueling at our staff conference. Now, back home again, there is a temptation to hurry and get caught up with all that calls for our attention here at home. 

And then, there was surgery last week for my sweet hubby. Thankful for a good recovery so far - we are needing to remember. To pause. And to live in the moment - in contrast to living as slaves to our "to do" lists. Taking a moment at a time. Trusting Him. Following Him. Moment by moment.

"How do we stop living like
life is an emergency -
something to be sped wildly through?
Life is not an emergency.
How do we start believing
that life can be carried only
in the hands of the unhurried."
(Ann Voskamp)

Thanking Him for reminding me - to thank Him for the moments ...

all going well for my husband's surgery 
minimal pain, even with the stopping of pain meds
trust that this surgery will bring back full use of right shoulder and arm
opportunities to serve him, as he cannot use his right arm for four weeks

open windows
the sounds of summer coming through the windows
fresh veggies from our garden
some cooler days

our fundraiser letter off in the mail
three responses already, just three days after mailing
blessed by our church and yesterday's teaching from Psalm 23
beginning stages of a City Group focused on Cru ministry

connecting with a son over lunch
long phone call from a daughter in TX, catching up
thoughtful calls and texts from all our kids
love and prayers of family and friends at time of surgery

finishing of Paris Encore
a scrapbook page completed
and now, time for a post
all a joy to me

baking of my hubby's favorite breakfast muffins
late night talk out on our patio
watching of "Foyle's War" series on Netflix
taking a break from facebook and blogs on Sunday

words in Reflections from One Thousand Gifts
a new month, and a new journal
His Words, life-giving
His Love that never fails, never ends

"Begin to find joy in what really matters ...
counting all the ways He loves."
(Ann Voskamp)