Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Breakfast Fruit Shake

A quick, fun little post to close out the month of April - a refreshing Breakfast Fruit Shake! We have fruit shakes fairly often here at our place, especially as my hubby is great at making them. And recently I got the idea to freeze them, having extra on hand to pull out for breakfast.

I picked up some of the little plastic Ball containers, which hold the perfect amount for a little breakfast shake. To prepare, I fill our blender about three-fourths full with frozen fruit (frozen bananas, mixed berries, raspberries ... or any combination of frozen fruit), add milk to cover the fruit plus a little more, and then pulse until a smooth consistency. Sometimes we also add a little sweetening and some vanilla before blending the frozen fruit. Pour into the containers, and freeze.

To use - it works well for me to pull one container out of the freezer first thing upon getting out of bed in the morning, and by the time I am ready for breakfast after preparing for the day, it is thawed to a good consistency.

Optional idea: before blending up the frozen fruit, add some extra nutrition, such as the Shaklee 180 Energizing Smoothee powder. I love having this refreshing way to include Shaklee nutrition along with my breakfast shake.

Linking up with:
I'm Lovin' It
The Party Bunch
Saturday Show & Tell

Monday, April 28, 2014

The Writing and Recording of Thanks

"This writing down - 
it is sort of like - unwrapping love ...
And if all these gifts are what God gives -
then isn't my writing down the list like ... receiving?
Like taking with thanks."
(Ann Voskamp)

The writing down and the recording of gifts - a way of giving thanks to God, of acknowledging all the gifts that He gives. Each day. Through words in my journal (now up to 681 on my daily lists of His gifts for 2014 so far - counting just for fun), and through photos and words on my digital scrapbook pages (preserving memories and preserving my thanks for His gifts) ... a record of His grace, mercy, and love through all of life.

From Easter Week ... special gifts and memories preserved through a digital scrapbook page. Amidst a busy, full life (sometimes becoming almost so full that I can miss the gifts, and the giving of thanks) ...choosing to pause and give thanks, and seeking to live in the moment. With thanks. Preserving memories of His gifts to us ... His love - never ending, new each and every day.

(Credit for digital scrapbook supplies - Page Template: Scrap Girls - ABR_SSLOAlb_Ser5; Paper: Digital Scrapper June 2013 Premier, We are Family by Dianne Rigdon)

Thursday, April 24, 2014

Our Place of Worship

It does not matter the place, or the day, or the hour. There is a place of worship. It can be with journal and pen, with Bible and book. It can be while walking, while driving. It can be in early morning hours while lying in bed, awakening into first light of a new day. It can be while changing a diaper, while sitting beside a loved one in hospice. It can be anytime. Anywhere.

Our place of worship; our place of connecting deeply with God.

It used to be that one had to travel to the place of worship - the Tent of Meeting, or the Tabernacle. And even then, there was only one who could enter into the holiest of all places, the place where one could meet with God. And only after the right sacrifices were made. Each time, sacrifices had to be offered up.

But everything changed at a point in time - when Jesus came. The holy, sinless Son of God became our sacrifice.

"He became the final Priest and the final Sacrifice.
Therefore He did not offer sacrifices for Himself;
He offered Himself as the final sacrifice."
(John Piper)

And so it is, that our Sacrifice has opened up the way for us. For all time. To enter into the most holy of places, a place where we commune deeply with God. A place where we quiet ourselves so we can hear, read and learn, listen and follow. A place where His Spirit dwells.

"And so, dear brothers and sisters,
we can boldly enter heaven's Most Holy Place
because of the blood of Jesus.
By His death, Jesus opened a new and living way
through the curtain into the Most Holy Place."
(Hebrews 10:19-20 NLT)

"The implication of this for us is that the way is now opened 
for us to go with Christ into all 
the holiest places of God's presence."
(John Piper)

Wherever we are, we have access through Jesus. To the heart of God. 

Click here to read more posts on:
First Love: What We are Made For

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Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Sparkling Fruit Salad

It's always fun to try out a new recipe, and when that recipe turns into a "keeper", it is even more fun. Such was the case with this refreshing fruit salad that I tried for the first time over Easter weekend. 

A light, delicious salad for springtime - I will be making this many times in the future, I am sure. The fruit is set in a fruit juice/soda mixture in the refrigerator for several hours before serving. This makes it easy to prepare ahead of time for special meals. I found that it worked best to drain a good portion of the juice before serving, saving some to add back to any of the salad that may be left over after the meal. Using a slotted spoon to serve also is helpful, as the directions suggest.

Print Recipe

Sparkling Fruit Salad

Course: Salad
Serves: 6


  • 1 can pineapple chunks (or tidbits) (20 oz) drained
  • 1 can mandarin oranges (11 oz) drained
  • 1 cup fresh strawberries halved
  • 1 cup green grapes halved
  • 1 cup white wine or white grape juice
  • 1/2 cup club soda chilled


  1. In a large serving bowl, combine the pineapple, oranges, strawberries, and grapes. Combine wine or grape juice and club soda; pour over fruit. Cover and refrigerate for at least 2 hours; stirring occasionally. Serve with a slotted spoon.
  2. Note: Using other juices (instead of wine or white grape juice) works well, too. I have used apple juice, as that is what I had on hand at the time.

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Credit: This recipe comes from Taste of Home. Click here to view and print from their website. The recipe version there also suggests the option of using fresh pineapple in this recipe. 

Linking up with:
Thrive at Home Thursday
I'm Lovin' It

Monday, April 21, 2014

Five Days with Two Grandkids

An opportunity came up recently for one of our daughters and her hubby to fly to San Diego, spending time off together, and also spending time with good friends. And ... we, as grama and grampa, were given the opportunity to spend time with their two sweet children - two of our 10 grandkids! And even more fun ... we got to spend a bit of time with three other grandkids during those days, and also with one of our sons. Thankful for family who live nearby!

Life is full, and sometimes it takes a concentrated effort to pause, and give undivided attention to those we love. The days of April 9-14 were five days where we gave our full attention to these two precious grandkids ...

Thank You, Lord ... for filling us with strength (keeping up with a five year-old boy, and a two year-old girl!), and such great joy as we cared for and played with these two for five days! So many memories ... so much love!

Click here to view more digital scrapbook pages - a fun hobby of mine, and a way to preserve memories - a photo and journal record of God's love and presence through life.

(Digital scrapbooking supplies credit: Top Page - Page Template: Project Life Template bh Design D; Paper: Sweet Shoppe-very sweet birthday by robin cariton. Middle Page - Page Template: Project Life Template bh Design A; Paper: erica made - springtime. Bottom Page  - Page Template: Scrap Girls - JSM-dD-page Grids; Paper - erica made-springtime,;digilicious designs-Flutter.)

Friday, April 18, 2014

Celebrating Easter

It is impossible for us to fathom all that was accomplished when Jesus gave His very life for us on the cross. Each Easter season we, as His followers, give extra time and focus to fix our minds and hearts on His great sacrifice. This year I read through the book by John Piper, Fifty Reasons Why Jesus Came to Die, during the 50 days leading up to Easter. Deeper insight was gained, and my heart is full of thanks for what He did for us, and for what this means for our every day, our moments, and our eternity. 

Some of the things I learned in a deeper way led me to write the following posts during the weeks leading up to this Easter weekend ...

The Greatest Love

Never Forget

Without a Single Fault

The Promise of His Presence

Jesus, Thank You for all that Your sacrifice covered, all that it provided for us - making a way for us to be forgiven, to come to You. May we never take this for granted; may we be in awe of You today, tomorrow, and forever. And may we live in freedom, in love with You, and filled with You, reflecting Your love to all those around us. All because of  You, and all for You. 

Wishing you and those you love
a wonderful and meaningful
Easter weekend!

Linking up with:
Faith Filled Friday

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

To Bring Us to God

The suffering of Christ -
to bring us to God.

This suffering was the ultimate sacrifice of God's Son to purchase our forgiveness ... so we could be set free from sin's control. But for what purpose do we need to be set free? So we can live in freedom, of course. 

But ultimately, is there a higher purpose, above what we could imagine; a purpose that was worth the giving of His only Son. For our forgiveness, yes - atonement for our sin. But what does our forgiveness accomplish; for what purpose has it been provided for?

So we can enter His Presence.
We can be close to Him,
the source of Love,
Joy, and Peace.
All that we long for, 
and all that He longs to give.


"You make known to me the path of life;
in Your presence there is fullness of joy;
at Your right hand are pleasures forevermore."
(Psalm 16:11)

"This means He sent Christ to bring us to the 
deepest, longest joy a human can have."
(John Piper)

Sharing my thoughts as I am reading through Fifty Reasons Why Jesus Came to Die (by John Piper) during these weeks leading up to Easter Sunday ... thanking Him for His great gift of salvation, which brings us to Him.

Linking up with:
Sunday Stillness
Whitespace Thursday

Monday, April 7, 2014

Happy Birthday

With six (grown) children, four sons-in-law, and ten grandkids ... there are birthdays happening continually! Two sweet grandsons turned FIVE this past week - so fun to go to their home on Saturday to celebrate! We had a little snowfall the day before the party, but Saturday was great weather to spend time outdoors with these boys! A very special day for two boys that we are so very thankful for!

(Credits for digital supplies - Page Template: mcato-simplebeauty; Paper & Embellishments: Digital Scrapper - 2013 09 Premier Celebrate by Julie Billingsley.)

Click here for more digital scrapbook pages from 2014 - a fun hobby for me, and a way to preserve family memories.

Thursday, April 3, 2014

The Promise of His Presence

Spring is in the air, and yet, there are concerns that we carry with us - as if the cold winds of winter threaten to never leave. 

Our granddaughter's kidneys continue to fail, and things will get worse before they get better as she awaits a kidney transplant. And there are other concerns on our minds - problems all across the globe, in our neighborhoods, and inside our homes. For we are not promised a problem-free life. 

Likely every person on this earth has some form of trial that they are in the midst of. If not now, they will have. And the longer we live, the more we are in need. For there is pain all around.

"But the gospel is not ultimately a defense from pain and suffering; rather, it is the message of God's rescue through pain." (Glorious Ruin)

And the pain we experience has a way 
of pulling our hearts towards God. 
Our need pulls us to Him. 

As I am reading through Fifty Reasons Why Jesus Came to Die by John Piper(focusing deeper on Him during these weeks leading up to Easter Sunday), I am receiving some deeper insight into familiar words. As with these words (above) from Romans ...

It's the "all things" that catches my attention. We know that this does not refer to giving us all things that make for a perfect life, free from pain and problems ... for this world is fallen. A problem-free life is in our future home.

"It means that He will give us all things that are good for us. All things that we really need in order to be conformed to the image of His Son. ... God will meet every real need, including the ability to rejoice in suffering when many felt needs do not get met." (John Piper)

In this life filled with the good and the lovely, as well as with pain and tears, we are promised all things that we need. All that we need as we walk through trials. All that we need as we grieve, as we sorrow ... everything that we need to walk through this life. And this is a breath of fresh spring air ... a promise of His Presence. 

Click for more posts on this topic ...
Held Secure: His Love in Times of Trial

Linking up with:
Faith Filled Friday

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Delicious Brownies

I'm not really one to buy mixes too often, as I make a lot of things from scratch, but when it comes to making brownies, it just makes sense to me to make them from a mix. There are some other brownie recipes that I do use, ones with extra, added ingredients - but for plain, simple, delicious brownies I use mixes ...

And my favorite way to prepare brownies (often for group meetings in our home) is to use both of the brownie mixes in the photo above. I mix them both up together (Chocolate Chunk mix for 8x8 pan and the Fudge Brownie mix for 9x13 pan), combining the ingredients required for each one. Then I pour the combined mixture into a greased jelly roll pan (10 1/2 x 15 1/2 inches), and bake at 350 degrees for about 25-30 minutes (testing for doneness with a toothpick, as the boxes instruct). Cool, then frost with a tub of purchased chocolate frosting.

Years ago, a friend shared this "recipe" with me, after I had complimented her on the very "delicious brownies" she had made. And I have been using her idea of combining brownie mixes ever since!

What is your favorite way to make brownies?

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