Friday, August 29, 2014

Summertime Tea

This sweet, refreshing tea was served at numerous gatherings at our home this past summer. I found it in one of my Taste of Home magazines the beginning of the summer, and made it multiple times. And I thought I would share it quick, before summer turns into fall, though it would be great to serve any time of year, I am sure! 

Print Recipe

Summertime Tea

Course: Beverages
Prep Time: 15 Min
Cook Time: 15 Min
Total Time: 15 Min
Serves: 18


  • 14 cups water divided
  • 6 individual black tea bags
  • 1-1/2 cups sugar
  • 3/4 cup frozen orange juice concentrate thawed
  • 3/4 cup frozen lemonade concentrate thawed
  • Fresh mint leaves and lemon or lime slices, optional


  1. In a large saucepan, bring 4 cups water to a boil. Remove from the heat; add tea bags. Cover and steep for 3-5 minutes. Discard tea bags.
  2. Stir in the sugar, concentrates and remaining water. Refrigerate until chilled. Garnish with mint and lemon if desired.
  3. Yield: 18 servings (3/4 cup each).

Powered by
Plan To Eat

NOTE: This recipe fits perfectly into my one-gallon pitcher. Also, I usually put in less sugar than it calls for, cutting it back to 1 cup - and may cut it back even a bit less next time. The amount you use all depends on how sweet you like your tea.

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Of Highest Priority

I find myself being reminded over and over again. Of what is most important. It takes a lot of reminders in this day that we live in ... where busy is the common denominator, where even our idle moments can be filled up with checking for the latest statuses, photos, and messages. It takes a determined effort to unplug, to be still, and to really listen.

Come away with Me for awhile.
The world with its nonstop demands can be put on hold.
I have called you to follow Me on a solitary path,
making time alone with Me
your highest priority and deepest Joy.
(Jesus Calling)

As I journey into this next season of life for me, I need to be reminded. Of what is most important, and of what will give a sure foundation for whatever is ahead for me. Of what will give me security and hope. The kind of security that has no expiration date. 

And I am reminded of these words ...

" ... but his delight is in the law of the Lord,
and on His law he meditates day and night.
He is like a tree planted by streams of water
that yields its fruit in its season,
and its leaf does not wither.
In all that he does, he prospers."
(Psalm 1:2-3)

The way to prosper, to yield fruit in its season, to not wither - calls for me to pay attention to what I delight in most of all. 

To delight in His Word, to delight in Him.

Keeping the soil of my heart fertile and receptive to Him.
Letting Him grow strong roots in me. 

"Remember the lesson of the seed too in its sending a shoot down so that it may be rooted and grounded, while at the same time it sends a shoot up to be the plant and flower that shall gladden the world. The two growths are necessary. Without the strong root it would soon wither, as much activity fails for lack of growth in Me. The higher the growth up, the deeper must be the enrooting. Many forget this and thus their work ceases to be permanent for Me. Beware of the leaves and flowers without the strong root." (God Calling)

Could it be
that as I approach
this next season of life -
my biggest investment
of energy and time is ...
to grow more in love with Jesus
to seek after His words and His heart -
to hear with understanding and to follow -
loving Him
with all my heart, soul, and mind
letting Him grow strong roots in me
and bearing His fruit
through all the seasons of life

This post is part of my Heart Focus as I approach a new season in life ... pausing to listen, and to think on those things of most importance. My season may be different from yours, but these thoughts may resonate with you in your season of life, as well. 

Linking up with:
Spiritual Whitespace

Monday, August 25, 2014

Thankful for Our Anniversary Getaway

I am thankful ... for these last weeks of summer, for a wonderful weekend filled with a son here, a daughter and her family stopping by, and a fun time with our City Group here for a special meal and evening together. And I am thankful for time to go slower today, and to record the sweet memories of our anniversary getaway earlier this month ... 

(Digital scrapbook supplies - Page Template: Digital Scrapper Premier Feb. 2013 Two Hearts by Carol Gilmour; Paper: Digital Scrapper Premier May 2013 Mother is a Verb by Krystal Hartley, Premier Jan. 2013 Winter Wonderland by Elise Hansen.)

Friday, August 22, 2014

Blueberry Bars

Blueberries are such a fun, refreshing ingredient to use, especially during the spring and summer. And this bar cookie recipe is one of my favorite dessert snacks to make during warm summer days - it is like a little taste of summer. I've made this recipe several times during the past months. These bar cookies keep great in the freezer, too, so I'll often make two pans so I can have extra on hand in the freezer to pull out for family and friends who come by.

Print Recipe

Blueberry Bars

Course: Cookies & Snacks
Prep Time: 15 Min
Cook Time: 40 Min
Total Time: 55 Min
Serves: 40


  • 1 cup butter softened
  • 1-3/4 cups sugar
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 can blueberry pie filling (21 oz)
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • GLAZE:
  • 1-1/4 cups confectioners' sugar
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon butter melted


  1. In a large bowl, cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Beat in vanilla. Combine the flour, baking powder and salt; add to creamed mixture just until combined.
  2. Spread half of the batter into a greased 15-in. x 10-in. x 1-in. baking pan. Spread with pie filling; sprinkle with nutmeg. Drop remaining batter by teaspoonfuls over the top.
  3. Bake at 350° for 40-45 minutes or until golden brown. In a small bowl, combine the glaze ingredients until smooth. Drizzle over warm bars. Cool completely on a wire rack. Yield: 4 dozen.

Powered by
Plan To Eat

This is my first recipe post in a long time - it looks like my last one was in April! Though I did post about a Freezer Meal Day with some of my daughters in May. It is definitely time to post another recipe - a fun kind of post to do. Maybe as summer turns into fall in the weeks ahead, I'll be able to take time for more recipe posts.

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Lead Me and Show Me

Next month I turn 65. 

I don't usually put my age out there for all to see, but somehow, with this being the year that my hubby turned 70 (in June) and the year that I turn 65, the numbers just seem to stand out more boldly. There's something about these numbers, that sound so ... well, so old. And the fact is that we don't feel like we should be turning these numbers. Life goes by so incredibly fast, and we find ourselves at this stage so much sooner than we expected. And we are not quite ready for this ...

It's like there is a narrow little crack of an opening
in a door that we have not walked through before.

You might call this door something like ... the latter season of life. In comparison to the vibrancy of life that comes with the twenties, thirties, and even up through the forties and fifties. But sixties, and surely, seventies holds a different ring. 

And I find myself peering through that tiny little opening in the door, wondering what lies ahead. There are so many unknowns. And I could become fearful ... and I could focus on all the possibilities of what may be ahead for me. For none of us really looks forward to growing older; youthful years, even youthful appearances ... these are held in high value in our culture. 

But I am choosing to pause, and to ponder.

And to prepare. Asking God to renew my focus. To give me a Heart Focus for this coming season of life that reflects His desires for me. Asking Him to help me live intentionally through all my days. Not writing off this next season, but in contrast ... preparing my heart for what could be the very best, the most fruitful season of all. 

Are you entering a new season, as well?
Maybe a different season than I am in,
but a new one for you.

Maybe this coming season holds some unknowns for you. Maybe you're approaching a new season of work, of learning ... the start of a new school year for you, or for your children ... or maybe you are faced with a new medical concern for yourself, or someone you love. You see a sliver of light coming through the door as it begins to open, and you maybe are filled with uncertainty, not knowing what lies ahead.

I'm choosing to ask God to show me what is most important as I step into the unknown. What are the main things that He desires for me to focus on as I enter into a new season. What are the essentials that I will need as I begin a new journey into these next years?  

If you wish, join me here as I continue with my learning, and my preparing. I'll be sharing my thoughts as I journey into this new season, collecting my posts on this topic on a new page here on my blog ... click here.

Linking up with:
Spiritual Whitespace
Coffee for Your Heart
Tell His Story

Monday, August 18, 2014

Thankful for Siebert Family Visit

I am thankful ... for these beautiful days of summer, for a refreshing and relaxing three-day quiet retreat last week with my hubby (celebrating 43 years together!), for God's presence and direction as we start up another school year of Cru High ministry, for five sweet grandkids who were excited to start another school year last week (three in kindergarten, one in second grade, and one in sixth grade ... and more to start school later this month), and for memories of the wonderful five-day visit from our Siebert family the first part of this month.

(Feel free to click here and here if you wish to go to our family/ministry blog to see more digital scrapbook pages of our five days together ...)

Thanking God for His gifts, and praying this prayer at the start of a new week: 

Let me hear of Your unfailing love each morning,
for I am trusting You.
Show me where to walk, for I give myself to You.
Psalm 143:8 NLT

(Digital scrapbook supplies - Page Template: Digital Scrapper Premier 2014 08; Paper: Digital Scrapper Premier 2014 07 LibertyforAll by Mommyish, Premier 2014 08 WeekendatHome by Kate Hadfield Designs.)

Monday, August 11, 2014

Thankful for Summer

I am thankful ... for summer days, for the potted flowers on our patio, for some cooler days in the midst of very hot days, for weeks of picking green beans and cucumbers, and now green peppers and tomatoes. I'm thankful that, though school starts this week, and with it a new school year of Cru High ministry for us, that summer is really still here. In our yard. And I am loving it. Thank You, Lord ... for summer.

Taking time this past weekend for some more digital scrapbooking, from the last part of July ... and more to come (soon) - preserving memories of an amazing, unforgettable first weekend of August with family visiting. 

(Credit for digital scrapbooking supplies: Page Template: Scrap Girls SSDLOT_Alb5; Paper: Digital Scrapper Premier 2013 05 motherverb, Digital Scrapper Premier 2014 07 LibertyforAll by Mommyish.)

As parts of the world are in turmoil and many are suffering, I do not take the blessings of home, garden, and family for granted. Instead, I accept them as gifts from God, thanking Him. And I grieve, and I ask God to break my heart over the things in our world that break His heart ...

Friday, August 8, 2014

In Need of Fill

This life
for me
for my sweet hubby 
for our entire family
has had it's curves
it's sharp corners
it's steep precipices
it's detours

Yes, the storms have come
there has been leukemia
broken relationships
a devastating accident

Even now
the winds are picking up 
blowing in a rare kidney disease
for a sweet granddaughter
and kidney cancer
for both of her parents
one, our precious daughter
still recovering from surgery

And the storms and the detours
are found all around the world
plastered all over the news
and even in our neighborhoods
with those we love
many more devastating than ours

And we wonder
how this can be

But could it be
that without the precipices
there would be no rescues

Without the storms
we would not look up to the Son

Without being lost
we would have no need of a Shepherd

Without being in need
we would not look to Him

Without being emptied
we would not be filled

* * *

The faithful love of the Lord never ends!
His mercies never cease.
Great is His faithfulness;
His mercies begin afresh each morning.
Lamentations 3:22-23

* * *

Linking up with:

Linking with other bloggers writing on the word "fill" - for a weekly challenge "Five Minute Friday".  This is my first time to take the challenge.  Five minutes is such a short time to put thoughts into words ... and I confess, my stopwatch showed 9 minutes when I completed the writing.  Maybe I'll be able to speed it up the next time ... maybe.

Click the link below for more posts on this topic:
HELD SECURE: His Love in Times of Trial

Thursday, August 7, 2014

To Delight in the Lord

What does it really look like to delight in the Lord?

The words in Psalm 37:4 have been some of my favorite words for years; a favorite verse of mine. One that I think of often. And maybe it will take an entire lifetime, and beyond, to grasp it's significance and meaning.

There are so many things to delight in - and these things will vary with each one of us, for we are all created uniquely, in the image of God. For me, I delight and find great joy in family, in helping create an atmosphere of love, in serving a beautiful and delicious meal ... I am energized by writing, by preserving memories in digital scrapbook form, by beautiful photos ... I love to organize and plan, make out menus, create an atmosphere of rest in our home ... I am filled up when connecting deeply with a family member or friend.

These things are all good and I am created to love and enjoy being who He made me to be. To reflect His love and creativity. And surely, delighting in these things are a part of delighting in Him.

But at the very core of my heart and my delighting ... is a Person. Not an activity, not a plan - but a Person. 

Delight yourself in the Lord

What could this look like for me, for you? 

A few of the ways He has been calling me to delight in Him ...

* By pausing in my busyness, no matter how busy I am ... to take time for quiet, for "spiritual whitespace", giving my soul time to be renewed and time to be refreshed. Pulling away from the noise of life long enough so that I am able to listen and to hear His voice.

* By immersing myself in His Word. Not as something to check off my list - but because I long to hear from Him, to hear His heart. Desiring for my heart to be broken for the things that break His heart.

* By bringing all my concerns to Him. No matter how big, or how small. Everything that concerns me. Every day. For me, it means writing my concerns down, an act of releasing them to Him. My natural default is to worry, but this is not delighting in Him. 

* By surrendering daily, and moment by moment. If I cling to my own ways, I am delighting in myself, not in Him. Surrendering to His plan daily - verbally telling Him so at the start of each day, or putting the words to paper.

* By asking for His help continually, asking Him to be strong in my weaknesses. By not relying on my own strength, but only on His. Realizing that I can do nothing in my own strength, but only in His.

Lord, teach us what it means to delight in You. This is not a natural thing for us, as our innate response is to delight in ourselves, and to seek to be self-sufficient. Teach us to delight in You alone ... teach me, Lord, to delight in You.

Linking up with:
Spiritual Whitespace