Thursday, February 26, 2015

Best Ever Slow Cooker Roast

Beef roast, potatoes, and carrots - a traditional Sunday dinner menu at our home when our kids were growing up. But it has actually been awhile since I have prepared this menu. A slow cooker roast recipe caught my attention recently, and I knew it was time to serve this menu again!

And also, it was a great reason to use my new Crock-Pot Casserole Slow Cooker again, a birthday gift last fall ...

It worked perfectly for a Sunday dinner, as the recipe cooks on High for 6 hours. I browned the roast and prepared the veggies the night before (keeping all in the frig overnight), and started it cooking about 6:30 am. 

The Beef Consomme in the recipe added to the flavor ... so great to walk into our home after church, and have the aroma of a flavorful beef roast dinner filling our home.

Best Ever Slow Cooker Roast - click here for recipe.

What's your favorite way to cook roast?

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Light in Darkness

It seems that every day the news brings more tales of darkness. Of really dark darkness. Of horrible, heart-breaking darkness. Of the 21 Egyptian Christians who were recently killed. Of even children losing their lives in such cruel ways. 

And our hearts are broken. And as followers of Jesus, our hearts are stirred to pray, and to be faithful. We are stirred to be courageous and strong, by His grace and mercy.

For we are not without hope. We see before our very eyes that efforts to extinguish The Light will never succeed. All through the ages, persecution has only caused the Light to burn brighter. And this is true even today, as we see this happening in our own hearts, and in the hearts of others all around the world. We keep our eyes on Jesus, the Creator and the One who is Light and Truth, and who gave His life so that we can have real un-ending Life now and for eternity.

Thanking God for Light, and Life, and for His Love in the midst of darkness. And praying for those in our families, our neighborhoods, and our world - that they will come to know this Giver of Light and Life, Jesus. 

Friday, February 20, 2015

Project Life: Memories of Omni Amelia Island

It was all a gift ... and it was just what we dreamed of. And more. 

A memorable three-night stay at beautiful, restful 
Omni Amelia Island Plantation in Florida

Thank You, Lord, for giving us this refreshing break from the busyness of life ... we knew we needed a break especially after all the trauma of the past few months of caring for my father in difficult circumstances. And this break was beyond our expectations. First of all, paid for by my brothers ... and also, more beautiful and more restful than we even dreamt of. Thank You for meeting our needs in such breath-taking ways ...

- - - - - - - - - -

Linking up with Jessica Turner's brand new linkup, Fringe Friday, sharing with others how we use our "fringe hours" ... this past week I took time to scrapbook these memories from our wonderful trip!

Thursday, February 19, 2015

Bacon-Cheeseburger Chowder

We've had some colder days again lately, and these days call for soup. On one of those days recently, I pulled out a new recipe to try. It was quite simple to make, and we were amazed at how tasty it was! Perfect to warm up with over our evening meal ...

Print Recipe

Bacon-Cheeseburger Chowder

Course: Soup
Prep Time: 15 Min
Cook Time: 30 Min
Total Time: 45 Min
Serves: 6


  • 1 pound ground beef
  • 1 medium onion chopped
  • 1 medium sweet red pepper chopped
  • 1 garlic clove minced
  • 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 2-1/2 cups 2% milk
  • 1 pound potatoes (about 2 medium) peeled and chopped
  • 1-1/2 cups water
  • 1 tablespoon reduced-sodium beef bouillon granules
  • 12 ounces process cheese (Velveeta) cubed (about 2-1/4 cups)
  • 3 bacon strips cooked and crumbled


  1. In a 6-qt. stockpot, cook beef, onion and pepper over medium heat 6-8 minutes or until beef is no longer pink and onion is tender, breaking up beef into crumbles; drain. Add garlic to beef mixture; cook 1 minute longer. Stir in flour until blended.

  2. Gradually stir in milk. Add potatoes, water and bouillon; bring to a boil. Reduce heat; simmer, covered, 15-20 minutes or until potatoes are tender.

  3. Add cheese; stir until melted. Sprinkle servings with bacon.

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I'm always looking for new soup/chowder recipes, so it was fun to add one to my growing collection.

Have you tried a new soup recipe lately?

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

A Focused Remembering and a Deeper Surrendering

Today marks the beginning of an annual time of remembering. Though we as followers of Jesus read His Words, and remember why He came, maybe we need to set aside a focused time to remember in deeper ways than before.

Maybe in the busyness of our lives, and in the caring for our everyday needs, we tend to forget. And just as Jesus came with a focused determination, setting His face towards the Cross - maybe we need to be reminded to purposefully set our faces towards Him. 

Maybe these 40 days and 7 Sundays leading up to Easter can be days of purposely remembering, intentionally setting our faces towards Him. Remembering the Cross, why He came, and responding in surrender, pursuing Him with everything that we are.

Jesus resolutely set His face towards the Cross.

How can I set my face towards Him,
pursuing Him as my first priority, 
my First Love, my ultimate goal?

Lord, help me to fix my gaze on You in deeper ways than before - 
Remembering why You came, why You went to the Cross ... 
And may I respond in deeper ways than before - 
Surrendering, and wholeheartedly following You.

- - - - - - - - - -

Last year during this season leading up to Easter, I read through the book Fifty Reasons Jesus Came to Die - click here. This year I am planning to go through "Jesus, Keep Me Near the Cross", the current reading plan (starting today) with She Reads Truth. (Also available on She Reads Truth App.) And there are others, one by Ann Voskamp - click here. Whatever we choose to use - immersing ourselves in His Words, focusing our hearts on Him, repenting anew, and surrendering.

How do you set your face towards Him this season?

Friday, February 13, 2015

One Heart: A Reflection of His Love

In the beginning ... a beautiful love story. The story of God who desired to add the finishing touch to His creation, and to create man, made in His own image. Made to have relationship, to live in close intimacy together with Him. Made to be fully capable of love, for God is Love.

"Then God said,
'Let us make human beings in our image,
to be like us.'"
(Genesis 1:26a)

And, though man was formed to have relationship with his Creator, God also desired for man to have deep intimate relationship with his own kind.

"It is not good for the man to be alone.
I will make a helper who is just right for him."
(Genesis 2:18)

So, out of the deep part of man, God formed a helper, a companion, who would be just right for him.

"While the man slept 
the Lord God took out one of the man's ribs
and closed up the opening.
Then the Lord God made a woman from the rib,
and He brought her to the man."
(Genesis 2:21-22)

And the first woman came to be ... taken from man, created to be the closest of all human relationships.

"'At last!' the man exclaimed.
'This one is bone from my bone,
and flesh from my flesh!
She will be called woman,
because she was taken from man.'"
(Genesis 2:23)

The two, man and woman, became united as one. Not a oneness created by their own efforts, but a oneness fashioned by their Creator.

"This explains why a man leaves his father and mother
and is joined to his wife,
and the two are united into one."
(Genesis 2:24)

And this is the story of love, the love between God and the humans that He created, and of the love He created between man and woman. 

The entrance of sin into the perfect garden brought real threats to this oneness of love between God and the humans He created, and also between the love of man and woman. But because God is love He set a plan in place to send His Son to redeem, and to rescue. To bring back love

As we look to the One who is Love, and as we pursue this deepest of all relationships with our Creator, we can be restored to what we were created for. Made in the image of God for love relationship ... with Him, and also together as husband and wife.

Thanking God this Valentines week for the gift of my husband - created in His image, created for love. Thanking Him for the priceless gift of a husband who seeks after his Creator, and who seeks to love me as he himself is loved by God. A relationship based on and held together by His grace and mercy, for we are nothing without Him. All a gift from God, created by Him, to reflect His Love.

- - - - -

I love the photo above, taken last week while my sweet hubby and I spent three wonderful, memorable days together on the Atlantic coast. Pulling away from the busyness of life, to rest, and to be refreshed by our Creator, and as husband and wife. One of my favorite photos from our time away together ... my husband, connecting deeply with God in prayer as a new day begins.

There are multiple topics that I write about, and I will be adding one more category to my growing list of topics. As time permits, and as ideas come to me, I hope to write occasionally on the topic of marriage. On the joy of being one heart as husband and wife, created to be a reflection of His Love.

Sunday, February 8, 2015

His Gifts, Beyond Measure

Such beautiful words to think on during this month of Love, and each day. 
Beautiful words to soak into our souls, and fill us up.
Read them slowly; read them often.
Rephrase them into a prayer of thanks to God.

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

All praise to God,
the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ,
who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing
in the heavenly realms
because we are united with Christ.

Even before He made the world
God loved us and chose us in Christ
to be holy and faultless in His eyes.

God decided in advance
to adopt us into His own family,
by bringing us to Himself through Jesus Christ.
This is what He wanted to do
and it gave Him great pleasure.

So we praise God for the glorious grace
He has poured out on us
who belong to His dear Son.

He is so rich in kindness and mercy
that He purchased our freedom
with the blood of His Son
and forgave our sins.

He has showered His kindness on us,
along with all wisdom and understanding.

(Ephesians 1:3-8 NLT)

- - - - - - - - - - - - -

Thanking God for His gifts of grace and mercy, kindness, wisdom, and ... every spiritual blessing. And for the rest and peace that He provides, refreshing us and filling us up. For the beauty of His creation as my hubby and I spend a few days of retreat on beautiful Amelia Island ... all a gift from Him, and from my brothers & sisters (in-law), as a thank-you for the care we have given our father in a difficult time during the past months.

And praying these words for you ...
that you will be filled up with His Love today.

Friday, February 6, 2015

Live Fully By Faith, in the Moment

With credit and thanks to Ann Voskamp

Life is so full; so full that sometimes we can miss it. 

Does this happen to you? That there is so much going on each day, each week ... that instead of living in the present, our minds and hearts are always jumping ahead to the future. Planning, wondering, worrying. About what is ahead. And somehow, we slip into a pattern of not really living. Of not really enjoying the present. 

There have been some big things going on in our lives, and there are some even bigger things just on the horizon. Big things like a kidney transplant for our granddaughter, with quite possibly one of our daughters being the donor of the kidney that our granddaughter needs. Such a big, and scary thing to give a kidney, and to receive a kidney. And I can be all caught up in the near-future, even wondering and planning about all the details of our part as care-givers to our family during the time of transplant.

Follow Me one step at a time.
That is all I require of you ...
Keep your mind on the present journey,
enjoying My Presence.
(Jesus Calling)

One step. at. a. time. That is all that we really can take, as we hold onto the hand of God. And as we are held by Him. Walking by faith, for we do not know what is ahead. But we do know who is with us.

For we walk by faith,
not by sight.
(II Cor. 5:7)

We only receive the grace, mercy, and strength that we need one. step. at. a. time. Our needs are met one need at a time. Strength is given one moment at a time. We experience His love in the present moment, for that is how we live. In the present. We don't live tomorrow today. We live in the present.

Lord, please teach me more - to live fully in the present. For the present is where I am. And the present is where You are. May I live fully alive. Today. Walking by faith, leaving tomorrow to You. Soaking up Your Love, today. Being a fragrance of Your Love, today.

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 NLT)

Praying these words for me, and for you.

Monday, February 2, 2015

A Month to Love, and to Be Loved

February ... the month of LOVE.

A month to give LOVE, and maybe it could be a month we let ourselves BE LOVED in new and deeper ways. Sometimes it's easier to give love then to rest in love. To just relax, to pause from our busy, hurried lives ... and to be loved deeply. 

Taking time for rest, for spiritual whitespace, for giving our hearts, souls, and minds time to breathe. Taking time to be loved deeply by our Creator. Taking time to just be ourselves, just as He created us. For we are a fragrance of His love, in our own unique ways, to those around us. And in order to love, we need to first be loved.

We love each other
because He loved us first.
(I John 4:19)

This month (and each month) - pausing, and soaking in the deep love of God ... and then spreading this love to others through the fragrance of our lives.

Taking time to soak up His Words, taking time to rest, and to be loved. And sometimes we need some new, fresh ideas - some encouragement to slow down, and to be loved. Click here to download some fresh ideas of savoring rest - a free download from Bonnie Gray, "Shots of Spiritual Whitespace".

* * * * * * *

I am in need of rest, and I need to pause and soak up His love in deeper ways during this month of love. These past three months have been overwhelmingly busy as we have cared for my 93 year-old father through a very traumatic time for him. And we will also be traveling in the near future to be a support and help to our family at the time of our granddaughter's kidney transplant. So thankful for some time to rest and soak up love as this month begins.

How about you?
Are you in need of an
extra measure of love this month?