Thursday, November 24, 2016

Happy Thanksgiving!

Thanksgiving Day ...

A day to remember,
with thanks, 
and to be reminded 
to make thanks 
a part of our everyday.

It is good to give thanks to the Lord,
to sing praises to the Most High.
It is good to proclaim
Your unfailing love in the morning,
Your faithfulness in the evening ...
(Psalm 92:1-2)

Wishing you a 
Happy Thanksgiving Day!

Thursday, November 17, 2016

Every Detail, Everything

Beautiful words for today
and for our every day ...

The Lord directs the steps of the godly.
He delights in every detail of their lives.
(Psalm 37:23)

Letting this sink into our hearts ...
He cares about e-v-e-r-y detail.

And these words ...

Don't worry about anything;
instead, pray about everything.
(Phil. 4:6)

He wants us to pray about

Grateful for these words ...
Needing to remind myself each day -

All through the day ...
Whatever my task at hand,
or whatever is on my mind -

Busy days, full of decisions ...
As wives, moms, grandmas,
and with jobs, and friends -

Joy-filled days, days with trials ...
In our homes, in our country,
always needing God's help -

Filled with cares and concerns,
Some big, some small,
and with e-v-e-r-y-t-h-i-n-g;
just pray.

Thank You, Lord ...
You delight in e-v-e-r-y detail.

* * * * * * *

Sharing my heart with a few extra thoughts ...

Is it easy to bring everything on our minds and in our hearts to God, to talk with Him about all things? Sometimes it is, and sometimes it is not.

Sometimes we are so heartbroken, we cannot even verbalize our thoughts into a prayer. I found myself in this situation last week ... so heartbroken over something, unable to hardly even function, think, or put my thoughts into words. It was at that time that I knew I needed extra help, and I contacted a few friends who would pray on my behalf. They did. And God heard my prayers through them. And I know that His Spirit within also brought the cries of my heart to God the Father on my behalf.

It is also in those times of heartbreak, or in times when I am in great need of strength or of understanding, that it is very helpful for me to write out my thoughts and my prayers, bringing all of it to Him, filling my journals with the cries of my heart. Spilling out and writing out the good and the sometimes ugly. It is in the process of bringing e-v-e-r-y-t-h-i-n-g to Him, all of my confused, or heartbroken thoughts - it is through the process of bringing them to Him that I experience His love, His presence, and His help. 

Maybe it is in the process 
of bringing everything to Him, 
that we find that He really does care 
about every detail of our lives. 
And in realizing that He cares, 
we find the comfort and the help 
that we so desperately need.

Thursday, November 3, 2016

Recipe Organization / Menus

Things have changed in recent years with my recipe organization. It has been a process, and over this past weekend, I took some more time to pretty much finish up the process of change.

The big change was switching over from collecting recipes on 3x5 cards, to collecting them on full-size paper (8 1/2 x 11 inch). I've been adding my recipes to Plan to Eat, an online resource where I store my recipes. From there, I can print them out, and also can freely copy and share them here on my blog, as well. 

But regardless of whether they are stored online or not, it is so much easier to have them printed out on full-size paper. I slip each recipe into a plastic sleeve, and store them in my various three-ring binders. 

I have one binder for my main dish and sides recipes ... and these are the label categories I use at the time:
Slow Cooker

And another binder for these categories of recipes:

And one more binder, with similar categories, for NEW recipes to try ... you can get a glimpse of this binder in the photo below. I like to print out recipes that look fun to try, and keep them in this notebook. I usually try to pick about one new recipe from this collection each week to prepare. Though I have many recipes collected in my two main notebooks, all favorites - I always love to try new recipes. It's what makes it fun for me to be in the kitchen and prepare meals ...

Each week I gather these notebooks and choose the recipes that I want to try to use during the coming week. (Occasionally I do several weeks at a time.) Sometimes it's a bit of a process, as I have collected so many recipes over 45 years of marriage! I took some time this past weekend to simplify my collection, removing those that I don't use anymore (even removing NEW recipes that I've collected and don't plan to use after all) ... and this should make it easier to plan menus in the future. 

In the photo above you see the recipes that I have pulled out of the various notebooks to try to use this week. I say "try" because I am very flexible with my menu plans for the week, and more often than not, change things around as the week goes on. 

Having my recipes easily accessible in my notebooks, and a menu plan made out for each week is a life-saver for me, and keeps me more consistently preparing nutritious meals. Maybe even more so in these empty nest years, when it is just too easy to grab food, or even pick up fast food more often than is good for us.

Tuesday, November 1, 2016

Welcome November

As far as blogging goes, I'm not sure what happened here last month - only one post the whole month! It was a month filled with family, Cru ministry/responsibilities, and many other things. A good month, but I just did not get to blogging ...

A sweet memory from October ...

My hubby and I had a lovely trip to Colorado in October - for a Cru regional conference in Colorado Springs, followed by a few days as a couple in beautiful Breckenridge. We loved it all - our time at the conference, listening to the speakers, and the connections we had with other staff fed our souls ... and the few days away as a couple was just we wished for! 

Sharing two of my digital scrapbook pages from our trip ...

And as always, a brand new month brings fresh opportunities to follow God each day and to focus on the people and responsibilities He has for us!

Sharing my heart at the beginning of November ...

For me and probably most of us, the beginning of November means a focus on preparing for special holiday times during these next two months. I love the holidays! And at the same time, I am very aware of my need to completely depend on God to accomplish all that needs to be done to prepare for family being home. This year, we anticipate having 24-25 family members here in our home for Family Christmas!! The preparations need to start early, as we all know as moms and grandmas. 

And I am very aware that I cannot do everything that I would love to do. And more importantly, I am very aware that the things of most importance - relationships and love between family - are gifts from God. 

So my main focus as I enter into the holiday season is to enter in with an attitude of prayer and dependence on God. He alone can do the things that we long for most of all. And I desire to choose present over perfect, being available to listen and love our family and friends - above trying to do everything perfectly. 

We need to keep our priorities right, even through the holidays - and this involves choosing carefully to focus on what is most important ...

But you can't have yes without no. Another way to say it: if you're not careful with your yeses, you start to say no to some very important things without even realizing it. In my rampant yes-yes-yes-ing, I said no, without intending to, to rest, to peace, to roundedness, to listening, to deep and slow connection ... (From Present Over Perfect, by Shauna Niequist) 

Just sharing a few things that are on my mind, things that I need to be reminded of, things that I need to keep before me at the start of this holiday season. And maybe you are the same?

Maybe I'll be able to keep in touch here a bit more this month - sharing ways that God encourages me during this busy season, also sharing some recipes, and quotes from a few good books I've read recently.