Monday, December 18, 2017

Quieting My Heart: The Most Treasured Gifts

"In the moment
of realizing your limitations,
your shortcomings,
your inescapable sins,
all that you aren't -
in that moment
of surrendered lack,
you're given the gift
you'd receive no other way:
the gracious hand
of an unlimited God."
(Ann Voskamp)

A sacred place
of surrender -
over and over again,
on these busy days
of Christmas,
and everyday ...
today, this day -
realizing my need,
and receiving
the gift of Him ...
unlimited grace,
unending love.

The most
treasured gifts
of all.

Wednesday, December 13, 2017

Chocolate Chip Cranberry Scones

Last week I spent some time in the kitchen baking some breakfast items for when our family will be home for Christmas! It's important for me to plan ahead, and put as much as I can in the freezer for the days ahead. 

I tried out this new recipe of Chocolate Chip Cranberry Scones, and also made a recipe that I found a few years ago ... Pumpkin Spice Scones. I love scones, and they are easy to make, and also freeze well. 

Scones are also great to serve for just one or two ... and having them in the freezer works well as you can just pull them out one at a time, and heat up in the microwave. 

Click on the "Source" link under the photo (below), to print recipe ...

Chocolate Chip-Cranberry Scones

Course: Breakfast
Prep Time: 20 min
Cook Time: 10 min
Total Time: 30 min
Yield: 12 servings
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 3 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon grated orange peel
  • 12 teaspoon salt
  • 12 teaspoon baking soda
  • 14 cup cold butter
  • 1 cup plain yogurt
  • 1 large egg yolk
  • 12 cup dried cranberries
  • 12 cup semisweet chocolate chips
  1. Directions Preheat oven to 400°. In a large bowl, whisk the first six ingredients. Cut in butter until mixture resembles coarse crumbs. In another bowl, whisk yogurt and egg yolk; stir into crumb mixture just until moistened. Stir in cranberries and chocolate chips.
  2. Turn onto a floured surface; knead gently 10 times. Pat dough into an 8-in. circle. Cut into 12 wedges. Place wedges on a baking sheet coated with cooking spray. Bake 10-12 minutes or until golden brown. Serve warm.
  3. Freeze option: Freeze cooled scones in resealable plastic freezer bags. To use, thaw at room temperature or, if desired, microwave each scone on high for 20-30 seconds or until heated through.
  4. Yield: 1 dozen.
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Tuesday, December 12, 2017

Quieting My Heart: The Most Important Thing

in the midst of these
full and wonderful days
of Christmas,
our most productive thing
is to pause, 
and to be still.

For in pausing -⠀
letting our souls catch up⠀
and be refreshed -⠀
we find what ⠀
we all long for.⠀
And in our pausing,⠀
our eyes are opened⠀
to the beauty⠀
and the peace that⠀
He came to give us.⠀
“For it is in⠀
filling up with Your love⠀
in times of stillness⠀
that my capacity⠀
to give love away⠀
(Shelly Miller)⠀
Filled up, to give away -⠀
the gift of His Presence,⠀
enabling us to be ⠀
a gift to others.⠀

(free photo from pixabay)

Wednesday, December 6, 2017

Cranberry Gelatin Salad

This recipe has been in my collection for quite a few years, but I have never posted it here. Often my days are so full around the holidays, that I don't have the time to post some of my favorites.

I've used this jello salad for both Thanksgiving, and also Christmas. This year I made it for Thanksgiving, and I was reminded how easy and good it is. Sharing it here for my own records, and also in case, you are looking for a recipe like this to use for Christmas!

Click on the "Source" link under the photo (below) to print recipe.

Cranberry Gelatin Salad

Course: Salads
Prep Time: 10 min
Total Time: 10 min
  • 1 6 oz. pkg. cherry gelatin
  • 1-12 cups boiling water
  • 1 20 oz can crushed pineapple undrained
  • 1 16 oz. can whole-berry cranberry sauce
  • 1-12 cups seedless red grapes halved
  • 14 cup pecans chopped
  1. In a large bowl, dissolve gelatin in water. Stir in pineapple and cranberry sauce.
  2. Refrigerate for 30 minutes.
  3. Stir in grapes and pecans, and pour into a 2-qt. serving bowl.
  4. Refrigerate until firm.
  5. Yield: 8-10 servings.
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Monday, December 4, 2017

Welcoming December: Christmas Peace

It's the most wonderful time of the year ... I love this season! There are so very many, many things I love about this season. And as a wife, mom, grama, and friend, my heart is full and overflowing throughout this season.

But, as is also true for most everyone else, this season can also become stressful at times for me. This stress hit me quite unexpectedly the first day of November this year, as I realized all the many things that I needed to do to prepare for Christmas. This undercurrent of stress stuck with me for a few days ... and then God, in His mercy, lifted my heart! 

Can I share my heart, and offer some thoughts, some perspective? 
Just maybe this will be encouraging to you, as well?

In the midst of the busy days, and the full calendars, and so many things to do during this Christmas season ... we can have P-E-A-C-E. And also HOPE, LOVE, and JOY! All traditional themes of Advent! 

The one of these that has calmed my heart as I prepare for this beautiful and wonderful season ... is P-E-A-C-E.

True PEACE ... is the presence of Jesus. 

Is there really any other real, lasting peace? This peace can fill our hearts and our minds, even in busy times - and also as we live in this world of unrest.

But how do we experience this Peace daily?

This is the perspective I needed, and the reminder that God flooded my heart with the beginning of November. It's really quite simple. So simple that we can miss it. And it's really quite familiar to us who follow Jesus ... but maybe we need to be reminded. Often. Daily. Each moment. Today.

Read it slowly, thoughtfully, even as a prayer ...

Don't worry about anything;
instead, pray about everything.
Tell God what you need,
and thank Him for all He has done.

Then you will experience God's peace,
which exceeds anything we can understand.
His peace will guard your hearts and minds
as you live in Christ Jesus.
(Philippians 4:6-7)

Let me share the following words from my journal, dated near the beginning of November as I recorded what God, in His love, impressed on my heart ...

"My dear daughter, I know you have so many things on your mind, so many things to do and care for as the holidays come. Not only with holiday prep, but with Cru, helping Gary, and connections you desire to have with family and friends. But I want you to bring everything to Me, each day. Let each day be about 'you and Me'. Not about your tasks. But about walking so close to Me, and letting Me care for your needs."

Pray about everything = talk with Him about everything!

As we talk with Him about everything, even the very smallest and seemingly insignificant things (what to do next on a busy day, which gift to purchase, how we can encourage someone, etc.) ... we invite Him into our days and our moments. And His Presence brings peace, for He is P-E-A-C-E.

And now, at the beginning of December ...

I'm thanking Him for His many gifts! Most of all, for His Presence - peace, hope, love, and joy ... the best of gifts! And also for the unexpected blessings of having my Christmas gift shopping nearly completed now, for our big Cru end-of-year mailing all ready to mail today, for many sweet connections with family and friends these past weeks, and for strength in the multitude of daily tasks and responsibilities. 

And I pray the same for you ... that as we talk with Him about everything, we will experience His Presence, and His Peace throughout this Christmas season!

Now may the Lord of Peace Himself
give you His peace
at all times and in every situation.
The Lord be with you all.
(II Thessalonians 3:16)

(A little note ... in the midst of all the daily activity of this month, much of my focus will also be on food prep for our Family Christmas - with our dearly-loved family home for Christmas - 24 of us here in all!. As I have the time, I will be posting recipes here during the month, adding to my online collection of "Family Recipes". All the holiday baking/cooking is a fun thing for me to do, and posting the recipes here gives me a lot of joy, and enables me to share the recipes with family and friends.)

(Photo: free photo from Pixabay)

Thursday, November 23, 2017

Quieting My Heart: Give Thanks

“Give thanks
to Him alone
who does mighty miracles.
His faithful love
endures forever.”
(Psalm 136:4)

A day does not hold
enough moments
to look back
and to look around
at all the gifts of love
and all the miracles
that God showers
on His children -
on you, and on me.

So each day of the year
can be a counting,
and a treasuring
of His gifts and miracles.

Each day can be 
filled with thanks-giving ...
recorded in our journals,
spoken to Him as we
live, work, and play -
and shared through
our words and our joy
to those around us.

There is no end 
to our thanks-giving,
for we will have
a forever eternity
to give our thanks … 
His Greatest 
Gift of Love.

(free photo from pixabay)

Monday, November 20, 2017

Quieting My Heart: Thanksgiving Week

at the start of
Thanksgiving week
and all the year through ...

This is true -
“you were created
on purpose, and
for a purpose.”
(Ruth Chou Simons, in Gracelaced)

There’s only one of me
and only one of you -
created by God,
to be loved deeply,
to love Him completely,
and to reflect His love,
for His great purposes.

“For everything
comes from Him
and exists for His power
and is intended for His glory.
All glory to Him forever.”
(Romans 11:36)

May we beautifully
and completely,
rest in His love
and live from His love -
this week of Thanksgiving
and each day of the year.

(free photo from pixabay)

Friday, November 17, 2017

Quieting My Heart: The Key to Loving

We hear it often,
and we know it in our hearts -
but exactly what does it mean?

Sometimes it comes easy,
and other times, 
it comes harder, and we grow weary;
for loving others and
sacrificing for others
can leave us worn down, used up,
completely undone.

But if we pause, catch our breath,
rest, and listen …
Just maybe
we will find that our focus
has so easily become distorted.

Do we focus on the loving,
or do we focus first of all,
above all else,
on being loved?

“And continue to walk
surrendered to the
extravagant love of Christ …”
(Ephesians 5:2a The Passion)

Extravagant love for us -
offered on the Cross;
unending, faithful, present love,
today, this moment, now -
always with us, close.

How can we help
but let this love overflow
through our words,
our actions?

“Live a life filled with love,
following the example of Christ.
He loved us, and offered Himself
as a sacrifice for us,
a pleasing aroma to God.”
(Ephesians 5:2 NLT)

(Photo from Colorado 2015)

Wednesday, November 8, 2017

Quieting My Heart: In the Unseen

What is
most important today?
The things that we see,
or the things that are hidden.

“Martha, my beloved Martha.
Why are you upset and troubled,
pulled away by all
these many distractions?
Are they really that important?
Mary has discovered the
one thing most important
by choosing to sit
at My feet.”
(Luke 10: 41-42 The Passion)

“Squandering time with God 
in the hidden place 
was turning me into one
who would do anything
to bring Him glory
on the earth.”
(Sara Hagerty)

In the hustle and busy
of this month,
in this coming holiday season -
may I freely offer up
precious time to
nurture my soul and heart
in the quiet, in His presence,
in the unseen.

“We live for what is
right in front of us,
while God is ever so gently
calling us to the unseen.”
(Sara Hagerty)

Tuesday, October 31, 2017

Digital Scrapbooking: October 2017

My monthly digital scrapbook post is going up at the last minute, for these pages are just freshly done! It's been a full month, filled with two trips, another busy season of Cru work, some special family times, and sweet times with friends.

These four pages that I was able to finally finish up earlier tonight capture memories from a trip that we took at the beginning of October. Our little weekend getaway to Branson, MO, was just what we needed and wished for after the two very full months of starting up Cru again for another school year.

- - - - - - -

Note: Most of the page templates and digital products that I use are purchased from Digital Project Life. About six years ago I switched from paper scrapbooking, and took some online lessons from Digital Scrapper to learn how to digital scrapbook using Photoshop Elements. (You can also click here for some great tutorials on the Digital Project Life website - maybe a quicker way to learn than the site that I used six years ago.) Also, besides being able to share my completed pages online, I also print them out at home in 8x8 inch size to fit in the albums that I purchase from Michael's.

Thursday, October 26, 2017

Quieting My Heart: Our Most Essential Work

What is it in our lives,
in our daily work,
in the things that we give
our time and our best efforts to ...
what is of most significance?

Surely there is a long list
of what we focus on,
and spend our best time on.
Things that we consider
essential, important.

And along with my list of things,
is prayer, talking with God.
For it is of great importance,
and all I do needs to be
covered in prayer. 
Of course.

But what if the praying - 
the bringing of my daily tasks,
my deepest longings,
my highest goals and desires ...
what if the talking with Him
about everything -
what if this is my most critical work?

What if entering into His heart
for the world, for those I love,
and all He longs to do,
becomes my highest goal?

"Our Lord put all the emphasis on prayer,
and He made prayer
not preparation for the work,
not a sentiment nor a devotion,
but the work."
(Oswald Chambers)

Lord, if we are looking for the significant,
may we keep our best efforts for the best work.
And then we will see You -
"through Your mighty power at work within us,
accomplish infinitely more than 
we might ask or think."
(Ephesians 4:20)

Thursday, October 19, 2017

Quieting My Heart: The Work Has Been Done

The work has already been done;
the hard work of prayer
has already been accomplished 
on the Cross where Jesus
sacrificed His life, for us.

And because of what He did,
of all that He went through,
our prayers - In His Name -
reach the Father,
and are heard by Him.

Who am I to hesitate
and to hold back,
to even neglect and refrain
from asking, and from
sharing my deepest
requests and needs
with the Father.

“I tell you the truth,
you will ask the Father directly
and He will grant your request
because you use My Name …
Ask, using My Name,
and you will receive, and you
will have abundant joy.”
(John 16:23b-24)

How can we even grasp
this greatest privilege
that we have.
And how can we thank You
for the hard work of 
Your sacrifice for us, 
and for the unbelievable
privilege of asking.

(Photo: our Autumn Blaze maple tree, fall 2016)