Wednesday, August 30, 2017

Digital Scrapbooking: August 2017

After our two weeks in Colorado the last half of July, we were home the whole month of August. It has been a busy month with Cru starting up again for another school year ... staff meetings, meeting with our volunteers, and starting up student meetings, as well!

And also, it has been a month of enjoying the beautiful flowers in our patio planters, and also in our flower garden spots. The weather has been really great for August, too, and we have loved spending time on our patio, whether for lunch, supper, or for quiet devo times ... and also, for hosting a few special events.

This digital scrapbook page captures some of the beauty of our flowers - so very thankful for summer days, and for the beauty of God's creation ...  

Our veggie garden has been thriving, too. After a slow start in the spring, as we planted a bit later than usual, and also had trouble with the rabbits eating our young plants, it has been at its peak in August! We have been enjoying tomatoes, green beans, green peppers, cucumbers, and potatoes this month!

I love the beauty of our veggie garden almost as much as the produce! 

And one more digital scrapbook page that I've created this month ... capturing more of the beauty of our flowers, and also of two of our sweet grandkids when they were here overnight August 19-20.

I have a few more pages to complete from this month. So thankful for photos to capture memories ...

- - - - - - - - - -

Note: Most of the page templates and digital products that I use are purchased from Digital Project Life. About five years 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 five 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.

Friday, August 25, 2017

Quieting My Heart: No Need to Compare

Do you do as I often do,
and find yourself comparing?
Maybe even more so
in this world of online,
where everyone puts
their best out there
for all to see?

But if we keep our sights
on the important, and the eternal -
there is absolutely no room
for comparing, for competing.

“We are only God’s servants …
each of us did the work
the Lord gave us.”
(I Cor. 3:5)

How can we even dare 
to think that it is up to us -
our gifts, our talents,
that make things happen,
that makes the real difference?

Paul tells us,
“I planted the seed in your hearts,
and Apollos watered it,
but it was God
who made it grow.
It is not important
who does the planting
or who does the watering.
What’s important is that 
God makes the seed grow.”
(I Cor. 3:6-7)

Wednesday, August 23, 2017

Dressed-Up Bacon Burgers

How many different ways are there to
prepare hamburgers?
Probably more than we can count!

My very favorite is this recipe -
Dressed-Up Bacon Burgers!

Instead of serving with ketchup or mustard,
it's served with it's own special sauce -
a mix of mayonnaise, ketchup, pickle relish, 
a bit of sugar, and dried minced onion.

And together with a slice of bacon,
lettuce, and a some cheddar cheese -
it's a perfect taste of summer!

Click on the "source" link below the
little photo to print ...


Dressed-Up Bacon Burgers

Course: Main Grill
Prep Time: 15 min
Cook Time: 10 min
Total Time: 25 min
Yield: 8 servings
  • 34 cup mayonnaise
  • 3 tablespoons sweet pickle relish
  • 3 tablespoons ketchup
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 1 tablespoon dried minced onion
  • 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 12 teaspoon salt
  • 14 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 14 teaspoon pepper
  • 2 pounds ground beef
  • 8 Jones Dairy Farm Dry-Aged Bacon strips
  • 8 slices cheddar cheese
  • 8 hamburger buns split and toasted
  • Lettuce leaves
  1. Directions In a small bowl, whisk the mayonnaise, pickle relish, ketchup, sugar and onion until well blended. Cover and refrigerate.
  2. In a large bowl, combine the Worcestershire sauce, salt, garlic powder and pepper. Crumble beef over mixture; mix well. Shape into eight patties.
  3. Place bacon on a piece of heavy-duty foil on one side of the grill. Place the patties on the other side of the grill. Grill, covered, over medium-hot heat for 5-7 minutes on each side or until a thermometer inserted in burger reads 160° and juices run clear. Cook bacon until crisp; drain on paper towels. Place a cheese slice on each burger; cover and grill until cheese is melted.
  4. Layer bottom half of each bun with the lettuce, burger, bacon and mayonnaise mixture. Replace bun tops.
  5. Yield: 8 servings.
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NOTE: Instead of cooking the bacon on the grill, I use the pre-cooked bacon strips, and just heat them up in the microwave before assembling the hamburgers.

Monday, August 21, 2017

Quieting My Heart: Beauty that Draws Us

It’s just a part of us,
a magnet that draws us
to beauty -
it fills us, inspires us,
and brings a calm,
a sense of peace
in the deepest parts
of our souls.

The beauty of a rose,
the shimmering lake,
the majestic mountains,
the ocean waves
and the sandy beaches.

There is no end,
and we travel far,
and we look close
in our own backyards,
for beauty.

“O Lord, our Lord,
Your majestic name fills the earth!
Your glory is higher than the heavens.”
(Psalm 8:1)

“How precious are My children
who are awed by nature’s beauty;
this opens them up 
to My holy Presence.”

(Jesus Calling)

(Photo: beautiful Mount St. Helens on our Pacific Coast Trip 2016)

Friday, August 18, 2017

Quieting My Heart: My Soul Thirsts for You

“As the deer pants for streams of water,
so my soul pants for You, O God.
My soul thirsts for the living God.”
(Psalm 42:1-2a)

Do you experience this thirst,
this deep longing,
this craving for something more?

Deer, by their very nature,
are created to thirst for water,
for their daily sustenance.

And we, created, by our Maker,
long for close connection with Him,
the living God.

It’s a daily longing,
for our thirst is not quenched 
with one drink;
a lifetime of drawing close
to drink from His love, His mercies.

“My soul thirsts for You,
my whole body longs for You
in this parched and weary land
where there is no water.”
(Psalm 63:1)

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Summertime Meals and Two New Grilling Recipes

We've had some beautiful summer days recently -
not too hot, just about perfect ...
making our patio our favorite place -

A place to relax at the end of a work day,
and the place we prefer to enjoy our meal
together - just the two of us.

Grilled meals are the best these days
and in recent weeks, I've come across
two new recipes to add to my collection ...

Grilled Asparagus and New Potatoes,
and also Bacon-Wrapped Tilapia,
both using our grilling basket.

Grilled Asparagus and New Potatoes

Bacon Wrapped Tilapia

Sharing these two recipes, 
adding them to my "Family Recipes" 
collection here on my blog ...

Click on the "source" link below the
little photos to print ...


Grilled Asparagus and New Potatoes

Course: Side Grill
Prep Time: 30 min
Total Time: 30 min
Yield: 1 Serving
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 12 teaspoon salt
  • 12 teaspoon lemon-pepper seasoning
  • 6 small red potatoes (about 3/4 lb) unpeeled, quartered
  • 1 lb fresh asparagus spears trimmed
  1. Heat gas or charcoal grill. In large shallow bowl, mix 1 tablespoon of the oil, 1/4 teaspoon of the salt and 1/4 teaspoon of the lemon-pepper seasoning. Add potatoes; toss to coat. Place in grill basket.
  2. Place grill basket on grill over medium heat. Cook 15 minutes, shaking grill basket occasionally to turn and mix potatoes.
  3. Meanwhile, place asparagus spears in same shallow bowl. Add remaining tablespoon oil, remaining 1/4 teaspoon salt and remaining 1/4 teaspoon lemon-pepper seasoning; toss to coat.
  4. Add asparagus to potatoes in grill basket. Cook about 10 minutes longer or until potatoes and asparagus are tender, shaking basket occasionally to turn and mix vegetables.
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Bacon-Wrapped Tilapia

Course: Main Grill
Prep Time: 30 min
Cook Time: 27 min
Total Time: 30 min
Yield: 4
  • 8 small new potatoes
  • 8 sprigs fresh thyme
  • 8 slices Hy-Vee sweet smoked bacon
  • 4 (6 oz each) tilapia fillets
  • 2 tsp Hy-Vee canola oil
  • 1 tsp onion salt
  • 12 tsp Hy-Vee paprika
  • 14 tsp Hy-Vee black pepper
  1. Spray grill rack and grilling basket with nonstick cooking spray. Heat grill to medium-high.
  2. Bring a pot of water to boiling. Add potatoes and cook 5 to 7 minutes or until they can be pierced with a knife, but not quite tender. Drain and pat dry.
  3. Place 2 sprigs thyme on each fillet. Wrap each fillet with 2 slices of bacon, covering as much fish as possible.
  4. In a medium bowl, combine oil, onion salt, paprika and black pepper; add potatoes and toss gently to coat.
  5. Arrange fish and potatoes in prepared grilling basket. Grill 8 to 10 minutes or until bacon is browned. Flip basket over and grill an additional 8 to 10 minutes or until bacon is crisp and potatoes are fork-tender.
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Friday, August 11, 2017

Quieting My Heart: God with Us

From the beginning,
an amazing plan, 
an overwhelming desire;
for God - to be 
“with us”.

How can we comprehend,
how can we even imagine;
our Creator, our Savior,
desiring to be “with us”.

All through the ages,
in the Old Testament days; 
in the Garden, with the Tabernacle,
with the cloud and the fire,
He came close, so close.

And then with Jesus coming,
the greatest Gift of all ...
Immanuel - God with us.

And as we fix our gaze on Him,
surrendering our hearts, our lives,
accepting His sacrifice -
He makes His home in us,
close, within, “with us”.

“Immanuel our God is with us
And if God is with us, 
who could stand against us
Our God is with us
(Michael Card)

My loving Father and Lord -
I cannot fathom, 
I cannot even comprehend
this most precious of all gifts -
“God with us”.

(Photo: our apple tree blossoms 2011)

Monday, August 7, 2017

Quieting My Heart: Peace is a Person

I always love a calm life, 
even a routine is welcome,
free from stress and worry.

But the opposite is often reality,
for life is full of the unexpected,
filled with storms that suddenly blow in.

I've experienced these storms:
an accident that almost took 
my dear husband's life,
leukemia, a bone marrow transplant
for a sweet daughter,
the pain of watching children
make wrong choices, turn away
for seasons, and some for years,
a stroke, emergency appendectomy,
and even a kidney transplant
for a precious granddaughter.

And I still struggle, as the disciples did,
to trust when the storms come up.
But I know and I am reminded that
Peace is a Person -
and Peace will get into the boat
together with us - always,
but especially when the storm 
is threatening full force.

"You will keep in perfect peace
all who trust You,
all whose thoughts
are fixed on You."
(Isaiah 26:3)

"The only certainty we can hold onto
is the Person who will never leave us:
(Bonnie Gray)

- - - - - - - - - -

Added note: It is fitting that I am posting these words on this day ... it was exactly 20 years ago today that our daughter had her bone marrow transplant. And also, the day when another daughter sacrificially and willingly gave of her own bone marrow for her older sister. How we praise and thank God for His Presence and His Peace during those scary and difficult days, and for the precious gift He has given us of the healing that He brought!

Friday, August 4, 2017

Quieting My Heart: My Daily Ambition

What is my ambition
each day? Today?
Is it to accomplish, to perform?
To strive for perfection
in all that I do?

Do I first of all focus
on my tasks?
Do I look for outcomes,
always wanting to
be successful in what I do?

The end result of 
being driven to perfection,
can leave us empty,
worn out, and depleted.

“I don’t see Jesus calling me
to excellence.
I do see Him calling me
to Himself.”
(Emily Freeman)

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

Lord, may my highest goal
each day, today,
be to lean into You -
Your mercies, Your grace;
may my daily ambition be 
to be in need of You.

Tuesday, August 1, 2017

Quieting My Heart: A Call to Pray

How many people do you know
who need Jesus? 
Who need His Love, His Peace?

Are some close in your families,
so very close to you,
as is the case for me -
and are some friends or neighbors?
And others, strangers
whom you have never even met,
but still, they are on your heart?

They are filling our thoughts and minds
for a purpose …
so that we can pray for them,
for no one can understand 
the things of true Wisdom and Life
without His Spirit to open their eyes.

“ … no one can know God’s thoughts
except God’s own Spirit …
It all sounds foolish to them
and they can’t understand it,
for only those who are spiritual 
can understand what the Spirit means.”
(from I Cor. 2:11, 14)

At the start of this new month …
a fresh call on my heart,
to pray -
to ask God to pour out 
His Spirit of understanding,
on those we love,
on those we are burdened for -
those who are close by, 
and those who are around the world.

- - - - - - -

(It is fitting for me to receive this fresh call to pray this week - it would have been my mother’s 98th birthday, today - she was a prayer warrior, and is still, in heaven. She told me about ten years ago, on a hospital bed, after a stroke - “I can’t do very much else, but I can still pray.”)

(Photo taken last month, while visiting a beautiful flower garden in Fort Collins, CO)