Thistles

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No matter how many thorns you may find in your day or your life, if your heart is open and you are willing to look, God always has something beautiful in the midst of them.

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Storms

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We are having a storm tonight. One where there is lightening, wind, and downpour of rain.
As I was observing how it was going, I began to think of correlations to life.
We watch out the window, sometimes almost holding our breath, wondering if the trees will just bend in the wind or if they will snap off or go down roots and all. As life throws storms at us, we sometimes watch those we love, at times almost holding our breath, wondering if they will be able to bend in the wind or if they will snap or just go down roots and all. Sometimes there isn’t much we can do, just like we can’t stop a tree from toppling.
I had to run out to the chicken house to shut the door. As I came out from the row of trees in the yard, the wind hit me with even more force. I thought maybe it was my imagination but on the way back I could tell when I came back in front of them. I had to think of those who are “buffers” for us at times in the storms. At times we have to face the wind full force, but so many times God graciously gives us those who stand beside us to pray for us when we don’t know what to pray. To give us reasons to laugh when we don’t know if there are any. To remind us that God is always good.
I came back in and had to change clothes because I couldn’t avoid getting wet. But we are safe inside a warm, dry house even if the storm is raging outside. How many references are there in the Bible about God being a shelter? We can hide under His wings, He is a Rock to name a few. As long as we abide in Him we can stay safe. At times we may not feel so warm and dry but so many times when I have chosen to turn my focus to God and not the storm, I feel the warmness even if the circumstances haven’t changed. God is a shelter in a time of storm.
I look ahead to when the storm is over. The grass, trees, flowers, garden all will flourish again as the sun comes out. Some of my flowers were getting a little dry before the storm but now they have had a good drink. 🙂 If we can weather the storms of life, we too will come out flourishing. We will be stronger. In spite of the things we don’t like about storms in our lives, there is no storm that can’t draw us closer to God and help us to grow if we allow it to. And even if we may not be the same afterwards, we can be better!

Letting Go…

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I’ve lost track of how many years she’s been in my life. Probably at least 16. At first we weren’t really that closely involved. I heard the stories about her and that was about it.
But years went on and our paths were destined to cross much more closely. She came to the church my husband is pastor at. We became friends. Not the kind of friends that you would call bosom buddies. She was reaching out for someone to love and accept her. Over the years I gave her sewing lessons, picked her up from the psych ward, took her to Dr. appts, gave her sleeping pills, cleaned her apartment, took her goodies, gave her hugs, answered a million phone calls and sometimes let it ring when she forgot to have boundaries…..
She tried to commit suicide several times and always it failed. Until now.
Now she’s gone. She will never call me five times in a row again. She will never write a letter that I have to try to decipher some of it because her writing isn’t the best. I will never get the chance to give her another hug and say “I love you”. I will never have to feel frustrated at how there don’t seem to be any answers for her. I don’t want to accept that she’s really gone. I keep waiting for her to call me again and say “will you pray for me?”. I have tears under the surface threatening to spill over all the time.
I have so many questions…Why did God let her succeed this time in taking her life? I have so many regrets….why didn’t I invite her over for lunch or at least say “I would miss you” when she talked to me about suicide?
How do I let go of what feels like something that wasn’t over yet?

Baked Pork Chops

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I hesitated to try this recipe because my husband likes his pork chops just right. As in falling off the bone and flavored good. Which I usually accomplish by putting them in the crock pot for several hours. That never fails to produce juicy chops.
But, I am cleaning house and one of the things I have lots of are recipes. Not only cookbooks but recipes clipped from magazines and printed off from the Internet. So I needed to know if this was a “keep” recipe or a “throw” recipe!
Well, lets just say that it was a huge success! 🙂 I breathed a sigh of relief because I was afraid up to the first bite they took that I may have spoiled my hubby’s chop supper!
So if you’re looking for a simple but delicious supper try this! 🙂
I got the recipe off of allrecipes.com but changed a few ingredients because I just do that when sugar and things are involved. 🙂

Baked Pork Chops
1 tablespoon liquid aminos
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
1 teaspoon lemon juice
2 tablespoons molasses
2 tablespoons ketchup
6 pork chops

Preheat oven to 350*.
In a bowl, thoroughly blend liquid ingredients.
Place pork chops in a baking dish. (I used a cake pan) Spread with 1/2 of the sauce.
Bake chops 30 minutes, uncovered. Turn, and spread with remaining sauce. Continue baking 30 minutes or until internal temperature has reached 145*.
Serve with a smile! 🙂

I think I had 10 chops so I doubled the sauce. I also sprinkled salt over the chops before baking since we do not like unsalted meat!
My son got the barbeque sauce all ready to dump on these but after one bite, he put the sauce away and declared that they were so good they didn’t need any sauce! A very great compliment indeed! 🙂
I served this with creamed cabbage and received many thanks for the good meal.

Rejoice!

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Did you ever think about it that in the New Testament there are not many imperative sentences where you is only implied and the first word is a verb?
But there is one place where the same verb is used 4 times. What do you suppose is so important that we are commanded 4 times to do it? Is it to “Work for the Lord.”? Maybe “Obey the Lord.”? Nope. It’s “Rejoice!” Rejoice in the Lord, Rejoice evermore.
Sometimes we think we have it all figured out. We know what to do to please the Lord. We are busy, we are faithful, we are right. And then God pulls us up short with “Rejoice!”.
Wait, what? Are you trying to tell me that to rejoice is more important than working or obeying?? We should be yielding ourselves to God in obedience. But most important and before all else, we should be rejoicing in Jesus! We are so privileged as children of God!
And just maybe if we were a rejoicing people, others would be more attracted to our God. Maybe we wouldn’t have doubts about where we are at or what we are doing. Maybe life would seem worth living afterall.
And as children of our Heavenly Father, we do have the most reason to rejoice and to live life to the fullest!
Rejoice this week, not because of your circumstances but because of who Your Saviour and Father are!

A few good books..

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I’ve been reading some really good books recently and thought I would share them. 🙂
First off, Brighty of Grand Canyon!
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I read this one to the children when we were studying Arizona in school. I had read it several times before, myself. Was sure the kids would like it and I was right! The author is Marguerite Henry, who also wrote misty And Stormy, more of my favorite books. The story is of a wild little burro who helps people discover the Grand Canyon. Everyone in our family enjoyed it, from the nine-year-old on up to my husband. 🙂 I will say that if you don’t like violence of any kind you may want to preread before reading to your children. There is some of that, tho to me it is not written in a way that is offensive. I know everyone has different standards tho.

Next I have Tied With Heartstrings
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This book challenged and blessed me. Made me cry and encouraged me to keep on. It was of interest to me because I have an adopted brother and a sister with foster kids. But I also felt challenged and encouraged with my own biological kids who aren’t always the perfect kids every mother dreams of. I think it is a good read for anyone and is especially good if you have people in your life who are reaching out to troubled children, to know how to support and bless them.

Last but not least is Love and Respect in the Family
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I think I could say if you have to choose just one parenting book, choose this one. It is so good!! It has challenged me in so many ways and changed how I view the whole parenting thing. If you have children or hope to have children, get this book. It is one that will be in my continuous read cycle because I want to keep reminding myself of the principles in it.
There you go, while you still have some winter left, grab a good book to read! 🙂

Just what I need

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Life has been a little crazy. The month of November was focus on getting ready for a wedding. The kind of focus where Mom is doing the “unnormal” things and the girls did the cooking and cleaning. Then the last 2 weeks of November were filled with company (lots of it, like 25 people sleeping here in one night) and then being company as we went up North to be with my family for Thanksgiving.
So I was looking forward to coming home and getting back into a routine. Knowing that Christmas is coming yet and who knows what will happen but at least we can have school and I can be in the kitchen again.
This is how my week actually went.. Monday Cory complained of being sore and had a headache. A little more than he normally would. But we had had a not so normal 2 weeks of late nights and playing with cousins so I figured he was just sore from that. Tuesday morning, he called me from his bed asking for help to get up. He could walk once I got him up but it was like he couldn’t bend in the middle or make his legs slide across the bed. And that is pretty much how he still was last night (he is still sleeping this morning, which makes me hopeful he is feeling better since he didn’t sleep so well this week!). It wrenches my heart to watch my active, nothing slows him down little boy groaning when he goes to lie down or working painfully to sit up. He works hard to lift his cup to get a drink.
I haven’t gotten much done this week except administer “meds” (my tinctures and such), rub him with oils, and read to him or hold him.
I have never had to deal with anything like this before. I feel so lost and ineffective. Add to that all the emotional stresses in my life right now, most of which I know are not going to go away anytime soon and I was feeling like crying most of the week! I don’t know how many times I just wanted to crawl away to my bed and cry my heart out.
One night in family devotions we read a portion of I Peter chapter one. I was reading some of the other verses to myself when I felt God giving me just what I needed! Here is what I read,
Wherein ye greatly rejoice, though now for a season, if need be, ye are in heaviness through manifold temptations”
Wow, I certainly could identify with being in heaviness (another translation says with “various trials” not temptations)! Here it’s saying it’s just for a season and there is rejoicing! What am I rejoicing in through these trials I wondered. So I read the previous verses and here is what they say,
Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, which according to his abundant mercy hath begotten us again unto a lively hope by the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, to an inheritance incorruptible, and undefiled, and that fadeth not away, reserved in heaven for you, who are kept by the power of God through faith unto salvation ready to be revealed in the last time.
There is so much to rejoice in in these verses! What really impressed me as I read them was that I can always rejoice in the salvation that is mine through Jesus Christ. No matter how much my heart is crying, no matter how crazy my life is, no matter how much this season looks like it will never end, I always have something to rejoice in. That mercy, that hope, that power is mine! I can and I will, Rejoice! All praise and honor and glory to Jesus for giving me just what I need!

(I did take him to the chiropracter and then to a Dr.. The Dr. sent me to the ER, which I could do a little rant about, and they did a bunch of tests. So far everything has come back negative, still waiting to hear on some of them. Based on my own research and what the ER Dr. communicated to me, I think it is either Lyme or a virus. I’m praying he is soon healed with no lasting effects! And many thanks to all those who have been praying with me! I am blessed to be in the Family of God!!)