Tuesday, June 28, 2011

If Jesus Said It


I was reading my Nancy Campbell "100 Days Of Blessing" devotional this morning and she shared the words of what, I think, is an old song or poem one, but I loved the words and thought I'd share them here. They say...

"If Jesus said it, I'll believe it,
I'll believe it till I die!
It is written in the Bible,
His Word can never lie!
Though the mountains be removed
And cast into the sea,
If Jesus said it, I'll believe it,
I'll believe eternally!"



Monday, June 27, 2011

How Can I Know For Sure That I'm Truly Saved?


We've often been asked, "How can I know for sure that I'm truly saved?" Did you know that the Bible gives us the answer in very clear and specific terms? 

1 John 3:14-24 says...

"We know that we have passed from death unto life, because we love the brethren. He that loveth not his brother abideth in death. Whosoever hateth his brother is a murderer: and ye know that no murderer hath eternal life abiding in him. Hereby perceive we the love of God, because he laid down his life for us: and we ought to lay down our lives for the brethren. But whoso hath this world's good, and seeth his brother hath need, and shutteth up his bowels of compassion from him, how dwelleth the love God in him? My little children, let us not love in word, neither in tongue; but in deed and in truth. And hereby we know that we are of the truth, and shall assure our hearts before him. For if our heart condemn us, God is greater than our heart, and knoweth all things. Beloved, if our heart condemn us not, then have we confidence towards God. And whatsoever we ask, we receive of him, because we keep his commandments, and we do those things that are pleasing in his sight. And this is his commandment, That we should believe on the name of his Son Jesus Christ, and love one another, as he gave us commandment. And he that keepeth his commandments dwelleth in him, and he in him. And hereby we know that he abideth in us, by the Spirit which he hath given us."

So, who do you prefer to spend your time with? Godly Christians? People who are firm in the faith and want what's scripturally sound for you? Or do you prefer to spend your time with carnal Christians? Those who have one foot in the church and one in the world? Those who claim to be Christians...they talk Jesus...yet spend all their time chasing after, and indulging in, all the things of the world? This passage of scripture makes it clear. We know that we have passed from death unto life (are truly saved) by our love for (regard and treatment of) the brethren (other born-again believers of Jesus Christ) and by our keeping the commands of Christ and doing those things which are pleasing in His sight.

Sunday, June 26, 2011

RECIPE: Tomato Preserves

I got a request from a friend on Twitter this morning wondering if I had a recipe for 'tomato jam' and, while I'm not sure that this is exactly what she's looking for (if it is, here we call it 'tomato preserves'), here's what I've got. Lylah, this is for you!

TOMATO PRESERVES

1 tablespoon mixed pickling spices
1 piece ginger root
4 cups sugar
1 cup thinly sliced lemons (about 2 medium)
3/4 cup water
1 1/2 quarts Roma tomatoes (about 2 pounds)

Just cut a slice off the end of the tomatoes, but do not core. Tie spices in a cheesecloth bag; add to sugar, lemons, and water in a large sauce pot. Simmer 15 minutes. Add tomatoes and cook gently until tomatoes become transparent, stirring occasionally to prevent sticking. Cover and let stand 12 to 18 hours in a cool place. Remove spice bag. Drain; reserving syrup. Boil syrup 2 to 3 minutes or longer if too thin. Add tomatoes and lemon; boil 1 minute. Pour hot into hot jars, leaving 1/4-inch head space. Adjust caps. Process 20 minutes in boiling water bath. Yield: about 6 half pints.



Saturday, June 25, 2011

Perfecting The Yogurt Making Process - Making Greek Yogurt

The Whey And Greek Yogurt

Back in March I shared the recipe that I have been using to make my own homemade yogurt. Other than when there was a lapse in time and I needed a new container of Oikos Greek Yogurt for fresh starter, I've not bought a container of store-bought yogurt since then.

Sometimes when I would make the yogurt it would turn out perfectly smooth and creamy. At other times it would turn out kind of grainy and very runny. I have no idea what made the difference. But the other day I was reading somewhere that to make Greek yogurt, you simply have to strain the whey (the liquid) off of the homemade yogurt, so I tried it and, boy! Am I ever happy with the results!

All I did was, overnight I made my regular recipe of homemade yogurt. This morning I lined a large colander with a clean, cotton towel (a smooth one...not a fuzzy one), and I set it atop a large bowl. I dumped the contents of the crockpot that the yogurt was in into the towel, covered it, and let it drain. As you can see above, after straining the liquid off, all that was left was the very thick, awesomely good, Greek-style yogurt that can be eaten alone, used as sour cream, served with fruit, or used to cook with in a multitude of recipes. 

I saved the whey as well. It is full of nutrients and, if you prefer a little creamier yogurt, you can always stir a little back into the yogurt, or you can add it into smoothies, etc.



Question: If you've ever made your own homemade yogurt, what did you do with the whey?


(This post was featured in The Legacy of Home's 'The Christian Home' - Issue 21 - June 27, 2011. Please visit Mrs. White's site by clicking HERE.)

Words Of Wisdom From My Mother

Six years ago today (June 25th, 2005) my mother suddenly fell ill, and died shortly after midnight on the morning of the 26th. She may be gone, but her words and wisdom live on. Here are few of the life-giving words that she encouraged others with on my Proverbs 31 Woman (2) group back in the early 2000's...

On The Importance Of Bible Study - 
(from the archives of the Proverbs 31 Woman (2) - 11/5/02)

"...I would like to point out something here that verifies our very need to do Bible studies like this. We are living in a very dangerous time as far as spiritual knowledge is concerned. We have so much information available to us today, and in general we have a tendency to accept whatever we hear. Jesus warned that in the 'latter times' there would be wolves coming among the sheep (false teachers coming into the Christian community) with the express intent of teaching false doctrine in order to lead the unsuspecting (unlearned) away from Christ. The reason I bring that up in relation to this study is the way Peter introduced himself. He verified quickly who he was and what his doctrine was. We find that many of the New Testament books began in similar fashion. Today, there are so many who go about preaching a 'form of godliness, but denying the power thereof' that it becomes necessary for each of us to be able to discern the 'true' from the 'false'. Hence, the need for individual Bible study. The best way for us to know the Truth is to study it for ourselves. If we know the Truth of the Bible in our hearts and minds, AND learn to rely on God to nudge us to follow His teachings, we will be much less likely to fall for the untruths that assail us from every side.  ~Marge"

On Being A Christian - 
(from the archives of the Proverbs 31 Woman (2) - 11/16/04)

"It is hard to be 'different', there is no doubt about that. To some that I know--family as well as 'friends'--I am too religious. To others, I am not 'religious' enough. However, I can take that all in stride, when I remember that the "church" of Jesus day--the Jewish hierarchy--thought that He was a 'religious nut' who thought Himself
to be God, while He had thousands following him, who were only out for what they could get from Him. When He got too literal and Scriptural for them, they left following Him and went back to their old ways, EXCEPT for the twelve, and even they had their moments!!!


As it was for Christ, so we can expect it to be for us, BECAUSE it is the worlds reaction to Him as reflected in us. Be of good cheer and be comforted in knowing that He knows and understands all, because He lived it as well. This is our reasonable service to Him. Each person we come in contact with must answer for their own response to Him. We can keep the channels open for them, but we are not able to force them against their own wills. The Holy Spirit can draw and knock on the door but they must open it and keep it open.

Cheer up all, and know that you must be doing something right for God, when the world comes against you. Love you all! ~ Marge"

On The Importance Of Studying The Bible, Forgiveness, and Dealing With Difficult Family Members
(from the archives of the Proverbs 31 Woman (2) - 12/8/02)

"...the more you read and study God's Word (always asking for the Holy Spirit's guidance as you do) the more often the Holy Spirit can remind you of God's will for you life."


"Christ tells us in Matthew 6:14 and 15 that we must forgive those who have offended us so that God can forgive us our offenses toward Him. NOTE: As human beings this is not something we can do in our own power. We can only do this by praying for those who dispitefully use us, and by asking God to give us His grace to accomplish it."


"Do not feel that you are alone in your situation...'count it all joy' to do what you can for your mom. Work at forgiving your sister and her husband, because if you ask and remain faithful in your determination to do so, God will give you the grace to do so. And most of all do not become discouraged. Walking with God is just like a baby learning to walk...take a step, fall down, crawl a bit, get up, take a few more steps, fall down, crawl a little less, get up...all the time getting stronger, more stable, quicker to get up...it all comes with time and practice. Stay in the Word, keep in touch with God, call for help when you need it. We've all been there (and are still in the middle of it) so keep looking up! God cares and so do we! ~ Marge"
On Battling Holiday Depression - 
(from the archives of the Proverbs 31 Woman (2) - 12/2/03)
"I find that my own trouble with holiday depression usually comes from the fact that I cannot afford to provide all the 'things' that I would love to give to family and friends. However, I also know that God has given me a reservoir of ability so I usually give of what God has blessed me with. He has given me the ability to do various crafts, so when the depression begins to build........I put my head and hands to work and create gifts......they may not be expensive in dollars but they are usually unique and are truely a part of me that I can share. If I am not in a 'creative mood' there are so many easy food gifts to give.......for example, the jar mixes that are available online. You can collect and use jars that come into your home with food in them, put a jar-mix in, add a colorful ribbon or cut fabric circle over the top, and you have an inexpensive gift that can be enjoyed whenever the recipient wants. The important thing is that I have shared God's blessing and bounty with others, and in the process, lifted my own spirits and depression. Relax, be creative, and enjoy the upcoming holidays. God will bless you in the process. ~ Marge"

*****************************

(I love you, Mom, and I miss you terribly, but I am so thankful for these words that God allowed you to leave behind. They still speak to, minister to, and encourage me, and now I can pass them on and share them with even more people than they were originally meant to go out to. Thank you, Lord, for making that possible! ~Rebecca) 

Thursday, June 23, 2011

RECIPE - BLT Pasta Salad

BLT Pasta Salad
For lunch today I put together a bacon, lettuce, and tomato pasta salad. I started off with a recipe that I had, cut it in half (there are only three of us), tweaked it a bit, and added my own touches. It made for a cool and summery one-plate salad and my family loved it! Here's what I came up with...

BLT PASTA SALAD


1/2 box whole wheat rotini
6 slices turkey bacon, cooled and cut cross-wise into narrow strips with scissors
1 large tomato, diced
3 good handfuls of mixed lettuces, torn into small pieces
1/4 cup crumbled Feta cheese
1/2 cup Miracle Whip light salad dressing

Cook the pasta according to package directions, then drain and run cold water over it to cool it. After it is cool and drained well, toss all ingredients together in a large salad bowl and chill for at least an hour before serving. (Serves 3)

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Tiger Lilies

It's the first day of summer and my tiger lilies are blooming. Aren't they pretty?

Happy First Day Of Summer!

Good TUESDAY afternoon, dear friends! And HAPPY FIRST DAY OF SUMMER! I pray that this post finds you happy, healthy, and serving the Lord with gladness...praising Him in all things!

The past few days have been a blur! As already stated in an earlier post, Tony had his surgery on Friday. His finger is healing nicely, but he is still unable to bend it. He's afraid that it's locked up, but I'm sure that, as soon as the swelling goes out of it, it will be fine and he will regain the use of it. Please pray that I'm right about that.

Saturday afternoon the girls at the bank (where our son-in-law works) had a baby shower for Amber. She and Patrick's baby isn't due until the 8th of July, but the doctor believes that little Isaiah Andrew might arrive ahead of schedule. As of Friday, Amber was dilated to 1 1/2 and the doctor said she'd either see her again this week with the baby, or she'd see her for her regular appointment. It could go either way. This is grandbaby #10 for John and I and we are greatly looking forward to his arrival!


"But the mercy of the LORD is from everlasting to everlasting
upon them that fear him, and his righteousness unto children's
children; To such as keep his covenant, and to those that 
remember his commandments to do them" (Psalm 103:17-18).

Sunday, of course, was Father's Day. After church I put a loaf of French bread on to make in the bread machine for supper, then we took my dad out for lunch. After we got home the rest of the afternoon was spent relaxing. I was asleep on the couch when our son and his family dropped in to wish John a Happy Father's Day. For supper, it was my intent to make John a 'dish of the regular' (his favorite)...pasta and sauce. I'm not quite sure what happened, but, for the first time in my life! (John taught me to cook sauce when I was 11-years-old) I burnt the sauce!!! And I mean burnt it...and not just a little, either! I burnt it a lot! We ate some of it, but it tasted like Woody's Smokehouse BBQ-ed Sauce...if you can imagine that! It was awful! And we all felt sick after eating it. If I can avoid it, I never throw food out, but I had to throw this out. It was terrible! But the chickens enjoyed it! (At least I'm guessing they did. They ate it all up in a matter of minutes! LOL!) Oh, well! Like John said...that's not a bad track record...23 years of marriage and that's the first time I ever burnt the sauce! (But...on Father's Day? Arrghhh!) LOL!  Not good!

Monday was good. I didn't walk over the weekend and I was feeling it. Come Monday morning everything was back on track...diet, exercise, and school. Only a few more sessions and we are done with the 2010-2011 school year. Tony, nor I, either one, can wait. It's been a very long...very tedious year!

A funny thing happened while ago...I had just finished doing my daily Bible study and reading from my Nancy Campbell "100 Days of Praise" devotional. Today's entry was entitled 'Born To Look Up' and it was based on Psalm 5:3. Immediately afterwards, I checked my e-mail and I had a post from a person that I had never heard from before. Their ID really grabbed my attention! It was 'lookup_above'! Isn't it amazing how God can use the littlest things to get our attention and give us a second confirmation of what He's trying to get across to us? Incredible!

Well...that's all for now, Ladies! I hope that you all are having a nice day! Enjoy the longest day of the year to the fullest and I'll talk to you again soon! God bless!

All My Love,
~Rebecca

Friday, June 17, 2011

Good Friday Evening! - 6/17/11


Good Evening, Dear Friends!

It's been a busy week! At the time of my last post I was awaiting our youngest daughter, Amanda, and her friend, Heather. They were going to visit Prairie State Park, kick around town a bit, then, eventually, end up here for the night...which they did!

We had a great visit and, over supper, I finally got to watch TANGLED! Now...that may not sound like a big deal, but it really is. My daughter...even though she's 25-years-old...loves any Disney princess movie. She and her husband saw TANGLED at the theater, and the night that they saw it she called me and made me promise not to watch it until we could watch it together. That wasn't a problem at all...until one of my 5-year-old granddaughters got it and wanted me to watch it with her. I can't tell you happy she was to find out that I had finally watched it with Aunt Amanda and am now free to watch it with her! LOL!

After watching TANGLED Amanda and Heather and I had an impromptu tea party. Here's a couple of pictures of us enjoying each other's company...

Heather, Rebecca, and Amanda

Over the course of the visit the girls and I enjoyed three different kinds of tea...rhubarb cream, blueberry vanilla cream, and Angel's Dream. I made a blueberry/cream cheese coffeecake for dessert. Yum!

The girls spent the night here and left before lunch the next morning. I don't know about them, but I had a lot of fun! It's been a long time since I've got to have 'girl time' with one of my daughters!

The rest of the day Thursday was spent doing school and preparing for our trip to Springfield today and Tony's surgery...which, by the way...went very well! The surgeon was sure that there would be tendon damage, but even she was surprised to find that there wasn't any! The BB was lodged under both tendons and was imbedded in the bone, but there was no damage to the tendons or the bone! The Lord's presence was evident on every front and His peace was upon us today. Please join us in praising the Lord for His awesome provision, His tender mercy, and His never-ending love and care!

Well, Ladies, I am going to close for now. We have another baby shower tomorrow and, of course, Sunday is Father's Day. Now that I'm past Tony's surgery, perhaps I can turn my attention elsewhere. Have a great evening and a beautiful and blessed weekend!

All My Love,
~Rebecca

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Good WEDNESDAY Morning! 6/15/11

Good Morning, Dear Friends!

I pray that your day is off to a good start, that your week has been productive, and that your mouth is filled with praises unto God for His blessings are many! Our week has been good here...busy...a lot of it spent on the road.

Sunday afternoon we rode up to Harrisonville with Amber. John and Tony visited with Amber's uncle while Amber and I attended a baby shower for her sister-in-law, Ashley. We had such a good time! The atmosphere was joyful, as were the people, and it was truly relaxing. Afterwards we visited with family...some of which we (John and Tony and I) hadn't seen in over 12 years! It was such a blessing to see what God has done in the hearts and lives of those who truly seek after Him! Amazing!!!

Monday was spent in Springfield. Tony had a morning appointment with the hand surgeon to see about getting the BB out of his finger, and Pat had her final a leg appointment in the afternoon. It was a very long, very hot day and I don't think any of us thought it was ever going to end. Pat was finally released from her doctor (she doesn't have to go back unless she has a problem) and Tony's surgery is scheduled for Friday. I don't know what time yet. They're supposed to call us Thursday afternoon and let us know. I just know we'll all be glad when it's over. The surgery will be more complicated than what we thought it would be. The BB is buried in the sheath that the tendons run through and the tendons are damaged. They will have to be repaired and that will require microscopic surgery in a surgical suite. Please pray that all goes well. Tony is pretty nervous about the whole procedure.

Yesterday was spent cleaning house and preparing for a visit from our youngest daughter and her friend, Heather. They will be in town shortly, and plan on spending the day at Prairie State Park...visiting the nature center, hiking the trails, etc. Their plan is to spend the night here before returning to the city tomorrow. It will be nice to see them both and I look forward to their visit.

Well, I guess that's it for now. I need to get busy. I want to get the bread machine going early and make my plans for the rest of the day. You all have a great day and I'll be with you again soon! Take care and God bless!

All My Love,
~Rebecca

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Afternoon Journal - Saturday 6/11/11


By Rebecca, simply yours

~ What Time It Is...

... 2:35 p.m.

~ What I'm Doing...

... am taking a much needed break from my Saturday cleaning and am having half an English muffin with peanut butter and a cup of hot tea.

~ I Am Praising The LORD For...

... the truth that is found only in the Bible, and for the love, mercy, kindness, and protection that He affords us each day through the power of His might, the blood of His Son, Jesus Christ, and the gift of the Holy Spirit.

~ Something Beautiful...

... the lovely swallowtail butterfly that my husband spotted in the garden (that's it's photo above).

~ Something That Made Me Smile Today...

... my husband. He can be so funny sometimes! 



~ What I've Done So Far Today...

... carpet-freshed the whole house (I make my own), cleaned the bedroom (made the bed, dusted, vacuumed, and shined the mirrors), organized the pantry area, vacuumed Tony's room, cleaned the bathroom (scrubbed the toilet, tub, and sink, shined the mirrors, emptied the trash), did three loads of laundry (including a bleach load of whites that included the shower curtain and liner from the bathroom, had a nice lunch with dh (salmon patties, baked potato, and a fresh garden salad), straightened the living-room (dusted, vacuumed, shined the mirror, vacuumed the furniture), took out the trash, and visited with a neighbor.

~ What I Have Left To Do...

... clean the kitchen, make supper, enjoy the rest of the afternoon and evening with my family.

~ What's For Supper...

... dh has proclaimed that he's fixing supper tonight...For anybody who knows him...wanna take a guess at what he'll be fixing? LOL!

Friday, June 10, 2011

An Excerpt From Nancy Campbell of Above Rubies


'100 Days of Blessing'
"Dear precious mother, from what position do you run your home? From the bottom of the barrel? Are you looking up at all you have to do? Are you submerged by all your worries and concerns? Or do you run your home from your legal position (which has nothing to do with your feelings) of sitting together with Christ at the right hand of the throne of God? In this position you look down on your problems. You have victory over them. In this position in Christ, all things are under your feet. From this location you take dominion over all the inroads of the enemy that seek to take over your marriage and your home. Read Ephesians 1:17-23 and Romans 6:4." 
         
~ Nancy Campbell  '100 Days of Blessing - Devotions for Wives and Mothers'

(My best friend got a copy of this devotional for me for Christmas and, oh! What a blessing it has been, and is, to me! I recommend it highly! ~Rebecca)

Being Open About My Struggles With Weight-Loss

I've not shared my struggle with weight-loss here before, but as I was writing the following post to a small group of friends and family members, I got an overwhelming feeling that I should share it here. Perhaps there is someone out there who can benefit from what I have to say, or perhaps, from what I'm going through. If God can use it in any way for His glory, then so be it!
 
Here is part of the letter that I composed...
 
"...Life has been totally out of control for so long and, for far too long, I seemed to have lost my way on almost every front. I'd flub up, get depressed, and, for all intensive purposes, quit everything. I've done this in so many areas that I nearly quit living altogether! Not good!

Well...no more! Over the past few weeks the Lord has brought about situations into my life that are allowing me to, and helping me, to once again find my footing and get on with it. This whole week (knock on wood) has been good and I have made progress in several areas...including diet and exercise. I am very thankful and I cannot praise the Lord enough for all that He's done for me. I am finally getting a few spiritual concepts that I've held in my head for years, down into my heart and soul where they can take root and grow. I'm thinking that if I just take one day at a time, I will continue to make progress. What I did yesterday, I can do today...right?

Okay...here's the story of where I've been, where I am, and where I'm going...

As you know, I did well with weight-loss in 2010. I managed to lose and keep off 40 pounds. I pretty well managed to maintain that weight-loss through March of this year...gained and lost the same 4 or 5 pounds here and there, but, basically, kept it off for the most part. It was in March of 2011 that I started reading Candace Cameron Bure's Reshaping It All. I determined then and there to start where I was and keep on going, but it was not to be.

At the end of March my dad got really sick and came very close to dying. April and May were lost in a whirlwind of doctor appointments, car trouble, and major stress eating. At the end of it, I had gone from where I was up to 257 pounds. I was devastated! I had gained back back 23 of the 40 pounds that I had lost.

At the beginning of June I determined, once again, to get back on track and stay there. Listening to that radio interview with Amy Parham really helped boost my spirits, and I have teamed up with an accountability partner that has (or should I say...had) nearly as much weight to lose as I did (she actually has been working on this since March, at least, and has made significant progress...I'm very proud of her).

Thus far, I've not done too bad myself. I'm making progress anyway.

Two things that are really sticking with me are...

First off...for the first time in my life I'm starting to see, understand, and accept God's grace for myself. Being of Scots-Irish descent...and coming out of the old, hard-line, denomination church with all their rules, regulations, and dogma, it has always been easy for me to see God as harsh and judgmental, but being able accept mercy and grace has been next to impossible.

And, please, don't mistake what I'm saying here...God IS a God of  judgment! And there ARE consequences for our actions...both good AND bad! As Scripture clearly states...we WILL reap what we sow...and oh! How often I have proven it!

But, because we are His children, and because He loves us so very, VERY much, there is also mercy and grace that flows from the throne of our Heavenly Father in abundance toward us! THIS I have never been able to get a hold of, or get a grasp on, until just recently.

And, here again, don't misunderstand. There is a belief that runs rampant within the modern church of today that grace is everything! That there is no judgment! That God is a God of love and we can get by with anything and everything because we are 'saved by grace'...but, that is another post for another day. Today's post is about what God's been teaching me.

Forgive me! Allow me to get back to it...

The other thing that I'm learning is...and this is something that I never in my wildest dreams thought I'd learn...but it is how to allow GOD to fill the hole in my soul that I've been trying to fill all these years with food! Praise be to my Heavenly Father for helping me to get that down in me! That is something that I have heard for years from people...people who have lost the weight and successfully kept it off...and, even though I've heard it...and it sounded simple...I couldn't do it.

Where the idea came from this time I don't remember. I simply remember asking God to, please, in the name of Jesus, show me HOW to do it...and it came! I prayed...and it kept coming! It has come every day this week! I pray in the morning and I purposefully, and specifically, ask God to help me through my day. The biggie is, when I feel extremely hungry, instead of just going and getting whatever I want, I pray again...specifically...for God to fill that hole that's making me hungry...and not one time has He failed me since doing so!

Last night I was so hungry! What I've been doing, basically, boils down to having one larger meal and four smaller meals per day, and by smaller 'meal' I mean anything from a mini wheat bagel and a tablespoon of peanut butter and a cup of tea, to a large green salad with vinegar and oil dressing on it. None of the meals I'm eating are 'large' like they used to be and I don't miss them. But, last night I was really hungry...and I am NOT the kind of girl that can go to bed hungry. I just can't! My danger point has always been after supper. From supper until bedtime...it's just one thing after another after another...a cheese stick, a bowl of cereal, a cookie, a brownie, a big bowl of popcorn...all in the same four or five hours between supper and bedtime! Ridiculous!

When I started this, I vowed that, with God's help, I would not eat a bite after 8:00 at night...and, thus far, I haven't! But, oh! Like I said, I was soooooo hungry last night! And I really was! I believe that I was actually hungry! But I went to bed and I prayed. I just kept saying, "Lord, You take this! You fill this hole! Fill me with You, Lord! Help me to overcome the flesh and gain victory over it!"...and you know what? Next thing I knew I was waking up and looking forward to another day! And, believe me! I'm being much more discerning about what foods I'm putting in my mouth! I don't want to waste one calorie on something that I don't really want!

So...where am I? What are my goals? And where am I going?

As of this morning I weighed in at 247.8. I am 8/10 of a pound from reaching my first goal of losing 10 pounds. From there my goal is to get back to where I was last summer (234 pounds) by my 50th birthday, which is coming up in August. I think I can do it! After that, my goal is to carry on and reach my goal weight of 150 pounds by my 51st birthday in August 2012.

Will I do it? Only God knows, but, one thing I'm sure of, is this...I have a better chance now of achieving my goals than ever before, because, for the first time in my life, I am allowing God to fill a void in my life that, thus far, I have always tried to fill with other things to excess...men that treated me badly, alcohol, cigarettes, and, finally, food. God has delivered me from the first three things on that list, and I have no doubt that He is willing and able to deliver me from the fourth...

...By the way, Amy Parham's book 10 Lessons from a Former Fat Girl - Living with Less of You and More of Life,  arrived today. As soon as I finish reading Candace's book, I'm going to get started on it!"

Morning Journal Entry - June 10, 2011




By Rebecca, simply yours

~I Awoke...

...later than I wanted to, but with sweet dreams still lingering on my mind.

~I Am Hearing...

...an airplane passing overhead, the rooster crowing, and a train passing through town.

~I Am Praising The LORD For...

...another beautiful day in which to serve Him! God is so wonderful...so loving...so kind! He cares about even the tiniest...most, seemingly, insignificant things in our lives...and He works in them, and through them, to grow us and make us more Christ-like.

~Beautiful Things...

...God's Holy Word, good friends, and blooming snapdragons.

~I Am Thinking...

...about how blessed we truly are, and about how, half the time, we don't even realize it.

'Lord, please, help me to never take You, or the things You've give me, or the people that You have placed in my life, for granted. In Jesus' name, I pray. Amen.'

~My Plans For Today...

...school, do a general housecleaning with focus on a couple of areas that need a little extra going over, a load or two of laundry, clean out the fridge, and date night with hubby.

~What's For Dinner...

... ?

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Princess Kate A Keeper Of The Home? And Feminism Dead?


I ran across a couple of interesting articles this afternoon, quite by accident really, and, while I doubt that either of them were written with a Biblical worldview in mind, both of them made my heart leap with joy. I couldn't help but think about the possibilities of the world to come for girls who are young now, and for those who haven't even arrived on the world scene yet.

I couldn't help but think, "Is this a sign that the pendulum on feminism truly is swinging back towards good, old-fashioned values...to a time when women realized where their true strength and power lay, and they were content to play out their God-given role as wife, mother, and keeper-of-the-home? Will the families of the future be able to deliberately make a choice for the wife be a keeper of the home without being made to feel inferior by their working peers and be ridiculed for it?"

Here are a couple of excerpts, along with a link where you can read both articles in full...

Excerpt #1 From the Anne of Green Gables Blog

"In addition to the normal (rather, abnormal) amount of media attention showered upon Kate Middleton throughout her courtship and marriage to Prince William, it seems the latest topic of discussion revolves around her choice to stay home and manage their small rented cottage in Wales while William continues his career as a RAF search and rescue pilot.

Just recently, I heard a radio commentator relate this story of Kate deciding to be a housewife for the time being, by saying, “Hello, 1960 called…”.  Not too long ago (and still today in some circles) women were criticized for their decision to pursue a career instead of a family or to do both.  Now, tides have turned and what has typically been considered a worthy path in life – to provide a home for your loved ones – is being criticized and deemed unimportant.

Yes, it is true that with Kate’s new status and educational background she could yield a position in a career of her choosing.  But just because a person can do something, does it mean they necessarily should?"


To read the full article CLICK HERE.

Excerpt #2 from The Belfast Telegraph 

"A recent report by the eminent LSE sociologist Catherine Kakim suggests that feminism is dead and most women now want to marry a rich husband and stay at home.

This sparked a huge media debate with Grazia magazine asking its readers to choose between ambition and “man-bition”.

With equality of opportunity for women so hard fought for, the pendulum now seems to have swung so far in the opposite direction that even though we now have the luxury of choice; there is something of a stigma attached to those women opting to look after hubby and home."

To read the full article CLICK HERE.

So, after reading both articles, what do you think? What do you think of Princess Kate's decision to keep house? And do you think that the pendulum on feminism truly is swinging back the other way? Feel free to share your comments.

HEARTH AND HOME - 6/8/11 - FATHER'S DAY/SUMMER FUN

Good Morning, Sweet Ladies!

How good it is to be with you this morning. Once again, the long, hot days of summer are upon us...only a few more days and it will be official! I pray that the summer ahead brings with it good times and wonderful memories for you and your family. 

As the days grow longer and warmer, and as Father's Day is just around the corner, I would like to focus our attention this month on dear, ol' Dad and summertime fun! My plan is to return to the original format that I used when I first started HEARTH AND HOME back in 2002, and I hope to return to regular monthly, or even bi-monthly, issues in the coming months.

Are you ready? Grab a cup of tea (or a glass of iced tea, if you prefer) and come join me...won't you?


FATHER'S DAY 2011


"The just man walketh in his integrity: his children are blessed after him" (Proverbs 20:7).


FATHER'S DAY CRAFT IDEAS

* Let your kids do a "fill in the blanks" craft.  You type the beginning of a sentence, and let your kids finish the sentence. Some of the answers will be hilarious, some will be touching.

- My Dad is really good at _______________.

- My Dad is handsome because _____________.

- My Dad loves to play with me because_________.

- My Dad helps me with ____________.

- My favorite memory of Dad is____________.

* Make a movie just for dad with your own home video camera.  Create a story for dad.  Or just let everyone stand in front of the camera and say all the things they love about dad.

* Get a big box and decorate it as a television.  Have the kids do a silly news report on the "Dad of the Year" awards.

* Learn how to say "I love you" or "I love Dad" using sign language.

* Create a music CD just for your Daddy.  Pay for and download songs like:
 
     - Butterfly Kisses by Bob Carlisle
     - He's My Son by Mark Schultz
     - Remember Me by Mark Schultz

* Write a dozen little "i love you" notes and hide them around the house where dad will find them.

* Write Dad a hand-written letter telling him all the ways that you have been blessed because God picked him to be your dad.


A LITTLE FELLOW'S DAD

I may never be as cleaver as my neighbor down the street,
I may never be as wealthy as some other men I meet;
I may never have the glory that some other men have had,
But I've got to be successful as a little fellow's dad.
 
There are certain dreams I cherish that I'd like to see come true,
There are things I would accomplish 'ere my working time is through;
But the task my heart is set on is to guide a little lad,
And to make myself successful as the little fellow's dad.
 
It's the one job that I dream of; it's the task I think of most;
If I fail that growing youngster I'd have nothing else to boast;
For though wealth and fame I'd gather, all my future would be sad,
If I failed to be successful as that little fellow's dad.
 
I may never have earth's glory; I may never gather gold.
Men may count me as a failure when my business life is told;
But if he gives his life to Jesus then I'll be so glad-
For I'll know I've been successful as a little fellow's dad.
 
 
"Blessed is every one that feareth the LORD; that walketh in his ways. For thou shalt eat the labour of thine hands: happy shalt thou be, and it shall be well with thee. Ty wife shall be as a fruitful vine by the sides of thine house: thy children like olive plants round about thy table. Behold, that thus shall the amn be blessed that feareth the LORD" (Psalm 128:1-4).
 
 
MAKING DAD'S DAY SPECIAL

To make a quick and easy centerpiece use a set of children's wooden alphabet blocks to greet the guest of honor. Simply stack the blocks to spell out the appropriate message such as "Happy Father's Day." Use the picture side of extra blocks to act as spaces between the words and to add color. You'll want to place the centerpiece so it faces the gust of honor or use it to decorate a buffet or dessert table. If you have enough blocks, use them to create place markers at each person's place setting. Spell out each guest's name by stacking the blocks vertically.
  
 
"Lo, children are an heritage of the LORD: and the fruit of the womb is his 
reward. As arrows are in the hand of a mighty man; so are children of 
the youth. Happy is the man that hath his quiver full of them: they shall not be 
ashamed, but they shall speak with the enemies in the gate" (Psalm 127:3-5).
 
 
FIVE THINGS TO DO WITH DAD'S OLD NEWSPAPERS
 
* Duster - To reach ceiling corners and other high places, roll lengthwise into a loose tube, secure with tape and cut one end into fringe with scissors.
 
* Glass Cleaner - Crumple up and use to dry windows after washing.
 
* Deodorizer - Stuff newspaper into shoes or boots to remove unpleasant odors.
 
* Gift Wrap - Use the Sunday funnies or the stock section as cheap wrapping paper.
 
* Mulch - Shred papers and place around your plants. Soak with water to hold in place. 
 
 
HOUSEHOLD TIPS

* To clean a plastic shower curtain liner, throw it in the wash along with some towels. The towels act as "scrub brushes", whisking away accumulated grime. Your liner will look like new!

*To keep pesky ants at bay, sprinkle basil leaves in the pantry and cupboards.

*To freeze individual servings of uncooked meat or chicken, place the food on waxed paper-lined baking sheets, making sure pieces are not touching one another. Freeze the items, uncovered, until firm. Wrap
frozen pieces in freezer paper or heavy-duty foil or transfer to freezer bags, removing as much air as possible. Label each package and include the date. Properly packaged, most meats can be stored in the freezer for up to 3 months.

*To keep fresh herbs fresh longer wrap in slightly dampened paper towels and sealed in a plastic bag. They should keep fresh for up to 5 days in the refrigerator.

*Keep lumps from forming in granulated sugar by putting a few unsalted crackers in the canister; they'll absorb any moisture.

*Keep your celery from going limp by wrapping it in aluminum foil before putting in the refrigerator. It will keep for weeks.

*To keep your outdoor garbage can smelling good, sprinkle a layer of fresh kitty litter in the bottom to absorb unpleasant odors.

*Before reaching for tweezers or a needle, put a piece of Scotch tape over the splinter and then pull the tape off. Most splinters come right out.


DOLLARS AND SENSE

* To save money when traveling take your own snacks and bottled water. These items are very expensive when purchased at convenience stores and gas stations along the way.

* Order checks and deposit tickets from reputable, less-expensive third-party printers such as ChecksUnlimited.com.

* Pay half your mortgage every two weeks. At the end of the year, you'll have made two extra payments.

* Inspect ductwork and pipes going in and out of your home. Seal any holes with insulation or weather stripping to lower cooling costs.

* To help lower energy costs in your home line the windows on the south and west-facing sides of your home with aluminum foil.

* Close the blinds at night to keep the heat out and the cool in.
 
 
 
SUMMER SKIN CARE
* Put the brakes on oil overload by brushing your face with pure lemon juice (contains astringent and antiseptic properties) using a clean makeup brush. Let it set for 5 minutes, then rinse. It is better to do this before bed since the citric acid may cause temporary redness.

* Banish breakouts by combining one part tea tree oil (available at health-food stores) with 10 parts bottled spring water. Dip a cotton ball into mixture and sweep over face after cleansing before bed. (Tea tree oil kills bacteria and acts as an antiseptic.)

* To correct hidden dryness combine 1 egg (firms skin) with 1 tsp. honey (locks in moisture) and 2 tbs. Olive oil (to soften); smooth onto clean dry skin. Let set 10 minutes; remove with a warm washcloth.

* To deep clean skin and to help prevent and facilitate the removal of blackheads add 3 drops of an astringent essential oil such as lemon or peppermint to 4 cups boiling water. Pour into a bowl and tent a towel over your head, holding your face about 8 inches away from the bowl. Allow steam to penetrate 5 minutes.

* Soothe summer-sensitive skin by trying this at-home facial: Rub 2 cups plain, full-fat yogurt (cools and sooths) into skin. Let set 5 minutes; rinse with cool water. Fill an empty spray bottle with cooled chamomile tea (calms the skin and reduces redness) and mist face; let dry. Follow with an unscented, sensitive-skin moisturizer.
 
 
THE CHILDREN'S CORNER - SUMMERTIME FUN
 
* SUMMER IS POPSICLE SEASON! Try some of these interesting, inexpensive, and oftentimes healthful ideas for creating homemade popsicles…

- left over Jell-O
- plain yogurt with a little jam mixed in for flavor
- apple, grape, orange, or any other juice
- fruit and chocolate syrup
- cranberry sauce
- applesauce
- Kool-aide
- pudding
 
For a real treat...and I've not tried these yet, but I plan to as soon as I get the ingredients...check out my friend, Darlene's (from Time-Warp Wife), Strawberry Banana Ice Pops! Get there by clicking HERE!

* HOMEMADE BUBBLE SOLUTION-

(Note: The longer you store the bubble solution the better it works. You might want to prepare it weeks or even months in advance for a special event.)

9 parts water
1 part Joy dishwashing liquid
½ part glycerin


* GIANT BUBBLE MAKER-

Save coffee cans. Cut off tops and bottoms. Hammer the edges smooth. Dip cans in a pan of bubble solution and wave through the air. Have a contest for the biggest bubble, smallest bubble, and the bubble that floats the highest.

* FOR SOME SUMMERTIME NATURE FUN TRY SOME OF THESE IDEAS-

- Observe an anthill for 15 minutes. Draw what you observed.
- Grow a garden in a jar.
- Start a rock or a seashell collection.
- Visit a nature center with your family.
- Go on a bird hike. See how many different kinds of birds you can observe. Can you make their calls?
- Take a survey of the wildlife in your neighborhood or around your house. Look closely and note what plants are growing on walls, guttering, window ledges, and on the bark of trees. Look amongst foliage for animal life, and put out traps and sticky jam jars half full of water to sample the insect life. Enter your findings in a notebook.
-Grow a sweet potato vine by taking a sweet potato, inserting 4 toothpicks into each side of it about half way round its middle, then put the bottom part of the potato in a jar of water and keep it filled. Soon your sweet potato will put on fine hair-like roots, and then it will be begin growing a lovely vine plant for your mother's
kitchen window.
-Collect fireflies in a jar, observe them for a short time, and then release them.
-Cut a flower in half and observe its parts. Can you name them?
-Visit a beekeeper and find out how honey is made.
-Start a nature journal. Record all of the lovely things that you observe in God's creation.
-On warm summer evenings look for bats flying around your neighborhood.
-Observe insects hovering around a light at night. Record three different kinds of insects observed by drawing them in your nature journal or notebook.
-If you live near the beach explore a tide pool and see how many plants and animals you can find living in it. Can you identify them?

 
RECIPES


ITALIAN TURKEY BURGERS
(This has become one of our family favorites!)

¼ cup canned crushed or diced tomatoes
2 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese
½ teaspoon garlic powder
½ teaspoon dried oregano
¼ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon pepper
1pound ground turkey
8 slices Italian bread, toasted in oven
4 slices mozzarella cheese
½ cup meatless spaghetti sauce, warmed

In a bowl, combine the first six ingredients. Crumble turkey over mixture and mix well. Shape into four ¾-inch-thick oval-shaped patties. Coat grill rack with nonstick cooking spray before starting the grill. Grill patties, uncovered, over medium heat (I use my indoor grill.) for 6 to 8 minutes on each side or until meat is no
longer pink. Place each patty on a slice of bread; top with cheese slice and spaghetti sauce and another slice of bread. Makes 4 servings.
 

CHICKEN RANCH SALAD

Grill boneless, skinless chicken breast on an inside or an outside grill...about 1/2 chicken breast per person. I like to sprinkle mine heavily with black pepper on one side. After chicken is done, cool and cut into thin strips. Chill in the refrigerator.

Prepare a green salad the way that your family likes it. We use a mix of greens...usually romaine...fresh spinach...sometimes red or green leaf lettuce...whatever we've got growing in the garden...bacon bits,
garlic flavored croutons, Parmesan cheese, feta cheese, etc.

At mealtime serve generous helpings of salad topped with chilled chicken strips and ranch dressing. Delicious!


SUMMERTIME FRUIT KABOBS

Assortment of fruit (grapes, cantaloupe, blueberries, red raspberries, watermelon, bananas, kiwis, strawberries, etc) cut into 1-inch pieces 
Wooden skewers

Thread fruit alternately on wooden skewers and chill until ready to serve. If you use bananas, be sure and dip slices into lemon juice before threading.
 
 
CHERRY PIE FILLING
 
8 cups tart cherries
2 1/2 cups sugar
5 tablespoons cornstarch
 
Wash and pit cherries. Drain. Combine sugar and cornstarch. Stir in cherries; let stand until juices begin to flow, about 30 minutes. Cook over medium heat until mixture begins to thicken. Pour into can or freezer jars or plastic freezer boxes. Seal; label; and freeze. Yield: about 4 pints.
 
 
HEARTH AND HOME QUESTION

What are your favorite home-canning tips and recipes? If you don't mind me sharing your tip or recipe in an upcoming issue of HEARTH AND HOME just send it to me at: [email protected]  Please put "CANNING TIPS AND RECIPES" on the subject line. Thank you! 
 
 
Well, friends, that's it for this time! I wish you all a wonderful summer season full of faith, fun, and family! Happy Father's Day to all you dads! And God bless all here!
 
 
Until Next Time...
~Rebecca

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Evening Journal - June 8, 2011

~What Time It Is...

...10:13 p.m.

~What I'm Doing...

...just got in from a two-mile walk.

~I Am Praising The LORD For...

...helping me to get back on track in specific areas this week.

~Things That Made Me Smile Today...

...God's grace (something I'm just now learning to accept for myself).

~What I Did Today...

...straightened house, oversaw a full day of school, attended afternoon Bible study, had tea with a friend, and gave the dog and both cats a bath.

~My Evening Prayer...

...is for health and healing over another friend that was just diagnosed with cancer.

~What We Had For Supper...

... stove-top meatloaf, baked potato, and corn-on-the-cob


To read original journal entries from 2006-2009 visit here:
http://groups.yahoo.com/group/Keeping_It_Simple_A_Daily_Journal/

Create Your Own 'Nutmeg Notes Kitchen Scrapbook' by Sandy Willoughby

Every once in awhile a post comes along that really sticks in my head...something that I've read that others have written about that sparks an idea of something that I would like to try or incorporate into my own life...something I want to learn how to do...or, in this case, something I want to make one day. 

This is a post that was first posted by my friend, Sandy, several years ago on her Nutmeg Notes site. Creating a 'Nutmeg Notes Kitchen Scrapbook' is something that I would someday like to create for myself, as well as one for each of my daughters and daughters-in-law.

I hope you enjoy reading Sandy's post as much as I did...



Dear Creative Ones by God's grace and gifts,

Have you ever been in awe over what goes on in a kitchen and/or dining room? There are so many things that transform from one fairly plain and simple "something" to a dish that feeds a family, a soup that soothes a weary soul, or a beverage that comforts with the warmth it gives.

Over the years, the Lord has just given me... as I've heard the same of with others...recipe after recipe thrown together that became instant favorites. He has shown me grand meals from a needy pantry, given me grace to offer a chair to a tired friend, relative, and stranger, and provided what I've needed to serve not only beverages and meals but hospitality and hope.

In an effort to preserve some of these recipes, sentimental moments, ideas, and creative gifts from God over the years, I have started many little kitchen notebooks. There have been notes jotted in spiral notebooks, papers punched and placed in three ring binders, folders filled until they became so stuffed I couldn't keep up with them, and more.

I finally think I know the best way to preserve these! I can make a Nutmeg Notes Scrapbook! I had already decided to change my Home Notes Journal into a scrap book and realized that one specifically for the kitchen and dining would be a great addition:)

It has dawned on me that not only would these books be a wonderful way to hand our family blessings down the line and for enjoyment by us as the years go by... but this might serve many a need in the long run. When someone asked: "Whatever happened to that recipe for.... ?" maybe it will be in one of those pages! If we are trying to remember the circumstances around a time God sent someone to our table over coffee that served like an angel... maybe they'll have been journaled right in our little (or huge) book!

(To finish reading Sandy's article, please, click HERE....)

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Amanda's Counted Cross-Stitch Project

"God Bless Our Home"

Our youngest daughter just finished this lovely counted cross-stitch project and posted pictures of it on Facebook. With her permission I am sharing it here. She did such a good job! It's obvious that she inherited her grandmother's talent and patience for such things. Great job, Amanda!

Evening Journal - June 7, 2011

By Rebecca, simply yours


It's been a long time since I posted a journal entry. I need to get back to them on a regular basis.


~What Time It Is...

...6:48 p.m.

~What I'm Doing...

...just got done with supper dishes and am taking a quick computer break.

~I Am Praising The LORD For...

...small successes. The past few weeks have been lost in a whirlwind of physical, financial, and emotional difficulties with very little being accomplished on the home front, but, praise the Lord! So far, this week has gone well and, small they may be, but, successes they've been, nevertheless...and I am thankful!

~Things That Made Me Smile Today...

...a friend's sweet post, a conversation between my son and his crazy friend, and the fact that the humidity wasn't as bad today.

~What I Did Today...

...quiet time with the Lord, walked with Leslie Sansone, did a general house straightening, oversaw a full day of school (that makes two whole days in a row!!! WOW!), put up ten pints of cherry jelly, and checked the sauerkraut (we're at the half-way point and it's looking good!).

~My Evening Prayer...

... that the Lord would continue to lead, guide, and direct me in the battles that take place in the mind and give me victory over them.

~What We Had For Supper...

... leftover cornbread and a one-pot favorite...home-canned green beans, canned potatoes, onion, and ham.

To make just mix one quart green beans, one can of sliced potatoes, a small onion, and a handful of diced ham. Season with black pepper and salt to taste.



To read original journal entries from 2006-2009 visit here:
http://groups.yahoo.com/group/Keeping_It_Simple_A_Daily_Journal/

Recipe For Cherry Jelly



We didn't get many cherries this year. All the rain that we had early on made for an abundant crop and the cherries were beautiful, red, and juicy. So juicy, in fact, that the birds, literally, flocked upon them. By the time things settled down to a point that we could pick them and turn them into jelly, most of them were gone...and we're talking over the period of about three days...and the ones that were left were, in fact, pretty wormy. But, despite all that, I did manage to put up 10 pints of the precious stuff.

Here's how I make cherry jelly...

For each batch you will need 3 1/2 pounds of sour cherries (these are the little, bright-red, pie-making cherries...not the big, dark ones that you buy in the produce section of the grocery store), 4 cups of sugar, and 1 box of Sure-Jell brand fruit pectin.

After picking cherries, most people pit them. I don't. I just wash them (being careful to pick out any bad ones, of course) and put them in a stainless steel pan with just a smidgen of water in the bottom. I turn the heat on low, cover the pan with a lid, and let the cherries simmer for an hour or two to let them soften and juice.

When the cherries are done juicing, I strain the juice into another pan using a colander, or sieve, and a fresh, clean, lint-free towel or cheesecloth. I let it drain until the juice stops dripping through.

While the juice is draining, I gather everything together that I will need during the course of jelly-making...jars, lids, canner or hot water bather, jar-puller, pectin, sugar, etc. I have all the jars and equipment clean and ready to go once the juice is finished draining.

Before making the jelly I measure out 4 cups of sugar into a glass bowl and set it aside. It will be added all at once later, so it makes it easier to have it pre-measured and ready go once it's time to add it.

Okay...to make jelly...and from this point on everything goes very quickly, so be prepared...

I measure 3 1/2 cups of cherry juice into my stainless steel dutch oven and turn the heat on under the burner to high. To this I stir in 1 box of Sure-Jell Premium Fruit Pectin. I stir constantly, and when the juice and pectin reach a rolling boil (this is a boil that doesn't stop boiling while being stirred), I dump the 4 cups of sugar in all at once and keep stirring. I allow the mixture to return to a rolling boil and boil for one minute. After one minute, I remove it from the heat, ladle the jelly into jars, skim off any foam with a spoon, wipe edges with a wet rag, cap, and hot water bathe for 20 minutes.

That's it! Pretty easy once you get the hang of it! And it's so beautiful in the jars!

Monday, June 6, 2011

Drying Herbs


Yesterday was spent collecting and drying herbs. The basil was in the oven to dry during church, then  the others...parsley, chives, sage, and oregano...followed throughout the afternoon and evening afterwards.

I've found the easiest way to do them is to collect the herbs (I just snip mine off with a pair of scissors...not too short, because I want them to keep producing...just kind of give them a haircut), wash them (I rinse each leaf or sprig under running water in the sink), give them a spin in my salad spinner to remove excess water, and lay them out on two large cookie sheets. Next, I put them into a preheated 170 degree oven, in which both shelves have been moved a few inches apart in the exact middle of the oven. Two hours later the herbs are dried, ready to be crushed, and put into glass jars and labeled for storage.


 

Friday, June 3, 2011

Keeping Cool For Less

The calendar may not say so yet, but, here in southwest Missouri, summer has arrived! It's HOT! And it's supposed stay hot...at least for the foreseeable future.

In many areas keeping cool in summer can cost more than keeping warm in winter. Here are some things that you can do to hold the cooling costs down:

1) - Watch your degree of comfort. Set your thermostat at 78 degrees or above. A setting of 78 instead of 73 saves 20 to 25% of your AC operating costs.

2) - Keep the cool air inside. Close doors and windows. Check the weather-stripping. Seal up cracks. Insulate. These measures will help cut heating costs in the winter as well.

3) - Don't block vents. Move furniture away from vents and window units. Trim shrubbery outside, too.

4) - Close drapes or blinds. This helps keep the sun's heat out. Solar screens and shades can also effectively block a large amount of the sun's heat before it enters your home.

5) - Check your filters. Do this once a month during cooling season. Vacuum or replace them as necessary.

6) - Grow deciduous trees. Plant them where they will shade your house from the sun's hottest rays in the summer and let warming sun through in the winter.

7) - Check the EER before you buy. Some systems use less energy than others...sometimes only half as much. Find the Energy Efficiency Rating (EER) on the yellow energy-guide label. The higher the EER, the more efficient the unit. An EER of 10 will consume half the energy of a similar unit rated at 5.

(These tips were taken from Emilie Barnes' 15-Minute Home and Family Organizer.)

Sweet Surprises



I love sweet surprises! Don't you?

A couple of days ago I was contacted by Sarah over at Joy-filled Days to say that I had won her Summer Fun Giveaway. Wow! I was so excited!

I have been an Elizabeth George fan for years, and my prize was one of Elizabeth's books that I didn't have. It is called "A Woman Who Reflects the Heart of Jesus - 30 Days to Christlike Character." I can't wait to read it! I feel that it's not only a gift from Sarah, but a timely gift from God for such a time as this.

Sarah has a lovely site over at Joy-filled Days, so be sure and visit her!

Thanks, Sarah! And God bless!

All My Love,
~Rebecca

Iron Sharpens Iron



"Iron sharpenth iron; so a man sharpeneth the 
countenance of his friend" (Proverbs 27:17).

"Iron sharpeneth iron"...have you ever thought about that?

A knife can't sharpen itself! Nor can a pair of scissors...or the blade of a saw...or any other metal tool that needs to keep its edges sharp in order to do the job that it was made for.

Like tools made of metal, how often do we as people...God's people...people created by Him, to be used by Him, to carry out His plans and purposes. How often do we become dull, unproductive, and no longer useful to those plans and purposes due to the fact that we got lost somewhere along the way when some storm came up and caught us out in the rain?

And how refreshingly wonderful is it during those times when God, in His infinite wisdom and mercy, sends others into our path. People who care enough to come along side, pick us up, brush us off, give us a helping hand, sharpen us when need be, and bring us back to a point that we are, once again, useful and productive for the Kingdom of God! At times the sharpening process can be painful, but praise God for those who care enough, and aren't afraid, to do it!

Praising God For The 'Iron Sharpening' Friends He's Given Me Here,
~Rebecca

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Discovering God's Plan For Your Life

God is so good to us! Isn't He? Jeremiah 29:11-13 says, "For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, saith the Lord, thoughts of peace, and not of evil, to give you an expected end. Then shall ye call upon me, and ye shall go and pray unto me, and I will hearken unto you. And ye shall seek me, and find me, when ye shall search for me with all your heart." 

Notice in this passage that the Lord says that He has an "expected" end for us. God has a very special plan for each and every single one of us. Unfortunately, most people go through life never knowing what that plan is. They never realize what it is that the Lord intended them to be. Their lives become a twisted, distorted, and perverted remnant of what it was originally meant to be. Inside each and every single human being, God has placed specific, purposeful gifts and talents, but most people never discover what all of those wonderful things are because they do not know who they are in Christ Jesus. Even those of us who know and love the Lord, too often do not take the time or effort to find out who we really are in Him! We walk around with the emotional and spiritual equivalents of filthy rags, begging for quarters when the Lord wants to give us His Kingdom!

How do we find out who we are in Christ and what all of these wonderful gifts and talents are? And how on earth do we learn to use them and implement them into our daily lives?!  If we go back to our scripture reference (Jeremiah 29:11-13) we will notice that the Lord says that if we will call upon Him and pray unto Him....that He will hearken unto us, and that if we will seek Him and search for Him with our whole heart.....we will find Him. 

That is the secret! God will not turn His back on those who diligently seek after Him and His will for their lives! Are you searching for God and His will for your life with your whole heart? Or have you gotten to the point that you are so full of yourself that it makes you sick and you want to do something different, but you don't know what that thing is? If so....I would like to encourage you today. 

Begin by praying. Lay it all out to God. Confess your sins to Him and ask His forgiveness. Then.....leave it there! Don't complicate things by, first, asking forgiveness, then picking everything back up again and hanging on to it! 1 John 1:9 says, "If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness." 

After you have received the Lord's forgiveness, move forward and begin to take positive steps toward growing in Him. Here are few suggestions to get you started.

#1 - Immerse yourself in God's Word. As you read, pray and ask the Lord to open your spiritual eyes and ears enabling you to see and hear all that He has available to you.

#2 - Put on the garment of praise! Praise God continually for all of the wonderful things that He has done for you thus far and for all of the things that He is doing in your life right now and for all of the wonderful things that He has planned for you and is going to do in the future. Rehearse the good things that He has done for you in the past over and over in your heart and mind. Never take what the Lord has done for you in the past for granted and don't ever forget it either!

#3 - Ask the Lord to give you wisdom and teach you the things that you need to know.  He will do it! James 1:5 says, "If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God....and it shall be given him."

#4 -  Get into a good, Bible-believing church where the fruits of the spirit are evident.  Those fruits are "love, joy, peace, long-suffering, gentleness [kindness], goodness, faith [faithfulness], meekness, and temperance [self-control]." (Galatians 5:22-23)

#5 - Ask the Lord to show you what you can do for Him. We are not to sit by idly and do nothing! The Word says that we are to be "...doers of the word, and not hearers only..." It says that if we choose to only hear the Word, and not practice what it teaches, then we are only "deceiving" ourselves (James 1:22).

#6 Pray...pray...pray! Prayer is your communication line with God. The Lord knows every single thing about you...every word, every thought, every deed, every hurt.  There is nothing about you that He doesn't already know, but, as His child, He still expects you to talk to Him and share with Him all that is on your heart and mind. If you don't know how to pray....learn! Look up scriptures on prayer in the Bible and study them. Talk to your pastor or read up on the subject. There are many good books available on prayer!

These suggestions are just to get you started and head you in the right direction. My prayer for you today is that the Lord will begin to work a mighty work within your heart at this very moment! I pray that you will begin to seek God with your whole heart and that, as you do, you would become keenly aware of what His special plan for your life is and that you would learn to walk in that plan. There is no need of you going through life lost, hurt, or confused any longer! God has a perfect, magnificent plan for your life! It is time for you to stop wandering around from one thing to another and to start walking in all of the wonderful things that He has planned just for you!

~Rebecca Knox