Friday, April 27, 2012

Five Minute Friday - Community

It's FRIDAY! That means it's time for another 'Five Minute Friday' where as, our hostess, and inspiration, The Gypsy Mama, puts it, we write "For only five short, bold, beautiful minutes. Unscripted and unedited. We just write without worrying if it’s just right or not."

Want to join us? Then be sure and visit The Gypsy Mama today! 

Now...for today's assignment...
Community. It's a bittersweet word for me today. My husband and I came to our community nearly 16 years ago and we've met and dealt with some wonderful folks over the years and, while I can't say that all of them have returned our feelings, we have truly loved each and every one of them as we have prayed over them and ministered to them in whatever way the Lord has provided opportunity. In days of late my husband was proud to expand his ministry by running for alderman in hopes of doing good for our a voice to those who have been without one for so long...and, through the power of God, he won by one vote! The sad thing is, many of the people that live in our community, and others that ran for elected positions, don't share the same vision as my husband does and it is forcing him to stand alone in his position...and I am proud of him! God sent my husband to this community to do a job and it's no mistake! What God has begun He will carry out and if my husband has to stand alone as he faces the strongholds that bind and plague our community, then that's what he's willing to do. I've only seen him this determined about four things in life and this is one of them! If you're reading this today, please, pray for our community. Pray that God's plan for our community would be made manifest in the days ahead. Please pray, too, over our elected officials and those that are in position of influence within our town. Pray that spiritual eyes would be open and that that the strongholds of old will be broken. Thanks so much! 

"And they shall build the old wastes, they shall raise up the former desolations, and 
they shall repair the waste cities, the desolations of many generations" (Isaiah 6:4).


History Of The "Strange Town" Of Liberal


(This story, written by Steven Everly, was published in the Kansas City Star on Saturday, December 22, 2001 and,  while it looks good to those on the outside, and despite Mr. Everly's glowing report, those who live here know that many of the strongholds from the past still permeate the dark recesses of our town and hold many who live here in the bondage of darkness and divisiveness.)

In this southwest Missouri town, it's clear that Christmas is near. Colored lights stretch across Main Street. Garlands hang from light poles. A Nativity scene sits in front of a nearby church. But anyone familiar with Liberal's history knows that it wasn't supposed to be like this. This was a town created as a home for infidels, a place that once advertised itself as a town without a "church, saloon, God or hell."

Beginning in 1880, hundreds of people answered the call and moved here. By 1910, when its founder died, the experiment in creating a town for non-believers had failed. The story of Liberal is, in short, a story of how skepticism gave way to faith. Today, Liberal has seven churches, a tavern on its outskirts, and a history unlike any town in America.

"I was born here and I wouldn't live anywhere else," said Vernon Snodgrass, 80, who once owned a general store in the town. "But I understand why some call it 'This Strange Town of Liberal.' "

A drive through Liberal gives few signs that religion was once put to a test here, or that it was a community conceived in the notion that faith in God was not necessary for a fulfilling life. There's no sign informing visitors that this was once called the "Godless town of infidelity." Instead, visitors are more likely to find a Christmas message like this one, which graces the front porch of one home: "Jesus is the Reason for the Season." But there are hints of its unorthodox past in this town 125 miles south of Kansas City. It's a place where residents still live on Darwin Street, named after the man who set forth the theory of evolution. Visitors can take a walk along Ingersoll Street, named after Robert Ingersoll, a well-known lecturer in the 19th century who questioned the existence of God. Both men were heroes to George H. Walser, a Civil War veteran who moved to Lamar, Mo., in 1866 to practice law. He was a follower of Ingersoll and carried a deep conviction that intellect and religion were incompatible. His favorite description of Christianity was "superstition." His views didn't fare well in Lamar, and he bought 2,000 acres about 17 miles west of the town. He began advertising across the country for like-minded people to move to the town he called Liberal.

"With one foot upon the neck of priestcraft and the other upon the rock of truth we have thrown our banners to the breeze and challenge the world," he wrote in The Liberal News, the newspaper he started.

People who moved to Liberal signed an agreement promising not to hold religious services on their property. Nor would they sell it to someone who planned to use it as a place of worship. Institutions to further the new order were born. The National Liberal Orphans Home was established to take care of children without parents or guardians. It would teach them an upright life, but they wouldn't be exposed to a "sectarian or a supernatural religion," according to incorporation papers that were filed with the Missouri secretary of state.

Free Thought University, which had a faculty of seven, was founded in 1886 with courses of study that were "untrammeled by Bible, creed or isms," according to one of the university's surviving publications. As residents moved in, they created an everyday life with a twist. There was Sunday School, but in Liberal people listened to lectures about science followed by concerts and music. Sunday School often concluded with chemistry experiments for the kids. Evenings were reserved for debates and speeches at the Universal Mental Liberty Hall. Evolution vs. creationism was a favorite, but most any topic could be heard.

As news spread about Liberal, Christians came to convert the town. Walser tried to keep them out by posting his followers at the Liberal train station to tell passengers that if they were Christians they were not welcome, according to an 1896 article in The Kansas City Star. They came anyway. Some Christians quietly bought homes and began holding religious services. Walser would interrupt them and even put a stop to it after he proved to a court that the services were being held on properties he still partly owned. The Christians then bought land next to Liberal and moved more than a dozen houses there from Liberal. The last building had a sign attached that said: "And the Lord said: Get thee out of Sodom."  Walser then built a barbed wire fence to keep them out of Liberal. It was time to fulfill the original aim of the town to "enjoy the full benefits of free American citizens without having some self-appointed bigot dictate to us what we should think."

But in the end, Walser's dream was unfulfilled. Liberal was based on free thought, and that naturally bred dissension. Eventually, Walser seemed to lose interest. He even sold his beloved Universal Mental Liberty Hall to the Methodist Church. Today, there are few surviving artifacts of the Walser era. Liberal still uses the cemetery he designed. It's shaped like a wagon wheel, with the grave stones facing the center where Walser was to be buried. The story passed down is that if there was a resurrection, Walser wanted to be sure his followers saw him first. Walser ended up, however, being buried in Lamar. Artifacts like the Universal Mental Liberty Hall and other buildings associated with Walser are gone. Free Thought University and the orphans home were closed down long ago. Today, like other small towns, Liberal can be slow in accepting newcomers. But the debate and divisions about the existence of God have long disappeared.

"There isn't any of that animosity," said Gene Curless, a resident. Instead, there are the seven churches - all Christian, about one for every 100 residents - proof that religion triumphed despite Walser's attempts to keep it out. "It is winning," said the Rev. Phil Abbott, minister of the Christian Church in Liberal.

Walser probably would not be surprised at how things turned out. When he died in May 1910, the funeral was held at his home and there were remembrances and music. Then there were excerpts read from a book titled The Life and Teachings of Jesus. It was published in 1909, and the author was Walser. He was, he wrote, a converted infidel. By surviving accounts, he didn't try to push his new beliefs on others. But he did write the book, a remarkable document from someone who once said that Christianity and the Bible were the crude reasoning of primitive man. He had searched for hope during his life through materialism, atheism, agnosticism and spiritualism but had found none. Walser wrote in the book that he had "wandered in the desert of disbelief, waded in the river of doubt, and in the sands of desolation." But near the end of his life he found hope. Jesus was the son of God, Walser concluded, and the Holy Ghost was the infinite spirit of our maker. "We should study the chart which Jesus has given us," Walser said.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Around Our Yard 4/24/12

My hens and chicks are getting ready to bloom for the first time.
Irises! Aren't they pretty?

Our rooster. My! He's a proud one!

Tomatoes and peppers ready to plant.

Volunteer pumpkins and gourds in the garden.

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Homemade Kansas City Style Barbeque Sauce

I found (and made) this recipe for Kansas City Style Barbeque Sauce and it is THE best!!! From now on I will be making my own!


1 1/3 cup tomato sauce
1/3 cup tomato paste
1/3 cup honey
1/2 cup + 3 tbsp red wine vinegar
1/4 cup molasses (unsulfered)
2 tsp all natural hickory or mesquite liquid smoke (Colgin)
1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp black pepper
1/2 tsp paprika
1/4 tsp garlic powder
1/4 tsp onion powder
1/8 tsp ground cinnamon
1/8 tsp chili powder

In a large saucepan combine all the ingredients and simmer over low heat for 25 minutes stirring occassionally. Let cool and store in the fridge until ready to use. Makes 2 cups + 2 tbsp.

Saturday, April 21, 2012

How To Use Strawberries

How To Use Strawberries

Sinking in Surplus Strawberries?
Ah June! In the spring we think of a mouth-watering strawberry patch. Now it has turned into a forest with enough strawberries to feed most of the U.S. Undaunted by the mounds of berries in our kitchen, we have visions of row after row of beautiful jars of strawberry jam on our shelves. Then it happens! The first pot boils over leaving a red mess all over the stove, up on the walls and on the counters and floor. Hours later, after the kitchen looks like World War III was fought in it, we stand in our kitchen and proudly display our 2 pints of strawberry jam. Don't despair. Canning isn't the only way to use excess strawberries. Here are some other suggestions to use those mounds of berries:
  • Think small. Don't plant too many plants in your garden. Plant just enough for what you need.
  • If you don't have a garden, shop early in the morning when the store marks down their produce. You can find great deals when things are marked down. I found 4 lbs. of strawberries $1.49. Only 2 strawberries were bad. Just wash them and freeze the ones you won't eat right away.
  • File all your recipes for fruits and veggies in order by the name of the fruit. Then when you need to find recipes for all the extra produce you can easily find several recipes.
  • Throw extra strawberries into a bag and freeze. Don't waste time freezing them on a tray, they do just as well thrown in a bag.
  • Use extra strawberries in milkshakes, fruit smoothies, popsicles, and fruit gelatin.
  • Use them to top cereal or oatmeal. Add milk for a cream flavor.
  • Mix leftover jam with 3/4 cup of hot water and shake. Pour into Popsicle molds and freeze.

Easy Strawberry Jam
3 quarts fresh strawberries
3/4 cup sugar
1 Tbsp. lemon juice
In large microwave-safe bowl, combine strawberries, sugar, and lemon juice. Cover loosely and microwave on high 15 seconds. Stir mixture to dissolve sugar. Microwave on high, uncovered, for 5 minutes. Stir mixture well and check to see if it is done by putting a little on a spoon and placing it in the freezer for 5 minutes uncovered. Look at the preserves on the spoon. They should be thick but not hard. For slightly thicker preserves, microwave on high for another 5 minutes. For sweeter preserves, stir in a little more sugar then cook another minute. Spoon preserves into jars and refrigerate or cool at room temperature. Spoon into plastic bags and freeze. Makes 7 cups.

Tawra Kellam and Jill Cooper are frugal living experts and the authors of the Dining On A Dime Cookbook. Dining On A Dime will help you save money on groceries and get out of debt by cooking quick and simple homemade meals. For free tips & recipes visit , sign up for our free Living On A Dime Newsletter and learn to save more!

Five Minute Friday - Together

It seems like forever since I've had opportunity to participate in The Gypsy Mama's Five Minute Fridays, and oh! How I miss it! I've saved every assignment from the past two months in hopes of going back and catching them up and who knows? I might yet! But, for now, even though it's Saturday, I'm simply going to try to catch up with yesterday's theme...'together'.


As I thought about the word 'together' a whole bunch of thoughts hit my mind at once...

- Scripture...Romans 8:28 and Hebrews 10:24-25 in particular...

     "And we know that all things word together for good to them that love God, to them who are   
      the called according to his purpose" (Romans 8:28).

     "And let us consider one another to provoke unto love and to good works: Not forsaking the 
      assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is; but exhorting one another: and so 
      much the more, as ye see the day approaching" (Hebrews 10:24-25).

 - People...

     Going places and doing things with family members and overnight trip to Shannon County, a
     week's vacation to Northern Minnesota, sharing a cup of hot tea over the course of a warm
     conversation, a romantic evening with my can even be as simple as taking a drive down a
     country road to pick up rocks for the flower bed, collecting flowers, or observing God's beautiful
     creation. It can be anything as long as we're together.


Well...I had a lot more that I wanted to share, but my five minutes are up and it's time to switch the laundry over to the dryer, so I guess I will close here. I do hope to catch up on some more of those five minute assignments as I get time. But...

Until Next Time...


Thursday, April 19, 2012

20 Years Free Of Addiction! 1992-2012

Just a few moments ago I realized that April 12 had come and gone a week ago...a date that I have waited on for quite sometime...the 20th anniversary of God's deliverance...the 20th anniversary of being smoke free!

It was April 11, 1992 and I was smoking four packs of cigarettes a day (I had been smoking since I was 15, and I was 31 at that point)!!! I had tried to quit smoking many times, but couldn't. Even though we weren't doing a very good job of it, John and I had committed our lives to the Lord, and were serious about getting our lives, and our household, in line with His Word. Needless to say, we're still working on it!

On the evening of April 11, 1992 I was sitting in a chair in the corner of our bedroom reading my Bible. I heard a voice just as clear as day say, "Throw away your cigarettes and lighters away and wait 24 hours."

I immediately picked up all my cigarettes...I had an open pack, an open carton, and an unopened carton...and all my lighters and went carrying them through the house. John was in the livingroom and, when he saw me, he said, "What are you doing?"

Anyone who know my husband knows that he HATES cigarettes (he always has), and he hated me smoking them, but he was skeptical. He knew how many timed I had tried to quit smoking before...and how often I had failed. He knew how awful my lungs were. Not only did I smoke like a chimney, but I had chemically burned the lining out of my lungs a few years earlier when I mixed sulfuric acid and Clorox in an attempt to unclog the toilet. I ended up in the hospital. After that I could hardly breathe most of the time...I couldn't even blow a balloon up for my children to play with!

Anyway, I threw the cigarettes away, and I waited. That 24-hour period was one of the longest...most awful times of my life, and I never thought I'd make it through it...yet, somehow, I knew, if I did, that the Lord had something very special waiting for me on the other side. I knew that He was going to do something very special for me!

Well, sure enough, the next night...the evening of the 12th...I was sitting there reading my Bible. All of a sudden I had the most horrendous pain in my stomach. I looked up at the clock, and it was 11:00 p.m. I jumped up and had to get to the bathroom. I was there until 4:00 a.m. My stomach hurt so bad! It wrenched in pain, and I kept passing this black, tarry-like substance. When it was over, I KNEW that the Lord Jesus had, literally, cleaned me out, and, to this day, I've not been able to stand the thought of smoking another cigarette. I can't even stand the smell of one! It's been 20 years (and one week) I still stand in awe of what the Lord did for me!

Do you have an addiction? If you do and you'd like for me to join you in prayer for deliverance from your situation, please, feel free to e-mail me privately at (please put PRAYER on the subject line so I don't delete it by mistake) and I will be happy to join you in prayer over whatever it is that might be holding you in bondage today. Be assured...the Lord is able! I've experienced it first hand! Blessed be the name of the Lord! And God bless YOU!

Saturday, April 7, 2012


2 cups whole wheat flour
1 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons olive oil
warm water
Mix the flour and salt together, then add the oil, and enough warm water to make the flour mixture form into a ball. Next, on a well-floured surface, roll the dough thin, prick it with a fork, transfer it to a baking sheet, and bake in a 350 degree oven until each side is slightly brown.