Friday, February 25, 2011

HIs Plans for You

Experiencing Pits

"And they took him, and cast him into a pit…    Genesis 37:24


Joseph is one of those biblical characters who got down in the pits-literally. We sometimes get down in the pits too, maybe not literally like Joseph, but when we are there we feel like it's a real pit with high walls, stinky and damp, and nothing but dirt at the bottom.

Have you ever been in one of life's pits and you keep climbing and climbing trying to get out? You think you are making progress, and the next thing you know, you've landed back at the bottom again. God knew all about Joseph being down in that pit and he knows about our pits too.

If you are not familiar with the story of Joseph, you'll find his story begins in Genesis chapter 37. Joseph's brothers were jealous of him and put him in a pit. Sometimes we get into pits too. It may be that others push us there like Joseph's brothers did or it may be we just don't see that hole, and trip and fall. Joseph was not in that pit his brothers put him in too long but when he emerged he didn't stop to have a bowl of ice cream with a cherry on top. He went straight to being a slave. He ended up being in yet another pit in his life.

Personally, I love the story of Joseph. Every time I read through it, I see so many things that we can relate to in the now and now. Some of the pits of daily life that Joseph faced are the same ones we face today.

  1. Joseph had to endure hatred.

    If you remember this bible story, you know that Joseph was his father's favorite son because he was the son of his father's old age. Joseph's father gave him a coat of many colors and this made his brothers jealous of Joseph and they hated him.

    And when his brethren saw that their father loved him more than all his brethren, they hated him, and could not speak peaceably unto him. Genesis 37:4

    Hate is an awful thing, especially when it is directed at you. It is especially awful when it is directed at you by a family member. Poor Joseph. Here he was with 10 older brothers that hated him. This story starts off in Genesis 37 with Joseph being 17 years old. Being a teenager is hard enough without all of your brothers hating you. Talk about dysfunctional families. Doesn't this sound like an episode from today's TV talk shows? Tune in to the story of a boy named Joseph and his 10 older brothers who hated him enough to leave him in a pit.

    As the story goes along, Joseph told his brothers about his dreams of how they were all going to bow down to him. What happened? His brothers hated Joseph even more. Hate upon top of hate is a very cruel thing and if you are the object of hate at this moment, I feel for you, as that pit can be a dark and murky place to be.

    And Joseph dreamed a dream, and he told it his brethren: and they hated him yet the more. Genesis 37:5
  2. Joseph had to endure mean speech directed toward him.

    Not only did Joseph endure hatred from his brothers but notice that last part of verse 4 of Genesis 37.

    …they hated him, and could not speak peaceable unto him.

    Have you ever found yourself the target of disagreeable words directed to you or about you? Some people endure this situation at their workplace every single day. Dealing with disagreeable people and their mean speech day in and day out can really grate on your nerves and you may feel like you are down in that pit with the high walls about you.
  3. Joseph had to endure an empty pit.

    I've never had to endure being put into a pit in the ground but Joseph did. He wasn't even grabbed by a stranger and put there but Joseph's own brothers did this to him. How that must have made Joseph feel. He was not only in an empty pit but how he must have felt empty inside himself as well. I know we have all felt emptiness at one time or another in our lives, maybe through a loss of a loved one or some other tragedy that we've experienced.

    And they took him, and cast him into a pit: and the pit was empty, there was no water in it. Genesis 37:24
  4. Joseph had to endure slavery.

    None of us will probably ever have to endure the pit of slavery but it was something that came along in Joseph's life that he had to deal with. While Joseph was in the pit his brothers had placed him in, some Midianites came along and got him out. They sold him to some Ishmeelites, and they took Joseph down to Egypt and sold him to Potiphar, an officer of Pharaoh,

    Then there passed by Midianites merchantmen; and they drew and lifted up Joseph out of the pit, and sold Joseph to the Ishmeelites for twenty pieces of silver: and they brought Joseph into Egypt. Genesis 37:28

    And the Midianites sold him into Egypt unto Potiphar, an officer of Pharaoh's, and captain of the guard. Genesis 37:36
  5. Joseph had to endure temptation.

    One of the things Joseph faced was temptation. He didn't give into that temptation but he was faced with it just the same. While he was working for Potiphar, Potiphar's wife came to Joseph and wanted him to lie with her.

    And it came to pass after these things, that his master's wife cast her eyes upon Joseph;and she said, Lie with me. But he refused, and said unto his master's wife, Behold, my master wotteth not what is with me in the house, and he hath committed all that he hath to my hand; There is none greater in this house than I; neither hath he kept back any thing from me but thee, because thou art his wife: how then can I do this great wickedness, and sin against God? And it came to pass, as she spake to Joseph day by day, that he hearkened not unto her, to lie by her, or to be with her. Genesis 39:7-10

    Notice in verse 10 of that passage that she spoke to Joseph day by day. Some of us have trouble dealing with temptation at some point or another but to be met with the same temptation day after day must have made it a trying time for Joseph.
  6. Joseph had to endure false accusations.

    Another thing Joseph had to endure was false accusations. When his master's wife couldn't get Joseph to do what she wanted, she falsely accused him of trying to attack her. The result of this was that Joseph was thrown into prison, yet another one of those pits he had to face. That part of the story is found in Genesis 39:7-20. Being falsely accused for any reason can really bring you down low and you may feel like you are face down in the dirt at the bottom of nowhere. When you try to climb out you find that the walls can be slick and you may think there's no escape in sight.
  7. Joseph had to endure being forgotten.

    Have you ever been in one of those pits in your life, whether it is spiritual, financial, physical, or something else, and the walls are growing higher and the darkness is closing in, and you just feel forgotten? You feel like God has forgotten you and every friend you've ever had has forgotten you as well? Although God never forgot Joseph, others forgot him for a time. Joseph had interpreted the dreams of two other prisoners while in prison. One of those men was restored to his position as Pharaoh's butler and Joseph asked him to remember him.

    But think on me when it shall be well with thee, and shew kindness, I pray thee, unto me, and make mention of me unto Pharaoh, and bring me out of this house: Genesis 40:14

    This man eventually remembered Joseph when Pharaoh needed help with his own dreams, but it was an entire two years later.

Conclusion:
Even through all of these things that Joseph faced, I see two remarkable things that stand out. One is that the Lord is with us in our pits and the other is that the Lord can bless us while we are in our pits. Perhaps these two things are what helped Joseph endure all that he did.


The Lord Is With Us In Our Pits.
God was with Joseph in his pits. Look what it says in the first few verses of Genesis chapter 39.

And Joseph was brought down to Egypt; and Potiphar, an officer of Pharaoh, captain of the guard, an Egyptian, bought him of the hands of the Ishmeelites, which had brought him down thither. And the LORD was with Joseph, and he was a prosperous man; and he was in the house of his master the Egyptian. Genesis 39:1,2

We also see this later in the chapter after the incident with his Potiphar's wife when Joseph was thrown into prison.

But the LORD was with Joseph, and shewed him mercy, and gave him favour in the sight of the keeper of the prison. And the keeper of the prison committed to Joseph's hand all the prisoners that were in the prison; and whatsoever they did there, he was the doer of it. The keeper of the prison looked not to any thing that was under his hand; because the LORD was with him, and that which he did, the LORD made it to prosper. Genesis 39:21-23

The Lord is with us in our pits too. Sometimes we don't think He is because we are too busy whiffing in all that stinky musty smell that we are surrounded with down in the pit that we are in at the time. We forget to look around and see the Lord because we're too busy concentrating on the bad part of our pit.

The Lord Can Bless Us While We Are In Our Pits
Don't you think it's amazing how God worked within Joseph's life right when he was in the midst of his pits? Even though Joseph was in the pit of slavery, God still was blessing him.

And his master saw that the LORD was with him, and that the LORD made all that he did to prosper in his hand. And Joseph found grace in his sight, and he served him: and he made him overseer over his house, and all that he had he put into his hand. And it came to pass from the time that he had made him overseer in his house, and over all that he had, that the LORD blessed the Egyptian's house for Joseph's sake; and the blessing of the LORD was upon all that he had in the house, and in the field. And he left all that he had in Joseph's hand; and he knew not ought he had, save the bread which he did eat. And Joseph was a goodly person, and well favoured. Genesis 39:3-6

If you know the whole story of Joseph, you know that later on he was blessed even more by being put into place as the highest authority in the land other than Pharaoh but it was a long road in getting there. We might be going through some real difficulties in our own lives. It could be financial; health problems, or some other type of pit, but the Lord can still bless us in the midst of it, even when we are way down there seemingly all alone and our heart is heavy and our tears are flowing. Sometimes we overlook the blessings that come at those times. We're so busy seeing what the Lord isn't doing in our lives that we miss the things He is doing.

I hope I can be like Joseph and endure the things that are placed in my path on an every day basis. Everything isn't always smooth sailing but we have a God that never leaves us and is always there to bless us no matter what the situation holds.

So, how are you enduring your pits?

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Handbook for Life

HEALTH:
1. Drink plenty of water.
2. Eat breakfast like a king, lunch like a prince and dinner like beggar.
3. Eat more foods that grow on trees and plants and eat less food that is
manufactured in plants.
4. Live with the 3 E’s — Energy, Enthusiasm and Empathy.
5. Make time to read the Bible.
6. (Breathe)
7. Read more books than you did last year.
8. Sit in silence for at least 10 minutes each day.
9. Sleep for 7 hours.
10. Take a 10-30 minute walk daily. And while you walk, smile.
PERSONALITY:
11. Comparing our lives to others is fruitless. We have no idea what their journey is about.
12. Replace negative thoughts with positive ones especially about things out of our control. Invest energy in the positive present moment.
13. Try not to over do. Understand limits.
14. Why take ourselves so seriously. No one else does.
15. Gossip drains precious energy.
16. Dream more while we are awake.
17. Envy is a waste of time. We already have all we need.
18. Forget issues of the past. Let go of our partners mistakes of the past. Focus on our present/future happiness.
19. Life is too short to waste time hating anyone.
20. Make peace with our past so it won’t spoil the present.
21. No one is in charge of our happiness except us.
22. Realize that life is a school and we are here to learn. Problems are simply part of the curriculum that appear and fade away like algebra class but the lessons we learn will last a lifetime.
23. Smile and laugh more.
24. We don’t have to win arguments. It’s ok to agree to disagree.
SOCIETY:
25. Call your family often.
26. Each day give something good to others.
27. Forgive everyone for everything.
28. Spend time with people over the age of 70 and under the age of 6.
29. Try to make at least three people smile each day.
30. What other people think of you is insignificant compared to what you think of yourself.
31. Your job won’t take care of you when you are sick. Your friends & family will. Stay in touch.
LIFE:
32. Do the right thing!
33. Get rid of anything that isn’t useful, beautiful or joyful.
34. God can heal everything.
35. However good or bad a situation is, it will change.
36. No matter how we feel, get up, dress up, and show up.
37. The best is yet to come.
38. When we awake alive in the morning, be thankful.
39. Our Inner most is always happy. Release your “Inner Happy” on the world every day!

Could Use Prayers Today

My heart is heavy for many reasons today.... Please, if you would, remember me in your prayers.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Starry Night ~ Chris August


From the Birds that Sing, In the Tallest Trees.
To the Human Life, of you and me.
From the Desert Sands, to the place we stand.
He is God of All, He is Everything.

Waohhh

I'm giving my life to the only One who makes the moon reflect the sun.
Every starry night, that was His design.
I'm giving my life to the only Son, who was and is and yet to come
Let the praises ring, 'cause He is everything
'Cause He is everything

From the autumn leaves, that will ride the breeze
To the Faith it takes, to pray and sing
From the Painted sky, to my plank filled eye
He is God of all, He is everything

Waohhh

I'm giving my life to the only One who makes the moon reflect the sun.
Every starry night, that was His design.
I'm giving my life to the only Son,who was and is and yet to come
Let the praises ring, 'cause He is everything.

Ohhhhhhh (everything)

Hallelujah (Hallelujah)
Hallelujah
I believe
Ohhh
Hallelujah (Hallelujah)
Hallelujah
I believe

I'm giving my life to the only One who makes the moon reflect the sun
On that starry night, He changed my life.
I'm giving it all to the only Son who gave me hope when I had none.
So let the praises ring,
Ohhhh Let the Praises Ring

I'm giving my life to the only One who makes the moon reflect the sun.
Every starry night, that was His design.
I'm giving my life to the only Son, who was and is and yet to come
and the Angels sing, that He is heavenly

So let the Praises ring
'Cause He everything

Lose Weight without Effort!

Loosing weight without effort.  Do you really believe I may have the answer?  I can assure you, I don't.  I sure wish I did.  How often do we see the promise of some fad diet where the "weight just falls off without effort?"  Why do we want something for nothing?  We want the perfect body, but we don't want to exercise discipline in eating right or exercise.  Weight never just falls off unless someone is sick or is going through a time of physical or mental stress.  We know it's not that easy, yet we continue to search for something that takes less effort yet works tomorrow.  We don't want to wait... we don't want to apply discipline... we want it and we want it now.
Today there is such a huge pressure on women to be thin.  Young girls and women actually starve themselves to death.  Amazing.  Almost every other commercial on TV is of a scantily dressed woman or at the least a hit with huge sexual overtones.  We sit there watching  our TV's seeing what society thinks women should be...  and we are just regular plain Jane's.  Not perfect, but beautiful in our own ways... yet feeling not up to par.  And, it's no wonder, we will never, ever, bone up to the air-brushed (ideal to men) women in the pages of a magazine~ and I am just talking about Redbook or Family Circle~!

Loosing weight and being healthy takes effort.  We cannot lose it overnight.  We are in a hurry-hurry world... where everything is microwaveable.  Other than surgery, loosing weight takes discipline, TIME, effort, TIME and exercise... and TIME.  We didn't gain weight overnight... it took a while... it takes a daily dose of calories to stay the way we are.  But, we can change.  We need to start with prayer, eating right, studying up on health and some physical exercise.

Don't let the world push you into something for nothing.  It's a lie.  Don't let society tell you what you should look like or what size you should be... That is also a lie.  Just be you... and if you need to loose weight to be a healthier you, then get started today.

Sorry for the ramble and the two distinctly different subjects stated here today... I just had to get it out...

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

If Wishes Were Horses...

It was a nice, warm spring day. I was out working in the yard and noticed that some of my perennials were coming back up in my flower bed - amidst the weeds and debris from last year. I wish I had beautiful flower beds, I remember thinking.

All the wishing in the world will not give me a beautiful flower bed. What would it take? Some time and effort on my part devoted to weeding, hoeing, and watering. The reality is that I only want a great flower bed in an abstract sense. It’s not a high enough priority that I’m willing to put much effort into it.

I remember hearing my mom say more than once, “If wishes were horses, beggars would ride.” Apparently I was afflicted with wishing for things when I was younger also.

How many of you want to be good riders? Or maybe a horse trainer or riding instructor some day? Are you like me - wishing, but not doing anything about it? It will take more than a casual ride once or twice a week and dreaming about it. If you don’t have the money for lessons, maybe you can arrange to work at a stable in exchange for lessons. Try to find a good 4-H group or Pony Club with people that will help you advance in your riding skills. Check your local library to see whether they have books or videos by some of the top trainers that you can study. Maybe there are some clinics nearby you can attend.

If this is a real goal for you, be creative in exploring ways that you can learn from others and be disciplined in working with your horse regularly. Recently a former pro-basketball player spoke at our church. As a boy he would often practice 12 hours a day. His parents had to make him come in off their lighted basketball court and go to bed at night.

While it’s good to be working toward a goal, always remember to keep everything in perspective. Nothing should come before your relationship with God and your family. As it says in Mark 12, God wants us to love Him with everything we have. If we’re pouring all of ourselves into horses, basketball, or anything else, we won’t have much left for God.


You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind, and with all your strength.' This is the first commandment. And the second, like it, is this: 'You shall love your neighbor as yourself.' There is no other commandment greater than these."
Mark 12:30, 31

Friday, February 18, 2011

Justifiable Resentment

Justifiable ~
–adjective
capable of being justified; that can be shown to be or can be defended as being just, right, or warranted; defensible: justifiable homicide.
 
Resentment ~
–noun
the feeling of displeasure or indignation at some act,  remark, person, etc., regarded as causing injury or insult.
 
Justifiable resentment. 
 
Think about it.  Do you have someone that you justifiably resent?  Do you have a good case that says "but you don't realize what they have done to me~"... or "you don't know how they have ruined my life?"
 
Jesus looks on us with mercy and grace.  It does not matter what we have done, and believe me, what we have done to Him is worse than what others have done to us.  Yet, He forgives.  He is pure love.
 
Justifiable resentment.
 
What a dangerous place to be in our thoughts.
 
Forgiveness does not warrant deservability.  It warrents loving the way that Jesus loves.
 
Forgive that person today.  Let it go.  Don't go back to it.. don't fan the flames... just put it in the hands of the One who gave His life for you. 
 

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Broccoli-Cauliflower Casserole

Broccoli-Cauliflower Casserole

This can be made with all broccoli, all cauliflower or both as this recipe suggests.

1 (16 ounce) package frozen broccoli
    cuts or 1 pound fresh steamed
1 (16 ounce) package frozen cauliflower
    florets or 1 pound fresh steamed
1 large onion, chopped
2 tablespoons margarine or butter
2 tablespoons flour
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon dried basil, crushed
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1 1/4 cups fat-free milk
2 (3 ounce) packages fat-free cream cheese cut up
3/4 cup soft bread crumbs
3 tablespoons grated parmesan cheese
2 tablespoons margarine or butter, melted

Heat oven to 350 degrees F.

Cook broccoli and cauliflower according to package directions. Drain well. Place in a large saucepan. Set aside.

Cook onion in the 2 tablespoons margarine or butter or a less amount) until tender but not brown. Stir in flour, salt, garlic powder, basil and pepper. Add fat-free milk. Cook and stir until thickened and bubbly. Add fat-free cream cheese. Stir until cheese melts. Stir into vegetable mixture.

Pour into 2 quart casserole. Toss together bread crumbs, cheese, and a tiny amount of melted margarine or butter. Sprinkle over vegetable mixture.  Bake uncovered for 25 to 30 minutes or until heated through.

To make ahead. Refrigerate unbaked casserole, covered up to 1 day, and bake as directed or freeze up to 1 month thaw frozen casserole in refrigerator overnight and bake for 40-45 minutes or until heated through

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Taming the Tongue

“If anyone does not stumble in word, he is a perfect man, able also to bridle the whole body. Indeed, we put bits in horses’ mouths that they may obey us, and we turn their whole body. ... For every kind of beast and bird, of reptile and creature of the sea, is tamed and has been tamed by mankind. But no man can tame the tongue.” -James 3

James compares our tongues to the bits we put in horses’ mouths. Why in the world would he compare a horse’s bit to the human tongue? Certainly they are not similar in appearance or construction materials. James is thinking about their size and function. He is pointing out how something very small can control something much larger. Horses are very large animals, normally weighing 900 or more pounds. Although bits may vary somewhat in size, any bit will be only a fraction of the weight of a horse. Yet this small metal device, when placed in a horse’s mouth, can make a large, powerful animal stop or change direction. A small bit controls the direction a horse will go just as a small rudder controls the direction of a huge ship.

James wants us to realize that even though our tongues are also small they determine the direction in which we go. The problem is that too often our tongues take control of us rather than us taking control of our tongues. Our words have a major impact on our relationships. Are we using our words in a positive way to show God’s love to others, to build them up, and to draw them closer to Christ? The words that we speak reveal what is in our hearts. Matthew 15:18 "Those things which proceed out of the mouth come from the heart…"

Imagine holding a glass full of water. Suppose someone bumps into you. What overflows from your glass? Water, of course. Milk or juice could not flow out of a glass full of water. The bump reveals what is in the glass. Trials, tribulations, and aggravations are bumping us each day. What kind of words spill out of you when you are bumped? These spills reveal what is inside. If angry, hurtful words come out of you, then you have a heart problem. The words you speak are only the symptoms of the underlying disease. It doesn't do much good to say later that you did not really mean what you said. While there is forgiveness, the poisonous darts of your harmful words have already found their mark and done their damage. You cannot undo their damage any more than you could retrieve all the feathers from a feather pillow that has been opened up and shaken out on a very windy day. Or imagine a board into which many nails have been pounded. You can remove the nails but you will leave many holes.

James says that no man can tame the tongue. We cannot do it by our own willpower, but God is in the business of changing hearts and taming tongues. What about you? Are you working on bridling your tongue? I know that I still need a lot of help in this area!

Brides and Brides Maids

This last weekend was a busy one.  We went a couple of hours up north to fit my daughter for a bridesmaid dress for my oldest sons' wedding in May.  We met with my daughter-in-law to be and her mom.  Several different styles of dresses were tried on... and shoes too.  A halter type was chosen in a beautiful royal blue color.  Afterward we all met at a local restaurant and ate lunch.  Then we went on to the Bride's shop to see my my son's beautiful bride to be in her her gorgeous gown.  What a vision she was!  Like a live princess out of a fairytale!  My heart stopped and tears shone in my eyes as I realized that in just a few mere weeks all of this preparation will come to pass!  There are many more plans and things to do... I want to help where I can, yet not be overbearing.  A time in my life is coming to pass... that somehow I never thought would.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Hard Lesson

Today I asked a question of someone... thinking I wanted to know the answer... but turns out, I didn't.  The answer hurt.  In fact, their answer made two emotions flash across my mind~ anger and tears.  As this person started spilling out their answer I was already reprimanding myself for asking.  Why did I do that?  Why does that answer cut so deep? As I sat listening I deeply struggled not to show any tears or any wrong emotion.  Inside I was dying.  Yet, with reflection I believe that God had me ask the question....  No, not for me... it's not about me!... but for that person.  And, like the Grinch on the show The Grinch who Stole Christmas, I believe my heart grew as I realized... that it's not without pain that we grow, but it's because of pain that we grow.  

Friday, February 11, 2011

Blog Awards~ Time to make new Friends

My new friend Linda from "Truthful Tidbits" honored me with an award. And she also introduced me to some of her other friends by posting about them and linking to them. I will enjoy reading all of their stories and getting to know them. You will too if you click over to her post.

I want to thank Linda for adding me to her list of new friends. I am honored, and I'm so glad she enjoys my blog.

The Life is Good Award recipient requirements are as follows:
* Thank and put a link back to the person who so kindly gave this award.
* Share a few things about yourself.
* Pass the award onto some other bloggers you deem deserving.
* Inform these said bloggers that they have received the award.

It's just that simple!

I love all of my bloggy friends and have given away awards to some of you before...so I am picking a few of my newer friends. Click on their names and it will take you to their blogs.
Kayla Aimee I have been watching Kayla Aimee's blog since her daughter Scarlette was born in November.  Her daughter has not left the NICU yet, but she is a real trooper.  Please visit this sweet blog; a place where there are daily updates on Scarlette as well as all kinds of wonderful whimsies from Kayla Aimee herself.

Sherry Sherry and I have been online friends since she lived in Japan.  She is a wonderful mother, homeschooling mom, wife and cook~!

Sally I haven't been watching Sally's blogs for very long, but I love them.  She is a very positive, go-to person.  She has all kinds of tips for dressing and being body positive in today"s world.

Here a few things I will share about myself:

In real life I am quiet.  Often people think that I am introverted and "stuck up" but I'm not that way at all... especially when you get to know me!

I express my love for the Lord by teaching Bible study.  God has been calling me to Women's Ministry for several years and I think I am just beginning to touch the tip of the ice burg.

I have been married almost 25 years and have three children; a 22 year-old son, a 20 year-old son and a 19 year-old daughter.

I love the Lord with all my heart.  I have been in church almost from the time I was born.  I love serving and doing what I can for Him.

I love riding horses, flower and vegetable gardening and watching my children grow up!

Lemon Cake with Raspberry Mousse

Just in time for Valentines Day!

Lemon Cake with Raspberry Mousse
Prep Time: 20 min
Start to Finish: 2 hr 10 min
Makes: 16 servings

1 box Betty Crocker SuperMoist lemon cake mix
1 1/3 cups buttermilk
1/3 cup vegetable oil
1 teaspoon grated lemon peel
3 eggs
2 cups raspberry pie filling (from 21-ounce can)
1 1/2 cups whipping cream
Fresh raspberries  if desired
Mint leaves, if desired

1. Heat oven to 350 degrees F (325 degrees F for dark or nonstick pans). Grease bottoms only of two 8- or 9-inch round cake pans with shortening or cooking spray. In large bowl, beat cake mix, buttermilk, oil, lemon peel and eggs with electric mixer on low speed 30 seconds. Beat on medium speed 2 minutes, scraping bowl occasionally. Pour into pans.

2. Bake 8-inch rounds 30 to 36 minutes, 9-inch rounds 28 to 33 minutes, or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool 10 minutes. Run knife around side of pans to loosen cakes; remove from pans to cooling racks. Cool completely, about 1 hour.

3. Place 1 cake layer, rounded side down, on serving plate. Spread 3/4 cup of the pie filling over cake layer to within 1/4 inch of edge. Top with second layer, rounded side up.

4. In chilled medium bowl, beat whipping cream with electric mixer on high speed until soft peaks form. Beat in remaining 1 1/4 cups pie filling on low speed just until blended. Frost side and top of cake with raspberry mousse. Garnish with fresh raspberries and mint leaves. Store loosely covered in refrigerator.

For a smooth mousse, strain the raspberry seeds out of the pie filling. Place the filling in a mesh strainer or sieve over a bowl and use the back of a spoon to press the filling through the sieve.

Substitution:
If you don't have buttermilk on hand, substitute water when making the cake mix.

Extraordinary Women 2011

Are you interested in a wonderful conference for Christian women?  On March 4th and 5th Extraordinary Women will be at the Mabee Center in Tulsa, OK. 

Extraordinary Women's Conference ~ Tulsa, OK

Please click on the link and register today!  It's going to be an awesome experience.  A couple of days of God and girlfriends! 

Been out of the Loop

I feel so out of the loop.  We have had so many snow days off of work the past couple of weeks that my days are messed up!  I've spent a lot of time at home lounging, watching tv and baking.  I worked one day the week before last and two days this last week not counting today.  It's funny how our schedules are completely knocked off kilter by weather. I hope that everyone is doing well!

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Fowl Weather

For most of the past week we have been snowed in.  We have baked, played games, ate, watched TV, ate, played on the computer, ate, cleaned house, ate... oh, and did I mention that we have ate?  LOL..


One of the things that we did on Thursday afternoon was go birding.  Right from our living-room window.  We gathered books on Birds in the State of Oklahoma and Birding to set to see how many different kinds we could identify.


Outside in our front yard we filled bird feeders and flung sunflower seeds...and watched... (and the cat did too!)


We saw junkos, goldfinches, purple finches, a dove (just one!), red-winged blackbirds, crows, grackles, cardinals, sparrows....


How is it that something so tiny and delicate can survive snow and cold temperatures?  I just don't understand it!


Isn't God amazing?

Luke 12:24  Consider the ravens: They do not sow or reap, they have no storeroom or barn; yet God feeds them. And how much more valuable you are than
birds!

Super Bowl XLV ~ Are you Watching?

Are you a Super Bowl watcher?  Have you had this day planned for weeks from the food to the people you are going to invite to your house?  I have not ever been a sports fan.  In fact, I had to ask this morning who was playing today because I had no idea.  It's not that I am unknowledgeable, I just don't run in circles of people who plan to watch the game.  We attended a church several years back that always watched the game together on Super Bowl Sunday~ at the church, on the overhead.... and one woman always brought her recliner from her home in the back of her truck each year! It's true!  Those were the only years that I ever remember seeing the Super Bowl.  We went mainly for the fellowship (which was wonderful) and the snack food~! :-)  It was painful to sit and watch..... lol.. but I did like some of the extravagant commercials.

I am not against watching the Super Bowl.  No, in fact, I think it's fun to plan for things and then do them.

If we REALLY want to go to Bible study or church we will.  It has nothing to do with time or busyness.  We make time for the things that we really want to do... yes, we really do.

Today as thousands of people flock together to watch the game, will you make a dedicated decision too?  Will you think about and plan to go to church, Bible study and to get involved in Christian fellowship?

Friday, February 4, 2011

Snow!

Where does the white go when the snow melts?  ~Author Unknown


A snowflake is one of God's most fragile creations, but look what they can do when they stick together!  ~Author Unknown


Snowmen fall from heaven... unassembled.  ~Author Unknown


When it snows, you have two choices:  shovel or make snow angels.  ~Author Unknown
 

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Reading Signs

How often do we ignore things?  We think we see, but do we really?  Today I had to post a sign on the door at the business that I work at.  The sign states that our printer (on one side) is broke down and that XXX is the only thing available.  How many people do you think read the sign before they walk in my door?  Try about two out of 20.  People will put their hand up to the door to pull it open, where right on the inside of the glass is a BOLD sign.  They will completely ignore the sign and walk on in.  Then they seem surprised when I tell them the news.
Are you guilty of ignoring signs?  Is there something that God is wanting you to do today that you are running from?  Does it seem that everywhere you turn there is picture of the same thing, or you are hearing the same phrases or words over and over again?  Turn back around and read the sign.  Study each letter.  Which ones are bold and which ones are not?  What should you do?

Please don't ignore Him today.  When He asks you why He should let you into heaven someday, what will you say?  Will you tell Him you just didn't *see* the signs... or will you face the fact that you knew they were there.. but you walked by them?

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Chained by Choice

The enemy wants to keep us from living free .What a tragedy it is for us to have been given freedom by God's grace but for us to not walk in it!  For believers the ability to walk in freedom comes dependant on an individual's daily decision to walk in the power received at Salvation.

When we are chained to things in our lives, they are by choice.  Often we don't realize that we have the power to move out from under them and we feel defeated from the very beginning.  Like an elephant who is chained by his hind leg at a very young age is taught that he can't get away... when he gets older, although he could possibly then get away, he doesn't even try because of his "past."  If we only knew the power that we harnessed within ourselves because of the Salvation and promises of Jesus, ~ how powerful we would all be!

Although Salvation is definitely by faith and not works, daily living in freedom takes work as we cooperate with God's Spirit.

I have had a situation in my life the past six months.  One method satan uses to keep us captive is by causing us to gradually step further and further into our rebellion/chains.  Eventually we are deeper than we ever thought we'd be.  In this situation in my life God has used a person to stretch me and grow me in ways I never thought imaginable.  This person turned out to be someone out of character with who I thought they really were. Inconsistencies and hurtful things said behind my back made me somewhat bitter. (past tense)  I have forgiven.  And yet, when I feel like I'm doing well with this person, something new will come up to stoke the fire or blow on the flames.

I have by choice, chosen to take those chains off of myself.  I have been really trying to do better and believe that I really have succeeded.  (Not perfectly but with a willing heart.)  When the next issue comes up, and it will, I choose to live free.  Free from pain and hurt.  Free from "feelings" that have nothing to do with reality.  I can break away from this. I must.  I will.  So can you.

What are the chains you are wearing today?
Did you know that you DO have the ability to be free?

Jeremiah 40:4  But today I am freeing you from the chains on your wrists.

Baked Apples

Baked Apples
  • 4 large good baking apples
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/4 cup chopped pecans
  • 1/4 cup currants or chopped raisins
  • 1 Tbsp butter
  • 3/4 cup boiling wate
1 Preheat oven to 375°F. Wash apples. Remove cores to 1/2 inch of the bottom of the apples. It helps if you have an apple corer, but if not, you can use a paring knife to cut out first the stem area, and then the core. Use a spoon to dig out the seeds. Make the holes about 3/4-inch to an inch wide.
2 In a small bowl, combine the sugar, cinnamon, currants/raisins, and pecans. Place apples in a 8-inch-by-8-inch square baking pan. Stuff each apple with this mixture. Top with a dot of butter (1/4 of the Tbps).
3 Add boiling water to the baking pan. Bake 30-40 minutes, until tender, but not mushy. Remove from the oven and baste the apples several times with the pan juices. Serve warm with vanilla icecream on the side.
Makes 4 servings.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

To Blanket or not to Blanket?

   Even though a horse may be "turned out" for the winter because he is not in active work, he needs protection from wind, moisture and cold.  Whether you blanket your horse or not depends on many factors including his condition, his activity level, his hair coat, his level of nutrition, and the protection offered by your facilities.
   Actually, preparation for winter begins well before the first snow.  In August and September, horses living in temperate climates should be allowed an increase in body weight of about 5%, but not more than 10%.  A 1200-pound adult can gain 60-120 pounds in the late summer or early fall.  This extra flesh and fat will provide added insulation and an energy and heat reserve for when weather is particularly bad.

   During cold weather, rations should be increased to counteract environmental stresses caused by wind, freezing rain, snow, sleet, and below-freezing temperatures. Feed by weight, not volume to know exactly how much is being fed. The hay ration should also be adjusted to compensate for low temperatures.  For every ten degrees Fahrenheit below freezing, the ration should be increased 10%.  When it is twelve degrees above zero Fahrenheit (twenty degrees below freezing), the a 1200 pound horse’s normal hay ration of 16 pounds per day should be increased to about 19 pounds per day (a 20% increase).  Horses fed less than is necessary to combat cold and wind will burn fat and muscle tissue by shivering to keep warm and they will lose weight.

   SHELTER 

A horse's shelter requirements are fairly basic - a place to get out of the wind and wet during cold weather.  It is not necessary or desirable to have an air-tight, heated barn for horses.  In fact, that is one of the unhealthiest environments in which a horse can live.  A cold, but not drafty, barn is healthier. 
   A pastured horse must at least have access to an adequate windbreak.  Shelter can consist of a cluster of trees, a ravine, hill, canyon, or creek bottom as well as of man-made structures.  A simple three-sided shed can be situated with the back wall to the prevailing winds (often north) and the opening facing the sun (usually south in the winter).

   THE HORSE’S NATURAL BLANKET  THE HAIR COAT

Most horses begin shedding their summer hair in August and start growing thicker winter coats.  In order to produce a dense, healthy coat, a horse's diet should provide an adequate quantity and quality of protein.  A normal winter coat has as much insulating capacity as most top-of-the-line blankets.  The downward growth of the long hair coupled with the stepped-up production of body oils allows the winter coat to shed water and keeps moisture away from the skin.  A dry horse has a much better chance of remaining a healthy horse.
   A healthy horse can withstand temperatures well below freezing as long as it is sunny and the air is still.  The winter coat absorbs heat from the sun and the horse's body and traps it next to the skin.  During cold temperatures, pilo erector muscles make the hair stand up which increases the coat's insulating potential.  Wind separates the hairs, thereby breaking the heat seal which results in a great loss of body warmth.
   Snow showers, sleet, and the freeze-and-thaw typical of many northern areas are particularly hard on horses.  A wet hair coat conducts heat away from the horse many times faster than a dry hair coat.  In addition, wet hair tends to become plastered close to the horse's body, nullifying the air insulation potential of a fuzzy, erect winter coat.  

   A horse with a long winter coat should receive minimal grooming -  a rudimentary "dusting off" or vacuuming of the hair ends.  Vigorously currying a winter coat can disrupt the natural protective layer of oils which is essential for protection from moisture.  After riding, rub the coat dry with a cloth or gunny sack or allow the horse to roll in sand or dry snow.

   A fuzzy winter coat can make it difficult to determine condition by visual inspection alone.  The round teddy-bear look can be deceiving - it makes even an underweight horse look like it is in proper flesh.  Feel the rib area for a moderate fleshy cover once a week throughout the winter.

USING WINTER BLANKETS

   Some horses may require the use of a blanket during the winter: the show horse, the clipped horse, the southern horse that moves north during the winter, the old horse, and the horse in severe weather with inadequate shelter.  Blanketing adds expense and labor to the winter care routine. 
   Blanketed horses must be meticulously groomed on a regular basis to minimize rubbing and rolling.  Proper blanket fit is paramount.  Blankets that are too small can rip or cause rub marks and sore spots on the withers, shoulder, chest, and hips.  Too-large blankets can easily slip and twist, possibly upside down which can cause the horse to become dangerously tangled and the blanket mangled.  Blanket linings should be of a smooth material to prevent damage to hair, such as the mane near the withers.   

   Overheating can be a problem with blanketed horses, so each horse may need two or three types and weights of blankets.  What is appropriate for low night time temperatures in a barn is not necessarily desirable for day-time temperatures in a sunny paddock.  

   Waterproof blankets keep precipitation off a horse but often do not allow heat and moisture from normal body respiration to escape.  A better choice is a waterproof-breathable blanket which prevents rain and snow from entering the blanket but allows moisture to escape.  A too-heavy blanket can cause a horse to sweat, become wet, then chilled.  This can sap a horse's energy, lower his resistance, and create an open invitation for respiratory infections.  Check for over-heating or dampness by slipping a hand under the blanket at the girth and flank areas.

It's a Snow Day!

Right now it is blowing and snowing here.  Hundreds of schools across the state are closed.  The governor called for a state of emergency last night.  I haven't ever in all my years seen schools closed the night before snow and ice!

We plan to take it easy today.  So far I've made it from the bed to the couch... ate a plate of pancakes and drank 2 1/2 cups of coffee..  We will be taking it easy.. :-)

Stay inside and stay safe if at all possible.  Enjoy your families, cook, play games and just relax!