Could You Use a Few More Recipes?

Natural apple spice cookies!Now THAT’s a Real Cookie
2 cups butter, softened
4 cups whole wheat flour
3 cups honey
3 eggs
2 teaspoon baking soda
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
4 cups rolled oats
1 ½ cups raisins
1 cup chopped nuts
1 ½ cup chopped apple

Beat butter and honey together. Add eggs and beat. Add half of flour sifted with soda and cinnamon. Stir in oats. Add rest of flour and stir. Add raisins, nuts, and apple. Stir well. Drop by teaspoon on ungreased cookie sheets. Bake at 375° for about 10 minutes. Makes 10 dozen wholesome cookies that freeze very well. (If you bake these many, you’ll save heating the oven as often and have a ready snack when I drop in to visit.)

MYO Vanilla Wafers
Use any 1,2,3,4 cake recipe

Drop by teaspoon onto greased cookie sheets. Bake at 350° for about 10 minutes. Cool one minute on pan before removing to cooling racks.

 Garlic Popcorn
4 quarts freshly-popped popcorn
1 stick butter
1 clove garlic
salt and/or pepper

Press garlic and set aside. While popcorn is popping, melt butter. Remove from heat. Stir garlic into butter. Pour over popcorn, fluffing to coat all. Add salt and/or pepper to taste.

Compost
Now’s a good time for this recipe.
1 yard bag full of mower trimmings
1 pint ordinary garden soil
1 pint water (opt.)

Place soil and water (if dry) in bag with trimmings. Shake or roll some, to mix. Store until spring. If desired, you may store away from marauding animals, in shed or garage. This will greatly reduce in size, over time, and make wonderful mulch or soil additive.

Okay, there you are–new tips and recipes to cheer you. Cannot wait to post again. See ya soon!

How to Make a Man Cry—Memorize

BibleI’ve always taught my children to memorize the Bible. I think it is good for their spirits, good for their souls, and even good for their bodies, if they heed it.

People seldom made me memorize anything until I was fourteen, but I remember much of it, today. I want my grown children to have lots and lots of the Word hiding in their hearts, and they do. It was worth all the work, just for that benefit.

Several times, though, we realized a different benefit.

I always had my children recite their memory work during our homeschool closing programs. It always was a large Scripture portion, such as The Book of James or The Letters to the Seven Churches. One night, when they recited Hebrews 11, “The Faith Chapter”, one preacher in attendance asked if we could recite it again, at his church, during the normal worship time.

After that presentation, a man remarked to me that it was such a great essay and wondered if I had written it, or where he could get a copy of it. Hmm.

I assured him I am not that great a writer, that it had been a selection from Scripture. He was astonished, said he’d never read anything that good in the Bible before. I gave him the reference. He marveled and promised he would go home and read it again, with the children’s voices still sounding in his ears, and seek for more meaning. Hmm.

But another time tops this. One night my children recited “The Sermon on the Mount”. Our youngest bravely wanted to help recite and assured me he could, although he was only seven at the time. I wondered at the wisdom of it, but knew the audience would forgive a flawed recitation from one so young. I knew this, especially since he desired to recite solo the entire parable of “The Wise and Foolish Builders”.

As the presentation progressed, I felt good about it. My children were totally prepared for this and giving, truly, one of their best recitals. However, as they neared the end, and my young son’s solo, he began to waver. After several bobbles, though, he collected himself and made it through to the end.

Bravo, Darling.

Later, I asked him what was wrong, what made him fearful. He replied, “When I saw that man in the audience crying, I thought I was doing a bad job.”

Further checking revealed this man in a rumpled suit, slumped down in his pew and openly mopping tears from a crumpled face, was the back-slidden relative of one of our group.

Oh, the power in the voice of a young child reciting Scripture! A grown man weeping to hear it, a churched man desiring to read it, what more could a mother want for reward?

Only this: that they would remember it, walk in it, and turn and teach it to their own.

Another story in this series here!

Nothing scarier than a fire set by an inventive child. Near your garage. On a windy day. How did we survive?

Did a Scary Angel Visit? Or a Savior Tramp?

Burning pine straw

One of our little boys was inventive and fearless.

And one day, a stranger came knocking at our back door.

It had been a mild-weather day and the main back door was open to let breezes in and to allow my supervision of our little boy’s outdoor play, while I tended to some laundry. The only separation between me and this huge visitor was the screen door of the back porch.

Over the expanse of his body he wore a grayed t-shirt, overalls with one strap fastened, and grubby boots untied.  Some of his teeth were missing. He badly needed a shave and his oily hair flattened in several directions. Something about the urgency of his loud knock startled me. That was before I turned and spied his unkempt estate.

I admit I was beyond distressed. Wild images of countryside kidnappings captured my mind, uninvited.

Timidly, I approached the main door, breaking all my rules about talking to strangers.

When you don't know if your are safe or not, when fire is the enemy, when friends are weird...“Yes?”

“Ma’am, it may be none o’ my business, but did you know y’ur little boy has got hisself a fire a-goin’ in the pine straw out here?”

“Oh, no! Oh, no! Please, PLEASE, stay and help me!”

Funny how outward appearances don’t matter much, sometimes.

I followed that kind and insightful messenger of mercy to the scene, and found that, sure enough, as he’d seen his daddy do countless times, our little son had raked up a pile of pine straw and set fire to it. He never guessed his tiny blaze was only feet away from oceans of pine straw, some of it drifted against our garage, downwind on a breezy day. The fire had already broken out of bounds.

We two adults raked and sprayed water until it was out.

I told the man he had probably saved our son’s life, and surely saved us great property loss. I thanked him until he was embarrassed and left.

I forgot to ask his name.

I guess he was an angel in disguise. Sometimes we need help, and God knows it. Yeh, maybe an angel. I can imagine my asking him his name, and him saying, “Folks jis calls me Gabe.”

On investigation, I learned my husband’s matches were stored high on a wall in the garage, good, but under them was the mower, rolled there by our son in less than five minutes, and topped with a milk crate, making him tall enough to reach. So young, but so brave and inventive.

And so perfectly protected.

Another story in this series here!

The Blessings of Habit–Part 1

Do Your Kids Have Habitual Blessings?

Light switch habit

Light switch habit

“Hey! Turn that back on!” I heard from the hallway one day.

It had happened again.

We have taught our children, from the time they were young, to turn off lights as they leave a room. Someone had turned out the light while there was someone still in that room.

It was a case of what I like to call “good habit—bad timing”.

It takes 21 days to form a good habit.

How amazing that the brain, once trained, knows what to do on its own! Eventually we no longer have to think about what to do and how to do it.

Imagine if you had to reinvent tying your shoe, each time you did it. We can turn off a light without thinking, even without looking at the switch. We can be thinking about the next task in the next room while we finish the task in the current one.

The mind is wonderful!

During an exercise class, I heard a phrase worth remembering:

“That which is used, develops; that which is not used atrophies.”

At that time, I did not know the meaning of the word “atrophy”, so I guessed it meant the opposite of “develop”. Since our family has a motto of knowing, instead of guessing, it bothered me I didn’t know for sure, so I looked it up.

So many habits go into each action…

Think of all the habits working in this experience:

  1. The phrase, repeated, became a reminder of the good of learning, repetition, and training.
  2. The habitual use of English caused me to guess correctly at the meaning of a word in context.
  3. The habit of exercise, itself, gave me a lifelong urge to keep moving, partly spurred on by thoughts of atrophy.
  4. Our habit of being sure of facts caused me to bother with a dictionary.
  5. A family habit of returning a thing to its place enabled me to find the dictionary.
  6. A habit of working alphabetically caused me to turn to the front of that huge book.

Imagine life without habits!

How difficult it would have been for me to benefit from the experience had I not had all those habits! Oh, the drill, supplied by faithful adults, that formed them in me!

The sad thing is that some children who lack faithful training might be learning to hate exercise instead of fearing atrophy. We have many such children living among us, these days—lacking drill in good habits—and this loss causes many problems. They never reap any benefit from life’s normal experiences. They become abnormal.

And we have to make up for their loss all around us.

Our children do not have to be among them, though. The home is the perfect environment for instilling good habits.

Let’s do it!

_______________

More tomorrow.

(Photo credit: Wikipedia)

 

Resolved:

I’ve been thinking about New Year resolutions a lot, lately.

Thinking what a sobering thing it would be to ask God what He would like to see me change this year!

I found something that may relate, something to think about:

And Enoch lived sixty and five years, and begat Methuselah: And Enoch walked with God after he begat Methuselah three hundred years, and begat sons and daughters: And all the days of Enoch were three hundred sixty and five years: And Enoch walked with God: and he was not; for God took him (Genesis 5:21 KJV).

By faith Enoch was translated that he should not see death; and was not found, because God had translated him: for before his translation he had this testimony, that he pleased God. But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him (Hebrews 11:5-6 KJV).

Enoch lived long, long ago, among some of the first people, ever. And he lived one year for each of the three hundred sixty-five days in a year. Does this make me curious?

Yes.

Then there’s another thing: It seems like he simply subsisted before Methuselah’s birth, but walked with God after.

I can relate to that.

Scripture does not mention anyone else “walking with God” in Genesis 5. They all just lived, and bore descendants, is all we are told.

None of the others were taken, either; they all died. Enoch, however, “was not, for God took him.”

We must believe God exists and that He will reward us. I know He does that! But could He want to give me an Enoch-like experience this year? Could I muddle through, listening, for 65 days, and then have direction for walking with Him?

Like Enoch, only smaller?

I want to try this. I want to wait on Him during the first 65 days, to show me the way, His direction, what He wants for the last 300 days of 2015. I want to be still before Him and listen to His ideas about what comes next.

I want to hear Him say, “Come,” and I want to step out of the boat. By the 65th day of the year, I want to say, “By God’s grace, I will do this thing.” I want to walk with God the remaining 300 days of the year, in this matter He sets before me. Maybe by the 65th day of the year (Friday, March 6) I will know what I should change, what I should make my year’s goal.

What will He show me? What will He require of me? I don’t know.

I want a dedication on Day 65, and I want to call it Enoch Day and I want a big celebration this time next year. I’m thinking of keeping a journal, just for this tradition.

Maybe I’ll be brave and post it. Or maybe not.

Although all is still in the formative stages, one thing has become clear to me: In my life, a new Enoch celebration would be far better than all the New Year Resolutions in the world. (I cannot, in my own strength, change all I need to change. I have learned: God-pleasing changes do not come from my own strength.)

By God’s strength, I can walk in His will much more easily than I can walk in guilt over bondage to an overwhelming New Year’s list.

Maybe you could, too.

What if we began the New Year diligently seeking Him about what He would like changed? What if we took His Word to us and began implementing it on March 6? What if He visited us with His strength to do it?

It’s scary, but I can hardly wait.

Fireworks

Fireworks

An Anatomy of Pain – Conclusion

What then are we to make of suffering?

Keep calm means never lose calm.If we are The Called, in Christ Jesus, everything that happens to us is for some higher purpose, even when life DOES go our way. We can know for sure that the pain of suffering unfair treatment, like all other things, works for good. The Scriptures promise this.

  1. Suffering at the hands of an enemy gives us rare opportunities to extend forgiveness to people in Jesus’ name.
  2. It can draw His precious ones closer to Him, if that’s what we want, not like those who move farther away from Him when they face suffering.
  3. It can quiet us from our boasting, give us peace within our limitations, and explain mourning to us in a way we can understand.
  4. Suffering can make us open our Bibles with new earnestness, and oftener, too.
  5. It can teach us new heights of patience with those who watch us and try to help us.
  6. It can cause us to acknowledge God’s authority over us, and to accept His working in our lives as the highest good.
  7. Finally, suffering can cause us to rest in our trust in God, full of His Holy Spirit, and to see His hand in everything that happens around us.

I pray these blessings on you all. They are the whole reason He came, anyway. Right?

An Anatomy of Pain – The Real Enemy

Chess pawn 0985.jpg
Chess pawn 0985.jpg (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Oh, if only forgiveness were the end of it!

But it’s just the beginning.

Suffering doesn’t stop just because we’ve been nice. Our real enemy (who is not a human enemy), knows how to move his pawns and which buttons to push. Sometimes forgiveness must become more like a motto than a choice. Once that choice is functioning, insight grows for us in amazing ways.

We notice patterns. Painful, uncanny coincidences just “pop up”. Ever wonder if it was just you, or if life actually takes a nosedive once a month? At the least timely time? Like clockwork? Mark your calendar; he’ll be back when you’re at your weakest. Why not? He’s the enemy!

For our family, he tries a trick or two every Thanksgiving. I think it’s because we actually celebrate the “thanks” part of it, unto the Lord. Our enemy hates that. So we’ve had four wrecks (none our fault), a baby dehydrating in a hospital, a surgically repaired broken arm, a best friend’s funeral, a small housefire, an emergency cleaning at our church’s parsonage, and a dead refrigerator on ten separate Thanksgivings. We know when to start praying.

But the thanksgiving part is the most essential. If we turn to God in our pain, weakness, and fear; if we cling to Him in trust; if we thank Him and praise Him in obedience to His Word; we come away from our temptations, trials, and tests on His side of the line between life and death. He waits to help and longs for us to choose life.

Oh, but there’s more. During times of great mental or emotional pain we still have our relationships. Precious ones still need us. Promises stand unfulfilled.  We simply cannot cry all day because of a meeting tonight. We cannot go for a long drive because of the children. We cannot rent a cabin away from it all because Mom will need her cancer checkup. Or something.

Then there’s the Word. How impossible it is to pitch a good old-fashioned fit with the Word echoing in our brains! Blessed are ye . . .Who for the joy set before Him endured . . . ye have not yet endured to the shedding of your blood . . . Wives, also . . . We end at the ultimate word on suffering: My God, My God, why hast Thou forsaken Me? And we realize: He has not despised or disdained the suffering of the afflicted one . . .

Could there possible be more? Yep. We always have helpers. People bring us food we aren’t supposed to eat. People comfort us with ungodly words. People say they love us and we know they lie. It is a call for the patience of the saints. Be a saint. After all, you do have needs. They mean no harm.

Eventually God takes you out, raises you above, gives you a plateau. The plateau has a name: Union with God. You realize it is not about you, was never about you. You realize your co-suffering with Jesus, your helping to fill what was lacking in His suffering, your place in the plan of salvation for someone else. It is heavenly. You see yourself through His eyes, as a warrior for Him, someone He trusts to do part of His work. It’s like a medals ceremony after a big battle.

Then you rest. Only then. Although He has held you tenderly by the hand through the whole nightmare, He now holds you IN His hand and you know you are, finally, safe.

Conclusion, tomorrow.

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