Thursday, February 28, 2013

The Kitchen, the Sanctuary of the Home & Heart

The kitchen is the center of the home.  In my home, there is only a great room which means it's living room, dining room, and kitchen all in one, and I like it that way.  I can't let the dishes pile too high or they will spill over onto the couch.  The smell of cookies baking or dinner cooking doesn't have to waft too far to fill the house.  The living room is also my office which is the recliner in front of the fireplace where I do my writing.  I hope my home is an inviting, cozy, homey, pull-up-a chairy, sit-a-spellish, kind of abode.

"One day I was busy with my work and thinking and communing with Jesus, for I found out that it was not necessary to be a nun or be isolated away off in some deep retirement to have communion with Jesus; but, though your hands are employed in doing your daily business, it is no bar to the soul's communion with Jesus.  Many times over my wash-tub and ironing table, and while making my bed and sweeping my house and washing my dishes I have had some of the richest blessings.  Oh, how glad I am to know this, and how many mother's hearts I have cheered when I told them that the blessing of sanctification did not mean isolation from all the natural and legitimate duties of life, as some seem to think.  Not at all.  It means God in you, supplying all your needs according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus; our need of grace and patience and long suffering and forberance, for we have to learn how not only to bear, but also to forbear with informities of ourselves and others as well." 
Amanda Smith
born a slave, a pioneer black missionary-evangelist.
Little three year old Jane never was too happy to be weaned and now is jealous of a baby sister.  After her mother laid the baby down the other day, Jane cozied up to her mother and said, "I want some.  I want to eat in your kitchen!"

Snuggle up and enjoy God's kitchen full of His comfort food in His Word.

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

"Dear Optimist and Pessimist,

While you were busy arguing about the glass of water, I drank it.


The Realist"

There are times when you must seize the moment whether it is half-full or half-empty.  Usually desperation spurs you on.  Desperation throws caution out the window and stands precedence on its head, and kicks until even reason raises its voice.  Sometimes, alas, we are so desperate, we call out to God.  That's when a little voice inside reminds us that we could'a-should'a called sooner.

Bartimaeus was a blind beggar on the side of the road.  When Jesus and the crowd went by, he cried out LOUDLY!  They tried to hush him up, "sternly telling him to be quiet, but he kept crying out all the more, 'JESUS, Son of David, have mercy on me!"  Because he was desperate though disparaged, obnoxously so, Jesus stopped instead of passing him by.  He was healed.  Mark 10:46ff

When I was in nineth grade, I was able to go on a mission trip to the Navajo reservation in Page, Arizona.  The poor of our country live on reservations.  I've worshipped there in a shack that had spaces between the siding wider than my hand where the freezing snow could drift.  Even the pot-belly stove couldn't warm the place.  In church they called on a man to pray, he nodded, and then when he started everyone joined in praying at once, aLOUD, mostly in Navajo and some in English.  It was calling out for mercy from God.  They did not want Him to pass them by.  It was an unforgettable moment.  Sometimes I think our prayer is too calm, too quiet, too domesticated.  What if  in church we all started calling out to God, reaching for the hem of His garment, desparately not wanting to let Him pass us by.

"If you only pray when you are in trouble,
 you're in trouble."
"I pray because the need flows out of me all the time,
waking or sleeping.
It doesn't change God,
it changes me."
C.S. Lewis
"That prayer has great power
Which a person makes with all his might
It makes a sour heart sweet,
A sad heart merry,
A foolish heart wise,
A timid heart brave,
A sick heart well,
A blind heart full of sight,
A cold heart ardent,
It draws down the great God into the little heart,
It drives the hungry soul up into the fullness of God.
It brings together two lovers,
God and the soul,
In a wondrous place where they speak much of love."
Mechthilde of Magdeburg

Monday, February 25, 2013

One missionary kid once confessed that while living overseas, he and a buddy climbed the steps inside one of the world's largest Budhas and threw lemons out his nostrils at the worshippers below.  Somehow, I don't think that's possible with our God. When we lived in Weaverville, the Jaas House was just down the hill, the Chinese temple from the gold mining days that was still in use.  It was a protected state site open for tours.  What a sad sight to see the offerings to the idols to placate them: wilting vegetables as if the inanimiate things could actually eat such things.  How much easier it would be for us to keep God in a box in our churches where He wouldn't get hurt, and we could visit Him once a week with our left over garden stuff and a few sheaves of gold leaf or sticks of incense.  Like one preacher said, we could keep Him in a box with a sign that said, "In case of Philistine attack, break glass."  Whatever you do, don't let God out except in emergency situations.  Is God set free to roam through every moment of your living, breathing everyday life, or is He a wild thing that we visit like in the zoo,to be kept behind bars for our safety, not advisable as a household pet.  Get wild.  Let Him loose!  Just remember, God is not a lap dog.
 "Is Aslam tame?" 
 "No, He's a lion."
C.S. Lewis
"The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe"
"Help me, Lord, to remember that religion is not to be confined to the church or closet, nor exercised only in prayer and meditation, but that everywhere I am in Thy presence.  So may my every word and action have a moral content.
As defects and infirmities betray themselves in the daily accidents and common conversations of life, grant me Thy grace, O Lord, tht I may watch over, regulate and govern them.  Enable me so to know myself and those with whom I have to do, that I may conform to the precepts of the Gospel and train myself to those rules of wisdom and virtue of which I am capable.  Help me to discern the proper season and the just occasion of every virtue, and then to apply myself to attain it, by exercising it in those beneficient activities which for want of due reflection, may not seem of any great imortance.  May all the happenngs of my life prove useful and beneficial to me.  May all things instruct me and afford me an opportunity of exercising some virtue and daily learning and growing toward Thy likeness, let the world go which way it will."
Susannah Wesley (1669-1742)
the youngest of twenty-five children,
the "Mother of Methodism."
John Wesley, her fifteenth child,
claimed he learned more from her than
"all the theologians in Europe." 
The remote control was lost but sometimes I thought it was my mind.  We had searched the whole house, but it remained MIA.  I felt through every nook and crannie of every sofa and chair and found enough kernals of unpopped popcorn to make a bowl full, $1.27 in change, and the lost sets of car keys from the previous two autos we'd sold--just kidding--wishful thinking .  I even checked the lint trap but only found the cremains of lost socks, no remote control.  It was going on a month with no remote control and we had to make do, even getting up from our seats to change the settings!  The only thing missing were the rabbit ears and tin foil.   Suddenly, when pushing back from the dinner table, we heard a noise, the recliner belched, and low and behold from out of the deep dark recesses of its bowels, the remote control sprung forth from its captivity.  Life is on easy street again kicked back in the recliner doing what the rest of America is doing in pointing and clicking heaven.  Happy, happy, happy days are here again.

Do you ever wonder why God didn't make us remote control robotic goody two shoes?  Point and click: "good boy" or "good girl!"  Not even my dogs who live to please me are that good.  I've thought of a cattle prod for the kids, but even I'm not that bad of a slacker mom.  At least God is the God of second chances.  His mercies are new every morning.  Just saying though, even God must get tired of reruns and can't wait to see a new season in our lives. 

"Most of the problems of this life
are because of two reasons:
we act without thinking,
or we keep thinking without acting."
"I hope you live a life youre proud of.
If you find you're not,
I hope you have the strength to start again."
"At any given moment you have the power to say,
'This is not how the story is going to end.'"

"Now then, if you will obey My voice and keep my covenant,
then you shall be My own possession..."
Exodus 19:5

Hand over the remote, back away, and no one will get hurt.

Have you given God the controls of your life?

Sunday, February 24, 2013

I love hymns, I miss hymns, but I hated one: "You can have the joy-bells ringing in your soul."  Somehow that didn't translate to my era.  I always felt silly singing that song, like a ding-dong.  I know what it means to have joy even in the midst of deep depression, but I wouldn't, couldn't call it joy-bells.  In our Beth Moore study in James he talks a lot about joy: "Consider it all joy, my brethen, when you encounter various trials..." and they were, encountering persecution, confiscation, poverty, and dispursion.  They were the "scattered ones.  It wasn't all happy, happy, happy," but "our happy place is our obedient place."

Somehow Martin Luther was wrong when he said of the book of James,
 "A right strawy epistle, I almost feel like throwing Jimmy into the stove."
the little brother of Jesus
whose crazy-perfect sibling
died on a cross,
gives his greeting, 
"joy to you."
In the midst of anguish,
knee-deep in trials,
 swallowed by a wave of trouble,
joy is no puny thing;
it resides
in the deeps
 of the soul,
not a joy-bell,
but a fog horn
in the thick
of the mist
that envelopes
the soul.
I went to high school in Morro Bay.  The fog horn was a comforting sound, a warning for ships, in those misty, moisty mornings and nights of white sky falling down swallowing us in its thick cloud.  Joy can be the safe place which sounds out a warning
against shipwreck.
"...of all the lights which you kindle on the face, joy will reach farthest out to sea,
where in your deepest griefs, rejoice in God.
As waves phosphoresce, let joys flash from the swing of the sorrows of your soul."
"The wicked rejoice; but their joy is simply like letting off fireworks,
--they blaze away, and seem to put the modest stars to shame.
But it is all for a little while:
they are over in a moment, while the quiet stars are shining still."
Rev. T. Jones

Saturday, February 23, 2013

Did you read the "Pickles" comic strip this week?
"What's wrong, Gramma?"
"Oh, nothing, Nelson.  It's just no fun getting old."
"You're not getting old Gramma."
"I'm not?"
"No, you got old a long time ago."

"As long as we have memories, yesterday remains.
As long as we have hope, tomorrow awaits.
As long as we have love, today is beautiful."

More Mercies Than Afflictions, a prayer by Susannah Wesley...

"I thank Thee, O God, because in the whole course of my life there have been more mercies than afflictions and much more pleasure than pain.  Though I have suffered pain and bodily infirmities, I have likewise enjoyed great intervals of rest and ease.  But all my sufferings, by the admirable management of Thine omnipotent goodness, have concurred to promote my spiritual and eternal good.  If, owing to the perverseness of my own will, my frequent lapses into present things and my unfaithfulness to Thy good Spirit, I have failed to reap that advantage of life's adversities which I might have done, I thank Thee because, notwithstanding all my prevarications and all the stupid opposition I have made, Thou hast never totally abandoned me.  Glory be to Thee, O Lord!"

In God's own goodness, He allowed this private prayer of the mother of John Wesley, to be preserved from her journal, to arise from the 1700's to today with significant resonance in my own heart.  After sitting in at the doctor's and the dentist's for four hours yesterday and my hair dyed the day before and the eye doctor looking at the back of my eyeball last week, I am thankful that I live in this day and age where my pain and infirmities are managed to help me age less noticeably.  But really, only God's grace can help me age gracefully.  I don't think they have botox  for the heart. 

"Since love grows within you, so beauty grows.
For love is the beauty of the soul." 

Friday, February 22, 2013

Perfect Parenting...

My son confessed he yelled at his toddlers.   Under two years old Ezra was about to bite his twin sister Addie. Instead of a kiss on the cheek, it was worse than a nibble.  Jay saw it coming, was in the other room running to the rescue, but was not on time as he yelled, "Noooo!  Don't bite!!!"
I confess.  I have yelled too.  I am not the perfect parent.

What do the neighbors think?  When my firstborn had colic that lasted for years, a very elderly neighbor told someone she had never heard a baby cry like that.  More recently the sounds from our house have gone from Rush Limbaugh to Christian radio to screams of pain from our boys with health problems years sprinkled in with the yells from a frustrated mother.  What must they think?

God is the perfect parent.  He does not yell, but keeps a steady voice of reason in His Word.  He uses Bible study to speak discipline into my life.  In my morning  study we are using "Enjoying the Closeness of God" by Rober C. Palms (Billy Graham's "Decision Magazine" editor).  Here are some selections from this weeks study.

"All Scripture is God breathed and is useful for teaching,
rebuking, correcting and training."
II Tim. 3:16
"Not only is there 'power in the blood,' to cleanse us from sin, but there is power in the Son of God to break the bonds of Satan and set us free.  Through the counsel room of every minister limps a continual stream of men and women who are handcuffed by some habit, some appetite, some sin tht has made them prisoners, has hung chains too heavy to carry over their necks.  They need to know that Christ, God's Son, can lift them up, make them straight, and break the bonds of Satan."
C. Roy Angell
"Many of those 'handcuffed' people claim salvation but  haven't pursued obedience to its proper end--their freedom...'If the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed.' (John 8:36)
"Only if we accept the discipline of the free shall we be free indeed. 
He that persists in sin shall become the slave of sin." 
"We are owned by all that we have made important.  If God was important, then we would be obeying him and following many are claiming to belonging to Christ who really belong to themselves...These are captured people who want the assurance that 'God is for me,' without asking, 'Am I for God?'"
"Only he who personally stands before God on his own account, and enjoys an uninterrupted communion with God can properly display the glorious wings of liberty."
A. Kuyper, "Calvinism" 
Sin separates us from God.  How long will you sit in a time-out chair?
Does God believe in spanking.  Sometimes I think so.

Thursday, February 21, 2013

I know many of you are sleepless in Seattle, and Yuba City, and Marysville...This is dedicated to you.

"Dear sleep,

I know we had problems when I was younger.
But I love you now.  Please come back."

"No one looks back on their life and remembers the nights they had plenty of sleep."
"I like sleeping.  It's like being dead without the commitment."
"If a kid refuses to sleep during naptime,
are they guilty of resisting a rest?"
Sleep deprivation does strange things to you...
"That awkward moment when you are not sure if you actually have free time
or you're forgetting everything."
"My train of thought derailed and there were no survivors."
"If I had a dollar for every time I got distracted, I wish I had some ice cream..."
"I sometimes pretend to myself to have insomnia
when what I really have is a good book
and inadequate respect for tomorrow."
"Don't forget to pray today,
because God didn't forget to wake you up this morning."
"A lot of pain we are dealing with
is really only just thoughts."
"A lion doesn't lose sleep over the opinion of sheep."

"Unless the Lord builds the house,
They labor in vain who build it;
Unless the Lord guards the city,
The watchman keeps awake in vain.
It is vain for you to rise up early,
To retire late ,
To eat the bread of painful labors;
For He gives to His beloved
even in his sleep."
Psalm 127:1 & 2

"Behold, He who keeps Israel
Will neither slumber nor sleep."
Psalm 121:4

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

February, the month of love..."The Love Dare"

a little jealous of a new cousin
Jealousy, good or bad?  The first murder, the first siblings Cain and Able, was a violent act of jealousy.  What about Sarah's jealousy of Hagar which created the wars between Jews and Palestinians to this day?  Then there was Joseph and his brothers when they put him in a pit before selling him into slavery.  Then there are my two dogs who grab and gulp dog treats jealously hoping the other did not get more than they did nearly biting the hand that is feeding them: if I sport a hook for a hand someday, it won't be because of a crocodile.

"Love is as strong as death, its jealousy unyielding as the grave.  It burns like blazing fire." 
 Song of Solomon 8:6
Jealousy's root word means "to burn with an intense fire."
"Wrath is fierce and anger is a flood,but who can stand before jealousy?"
Proverbs 27:4
"There is a legitimate jealousy based upon love...when someone you love, who belongs to you, turns his or her heart away and replaces you with someone else..."  God "deeply longs for us, desiring for us to keep Him our first love.  He doesn't want us to let anything take precedence over Him in our hearts."
"The Lord your God is a consuming fire, a jealous God."
Deuteronomy 4:24
Guard your heart jealously.

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Last week the handle on our toilet was broken.  That means for all intents and purposes, I could wash my hands in the tank water every time I pull the chain to flush.  Laura's washer was broken for over three weeks: that meant trips to the relatives with dirty clothes and hand washing and bleaching cloth diapers in the bathtub.  Take that Pioneer Woman!  Sometimes we take our conveniences for granted.  If your water bill is too high, do you decide to quit taking baths, quit washing clothes, or worry that you are flushing the toilet too much, or drinking too much water?   No, of course not.  Your lawn may get a little thirstier, your showers may get shorter, but you don't exchange cleanliness for miserliness.  (That only happens on cruises.)  Before you worry about your money going down the drain, you should know there is free water.

While we are on the subject of water, have you ever been thirsty, really thirsty?  I have.  Walking on a trail in the mountains above Pasadena, it was hot and dusty, and too dry.  I felt like crawling in the hot sand croaking, "water, water!" but it was uphill and there were rattlesnakes.  When we whined, my dad made us suck on small pebbles to create saliva: he said it was an old army trick.  I think the only thing it succeeded in doing was keeping our mouths full of rocks so we couldn't complain as much. 

Now I can't eat unless I have a glass of water in front of me.  Finally after I was diagnosed with Sjogren's, which creates dry mouth, it makes sense why I have a feeling of panic without my H2O: I practically eat with one hand on the glass and one with the fork.  I am "have glass, will travel," and am known as a "two-fisted drinker," with a soda and a water in case one runs out before a waitress can refill.

Jesus knew thirst.

"Ho, every one who is thirsty,
come to the waters."
Isaiah 55:1
"...whoever... gives to one of these little ones
even a cup of cold water to drink,
truly I say to you,
he shall not lose his reward."
Matt. 10:42
"'for I was hungy, and you gave Me something to eat;
I was thirsty, and you gave Me drink;
'Truly I say to you, to the extent that you did it to one...of these,
even to the least of them,
 you did it to Me.'
Matthew 25:35, 40
"...whoever drinks of the water that I shall give him shall never thirst;
but the water that I shall give him shall become in him
a well of water springing up to eternal life."
John 4:14
We take flushing toilets, washers, and cold water for granted.  Do you know anyone thirsty?  Do you offer them pebbles or living water?


Monday, February 18, 2013

Out of the mouth of babes...

Teaching Toddlers Church is a kick.  Sunday we acted out "Ned & Nora" stories with dolls as they learned playing with a friend can be better than being by oneself.  Friends are good.  Jesus chose 12 friends.  We named them.  "Do you want to be a friend of Jesus?"  Then there's little Gabe, eyebrows knitted with almost a look of horror on his face shaking his head decidedly, "No!"  Instead  he said, "I have worms for pets, and we don't have gloves."  Grace added, "I have a pet unicorn."  Alrighty then!

"Always be yourself,
Unless you can be a unicorn,
Then always be a unicorn."
"Creativity is having intelligent fun."
Albert Einstein
"It is a miracle that curiosity survives formal education"
(Or Toddlers Church).
Albert Einstein
"Educating the mind without
educating the heart
is no education at all."
"Someone once compared the daily task of caring for small children to stringing beads.
At the end of the day, you expect to find quite an impressive strand considering your efforts;
then you come to realize there was no knot at the end of the string!
All your hard work is strewn across the floor in spilled juice,
Cheerios, toys, and dirty diapers."
Cheri Fuller
"Greater love has no one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends (kids).  You are my friends if you do what I command.  I no longer call you servants, because a servant does not know his master's business.  Instead, I have called you friends..."
John 15:13-15
Mommies are going about doing their master's business.  You are His bff,
and I wouldn't be surprised if He has a pet unicorn.

Sunday, February 17, 2013

Have you ever noticed when a child is grounded, the parents are the ones who suffer?
It is like a caged animal pacing and growling in our zoo!
Like my dad used to tell me when I got a spanking,
"This hurts me more than it does you."
"My son, do not regard lightly the discipline of the Lord...
for those whom  the Lord loves He disciplines...
but He disciplines us for our good,
that we may share His holiness...
 All discipline for the moment seems not to be joyful, but sorrowful; yet to those who have been trained by it, afterwards it yeields the peaceful fruit of righteousness."
Hebrews 12:4-11

Margaret Jenson wrote that if someone is a prodigal in the pig pen, don't smuggle them a hamburger.
It is hard to watch someone eat pig slop when you are sitting down to a feast.  There is a hard lesson to be learned and short changing, running to the rescue is not helping, it's enabling.  No dessert until you eat your vegetables. It's okay to go to the end of the lane and shade your eyes to search the horizon hoping and praying for their return.

God, the Father, did that for His perfect Son on the cross when Jesus cried, "Why hast Thou forsaken me?" The curtain of heaven was drawn closed and the sky turned black.  Sin does that, separates us from our Father.  Jesus lived a life without sin but took ours upon Himself on the cross.  The good news is that the veil, the curtain was torn from the top to the bottom so that we can enter the Holy of Holies where God is when He said, "It is finished."

"Every story of conversion is the story of a blessed defeat."
C.S. Lewis
"Faith is not the belief that God will do what you want.
It is the belief that God will do what is right."
Max Lucado
"The broad path is heavily traveled,
but if you choose the narrow path
there may be a time when you won't see
anyone but Jesus."
Matt. 7:13-14
Jesus defeated sin with two sticks and three nails.

Saturday, February 16, 2013

I'm not a hoarder, well, as long as my garage doesn't count.  I have to clean it when the path through the mess is blocked and getting knee-deep.  My happy thought is that once I sold much of the contents of my garage for over $1,000, so it is good junk.  A walk through my garage might cause one to say...

Goodness gracious!
Oh my!
I do declare!
Lord, have mercy!
Hush my mouth!
Oh, my stars!
Heavens to Betsy!
Oh, my stars and garters!
Good grief!
Bless your heart!
I'm not a shopoholic.
I am helping the economy.
"I recycle.  I shop thrift stores.
1/4th of my garage stuff is seasonal decore, etc.
1/4th are toys & sports stuff, bikes, etc.
1/4th are my books, magazines, & writings, art supplies, etc.
1/4th are tools, camping gear, lawn mower, etc.
1/4th are mystery trunks of old frames, memorabilia, etc.
1/4th are Children's Church material and craft supplies, etc..
What!  That doesn't add up?
That's when I know I have too much stuff.
I have to get rid of the etc.
Imagine all the pagan cultures that buried the dead with their treasures to take into the next life.
I would need a huge pyramid!
What is in your garage that you would want in your tomb anyway?
There never was a U-Haul behind a hearse.
O Lord, how many are Thy works!
In wisdom Thou hast made them all;
"The earth is full of Thy possessions."
Psalm 104:24
"You shall be My own possession among all the peoples."
Exodus 19:5
Be thankful that God has chosen you for His special collection. 
Nothing else really matters.
Stuff is fluff.
Stuff and nonsense.
I prefer to be buried in thought, but...
Now is the time to put the computor down and step back,
and head to the garage.
If there's no post tomorrow, you'll know where to find me.
Send in the fire department, the paramedics,  and the American Pickers.

Robin & Jimmy are preparing a room to rent to a "visiting nurse," who serve our community for 6 weeks to 6 months.  There goes a table, a dresser, a nightstand to furnish their room: I'm feeling a little lighter with elbow room. Ahh!
Oh wait...there's a yard sale!

Friday, February 15, 2013

February, the month of love...
Oops, I forgot to put on my make-up again today.
Yesterday, I put my shirt on inside-out.
But I did remember to make an appointment to get my hair done...
I need someone to photoshop me!

"I wonder more women to whom their good looks are precious,
do not ponder upon the beauty of holiness."  Fanny Kemble, 1882

"Being a female is a matter of birth;
Being a woman is a matter of age;
Being a lady is a matter of choice."
"She was beautiful in the quiet way that lovely,
 unnoticed people are beautiful
to those who notice them."
"If you yourself do not know,
Most beautiful among women...
Like a lily among the thorns..."
Song of Songs 1:8, 2:2
"Though she be but little,
she is fierce."
"Her worth is far above jewels."
Proverbs 31:10

Thursday, February 14, 2013

A marriage is like an egg.  It is a symbol of the trinity: three in one.  Also it can represent you, your beloved, and the Godhead.  Marriage is fragile.  It must be treated with respect.  Sometimes it can crack without breaking.  There is a film inside which can still hold it together.  Be gentle with your marriage.  Keep it safely in the nest, warmed by your love, and only broken from the inside with new life.
Gluten Free Special Meal Planning for your valentine...

Some of you are looking for ideas to bless a gf friend with.  Here are meals we enjoy:

Spaghetti:  Quinoa noodles (Walmart) + hamb. + Prego sauce with a tsp of honey & a tsp of vinegar.
Variation: Cook Quinoa penne noodles + hamb. + tomato sauce + chili powder & curry + froz. corn.  Top with slices of Cheddar Cheese & Bake 30 min.

Cheesey Potato Soup: grated potatoes (Walmart froz grated gf potatoes in the egg section); water, sauted and cut into bite-sized a slice of ham or Black Label Hormel Real Bacon Bits, qt. of half & half, (or pint of cream), and grated cheddar cheese all in crock pot. (cook the potatoes in water for the am, then add the rest for the last hr or so.)  Season as desired.  I use Durkee KC steak or chicken seasoning.

Clam Chowder: same grated potatoe soup base but add 2 cans Progresso clam chowder, cream or half & half or sour cream.  Both soups could use a qt. of chicken stock but it is hard to find gf.

Crock Pot beef or chicken enchiladaes: cook beef  or chicken & season with minced onion flakes & whatever spices you like.  Cut a stack of tortillas into sixths triangles (Guerrero brands advertize as gf).  Lay on top of meat.  Top with Roserita Red Enchilada Sauce.  An hr. before serving add a can of olives & grated cheddar cheese.  I use Lindsay Natural Black Olives brand to be cautiously gf. 

Shrimp over Rice: saute pre-cooked shrimp (3 min) in olive oil.  Season with cummin, curry, chili powder. Saute sliced onions & red and green peppers.  Add together & serve with rice.

Ribs, beef or pork.  Cook in oven or crock pot.  Add Sweet Baby Ray's BBQ sauce.

Roast Beef.  Cook in slow oven 325 or in crock pot.  Season generously with Durkee KC Steak seasoning.  Save the broth to make gravy.  Mix T of cornstarch with 1/ C water.  Stir in then add pint of cream.  Cook real mashed potatoes or if lazy like me, use Betty Crockers Potato Buds (gf).     

Treats: Dove Dark Chocolate Ice Cream Bars (Yum!), Pamela's Pecan Shortbread Cookies gf (Walmart's gf section), or Reece's Peanut Butter Cups.  We also love orange juice milk shakes (OJ + vanilla ice cream: simple).

Breakfasts: I love gf wafle ( in reg. Walmart froz. section) + froz. blueberries in microwave 30 sec. after toasting wafle.  Top with whipped cream.  I eat this almost every am.  If you are into bigger breakfasts, Hormel Black Label pre-cooked bacon is gf. to go with your eggs or omelette.

Lunches: I often eat a froz. Amy's cheese enchilada. (right now at Grocery Outlet, sometimes at Walmart, Sunflower or New Earth Market).  Progresso has some gf soups now (chicken enchilada, corn chowder, and clam chowder), or I will eat string cheese and a few Kettle bbq gf chips or I melt cheese over On the Boarder Tortilla Chips or other Tortilla Chips that do not have any mystery ingredients.  Pace salsa advertizes as gf.  Salads I use just sour cream as a dressing though there are several gf brands available.

Favorite Eating Out gf Options: Chipotle fajita bowl, Wendy's chili & baked potatoes, Chili's sirloin steak and loaded mashed potatoes. I have had In & Out lettuce wrap hamburger, though I'm not a big  burger fan. Their french fries & milk shake are gf. as is Burger King's.  The only think gf at MacDonalds are their ice cream products. If the french fries are fried where onion rings are, then cross contamination makes it not gf.  Many restaurants will not guarantee gf because of cross contamination of grills and cooking surfaces.

Remember, meats, fruits, and vegetables are gf. so most basic meals are okay.  Look out for modified food starch or soy sauce or teriaki sauce which are usually not gf.  Read labels.  Gluten is in wheat, barley, and rye.  It is also in some of the small print ingredients which I haven't memorized.  To eat healthy, stay away from the long preservative list.

Happy Valentines Day
"When I saw you
I fell in love
And you smiled
Because you knew."
William Shakespeare
"I think love is kind of like those waves out there," she said.
"You ride one in to the beach, and it's the most amazing thing you've ever felt.
But at some point the water goes back out; it has to.
And maybe you're lucky--maybe you're both too busy to do anything drastic. 
Maybe youre good friends, so you stay.
And then something happens...the wave comes back again..
over and over.
I just think sometimes people forget to wait."
Erica Bauermeister
Love, like the sea...
"The sea, once it casts its spell,
holds one in its net forever."
Jacques Cousteau
"I didn't want to kiss you goodbye.
That was the trouble.
I wanted to kiss you goodnight.
And there's a lot of difference."
Ernest Hemingway
"For the mountains may be removed
and the hills may shake,
But my lovingkindness
(my unfailing love)
will not be removed from you...
Says the Lord who has compassion on you."
Isaiah 54:10

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

February, the month of love...Love is more than I'll scratch your back, you scratch mine: ahh, a little lower, to the right, higher, over...You can buy a bamboo hand on a stick back scratcher if that's all you want out of marriage...Love is not 50/50 but 100/100 %: any less is cheating.

More from "Love Dare"..

Love is unconditional.  "God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us."  Romans 5:8

"If someone were to ask you, 'Why do you love your wife?' or 'Why do you love your husband?'
What would you say?  But what if over the course of the years, your husband or wife stopped being every one of those things?  Would you still love them?"

"True love isn't Romeo & Juliet.
It's Grandma & Grandpa
Who grew old together."

"The only way love can last a lifetime is if it's unconditional.  The truth is this: love is not determined by the one being loved but rather by the one choosing to love."  The Bible calls this kind of love 'agape.'  "It differs from the other types of love, which are 'phileo (friendship) and  eros (sexual love).
"'Phileo' and 'eros' ... can fluctuate based upon feelings. 'Agape' love, on the other hand, is selfless and unconditional...'Agape' love is in sickness and health' love, 'for richer or poorer' love, 'for better or worse' love.  It is the only kind of love that is true love.  That's because this is God's kind of love.  He doesn't love us because we are lovable but because He is so loving."

"Love that 'bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things' (I Cor. 13:7) does not come from within.  It can only come from God."

"For better or for worse,
but not for granted."
"I hope
with quiet
that the
final words
that will
ever leave
these lips
of mine
will always be,
I love
Tyler Knott Gregson

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Bless your little pea-pickin' heart...
Before Valentine's Day, Hank got out the red construction paper, the sissors, and the glue and made a valentine's card "for Elizabeth."  I finally got up the nerve to ask, "Is it for your baby cousin or the girl down the street?"  "Pretty much" was the answer I got.  Hmm.  We've gone from talking on walkie talkies to handmade valentine cards.  It's getting serious for an eleven year old in a swoon.
More than anything else I want for my sons, not their grades, not their smarts or good looks or good job, but to have a heart for God.  Before they give it away to another, I want them to give it whole-heartedly to God.
Don't trust your heart,
trust His heart.
"If you want to know where your heart is,
look to where your mind goes when it wanders."
"Do not follow your heart.  Follow the conviction of the Holy Spirit.
The heart is more deceitful above all else
And is desperately sick;
Who can understand it?
I, the Lord, search the heart,
I test the mind."
Jeremiah 17:9-10
"Above all else,
guard your heart
for everything you do
flows from it."
"Lord cleanse me from anything that breaks your heart."
"Blessed are the pure in heart,
for they shall see God."
Matthew 5:8

Monday, February 11, 2013

February, the month of love...
"She rolled over,
buried half her face
in her pillow,
and smiled
It was then,
the overwhelming
washed over her
that there is
so much more
to life
than simply 
surviving it."
Tyler Knot Gregson
Young love.  We came up with lame excuses to be together every day, every hour, every waking minute.  The lamest was telling my parents, "I got some new gas and want to go try it out."  Once they got called out and warned us, if you go anywhere, make sure you wait until the cookies are out of the oven: those cookies were smoking hot and black all over when my parents returned home to find us long gone. 

The children's Bible story Sunday was Luke 14, the feast that nobody wanted to come to.  Their excuses were lame for wanting to be considered excused from the invitation.  So the Master sent his servants to go get the lame, the blind, and the homeless out of their bushes to come to His table.  When you are in love, you want to be with him.  Obviously, when you are making excuses to God, you aren't very in love with Him.  He wants to with you every day, every hour, every waking minute.  What's your excuse?

"Our job is to love others without stopping to inquire whether or not they are worthy.  That is not our business, and in fact, it is nobody's business.  What we are asked to do is to love, and this love itself will render both ourselves and our neighbors worthy if anything can."  Thomas Merton

Sunday, February 10, 2013

February, the month of love...

I will be sharing from the book, "Love Dare," that was inspired from the movie, "Fireproof."

Love is Patient
"Be completely humble and gentle;
be patient, bearing with one another in love."
Ephesians 4:2
"Love is built on two pillars that best define what it is.  Those pillars are patience and kindness...When you choose to be patient, you respond in a positive way to a negative situation.  You are slow to anger.  You choose to have a long fuse istead of a quick temper...Patience brings an internal calm during an external storm...Anger is usually caused when the strong desire for something is mixed with disappointment or grief...It is often an emotional reaction that flows out of our selfishness, foolishness, or evil motives.  Patience, however, makes us wise.  It doesn't rush to judgement...Patience helps you give your spouse permission to be human."
"Know your own happiness.  You want nothing but patience;
or give it a more fascinating name--call it hope."
Jane Austen, "Sense and Sensibility
My parents, married 62 years. 
"A relationship is like a house.  When a lightbulb goes out,
you do not go and buy a new house, you fix the light bulb."

Saturday, February 9, 2013

February, the month of love...

"The Love Dare"
"Love is kind..."
I encourage you to get the book, "Love Dare," as inspired by the movie, "Fireproof."  "Kindness is love in action.  Patience avoids a problem; kindness creates a blessing. 
"Do not let kindness and truth leave you;
bind them around your neck,
write them on the tablet of your heart."
Proverbs 3:3-4
Kindness has four basic core ingredients:
Gentleness: never being unnecessarily harsh. You're sensitive, tender.
Helpfulness: meeting the needs of the moment.
Willingness: kindness inspires you to be agreeable instead of being obstinate, reluctant, or stubborn.
Initiative: when acting from kindness, you see the need, then make the first move.
"She opens her mouth in wisdom and the teaching of kindness is on her tongue."
Proverbs 31:26
What is on your tongue today?
"Create a life that feels good on the inside,
not one that looks good on the outside."
Kindness is the spice of life.  You may prepare a meal to sustain, but without the zest of kindness, it is only bland, barely palpable.  Make life memorable, savorable, satisfying as comfort food. 
One of my worst fears is giving someone food poisoning.  Neither would I want to give them
 word poisoning.

Friday, February 8, 2013

February, the month of love, a Valentine, dear readers...

"The pen is more powerful than the sword." 

We live in an amazing time with the internet that goes around the world much faster than 80 days.  I never wanted to be a missionary, never felt called to be a missionary.  I confess, if I ever was blessed to travel, I wanted to go to beautiful places on God's green earth, not to visit the teeming masses.   Yet, God has seen fit to use my words, packed up in a blog, to send around the world to places I will never go.  "His Word will never return void," is why I always tuck in a verse.  So to my gentle readers in England and Canada, Malaysia and India, Germany and Russia, Korea and China, Latvia and France, and elsewhere, I would send you a Valentine.  My hope is that you find...

"The best moments in reading are when you come across something--a thought, a feeling, a way of looking at things--that you'd thought special, particular to you.  And here it is, put down by someone else, a person you've never met...and it's as if a hand has come out, and taken yours." (The History Boys)

"Time is free, but it is priceless. 
You can't own it, but you can use it.
You can't keep it, but you can spend it.
Once you've lost it, you can never get it back."
Harry Mackus.
"For such a time as this..."
As long as the bird sings in my soul, I will write.
"Thou are like the bird that alights and sings
Though the frail spray bends,
for he knows he has wings."
Victor Hugo
And the song carries further than my wings.

"If I had to choose, I'd rather have birds than airplanes."
Charles Lindbergh
"So shall my word be which goes forth from My mouth;
It shall not return to Me empty (void),
Without succeeding in the matter for which it is sent."
Isaiah 55:11
When in the beginning God created with His spoken word. He despised the void and did something very creative!
He's never stopped delighting in creativity.

Thursday, February 7, 2013

February, the month of love...

I love a good book, a little romance, a plot with a twist.  As a writer, I try to learn by reading what others have written. There is a lot of fluff out there on the Christian fiction market, some even a tad too close to the Harlequin line (I'm guessing since I haven't read any.) These books do not deserve to be passed on to any friend of mine.  Occasionally, I have such disgust that it deserves only the trash pile: gasp, yes, I have thrown away a book or two in my time.  I  prefer the steaminess of the Jane Austen style of romance with shoulders barely brushing or fingertips glancing intimating a heart on fire. 

"I dined at home...and spent the evening reading 'Vanity Fair.'  It is extremely clever, but hitherto I do not like it very much...and though I did get through, I never got over the odiousness of the people I lived with during the four volumes of his experiences of life...Is not Shakespeare true to human nature?  Why does he never disgust one with it?  Why does one feel comparatively clean in spirit after living with his creatures?  Some of them are as bad as real men and women ever were, but some of them are as good as real men and women ever are; and one does not lose respect for one's kind while reading what he writes of it; and his coarse utterances, the speech of his time hurt one compartively litte in the midst of his noble and sweet thoughts..."  Fanny, 1800's

"There is no charm equal to tenderness of heart."
Jane Austen

"To love is to burn, to be on fire."
Jane Austen, "Sense & Sensibility"

"Love is friendship on fire."
French Proverb
"...struck to the bone in a moment of breathless delight."
Les Miserables
"You have made my heart beat bride;
You have made my heart beat faster with a single glance of your eyes..."
Song of Songs 4:9

"After I read a good book, I have a hard time coping with reality."
"A room without books
is like a life without a soul."
Boil down all that has been written over all the years
and you will discover a few pure nuggets of gold worth treasuring.
The Book has passed the test of time with Truth, the story of man's struggles and sinfulness,
 and the romance of redeeming love.

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

February, the month of love...

"Money can buy a lot of things,
but it doesn't wiggle its tail every time you come in the door."

I love my dog.

If you ever consider "TP"ing someone's house, take my dog with you.  He loves to shred tissues.  He doesn't even have the sniffles.  It's a game to him: I hide the kleenex box before I go out and he finds it.  Surprise!  He loves to TP the living room.  Though he obviously has so much fun doing it, he sits on the couch stealing furtive glances at the damning evidence looking as guilty as any dog has ever looked when I return.  Don't tell me that a dog doesn't remember doing naughty tricks.  He knows.

"Hello, my name is No-No-Bad-Dog, what's yours?"
Sin is pleasurable for a season, (Hebrews 11:25), but...
"Be sure, your sin will find you out."
Numbers 32:23
And Jesus said,
"But there is nothing covered up that will not be revealed,
and hidden that will not be know.
Accordingly, whatever you have said in the dark
shall be heard in the light,
and what you have whispered in the inner rooms
shall be shouted upon the rooftops."
Luke 12:2-3
Alas, sometimes we act like we have a dog brain and think our deeds will stay our dirty little secret.  
Just remember...
"There is more mercy in Christ
then sin in us." 

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

February, the month of love...

I love my cousins.  I was blest with many who are each so special in their unique ways.  Sometimes we grew up together, with others we seldom saw but still belonged in the cousin club.  Today's valentine goes to my cousin Paul...

Alzeheimers is a pickpocket of the mind, a thief of memory.  My mother and five out of six of her siblings have had it.  My cousin Paul has it now.  He is a sweetheart who served our country in Vietnam, but came home addicted and broken.  He finally became free of addictions just in time it seemed to battle alzeheimers. His reoccuring fear was that he would have to go back to the army recruiters and reinlist.  His loving wife and daughters did all they could until they needed to let the VA step in for his care this week.  When they went to visit him, he was happy to see them though he probably didn't know they were his family.  Paul was practicing hospitality telling other patients, "You are always welcome at my house."  That's the kind of home he was raised in and the kind of home he and Linda had.  What a beautiful spirit that was allowed to shine.  Thank you for your service, Paulie.  We love you.

"A grandparent's house (or Aunt Dolly & Uncle Paul's) is where cousins become best friends."
"An adventurous life does not mean climbing mountains, swimming with sharks or jumping off cliffs.  It means risking yourself by leaving a litle piece of you behind in those you met
along the way." 
"Behold, how good and how pleasant it is
For brothers (and cousins) to dwell together in unity!"
Psalm 133:1

Monday, February 4, 2013

February, the month of love...Noah my second grade red-headed grandson is a romantic soul, head over heels in love with his mother.  He leaves her love notes all the time, in her drawers, on the mantel...  His latest one was

"Do you know you are the best parents in the world?
___ Yes
___ No

"The snow can't block our love.  We belong together."
"Dear Robin,
I love you,
Your Secret Admirer (Noah)
God's love note to us is pretty thick and lays it on even more thickly...

"Since you are precious in my sight,
Since you are honored and I love you."
Isaiah 43:4

"Thy lovingkindness, O Lord, is everlasting."
Psalm 138:8

"Life is short, live it.
Love is rare, grab it.
Anger is bad, dump it.
Fear is awful, face it.
Memories are sweet, cherish it."

Sunday, February 3, 2013

February, a month of love...

"...who for the joy set before Him endured the cross..."
Hebrews 12:2
"To love is to suffer."  If in doubt, look at the example of perfect love, the Saviour of our soul.  There is no perfect love in this world outside of His suffering love.  No husband, no wife, can fill the void of a search for perfect love.  Thus, to love is to suffer, suffer loss.  Some of the loss of a broken love is the loss of the what should have been, even if it had never been.  Yet, God gave us the marriage as the example of His perfect love for us.  Suffering is worth the cost of love.

"A good marriage is the union of two forgivers."
Ruth Bell Graham

"To be a Christian means to forgive the inexcusable
because God has forgiven the inexcusable in You."
C.S. Lewis

What could be harder than suffering the loss of a child?  It is an unimaginable grief when an innocent is not allowed to finish his or her journey in this life with their hand in ours.  My husband will be doing the service for the four year old who died in the car crash this week.  "Heaven is for Reals," will be offered to help bring comfort with a picture of heaven bringing the knowledge that suffering love is only on this side of eternity. 
"It has been said that 'time heals all wounds.'  I do not agree.  The wounds remain.  In time, the mind, protecting its sanity, covers them with scar tissue and the pain lessens.   But it is never gone."
Rose Kennedy

Saturday, February 2, 2013

February, the month of love...

When we were very young and engaged, our sweet church crowned us as the Valentine King and Queen at the annual Valentines Dinner at The Brambles Restaurant, in Cambria, California.  Now, nearly thirty-nine years later, I've learned a thing or two about royalty...

"Any home can be a castle when the King and the Queen are in love."
In my book, "Miss Ruby from Texas," I tell of my grandparents falling in love, and they stayed in love.  They wanted a big family.  Though she was twenty-eight when she married, my grandmother had six children.  My grandparents knew that not all churches wanted to support a pastor with a big family.  Times were not always easy.  When she was in those child-bearing years, she taught at a little Pilgrim Holiness private Christian School in Pasadena.  They pastored a thriving church in Glendale but left the Pilgrim Holiness Church, which had a tendancy to legalism, and became Nazarenes because their efforts at Boys and Girls Clubs and Sunday School were thought to be too worldly.  My grandfather then traveled on the revival trail with my grandfather, Uncle Bud Robinson, as his chauffeur and piano playing-song leader.  That meant weeks on end being away from his growing family, and for my grandmother, years on end taking care of my grandmother and living in her home.  When my mother was in high school, they pastored in Escondito.  In between churches and trying to make ends meet, my grandmother was a social worker and my grandfather worked for McMann's Furniture. All eight of them lived in a tiny three bedroom home.   He even helped caretake a boys' ranch, including the care of horses and stables.  The owners tried to sue him, unsuccessfully, for animal cruelty, a ridiculous charge against a man who grew up on the back of a horse on a ranch in Texas with a love for the big animals.  Then they pastored Bloomington Church of the Nazarene and were a blessing to many leaving a very strong church.  Their near retirement church was in New Cuyuma, a very out of the way little community tucked away between Bakersfield and the coast. 
After my grandfather passed away, my grandmother Ruby lived in San Gabriel and was a social worker, then a teacher in a private Christian school. When she retired, some of the family helped her purchase a little house in Pasadena.  On her small pension she could only afford to live in a poor part of town.  To make friends, Gram would hang a happy face paper plate on her doorknob when there were cookies baked to share with the neighborhood children and a sad face when the cookie jar was empty.  Finally, the crime became so bad, she was burglarized more than once for the little costume jewelry she had.  My aunt and  uncle moved her to a grandmother's quarter behind their home in a very nice neighborhood in Long Beach where she could walk out of her door and go swimming every day into her eighties.  She would walk to the corner grocery store and buy her few items feeling very independent, that is until a drive-by robbery happened: he hung out the car window and tried to grab her purse off her shoulder only succeeding in throwing her down on the curb and sending her to the hospital.  Cancer was found.  Even in the end, she had an enemy of her soul who would not let the daughter of the King go in peace, but fought her with terrible pain.  She finally was victorious in death leaving us a beautiful legacy.  My memories of my grandmother are many, but few of my grandfather.  I do remember sitting on his lap knowing he was a kind and loving, godly gentleman,   the genuine article.  Ruby Robinson Wise liked to say, my husband is Wise, my children are likewise, and I'm otherwise.  She was one of the wisest people I've ever met.  I pick them for my Valentine's King and Queen this year.  Who would you pick?
"An excellent wife is the crown of her husband."
Proverbs 12:4

Friday, February 1, 2013

I'm not very good at math. The lack of use, other than the checkbook, multiplied by the years have taken their toll.  Word problems are the worst:
If you go to Ikea, drive 30 miles to get there, have 2 hours to shop, have $20 dollars budgeted, find $40 dollars of stuff,, spend 3 hours shopping, spend $5 on lunch, how nice will the new stuff look when you get home late?   The new math is so confusing! "If your out-go exceeds your income, your upkeep becomes your downfall."

 However, there are some word problems I can still tackle...

Less stuff, less work, less expense,
equals more money, more time, more joy.
Less equals more. 
"He who buys what he does not need
steals from himself."
"Now and then, it's good to pause in our pursuit of happiness,
and just be happy."
"If it stops you from getting closer to God,
then it needs to go."
"How precious also are Thy thoughts to me, O God!
How vast is the sum of them!
If I should cout them, they would outnumber the sand."
Psalm 139:17
Go figure!