Sunday, December 23, 2007

Christmas Candy


Grannie and I spent a little time yesterday afternoon making some yummy treats. The ladies in our family traditionally spend a Saturday in December cooking up lots of sweets, but with Mamma at my sister's and my aunt frantically shopping, there were only two of us to labor and toil.

We had a great time making Potato Candy, vanilla fudge, and a double decker pan of maple and vanilla fudge. With the Christmas chewies I made earlier in the week, I think we may be set...although I'd love to have a little time to make a batch of my aunt's famous gingersnaps.
Hmm...

Saturday, December 22, 2007

Potato Candy


There are lots of variations of this recipe out there, but this is the one my family has traditionally made every Christmas.

1/2 cup cooked potato
1/8 tsp salt
1/2 tsp vanilla
1 lb. confectioners sugar
Peanut butter or soynut butter

Mash potato well and mix with salt, vanilla, and confectioners sugar. You should have a very thick dough to roll out. Sprinkle confectioners sugar on rolling pin and surface and roll out to about 1/4" thickness. Spread peanut or soynut butter on top and roll up into a log. Refrigerate until well chilled and cut into slices. Yum!

The good news is that this recipe is gluten-free, so I can eat it. The bad news is that this recipe is gluten-free, so I can eat it.

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Faithful Prayer

Yesterday I spoke with a lady who recently lost her beautiful daughter in a tragic accident. I listened as she talked about how her greatest fear is that people will cease to pray for her family. She compared it to the account of Moses and the Israelites as they encountered the Amalekites in Exodus 17. As long as Moses held up his hands, the Israelites were winning. When he grew tired, Aaron and Hur held up his arms until the Israelites were finally victorious. This dear woman considers the prayers of friends, acquaintances, and even strangers to be Aaron and Hur, holding up her dear family in this difficult time.

It is regrettably true that we often stop praying. There are many possible reasons for this tendency, but the most common one may simply be laziness. We grow tired of things so easily, and we lack the determination that is required to see things to completion. My daughter shared with me a phrase that she and a friend have adopted: "Stick it out!" When they get tired, discouraged, or frustrated, they encourage one another this way. Don't we need to just "stick it out" in our prayers as well? Scripture instructs us to do just that.

Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer. Romans 12:12

God, on the other hand, is well aware of our weaknesses. We can all be encouraged that His faithfulness is never in question.

The eternal God is your refuge, and underneath are the everlasting arms. Deuteronomy 33:27

Those arms never tire. Their strength is unmatched. We can depend on them.

Thursday, December 6, 2007

Call Me

I've been meditating on Jeremiah 33:3 for a couple of days.

Call to Me, and I will answer you, and show you great and mighty things, which you do not know.

Wow.

I've heard this verse called, "God's phone number". It's a pretty neat description of such an incredible command. What great and mighty things does God want to tell me? Is He just waiting for me to ask? What things have I missed because I wasn't listening?

I am too often guilty of spending my prayer time talking to God, specifically listing the things I want Him to do for me or those I love. I know God speaks to me through His Word, but He also speaks to me in a still, small voice. [I love the passage in 1 Kings 19 where God reveals Himself to Elijah. Oh, don't we want Him to be the earthquake!] The problem is that I have to slow down and quiet myself to be able to hear His voice.

A very helpful exercise that I have realized I need to consciously reinstate in my relationship with God is taking a few minutes every morning to be still and quiet before the Lord. In the past, I have spent 5 or 10 minutes at the end of my prayer time in quiet reflection waiting to hear from Him. I think now I am going to try doing that at the beginning. I have a feeling my prayers may be directed a little differently as a result.

Heavenly Father, please keep my thoughts heavenward.

Monday, November 26, 2007

Seventeen

I'm really not sure how it happened, but our sweet little baby girl has turned seventeen years old. She has grown ever more precious to us each day, and we are so thankful to God for her life.

We had a bit of fun with some "little girl" presents and a Barbie birthday cake, but we all know she is now a young lady, hence the "big girl" gift of an emergency cell phone. *sigh*

Happy Birthday, M! We love you every day, all day long, all the time!

Friday, November 23, 2007

Family

We lost our sweet Papa early this morning, so the last 24 hours have been a tiring, trying time. Yet in the midst of great sorrow I have seen some wonderful things. Last night much of my family gathered around his bed reminiscing about old times, recalling crazy things and sweet memories alike. We read encouraging Scriptures about God's Provision and Heaven. We told Papa how much we loved him and how knowing him had made our lives so much richer.

We are blessed to have a very close-knit family and to enjoy really positive relationships with our extended family. We genuinely enjoy getting together for family gatherings. In the last few weeks, there has been an even sweeter fellowship. Although we are all busy with families, jobs, and church responsibilities and sometimes let too much time go by, we really care about each other and love the opportunity to be together and catch up on all that is happening.

I feel so sorry for people who don't have a man like Papa in their lives. He lived a life worthy of imitation before his family and friends. Rather than tell us how we ought to act, he showed us by example every day of his life . He was a faithful, loving husband to our dear grandmother for 62 years. He had perfect attendance in Sunday School for 54 years. He never passed up an opportunity to help someone. Our lives are better because of his influence.

I also ache for those who don't have a loving, supportive family. What a difference it makes! Yes, we are hurting, but we are hurting together. We will make it through these difficult days, and we will be stronger as a result. Papa would want that, and we will honor his desire.

Monday, November 19, 2007

Feeling Kind of Thoughtful

With all that is going on in the life of our family, it's only natural to be a bit reflective this week. Thanksgiving is one of my favorite times of the year anyway, and this year I feel particularly thankful for all of the many blessings in my life. God has been so very good to me. Sometimes it's really good to count some of those blessings.

Family--One dear husband who doubles as my very best friend, three precious children, two parents, one sister, one brother-in-law who is inside the good old USA, two nephews and a niece/nephew soon to arrive, grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins, and in-laws of all kinds.

Friends--One lifetime friend who has been my confidant, partner-in-crime, and steadfast companion, more who haven't been with me as long but have grown dear to me in countless ways.

Church--A fellowship of believers who diligently seek to follow God and strive to instruct their children in His Ways.

Home--A new house on land owned by my husband's family for eight generations.

Faith--The essence of things unseen, the substance of things hoped for, sincere belief in the Almighty God of Heaven and Earth, and the comfort that comes only from Him.

Hallelujah. Amen.

Friday, November 16, 2007

Proverbs 17:6

Woodworking, Weed Eaters, Old Black Ford Pickup, Little Debbies, Folding Rulers, Sunday School, U. S. Mail, Sugar Foot, Louis L'Amour, Tulips, Pomegranates, Chocolate, Scuppernongs, Pool, Golly Pete Moses, The Barn, Grannie, Faith, Love, and Family


All of these things are part of my Papa, and yet he is so much more. I feel so blessed to be the granddaughter of such a wonderful, godly man. He has given me such an incredible legacy to pass on to my children and grandchildren. I am so glad that my children have fond memories of time spent with their great-grandparents. Although it appears that we will not have him with us for very much longer and my heart is breaking, I would not choose to hold him here. He has much greater things awaiting him. I long for him to get to experience them.

Thank you, Father, for my Papa. I love him so much. I know you must love me to bless me in a such a mighty way. May I be for my family what Papa has always been for me.

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Coincidence or Providence

Tuesday night I was about to head off to bed when I decided to put a load of clothes in the washer. I started the cycle and on my way through the kitchen got distracted by some dishes on the counter. I really wanted to leave them there, but I knew I would appreciate a neat kitchen in the morning.

I heard the washer begin to agitate, but I could still hear the water running. I thought that was odd, so I went back to the laundry room. Sure enough, water was still running into the tub. When I realized the tub was going to overflow, I pushed in the knob to turn off the washer, but the water continued to run. I did what all proper Southern women in distress do--I called for my sweet husband. We turned the water off at the cutoffs, but we had a flooded laundry room. Thankfully, we also had plenty of dirty towels right at hand to mop up all the water. Together we cleaned up the mess and celebrated our deliverance from catastrophe with two wintergreen lifesavers I had previously found in the pocket of someone's jeans. (Do you have a collection of things near your washer like I do? Pennies, rocks, candy, screws, bouncy balls.)

Wednesday morning I was at the store picking out a new washing machine. The last time we'd had the repairman out, he told us not to spend any more money on our loyal old friend. We should just buy a new one. They delivered the new washer today, and I washed our first load. It's nice and quiet. I really like it.

I just can't seem to shake the feeling from Tuesday night. I know appliances only last for so long. We expect them to need replacing from time to time. The way I abuse a washing machine around here, it is amazing that they don't run screaming from the house. Still, we could have had major damage from that incident. If I hadn't gone back in the laundry room, the water would have run until our well ran dry, I guess. A flood in our laundry room would have been the least of our worries.

Some might say it was a coincidence that I saw a couple of things to tidy up in my kitchen and happened to be close enough to realize something strange was happening in the laundry room. I choose to believe in the Providence of my loving Heavenly Father who held me up to give me a chance to avoid some big problems. Is my life problem-free? No, obviously not since I was mopping up water at 11 p.m. God does not keep all trouble far from me, but I do believe that he protects me from much that I will never know on this side of eternity. Whether it's cancer or washing machines, it is such a comfort to know He's watching over me.

Thank You, Heavenly Father, for your care and concern for little old me. Amen

Friday, September 28, 2007

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Good News

Yesterday we got good news. It was extremely good news. We cried; we thanked God. No one had to tell us what to do. We called friends and family to share the good news with them. We wanted everyone to know. We couldn't wait to tell them. It was wonderful.

Out of nowhere, it hit me like a sucker punch to the gut. Conviction.

Yes, this news was extraordinary. It was fantastic. It was an answer to much fervent prayer, yet it paled in comparison to the good news of the gospel of Jesus Christ.

I possess the greatest news of all, but I am not breaking my neck to share it with everyone around me. In fact, I am being disobedient to my Lord and Savior since he gave me explicit instructions to do just that.

Go into all the world and preach the good news to all creation. Mark 16:15

Please forgive me, Lord, and give me an overwhelming desire to share Your good news with all I meet. Amen.

Saturday, September 8, 2007

Letting Go

Hezekiah received the letter from the messengers and read it. Then he went up to the temple of the Lord and spread it out before the Lord. And Hezekiah prayed to the Lord. Isaiah 37:14-15 NIV

I love these words from the Old Testament book of Isaiah. The imagery is so vivid, and the very idea is such an encouragement to me. When faced with almost certain destruction from a devastatingly powerful enemy, Hezekiah went straight to the Lord and laid the problem out before Him.

It's not that God didn't know what was going on with Hezekiah. He didn't need to read the letter to know that the king of Assyria was ready to send his forces to attack Jerusalem. God already knew everything, even the eventual outcome.

I believe that Hezekiah's actions signified his complete and total dependence on God for deliverance. Hezekiah spread the letter out before God to acknowledge that while he was inadequate to face this foe, God was fully capable and Hezekiah was willing to allow the fate of his people to remain in the Lord's hands. In some way, Hezekiah was able to release the threat to the Lord.

I am reminded of times when our children are trying to do something themselves, and they are struggling. Although I want them to be resourceful and assert their independence, sometimes they attempt to tackle things that are simply beyond their abilities. We might offer to help, but they refuse, sometimes even physically turning away from us.

One of our little ones was famous for saying, "I do it myself!" After many failed attempts and our continued offers of help, they would often reluctantly hand over the problem and allow us, the parents, to fix it. We were glad to be of assistance, but we couldn't help until they let go and gave it over to us.

I don't know what enemies you may be facing, but I'm pretty sure there is something lurking out there in most of our lives. I have a few pressing needs that I am choosing to lay out before the Lord today. In fact I'm going to write them down, lay them before the Most High God, and release them into His excellent care. It may be that He is just waiting for me to let go.

Saturday, August 25, 2007

Keeping My Head

We had some fun one afternoon at the beach setting up this silly shot. The idea came from an article in Family Fun magazine, and my sweet sister was the photographer.

It serves as a good reminder to me, however. I am so quick to assume that I know exactly what is going on in any given situation. I am prone to making snap judgments which are sometimes completely and totally wrong. Things go so much better when I can sit back, relax, and allow a little time to pass before I go off the deep end. Frequently, the deep end is not even an eventuality. Some time and space often allow the problems to resolve themselves without stress or exertion of any kind on my behalf. How crazy is that?

I am certain that God just shakes his head as he watches me wear myself out.

"When will she learn?" He must wonder.

He has never forsaken me yet. Why would he start now? He won't. That's just it. He is faithful.
Ouch.

Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
Philippians 4:6-7 NIV

Friday, August 24, 2007

Things I Love

The real joy in my life comes from relationships with my Savior, my family, and my friends. I do not deny, however, that I take great pleasure in certain things. Is that incredibly shallow?

Maybe, but it is true. Here is a list of a few of the best:

1. Embroidered pillowcases
2. French fries
3. Family photos
4. Bright colors
5. Haircuts

*Sigh* What things do you enjoy? You know, the ones that give you a pick-me-up or provide an extra bit of comfort. Sometimes it just takes a small thing, like choosing to wear my favorite pink shirt on a gloomy day, to get me headed in the right direction. I'm all for that!

Monday, August 20, 2007

The Man Dinner

On Saturday night we celebrated our older son's passage from boyhood to manhood. He invited men who have impacted his life through the years to come and share a meal and celebrate with us. Each man had an opportunity to share a fun memory from the past or some sage advice for the future.

Everything was very simple. Dinner was chicken pie, green beans, pineapple casserole, fresh veggies, watermelon, and homemade biscuits. We finished with apple cobbler and homemade vanilla ice cream.

Centerpieces for the tables were collages of "man items": a pocketknife, money clip, small New Testament, pocket watch, electric shaver, etc. The grand finale was a digital slide show of photos chronicling the life of our dear son. It was truly amazing to watch him grow from a newborn to a young man in a matter of 15 minutes. In a way, that is exactly what it seems we have done since the beginning of his precious life.

I'm not sure who originally said it, but I heard it from Pastor Adrian Rogers:

Children don't make a rich man poor. They make a poor man rich.

Amen.

Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Outfitting a Princess

It was a relatively simple request.

"Mom, will you make a princess dress for me?"

One of the dear little girls at church was having a princess birthday party, and she invited my 16-year- old daughter to attend. What fun to go to a party dressed as a princess! Of course, I would do that. It had been a long time since I'd had the joy of sewing something for my little girl. For the last several years, she has had no interest in anything handmade.

We headed off to the fabric store and chose a pattern, fabric, and all the notions...including 22 eyelets! I am such a sucker! I had never done eyelets before, but I was determined.

It turned out to be such a blessed project. Challenging, yes, but also very rewarding. The result was a beautiful dress fit for a princess, my princess. The by-product was special time spent with my little girl who is now a young woman. I like her so much!

Friday, July 13, 2007

The View From My Window


It's a glorious new day with no mistakes in it yet. We are in a wonderful place in our lives. God has been so good to us. I confound myself time and again by my faithlessness. How can God continue to prove Himself to me over and over and yet I still lack faith in trying times? I have so many regrets, but I also have hope because His mercies are new every morning!

Because of the Lord's great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail. They are new every morning: great is your faithfulness. I say to myself, "The Lord is my portion; therefore I will wait for him." The Lord is good to those whose hope is in him, to the one who seeks him; it is good to wait quietly for the salvation of the Lord.
Lamentations 3:22-26 NIV

Thank you, Heavenly Father, for new mornings and for Your great faithfulness. Please help me to be more like you. Amen