Tuesday, February 24, 2009

You Have Been Good

If I never get to see another rainbow
Or share another laugh with a friend
If I never stand barefoot by the ocean
Or get to kiss my child goodnight again

If I never have another prayer that's answered
Or have another blessing come my way
If this is all I know of Heaven's kindness
Father, I would still have to say

You have been good, You have been good
And I am in wonder, how could it be?
You have been good, You've been good
In so many ways, You've been good to me

From the album Bright Star Blue Sky by Scott Krippayne

Listen here.

God has truly been so good to me. Hasn't He been good to you, too? Tell me about it!

Monday, February 23, 2009

Phyllis's Pineapple Casserole

I have many fond memories of time spent at the home of my sweetest and dearest friend during all of my growing-up years. Oh boy, we could tell you stories. Get us together, and we probably will.

It seemed like there was an endless supply of fried chicken and homemade biscuits coming out of that kitchen. I will never forget drinking Coke for breakfast. Don't tell my children!

This recipe comes from that wondrously talented cook who is mom to my dear friend and second mom to me. She practices hospitality with the best of them, and this dish is one small example.

It is a favorite with my family. Although we have spent some time debating its status as side dish or dessert, it is normally served with the meal.

2 cans crushed pineapple
1 C sugar
½ C all-purpose flour
1 sleeve Ritz crackers
1 stick margarine

Drain pineapple. Mix flour and sugar. Add pineapple and stir. Spray pan with Pam. Pour mixture into casserole dish. Melt butter and crush crackers. Mix butter and crackers. Sprinkle over top of pineapple mixture. Bake for 30 minutes at 350.


Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Welcome to My World

Is this really news? I don't know about you, but this is where our family has always been. Designer clothes and new cars have never taken a front seat when it came to spending my husband's hard-earned money. Groceries and other necessities have always been our priority.

In 1991, Larry Burkett wrote a book called The Coming Economic Earthquake asserting that the overspending of the American government would eventually cause the downfall of its economy.

He wrote a follow-up article called What Happened to the Economic Earthquake in 2000 in which he recognized that the United States had managed to avert the impending crisis through a combination of governmental regulations and consumer habits.

In the conclusion of the article he offers the following sage advice for consumers.

Historically, we know that when the economy does defy logic it tends to right itself; when it is oversold, it tends to retreat; when it is undersold, it tends to advance. As such, although I still believe that this economy cannot continue at its present rate without suffering irreversible damage, I do not suggest that everyone run out and withdraw from the stock market or change all of their investments or retirement plans. My intent is to inform people of the seriousness of our national economic situation, to encourage them to become debt free (including their homes), and to inspire people to get angry enough to demand changes in our current government spending patterns. We also must seek God’s intervention and encourage others to do so. Scripture is clear about repentance bringing change. “[If] My people who are called by My name humble themselves and pray and seek My face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, will forgive their sin and will heal their land” (2 Chronicles 7:14).

Although we may not be able to forecast when the forthcoming economic collapse will happen or how to protect our holdings when it happens, God knows, and we can trust His guidance! Jesus told us to seek first the kingdom of God, and God would provide for our needs (see Matthew 6:33). One of the dangers of being “financially independent” is that it often means we no longer depend on God. When our money is lost, our security is taken away. This is not God’s will for our lives. We must decide if we truly believe God is able to supply our needs or if we are just saying we believe it. We may not be able to control the world economy, but we can allow God to control our lives, and we can live our lives for His glory. That is all God asks of each of us.

This entire article and many other valuable resources are available through Crown Financial Ministries.

Larry Burkett died on July 4, 2003 after a long battle with cancer. He is not here to witness what is happening with the American economy today; however, I don't think he would be too surprised.

What Goes Around

Here's my sweet little nephew dressed for church yesterday wearing a vintage teddy bear vest previously worn by all three of his older cousins.

Don't you love that vintage is all the rage these days? That means hand-me-downs are stylish. Woo Hoo!

Does this count as recycling or reusing?

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Gluten-Free Food List

I stumbled upon a wonderful document this afternoon which will prove very helpful to my family and any others who deal with celiac disease.

This list of "mainstream" gluten-free products is quite extensive. Not included are products which are clearly labeled gluten-free or those from companies committed to labeling wheat, rye, and barley ingredients on their products.

Those companies are: Ben & Jerry’s, Blue Bunny, Cascadian Farms, ConAgra Healthy Choice, Farley’s, General Mills, Haagen Daz, Hain, Kraft, Lawry’s, Lipton, Lloyd’s Barbeque, M&M Mars, McCormick, Nabisco, Nestle, Pillsbury, and Progresso.

The foods listed here are the ones about which you wonder. Is this modified food starch safe? In short, this is the list you've been wanting.

Just in case you're wondering, Ken's Lite Sweet Vidalia salad dressing is GF, so go ahead and enjoy it!

Win a Wal-Mart Gift Card

Hey, it's worth a shot. Visit $5 Dinners and enter for a chance to win one of two $25 Wal-Mart gift cards. Even if you don't win the contest, you'll benefit from checking out some of Erin's ideas for frugal meals.

Try not to hate her because she won a year's worth of free groceries from Wal-Mart. She is still cooking $5 dinners and budgeting with the best of them.

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Free to Be Me

Sometimes I believe that I can do anything
Yet other times I think I've got nothing good to bring
But you look at my heart and tell me that I've got all You seek
And it's easy to believe even though...

I've got a couple dents in my fender
Got a couple rips in my jeans
Try to fit the pieces together
But perfection is my enemy

And on my own I'm so clumsy
But on Your shoulders I can see
I'm free to be me

~Francesca Battistelli

Listen here.

Friday, February 13, 2009

Forever Valentine

For it was not into my ear you whispered, but into my heart.

It was not my lips you kissed, but my soul.

Please be mine for the 24th time.

Red Envelope Project

Join The Red Envelope Project today by sending your red envelope to President Obama.

First, you will need a red envelope. There should be plenty circulating this weekend. You can also make your own from red paper you have on hand.

On the front, address it to:

President Barack Obama
The White House
1600 Pennsylvania Ave.
Washington, D.C. 20500

On the back, write the following message.

This envelope represents one child who died in abortion. It is empty because that life was unable to offer anything to the world. Responsibility begins with conception.

Put a stamp on the envelope, and send it.

Please pray earnestly that these red envelopes may change the heart of our President.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

This Could Be It

One shoe can change your life. ~Cinderella

Monday, February 9, 2009

Bathroom Redo

Remember this?

Well, now it looks like this.

This time I bought new 1 x 4 boards, and we routed the edges for a more substantial trim. I am also much happier with the natural finish rather than the white trim. There is a significant amount of wood cabinetry in this bathroom.

We learned a few things as we worked on this project.

1. Use the Liquid Nails adhesive. It works much better and keeps things from falling off at inopportune times. Once again, my sister has proven she is younger but wiser.

2. Make certain that your trim pieces are as flat as possible. Any warping can cause major problems since you won't be nailing them to the wall.

Total cost for the boards and adhesive: $13

Sunday, February 8, 2009

Room To Grow

These happy little plants were glad to move into their new homes yesterday. Fresh potting soil and larger pots made for excellent new "digs." I left them on the steps to enjoy the afternoon sunshine of an incredibly fabulous February day. I'm almost certain I heard them sigh.

The one in the middle is a pineapple plant from our Hawaii visit in September. I brought the top home in my suitcase, and we were able to root it in a glass of water. Although I have no illusions that we will ever see any fruit, it's still nice to have a little piece of the islands here.

I've been feeling that need to stretch and grow a little bit myself. I'm not sure how to describe it, but there is a definite restlessness, a longing for something new and different. These feelings can be very positive, the catalyst to inspire us to reach outside ourselves for new experiences. They can also breed discontentment and bitterness if we allow them to confine us.

I often struggle through the month of February. Knowing that tendency, I can recognize the signs and realize that the mood will pass. I look around and see so very many things for which I am thankful. My family, my home, my friends, and the wonder of the world around us cause me to be overwhelmed with the love of God and His blessings.

Counting them seems to calm my spirit and bring peace to my soul. I realize, too, that things are always changing. The beautiful warmth and sunshine of this weekend loudly declare that winter's grip does not last forever.

Ahh, the promise of spring. It will come.

Friday, February 6, 2009

The Magic of Ordinary Days

I did this one backwards. It's kind of a rule with me. You have to read the book to see the movie. The book is always better, and I love to visualize the characters myself before I see someone else's adaptation.

Friends loaned us this movie some time ago, and we loved it. Skeet Ulrich had little or nothing to do with our appreciation. Do you believe that? Right...

Upon our fifteenth or so viewing, I happened to notice it was based on a book by Ann Howard Creel. Off to the library I went. Oh, how I love inter-library loans!

Once again, the theory was proven to be true. The book is even better than the movie. The characters are so real, the emotions so vivid. I want to live on a farm near Ray and Livvy. I felt as though I had slipped into their world for a short time, but I wanted to stay longer.

One of the truest measures of a good read is that you don't want it to end. This one fits the bill.

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Manatee Memories

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Manatee Wonders

Our mid-winter getaway for this year was truly a fantastic one. We headed out to sunny but chilly Florida with a group of friends to swim with the manatee.

These gentle creatures were curious and playful on this particular Saturday morning. As our group slipped into the 72-degree water, they swam up close and allowed for a little back scratching. Some even turned over as if asking for a tummy rub.

An airboat ride out to the Gulf of Mexico provided thrills and more chills for most of our group, and a visit to the wildlife park for viewing native animals rounded out our afternoon.

On Sunday we had an absolutely perfect day for kayaking down the Ichetucknee River and enjoying the tranquility of a peaceful afternoon.