Monday, June 21, 2010

A Decade of Wonder

My oldest turned 10 yesterday. TEN! Where has the time gone? Just yesterday, she was a tiny baby, her every need dependent on me. Now she is on the brink of young womanhood, becoming increasingly INdependent and making decisions of her own!

I realized this on Saturday. That's when I took her shopping for her birthday gift! My mom sent her some $ to spend, and boy, was she ever particular on how she was going to spend it! I believe I spent 30 minutes in Claire's, standing in one spot while she looked at the earrings and BFF jewelry. "Oh, honey, how cute is this?" I'd say, pointing to an adorable pair of delicate flower earrings. "Eww, Mom! I like these better!" she'd retort, holding up a pair of earrings that consisted of one box of french fries and another of a soft drink in a cup, complete with straw. Not my idea of fashion, I tell you! Of course, as you'd probably surmise, she didn't buy anything.

We then drove to Toys~R~Us specifically for Littlest Pet Shop merchandise. (Keep in mind, she no longer plays with them. She collects them! Playing with them is, like, so uncool!) Standing in one spot for about 45 minutes, we looked at every pet they had to offer, but she then wanted to look at scooters. Scooters (thankfully!) were well past her budget, so we went to the arts and crafts department. Nothing grabbed her interest there, so back we went to the LPS aisle.

"Sweetie, you're going to have to choose something," I informed her, no longer smiling and my patience worn thin. "Okay, Mom, okay. Let me just look at this one thing." Ten minutes later, she finally decided on a Fur Real Tea Cup Kitten that sits in a little purse. It purrs and bats its little paws. It's completely adorable ~ and so is my precious daughter.

Cool and hip one minute, a little girl the next. I must say ~ I'm completely smitten and in love with her! I'm excited to get to know this amazing person and build a relationship with my blossoming young lady!

However, I feel the burden of responsibility to teach and train her to become a woman after God's heart. How I pray that she will look to her Father instead of succumbing to listen to the father of lies; That she will find her self-worth and value in Jesus instead of the world; That she will stand firm in the faith instead of bowing to peer pressure. I can only pray that as a mom, I'll direct her focus upward instead of outward. The only way I can do this is through prayer, being an example, and just "being there" for her!

I'll return to my posting of Psalm 23 tomorrow ~ God's Promise of Guidance.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Gooey Caramel Rolls

Okay, these rolls are incredibly rich and oh, so ooey-gooey delicious! Serve with an icy-cold fruit salad, and you'd think you were in heaven!


16 Rhodes frozen dinner rolls
1 c. lightly packed brown sugar
1/2 package Jello cook-and-serve butterscotch pudding
1/2 stick melted butter
1/4 c. grandulated sugar
1 T. cinnamon
1/2 c. chopped pecans


Mix sugar and cinnamon. Grease bundt pan well with cooking spray. Place frozen rolls in pan. Sprinkle brown sugar and dry pudding mix over rolls. Pour melted butter over top, then sprinkle with cinnamon/sugar mixture and nuts. Cover TIGHTLY with foil. Let set out overnight. The next morning, bake at 350 degrees for 30-45 minutes. Flip upside down on top of foil and serve.

Side Note: The sugar and butter turn into this sticky rich bit of caramel goodness that is awe-inspiring, I tell ya!

Here's the fruit salad ~

Fruit Salad

~ This is so colorful and pretty ~

Mix together:

1 small can pineapple tidbits, drained
1 small can mandarin oranges, drained
black seedless grapes
sliced strawberries
1 Granny Smith apple, chopped
1 bananna, sliced

For extra decadence, drizzle a teeny bit of Eagle-Brand sweetened condensed milk over the top.
If you want to be "good", a dollop of vanilla yogurt is tasty, too!

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Vegetable Beef Soup

My Daddy always made this soup. As a kid, I hated it, but as I grew older, I couldn't wait for cooler weather to come so Dad would make his signature dish!


1 lb. beef stew meat
1 T. olive oil
kosher salt and cracked black pepper
2-3 russet potatoes, peeled and diced
1 medium onion, diced
2 stalks celery, diced
1 T. melted butter
1 bag frozen mixed vegetables
1 4-cup box beef stock
1 small bottle of V-8 juice
1 large can diced tomatoes
1 can tomato sauce
1 small head cabbage, chopped
1 c. dry macaroni (for fun, I sometimes use alphabet/star pasta)

Heat olive oil in stock pot. Season stew meat and place in stock pot to brown. Remove browned meat and add in 1/2 c. of beef stock to deglaze the pot, stirring to remove browned bits. Add meat, remaining stock, potatoes, frozen veggies, tomatoes, and tomato sauce.

In a saucepan, cook onion and celery in butter until translucent. Add to soup mixture along with cabbage. Add in about 1/2 the bottle of V-8 juice. Cook on low 3-4 hours.

During last hour, add in macaroni. Stir every 15 minutes so the pasta won't stick to the bottom. I usually serve this with fresh baked bread. (Um, Rhodes frozen bread dough!) This hearty soup/stew is a meal within itself!

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

God's Promise of Healing

Psalm 23: 3 "He restoreth my soul."

We all need healing and restoration~ not just physical, but spiritual and emotional healing as well. Physical ailments, the loss of a loved one, the collapse of a family, rejection, disappointment and betrayals are all kinds of calamities that happen during our lives. How can we go on? Where can we receive the healing we need?

Along with God's promises of care and provision (Psalm 23:1) and rest and peace (Psalm 23:2), God also promises us healing restoration (Psalm 23:3). Our loving Shepherd not only sees to our physical needs, but to our spiritual needs as well ~ "He restoreth my soul."

Another name of God that fits wonderfully as we talk about His healing is Jehovah~Rophe, which means "the Lord heals". Let's look at the history behind the name....

After the children of Israel had escaped Pharaoh at the Red Sea and began their journey to the Promised Land, they found that the water was scarce. Once they came to Mara, they found water, but it was bitter and poisonous. As the people began to complain and grumble, Moses cried out to God to help them. The Lord showed Moses a tree and told him to cast it into the bitter water. Instantly, it became sweet and drinkable. Jehovah~Jireh had provided for them yet again and announced, "I am the Lord who heals you" Jehovah~Rophe!

Mrs. George writes, "In the OT, 'to heal' is often used of a physician and means to restore or to cure. And just who does Jehovah~Rophe, the Great Physician, heal? He heals and restores those of His who are cast down."

What exactly does the term "cast down" mean? In shepherding terms, it's a sheep that's turned over on its back and can't get up by itself. This usually happens when the sheep lies comfortably in a little hollow in the ground. When it turns to its side to stretch out, the center of gravity shifts, and the poor animal is suddenly on its back! No matter how hard it struggles, it can't turn itself upright because its feet are sticking straight up in the air.

Interestingly, it's usually the largest and strongest sheep that get cast down. When the weather is comfortably cool, the sheep can stay like this for a day or two. But, if it's hot out, the sheep is considered to be in critical condition within a few hours! It's vitally important that the shepherd arrives soon, or the sheep will die.

This is the course of restoration that the shepherd takes:
"Stage 1 ~ Finding the cast-down sheep. Since the shepherd knows each member of his flock intimately, he will immediately notice one is missing. This begins his search for the sheep, and he surveys the land for a sheep that's in an unnatural position.
Stage 2 ~ Restoring the cast-down sheep. This process can take a while. If the sheep is found quickly, then the shepherd only needs to roll it to its feet and it will be fine. However, if the sheep has been cast down for a long while, it takes a great deal of patience, time and care. First, it's rolled over, then its legs are rubbed and massaged to revive circulation. Next, the shepherd props the sheep's head on his knee to stroke and caress it. Finally, he is able to physically lift the sheep to its feet and support it as it leans against him to walk. It can take up to an hour for the sheep to walk properly again, and it can fall. The caring shepherd will pick the sheep up again, and again, and again.
Stage 3 ~ Following the cast-down sheep. The sheep isn't restored completely until it eats its first bites of grass. The shepherd will follow and watch it closely until it is fully restored."

Can't you see the image of the Good Shepherd in the above stages? No matter our circumstances, He is there to retrieve, revive, and restore us!

My Favorite Devotionals

If you guessed Elizabeth George, you won the prize! Mrs. George is a truly talented teacher and author. I love how she makes each book personal and shares her godly wisdom so freely!

My all~time fave is her popular "A Woman After God's Own Heart". That's the book that God used to get me back on track spritually. Although I had been helping my husband in the ministry, I had come to a point where I was spiritually numb.

I know that Satan attacks Christians mercilessly, but I was in for a shock when we entered the ministry. Almost instantaneously, everything ~ our marriage, character, motives ~ was being attacked with such feriocity that I was totally unprepared! I felt as if I spent most of my time defending myself and the hubs instead of edifying others! I became discouraged, and then resentful. Allowing my circumstances control my life, I gave up and quit spending time in the Word and in prayer.

I remember being at a point when I asked God if He really even was there. I actually doubted ~ me, who had been in church since I was 5 days old ~ saved at the age of 12 ~ serving in some capacity since I was a teenager ~ I actually doubted the existence of God!

I remember the question Mrs. George asked about what kind of heart did we have? Was it cold, warm, or hot? The correct response, of course, was that we should cultivate a hot heart for the Lord ~ a heart of passion and purpose. My heart wasn't even cold, sisters. It was ice.

As I forced myself to continue the study, I would pray, "God, if You're really there, restore to me the joy of my salvation." It didn't happen right then, but after 3 days. It sounds ridiculously poetic, but I felt as if my icy heart had melted, and the water became my tears. God is, indeed, plenteous in mercy!

That, I believe, is why I have such an admiration for Mrs. George. Any of her books are great reads and will challenge and inspire you to reach for a close, intimate relationship with the Saviour.