Welcome to my corner of the world. I believe our experiences are not only for our benefit, but should be shared. I hope you will find something in my journey to encourage and inspire you.

Monday, October 22, 2012


 I love the juxtaposition of old and new in cities like Boston. Here, it was the reflection of the old in the new that caught my eye.

It made me think about what I am reflecting. What is it that people see in me? Do I reflect the hurried, harried pace I often try to keep? Or is it the strain of my daily struggles that shows on in my countenance? I'm afraid it is rarely the love, joy, and peace of my Savior that is reflected.

(Trinity Church, Boston)

If I am living truly surrendered to God, it should be the fruit of the Spirit that people see in me. God's presence allows us to live beyond our circumstances. I'll still be aggravated by difficult people, and discouraged at times, and just weary. I do have a tendency to be worried and anxious too. Will I give all of that to God so people will see Him when they look at me?

I'm working on it. Though as I learn to surrender everything to God, I've just been grumpier. (Hormones may be partly to blame.) Satan doesn't want me to be a reflection of Jesus, so he tries to get me to react poorly. It is my family that receives the brunt of this. It frustrates me and makes me want to quit trying, but I won't.

(Old South Meeting House, Boston)

"But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control ; against such things there is no law." Galations 5:22-23

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Finding purpose in my days

 My Purpose

As our children have become busy with jobs, interests and activities, and have left for college,  I have found myself with time on my hands.  I need to know God’s purpose for my life, so I can find the best way to fill my days.

God’s answer to my cry: “To glorify Me.”

But how?  God’s answer was “by giving my very best to the task at hand and to quit worrying about a year from now, a week from now, or even an hour from now.”  So I will do the laundry, the grocery shopping, the cooking and cleaning, the planning and the homeschooling to the glory of God. In Taking Up Your Cross, Tricia McCary Rhodes,  answered my heart’s cry in a way I didn’t expect.

“The reason we don’t come to God when we’re busy, or tired, or
emotionally distraught is because we believe we come to give
instead of to get.  We see quiet times as our Christian responsibility
and therefore we must do them when we are strong and in good
spiritual condition.  But God doesn’t call us to Himself for what we
might bring, but that we might know the delight of finding our
deepest needs met in all that He is.  What really glorifies Him are
empty, needy people being filled and made whole by His

“When the driving passion of our life is to find joy and delight in the
pursuit of God’s glory, then we have discovered our reason for being. “

I believe part of glorifying God is showing others His glory.  Again, I have struggled with how to do that.  When Moses had been in God’s presence his face shone so brightly that the Israelites were frightened and he had to veil his face.  I think as we spend more time in God’s presence, His glory will overflow from our lives onto those around us.

I guess I will keep pursuing God and wait for Him to show me what to do next.

(Tricia’s website has a lot of articles and devotional materials

(Originally written July 3, 2008, but I am struggling with this again as I work myself out of a job.)

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Artichoke Chicken

This recipe is a family favorite. It is quick to throw together and special enough for company. I've been cooking for 40 years and tend to write recipes with just enough information for me to make them. That can leave a beginning cook with questions. Here, I went through step by step and gave more instructions so anyone should be able to successfully make it. Unfortunately, we were hungry and in a hurry so there is no after picture. I'll try to remember to add one the next time we make this recipe.

First you need to drain a 14 ounce can of artichoke hearts. I put them upside down on paper towels while I get the other ingredients ready.

You will also need:
3/4 cup Parmesan cheese
3/4 cup mayonnaise
3 or 4 fat garlic cloves (mine are pretty small)
Chop the artichokes, but not too finely, you want to know what you are biting into. Add the garlic that has been minced (chopped very finely) or put through a garlic press. Mix with the Parm, mayo.
Choose a baking dish that you can fit 4 boneless chicken breasts into without crowding. My 9 by 9 inch dish is a little too small, but it will work. Spray baking dish with non-stick coating or coat it with oil. Put in the chicken and season both sides with salt and pepper. You are trying to create layers of flavor. The salt in the topping or that you add at the table won't add the same flavor.
Top the chicken with the artichoke mixture. There is a generous amount of the topping. I have used it to cover six chicken breasts and had plenty. It is also yummy scooped up with crusty bread. Bake in a 375 degree oven for 25 to 30 minutes. You know your oven. If everything is usually done early, try a little less time. If you aren't sure whether or not the chicken is done, cut into a piece to see that there is no pink and the juices run clear.

Artichoke Chicken

14 oz can artichokes, well drained and chopped
¾ cup grated Parmesan cheese
¾ cup real mayonnaise ( low fat or fat free do not work as well)
4 cloves of garlic, minced (or 1 teaspoon garlic powder)
salt and pepper
4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts

In a bowl, combine artichokes, Parmesan, mayo, and garlic. Place chicken in an 11 X 7 baking pan that has been greased or lined with parchment paper. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Spread with artichoke mixture. Bake uncovered at 375 degrees for 25- 30 minutes or until chicken juices run clear.

4 servings

Friday, October 5, 2012

Desert Places


Image courtesy of Evgeni Dinev at
There have been many times when I have struggled to hear God speak to me, or to feel His presence. I've cried out to Him feeling like my prayers bounced off the ceiling. Sometimes, those times have been brief, others they have lasted weeks or months. This is what I have learned in those dry times.

When we find ourselves in dry places, we need to remember that God still loves us and is still there even when we can’t find him. He still has a purpose and a plan for our lives. Look for Him everywhere: in children’s laughter, the buds on the trees, and the concern of a friend. Listen for Him in birds’ songs, a rain shower, music, and the voice of a friend. Tell God what you are feeling - all of it. Are you disappointed, angry, discouraged, and weary? You can’t tell Him anything He doesn’t already know. He longs for us to fall into His arms and pour out our hearts to Him. Trust Him!

Stay in the Word. Don’t stop praying.

Praise Him even though you don’t feel like it.

The Psalms express the whole range of human emotion. Find a Psalm that speaks to you and camp there a while, letting God minister to your soul.

In the times when I am not hearing from God, I’m grateful that I have verses that are meaningful to me marked in my Bible. In those dry times, I search for those underlined passages and often God will use them to speak to my heart again.

Sometimes I feel abandoned by God, but He promises He will never leave us:
For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord. (Romans 8:38-39)

Desert Song always touches my heart.

What comforts you and gives you strength when you are struggling?

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

A mother's value

I came across a book a few weeks ago that I hadn't read in a while. (With hundreds of books in our bedroom alone, that happens often.) A Mom Just Like You, written by Vickie Farris, is an encouraging glimpse into what homeschooling and parenting look like in the Farris family. It reminded me why we are homeschooling and of the ultimate goal of parenting. For us, homeschooling has been more about relationships than academics. We cherish the closeness that has developed as we do life together. Our kids have done well academically, but more importantly, they have learned to love God and to serve others. I look back rather wistfully at the days when three of our four children were at home. I loved the time I was able to spend with them. Our baby is a senior in high school now, and our home school journey will soon come to an end, but the lessons learned by all of us, go with us for the rest of our lives.

Vickie ends her book with this:
"Just as Christ both used and transcended earthly elements like loaves, fishes, water, and wine, so will He both use and transcend the simply little acts of faithful service that mark our daily lives. God can do extraordinary things through moms just like you. I am confident that as you yield to Him, even in your frustration, fatigue and weakness, He will use you to impact the world in mighty ways. God can grow strong trees of righteousness-a mighty spiritual heritage-from our small seeds of service. Until then, let's simply be faithful to plant, water, and weed, expectantly waiting for God to give the increase."

In a world that places little value on motherhood, I often need to be reminded that what I do is important. Unlike many careers I could have chosen, motherhood has eternal value as I shape our children's minds and values and leave a legacy that will continue long after I am gone.