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, September 30, 2013

Strength When You Are Weary

“Bless the Lord
O my soul
and all that is within me, praise His holy name...
Who satisfies your years with good things; 
so that
your youth is renewed like the eagle.”
Psalm 103:1, 5 (NASB)

These verses struck me last week. Wow! God fills my years with good which gives me strength. 

They also reminded me of this passage:
      "Do you not know? 
Have you not heard?
The Everlasting God, the Lord, the Creator of the ends of the earth
Does not become weary or tired.
His understanding is beyond human reach. 
He gives strength to the weary, and to him who lacks might He increases power. 
Though youths grow weary and tired, and vigorous young men stumble badly,
Yet those who wait for the Lord will gain new strength; 
They will mount up with wings like eagles,
They will run and not get tired,
They will walk and not become weary.
Isaiah 40:28-31

Humans get tired. We get discouraged. We run out of energy. – That is part of the human condition. We are not created to take on life on our own. Our mortal bodies are weak and prone to wear out.


Our infinite, immortal, everlasting Father knows that. IF we will call on Him, He will fill us with the energy and other resources we need to run this race called life well. We will be equipped for every challenge and prepared for the battle. Though we grow weary, He never does.

We do have to slow down long enough to talk to God and let Him fill us. We will have to acknowledge our inability to do everything for ourselves and recognize our dependence on Him; to confess our independence and self-sufficiency, and the PRIDE that keeps us from calling on Him.

  I will have to trust the people God has placed in my life with my heart (PRIDE gets in the way of that too when I don’t want anyone to see my weakness.) so God can use them to build me up. I struggle so much with that. I'm afraid if I let people see the real me with all my insecurities and faults that they won't like me or accept me. (Of course those are the very things that make me me.)

God could have created us to live and work independently of each other, but He didn't. We are created with an innate need for fellowship. He could supernaturally meet all of our needs, but He chooses not too. God often uses the family members and friends He has placed in our lives to encourage and strengthen us. I miss that blessing when I choose not to share my struggles with others.

Are you weary?
What is troubling you?
Turn to Jesus.

Thursday, September 26, 2013

The Well - A Place to be Refreshed

 “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.” (Matthew 11:28-30 NIV)

I don't know how many times I return to these verses when I have run out of my resources and am worn out. It would seem like after thirty five years of walking with God, I would know better than to try to accomplish everything by my strength; that I would stop to ask God about His plans for my day, instead of plunging ahead with my own. Some days or weeks or occasionally longer I do better, but then life gets busy and I run off ahead of God again - praying He will bless my plans instead of considering His.

When our kids were in school, this time of year was especially hectic. It takes time to settle into a school day and homework routine, fall sports are starting, then there is back to school night and those things the kids need that weren't on the school supply list. 

If you have run out of steam and are running on empty, why not take five minutes to meet Jesus at the well of living water and listen to this song by Casting Crowns. The first time I heard it, it stopped me in my tracks. 

" I have what you need,
But you keep on searchin,
I've done all the work,
But you keep on workin,
When you're runnin on empty,
And you can't find the remedy,
Just come to the well."
Casting Crowns
The Well

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Dirt Cake

I first made this for a family 4th of July party ten or more years ago. The kids are all grown now and we rarely go to my mom and dad's for the Fourth, but every year we did I was asked to bring dirt cake. (I don't really know why it is called cake. - It is really a pudding or parfait.) I love it in a bucket. We also made it in a wheelbarrow and dump truck. I wish I had pictures of those. While the recipe doesn't call for gummy worms, they are a necessity in our house.

Start by crushing the Oreos, then set them aside.

Make the pudding mixture. If the cream cheese sets out for several hours it will mix in much more smoothly. (Microwave it 15 or 20 seconds if it isn't room temperature.)

Then layer the pudding and cookies ending with cookies. A straight sided bowl will work, but a bucket or foil lined terra cotta pot (that is new) are much more fun. You could add a silk flower to a flower pot.

When I made this recently, I created a more adult version. I crushed a sleeve of Graham crackers and mixed the crumbs with two tablespoons of sugar and maybe three tablespoons of butter to create a crust. I pressed the mixture onto a baking sheet and baked it for 10 minutes at 350 degrees to toast the crumbs. (Plain Graham cracker crumbs work, but I like the flavor after they are toasted.) I also used blueberries and raspberries and Lemon Fruit Tart filling (I found it at Wegman's. Lemon pie filling would work.) The tart filling was a little thick so I mixed a tablespoon of lemon juice into about one half cup so it would spread better.

I really enjoyed the fruit version. It isn't quite as sweet or heavy as the Oreo dirt cake, but I'm a sucker for any fruit dessert and I love citrus. The Oreo version seems to be most people's favorite.

Since I had made two versions, I layered everything in Mason jars. (I have also used eight ounce plastic cups when I was taking dirt cake to someone's home.)

Now that fall is here, I may have to try mixing some pumpkin puree and pumpkin pie spice into the pudding mixture and layering it with ginger snap crumbs.

Dirt Cake
1 large package Oreos
2 8 ounce packages cream cheese, softened
1 cup confectioners sugar
2 small packages vanilla instant pudding
3 cups milk
1 12 ounce container Cool Whip
2 teaspoons vanilla extract

Crush cookies to fine crumbs.  (Easiest in a food processor.) Combine cream cheese and confectioners sugar with an electric mixer.  Add pudding mix and milk; mix well.  Fold in Cool Whip and vanilla extract.  Layer pudding mixture with cookie crumbs.  Chill until ready to serve.

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Four Bean Salad

This recipe is an oldie, but it is much loved by my husband. I can't believe Labor Day was the only time I made it this summer. I believe I found this version in the Huntsville Heritage Cookbook that was a wedding present almost thirty years ago. Actually, the original recipe is three beans. I added the garbanzo beans at some point. It is very simple, and delicious. And it keeps in the fridge for weeks.

 The ingredients are very simple:
green beans
wax beans
kidney beans
garbanzo beans
white vinegar
green pepper.
First, drain and rinse all of the beans.  You want as much water as possible to run off so it doesn't dilute the dressing.

Then, mix the oil, vinegar, salt and pepper in a small saucepan and bring to a boil.

Put the onion and green pepper that you have diced into a large bowl with the drained beans.

 Pour the dressing over the vegetables and mix gently. Stir the salad two or three times over several hours before serving. The flavor improves as the salad stands so you can make it days before you need it.

Four Bean Salad
1 14.5 oz can each green beans, wax beans, kidney beans, garbanzo beans
¾ cup oil
¾ cup white vinegar
1 teaspoon each salt and pepper
1 medium green pepper, diced
1 medium onion diced

Drain and rinse all of the beans. Allow them to drain while finishing the recipe. In a small saucepan mix the oil, vinegar, salt and pepper and heat to boiling. While the dressing is heating mix all of the vegetables in a large bowl. Pour the hot dressing over the vegetables and mix gently to combine. The salad should be stirred a couple of times over several hours before serving. It is best when made at least a day ahead.

Monday, September 2, 2013

I Go To Nature

I don't have much to say today. This quote expresses exactly the way I feel when I get outside. Even sitting on the deck with the traffic noise and houses, calms me and helps restore my equilibrium. Too often, I am so caught up in all of the things that need to get done that I don't slow down to notice what is around me. Those are the days that I am most anxious and frazzled. I need time to rest and be refreshed. We all do.