Friday, September 30, 2016

Refuge and Strength

{Psalm 46:1} "GOD is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble."

A very present help -
I can look on the internet for all sorts of articles and blog posts of how to deal with problems. 

I can post on Facebook my woes and hope someone has the advice that I need.

I can search on Pinterest for a cute little photo to share exactly how I'm feeling and hope friends and family will sympathize.

I can read all the devotional books that are out there and they may help some.

But... I have **the Source** of help...a very present help. Not just --present--, but VERY present. Amazing, isn't it?

Do I make myself still and know that He is God? Do I understand that He is but a breath away? Or do I spring into action to look for help elsewhere? "Be still and know that I am God", I am instructed. (Psalm 46:10)

Be still - don't fidget, don't get restless, don't lose control, don't make a hasty decision...just....SHUSH! BE STILL...fixed, stable, at rest. Tough stuff for this girl who has a hard time giving up control. That's what it is, isn't it? The problem, I mean → trying to do things in our own strength. It really is a lot of work for me to hush my brain and body and..pause.

A very present help-
Current, instant, prompt....AT THIS MOMENT

When I feel fragmented-- when I feel as if I'm drowning in self-doubt and trouble --when I need a place to run to--and when I feel beat down and weak from struggling with sickness, is my refuge, the very first place I should look for shelter. He is my strength when I have nothing left to give. He is very present, He is my comfort and support....He is my VERY PRESENT HELP.

Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Autumn Desktop Backgrounds

Just a quick post to share a few Autumn desktop backgrounds for your computer that I've created.  If you would like to use any of them, 'right click' on your choice photo and save it to your computer. After it's on your computer, right click again on the photo, look for and click on, "Set as desktop background". And there you go! Happy Fall!!
(The photos were taken by a personal friend of mine and are used with her permission.)

Saturday, September 17, 2016

In the Kitchen

"You know she can't cook", was my dad's response to John when he asked for my hand in marriage back in 1994. He was right, I couldn't. After we were married, I moved to Washington State where John was stationed in the Navy. I joined the church he was a member of and quickly made friends in my new church family. We became linked with other couples who invited us over for dinner. Each meal that we liked which we ate over a friend's house, I'd ask for the recipe and try it myself in our little apartment. In between times, we ate burritos and spaghetti. That was pretty much my scope of know-how. Little by little we worked together in the kitchen and discovered what we liked and disliked--like the Thanksgiving stuffing John put BBQ sauce in. That was a fail. Oh well, guess you don't know til you try, right? I was just thinking about my 'journey' of learning to cook this week. I've begun experimenting with homemade sourdough bread recently and was telling my son that I remember when my mom gave me her old bread maker. (She was upgrading). I discovered we LOVED homemade bread, and there began my journey of baking. I was given a crockpot recipe book from her as well, and there began my love for crockpot cooking (which I bake bread in sometimes! It works!). "For precept must be upon precept, precept upon precept; line upon line, line upon line; here a little, and there a little", said Isaiah in chapter 28 vs 10. Except, it's recipe upon recipe, ingredient upon ingredient; here a little salt there a little pepper.

Through time, I began to read labels on boxed and canned foods when I learned that certain ingredients can increase the pain level of John's migraines. I began making my own cream soups for recipes (I just use heavy whipping cream and add celery seed or other spices to it), cooking up bone broth for soups, blending my own baking mix for pancakes, muffins, and biscuits,  and mixing my own spice blends. I love finding new ways of making things 'homemade'.

In the last few months, I've experimented with homemade mango salsa, plum jelly, apple jelly, and sourdough bread. I would have never thought in the beginning of our marriage that I would be doing all these things. My sister in law has a cute sign in her kitchen that says, "The only reason I have a kitchen is because it came with the house." I think that was pretty much 'me' in the beginning, but now I love to be in the kitchen baking or mixing something new.

I've made some recipe cards of our go-to spice mixes. These are tried and true and ones we all love.  They are super easy to make and so very tasty! They can be saved and printed out if they are of interest to you.
Happy mixing!

Note: This mix only makes one recipe.

Saturday, September 10, 2016

When Jesus Speaks, "Peace"

Often times I've wondered even in my darkest hour,
Would His faithful ears still harken to my needs and my desires?
Then I hear His voice so tender speaking softly in my ear.
I kneel down and pray in my secret place, and I know He will hear.
He is always near.

When Jesus speaks, "Peace", the raging storm must die,
New hope becomes new life
When He whispers, "Everything will be all right".
When He speaks, "Peace", the dark night slips away
Like the breaking of the day
When Jesus speaks, "Peace".  

When my friends have failed me and I'm standing all alone,
When my spirit is discouraged and I feel all hope is gone,
There's no need to be disheartened, for I have a Friend Who cares.
When my faith becomes weak, I can kneel at His feet
And my burdens He will bear.
He is always there.

When Jesus speaks, "Peace", the raging storm must die,
New hope becomes new life
When He whispers, "Everything will be alright".
When He speaks, "Peace", the dark night slips away
Like the breaking of the day
When Jesus speaks, "Peace".  

I feel the dark clouds gather 'round me
And I don't seem to understand.
Then I feel His presence go before me
And I know He's holding to my hand.

Peace, peace, wonderful peace
Like the breaking of the day
The dark night slips away
When Jesus speaks, "Peace".

It's fascinating to me how a song long forgotten can come to mind during a specific time in my life. This song sung by The Ruppes is from a tape (You know, 'cassette tape' --remember those?)  that I don't even remember how it was acquired, but I remember really liking this song. A lot of things are going on in life with life course changes, a son growing up and pondering what he wants to do with the rest of his life, ministry upsets, health concerns. So many thoughts and questions roll around in my mind and it's all just noise. So much warring within myself concerning decisions that have been made or ones that need to be made. This song touches me deeply and I'm reminded of these Scripture verses:

"Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid." John 14:27

"These things I have spoken unto you, that in me ye might have peace. In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world." John 16:33

And not to forget Mark 4:39,
"And he arose, and rebuked the wind, and said unto the sea, Peace, be still. And the wind ceased, and there was a great calm." --when Jesus was in a ship with the disciples. A storm had risen up causing the men to be overtaken with fear and the ship to be full of water. And during all this, Jesus was sleeping. ((Well, of all the nerve.)) To sleep while the storm rages 'round. And without Melatonin, I'm guessing, or other sleep-aid. And when the men couldn't stand to watch him sleep any longer while they panicked, they woke Him up asking Him if He even cared if they died. He rose up, gave a few words to the sea, then said this to the men, "Why are ye so fearful? how is it that ye have no faith?Not 'little faith', but NO FAITH, and they said to each other, "What manner of man is this, that even the wind and the sea obey him?" (vs 41).

God was not surprised by the storm nor by their reaction and He used the opportunity to teach them something.

If even the wind can go against it's nature to howl and have peace..if even the sea can go against its nature to rage and become still, how much more should I be able to go against my nature to worry and fret and possess great calm--and without needing to be told to do it? ((An arrow straight to the heart.)) He has already given His peace to us as believers. It's there, yet we look around at the wind and storms of life and let the noise of it all cause panic and restlessness...and we lose sleep over it. Instead of rebuking the many upsets, we welcome them and seem comfortable in a place of unrest. Is it so difficult for us to have faith that we choose to distrust over placing confidence in the One Who is in control of it all anyway? How odd that we would do that! (And...not so smart.) What's the matter with us? (No faith, that's what!)  It's time to be still. It's time to eliminate some 'noise' in our heads and hearts and "seek peace and pursue it" (Psalm 34:14). God hasn't lost His touch, He hasn't abandoned us, He's there right with us. It's time to kneel and pray and listen for His voice. New hope becomes new life, dark nights slip away, when Jesus speaks, "Peace".   

((If the music video does not show up on your screen below, click here → "When Jesus Speaks Peace" to listen.))