Tuesday, May 10, 2016

Moms and Belonging

The 70's.  (What was my mom thinking when she did my hair?)

I hope all of the mothers out there had a happy Mother's Day! I went to see my mom and took her out to lunch. She may have seemed like the strictest mom in the whole country, but she was the strength of our family and endured terrible circumstances for the sake of her children.  My brothers and I are so blessed to call her mom.

Some of you know that my mother in law passed away suddenly right before Christmas.  Even though my relationship with her was tentative at best, her death has affected me more than any other death, even my dad's.  My husband and I are the trustees of her estate and as we sort through her huge amount of possessions and paperwork, I'm getting a depth of her that I never knew.  I'm seeing such an unhappy person and it makes me sad.  It's giving me a renewed sense that I need to get out there and really live my life to the fullest.

There's a concept in many Christian churches and gospel music that has always bothered me.  It's the idea that I don't belong in this world and my home is really in heaven.  That's so not true, and it can really mess a person up.  The truth is that there are some things in this world that Christians shouldn't participate in... murder, rape... Need I go on?  But God created this earth for people to live here.  It's where we belong until we die.  It's paralyzing to feel like you don't belong, and it keeps people from really living their life.

I was talking to a friend of mine about it this morning.  She has always wanted to travel around Michigan and really see the state that she's lived in her whole life, but she's never even been to Mackinac Island.  We decided that we're going to spend some time this summer visiting a lot of different places around our state.  I'll take my camera and post pictures throughout the summer.  Today is the first day of the rest of your life.  Enjoy it!

(If you're wondering what happened to my last post, I deleted it.  I just didn't want to hurt anyone's feelings or have anyone think that I'm judging their Christianity.  I'm not.  I simply want God's best for everyone.)


Saturday, March 19, 2016

Honey Oat Bread

This is the bread that I make regularly for my family.  It's our favorite.  We don't eat much bread in our house except for the Honey Wheat Rolls and this Honey Oat Bread.  This is a soft bread which is how my family likes bread so it's great for kids who are used to that bread from the store that squishes into nothing.  And the honey and oats make it really tasty.

Honey Oat Bread


1 1/4 cup water
1 1/2 cups oats
1/4 cup butter
1/4 cup honey
1 tsp salt
2 1/2 teasp. yeast
2 eggs
3 1/2 cups flour

1. Grease and flour the bread pans.  I sprayed my pans with baking spray.  I use light colored metal, ceramic, or tempered glass pans.  These pans give a softer crust which is how my family likes bread.  A dark metal pan, will give a crustier crust.

2. I put all of the ingredients in the bread machine and put it on the dough setting.  I never bake in my bread machine.  You could also use a stand mixer with the kneading blade.  I'm going to try that next time.  You could also knead it by hand but that's way more work than I want to put into it.  If you don't use a bread machine, after kneading, cover it and leave it rise until it's doubled in size.

3. Once it's risen divide the dough in half, (this makes 2 loaves) and shape each half into a loaf shape and put the dough in the pans to rise again.  (I'm not picky about making a perfect loaf.  The rising takes care of the imperfect shape.)

4. When the dough doubles in size, they're ready for the oven.  Preheat the oven to 375 degrees  and let the bread bake for 25 minutes.

5. Let the bread cool in the pans for 5 - 10 minutes then remove the bread and let it cool on a cooling rack.  Okay, let's be honest, I never let it cool.  Because warm bread from the oven with butter melting all over it is almost the best thing ever.


(This bread freezes really well.  Because we don't eat much bread, I slice the bread and divide it into four bags.  I leave one bag out and freeze the rest until we're ready to use it.  I have a family of 4 and we only use about half a loaf of bread each week.)

Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Five Keys to Bible Reading

Have you ever read those articles or blog posts that are "5 Keys to ________".  I've been seeing a lot of them lately. 5 Keys to Getting Out of Debt, 5 Keys to Organizing Your Home, 5 Keys to Losing Weight.  I always think that these articles may have some new bit of knowledge that will be helpful, but usually I just read 5 points that anyone with a little bit of common sense could have come up with on their own.  So my post today is about the 5 Keys For Reading the Bible.  Don't expect some earth shattering news.  It's really just a little bit of common sense.

1. Make it personal.

When did being a Christian become so complicated?  It isn't complicated at all.  Just read the Bible as if it's a message for you.  Because it is.  Simply read it, think about it, believe what it says, and apply it.

2. Make it personal.

Pray for God to make it personal and He will.  I'll share an example that just happened to me this week.  It's long, so try to stay with me.

Sunday morning I woke up before everyone else and started my day with reading my Bible.  First I prayed for God to make it personal for me.  I did this on purpose because I've been reading my Bible through as if I'm doing one of those programs to read the Bible in a year.  I'm sure it will take me longer than a year but the point is that I'm not reading the Bible randomly, but in the order that it's written.  I never last very long doing this because it becomes tedious to me, but I want that to be different this time so I prayed for God to make it personal.  When I opened my Bible I found myself at the story of Abram and Melchizedek, which is a tithing story.  My husband and I both believe in tithing but we've been letting it slip a lot.  But it didn't stop there.

We hadn't been to church for a few weeks so I was really looking forward to being back in church.  However, we were really late for church and when we pulled in the parking lot it was packed.  We knew that we would have to walk down front to get a seat and this back row couple didn't want to do that.  (Despite what some people believe, God shows up in the back row also.) There's another church nearby that starts much later than our church so we went there and we were almost on time.  The sermon was II Chronicles 29.  The end of the chapter is about the people giving their offerings.  A coincidence?  With God, there is no such thing as coincidence.  And it all started with a prayer that morning to make it personal.

Now, this is just an example and tithing might not be what's personal to you right now.  But it's what was personal for me and my family.

3. Make it personal.

Reading the Bible and knowing what it says, doesn't make it personal.  Knowledge is a good thing, but it isn't everything.  I went to Bible school and I can honestly say that none of my Bible classes brought me closer to God.  A good Bible class can be a good thing.  I love facts.  Give me a fact instead of an opinion any time.  The truth is that I don't even care about most opinions, but I'm thankful that I live in a country where people are free to express their opinion. But the Bible isn't just a textbook.  It's the living Word of God.  It's for my life, right now.    There is an answer in the Bible for every personal situation that I'm facing at this very moment. And sometimes the answer for me isn't the same as the answer for someone else.  But God is big enough to handle that, and His Word can guide each person for their personal circumstances.

4. Make it personal.

Context is crucial.  Don't just take what someone else says is personal to them and make it personal to you.  Don't read just one verse and draw conclusions.  Read the whole passage, read the whole chapter, or sometimes read the whole book.  I can't tell you how many sermons and sermon points I've listened to that use a monologue from one of Job's friends to back up the point.  Job's friends got it wrong, but you have to read the entire book to know that.  Personally check out everything.

5. Make it personal.

If you read that you have the mind of Christ (I Corinthians 2:16) then stop calling yourself stupid, because Christ isn't stupid. It's as simple as that.  Read it, think about it, believe it, and apply it to you, personally.

The more that I make the Bible personal, the more that I see how good God is. The negativity that religion taught me as a child vanishes, and it's replaced with how much God loves me.  God has given His children many promises, and His instruction is always for our good.  Read about it.  It's Good News!


Winning Words

" Study this Book of Instruction continually.  Meditate on it day and night so you will be sure to obey everything written in it.  Only then will you prosper and succeed in all you do."  Joshua 1:15 NLT

Thursday, December 31, 2015

The End of 2015

Right now I'm enjoying the end of 2015 and looking forward to the beginning days of 2016.  Yes, I'm on vacation for a couple of weeks.  What better way to end this year and start the new year.  The only downside to vacation is leaving the cats for two weeks, but we have a wonderful cat sitter staying at our house so it's a little easier for me be away this time.

Looking Back at 2015

I'm not very good at looking back.  I'd much rather focus on what's to come.  The truth is that this time of being on the verge of an empty nest is very strange.  Also, not much turned out as planned this year, and this blog is no different.  The posts became fewer and fewer and focused less on cooking and sewing than I had planned because life happened and I lost focus.  Time to regroup.

That's about all the looking back that I'm going to do, so on to 2016.

Going Forward into 2016

My current goal is just to enjoy my vacation.  I still have some huge challenges to deal with when I get home so I'm going to regroup now.  Hopefully when I get home I'll have a better sense of where to go from here.  These are some of the things I want to focus on in 2016.

1.  Return cooking and baking to the blog.  

My food posts almost vanished because my plan of using recipes from my huge cookbook collection backfired.  Despite being comfortable in the kitchen, I had one cooking disaster after another.  I stopped blogging about my disasters and finally gave up.  I was making cinnamon rolls from a very well known Food Network person.  The recipe called for melting 2 sticks of butter and pouring it over the rolled out dough.  Even though I knew this was a huge mistake, I did what the recipe said and ended up with butter running everywhere.  What a mess!  Softened butter, not melted!  I know how to make cinnamon rolls without making a complete mess of my kitchen so why did I feel like I needed to follow a bad recipe?  I have many tried and true recipes in my recipe box and I'm rediscovering the great recipes in my good 'ole Betty Crocker Cookbook.  My family gave me a professional Kitchen Aid stand mixer for Christmas (yes, I'm spoiled), and I can't wait to give it a workout when I get home!

2.  Return sewing to the blog.

I didn't do hardly any sewing this year.  I have a huge stash of fabric and patterns and I want to get back to making things.

3.  Lose some weight.

Even though I'm in much better shape than when I started this year, I still haven't lost the weight that I gained last winter.  I know that it shouldn't be a big deal but I'm not comfortable weighing this much.  It's time to get a game plan and do something about it.

4.  Start putting together a strategy for a new business endeavor. 

 This is a really wide open one for now.  I have some ideas floating around in my head that I need to research and start narrowing down the direction that I want to take for the future as far as being productive and contributing to the family finances.

It's always good to take a look at where you've been, what's gone right, what's gone wrong, and where you want to go in the future.  Whenever I do something like this I'm always reminded that all of my planning will come to nothing if God isn't in it.  I want the plan to come from Him.  With God's guidance, the plans will work out for my good, and if the plans don't work out, then God will have something even better for me.  I have a future and a hope, and I will wholeheartedly look for God.


Winning Words

This is what the Lord says: "You will be in Babylon for seventy years.  But then I will come and do for you all the good things I have promised, and I will bring you home again.  For I know the plans I have for you," says the Lord.  "They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope.  In those days when you pray, I will listen.  If you look for me wholeheartedly, you will find me." Joshua 29:10-13 NLT

Sunday, December 13, 2015

Merry Christmas!

I want to wish everyone a very Merry Christmas!!  I'm so thankful that I serve a living King who came to this earth so I can live a victorious, abundant life!

I just felt like I needed to declare that today.  Have you ever listened to a sermon that probably made the devil very happy? It bothers me even more at Christmas. If the gospel is dead, then it isn't any different than any other religion.  But I thank God that He is alive and at work on behalf of anyone who will let Him. We came home and put the The Collingsworth Family, We Will Serve The Lord in the DVD player and had church at home.  This isn't an affiliate link, I just love this DVD.  It would make a great Christmas present for someone.

So this Christmas I'm thankful for a God who loved me so much that He sent His Son to this earth as a baby.  That baby grew up, died on the cross, and then rose again so that anyone who makes Him their Lord can have life in heaven, and also abundant life on earth.  This Christmas, like always, I'm going to claim and receive all of the promises that His death and resurrection provided for me.  That little baby is a King, and I am a child of that King!  Thank you, Jesus!

Have a merry, and blessed, Christmas!