Priorities · summertime

Time to Slow Down

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My favorite season is here – summertime!  I’m not especially a fan of the heat, but I love the long hours of daylight, being outside when it’s cool and/or shady, eating on our covered patio, working in the yard, growing tomatoes and herbs, and so many other things that include warm, sunny days!

I want to make the most of these summer months and enjoy them to the fullest.  I’ll be Continue reading “Time to Slow Down”

Marriage · Refreshment in marriage · Uncategorized

The Cost of Neglect in Marriage

After a lovely week’s vacation, a stroll in my yard brought sights like this…
weeds

 

Weeds!  It’s amazing what just a little time away will do to a summer yard!

Proverbs 10:4 reminds us ~

He becometh poor that dealeth with a slack hand:
but the hand of the diligent maketh rich.

My hand had been idle, while on vacation, but when the temperatures had cooled off some and the humidity was in breathing range, I donned my garden gloves and headed out to give this poor Dianthus some badly needed attention.  My hand was diligent to take care of the neglected landscape.

While I was tugging and pulling at the stubborn intruders, the Lord brought to my mind a simple truth: neglect in any area of our lives spells t-r-o-u-b-l-e!  You name it – if you neglect your health, your work, or your spiritual walk, it’s an invitation to disaster.

Let’s think about another area in which neglect is deadly…a marriage.  It’s so easy to Continue reading “The Cost of Neglect in Marriage”

home accessories · Home decor · refreshment at home

Creating a Home You Love

A home that’s filled with light, color and beauty is just…inviting.  It shouldn’t be our goal to have a beautiful home so it can be a show-piece, but so we can have a place to demonstrate the love of Christ to others, to open our doors and invite the lost to share a meal, hear the Gospel and know that we love them too.
It’s with that goal in mind that I share some things I’ve learned in recent years about decorating, so keep this goal in your thoughts as you read on. When I got married over 30 years ago and set up housekeeping, my design style was mish-mash.  I wasn’t sure where I was headed or what kind of style I liked or wanted, and it was very evident!  At one time, I had deep mauve in the living room, yellow in the den, and purple in the master bedroom!  Ahhhhhh!  What was I thinking?  It was like walking through a Fun House at the carnival!  I don’t claim to have it all together now, but I think I’m finally learning what colors I love (red, yellow and light blue ) and the styles I favor (Shabby Chic/French Country).  At least I have a goal for which to strive!

Continue reading “Creating a Home You Love”

God's Will · Prayer

Make the Connections

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I’ll never forget the memory of riding in the car with my sisters and parents when I was a child. My parents were in the front seat of the car on our way to or from errands, and my two sisters and myself were seated in the backseat.  We took turns sitting on “the hump,” as we called it.  It was the middle seat, the one not quite as comfortable as the other two, but a seat, nonetheless.  As we traveled through town, one of us might speak up and ask where we were going, or perhaps request a stop at an ice cream place or White Castle Burgers.  Then as my dad drove, we were watchful.  We knew that if he turned his blinker on to go that direction, we were headed for a frozen treat.  If he turned that way we were stopping for lunch at White Castle, and if he stayed this way we were headed home – perhaps to something even better!  After we asked, we learned to watch our father’s movements – a turn on of the blinker or a change into a turning lane, to see the fulfillment of our request!  How wonderful it was to anticipate what he was going to do, then many times see him fulfill our greatest desire.  He was usually silent about the plan, but we knew He loved us and would make a right choice, based on that love.

When you and I go before the Lord, we need to do the very same thing.  After we have prayed and placed our requests before the Lord, we must get up off our knees, and connect the things that happen next with what we have just prayed.  We need to be on the lookout for God’s movements. Sometimes He makes a turn; connect it – He has a different plan.  Sometimes He turns things in the direction we were praying; it’s a fulfilled plan.  Then other times He is silent; and we must wait and trust.

All the while, we need to keep praying, and then connecting what happens next, if we truly want His will.  It may take us a direction we hadn’t planned, but He is our Father,  He loves us, and He will do what is right, based on that love.

As you have connected the next thing that happens after you pray, what have you seen the Lord do?

Chicken · Dinner · main dish

Sheet-Pan Roasted Chicken and Veggies

BBQ Rub chicken 1a

Roasted chicken is one of my all-time favorite dishes.  From the crispy skin to the savory and juicy meats, it’s just a perfect dinner in my eyes.  Even better is when you roast chicken pieces.  It’s super easy, and you can make just enough for your family without having to roast a whole bird. This is one of those great sheet-pan dinners.  I added a salad and bread and it was perfect.

 

I took this recipe from Southern Living. and used one GIANT Chicken breast, and also reduced the amount of veggies.  Friends, this is so good, I almost guarantee you will love it!!  I roasted the Chicken with carrots and potatoes in the pan, too.  You could change that out if your don’t care for one or the other.  Butternut squash and red onions would be good, too!

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Those crispy vegetables and the savory, juicy chicken are absolutely delicious!  

BBQ Rub Roasted Chicken Breast

  • 4 teaspoons dark brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon smoked paprika
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon onion powder
  • 5 teaspoons kosher salt, divided
  • 2 1/2 teaspoons black pepper, divided
  • 2 (4- to 5-lb.) whole chickens  – I used one large bone-in chicken breast
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil, divided
  • 1 1/2 pounds small red potatoes, halved
  • 1 (8 oz.) package baby carrots
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
Step 1

Preheat oven to 375°F. Stir together first 5 ingredients, 4 teaspoons of the salt, and 2 teaspoons of the pepper. Remove necks and giblets from chickens, and reserve for another use. Pat chickens dry.

Step 2

Sprinkle 1 teaspoon brown sugar mixture inside cavity of each chicken. Rub 1 tablespoon olive oil into skin of each chicken. Sprinkle evenly with remaining brown sugar mixture; rub into skin. Tuck wing tips under.
Step 3
Toss together potatoes, carrots, remaining 1 tablespoon olive oil, remaining 1 teaspoon salt, and remaining 1/2 teaspoon pepper. Spread potato mixture in a single layer in a 17- x 12-inch rimmed baking sheet. Place chickens, breast side up, facing in opposite directions (for even browning), on top of potato mixture
Step 4
Bake in preheated oven until a meat thermometer inserted in thickest portion of thigh registers 165°F, 1 hour to 1 hour and 15 minutes. Cover and let stand 10 minutes before slicing. Stir parsley into vegetables.

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I love using this thermometer that will alert me when the chicken has reached 165 degrees.  I’ve been over-baking in the past for fear of having under-cooked chicken! Now the chicken stays juicy instead of drying out! I found it at Williams and Sonoma. It’s become a favorite kitchen tool!

Chef’s Notes – I can’t wait to try this with my leftovers!

Toss together 2 heads chopped romaine lettuce; 1 cup thinly sliced cucumber; 2 cups halved cherry tomatoes; and 1 avocado, cut into wedges. Top with sliced leftover BBQ Rub Roasted Chicken. Serve with your favorite buttermilk dressing.

Prepare ahead tips: This would be an easy dish to prepare ahead of time.  Prep the chicken with the oil and rub, then cover and refrigerate.  Cut up the veggies and put in a bowl of water, but don’t add them until just before you put the chicken in the oven. You’ll have dinner in the oven in minutes by simply draining the vegetables and drying with paper towel, then adding the oil.  Place the chicken on the pan and place into the oven! Bake.  Enjoy!

This recipe will be on a regular rotation at our house!  Hope you’ll try it!

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Dates · memories · Refreshment in marriage

Family Friday – Simplifying Anniversary Celebrations

Anniversary

One day last week I stumbled across my journal entry from our anniversary last June.  How thankful I was that I had entered a memory from that day, even though it wasn’t one of the “Big” anniversaries, ending in a 0 or a 5!  It was number 36 (how can that be possible?!).  It was a blessing to be reminded of the sweet day we shared together and the fun we had celebrating another year the Lord had given us as husband and wife.

I had been sick with a nasty cough and body aches the week of our anniversary.  I had gone to the doctor and had a shot and a prescription, but when our special day rolled around, I still wasn’t feeling well enough to want to go anywhere…totally unlike me!  We had plans to go to a beautiful bed and breakfast, but had to cancel our reservation.  My sweet husband was sympathetic, understanding and very caring for my needs.  On the day of our celebration, he insisted I rest.  I did, taking a nap in the morning and another in the afternoon.  He kindly got take out for both lunch and supper meals, and though I didn’t have an incredible appetite, we enjoyed the food and ate outside on our patio.

When he left to go get supper, I set the patio table with framed pictures from our wedding and up through the years.  I got out our wedding album and also my diary from the time when we were dating.  Those things “decorated” the table, along with votive candles and the flowers he had brought me earlier in the day.  After we ate our supper, we sat and looked through the albums and read my diary entries.  We laughed.  We cried.  We reminisced over our early years of marriage, through the births of our three daughters, Ashley’s death, our years in ministry, our girls’ weddings and the countless blessings of the Lord that have made us so rich.

Our 36th anniversary was spent entirely at home.  We had no fancy restaurant setting, no luxury hotel, not even a colossal dessert.  It was just us and our memories and it was every bit as special as our time away would have been – maybe even more so because there was little cost, no stress from traffic or other people, and it allowed us to simplify the day and focus on one another and just reflect on the joy of being married to your best friend.  After all, that’s what anniversaries are for!

There are lots of summer anniversaries (any other June brides?).  If you have a year or two – (or ten!) that for one reason or another requires simplifying, enjoy it!  Oh, and be sure to journal about it somewhere so you can look back on it in years to come and smile at its memory.

Here are some suggestions for a simple celebration:

  • Take breakfast to a park and celebrate early in the day with muffins, yogurt, fruit and coffee. Bring your wedding album with you and look through the photos.
  • Pick up lunch at a favorite place and eat at a beautiful spot – a lake, the Blue Ridge Parkway or a mountain view. Play the music you enjoyed while you were dating.
  • Eat dinner at home with your children, lighting candles and using the best dishes.  Let everyone dress up!  After they go to bed, enjoy a special dessert in a quiet place, just for the two of you.
  • Skip buying presents for one another and decide on one gift you could buy that you would both enjoy –
    • a new coffee maker or espresso machine
    • a hammock
    • a picnic basket or cooler for dates
    • passes to Biltmore or amusement park
    • patio furniture
    • a chair for your bedroom
    • wedding photos that you haven’t purchased yet!
    • enlargements of photos of your family from your phone that you could frame and hang
    • a couples’ devotional book

Simplifying your anniversary celebrations can still be special and memorable.  Make the most of every day the Lord gives you together!

Refresh your marriage,

Denise Signature 150 px