Goals · Prayer

It Smells of the Lamp

I have parents that are a quilting duo! My dad, the engineer mind in the family, cuts the fabric squares. My mom, the crafter, sews them together, then Dad cuts them again to get them perfectly square. Each square gets a heavy ironing before it’s sewn again. The picture you see here is that of the pieces being laid out to see where each one should go. After placing and replacing, they will take this up very carefully, row after row and stack it the way it needs to be sewn together. Of course after the batting and backing are put behind it there’s all the hand quilting to be done. Whoa! Many, many hours go into the making of a quilt! However, when it’s all finished it’s not only warm and cozy, it is a piece of art!

This week as I was studying Proverbs 31 I read verse 18 – She perceiveth that her merchandise is good; her candle goeth not out by nightAs I studied the last part of this verse, I learned that it was often said of an elaborate piece (of art, needlework, a literary work, etc), “It smells of the lamp.” That means that there were many long hours put into making that piece – so much that it even went into the night hours. You could tell by looking at it that it wasn’t done quickly; it took much labor and effort.

When you understand the hours of labor that a quilt takes you appreciate it all the more! When I look at the quilts that my parents have made for each of their children and grandchildren I am reminded of the sacrifice of time and labor that it took to make them. They “smell of the lamp.”

While I’ve pondered that phrase for the last several days, the cry of my heart to the Lord is that my prayer life would be what “smells of the lamp.” More and more I understand how weak I am and unable to do anything without God’s enablement and power in my life. Oh, that I would wake up in the morning with the burden to pray, go into the noon hour with prayer on my lips, enter the evening with a continued heart-cry to my God, and go to bed at night and be awakened to “turn on the lamp.”

Nothing else will go lacking if prayer is the center of my life. For when I am praying my needs are met, my steps directed, my thoughts established, my heart made right, and my burdens lifted. What a beautiful thing a prayer life like that would be.

Oh, God, may my prayer life smell of the lamp!


What area of your life would you want to “smell of the lamp?”

Dinner · freezer · Low Carb · main dish · Main entree

A Healthier Pizza Recipe

pizza 5

If you included weight loss in any of your New Year Goals, you will be really happy to try this recipe!  This Deconstructed Pizza Casserole is low carb but highly delicious! If you’re hungry for pizza, but don’t want all the calories and carbohydrates, this will come in a close second to the real thing!  I added a green salad and it was a perfect Saturday night supper that almost felt like, “Pizza Night!”

Here’s the easy recipe and my tweaks:

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1 can (14.5 oz.) diced tomatoes (do not use petite dice)
  • 5 links (19.5 oz.) uncooked turkey Italian sausage
  • 2 tsp. olive oil
  • 1/2 tsp. dried oregano
  • salt and fresh-ground pepper to taste
  • 8-12 oz. fresh mushrooms, washed and cut into thick slices (I used brown Cremini mushrooms.) To wash, wet a paper towel and wipe the mushrooms.  Don’t rinse under water!
  • 1/2 Red onion, sliced
  • 1 1/2 cups grated Mozzarella cheese (I used part-skim mozzarella)
  • Pepperoni slices (I used Turkey Pepperoni, but you can use regular, if you prefer.)

DIRECTIONS:

  1. Preheat oven to 400°. Spray an 8 inch x 11 inch glass casserole dish with non-stick spray or olive oil.
  2. Pour the diced tomatoes into a colander placed in the sink and rinse with cold water. Let tomatoes drain a minute or two, then spread them out on paper towels to dry (or blot dry with another paper towel on top.)
  3. Remove the sausage out of the casing, and cook over medium-high heat until it’s nicely browned, breaking it apart as it cooks.
  4. While sausage cooks, clean mushrooms and slice into thick slices.
  5. When the sausage is done make a layer of sausage in the bottom of the casserole dish and top with the drained tomatoes and red onions, spreading  out over the top of the sausage. Season with dried oregano, salt, and fresh-ground black pepper.
  6. Rinse out the pan if needed, then heat 2 tsp. of olive oil over medium-high heat. When the pan is hot add the mushrooms and cook, stirring a few times, until all the liquid is released and the mushrooms are starting to brown. Layer the mushrooms over the sausage-tomato mixture.

    Pizza cass 2
    I divided the mixture between two dishes, since it was just the two of us!  One went into the freezer for another day.
  7. Sprinkle the grated Mozzarella over the top of the casserole and lay the pepperoni pieces on top of the cheese, spacing them evenly so the whole top is covered with pepperoni.
    pizza cass 4
  8. Bake about 25 minutes, or until the cheese is melted and starting to brown. Serve hot.

pizza 6

 

With yummy dishes like this, you could cut carbs and not feel like you’re missing your favorite pizza!

Hope you’ll give this a try!!  It’s super-good!

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children · Family life · home · Husband · Motherhood · Wife's Role

Family Friday – Family Time

 

Family Time.

Mother-Daughter Time

Mother-Son Time

Date night

Conversation time

We all want to spend time with our family, but we’re so busy with everything else going on in our world, how do we do it?

How do we respond when so many others need/want our moments, hours and days, yet we long for more time with our husband?  More time pouring into our children?  Here are some points to ponder when you consider how yo will spend your days:

  1. Establish an eternal perspective.  How will this decision effect eternity?  If it won’t, then is it pressing right now or should I do something else?
  2. Remember when you say “yes” to someone, you’re saying “no” to someone else. Who should I be saying “no” to?  Is this person in my priority order?
  3. Respond to each opportunity on the basis of how it will affect your ability to fulfill your current obligations. Will doing this make it more difficult to do what I have to get done today?  Will doing this help me accomplish what is before me?
  4. Try to do only the right things for the right reasons at the right times in the right seasons.

clock a

Now, how will you spend TIME with your family this weekend?  Perhaps you should start by asking yourself these four questions, then make decisions about what you will/should do!

Your family opportunities won’t be there forever! Grab them while you can!

Refresh your family time,

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Family life · home · refreshment at home · Winter · Work

Making Leisure Days Productive & Restful

Snowy day a.jpg

Tennessee finally got a snow day!  I’ve been waiting for this since Christmas time!  In honor of all restful Snow Days, I’m going to wait to post a video today, but will get one out next week.

Let’s just do a fun post today about ways to make leisure days restful, but still productive. We all know how to rest, but how can we take a rare day at home both productive and restful? Is it possible?  Yes!  Here are a few ideas:

Let’s start with what we need to get rid of in order to rest:

  • Television
  • Facebook
  • Computer “stuff”
  • Texting

Let’s lift our face out of a screen and up around us at the people and place where we are!

Leisure activities:

  • Pick up a magazine and get inspiration for decorating your home.
  • Go through cookbooks and mark new recipes you want to try.
  • Read through an old journal and be blessed at the memories you recorded.
  • Read a book – one you’ve started and not finished or one you’ve wanted to get into.
  • Take a nap – Of course!

Things to do with others:

  • Play board games
  • Read aloud
  • Go outside
    • On snowy days – walk in the snow, build a snowman, shovel someone else’s sidewalk.
    • On warmer days, clean up the yard.  Take a walk.  Sit on the porch swing or rocking chairs.  Read out there!
  • Bake together

Around the House:

  • Work on a project you’ve neglected – hemming jeans, sewing buttons on, crafts like stamping, calligraphy or memory books.
  • Rearrange the furniture – a favorite of mine!!
  • Redo the decor on a mantle or bookshelf.
  • Straighten out drawers.
  • Oraganize something that is messy – a closet, a pile on the counter or floor.
  • Freshen up the kitchen by decluttering the countertops.

Don’t let snow days or leisure days be wasted by just hanging on the couch all day.  A little rest is good, but leisure days can be productive rest!

Have you had snow this week?  What fun things did you do while you were home?

Happy snow days to you, my friends!

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Motherhood · trust · Uncategorized · worry

Don’t Connive – Confide

Israel Sea a.jpg

Years ago I remember hearing a story of a couple who knew God was calling them to a foreign mission field.  They were excited to obey, until the wife heard that there were poisonous snakes there that could strike a blow and kill a person with one venomous bite.  Her (understandable) fear for her children’s safety from such dangers caused her to set her proverbial foot down and refuse to go abroad.  She reasoned that they could give and share the Gospel right here at home where there were far less dangers! The sad ending of the story is that one of the poisonous snakes that inhabit the US found its way to their driveway one day after, and bit one of their children.

I have no absolutes that the story is legit, but would that wife’s actions come to our own mothers’ hearts?  Yes.  As women we could reason lots of things for the safety of our children, ourselves, our home or situation.
But when does our human reasoning become a lack of trust in a sovereign God?
When we step up with a plan that goes against what God has said.

Fear + My plan Image result for not equal sign  Obedience

Just last week I read a great example of this in Genesis 12.  Let me summarize:

God had sent Abraham and Sarah on the journey to the Promise Land.  When they got to Egypt, Abraham became fearful of losing his life for the sake of his beautiful wife.  Soooo, he came up with a plan!  He told Sarah to lie and tell the Pharaoh that she is his sister.  Sarah complied and Pharaoh took her into his palace.  Not longer after, God sent plagues to Pharaoh because of this lie Abraham was living.  When the Pharaoh approached Abraham, he scolded him for lying to him and told him to take Sarah and hit the road (go their way!).

Um, excuse me, consider what Abraham was afraid of (losing his life because of Sarah).

Did it happen?

No.

When Pharaoh learned that she was married to him, he told them to GO!

Like I shared yesterday, when we worry about things instead of praying about them, we ruin a good day!  That’s exactly what Abraham did.  But he also took things a step further by coming up with his plan to fix the problem!  The missionary story I shared at the beginning of this post was the same example.

Now, let’s stop and ask ourselves:

  • Are we being disobedient to clear commands God has given in His Word because of a fear we have?
    Are we showing a lack of trust in a loving, merciful God by our actions?
  • Are we keeping ourselves or anyone else from obeying God due to our fears?

 

Abraham reminds me that all of us can easily fall into the trap of conniving instead of confiding.

Let me share a recent example of  this from my own life.  The flu is pretty rampant in our part of the country right now and it’s showing itself present in our church.  I have 14-month old grandsons who attend our nursery every Sunday.  When I learned that church members were dealing with the flu, my heart jumped into my throat and I immediately thought about sending a text to our daughter to consider keeping the boys home from Sunday services.  But immediately after, the Spirit of God spoke to my heart –

Can you not trust me to take care of them?  Even a sickness, if they got it, would not be overlooked by My care.  Trust me.

Yes, the flu was evident at my church on Sunday, and my grandsons were there, but instead of fretting and jumping into action, I prayed to a God Who is in that nursery and is aware of their needs.  I can trust Him.

So can you, my friend.

We need to lay our plans down, and then fall down…down on our knees and confide in our merciful, loving God Who wants what is good for us and for our families.

Are you at work trying to take care of everyone and everything, or are you trusting an omnipotent, omniscient God for everything that touches your life?

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Prayer · trust · worry

How To Ruin the Trip of a Lifetime or a Day At Home

Israel flight 2.jpg

This time last year I was on a 15-day trip to Israel!  This was my second time to have the privilege of going, so I knew what was in store…well, sort of.

Our first trip to the Holy Land was great for the most part.  It did involve rain…lots of it and some pretty cold weather, oh and also a night in a room with little heat.  I loved being there, and was so thankful for the opportunity to see where my Savior lived and ministered and died for me.  However, I wasn’t sure I’d ever want to make the trip again.

  • The flight over is pretty long and grueling.
  • The weather was nasty at times.
  • It’s an expensive trip.
  • Been there, done that.

Then my husband got the wonderful idea to take some of our church people over as a group.  I hated for him to go “alone,” so, I knew “his” trip back meant “our” trip back. I prayed about whether or not to go along the second time. Then all my reasons for not going again began to be crossed off the list.

  • The flight over is pretty long and grueling. We were traveling with a bunch of our dear friends! Even the flight would be fun!
  • The weather was nasty at times. The weather prediction was pretty fabulous!
  • It’s an expensive trip. My husband’s trip was paid because he was the leader of the group. The Lord provided my expenses as we saved.
  • Been there, done that. A second trip would bring new, greater understandings.

Spite all those answers, I worried.  I worried about the safety of the flight.  I worried we might not come home.  I worried about traveling home on Inauguration day and protesters…on and on my anxious thoughts went. Finally one day the Lord convicted me of this sin of worry.  I was not trusting Him.  I confessed and asked others to whom I had spilled my fretting to forgive me.  I was now ready to travel!

We prayed much, packed our suitcases to bulging, and headed to Israel!  That trip was one of the best experiences of my life!  It was FULL of blessings – beautiful weather, floating in the Dead Sea, luxurious hotels, a perfect boat ride on the Sea of Galilee and getting to do it all with my husband, son-in-law and dear friends.  My prayer partners/friends and I prayed on the Sea of Galilee, in the Mount of Olives, at the Garden Tomb and the Road to Emmaus.  We laughed.  We cried.  We read God’s Word and marked up our Bibles.  We sang. We ate falafel. We shopped.  We snapped hundreds of pictures and we came home with our hearts so full we thought they would burst.

But that trip was nearly ruined.

How?

Simply by my worry.

 

Those worries could’ve cause me to ditch it all and stay home and miss those blessings!  Thank the Lord I didn’t carry it to that extreme.  But even continued fretting would’ve kept me from enjoying every minute while I was there.

I’m grateful for the turning point before we left when I let it go.  It kept me from ruining it all.

None of my fears happened.

None of them!

Have you ever worried about something so much that it changed your plans, or you took the matter into your own hands instead of making it a matter of serious prayer? Have you ever worried so much that it overcame your thoughts during the day and into the night?  It might have been a relatively minor situation, but it plagued you.

Little worries can turn into big mistakes when we take over.

Little worries can ruin big plans.

Little worries can rob us of today’s giant blessings.

But this will only happen if we allow it!

The Lord commands us instead ~

Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ;

Reign in your worries and pray about them, giving every detail to the Lord Who is in control of every inch, every second, every detail of it!  Pray rather than letting worry ruin the trip of a lifetime or a simple day at home!

What worry is taking over your thoughts?  What imaginations are running wild in your heart? Will you allow it to ruin the blessing of a lifetime or even this day?  It’s your choice.

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baking · Bread · Quick Bread

Wonderful, Quick Breadsticks

Bread.  It is the sustenance of life.  Winter soups need breadsticks for dipping.  Pasta needs a breadstick for sopping up sauce, and Sunday roasts need one to mop up gravy.  Am I right?

Breadsticks 2b

 

 

I’m always on the search for a better roll, fluffier biscuit or quicker breadstick.  One day this winter when I was making my Cheese Ravioli with Tomatoes, I found this recipe on Pinterest, at Genius Kitchen and had to give it a try because the reviews were fabulous.  I halved the recipe and it was perfect for a couple of meals.  Oh, these are good.  These are fast.  These need to be in your recipe file!

breadsticks 1

 

Soft, Quick Breadsticks

INGREDIENTS

DIRECTIONS

  1. Make dough using your favorite method- bread machine, mixer or by hand.
  2. Roll out into a 10×12 inch rectangle.
  3. Cut into strips about 3/4 inch wide.
  4. Give each strip a twist and place on a greased cookie sheet.
  5. Let rise for at least 20 minutes or more if you have time.
  6. Bake at 375 for 10-15 minutes.
  7. Brush with butter and sprinkle with garlic salt and Parmesan cheese.

The next time you make anything that has sauce of any kind, you need to whip this recipe up.  I’m ditching every other breadstick recipe and keeping this one.  You should too!

Breadsticks 4

What kind of meal would you make these breadsticks to accompany?  Are you a “dipper?”

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