What to Do When You Don’t Reach Your Goals

LG collage.jpg

My LG phone has set up a Health app for me.  I didn’t really want it, but I went ahead and set a goal of 10,000 steps a day.  The frustrating thing about it is that I don’t have my phone with me every second of the day!  There may be hours that it’s sitting on the counter charging while I’m running all over the house – upstairs, downstairs, inside, outside, working like a horse, while my phone is sitting there sneering at me, not logging one single step.  At the end of the month I got the message you see pictured above,

You didn’t reach your goal last month.

It may be helpful to change your goal to 9,000.

But you know, even though I know that this app isn’t correct, this message made me think.  Sadly, I’m afraid that is my heart’s inclination when something is hard. Change my goal. You see, then I can feel better about myself.  We each have two choices ~

Lower the goal and feel good about me

or

Raise the bar and feel good!

That doesn’t apply only to physical health goals, it applies in all areas of life.  But let’s think about one area in particular – our Christian life.  Do we…

  • set a goal to read through the Bible?
  • sign up to attend a 12-week Bible study?
  • commit to witness to the lost?
  • agree to help with a ministry at church?
  • volunteer teach a Sunday school class?
  • realize we need to pray more?
  • pledge to give to Faith Promise missions or to tithe faithfully

Then things happen.  Life gets busy.  We feel overwhelmed.  We get caught up with other responsibilities and we carelessly lay aside the commitments we made.  We get the mental message:

You might want to lower your goals.

After all, it would be easier.  It would make life less complicated.  We might feel better about our self.

But not really.

When we have set a spiritual goal for ourselves and then the Holy Spirit brings it to our mind, unlike my Health app, He will always be accurate.  He knows.  He sees.  Oh, not to make us miserable, but to help us, like the 10,000 steps would benefit me.  He desires to bring us to a place of obedience.

So when you realize you’ve missed the goal, all you have to do is start again.  When this new month rolls around in a few days, I’ll have another clean slate with my LG Health app!  Our gracious God forgives and wipes the slate clean when we tell Him we’ve messed up again and we need His help! 

As far as the east is from the west,
so far hath he removed our transgressions from us.

What spiritual goal have  you set aside? What responsibility have you shirked?  Perhaps this post is the Lord’s gentle way of nudging you to get you back on track.  Confess it, ask for His help to do it, and then take the next step in following through. We don’t live our Christian life based on feelings, but when you obey He gives joy, so you will indeed be feeling better when you get back on track!

Oh, and look at the message I just got on my phone…

 

lg health 2.jpg

Another lesson for me is, wear something with pockets so my phone will track every single step I take!!

Do you have spiritual goals you need to give attention to?  Start back today!

Denise Signature 150 px

Sour Dough Bread

sour dough breadOver 30 years ago I received a mason jar containing the sticky substance called, Sour Dough Bread Starter.  I have kept that dough going all these years, making untold number loaves of bread, English Muffins, and  Cinnamon Rolls!  If you’ve ever had sour dough, you know what a delicious flavor the “sour” starter gives the bread.  I don’t know the science behind it, I only know it’s good and I want it the rest of my life!

Sour dough is also a very easy dough to put together.  Beginning a starter can be a little tricky, so if you know someone who has a starter already, ask for a cup of theirs to be sure it will be active and cause your bread to rise!

But if you want to try your hand a beginning a starter here’s what you need:

To start: Place in a mason type jar:
1 cup warm water
3/4 Cup sugar
3 tbl. instant potato flakes

Stir and let set on counter all day. It should be in a place that is a little warm.  Place lid on jar and cover lightly (don’t fasten all the way down). Let set 3-4 days.

The starter will have a fermented fragrance.  It will also have little bubbles on top and kind of “sizzle.”

To make bread with that starter:

Add the same ingredients again to starter. Let set all day on counter.
The Next day you can make bread:
Ingredients
6 cups bread flour
2 1/2 tsp. yeast
1 tbl. salt
1/3 C sugar
Mix, then add:
1 C of the starter (place remaining cup back in the fridge)
1 1/2 C very warm water (110 degrees)
1/2 C oil

Mix, then turn out on floured board and knead lightly. Place dough back in oiled bowl. Cover and set in warm place ’til dough is doubled in size.

Sour dough 2a
Punch down dough. Divide in half. Place in two greased loaf pans. Let rise ’til about an inch higher than bread pan.

Sour Dough rising 1

Bake at 375 degrees about 25 min.  Allow to cool before slicing (if you can resist!).

wp-image-519203035

As I mentioned, you can make all kinds of other breads from this starter. My favorite way to eat this bread is toasted – either for breakfast or as a grilled sandwich.  It’s fantastic!!

I hope you’ll give this a try.  Maybe in 30 years you’ll still be making up hot loaves from the starter your received in 2017!

Who else has used sour dough starter?  Who loves sour dough?  

With love from my country kitchen,

Denise Signature 150 px

Five Favorite Pics

Happy Friday!  This has been a busy week for us, but a great one.  In the midst of busy lives, full ministry schedules, bearing the hurts and trials of family and friends, I’ve reminded myself over and over of the need to get alone with God.  It has calmed my heart and given me renewed strength.

One thing that REALLY helps my day is my morning walk.  I typically walk 2.5 miles.  I walk down an untraveled farm road near us so there’s no disturbance or worry about cars zooming by.  I use that time to talk out loud to the Lord.  What a joy to cry out to Him and praise Him, thank Him, and leave my burdens with Him!

The other blessing of my morning walks is the view!!  It’s gorgeous.  I can’t help but snap pictures while I walk.  In a week’s time, I take a LOT of pictures, and today I’m choosing just five to share with you that highlight the week.  Those from my walks are definitely some of my favorites!

Sunrise at home2.png

I had my back to this unbelievable view, then it was as if the Lord nudged me to turn around.  I gasped at its beauty and thanked Him for showing me His hand in creation.  This picture is totally unedited, except for my watermark.

sunrise at home

It always astounds me how beautiful a rustic barn, a barbed wire or a weed can be!  The evidence of that truth is in the preceding picture. Ah, thank you, Lord for morning!  Mornings that start everything fresh and new!

When I got home from my walk, this was what I saw:

fall porch 2

I love decorating my front porch for the seasons.  I hope it draws folks in to sit and visit!

This vignette is on the side of the front door

fall porch

Let me end with a picture of our daughter, Whitney.  She and her husband got to come to Tennessee to visit for a day and a fourth this week!  We had a great time together, though it’s always too short.  It allowed us to be able to celebrate her birthday early.  Her birthday is actually TODAY!    She is a blessing to me in so many ways.  She always finds the positive side in people and really knows how to encourage.  She’s very disciplined and organized.  She loves home and pours her heart into making her home a true place of comfort.  Mostly, she loves God and finds her strength and wisdom from her daily walk with Him.  What a blessing that is to watch.  So, Happy birthday, Whitney!  

Whitney's 33rd

I hope you have a fabulous weekend where you see God’s hand all around you! How about going over to Whitney’s blog and wishing her a happy birthday? If you’ve never been to her site, you’ll love it!

Stay refreshed!

Denise Signature 150 px

 

When a Bible Character Shouldn’t Be the Hero

Peter_Mother-in-law1

I love teaching children the Bible!  What a privilege!  Today we have awesome resources available to help equip us! I have access to many children’s books, curriculum and web sites.  Even Pinterest has thousands of ideas for stories and crafts so we can teach our children the Bible.  But if there’s one thing that saddens me, almost to the point of nauseousness, is when authors turn a Bible story character into the hero of the story.

For two days on my blog , I’ve shared about studying Mark 1:30,31 where Jesus heals Simon Peter’s Mother-in-law.  I’ve pondered it for many hours, wondering the best approach to teach it to the children.  I asked myself, Who is the hero in this story?

  • Is it Simon Peter, who told Jesus about the sick relative?
  • Is it the woman who was sick?
  • Is it Jesus?

I trust it’s so obvious to you that Jesus is the hero!  But one site I looked at said,

“Simon Peter’s mother-in-law is today’s hero, because she showed us the gift of health.

No!  No!  No!  This lesson isn’t about health any more than the story of Naaman is about taking a bath!  Nor should the emphasis be placed on being kind to our mothers-in-law!  The important truth in any story of the Bible is Jesus.  He is always the Hero of the story!

I encourage you as moms, grandma’s or teachers of children not to weaken the Bible lessons by giving it some kind of humanistic point, rather than allowing the child to see Christ!  To do that is to skip the reason God gave us His Word.

But these are written, that ye might believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God; and that believing ye might have life through his name. John 20:31

Let’s point to the real message in every story, and make our children know that Jesus is the Hero of the Bible!!

What Bible lessons do you think are easiest to miss the point of Christ being the hero?

Denise Signature 150 px

 

The Healer of the Family

family a.jpg

This coming Wednesday in Pioneer Club I get the joy of teaching a Bible lesson I’m not sure I’ve ever taught. As I’ve pondered this Bible passage, I’ve realized how important this little two-verse story is!  It’s the story of Simon Peter’s mother-in-law being sick with a fever.

But Simon’s wife’s mother lay sick of a fever, and anon they tell him of her.

.And he came and took her by the hand, and lifted her up; and immediately the fever left her, and she ministered unto them.

Mark 1:30-31

So why would this be in the Scriptures?  Why should we tell the children this story? Why do you and I need to read it? I believe it’s because it speaks volumes about the care we should have for our family.  Just as this family looked after the needs of this mother who was sick, we need to put the same kind of efforts into our family relationships.

  1. They loved her.
  2. They wanted to do the best thing for her.
  3. They got the best care for her needs.
  4. She showed her gratitude by serving.

It’s so simple, yet so powerful a message of family life as God intended it.

Loving, caring, giving, gratitude – all attributes every Christian family should have.

But so many homes today are filled with fighting and bickering, bitterness and grudges.  The thermostat in the home is set at the high temperature of STRIFE.  Heated discussions., sassy children, and hot words of anger fill the rooms instead of love, forgiveness and kind deeds.

James  3:16 says,

For where envying and strife is, there is confusion and every evil work.

Confusion.

Every evil work.

Is that what we want inside our home?  If we allow strife, that’s what we  will get.

I have a sad memory  from years ago of a grieving family who were at the casket of their mother.  She was now in heaven, and the family knew there were bitter feelings they had never reconciled.  This family had “solved” problems with shouting matches, that of course did no good.  Now their mother was deceased, and their hearts were hurting, filled with regret, and sorry they hadn’t taken care of it before she closed her eyes in death.

Standing at the grave of a loved one is not the time to make peace. It’s today.  Don’t let strife and confusion and every evil work typify your family.  Instead, allow your relations to  enjoy the forgiveness you received at the cross.  Life is too short and family is too precious.

Let’s be like Simon Peter and lovingly go get the best help we can for our family – let’s run and find Jesus!  We must bring Him in on each situation and problem.  We must care for the needs of our parents, siblings, and children, forgetting our own.

Does your family have a need?  It can be met in Jesus.

(Tomorrow will be continuation of this post.)

Denise Signature 150 px

 

 

Fast Yellow Squash Side Dish

yellow squasha.jpg

This Friday will mark the first day of fall!  However, fresh produce is still available in the grocery stores, if not in your local farmer’s market.  If you have access to fresh yellow squash, I have the perfect side dish that doesn’t require the frying method!  This also goes into the category of prepared in under 10 minutes!  This is healthy, delicious and fast – what a great combination!  Here’s the recipe:

Yellow Squash Ribbons W/Red Onion and Parmesan

Ingredients

 

  • 4 medium yellow squash (about 1 1/2 pounds)
  • 1 teaspoon olive oil
  • 1 cup thinly vertically sliced red onion
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/4 cup (1 ounce) shaved fresh Parmesan cheese

yellow squash 2

How to Make It

Step 1

Using a vegetable peeler, shave squash into ribbons to measure 5 cups. Discard seeds and core of squash.

Step 2

Heat oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium heat. Add squash, onion, and garlic; cook 4 minutes or until onion is tender, gently stirring occasionally. Remove from heat. Add salt, red pepper, and black pepper, and toss gently to combine. Sprinkle with cheese.

yellow squash 3

 

Grilled chicken would be good with this dish.  When I fixed it recently I did all vegetables.  It was so refreshing and light!  I hope you’ll try this!  Even for people who might not love squash, peeling it so thinly is a great disguise!

yellow squash

Enjoy!

Denise Signature 150 px