Biblical Womanhood · Mentoring

If Your Thoughts Are All Over the Map

Adorned Study 8

One spring day in my East Tennessee backyard, I took my grandsons out on our acre of property, with both excitement and kites in tow!  We were going to fly their new kites for the first time!  They were ecstatic!  It had been many years since I had done this and I wondered if I could remember how to get this piece of plastic and string soaring into the air!  

I held it up with the current, let out a little string and watched the kite lift for a minute, and then it began to jerk, bob and then take a dive downward where it crashed to the ground.  I tried it all again, this time letting out more string so the wind could carry it upward.  It soared.  I handed the string over to my grandson.  As he held it in his small hands, the string began to unwind further and further until it was totally unwound.  The kite had lifted to the its full extent and was happily steady and flying smoothly!  It stayed up there until we were ready to go inside!

Just a couple weeks after that fun event, I went through some typical struggles that all women experience in life.  I was walking and praying one morning and the Lord brought to my mind the picture of that kite when it was bobbing and crashing to the ground.  As my emotions engaged, this is  exactly what I had allowed my mind to do. Rather than them being tethered to the string of truth, my thoughts were all over the place.

We’re all tempted to fall into that same kind of reaction when the winds of adversity blow or when a storm is descending upon us.  But I’m thankful to know and learn that we don’t have to bob and crash! There is hope for us and we find it in God’s Word. 

As we have been going through the Book, Adorned, we’ve learned through the study of Titus 2 that we are to be reverent in behavior, not slanderers, under control of our desires, teachers of sound doctrine.  We’re to be using our lives to teach younger women.  None of this can happen if we are out of control, if our lives reflect someone who looks like my out of control kite – happy one minute, depressed the next.  Content and peaceful one day, screaming at God and everyone around us the next. 

Titus 2 goes on to instruct us…

The older women likewise, that they be in behavior as becometh holiness, not false accusers, not given to much wine, teachers of good things,
that they may teach the young women to be sober, to love their husbands, to love their children,5 to be discreet,

In many modern translations, “be discreet” is translated, “self-controlled or sensible.” The Greek word is Sophron. It comes from two other Greek words – soos, meaning either sound or saved and phorn meaning outlook or mind. When we put the two together, it means to have a “sound mind.” 

In chapter 3 of this study we learned about sophron – and we referenced it keeping us in control so we can be modeling for a younger woman a godly life, controlled by the Spirit of God. Sophron means “to be able to put on the brakes.”  We are led by the Spirit to stop our words – to stop our attitude, to stop our wrong response. We put on the brakes.

Nancy says that a sophron lifestyle begins with a sophron state of mind – a way of thinking that affects everything about the way we live.  We are what we think, so a sensile, sound, self-controlled mindset will result with a a sensible, sound, self-controlled life.

God’s Word is so practical for our everyday lives and this word shows us how to live out this sophron life – We must ask ourselves moment by moment, Is my thinking sophron?  Were my words sophron?  Is my response sophron?

There’s a spillover from not thinking sophron – our responses and appetites will lend themselves to excesses and addiction, as we talked about in the last lesson of this book.  

How do we acquire this kind of sound thinking?  Do we will it to happen?  Titus 2:11-12 For the grace of God that bringeth salvation hath appeared to all men,

12 Teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly, in this present world;

Remember my kite story?  I had to let the wind have control over the kite.  This is a beautiful picture of God’s Spirit controlling us when we just surrender to the Christ who lives in us.  The Christ in us will always respond correctly. 

Surrender – let Him have complete control. Be a woman with a sophron lifestyle – sound thinking that will control you, your thoughts and your responses.  Your testimony as a godly woman will soar!

What do you struggle with most in regards to reining in your thoughts? You can go here to listen to the podcast on this chapter.

canning · Easy recipe

Homemade Dill Pickles – One Jar At A Time

Andy Griffith fans will know that Aunt Bea gave home-canned Dill Pickles a bad name! There is some fear in going to all the trouble and expense of canning your own pickles, only to have them turn out to be “kerosene cucumbers.”

Thank heaven I found a recipe recently that allows you to make a small batch. These are so simple and best yet – they are delicious!

If you have a small garden patch your cucumber yield is not enough to make a huge batch of pickles. Or if you’re blessed, as I am to have gracious friends who share their fresh produce with you, it’s really nice to have a way to make pickles with just a small amount of cucumbers.

When dear friends brought us some super crispy pickling cukes, I just knew they were perfect for some dill spears and slices! I went searching for a recipe that didn’t require canning and made a small batch.

I loved the flavor of the recipe I found. They’re not too spicy or overpowering. I do believe a huge part of the success of these was using a cucumber that is fresh and crisp.

Here’s the simple process…

Ingredients

  • 2-3 pickling cucumbers, prepared as you wish…sliced, spears or whole
  • 4 sprigs of dill
  • 1/2-1 clove of garlic, sliced
  • 1/2 tsp mustard seed
  • Pickle Brine – see below

Instructions

  1. Wash your pickles well and remove the blossom end.
  2. Slice them as desired – slices or spears.
  3. Add mustard seed, garlic and dill sprigs to your jar, then put your prepared cucumbers in.
  4. Add the brine to fill the jar and cover your cucumbers. If I have some parts of the cucumbers that rise above the brine, snip of a piece of the cuke so that all parts of all cucumbers are submerged below the brine.
  5. Put lids on your jars and refrigerate. Because these are not being canned and instead kept in your refrigerator, you don’t need special jars…just make sure the jars and their lids are clean. I boiled my lids and jars for 10 minutes in a large pot.
  6. If you can let the pickles sit for 2-3 weeks they have more time for the flavor to develop. I’ve read that you should consume them before 3-4 months…we won’t have to worry about that!

Pickle Brine

  • 2 quarts cold water
  • 6 ounces apple cider vinegar
  • 3 ounces pickling salt
  1. Mix all ingredients and stir until salt is dissolved.
  2. Store in a container in your refrigerator.

The first two jars I made are just about gone, but now I have a jar of pickle brine sitting in my fridge just waiting for cucumbers and herbs to be mixed in! It’s so easy and Aunt Bea would agree that these are so much faster than canning 16 jars!!

That crunch little slice added great flavor to my Turkey Burger slider!

If you’re afraid of making a big batch of pickles, give these a try! You may just be tempted to enter them into the county fair!

Have you tried making your own pickles? What do you eat with a them? Oh, and in case the picture above made you hungry for onion rings, here are my two favorite recipes – a non-healthy but fabulous one, and a healthy one!

Refreshment in marriage · The Scenic Route

Memories On the Scenic Route

Why travel the busy interstate, full of traffic, construction zones and high speeds when you can take a gorgeous, slower paced scenic route?

That’s the philosophy my husband and I have taken on! Oh, the gorgeous scenery we have enjoyed on the Scenic Route! Beautiful old barns, kayakers on rushing rivers, rainbows over country churches, and hot air balloons skimming open fields are just a few of the sights we have seen.

Our third week of Sabbatical was not without more scenic routes and beauty! I’ve pictured some of them here in this post.

Travel can really be an illustration of how we approach every day of our married lives! Sadly, I believe too many marriages are daily on the Interstate. Both the husband and wife are each in their own “cars,” driving over the speed limit, hurrying to the next thing on their agenda.

Occasionally they may pass their spouse and give a thumbs up as they keep traveling independently on their journey. Every now and then their lives may merge onto the same road, but not long after, a construction zone interrupts their unity and it’s back to stop-and-go once again.

This is not a fun way to travel, and it’s an even worse way to live out married life!

When you’re on the Interstate, it ‘s necessary to get off at a rest area when you’re weary. Marriages need restful times, too! I’m thankful for the rest our sabbatical allowed us. Not only did it strengthen our ministry, we were also able to pour into our marriage. We did lots of reminiscing – thinking back to the days when the Lord brought us together.

We even had the blessing of spending time in Pigeon Forge and Gatlinburg, because, like many young couples, part of our honeymoon was spent there. We were thankful for time to sit, to talk, to dream about the future, and thank the Lord together for the blessings of the past.

Is your marriage on the high-speed Interstate, or have you taken the time to get off and enjoy the scenic route recently?

You don’t need a sabbatical to travel the scenic route! Find a spot where you and your spouse can watch the sun set. Go to the lake with a picnic supper. Drive together down a country road with the windows down and your old love songs playing on your Amazon app. Make some new memories on your own scenic route.

It’s your choice which route to take – both as your travel and as you live out each day of your marriage.

Interstate or Scenic Route. Which are you on today?

Biblical Womanhood · Discipleship · Mentoring

Enslaved

Just one more, please???!!!

One more what?

That’s what I want you to answer! What do you need just one more of to make it through this day? What is it that will make your hardship easier to handle?

  • Coffee?
  • Chocolate?
  • Pain pill?
  • Anxiety med?
  • Drink of alcohol?
  • Hour of social media?

If our answer isn’t “CHRIST!” we may be looking at a stronghold in our life. For many women in Paul’s day, their answer was

I need more wine!

He told Titus to tell the older women to teach the younger women that they were not to be given or controlled by wine. Titus 2:3 The reference of wine includes the enslavement to anything that takes the place of our utter dependence on Christ.

It’s easy for us as we age to swallow the lie that, “I have earned the right to a little pleasure! One more ______________ won’t hurt.” We become slaves to it and then believe the lie that we could walk away from it if we wanted to.

 Titus 2:3 the ESV says, slaves to much wine. And it means to be held and controlled against one’s own will. “This is what happens when we become enslaved to certain substances or habits or activities – anything that we deem essential to our happiness, sanity or survival.”

That slavery can be called many things – addiction, compulsion, stronghold, or dependency.

In her book, Adorned, Nancy listed some of the other common compulsions that enslave many women – even Christian women today. They might include:

  • Food – binge eating as a way to numb feelings. 1 in 4 women in churches struggle here.
  • Diet and exercise – Hooked on being healthy – it’s all they talk about.  Exercise, carbs, scales, etc., consume their world and conversation.
  • Shopping –  What starts out as a way to meet needs, ends up spending and overspending, hiding receipts and purchases in order to relieve pent up pressure.
  • TV, Media – Panic sets in when the Internet is down and you’re not able to check in, scan Facebook or Instagram.
  • Prescription medications – At one time needed for one thing, now relied upon just to get us out of bed or “give a little more energy.”

If you’re still not sure if you have something in your life you’re enslaved to, try going without it for 30 days.

If you find you can’t, then ask yourself,

Who’s the master, and who’s the servant?

 

There is hope for you, if you do find yourself a slave to something!
Jesus said, The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he hath anointed me to preach the gospel to the poor; he hath sent me to heal the brokenhearted, to preach deliverance to the captives, and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty them that are bruised, Luke 4:18-19

How does it happen?

Not by willing ourselves to do so, but by yielding ourselves to our Master. It won’t necessarily happen in a moment, but in each moment as we yield ourselves to Christ. 
Now…and now…and now. 
We can live in victory over sin’s pull by appropriating His strength to worship Him, rather than that other god.

Reach out if you need help. Ask a strong believer to make you accountable. Keep yourself constantly yielded to Christ.

He is enough!

You can hear more on this chapter by listening to the Adorned (7) podcast here.

You can be free!

Bread · Dinner · Easy recipe

Popovers ~ the Perfect Dinnertime Bread

I don’t know why I never made popovers before; they’re so good and also easy to make!

It was my daughter who said that to me recently, and I’m wondering who else has not made popovers for dinnertime?

They are whipped up in a matter of about 5 minutes. You simply mix and pour the batter into pans. They are then “POPPED” into the oven where they bake and POP UP in the pan in about 40 minutes. The outsides are crispy and the insides are moist and tender. They’re a great accompaniment to so many different kinds of meals!

Popovers

Ingredients

  • 1 tablespoon shortening or nonstick cooking spray
  • 2 beaten eggs
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1 tablespoon cooking oil
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • ¼ teaspoon salt 

Directions

Instructions Checklist

  • Step 1 Using 1/2 teaspoon shortening for each cup, grease the bottoms and sides of six 6-ounce custard cups or cups of a popover pan. (Or, lightly coat cups with cooking spray.) Place the custard cups on a 15x10x1-inch baking pan; set aside. Note: I use a regular muffin tin and it works great!
  • Step 2 In a medium bowl use a wire whisk or rotary beater to beat eggs, milk, and oil until combined. Add flour and salt; beat until smooth. Don’t overbeat. Just mix until everything is well combined.
  • Step 3 Fill the prepared cups half full with batter. Bake in a 400 degree F oven about 40 minutes or until very firm.
  • Step 4 Immediately after removing from oven, prick each popover to let steam escape. Turn off the oven. For crisper popovers, return popovers to oven for 5 to 10 minutes or until desired crispness is reached. Remove popovers from cups; serve immediately. Makes 6 popovers.

If I have leftovers, I put them into a 400 degree oven to warm them and crisp them back up again. It only takes about 5 – 7 minutes.

Are you one that has never tried popovers? I hope you’ll remedy that this week!