Love · Marriage · Refreshment in marriage · Wife's Role

Family Friday – Apply the Loving Touch

 

Loving touch

We’ve all done it – slammed our finger in a drawer or caused ourselves some sort of pain by a careless act.  This morning it happened to me – I was getting ready for the day and I dropped my phone onto the top of my foot. All those little bones in there began screaming for attention and I gave it! I lifted my leg and while hopping on the other foot, Continue reading “Family Friday – Apply the Loving Touch”

Christian growth · Christian Life · Christian love · Dates · Family life · Husband · Love · Marriage · tongue · Uncategorized

Win the Argument

 

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My husband and I have been arguing again. You know how that goes. It’s over a topic we’ve discussed before – serving one another. The conversation went something like this:

Me – Let me do that for you.

Him – No, I already took care of it, but thank you.

Me – I can never seem to find a way to serve you: you always beat me to it! You do so much more for me than I do you.

Him – Hon, that’s not true! You do so much for me. Goodness, I couldn’t do what I do on a day without you!

Continue reading “Win the Argument”

cakes · Cookies · dessert · Love · muffin · Pie · Valentine Treats

Five Sweet Valentine Treats

Since Valentine’s Day is a week from today, I thought I’d share a line-up of sweet treats for you to make for a sweetheart, a child, your Bible study friends or whomever you may want to shower sweet kindness on!

You may be tempted to buy one of those big cookies in the mall, but this first recipe is every bit as good, is so easy and only costs about $2, $3 to make!  It is so yummy!!

Colossal Chocolate Chip Cookie

1 cup chocolate pieces – chips or M&M’s – Pink and Red Valentine would be pretty, or you could use just chocolate chips
1 1/2 Cups all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 cup butter or margarine, softened
1/3 cup granulated sugar
1/3 cup brown sugar
1 egg
1 tsp vanilla

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Reserve 1/3 cup candies for decorating.  Set aside.  Combine flour, baking soda and salt; mix well.  In another bowl, beat butter and sugars until creamy.  Add egg and vanilla; beat well.  Add flour mixture; mix well.  Stir in 2/3 cup candies.  Place dough in center of a 13″ or 15″ round pan and spread out to sides.  Decorate with reserved candies.  Bake 16-18 minutes or until light golden brown.  Cool completely.  Cut into wedges to serve.
Yield:  10 servings

The following recipe is one I made my husband  on Valentine’s Day when we were dating.  He loved it so much that I’ve made it over and over on subsequent Valentin’e s Days! We all know the way to a man’s heart!

Sweetheart Fudge Pie
1/4 Cup butter or margarine
3/4 cup brown sugar, packed
3 eggs
2 cups semi-sweet real chocolate pieces
2 tsp instant coffee
1 tsp vanilla
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup coarsely chopped walnuts
9 inch unbaked pastry shell
1 cup whipping cream
2 Tbl chopped maraschino cherries

Cream butter with brown sugar; add eggs, one at a time, beating well.  Melt chocolate over hot, not boiling, water; add to creamed mixture with coffee and vanilla.  Stir in flour and walnuts.  Pour into pie shell.  Bake at 375 degrees for 25 minutes.  Cool.  Whip cream stiff (I like to add about 1/4 cup powdered sugar).  Fold in cherries.  Spread on top of pie; decorate with chocolate or candy hearts.

Red strawberries are perfect for Valentine’s Day.  Here’s a treat so start the day –

Strawberry Citrus Muffins

1 1/4 Cups chopped strawberries
3 tbl. margarine, melted
2 tsp grated orange or lemon rind
2 large eggs
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/4 cups sugar I reduce this to 1 cup – it’s plenty
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
Cooking spray
2 tsp sugar I like to use the coarse sugar on top
1/2 Cup strawberry jam (optional) But why wouldn’t you?!

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Combine the first 4 ingredients in a bowl and mix just until mixture is blended.  Lightly spoon flour into dry measuring cups, and level with a knife.  Combine flour, 1 cup sugar, baking powder and salt.  Add strawberry mixture to flour mixture, stirring just until mixture is moist.  Spoon the batter into 12 muffin cups coated with cooking spray ( or you could use pretty heart-shaped liners).  Sprinkle with 2 tsp sugar.  Bake at 400 degrees for 20 minutes or until muffins spring back when touched lightly in center.  Remove muffins from pan immediately.  Serve with jam, if desired.

More Strawberries…

strawberrry shortcake1

Lite Strawberry Shortcakes

Ingredients

  • 3 1/2 cups halved strawberries, divided
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 1/3 cup orange juice
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon lemon juice
  • 1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 3 tablespoons sugar
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 3 tablespoons chilled stick margarine or butter, cut into small pieces
  • 1/2 cup low-fat buttermilk
  • Cooking spray
  • 6 tablespoons frozen reduced-calorie whipped topping, thawed
  • Whole strawberries (optional)
    1. Combine 1 cup strawberry halves, 1/3 cup sugar, orange juice, vanilla, and lemon juice in a bowl, and mash with a potato masher. Stir in 2 1/2 cups strawberry halves. Cover and chill.

    2. Preheat oven to 425°.

      Lightly spoon flour into dry measuring cups; level with a knife. Combine flour, 3 tablespoons sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in a bowl; cut in margarine with a pastry blender or 2 knives until mixture resembles coarse meal. Add buttermilk, stirring just until moist (dough will be sticky).

    3. Turn dough out onto a lightly floured surface, and knead lightly 4 times with floured hands. Pat dough into a 6 x 4-inch rectangle. Cut dough into 6 squares. Place 1 inch apart on a baking sheet coated with cooking spray. Bake at 425° for 12 minutes. Cool on a wire rack.

      Split shortcakes in half horizontally using a serrated knife; place each bottom half on a dessert plate. Spoon 1/4 cup strawberry mixture over each bottom half. Top with shortcake tops; spoon 1/4 cup strawberry mixture over each top. Top each serving with 1 tablespoon whipped topping; garnish with whole strawberries, if desired.

       

Lastly, think about anything you could cut into a heart-shape, using a cookie cutter.

  • Toast
  • Biscuits
  • Pancakes
  • French toast
  • Cookies – Here’s my favorite Sugar Cookie recipe

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Here you go, friends!  I hope you have fun baking up a sweet treat for someone you love!

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Christian love · Love

Let’s Show LOVE

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February 1st is tomorrow!! I’ve always loved this second month of the year.  Maybe it’s Valentine’s Day and the pink, and flowers and romance, or maybe it’s just that spring is a month closer!

The theme of this month is what?  I’d say LOVE and you might agree.

Sunday night a wonderful message was preached at my church regarding the command for believers to show LOVE.  It’s in the Scriptures over and over again.  Love one another. Do all things in love.  Serve one another in love.

Why?

By this shall all men know
that ye are my disciples,
if
ye have love one to another.
John 13:35


The congregation of my church was reminded of the truth that it’s not necessary for us to die for others.  No, we are to live for them and we do that by loving them. “What would that look like?”

  • Taking a meal to someone
  • Letting someone sleep on your sofa until they could get back on their feet.
  • Helping someone financially.
  • Inviting someone for a cup of coffee.
  • Listening to a heavy heart about a burden they’re bearing.
  • Cleaning someone’s house.
  • Making a visit.

None of us can do all of that, but we can do something.  Something that would show Christ’s love.  What will you do to show others you love Christ?  I’m asking myself the same question even as I write this post.  

We must do it.  There’s enough of the enemy’s ugly tactics of division and sinfulness – let’s reach out with hands of compassion and the love of our Savior to show the world what LOVE REALLY looks like.

Has someone reached out to you in a loving gesture recently?  Have YOU reached out to show love?  What other ideas do you have as to how we can do this?

With love,

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Family life · home · Husband · Love · Marriage

Chipped Cups and a Thankful Heart

kitchen sink

There’s a routine that happens in our house several times every day – perhaps it looks similar at yours.  It’s the washing and cleaning up after a meal. Most people don’t relish scraping lasagna off dinner plates, deciding which Rubbermaid container will hold the remains of the tossed salad, getting all the dishes into the already-full dishwasher or cleaning out the drips on the oven floor, but it all must be done.  The blessing of these tasks at my house is that I never work alone.  My thoughtful husband works alongside me until the towel is folded over the edge of the sink and the kitchen light is turned off.  It sounds like a pleasant scene, doesn’t it?  It truly is, and I try to thank my spouse often for his diligent efforts to help me with this daily chore.

But I haven’t always been the smiling spouse and happy housewife during this task.  As ungrateful as it sounds, there have been times when I’ve corrected him for the way he was handling the dishes.  He’s a big guy with big hands, and my dishes have often cringed under the force of being picked up or set down in a not-so-gentle way.

Of course, it was my duty to tell him, right?

Only if I wanted to crush his spirit about helping, when he could have been off doing any number of far more important things than washing my “riches.”

Only if I wanted to hush the chatter we had been having while we worked side by side in our sudsy love.

Only if I wanted to make him feel like my son instead of my husband, my leader, the head of our home, and the provider of the very home in which we were working.

Only if I valued my possessions more than a happy marriage.

But I did it and I regretted it. I confessed it to my God and to my hard-working, strong husband.

I decided after that that it was far better to work together, each of us happily humming, talking, teasing, laughing, and loving, than to be doing this triple-day duty by myself just so I could keep my dishes – my riches – without any nicks.

God knew I would need this reminder and He put it in the form of a proverb –

Better is little with the fear of the Lord than great riches and trouble therewith.

Proverbs 15:16

Yes, it’s better to have plates with a hairline crack, a bowl put in the wrong cupboard, or a set of eight glasses that only number seven now, than to have a perfect set of dishes without the comradery that happens when we work together with right hearts.

My dishes were my “riches” that proverbs mentions.  What’s yours? What form of perfection or higher standard comes between accepting gracious help or refusing it?  If your husband attempts to help you at home, do you appreciate his efforts, or do you demand perfection?  Do you accept his help, or ask him to go do something else so the task will be done the way you want it accomplished?  Maybe you need to remind yourself, as I had to do, of the blessing of a man who will be kind enough to offer a hand.  Think about whether you’d rather be sitting at home alone with your “riches” around you, or  living happily as one, with a little less “riches.”

I think many wives must come to grips with this truth.  So, if this rings true in your heart, know that you’re not alone.  Our sinful heart wants our way, instead of the wonder of a sweet marriage that comes when two people work together with happy hearts.

When it’s all said and done, what’s left of my dishes may only be chipped cups and splintered saucers, but if my heart is full of gratitude instead of grumbling, there will also be a whole lot of love that got splashed up in the soapy process.

That’s what I’m going for.

How about you?  What are the “riches” that are causing you to be demanding and critical instead of thankful for your spouse?  Ask God to help you exchange that criticism for gratefulness. Then smile while you sip your coffee from that chipped cup!

Denise Signature 150 px

 

Husband · Love · Marriage

Date Time!

There are lots of fun things to do on date days/nights, but last week, I got to enjoy a really special treat that was a bit of a sacrifice for my husband to pull off. Going to the Biltmore Inn for afternoon tea is something I’ve wanted to do for a long time, so as a belated birthday gift, he took me!

HE TOOK ME!!

The sacrifice came in that my husband doesn’t even like hot tea.  He’s a coffee guy, but he went.

He poured tea.

He drank tea.

It’s also a pretty fancy affair.  While I know he’d much rather be hiking an Appalachian Trail, he was happy to take me on this fun adventure!  That’s what marriage is all about – giving of yourself for the other.  It meant all the more to me  because he went and had such a sweet spirit about it.  He didn’t roll his eyes and grimace; he enjoyed it for me.  That made it all the more fun, of course!

The experience at the Inn did not disappoint!  It was regal.  It was delicious.  It was romantic.  It was a memory-maker!  Let me show you what we enjoyed!

tea for 2 a
A sweet Doorman greeted us.
tea for 2 d
The menu for the tea, and the beautiful setting at the table.

 

tea for 2 c.jpg
We could read our menu card, and it had listed in order each appetizer on our plate.  So good!!!

 

tea for 2 f.jpg
The cheese and sweets tray.  Delicious!

 

tea for 2 i.jpg
Sweeteners for our tea.

 

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Proof that you can still be a man and pour a cup of tea!

 

tea for 2 e.jpg
We enjoyed walking around the Inn afterwards.  It’s stunning…and so was my company!
tea for 2
Even outside, there is beauty all around!

I have two points in my post today:

  1. If you ever have the opportunity to enjoy Afternoon Tea somewhere, do it!  It’s expensive, but it’s a treat that is worth the money and the time.
  2. Be willing to be stretched for your spouse.  This made me love my husband all the more.  He did this for me because he knew I’d love it.  The reservation was made several weeks before and I got to anticipate and look forward to this for days!  Now the memory of it all is tucked away in my heart, filled with admiration for a man who’s not too proud or selfish to do something just for me!  I’m looking for the opportunity to return the favor!!  It will be fun, and I’m sure it will include hiking, sweating and burning calories, rather than adding a few, but that’s okay!  Our marriage is worth it!

What event could you plan to do this week to sacrifice for your spouse and spend time together?  

Refresh your marriage with sacrifice,

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Family life · Husband · joy · Love · Marriage · Speech · Wife's Role

Talking To Your Spouse with Grace

 

 

couple aThe phone rang and she answered it. The change in her tone was blatantly obvious to everyone in the room.  This wife went from bubbly/friendly to irritated/annoyed.  “Who was on the other end of the phone?” we wondered.  Then she said his name and we learned that it was her husband.

This scenario happened in the public setting of a business.  My heart sank when I realized that when this lady heard her husband’s voice, instead of being glad to hear from him, she was irritated.  His call interrupted her.  His questions annoyed her. And his needs overwhelmed her.  She was only too happy to hang up and move on with the people around her and the business at hand.

But I cannot point a finger at her because the rest of my hand is pointing back at me.  It’s easy to get a call from Dale and answer casually instead of enthusiastically.  Do you ever get caught up in the day-to-day routine as I do and forget the special bond you share with your spouse?  Consider the difference between answering the phone with,

“Yeah, whatcha’ need?”

Or

Hi Sweetheart!  I’m glad to hear from you!

What about when he asks you a question and you answer him for the second or third time?  Does each answer get louder and more aggravated? Remember how you loved his name when you were dating?  Do you say it with as much tenderness now?

Last week my brother-in-law was working his job inspecting roofs, as he has done for many years now.  The early morning dew was still on the back half of the house, making the surface slippery.  His work would be quick and he planned to climb down in just a minute, but just as that thought was flying through his mind, his foot slipped and he could feel himself falling.  He grabbed the gutter of the house, helping to break his fall, but only a little.  He was taken by ambulance to the Medical Center in the area where he was treated in the Emergency Room for his many broken bones.  Praise the Lord for sparing his life!

As my sister and I walked the hospital halls together, we discussed the abruptness of any calamity.  No one plans for it.  No one puts, “Visit husband in trauma unit” in their planner, but life as we know it can be changed in a moment. We all know that, but we move on each day as though we are ignorant of that truth, and we blurt out unkind phrases and words like an umpire at a ballgame.

Remember the woman I mentioned at the beginning of this post?  The one who changed her disposition when her husband called?  Sadly, I learned the news of her husband’s death and I wondered if she ever wished she could talk to him again, with a completely different frame of mind? Did she ever wish he would interrupt her busy day by calling her?

If you knew that this was your last day with our spouse, would you use a different tone when we answered his call?  Would you use kinder words when responding to his questions?  Would your repeated answer be more patient?  Even if we knew we had 50 more years together, wouldn’t we want our relationship to epitomize tenderness, kindness and sacrificial love?  These are all words of grace – what we receive from the Lord every day.  It’s what might not be deserved, but we give it, because that is how we are loved and spoken to by our Savior.

I know I need to make some changes in order to fill my husband’s ears with words of grace. How about you?  Excuse me while I answer my phone…

Hi Sweetheart! I’m glad to hear from you!

If we asked others what they hear when we speak to our spouse, what would they say? What would our husband say?  It’s all about grace.

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