Christian growth · Family life · Husband · Marriage · Parenting · Pastor

The Most Popular Posts of the Year


Top ten lists are always fun and informative.  When I look into the stats here, it helps me to know what to write and what areas women enjoy reading.

I recently enjoyed taking a look into my blog to see what RefreshHer’s top ten posts of 2015 were. Let’s have a drum roll and I’ll show you which posts made it into this year’s most popular!

#10  This post told Why I went to the Altar again Last Sunday.  Do you remember why?!

#9 The Topic of Conversational Respect was a marriage post that needs to be practiced by each of us wives. How are you doing at this?

#8 Using Mother’s Day as a Measuring Stick told about a trap many mom’s fall into.  The result is not pretty.

#7 Living With the Fear of Getting Caught is a partly funny story on myself;  the lesson I learned is the other part.

#6 Watch Your Step was a post written by a guest and my dear friend, Kellie.  Her insight of walking in “muck” touched all of our hearts.

#5 What you Don’t Know about Infertility was a post written to inform unsuspecting people who feel the need to say something to couples who have no children.

#4 The Best Date that Costs Nothing was close to the top, reminding me that people want help with their marriage and practical ways that will keep things fun!

#3 How To Tell if a Child Is Ready To Be Saved was read by a host of parents who are grappling with what to do with their child who keeps wanting to ask Jesus into their life.  I pray this post has sealed the answer in not only the child’s heart, but their parent’s.

#2‘s post was, How To Refresh Your Pastor.  If you’ve forgotten to pray fervently for your pastor who is fighting great spiritual battles for his congregetation, I trust you’ll hurry over and reread this post so you can be a blessing to this man who gives so much of himself for the Gospel’s sake!

And now for the most read post of 2015..

#1 I must have lots of frustrated parents reading my blog, because the best post of the year was, Training Your Preschooler To Sit in Church!  So, how’s it going?  Do you need a bit of a refresher course?  The key is being consistent with the ideas I shared.

Let me just tell you how much I appreciate each of you who take time out of your day to read my blog.  Thank you.  I pray that I can encourage and refresh your heart, home and life and encourage you to stay faithful in your walk with God.  Being His child is the best life!

Thanks again for encouraging me in another year of blogging!

Is there a topic you’d like to see addressed in this next year?  Leave a comment and let me know!

With love,


Husband · Pastor

Freshen Up Friday

I enjoy baking, and I equally love sharing my baked goods with others. Since we are now in a new area and have new neighbors that I pray will become good friends, I decided to bake little loaves of sour dough bread for each of the families in the houses near us. It’s my attempt to say hello and let them know we desire to be friendly.

What do you have or what could you do to extend friendship to someone you don’t know very well? Do you grow herbs that you could share? Flowers? Do make great cookies? Do you stamp cards? Find some little tangible way to be friendly to someone and freshen their Friday!

Pastor’s Encouragement: Pray that your pastor will strive for personal excellence and will believe God for all He wants to do in the congregation.

Husband Encouragement: Make sure your husband knows he is your sweetheart and best friend. Does he know this? Have you told him, or do you assume he knows?

Don’t assume. Everyone loves to know they are special. Take time to appreciate your husband by demonstrating it to him. Tell him with kind words; show him with your kind acts.

Be refreshed,

Christian Life · Husband · Pastor

Fess Up!

I recently heard a story about a man who had been running from the police for over ten years. He was from Canada and came to the States where he completely changed his identity in order to continue to hide from authorities. He shared how that during that time, he was constantly looking over his shoulder; fearful someone would recognize him and arrest him for the things he had done.

You and I might not have that kind of criminal record, but have you ever worried that someone might find out what you are doing? Maybe you don’t want your husband to find the receipt in your wallet for the money you spent that you know you shouldn’t have. One might worry that the history on their computer might be checked, and they would be caught in the truth that they were viewing inappropriate material, or spending way too much time chatting on Facebook with an old friend.

I don’t need to drudge up scenarios. The Holy Spirit will bring to your mind and mine the things that we may be hiding that need to be confessed and forsaken. I love Proverbs 28:1 –

The wicked flee when no man pursues, 
but the righteous are bold as a lion. 

When we are doing what is right, we do not have to be afraid of who is watching, of where they might look into our personal things, or hear a conversation we have on the phone. We can be bold. However, if we are involved in sin, we should be afraid. Proverbs 15:3 – 

The eyes of the Lord are in every place, beholding the evil and the good.

We cannot hide our sin from God. He sees and it will be discovered. The man I described in the beginning of this post was miserable due to the guilt. He confessed his sin to God, and turned himself in to the authorities where he received a lesser punishment for his crimes than what he really deserved. When we “fess up,” with God and others we’ve sinned against, we will be freed from the fear of being found out, our conscience is clear of the guilt, and we can move joyfully on with life!

Is your conscience clear, or did something come to your mind when you began reading today’s post?

Proverbs 28:13 – 
He that covereth his sins shall not prosper: but whoso confesseth and forsaketh them shall have mercy.

Fess (confess) up, forsake, and get back to living!

Pastor’s Encouragement: Pray that your pastor will earnestly seek God’s will and be committed to instant and complete obedience-ready for God to work powerfully in and through his ministry.

Husband Encouragement: There are lots of tough guys in the world, but true courage comes from the Lord. Does your husband exhibit the courage to take an unpopular stand alone against evil? Is he courageous in his faith? Does he work hard to change injustice? Is he a stickler for the truth? Does he protect you or your family from the attacks of the enemy?

Psalm 27:14 says this kind of courage comes from “waiting on the Lord for His strength.” Such spiritual courage is a gift and blessing to you – thank the Lord of it and praise your husband for the covering he supplies.

With love,

Husband · Pastor

A Peek from my Country Porch

I love to doodle and draw.  The picture/chalkboard that I have on the mantle in the living room gives me a great opportunity to draw with a purpose.  I found a great idea for my fall decor.  So I changed out my chandelier drawing for this one:

Autumn, the year’s last,
loveliest smile.

Do you draw or doodle?  Paint?  Sketch?  What do you do that is on the crafty side that begs for release?

Pastor’s Encouragement:  Pray that your pastor will seek God for personal revival, and revival in your church and community.

Husband Encouragement:  Jesus led a balanced life.  He grew mentally, physically, spiritually and socially.  As you see your husband branching out in these areas, is there a pattern of growth?  Is your husband striving for balance in his life?  If so, let him know you  have noticed, and ask how you can further encourage him.

My husband and I have the privilege of serving the Lord in Alaska this weekend and we fly out this afternoon from Atlanta!  We are excited at this wonderful opportunity!  I’ll be speaking to some dear ladies at a retreat on Friday and Saturday, and he will be preaching on Sunday.  Will you pray that the Lord will use His Word to encourage and challenge these dear folks?  Pray for strength and wisdom as we go.  Thank you!

With love from my country porch,

Christian growth · Husband · Pastor

Sin’s Grip is Lost

It has been a week of seeing God at work! A young man for whom we have been praying to be saved, opened his heart and received Christ before our morning worship service on Sunday. Then he stood before our congregation to share that he had been saved! I hope I never get over the wonder at seeing a soul trust Christ as their Savior!

Will he have a sin-free, easy life now? Of course not. The Lord even said that we will have tribulation in this world, but we could be of good cheer! Why? He (Jesus) has overcome the world! Though this young man will have obstacles and sin to face and deal with, he can say what is expressed in this song:

There in the ground His body lay
Light of the world by darkness slain:
Then bursting forth in glorious Day
Up from the grave he rose again!
And as He stands in victory
Sin’s curse has lost its grip on me,
For I am His and He is mine –

Bought with the precious blood of Christ.

Praise the Lord, we don’t have to sin. Is there a sin that seems to have a grip on you? If you are God’s child, realize that Christ died so that sin would not have a hold on you! Because Christ arose from the grave victorious over death, you and I can have victory of sin by His strength. What a wonderful blessing to be free!

Pastor’s Encouragement: Pray that God will give your pastor a clear, biblical vision of what your church can and should be for His glory, and that he will communicate that vision clearly and confidently to the church.

Husband Encouragement: Does your house flourish in an atmosphere of peace? According to God’s Word, peace is something that must be sought, pursued and focused on. The way you live your life and relate to your husband and family will set the tone for your home.

Likewise, you can encourage your husband to pursue peace. Praise him for his gentle spirit or his ability to diffuse conflict. Lovingly remind him of the power of his words and how much good can come from a wise comment. Thank him for being mindful to protect your family from negative entertainment options.

With love,

Husband · Pastor · Side dish

What’s Cookin’ in the Country?

Last Friday was what I called a “marathon baking” day.  I was getting ready for company, a HUGE Sunday school gathering at our house, and our church’s anniversary dinner.  I was in the kitchen all day and into the early evening getting ready for it all. I loved every minute of it and had a huge feeling of accomplishment at the end of the day!

Because I knew Saturday was going to be a full day, I opted to make things for our Sunday church dinner that could be made ahead of time.  Those three little words can be a girls’ best friend on a busy day!  Here’s what I made:

Gourmet Potatoes
Cranberry Jello Salad

Gourmet Potatoes – This is a dish that has to be assembled the night before.  Doing it two nights before was even better!  The Cranberry jello Salad recipe is an easy to assemble jello salad.  I don’t always have patience time for those recipes where you have to let the jello set up!  This is is a mix and dump recipe.  Then you just put the whipped topping on after it’s all set.  Couldn’t be easier!  If you will need a cranberry salad for Thanksgiving dinner, you really need to add this one to your menu.  I love it – I bet you will too!
I left the whipped topping off this time, and it was just as yummy!
But of course the whipped topping puts it over the top!

Cranberry Salad
1 – 3oz. pkg lemon Jello
1 – 3oz. pkg. dark raspberry Jello
1 20oz. can crushed pineapple
1 can Cranberry sauce (whole berry)
¼ cup chopped (fine) celery
1 cup boiling water

Dissolve Jello in boiling water. Drain pineapple and add water to make 1 cup. Mix all together and pour into a 9 x 13” dish and refrigerate until set.
Topping for Jello
Prepare one pkg. Dream Whip according to directions. Add one 8-oz. pkg cream cheese. Add 3-4 tablespoons of granulated sugar. Beat until smooth. Spread on congealed salad.

Gourmet Potatoes
6 medium potatoes
2 C shredded cheddar cheese
1/4 C butter
1 1/2 C sour cream (I used light)
1/3 C chopped onion
1 t. salt

Peel the potatoes. Leave them whole. Cook in boiling water ’til tender. Cool.
Shred potatoes coarsely. In medium-sized saucepan, melt butter and cheese. Stir ’til melted. Remove from heat; blend in sour cream, onions and salt. Fold in potatoes and pour into a 2 qt. casserole dish.
Sprinkle with paprika on top. Refrigerate overnight. Bake @ 350 degrees for 30 minutes.

So that’s what I was cooking this weekend.  How about you?

This is the last week for our encouragement challenge.  Here’s your first assignment:

Pastor’s Encouragement:  Pray for spiritual unity in the church staff and among the spiritual leadership of the church (deacons).  Pray the enemy will not be allowed to create divisions, strife, or misunderstanding among the church leaders.

Husband Encouragement:  If you have children, does your husband discipline them wisely?  Does he show them love and encourage them?  Does he take interest in their activities and dreams?  Does he spend time with them?  Does he take part in developing their character?  Praise him for these important life skills.

If you don’t have children, is your husband positive and encouraging to other people’s children?  Let him know that you have noticed and believe he has what it takes to be a great dad.

With love from my country kitchen,

Husband · Pastor

I’m Back!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Hello, Dear Readers! I have truly missed being able to connect with you here! It took a little longer to get Internet connections to our newly constructed house, but it was probably a good break. It has given me more time to get settled into our new home as well as participate in a couples retreat, direct a wedding, make a trip to Kentucky and host a couple gatherings – all in the last two weeks! Things have been busy, but very wonderful!

The view from my devotional chair

While we were moving and getting settled, so many people were a blessing to us; they refreshed us.

  • Some brought food and beverages on the day we moved.
  • Some helped me pack before the move.
  • Some helped me unpack after we moved.
  • Many sent cards of congratulations on our new home.
  • Some have come to visit and welcome us!
  • Some have given gracious gifts for our new home.
  • Many have prayed for all the details and let us know how they were praying.
  • Many have rejoiced with us in God’s provision. It’s harder to rejoice than to weep with those that weep. Seeing others’ joy in our blessing is really special.
If someone you know is moving, consider how you could refresh them at this time by looking at the list above and asking the Lord what He would have you do. Moving is a daunting task, so whatever you do for them will be really appreciated! If you can only pack up one cabinet of dishes, it will be one less cabinet they have to pack. If you could only have time to bake them some cookies for the day of their move, it will help fortify them on that exhausting day. The point is, do something. You will be refreshed as you encourage them!

Back to our desire to encourage our pastor and our husband:

Pastor’s Encouragement: Pray that God will protect your pastor’s wife from bitterness when her husband is criticized. Pray that her prayer and devotional life will be consistent, and that she will guard her mind and heart. (As a pastor’s wife, I know how much I need this prayer! Thanks in advance for those that will pray this for me!)

Your Husband: Plant seeds of faithfulness into your husband’s heart by praising his integrity and loyal actions. Write him a note expressing how much it means to you that he has honored his marriage vow.
*Note: If there has been unfaithfulness in your relationship, thank the Lord that your husband is still with you, and thank your husband for it too. Keep building. God can make beauty from ashes!

I can’t wait for the days ahead! I have pictures of our house to show its progress. Though things aren’t decorated yet, I’m pretty well unpacked. I have some devotional thoughts I’ve been thinking about and some great new recipes to share too, so keep tuned! I’m back online! 

What have you been up to since we last met here? I missed you!!!!

Love and hugs,