Spring Storm Warning

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Winter in the south is kind of funny to northerners.  When we get even a forecast of snow, meetings are cancelled, schools are shut down, grocery stores are emptied and everyone pulls into their home for fear of having to drive on the slippery precipitation.

Yesterday was a first for me with another kind of storm – an early spring storm with high winds and strong rain.  I don’t mean that I’ve never been in it, of course I have, but the new situation came when I heard schools were having early dismissal, ball games had been rescheduled, and folks were sending out the, “be careful out there!” messages on Facebook.  I’m as cautious with spring storms as anyone, after living through a tornado that hit our home when I was a teenager, but it seemed a little “over the top” to go to such extremes when there was yet a tornado warning, much less a watch.  I was kind of like,
“Yeah, yeah, yeah.  Whatever.”

To a meteorologist or someone who keeps a constant check on the weather app up on their phone, my casual approach to the weather would probably seem foolish.  I don’t mean to be, but it doesn’t seem like there’s a real threat.

It’s made me wonder if a person who hasn’t received Christ as their Savior has the same type of response when they hear folks say that the Lord Jesus said He’s coming back in the rapture,  and those that have not trusted Him as Savior will go through a horrible time of tribulation.  Do they look around them and see the calm, watch  their days and weeks go by as normal as the last years have, and say,

“Yeah, yeah, yeah. Whatever.”?

I’m afraid that’s probably the way Satan lures them into his lies.
“Come on,” he says, “Your grandmother said Jesus was going to come back, and look, it hasn’t happened yet!  Live your life the way you want, and don’t listen to those fanatics!”

More sure than the bread shelves clearing out in a Tennessee snow storm, the Lord made a promise that He will return to gather the Christians in the air and take them to heaven, and it will happen! Then those that are left will go through seven years of tribulation – worse than anything this world has ever known.  There will be some that are saved during that time, but they will suffer great persecution as a result.

It doesn’t have to mean you, my friend.  Turn to Christ and receive Him and the suffering He endured on the cross for your sins so that you could be forgiven.  Tell Him you believe – confess your sin and your need of a Savior.  Turn from anything you are trusting in to get you to heaven – good works, religion, your own merit, and trust Christ alone.  Not only will you be safe from the tribulation and an eternity of suffering in hell, you will begin the most wonderful relationship with the One who loves you and died for you.

The wind is really kicking up outside as I write. I think I’d better check my weather app and keep an eye on the brewing storm – it really could happen as they have warned.  I know I’ll be thankful I heeded the alarms.

I pray you have listened to the the Scripture’s warning – it will happen as the Lord said, and it could happen today.  Are you ready?

Lovingly,

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Strengthening Your Marriage During Stressful Times

Their baby was born very critical. She required intensive care for months after her birth.  Days in the hospital were long and emotional for her parents, a young couple who had never gone through anything that rocked their world so hard.  They felt frightened, shaken to the core of their beings, and so very alone.

Alone?  They had each other!  Why would they feel alone?  Because during this time of emotional heartbreak, while each of their emotions were so raw, instead of pulling together, and talking and praying as a couple, they were isolating themselves and pulling away like opposing teams in a game of tug of war.  They became critical of the other’s response to the situation.  They bickered over little decisions they had to make regarding the baby.  They spent all their waking hours with the child, only somehow saving enough energy to make it back home for a few hours of sleep before returning to the NICU to start another day just like the previous one.  They wondered if their marriage would still be secure when their daughter was ready to be discharged.

The previous description is about no one I know; I made up the people and scenario.  But the fact is, this kind of thing happens to marriages all the time!  Hard things step into our lives, and, if we’re not careful, a death, a child’s rebellion, a financial set-back, a terminal illness, or any host of crisis’ can step in and destroy a home at a time when the couple needs one other the most!

During my mother-in-law’s illness a few years ago, we saw how the fatigue and separation, with one staying at the hospital and one sleeping at home, could wear on our emotions and our relationship.  There were a couple instances that wouldn’t have normally been so sensitive, but because of the weariness and stress, they seemed much bigger.  Since we knew this could be a long ordeal, we were, with the Lord’s help, trying to stay sensitive to the need to stay tender, current and in touch with the Lord and one another as we went through this journey.

Near 10-11 PM one night, we had a “date” in the hospital cafeteria.  All I wanted was dry Honey Nut Cheerios (my night time snack at home!), but it wasn’t about the food, it was about staying in touch with one another.  So much happened in a day, we needed time to talk, to catch up on, not only my mother-in-law’s condition, but also one another.

We had many offers from people who were willing to come and sit at the hospital so we can get out for a bit.  We planned dates during those days!  We had to remind ourselves of God’s sovereignty to care for things without our help.  She would be fine, and so would we.

Every marriage goes through many times like I’ve described. Here are some other tips to survive stressful times:

  • Be on the lookout for times when your marriage needs the protection of time away, even just an hour or so.  If there was a floor in the hospital for Marriage ICU, it would be full!
  • Let the Great Physician step in and give you the prescription your relationship needs.  Stop and pray together.  Take this stressful time to Him. For this cause shall a man leave his father and mother, and shall be joined unto his wife, and they two shall be one flesh.
  • More than others need you, you need time together.
  • Don’t cleave to your children, they will be fine with a sitter for a while.  Go out on a date.
  • Don’t cleave to the media! Turn the television off and reconnect.
  • Hold hands.
  • Look into your husband’s eyes.
  • Listen to him.

Cleave to him. Love him unconditionally…for the health of your marriage. It’s the only way you’ll be discharged from the Marriage intensive care unit!

With love

Lessons On Waiting

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I’ll never forget standing at my kitchen island with my grown, married daughter.  Her first Thanksgiving with her in-laws was coming up and she wanted to make a good impression with the pie she was contributing to the autumn feast.  She was sure about what the filling would be and how delicious it would turn out, but the crust?  That had her panicking, so she had come to my house to get some help.

Now, here we were, standing side by side at the counter.  We each had a bowl of flour, a due amount of Crisco and ice water to mix in, and a rolling pin beside, waiting for its time of duty.

Mom, why don’t you just make crust for me?  It will turn out so much better!

No, I’m sure you can do this.  Just watch while I do each step, then you do it.

Each step brought her closer to the desired result, and then after a little time, the crust had been rolled, picked up and placed into the pie pan.  With another bit of effort, the side crust was duly pinched and crimped, resulting in a crust that looked worthy of a state fair competition!  She was so proud.  It was completed because she was willing to wait.

As I was cleaning up the cloud of flour left on counter and floor, my daughter began talking to me about the desire of her heart, and the difficulty of waiting.  The wait was making her wonder if God was withholding from her because she had done something in the past, and this was her necessary punishment.

Have you ever wondered that?  Has the question of God’s seeming delay to answer made you wonder if He was perhaps angry with you?  We know He could do it, but when He doesn’t, wrong thoughts begin to creep in.

Pointing to the flour-covered rolling  pin we had just used, I said,

You came over here because you wanted the finished product of a pie crust, and you came to me to make it for you. Instead, I had you come near and learn from me.  After time, the result was your beautiful pie crust.

God is doing the same thing in your life, on a much higher plane.  Instead of just handing over to you what you’re asking Him for, He’s pulling you near Himself so that you can learn from Him what you would never learn otherwise.  In the right time, God will answer and provide, and you will be so thankful for the lessons you learned while you waited.

Friend, what are you waiting for today?  Whether it’s huge or small, remind yourself of Truth.  Just because it’s not happening right now, doesn’t mean that God doesn’t love you!  He cannot act outside of His character, and He loves you as much as His own Son!  There are lessons in waiting that will never be learned if God answered your request immediately.  He is a good Father, and He is pulling you close to Himself to teach you and instruct you, to comfort and to prepare you for when the time is just right and He will answer.

The joy on my daughter’s face when she saw her finished pie crust is nothing compared to what I’m seeing God do in her life right now!  I’m pretty sure if you asked her, she would tell you it was well worth the wait.

Maybe we should bronze that rolling pin.  It taught a tremendous lesson to my over-anxious heart.

Keep trusting.  Keep waiting.

 

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Frogs In the Bed

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When my girls were at home, I usually knew when one of them had found a spider somewhere – it came through the high pitch in her scream. She and her sister both have a huge hatred for the eight-legged critters. I would follow the scream to the room where the creature has her cornered and take off my shoe and – WHAP! No more spider. They don’t frighten me. However, put a cricket, grasshopper or frog in my path and my skin crawls! I can’t stand for anything to jump at me!

When I read the story of the plagues of Egypt and see that the first plague that came upon the Egyptians was frogs, my mind pictures the terror I would have experienced if I had been there. Exodus 8:3 says that the river brought forth the frogs abundantly. There weren’t just a few; they were everywhere! The Scriptures goes on to tell us exactly where they were.

  1. They were in the bedroom – That would mean on the floor, on the dresser, in their clothes, overhead in the light fixtures, on the ceiling fan. There was no comfort.
  2. They were IN the bed – on top of the bedspread, between the sheets, on their once soft blankets. There was no sleeping!
  3. They were in the houses of the servants – Every room, every floor space, every cupboard was covered. There were no Egyptians spared.
  4. They were ON the people – sitting on their heads when they stood, jumping on them when they sat, “boinging” in front of their path when they tried to run away. There was no escaping.
  5. They were in the oven – They couldn’t even bake their frozen pizza without encountering these slippery amphibians! There was no eating!
  6. They were in the kneading troughs – The dough that was left rising in the trough turned from raisin bread to froggy bread. There was no baking.

The sad part of the whole story of the plagues is that it all occurred because of the Pharaoh’s unwillingness to obey the Lord. If the man had only done what was right and let the people go, recognizing that he was no contest for the God of the universe, he could have saved himself and all the Egyptians lots of discomfort! Oh, at times he said he would let the people go, but then he would reason to himself why that wouldn’t be good for what he wanted, and he would change his mind. You’d think he’d catch on after a while, wouldn’t you?

But wait a minute…how about you and me? How often do we know what the right thing is that we should do, but we turn a deaf ear and do what we want instead?

For example:

  • It might be in the area of tithing. We know we should give to the Lord first and trust Him to care for our needs, but we begin to reason our way out of the right.
  • It might be in the area of being committed to our local church in attending regularly and serving the Lord faithfully, but we think of all that would change in our agenda, and we have a change of heart.
  • Perhaps someone is in a difficult marriage and the inclination in their heart is to leave, but yet they know the truth of the Word of God says they need to stay married. They know the truth, but they’re weary from it all, and instead of waiting to see God do a miracle, they just want out!

The truth is that God will allow us to choose, just as he allowed Pharaoh to make his choices. However, we need to remember that it will not be without consequences. Let’s call the consequences “frogs in the bed!” When we decide to go our own way, we are in essence saying, “Okay Lord, go ahead and send the frogs!” We want our own way so badly that we’re willing to reap what we have sown.

What a loving God we have that warns us before we make our choices! The Lord sent Moses to tell the Pharaoh what would happen if he didn’t obey, but he stubbornly hardened his heart. The Scriptures warn us of the consequences of our sin, too. It’s our choice to obey, or choose the frogs. Doesn’t seem like too hard a choice, does it? Let’s ask the Lord today to help us to obey Him and enjoy the delight of pleasing Him and bringing glory to His name so there will be no more frogs in the bed!

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Party Ryes – A Family Tradition

A Couple weeks ago I shared with you that we had Party Ryes for our Christmas Eve dinner.  If they weren’t on the menu, we would have had a riot, I believe!  They are a tradition in our house, and the reason is because they are just YUMMY!  A few ingredients mixed together and spread on a piece of Pumpernickel bread and then toasted in the oven, and you have a fantastic appetizer or addition to your soup!  Here’s the simple recipe from Taste of Home:

Cheese Rye Appetizers Recipe

Party Ryes

Ingredients

  • 2 cups (8 ounces) shredded Swiss cheese
  • 1 cup mayonnaise
  • 1 can (4-1/4 ounces) chopped ripe olives – ( Personal preference, We leave this out)
  • 8 Bacon strips, cooked and crumbled
  • 1/4 cup chopped green onions
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons minced fresh parsley or 1/2 teaspoon dried parsley flakes
  • 30 slices snack rye bread – (We use Pumpernickel bread)

    Directions

    Preheat oven to 450°. In a small bowl, combine the first six ingredients. Spread a rounded tablespoonful over each slice of bread. Place on an ungreased baking sheet. Bake 6-8 minutes or until cheese is melted. Yield: 2-1/2 dozen.

It doesn’t have to be Christmas to serve these!  Any time you need a scrumptious appetizer is the perfect time to whip this recipe up!

Enjoy!

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Practical Ways to Have a Simple Christmas

I’m joining up with Whitney at Come Home for Comfort to share a video concerning  practical ways to have a simple Christmas.  After watching my video, you can check out Whitney’s Christmas video here.  There are lots of others who have contributed their videos with fun ideas for Christmas!  Be sure to look at this list and see what these ladies have to share – this is going to be tons of fun!

 

Wishing you a Simple Christmas,

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(L)ovin’ Monday

Every Monday I’m showing you what’s been in my Oven that I’m lovin’!  Ready?

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This was Thanksgiving Dinner at my mom’s last Thursday at 1:00.  Don’t you wish every day’s lunch looked like this…

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Ha, well, maybe not that  much food, but tell me, is it just me, or do others find lunch a difficulty?  I’m usually well into a busy day and just need a quick bite to eat, but I find it hard to stop my day and fix something that’s tasty and quick.

As a matter of fact, even breakfast poses problems.  I’m not ready to eat when I first get up, and by the time I’m ready for a bite, it’s too late to want to get into any big cooking ordeal to accomplish what I need to give me energy for the rest of the morning!

Recently I prepared these Make-Ahead Omelets and froze them.  I made tiny ones for the shower I hosted.  I took the leftovers and froze them in a plastic container, putting sheets of waxed paper in between the rows of omelets.

 

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Then I popped a frozen muffin into the microwave and it made the perfect breakfast!  In a matter of about 4 minutes everything was hot and ready to eat.  That’s better than instant oatmeal – and a lot tastier!

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Then another help came for lunch.  I had made Sloppy Joe’s for our meal after Sunday night church, and had plenty left over.  Wrapping them individually in waxed paper, I warmed them at about 80% power for about 45 seconds.

It dawned on me then – why don’t I make up something like this at the beginning of each week and have it prepared in the fridge?  Lunch could be less than a minute away each day!  If you take your lunch to work, it would be so easy to have it packed and ready in the morning before you head out the door.

I’ve come up with a few ideas of things that would be made ahead and ready.  Here’s my starter list:

Breakfast:

Omelets

Waffles

Baked  Oatmeal

Lunch:

Sloppy Joes

Broccoli Soup

Salad in a jar – Like this one (I haven’t made this particular recipe, but I made one similar and they are great do-ahead salads!)

Chicken Salad – Ready for sandwiches, or to eat alone.

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I hope this encourages you to prepare ahead for your busy mornings and lunchtimes.  When you’re heading into Christmas, why not take away a little stress by having some nutritious breakfasts and lunches all ready to serve?

What quick tips do you have for breakfast and lunch?

With love from my country kitchen,

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