baking · Bars · Gluten-Free · Uncategorized

Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Bars – Gluten-Free, But Perfect For Anyone!

Whether you have to eat Gluten-free, or you just love a good peanut butter-chocolate chip bar, this recipe is going to make your stomach smile!  There’s no butter in these bars, but the peanut butter makes up for all the creaminess the butter would give!  These take literally minutes to pull together, then only require 22 minutes in the oven, which means you are 30 minutes away from a delicious treat!  These cut beautifully, and were just a perfect sweet any time of the day! This recipe came from – a blog that is filled with lots of healthy and delicious recipes! I found her via Pinterest – where else?!

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Gluten-Free Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Bars


    • 1 cup creamy  or crunch peanut butter
    • 3/4 cup light brown sugar
    • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
    • 1/8 teaspoon kosher salt
    • 1 large egg, at room temperature
    • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
    • 1/2 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
    • 1/3 cup old fashioned rolled oats – I used Quick oats and they worked fine!
  1. Place rack in the center of your oven and preheat oven to 350°F. Line an 8×8-inch baking dish with parchment paper and lightly coat with cooking spray. Set aside.
  2. In a large mixing bowl, beat together the peanut butter, brown sugar, baking soda, and salt on medium speed until well combined.
  3. Add the egg and vanilla, then mix on medium low, just until incorporated. By hand, stir in the chocolate chips and oats.
  4. Press the dough into the prepared baking pan. Bake for 22 minutes, until golden and the top is set. Let cool completely in the pan. Remove, slice and serve.

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We don’t eat Gluten-free, but these will stay in my recipe box because they’re just plain ol’ good!

With love from my country kitchen,

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cat · joy · Refreshment · Uncategorized

Feline Friday

Well friends, I made many more attempts at posting my bagel video, but Movie Maker is just not working at this time.  So sorry! I’ll keep trying to get that video up.

In the meantime, and to end your week with a smile, I’m going to share a video that Google photos put together of some of the photos of my sweet kitty, Liza Jane.  Enjoy!


Liza is my “praying cat.”  Every single day when I get on my knees and start praying, she comes and sits beside me, reaching up to touch my face with her paw as if to say, “I’m with you!”  If cats could go to heaven, I’m sure she’d have a place! >..<

Any other cat lovers out there?  What do you love most about your feline?

Refresh your heart in church this Sunday!

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Family Friday – As Different As Day and Night

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The saying “as different as day and night” could describe lots of things – the temperaments in our children, the physical difference in a sick person after medicine, the change in a house after renovations.  But could it be used to describe the extreme contrast of your Christian family compared to a household full of unbelievers?

After a person accepts Christ as their Savior, old things are passed away and all things become new.  We’re radically different than before our salvation!  Therefore, our homes should be radically different, too.

In the story of Moses leading the children of Israel out of Egypt we remember the ten plagues that came over the Egyptians because the Pharaoh wouldn’t let them go worship their God.  One of those plagues was darkness for three days.  They couldn’t see one another, they couldn’t leave their houses, and the Lord said the darkness would be so heavy, it would even be felt.  Here’s what Scripture says –

Exodus 10:23
They saw not one another, neither rose any from his place for three days:
but all the children of Israel had light in their dwellings.

They had physical light.  They could see.  There was a huge difference between their homes and the ungodly Egyptian’s homes.  That extreme contrast should be just as visible in Christian homes compared to those who don’t know Christ.   The light should be see in families by:

  • The way we treat one another.
  • The way we forgive one another.
  • The way we stay together, no matter what.
  • Our patterns of going to church to worship each Sunday.
  • The honoring of the Lord in the way we conduct our lives.
  • What they hear coming out of our mouths.
  • How we spend our time.
  • In how we respond to trials.
  • In how we care for our spouse.
  • In how we treat our neighbors.

Just as the Israelite’s lights shone, virtually everything we do or say should be like a light beaming from the windows of our home shouting out that there’s something different that gives us this light!

Indeed, our homes should be as different as day and night in comparison to the lost world around us.  Is it perfect?  No way.  But when we fail, we know we have an Advocate to Whom we can run for forgiveness.  We confess it and get up and continue to shine on!!

Ask yourself, How does my home look different than the families around me that are without Christ?

Refresh yourself by being in a Bible preaching church this weekend.  Let your light shine!

Refresh your family life,

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Christian growth · Church · Uncategorized

The One Thing Technology Cannot Do

bedroom seat

Sunday afternoon my husband came into the room where I was seated and handed me the Parade Magazine from the Sunday paper.

“Here’s the invention that will answer many church go-er’s prayers!”

It was this…

crock pot


It’s a WiFi-Enabled Slow Cooker!  Now if you’re in church and the preacher is going a little longer than you’d anticipated and the pot roast you put in the crock pot is going to be ruined, you can change the setting or stop the cooking process to ensure you will not be having a burnt sacrifice for Sunday dinner!

“We’re living in the day of the Jetson’s, Hon!” my husband touted as he made his way out of the room.

It’s unbelievable, isn’t it when you think about all the things technology can do?! A camera in the fridge can let me know if I need more milk.  Alexa, is ready at our beck and call to turn on the coffee maker, adjust the heat in the house, update us on the weather, or play a game of Twenty Questions! The robotic vacuum keeps the house clean, and any number of apps on our phones can handle every other detail of our lives!

Well, almost…

Since I’d had the stomach flu over the weekend, I missed church on Sunday.  But again, due to the blessing of  technology, I could “sit in” on our live-streamed service via Facebook!  I had my Bible, notebook, and cup of hot tea all set while I sat comfortably in a chair in my bedroom.  I got to listen to the sermon, and almost felt as though I was right there, except there was one huge piece of the picture that was missing –

all the other members of the Body.

I was alone.  I could pray when they prayed, and even say, “amen,” and listen while my husband preached, but

  • To whom would I turn afterwards and greet, and ask how I might pray with them?
  • What visitor would I meet and welcome there and show them where to find a small group to join?
  • How could I notice one who was missing from our normal gathering of members whom I might reach out to and check on this week?
  • How could I invite guests to come home and fellowship with us?
  • How could I use my spiritual gifts here with just my black and white cat sleeping soundly at my feet?

Technology might bring the church service to me, but technology can never replace the Church.  In fact, nothing can.  It’s God’s tool in this dispensation for accomplishing His redemptive work!

We miss so much when we’re not there.  For many that can’t attend church due to chronic illness, this is a great blessing, and I’m thankful that genius people can provide such a tool for them.  But I also know this – When I am able to go, I need to take advantage of it.  I need my Church and it needs me.

Technology can never replace my church!

Are you plugged into a local body where you can grow, be discipled, use your gifts, serve, encourage, pray and bless others?  If you’re a believer, it’s  your blessing to enjoy all that and more! 


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Motherhood · trust · Uncategorized · worry

Don’t Connive – Confide

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Years ago I remember hearing a story of a couple who knew God was calling them to a foreign mission field.  They were excited to obey, until the wife heard that there were poisonous snakes there that could strike a blow and kill a person with one venomous bite.  Her (understandable) fear for her children’s safety from such dangers caused her to set her proverbial foot down and refuse to go abroad.  She reasoned that they could give and share the Gospel right here at home where there were far less dangers! The sad ending of the story is that one of the poisonous snakes that inhabit the US found its way to their driveway one day after, and bit one of their children.

I have no absolutes that the story is legit, but would that wife’s actions come to our own mothers’ hearts?  Yes.  As women we could reason lots of things for the safety of our children, ourselves, our home or situation.
But when does our human reasoning become a lack of trust in a sovereign God?
When we step up with a plan that goes against what God has said.

Fear + My plan Image result for not equal sign  Obedience

Just last week I read a great example of this in Genesis 12.  Let me summarize:

God had sent Abraham and Sarah on the journey to the Promise Land.  When they got to Egypt, Abraham became fearful of losing his life for the sake of his beautiful wife.  Soooo, he came up with a plan!  He told Sarah to lie and tell the Pharaoh that she is his sister.  Sarah complied and Pharaoh took her into his palace.  Not longer after, God sent plagues to Pharaoh because of this lie Abraham was living.  When the Pharaoh approached Abraham, he scolded him for lying to him and told him to take Sarah and hit the road (go their way!).

Um, excuse me, consider what Abraham was afraid of (losing his life because of Sarah).

Did it happen?


When Pharaoh learned that she was married to him, he told them to GO!

Like I shared yesterday, when we worry about things instead of praying about them, we ruin a good day!  That’s exactly what Abraham did.  But he also took things a step further by coming up with his plan to fix the problem!  The missionary story I shared at the beginning of this post was the same example.

Now, let’s stop and ask ourselves:

  • Are we being disobedient to clear commands God has given in His Word because of a fear we have?
    Are we showing a lack of trust in a loving, merciful God by our actions?
  • Are we keeping ourselves or anyone else from obeying God due to our fears?


Abraham reminds me that all of us can easily fall into the trap of conniving instead of confiding.

Let me share a recent example of  this from my own life.  The flu is pretty rampant in our part of the country right now and it’s showing itself present in our church.  I have 14-month old grandsons who attend our nursery every Sunday.  When I learned that church members were dealing with the flu, my heart jumped into my throat and I immediately thought about sending a text to our daughter to consider keeping the boys home from Sunday services.  But immediately after, the Spirit of God spoke to my heart –

Can you not trust me to take care of them?  Even a sickness, if they got it, would not be overlooked by My care.  Trust me.

Yes, the flu was evident at my church on Sunday, and my grandsons were there, but instead of fretting and jumping into action, I prayed to a God Who is in that nursery and is aware of their needs.  I can trust Him.

So can you, my friend.

We need to lay our plans down, and then fall down…down on our knees and confide in our merciful, loving God Who wants what is good for us and for our families.

Are you at work trying to take care of everyone and everything, or are you trusting an omnipotent, omniscient God for everything that touches your life?

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baking · Christmas · Gifts · Uncategorized

Hot Chocolate Mug Cake

How does this sound – Hot, gooey, fudgy cake ready in 90 seconds?! Not only is it really delicious cake, it can also be assembled to give as a special gift for the chocolate lover in your life!  Can you think of anyone who would appreciate a hot little cake that is ready except for three little ingredients?  Mix it up, pop it into the microwave, and in 90 seconds the cake is ready to eat!

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I found this recipe for Mexican Hot Chocolate Mug Cake in the recent edition of Southern Living Magazine.  I whipped up four of these for my neighbors this week and they were super easy and cute as well!  Each mug makes a really generous portion – so you could even share, but hey, it’s Christmas, right?  You might want to enjoy the whole mug yourself!

Here are the ingredients:

Mexican Hot Chocolate Mug Cake



  • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 3 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 1/8 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa
  • 2 tablespoons chopped toasted pecans
  • 2 tablespoons bittersweet chocolate chips
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 3 tablespoons mini marshmallow


How to Make It

Step 1

For each cake, combine all-purpose flour, granulated sugar, kosher salt, unsweetened cocoa, chopped toasted pecans, bittersweet chocolate chips, baking powder, and cinnamon in a small food-safe gift bag. Place mini marshmallows in a separate bag. Place both bags inside a 12-oz. microwavable mug.

Step 2

To prepare each cake, stir whole milk, canola oil, and vanilla extract into the dry ingredients in mug. Microwave on HIGH until cake rises and is cooked through, 60 to 90 seconds. Remove from microwave; sprinkle marshmallows on top. Microwave on HIGH 5 more seconds. Serve immediately.

Here’s how I wrapped mine up to give away:


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You might not be able to have everyone you love over for chocolate cake, but with this simple recipe, you might be able to give them all a cake of their own!

You can watch a video of the process here:

Happy baking/Gift-giving!

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Christmas · Home decor · Uncategorized

My Simple Christmas Decor 2017

We’re down to the Twelve Days of Christmas!  Rather than giving you  three french hens or six geese a-laying, I thought I’d share some pictures of my Christmas home decor.  I’ll give you a few glimpses into most rooms, which have just little touches here and there.  Step inside…

The entryway ~

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My foyer has no outlet on this side of the wall, but it needs a soft light, so I love using these battery operated strands to brighten up the hallway!

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Just a simple drawing on the closet pantry chalkboard. (You can go here to see how I put the chalkboard on the door.)

Christmas decor 11

My Gingerbread Coffee House is on the buffet.  After 10+ hours of work, I had no intention of eating this confection, even though everything about it is eatable! It still smells gingerbread-y and delicious!

Christmas decor 8

All the front windows of our house have a wreath, red bow and battery operated candle hanging from them.  You can see the back of the wreath from this guest room.  I’ve added just little touches in here – Christmas pillow, greenery on the shelf above the bed, and Christmas magazines in the tray.

Christmas decor 15

You may remember my post last week stating that I wasn’t putting up a tree this year, due to time constraints.  Well, when we were out of town last weekend, Santa’s elves came and put up this adorable and beautiful tree in our bedroom!  It was exactly what I’d hoped to do.  I guess I’ve been a good girl this year after all!

Christmas decor 9

Now you see what I mean by that fact that I was just adding small Christmas touches here and there.  But you know, I love it and it looks festive enough for us!  Simplifying is a good exercise!

Thanks for taking a tour of my home, via these pictures!  Was there a favorite spot you enjoyed?  Are you finished decorating your home for Christmas?

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