Responding to trials · trials

Keep Looking Up!

spring tree 1

Last week I was doing my weekly errands of grocery shopping  and Target run with the typical flurry of moving quickly from one place to the next.  While walking up the parking lot towards Target, I had my head down, towards the pavement, while also reaching for my shopping list.  Then in my peripheral I caught a glimpse of


lots of pink! 

I turned my gaze away from my frenzied walk to look up towards the sky.  There in my view was this lovely sight –

spring tree

Of course I had to snap a picture!  I didn’t want to waste the gorgeous view of these pink blooms against the crystal blue sky.  It literally took my breath away.

After I finished my shopping and walked again under its beauty, I heard the Lord whisper in my heart ~

You need to keep your eyes upward.  That’s where the joy is!

Oh, that is so true!  Hebrews 12:2,3 tells us:

 Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith;
who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross,
despising the shame,
and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God.
For consider him that endured such contradiction of sinners against himself,
lest ye be wearied and faint in your minds.

It’s really difficult to stop and consider Jesus when I have my head down, dwelling on my concreted  problems.  It’s hard to see the beauty of His presence and remember His promises if I focus on my list of troubles.

I must lift my gaze into His lovely face.  It doesn’t take the problems away, but it reminds me of the truth that He endured mistreatment from sinners, but He is now in heaven, victorious!  Because of that, I don’t have to be weary and faint! I can have victory, too!

That’s a beauty even spring blooms can’t come close to! One day all those that know Christ as their Savior will be gathered with Him where troubles and trials will be over forever.  Until then, friend, let’s

Keep Looking Up!!

Denise Signature 150 px


Chicken · Fast meal · freezer · main dish

Getting the Most Out of a Deli-Purchased Chicken


When was the last time you went to the grocery store or Sam’s Club and picked up one of these rotisserie chickens from their deli? Recently a friend brought one to me at a busy time and it was such a blessing!

Image result for deli rotisserie chicken

They are usually about $5 and are a great easy, delicious meal straight from the container. You might slice the meat and serve:

Potato Salad
Green Beans

It’s a wonderful busy night dinner.

However, if there are only two or three, you’ll have leftovers, but probably not enough to serve slices of meat again.  What do you do with the remains without wasting it?  I have a couple of ideas to help you get the most out of that $5 bird! Last week when I had that chicken, here is all the ways that it provided for us –

Chicken Salad – If you have enough white meat left, you could mix up the ingredients for lunch tomorrow!  This made for a delicious lunch!

  • White meat Cubes
  • Grapes
  • Pecans
  • Celery
  • Dressing – I mix together
    • Mayo
    • A little sour cream
    • Cinnamon

Served on bread or crackers, it totally transforms a rotisserie chicken into a whole new meal.

Chicken Pot Pie – You can use white meat, dark meat or a combination of both. It only takes 1 1/2 Cups of chicken – or you could use 1 cup and add more veggies!

chicken pot pie 2

I make a low-fat version of Chicken Pot pie that is equal to any high fat version!

Don’t be afraid to alter the vegetables to what your family likes.  Changing that will not change its deliciousness!

1 1/4 Cup all-purpose flour
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 cup shortening
4-5 Tbl cold water

Mix dry ingredients.  Use a pastry cutter or fork and cut in shortening until mixture resembles fine crumbs.  Add water, 1 tbl at a time, until all dough is moistened.  Form dough into ball.

On a lightly floured surface, flatten the ball of dough with hands.  Roll dough into a 13 x 8 1/2 inch rectangle.  Cover pastry and set aside.


1 cup slices fresh mushrooms
1/2 cup chopped onion
1 12 oz. can evaporated skim milk
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 cup (or more) chicken broth
1 tsp instant chicken bouillon granules
1/2 tsp dried sage, marjoram, or thyme (thyme is my favorite!)
1/8 tsp pepper
1 10-oz package frozen peas & carrots
1 1/2 cups chopped cooked chicken

Spray a cold medium saucepan with nonstick coating.  Add mushroom and onion.  cook and stir over medium heat about 4 minutes or till the onion is tender but not brown.

Meanwhile reserve 1 tbl of the milk. Set aside.  In a small mixing bowl gradually stir the remaining milk into the flour till smooth.  Stir into vegetable mixture in the saucepan.  Stir in the water, bouillon granules, sage, marjoram or thyme: and pepper.  Cook and stir till thickened and bubbly.  Stir int he frozen peas and carrots and chicken.

Transfer mixture to a 12 x 7 1/2 x 2 inch baking dish.  Place pastry over chicken mixture.  Fold under edges.  Crimp edges of pastry with a fork.  Brush pastry with reserved milk.

Bake in a 375 degree oven for 30 minutes or till the chicken mixture is heated through and the pastry is golden brown.  Makes 5 servings.

Chicken pot pie 3

This pie is so good, friends!  You could even assemble it and pop it into the freezer for another day!

Now, at this point I had stripped most all of the meat off the carcass.  Was it ready for the garbage?  No!  DON’T THROW THAT CARCASS IN THE TRASH CAN YET!!  There’s one more GREAT WAY to use that chicken!

Chicken Stock – No need to purchase cans or boxes of this in the store if you have a chicken carcass in your fridge!

Here’s the recipe and method I use to make chicken stock. Let me add one more thought – I have learned that it’s even easier to make it in the crock pot so I don’t have to babysit it.  I do the very same thing, only pop it into the crock pot and cook it all day long.  The house smells amazing and I have about 8-10 cups of chicken stock when it’s finished! Look how rich that broth is!

chicken broth

I pour it into small baggies, then put them in a large Ziplock bag and freeze them.

You could also just cube the meat off and freeze it in small freezer bags ready for soup, enchiladas or quesadillas, 

The possibilities are endless, and also so convenient because the chicken is already cooked.  You know, you might even consider buying TWO rotisserie chickens just so you can make so many great meals so easily!

When was the last time you enjoyed a rotisserie chicken?  What else do you do with yours?

With love from my country kitchen,

Denise Signature 150 px



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!

Denise Signature 150 px

children · Motherhood · Parenting

Training Children To Be Independent


laundry 1

The baby’s  sitting up!

Now he’s crawling!

He’s feeding himself finger foods!

He’s been potty trained!

Those are all happy steps of progress in our children’s lives.  We look for those initiatives and celebrate their arrival, don’t we?  We have to keep in mind as our children grow older that taking ownership of more and more responsibilities is crucial, both for their good and our own!

As our children mature, we must continue to hand over the things we did when they were infants, so that we eventlually “work our way out of a job!”  Moms always want to be moms, but trust me, even though you’re not running their bath water and folding their laundry, your role in your children’s lives will still be necessary, but just not for the day to day responsiblities.

So how are you doing, Mom?  Are your children learning to take responsibility for their personal needs little by little? If you’re not sure, let me ask you a few questions so you can evaluate your offspring’s level of responsibility and where improvement might be needed.

  • Do you find yourself having to repeat commands like, “Brush your teeth,” or “Do your homework?”
  • Do you take care of most of  the daily needs of your child that is more than 5 years-old?
  • Does your child have a list of responsiblities – household chores they are to care for daily?
  • If your child is more than ten years-old, can they take care of themselves if you are gone for a day and night? (I don’t mean they’re left alone!)
  • Can your eight-year old (or older) take care of preparing a simple breakfast or lunch (no cooking on the stove) for themselves? Will they make wise choices?
  • Can your school-aged child that is reading have a time of devotions on their own?
  • Can they also get showered, dressed and ready for the day on their own before school or church?

Every child is different, of course, but you as the parent know what your child is capeable of, and the truth is, they might even be able to do more than you know!  Here are some suggestions of responsiblities and ages in which you could expect them to take over:

  • Pre-school – 3 – 4 years old –
    • Put toys into a toy bin or box
    • Help set the table
    • Fold wash cloths
    • Pull sheets up over bed
    • Take trash to central household trash can
    • Dress themselves with clothes laid out for them
    • Put dirty clothes into clothes basket
    • Feed themselves
  • School-age – 5 – 7
    • Keep room cleaned by putting toys, books away
    • Take dirty dishes from table to counter
    • Set the table
    • Make bed completely
    • Brush teeth
    • Wash themselves in tub (with supervision)
    • Hang up, put away clothes in closet or dresser
    • Read short Bible passage and pray
    • Separate white laundry from colored
    • Fold towels and washcloths
    • Sweep floor
    • Dust
    • Begin to pick out appropriate cothes
    • Help unload groceries from car and put some things away
  • 8 – 10 years-old
    • Keep room clean
    • Clothes hung and put away
    • Strip sheets and put clean ones back on bed
    • Load and empty dishwasher
    • Shower and dress independently
    • Fold laundry and put away
    • Clean bathroom sinks and toilets
    • Choose clothes and dress independently
    • Be responsible for gathering school items – backpack, homework, lunch
    • Have a time of Bible reading, simple sentence journal and prayer
    • Order their own food at a restaurant
  • 10 – 12 years-old
    • Load washer, do laundry
    • Vacuum
    • Be completely responsible for books, homework, and belongings
    • Have devotions with Bible reading, prayer and journal
    • Boys – help with outdoor chores in yard
    • Be completely responsible with showering, dressing, and picking clothes out, getting them clean and putting them away
    • Able to prepare simple meals, graduating to cooking
    • Pack suitcase for vacation
    • Take responsibility for a job like babysitting or cutting grass

Again, these are only a few suggestions, and they’re all probably able to be done sooner than suggested for most children.  A wise parent will allow their children to share the load and will supervise and inspect what is expected.

Why would you want to enable your child to learn these things?  To help them be responsible, independent adults who know how to manage in the world and be able to serve the Lord because of their skills.

How do you get there?  Little by little.  Add more and more responsibility and expect the child to follow through.  I found that rewards are excellent teaching tools.  A chart with stickers for a small child works well.  There are lots of ideas on Pinterest you could try, but the point is, do it!  Don’t allow your children to be “drinking from a sippy cup” all the time they’re at home.  They’ll be grateful – if not now, when they’re older, and you’ll have more time to focus on the other facets of mothering as each one of these responsibilities is released into their hands.

What makes it difficult for you to release responsibilities to your children?  

Denise Signature 150 px

Christian Life · fellowship with God · forgiveness

The Danger of Drifting

Rafts aren’t the only thing that can drift – so can a boat. I came across this article in People Magazine . You won’t believe the terror two teenage boys experienced when their boat drifted. Read on:
On Sunday morning, April 24, Troy Driscoll, 15, and his best friend, Josh Long, 17, both high school students from North Charleston, S.C., paddled out from Sullivans Island near their home for a day of fishing in a 15-ft. boat. Had they listened to the radio, they would have heard that bad weather was approaching.
Josh Long – We wanted to put the boat between the beach and a sand bar, but we weren’t out 20 minutes when the riptide pulled us out. We tried to put the anchor down, but it wouldn’t catch. We just drifted farther and farther away. Hours went by. We tried to wave people down, but nobody saw us. The last thing I saw was the towers on shore that lead cargo ships in. By dark we couldn’t see a thing. The next morning there was no land in sight. All we could do was pray.
By 10 p.m., when the boys—who left Josh’s cell phone in his truck at a dock and had no radio or emergency equipment—hadn’t returned, their frantic parents called the Coast Guard.

Eddie Long, Josh’s father – It was the hardest night of my life, walking that beach, knowing that my son and Troy were out there somewhere. It was cold, and the waves picked up.
Josh – We were soaking wet, clinging to each other, trying to keep warm. We’d doze off, but the waves kept crashing into the boat, washing over us, so we couldn’t ever get to sleep.

Troy Driscoll – During the day it got so hot, we took a couple of dips to cool off. But then the sharks came around, and we didn’t go in the water anymore.
Josh – Far from shore, the water turns clear, like blue Gatorade. Troy begged me, “Please, let me drink just a little.” I said, “If you drink it, you’ll die.” Then one day it began to drizzle. I had my mouth wide open to catch drops, but it didn’t rain hard enough. I started licking the water from the deck.
Troy – Josh woke up screaming that we were at the store and had to buy some Mountain Dew. I was like, “Bro, we’re out in the middle of the water, and there’s no Mountain Dew.” I was so hungry I ate a jellyfish and waited overnight to see if it would kill me. It didn’t. They’re slimy, gushy things, but I ate about 100 of them.
Josh – Troy was so hungry he wanted to cut off a finger and eat it. At one point, he said, “Please, help me get out of here or kill me.” I said, “I can’t do that.”
The Coast Guard searched the ocean using boats, helicopters, airplanes and the help of recreational boaters. But at sunset on Tuesday, April 26, after 2½ days had passed with no sign of the boys, the rescue mission became a recovery operation.
Eddie Long – They told us that in a week to 10 days, the bodies would become gaseous and rise to the surface. I went out on the bridge with binoculars, but I didn’t go out on a boat. If there was a body, I didn’t want to remember my son that way. By Saturday, April 30, seven days after they set out, the boys were drifting seven miles off Cape Fear and 111 miles from where they had launched.

Josh – Something about Saturday morning was different. When the sun came up, it was a beautiful color. I saw a rainbow off to the left, and there were dolphins playing all around the boat. Later that day two fishermen spotted something distant in the water.

Ben Degutis, 70 – At first, I didn’t know what it was. As we got closer, I could see people waving, and holy mackerel, it was two young guys in this tiny boat. One was yelling, “Thank God!”
Eddie Long – I was outside and heard a commotion. They gave me the phone, and Josh said, “I miss you, Daddy.”
Tony Driscoll, Troy’s dad – When I finally saw Troy, it was like him being born all over again. The joy in my heart was that huge.

During their ordeal Long lost 30 lbs. and Driscoll was hospitalized for three days for second-degree burns on his face and feet.
Driscoll – I’ll go out again fishing, for sure—in a boat with two motors.

Long – While we were out there we dreamed about the biggest sundae you could imagine—the ultimate sundae. Troy and I are going to meet at an ice cream place and have that sundae.
Boats aren’t the only thing that can drift – so can people. In my years as a believer and follower of the Lord Jesus Christ, I have seen many people do the very same thing in their spiritual lives that Troy and Josh did in their boat. Out of a love for God, believers get in their boat and go to church, serve the Lord, have their daily devotions, testify in prayer meeting, share the Gospel with an unbeliever, and attend Bible study. Everything is okay – they are safe near the shore with anchor firmly in place.
Then one day, ignoring the warnings they’ve heard, they begin to drift – they miss a service here and there. Then Bible study or prayer meeting seems like a huge interruption in their already busy week, so they stop attending. They begin to eat things they would never have thought of eating – slimy television shows that promote immorality, homosexuality, drinking, and many other unbiblical “jellyfish.” Things that are harmful look appealing and they begin to “drink” of its waters, all the while the sharks are circling their boat. Like the saltwater, bitterness may be a poison they drink. One sip of unforgiveness keeps them coming back for more. They have now drifted to Cape Fear!
Praise the Lord, though, the Holy Spirit sees them in their drifted state, and He sends believers who care to fish near enough to their drifted place to spot them. They don’t leave them there – they come to them with a warm coat (God’s love), nourishing food (the Word of God), and balm for their wounds (forgiveness of our God).  I John 1:9 is claimed and obeyed. Soon, they’re feeling better, feet planted solidly on the ground with the wisdom to keep anchor so they’ll drift no more.
Not everyone who drifts out in the ocean is rescued. It’s not that the Lord isn’t showing them the Light from the lighthouse, but because they are unwilling to admit that they are indeed drifting. If this post has offended you, let me say, dear Friend, it’s probably because you are drifting. “Great peace have they which love thy law, and nothing shall offend them.” Psalm 119:165


Drifting takes place a little at a time. If you can still detect the shoreline, row back home before you find yourself in dangerous waters. There’s a huge Sunday to enjoy with others who will rejoice at your tender heart and your safe return!

Isaiah 43:1,2 But now thus saith the LORD that created thee, O Jacob, and he that formed thee, O Israel, Fear not: for I have redeemed thee, I have called thee by thy name; thou art mine.When thou passest through the waters, I will be with thee; and through the rivers, they shall not overflow thee: when thou walkest through the fire, thou shalt not be burned; neither shall the flame kindle upon thee.

Because I care,
children · Encouragement · Motherhood · Parenting

A Rope of Encouragement For Young Moms

Each day as a parent can be one of extreme highs and lows, can’t it?  Your child finally gets a truth you’re trying to teach him, and he obeys as a result!  You are rejoicing!  Then an hour later, he has spray painted the cat blue, dumped a liter of red soda on the carpet, and dropped your cell phone in the bath water! Since you really can’t lock yourself in the bathroom for the rest of the day (we’ve all wanted to!), what is a mother to do?
  • Gather your children around you, sit down, and pray.  Ask God to calm your heart.   Ask Him to help the children to obey. Ephesians 6:1 Ask for His help and guidance. James 1:5
  • Administer the discipline necessary for the disobedience.  Proverbs 19:18 Note, this comes after you’ve calmed down and gotten your focus right.  It’s easy to want to dismiss it due to your weariness.  (We all know how much time and energy it takes to discipline properly!)  However, if you let the disobedience or rebellion pass unnoticed, things will not get getter – they will only get worse.
  • Look for an opportunity to have a brief break.  If your children are of napping age, you rest while they’re napping.  Don’t use this time to attack your list of “to-do’s!”  Read a passage of Scripture, listen to some encouraging music.  Drink a cup of tea, read a magazine, or do some little something you enjoy (scrapbook one picture even, make a card, work on a puzzle or crossword).  You need to refresh yourself in a way that will help you to be ready to face motherhood again.
  • Keep things structured for your children.  If they have too much free time, trouble will ensue.  You don’t have to plan out every minute, but keep a close tab on your children.  Don’t allow yourself to be distracted from what’s going on in their world.  Stay connected so you can stay on top of any attitudes or problems, and lovingly correct them.
  • Plan for something fun to do with your children each day. Make a craft, bake something, take a walk while the children ride bikes, go to the library, take lunch to the park.  These activities will give you and the children something to look forward to.
  • Once every couple of weeks, get away from the house and the children.  If you can’t leave the children with your husband, take turns with another mom so you can both have a morning away from parenting responsibilities.  Go do something you love while you’re free!
  • Make sure you’re getting up before the children and spending time with the Lord in His Word and prayer each day.  Even if it’s 15 minutes, it will prepare your heart better than a three year-old waking you by poking their finger in your eye!
  • Keep the children to a regular bedtime schedule.  If they’re in bed by 8:30, then you and your husband will have time together, they’ll get adequate rest, and you can prepare some things the night before that will make mornings unfold much easier.  Get the coffee ready, start breakfast by making muffins, or setting out the cereals and bowls.  Pick up things around the house before heading to bed.  Waking up to a clean, orderly home will help jump-start your day!

These things won’t make your days perfect, of course, but they’ll help things to run smoother.  Take it from a mom who learned from her mistakes – you have to be a step ahead to win at the motherhood woes.  The good news is, with God’s help you will make it – with a few extra wrinkles, maybe, but you will make it!

What are the most difficult times of your day as a mom?

With love,

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baking · Cookies · No Bake

A New Flavor of “No-Bake Cookies

When do you like trying a new cookie recipe? One time for me is when I hear a friend/neighbor say they love a certain cookie and wish they could have one! My neighbor told me about a Caramel No-Bake cookie that he had that was the best cookie ever and he wished he could find a recipe! That’s when I went on the hunt to find and make them for him and his family.

I ran to Pinterest and found what I’m sure is the best recipe for a new flavor of No-Bake cookies! Little Dairy on the Prairie had a great looking recipe. It turned out perfectly! There’s LOTS of butter and sugar, but this recipe made about 4 dozen cookies, so you have to take that into consideration. Like the traditional no-bakes, these were fast and easy! Oh, and my neighbors declared them the BEST cookies they’d ever had! Mission accomplished!!

Caramel No-Bake Cookies

Prep time

10 mins

Cook time

5 mins

Total time

15 mins

Smooth salted caramel, crunchy toffee chips, and chocolate wrapped up in one super easy No Bake Caramel Cookie! I can’t think of a thing not to love about these cookies!

Serves: 36


• 2 c. granulated sugar

• ¾ c. butter

• ⅔ c. evaporated milk

• 1 5.1 oz. pkg instant butterscotch pudding

• 3½ c. quick oats

• sea salt to taste (I used a few grinds)

• 1 c. semi-sweet chocolate chips

• ½ c. toffee chips


1 Bring sugar, butter, and evaporated milk to a rolling boil over medium heat. Stir frequently.

2 Remove from heat and add oats, dry pudding, and salt. Let sit for a few minutes until it cools a little bit.

3 Line a cookie sheet with wax paper.

4 Add chocolate chips and toffee chips to cookie mixture. Gently stir being careful to not over stir or else the chocolate chips will be totally incorporated.

5 Drop by cookie scoopfuls onto wax paper.

6 Let sit for at least 15 minutes.

Fifteen minutes, friends! That’s all the time these take to make! Do a friend or two a favor and make a batch! I gave away every cookie but one! They were too tempting to keep on hand, and too good not to share!

If you get the urge to bake, this recipe has you covered!

With love from my country kitchen,