Best Friends in Marriage

The posts have been about friendship this week, we can’t forget our BEST earthly friend and the importance of maintaining  our relationship with him!

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Yesterday found my husband and me in the basement going through some boxes of “stuff.” Stuffed animals, old toys, pictures, school annuals, dolls, dishes, and books were sorted through. I was down there for several hours – not because I got so much accomplished, necessarily, but because when I go through old things it brings back memories and I have to stop and reflect! My husband and I passed many pictures back and forth to one another. “Oh, remember this?” “Look at us! How hilarious!” (You will not be seeing any of those pictures posted here!) Not only did we recall many special times from our past, but it was a sweet time together recounting good memories and numerous blessings.

I also leafed through a couple of the books that I hadn’t read in a while. One book was on marriage and there was a chapter on being best friends with your mate. The highlights were how important it is to spend time together having fun, talking, sharing your heart, and being open with one another. I smiled – we had done that even in a cool basement on Memorial Day when most of our neighbors were probably out at the lake or at the park having a picnic with their extended family. We had shared secret memories of times and places when notes were found written in our handwriting. We’d laughed. We’d talked about times when our girls were growing up. This is what friends do.

Dari Ace

After we’d had our grilled hamburgers later in the evening, we headed out for a drive through the countryside. Opening the sun roof on the car, the warm air blew through as we pointed at beautiful homes, the clouds over the mountain or a row of flags in a front yard. We even stopped for an ice cream at Dari ace – so cute! It was a great end to a fun day spent with my best friend.

Are you still best friends with your husband? Are you spending time together? I don’t mean time living – I mean time just being together. What tone of voice do you use when you speak to him or repeat an answer to his question? Is it the tone that one would use with their best friend? God gave Adam a wife so he would have a companion. Are you and I being the best kind of completer that we could possibly be? Best friends give each other the benefit of the doubt, love when no one else loves, and enjoy just doing little things together. Is your husband the one you spend that kind of time with? Don’t replace his companionship with that of your girlfriend, sister or parents. That is not God’s plan for a married woman.

I am planning on re-reading that book I found. It was a good reminder for me. We all need to be encouraged in what a godly marriage looks like. I’m thankful for a day in the basement that helped me to be refreshed in the friendship part of our marriage!

With love,

Denise Signature 150 px

P.S. I believe the book I was referring to is, The Ministry of Marriage, by Jim Binney.

Refresh Yourself With Fellowship

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A week or so ago I found myself at a surprise birthday party for a friend.  Because it was a surprise, and everything was “hush-hush!” I had no idea who else had been invited.  I was delighted to find several other good friends were also there.  We were able to sit together and enjoy the fun of some fellowship that probably wouldn’t have happened otherwise!  We had a great time celebrating our friend’s birthday AND getting to share an evening together!  It was a reminder to me that we need to schedule those times of encouragement! 
When was the last time you got out and had fellowship with a friend or two?  Women tend to be so busy with life that they seldom make time for fellowship that will encourage and strengthen them as a Christian woman.  We need each other.

I love what Paul says in Philippians 3:17, 18 – ‘

Brethren, be followers together of me, and mark them which walk so as ye have us for an ensample. For many walk, of whom I have told you often, and now tell you even weeping, that they are the enemies of the cross of Christ.  

This is a warning not to fellowship with the wrong people, as well as an encouragement to fellowship with the right people!  Paul is saying, “Walk with people like me and steer clear of someone who will take you down the wrong path!”  This is a reminder to me that we need the influence of strong believers in our lives.  

What a blessing it is to get together with another Christian woman, who loves God, loves His Word, and loves doing the things that will honor the Lord!  Can I encourage you to schedule time to get with a godly friend in the next week?  Share a cup of coffee and talk about what you’re reading in the Word. Share your burdens with one another.  Pray together.  It will refresh your heart and hers!

Be refreshed by a friend,

Denise Signature 150 px

The Blessing of Friends Who Know God

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Yesterday morning as I read Exodus 33 I was reminded what a blessing it is to have friends who walk with God.  Moses was such a man.  Let me explain.

God’s anger was kindled against the Israelites because of their continual sin and God said that His presence would not go with them into the promise land.  Moses spoke to God on their behalf, telling God that they couldn’t go on unless God would go with them.  Verse 11 says, 

“And the Lord spake unto Moses face to face, as a man speaketh unto his friend.”  Because of his intercession, God said to Moses, I will do this thing also that thou hast spoken: for thou hast found grace in my sight, and I know thee by name. 

What relief that the Israelites wouldn’t have to trudge on in their own devices, their own weak ideas and strategies!  God answered Moses’ prayer!  Having a friend who can talk to God on your behalf is a huge blessing!  You see Moses going to God, then talking with the Israelites, then talking to God, and again to the Israelites.  Who wouldn’t want a friend like that?!

While I was reading that passage and being reminded of dear, godly friends that the Lord has given me, I received a text message from one of those friends.  Another called while I was getting ready for the day.  A third called as I was driving to do some work at church just to tell me she loved and appreciated me!  And lastly, another godly friend met me at the church to help and support the work I was attempting to do!  My cup was running over with the blessing my friends.  Each one, led by the Lord was calling to encourage or bless in some way.  That is a godly friend!  God spoke to them, and they followed through to tell me what He said to them!  That’s just like what Moses did!

I have to stop and ask myself if I am that kind of friend to others.  How about you?  Do you hear the Lord speak a word to you to call and encourage someone or to stop and pray for them and then you do it?  If He prompts us to stop and pray for them or do a loving act for them are we quick to obey?  Do we go out of our way to help and support them as they are serving the Lord?

May we each be the “Moses-kind of Friends – a friend who knows God, talks to God on behalf of our friends, and also talks to our friends about God!”

Do you have a special godly friend for whom you are especially thankful?  What have they done to push you closer to the Lord?

With love,

Denise Signature 150 px

For a Lifeline, Call a Friend

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Did you ever watch “Who Wants To Be a Millionaire?”?  The contestants answered questions, each one getting progressively harder and taking them closer to a million dollars.  If they were unsure of an answer, one option they had was to call a friend.  This would be a person, who, obviously had lots of knowledge and could be their “lifeline,” helping them reach their hoped-for goal of becoming a millionaire!
It would be quite an honor to be asked to be your friend’s life-line!  That would mean the contestant had full confidence in your ability to give them the correct answer at a very crucial moment!
I recently heard a preacher say that at a time in his life when he had to make a decision about whether or not to accept an important position, he spent many hours in prayer.  He weighed the pros and cons.  He talked with friends and associates and asked their advice.  One night after spending time with godly friends, trying to come to a conclusion about the right decision, he came home and found his wife had already gone to bed.  When he laid down beside her, she rolled over and held up two fingers, signifying that she rated the decision he was going to make only a two.

“That was all I needed to hear.  My wife walks so closely to the Lord, I knew that if this only ranked a two, then the Lord would have me not accept that position.”

Talk about being a life-line! This godly wife was so trusted by her husband in her walk with God, that it altered the course of his life!  His story made me stop and ask myself a couple of questions:

  1. Could my husband trust my response to a decision that fully?
  2. Do I walk so closely to the Lord every day that at any given moment I could be asked a question by my husband, my daughter or a friend, and I would give the right answer because it would be God’s answer?
This dear pastor’s wife I mentioned had walked with God.  She’d been faithful to read and study God’s Word.  She’d spent time in prayer.  She was sensitive to His directives in her own life – that’s how she could rightly guide those around her!
It really doesn’t matter that no one has asked me to be their lifeline on a game show.  I’m not that smart!  However, I want to be able to know the Lord’s heart so well that I could be a lifeline to my husband, or to any friend that the Lord brings across my path today.
How about you?  Have you spent sufficient time in God’s Word this morning that even through what you read today you could give biblical counsel?  
Know God so that you can lead others to Him, too!
Psalm 119:1-7
Blessed are the undefiled in the way,
who walk in the law of the Lord.
 Blessed are they that keep his testimonies,
and that seek him with the whole heart.
They also do no iniquity:
they walk in his ways.
 Thou hast commanded us to keep thy precepts diligently.
 O that my ways were directed to keep thy statutes!
 Then shall I not be ashamed,
when I have respect unto all thy commandments.
 I will praise thee with uprightness of heart,
when I shall have learned thy righteous judgments.
With love,

Canning Peaches at Home

For years I was really afraid to try canning at home.  I think I was scared by stories of pressure canners and the horrific results.  I have chosen to go the route of a water bath in a “big ol’ canner,” as we say in East Tennessee.  It’s simple, it’s easy and it’s so gratifying.  Today I’m sharing the simple method I’ve been doing for the last three years with great success.  As you can see in my pictures, there are lots of pots of water, so if you can boil water, you can can fruits and vegetables!  

Things You’ll Need:

  • Water Bath Canner (or pressure canner)
  • Quart Sized Jars, Lids, and Rings
  • Jar Utensil Set: containing a jar funnel, bubble remover and headspace tool, magnetic lid lifter, and jar lifter.
  • Peaches (about 15lbs for 6 quart sized jars)
  • Sugar 
  • Lemon Juice or Fruit Fresh
  • Large and Small Pots
Before getting started, make sure you pre-wash all the jars and rings.  The dishwasher works great for this.  Now you can prepare the water bath canner.  
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Fill the water bath 2/3 full with water and place on stove top over high heat to bring to a boil.
Rings can be re-used each time you do canning, but the lids should be replaced.  There is a chance they won’t seal with repeated use.
The easiest way to clean the lids is to put them in a small pot of almost boiling water for about 5 minutes.
First rinse the peaches with cold water.
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Since we don’t want to peel all the peaches by hand, we are going to blanch them. Bring a large pot of water to a boil and drop the peaches in and let sit for 30-40 seconds. I set the timer on the microwave so I don’t lose track of the seconds.
Use a slotted spoon to remove the peaches from the pot and place in a large bowl or sink filled with ice cold water.
Take peaches out one at a time, slice them in half, give it a quick turn and they will split open. The peels should slide off easily and you can remove the pits.
Slice the peaches and soak them in lemon water. I use about 1/4 cup lemon juice in about 3 cups of water. This will help keep the peaches from browning. You can also use Fruit Fresh instead of soaking the peaches. Just sprinkle it over the top of the sliced peaches.
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Remove the peaches from lemon water and place in a large bowl. Now is a good time to start the syrup. You can make a light, medium or heavy syrup. For the light syrup use 6 cups of water and 2 cups sugar, for medium syrup: 6 cups water and 3 cups sugar, and for heavy syrup: 6 cups water and 4 cups sugar. I use the light syrup. Heat the water in a medium pan and slowly mix in the sugar. Bring to a light boil, turn down the heat, and keep warm.
I do what’s called the “raw pack” method where I don’t pre-cook the peaches and I just add them to the jars.
Once peaches are added, pour in the syrup. The one batch of syrup should fill 6 jars if you filled them with plenty of peaches. You should have 1/2 to 1 inch of head space at the top.
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Use a knife or canning tool to press against peaches to remove air bubbles. Tilt the jars slightly and press peaches towards the middle. You will need to do this for the “raw pack” method.
Wipe the rims of the jars with a clean wet cloth and place the lids and rings on. Tighten, but don’t over tighten.
Place jars in the canner.
Make sure you have enough water to cover the jars. Check the chart at the bottom of the page for processing time. Processing times are different based on method used (raw or hot), jar size, and altitude. Cover canner with lid while processing.
Use the jar lifter to remove jars from the canner.
Cool jars completely. You will hear the lids start to “pop” which means they sealed properly. Some will pop while still in the canner. Any jars that have not popped on their own after completely cooled should be refrigerated and used first. Enjoy your peaches!
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Recommended process
Boiling-water bath
Pints – 30 minutes
Quarts – 35 minutes

We will save these peaches for when fresh peaches are no longer in season.  I stretch them out to last all year long!  What a great treat to eat these in the wintertime!

What’s stopping you from trying your hand at canning?  You could start with just a small amount of fruit and get the understanding of the process before launching into a day-long adventure of canning.  

I’m thinking of trying some salsa next!  I have a good number of tomatoes to use and since we like Mexican food so much, I’m pretty sure salsa would be a hit!  

If you could, what would you like to can for wintertime?

With love from my country kitchen,

Denise Signature 150 px

Help Your Husband Live Joyfully With You!

I’m posting later in the day, but we just returned from an evening away. Read on and you’ll see what we did and what a special time it was!

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It was early evening and we had just finished a simple supper of BLT’s, a summer favorite. My husband pulled his Bible out of his book bag and told me he had something he wanted to read to me that he had read earlier that morning. We were spending an afternoon and night away at a lake cottage, just to have some quiet time to study, pray and be together on his day off. A boat or two rumbled past on the not-so-far-away lake as he opened to Ecclesiastes 9 and read about 6 verses, concluding with this verse:

Live joyfully with the wife whom thou lovest all the days of the life of thy vanity, which he hath given thee under the sun, all the days of thy vanity, but that is thy portion in this life, and in thy labour which thou takest under the sun.

When he finished reading, he closed his Bible, nodded and smiled at me. As I looked at him I thought about how well he does that. He lives joyfully with me every day!

  • I saw it earlier when we were preparing to travel to the lake. He was coming to pick me up from my dentist appointment and sent a text to tell me he would be late.
  • When we stopped to pick up a salad for lunch, he brought the beverages to the car – a water for himself and diet Lemonade for me (my favorite).
  • As we made our way to the lake, he chatted, telling me the reason he was late – the opportunity to share Christ with a man. I love it when he shares his day, his burdens and his life.
  • He reached over and took my hand and said, “I sure love you!”
  • Later in the afternoon as we sat overlooking the lake, he said how thankful he was we could spend an afternoon together. Tears welled up in his eyes as he said, “Sometimes I just miss you so much.”
  • Even after our simple BLT supper, no fuss, no special recipe, he said, “That was so good; thank you, Sweetheart.”

Live joyfully with your wife – that’s what he does every single day. I am so blessed.

Why am I sharing this with you today? To boast? No. Even as I write out this list of only some of what he did in just ONE day, it is a stern reminder that I could make it so much easier for him to obey that Scripture if I was also living joyfully every day. There are days I just feel cantankerous! I’m often Fussy, griping, and complaining instead of joy-filled.

If I would laugh at his spontaneity, smile at disruptions, appreciate kindnesses, and live as though there was no tomorrow, I’ll bet it would help him to live even more joyfully with his wife. And maybe I couldn’t even believe there could be so much joy, and wouldn’t that be awesome?!

  • What do you need to change to help your husband live joyfully with you?
    MAYBE:
    Take the drive he suggests, even though you know you’ll be motion-sick on those curves.
    If he initiates a kiss in public don’t push him away.
    Leave the children with a sitter for an hour or two so you can sneak away for a date.
    Hold hands, rub his back, smile at him, send him a loving text message, ask him questions about his day, and really listen when he talks to you,
    Be understanding of his need for physical love.
    Tell him thank you for the ways he provides for your family.
    Pray with him before he leaves home.
    Be waiting at the door for him when he returns home in the evening.
    Get up and spend time with him before he leaves for work, if possible.
    Surprise him with a night away for just the two of you.
    Decide with God’s help not to fall apart when the next disaster strikes.

Let’s help our husbands obey the admonition to live joyfully with his wife by being joyful, too! Now, put a smile on your face and in your heart, and go share that joy with HIM!

Refresh your husband,

Denise Signature 150 px

Organizing Your Prayer Journal

The Word of God is my favorite Book.  Oh, how I love it.  My Bible is a treasure to me.  Its worn, marked up pages and loose binding are all precious, and I wouldn’t take  a million dollars for it. I mean it.

Now, let me tell you about my second favorite book.  It’s my prayer Journal.  I began using this almost ten years ago.  It has been to the “hospital” many times.  I’ve had to make new pages and add paper reinforcers.  I’ve had to remove pages to make room for more requests, more answers to prayer, and more notes from my morning Bible reading.

When I look at its pages and see the check marks, which reveal an answer to prayer, my heart leaps with gratitude and joy at my wonderful God.  It’s a reminder to me that God answers prayer!  It keeps me coming back day after day, moment by moment to cry out to the Lord for the burdens and needs in my life and the lives of others I know.

Corrie Ten Boom referred to prayer as our steering wheel.  I’ve likened my prayer journal to a car.  Without the car, the steering wheel wouldn’t have direction or a place to go! Of course you can pray without a journal, but in my experience, before I began a serious prayer journal, I prayed, but I really didn’t have a prayer life. A life is the period of existence, activity, or effectiveness of something inanimate, and without the direction of my journal, my prayer life really wasn’t that effective.

Using the imagery of a car, let me explain how a prayer journal can help your prayer life.

It’s great to have a glove box (pocket) at the front in order to hold verses of Scripture that you can pray.

The radio being on, (you singing a song of praise) is a great way to start your time alone with God.

Every car needs a clean windshield (heart), and it’s helpful to have windshield cleaning fluid (a time of confession of sin) ready to do the job necessary to have a clean heart..

It’s time to start the engine (petitioning) when you specifically ask God for the requests before you.  Have a seat for everyone (a different page for each family member).  List their needs for each day of the week.

What a blessing it is to look in your rear view mirror (at the past) and see how God has answered your prayers!  Be sure to make a check mark beside that request and write how God took care of that request.  It will increase your faith and cause you to pray more fervently in the future!

If you have a trunk (back pocket) in your binder, put your prayer bulletin there, missionary prayer cards, or other tools that will help you pray more specifically.

Park the car (sit still and alone) while you pray.  Don’t let the engine idle (don’t have distractions around you).  Be all there so you can pray and then listen to God.

Rosalind Goforth, missionary to China in the late 1800’s wrote a book, How I Know God Answers Prayer.  She had to have a method of recording His answers in order to write a book like this.  Could you write a whole book of how God has been at work while you’ve prayed?  It will only happen as you record it, otherwise you will forget.

I challenge you to get a journal of some model (kind) started.  See how it will change your prayer life!

Do you use a journal when you pray?  What’s keeping you from starting one?

With love,