Bible study · Prayer · spiritual growth

Suggestions for Books, Journals, Planners and More!

2019 collage

Remember the Disney song, When you Wish Upon a Star?  The song tells us that when you wish on a star, your dreams come true.  It’s cute for a Disney movie, but if that was a reality  we’d all be driving brand new automobiles.  I just checked and my 2005 Jeep is still Continue reading “Suggestions for Books, Journals, Planners and More!”

eternal · Goals · Priorities

Two Questions To Shape the New Year

2019, Here We Come!!

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There are a ton of questions we could ask ourselves as we approach a new year.  Some of the old standard questions are still excellent ones, but I’ve been pondering just two in the last couple of weeks.  Ready?

  1. What do I wish I had done more of in 2018?
  2. What do I wish I had done less of in 2018?

I think those two simple questions will really encompass all those other goals, needs, and relationships we want to make better this coming year.  It covers the priorities and the people we love,  as well as the habits and idols we need to rid from our lives.

When I asked myself those two questions, here’s what pierced my heart ~

What do I wish I had done more of in 2018?

  • Prayer
  • Scripture memory
  • Reading of books
  • Writing of my own book
  • Exercise
  • Connection with family
  • Discipling

What do I wish I had done less of in 2018?

  • Worry – The prayer could have taken care of that!
  • Screen time – Phones are needed and a blessing, but some days it feels like an appendage.  This is hard because I blog and do videos for You Tube, but it’s something I really want to get a handle on this year!

Both lists have other bullets, but these are the crucial ones, ones I’m taking to the Lord in prayer as I begin a new year.  One prayer I repeat over and over is,

Lord, I want my life to count for You.

I believe if I do more of what’s right and less of what’s keeping me idle, my life can count for Christ.

Oh that I may say like Paul, For me to live is Christ… Philippians 1:21

So, how would you answer those two questions?  Perhaps they can guide you as you ponder how the Lord would want you to live this next year as He grants us the breath to do so.  James 4:15

Refresh yourself in this new year!

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Brunch · Christmas

My Christmas Recap

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Christmas Morning Breakfast!

Hi Friends!  I pray you’ve had a wonderful Christmas and are still reveling in God’s grace gift of His Son.  I’m still chilling over here and enjoying a little rest before the new year happens!

Whitney at Come Home for Comfort posted a great recap of our Christmas complete with great photos of our time and all the food we shared.  If you’re interested you can go here to see it all! She did a great job capturing the spirit of our time together!

I’ll be back next week with some of my own photos of Christmas, goals and new ideas to hopefully refresh 2019!

See you soon!

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Christmas · memories

The Only Way To Have the Best Christmas Ever

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In just a few short days I will be hosting our family Christmas here at our home. I have plans, a freezer full of prepped food, and anticipation about our time together, but I’m remembering that things don’t always go as planned.

I remember the Christmas years ago, when I had prepared and planned for my parents, Continue reading “The Only Way To Have the Best Christmas Ever”

Christmas · peace

The Reason He Came At Christmas

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On our drive through our country roads this week we saw the sign,

Live nativity December 22

My mind went back to the last one I saw years ago.  There was the sweet little baby Jesus lying in the manger bed, wrapped in soft white cloth while His mother Mary, dressed in blue sat smiling down on her sleeping child.  Joseph stood protectively alongside while little sheep were baa-ing and cows were mooing in their stalls only feet away from the manger scene.  Little girl angels stood above in the barn loft, their tilted halos shimmering from the gold garland from which they were crafted. It all seemed pristine and perfect.

But at that nativity we didn’t get a picture of what the scene of this baby’s life would look like in thirty years.  Now His garments are stripped from Him in a mocking. cruel fashion.  No adoring glances were given by those nearby, only daggers of hate and scorn.  The swaddling cloth at His birth is exchanged for a purple robe and a blood-stained cross on which He was hung.

Cruel.

Bloody.  But also perfect.

Perfect love.

This was the reason He came.  He came to die. It was the only answer for our sins to be forgiven.  Perfect blood had to be shed and He came to die in our place.

People lined up to stand and stare at the scene at that live nativity I attended.  It was the Story of stories come to life.  A baby born of a virgin and announced by angels. Everyone loves a story of a baby’s birth, but who will follow Him to the cross?  The crowd was very thin.  Oh friends, let’s not lose sight of the fact that the purpose of His birth was so He could die for broken sinners like you and me. That is why we have Christmas.

The following video is about three wonderful results of pondering why He came.

 

What has brought you peace instead of chaos this Christmas?  If you can’t find peace, please watch the other two videos in this series.  I pray it will encourage you!

Merry Peaceful Christmas!

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Christmas · dessert

Brownie Meets Peppermint Cheesecake

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Holiday desserts are delicious, but also often high in calories and fat, which presents a real issue when we are surrounded by them for weeks at parties and events as we celebrate Christmas.  For that reason, and also because the recipes are so good, I turn to Cooking Light.  They have great recipes that are reduced in fat, yet full in delicious-ness!

Last week I made dinner for company and wanted dessert, but didn’t want it to be really fattening.  I found a recipe with my favorite flavor combination – chocolate and peppermint!  They whipped together very quickly and I had them in the oven, then I checked the reviews on-line.  I groaned – they weren’t so favorable and I had guests coming soon!  You can’t imagine my delight at how perfectly these turned out.  I followed the recipe exactly.  The cheesecake part was creamy – like cheesecake is supposed to be and the brownie was fudgy and delicious! I served it with a little scoop of peppermint ice cream just because, and oh my, it was so good!!

If you’re looking for a lower in calorie and fat dessert, and you love chocolate and mint, you need to try these brownies! I love the swirly top, too!  These are great for any Christmas get-together!!

Peppermint Cheesecake Brownies

Ingredients

  • Cheesecake batter:
  • 1 (8-ounce) block 1/3-less-fat cream cheese
  • 1/3 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon peppermint extract The only change I made was here.  I had Peppermint OIL and it flavored the cheesecake perfectly 
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 large egg white
  • 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour

Brownie batter:

  • 4.5 ounces all-purpose flour (about 1 cup)
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/2 cups packed brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup canola oil
  • 1/4 cup buttermilk
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 2 large egg whites
  • 1 large egg
  • Cooking spray

How to Make It

Step 1

Preheat oven to 350°.

Step 2

To prepare cheesecake batter, place cheese in a medium bowl; beat with a mixer at medium speed until smooth. Add granulated sugar and peppermint extract; beat well. Add 1 egg and 1 egg white; beat well. Add 1 tablespoon flour; beat mixture just until blended.

Step 3

To prepare brownie batter, weigh or lightly spoon 5 ounces (about 1 cup) flour into a dry measuring cup; level with a knife. Combine 5 ounces flour, cocoa, and salt in a medium bowl, stirring with a whisk. Combine brown sugar, oil, buttermilk, vanilla, 2 egg whites, and 1 egg in a large bowl; beat with a mixer at medium-high speed until well blended. Add flour mixture to brown sugar mixture; beat at low speed just until blended.

Step 4

Reserve 1/2 cup of brownie batter. Pour remaining batter into a 9-inch square baking pan coated with cooking spray. Carefully pour cheesecake batter over top; spread evenly to edges. Dot cheesecake batter with reserved brownie batter. Swirl top two layers of batters together using the tip of a knife. Bake at 350° for 26 minutes or until top is set. Cool completely in pan on a wire rack.

Chef’s Notes

You can tint the cheesecake batter with two or three drops of red food coloring to give it a pink tinge, if you like. When swirling the cheesecake and brownie batters in step 4, don’t disturb the bottom brownie layer. Cool these bars completely before serving.

 

I love mint and chocolate!  What is your favorite flavor combination?

With love from my country kitchen,

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Christmas · Christmas decor · Comfort

Cozy Christmas 2018 Invitation

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Years (and years) ago when I went away to college, I’ll never forget coming home for Christmas break after my first semester.  We lived out in the country on five acres and I can remember the warmth that pervaded our home even from the driveway as I approached the house.  When I stepped inside, the fire was burning, music was playing, the lights were lit and low, my mom had the best foods prepared, and best of all, my Continue reading “Cozy Christmas 2018 Invitation”