death · Eternity

Death Is Not the End

Another birthday is approaching. Hmmmm, another year older. I’m pushing closer to the day when this life will be over. I could let myself get down about that, but then I let my mind remember that death is not the end for me! Let me share an illustration regarding this that the Lord recently made clear to me.

One of my daily summer tasks is to water the flower boxes in my upstairs windows. If I fail to get this chore done, it’s very obvious! When I look out the window, the poor impatiens are so withered it seems they will never revive. But I pour the cool water over their droopy heads with hopes they’ll perk back up. A few hours later when I take a peek at them, no longer are they parched! They’re plumped back up and showing off their glorious colors!

I love how God uses nature to remind us of Truth. I Peter 1, His Word says,

For all flesh is as grass, and all the glory of man as the flower of grass. The grass withereth, and the flower thereof falleth away:

25 But the word of the Lord endureth for ever. And this is the word which by the gospel is preached unto you.

When I look at those droopy blooms, I remember that flesh (people) are like the grass, which refers to all grass, flowers and herbs – they wither, meaning we will die. Each birthday reminds us that not only are we a year older, but we’re a year weaker, a year closer to death. The “glory of man” is the things that we might boast in – our strength, our wealth, our wisdom, our position. It might look great at the moment, but that glory will also fall away at some point. But there is good news that follows this truth!

But the Word of the Lord endures forever! Peter reminds us that this is the Word by which we heard the Gospel! It came through the eternal Scriptures, the Words that will be true forever. This is a beautiful reminder that this also means our salvation that came through the Gospel will also be eternal. There’s no need to worry and wonder if I’m saved forever. We literally have God’s Word on it!

Let’s get a mental picture using my flower boxes again. When I water them, they “come back to life” so to speak. When you and I trust Christ as our Savior because we’ve heard the Gospel (that Jesus came, died for us and rose again, and we receive His gift of eternal life), though our flesh may die, we will live forever. Picture that water (the Gospel of the Word of God) being poured over us, reviving our dead bodies and translating us to heaven! We’ll be more alive there than we ever were here!

When you water your droopy flowers, I trust you’ll be able to rejoice in the fact that if you have received Christ, you will fade from this life, but you’ll live gloriously forever because of the eternal Word that gave you the Gospel!

If you don’t have this solid hope, I’d love for you to read this post or this one that tells you how you can be saved. If you are a believer, who could you “water” with this Truth today? There are people all around us who are dying that need this hope!

dinner in 30 minutes · Main entree

Transform Any Meat With This Sauce!

My husband LOVES sauces on his entrees’! However, because we’re trying to cut back on calories and watch our diets, adding a sauce seemed out of the question.

But I was Wrong!!

I found the easiest, tastiest sauce that was delicious on our pork chops (which can be dry without something!).
This sauce would also be fantastic on chicken or salmon! Instead of heavy cream, it is made with chicken broth and reduced-fat sour cream, making it much lighter!

Here’s the simple list of ingredients and recipe:

Mustard Sauce

1/4 stp salt
1/4 tsp eppper,
1 tsp oil
1/3 Cup fat-free chicken broth
1/2 cup chopped shallots
2 Tbl water
1 Tbl, coarse grain mustard
1/4 cup reduced fat sour cream
1 Tbl. chives, chopped, optional

  1. Sprinkle meat with salt and 1/8 tsp pepper. Heat oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium high heat. Add meat and cook until browned and cooked through. Transfer to plate to keep warm.
  2. Add broth and shallots to skillet. Cook over medium heat, stirring often and scraping browned bits from bottom of skillet, until shallots are tender, about 3 minutes.
  3. Remove skillet from heat; stir in water, mustard, sour cream and remaining 1/8 tsp pepper. Spoon mustard sauce over meat; garnish with chives, if desired.

You need to add this recipe to your files when you want to dress up a plain piece of meat into something really special!

What extra something do you wish you could enjoy more frequently with your dinner?

With love from my country kitchen,

Home making · Women's roles

What Does a Homemaker Do All Day?

What is your employment?

I’m a homemaker.

Oh.

Enter blank stare.

I have had that awkward conversation in the past.
I think it could be easy for women who work outside the home to wonder…

Is there really enough to keep a woman busy homemaking all day long?

It could be easy to assume that a homemaker has lots of down time, time to just sit and do anything she wants! But just as with any assumption, those statements are far from the truth. May I take you through one of my weeks and give you a little glimpse at the busyness and the joy of being a homemaker?

My children are gone from home, but I’m still their mom, and that means I have the blessing of participating in celebrating their birthdays and our family holidays. So that involves cooking, decorating the table, purchasing gifts and being the hostess.

On Saturday and Sunday I was busy with attending Bible study, doing laundry, preparing Sunday’s clothes and dinner, fellowship with friends, and worship on Sunday morning. Then on Sunday evening we traveled to Kentucky to visit my parents and also get to see my aunt and uncle from Florida. I helped my mom prepare the meal for our family, which was a blessing.

When I got home on Tuesday, I had a half bushel of South Carolina peaches waiting for me. I really enjoy canning, and I really love the reward of opening my pantry and seeing these jars on the shelves! It’s a labor of love that we enjoy all year long!

In case you didn’t know, I’m also a Gigi (ha!!)! Each week I have the boys over for Bible Club. This week it was really hot, so they came over to use the pool that we had prayed for when every store was sold out! They had so much fun and so did I! I got to remind them that we had asked God to provide a pool and He did it!! It’s my greatest joy to point their little hearts to the Lord!

Daily it is my joy to prepare meals for me and my husband. I try really hard to provide food that is healthy and delicious. It takes time and effort, but it’s worth it! We love being outside during the warm days, so this lunch was served Al fresco, as are most all of them during the summer months!

Not pictured is the house work- mopping, wiping, dusting, polishing, ironing, sweeping, gardening, straightening, fluffing, decorating, and folding that happens weekly.

Of course I also have a personal life and a ministry life. As a wife, I try to serve my husband (though I feel like he does a whole lot more serving me than I do him! I take time each morning to study God’s Word, to journal and pray. In an effort to stay active, I walk two miles at least three times a week.

I take time sometime during the days to prepare and study for my radio ministry, my blog and any speaking engagements that are coming up. So I do spend a good bit of time at my computer.

It feels like the days are very full, but honestly, so is my heart. My husband worked three jobs early in our ministry life to provide so I could stay home and be the homemaker. He has sacrificed, because he has seen the benefit of my presence in the home. I am so very thankful!

There were times that I have been embarrassed about telling someone what my “employment” was, but I’ve learned over the years that being a homemaker is a high calling. I couldn’t be more fulfilled doing anything else!

What do I do?

I get to be a homemaker!!!!

Do you wish you were a homemaker but have to work out of necessity? Pray. Ask the Lord if He would give you the desire of your heart. Wait and watch what He will do! In the meantime, do what He has called yo to do with a thankful, contented heart.

Are you a homemaker? What do you love most about it? What do you dislike?

Here are some other encouragements about homemaking!

Comfort · Encouragement · Home school

What To Do When You Feel Like You’ve Blown It

Recently on Facebook I read ~

I‘m not gonna lie and say that working a full time job from home and doing full time virtual kindergarten is easy. It’s not been a rose colored glasses world for us. In fact, it’s been hard on ALL of us. And at least 2 of us have shed tears more than once in the last 2.5 weeks (and I’m sure there are more to come). I have felt like a failure as a wife, mom, daughter, teacher, friend, and coworker.#ButGod

Then was this response:

I cried just reading this I think all of us dealing with this feel the same way. Everyday brings it’s own challenges. These last couple of weeks it seems like there’s no give in the stress of trying to maintain some kind if balance. I completely understand where you’re at right now.

Wow! Have we not all been in this place before…multiple times?! I sure have!

Whether it’s homeschooling, marriage, parenting a toddler or a teenager, starting a new job or trying to live the Christian life, Satan wants us to be defeated and he get us there by feeding us his lies:

  • You’ve blown it!
  • No one has done as poor a job in your position as you have!
  • You might as well give up, cave in or quit!
  • You are worthless.

As a wife, mom, leader, homemaker, daughter, friend and home school teacher I have believed every lie listed above. Let me share one memory that stands out vividly in my memory.

It was the first ladies’ retreat where I was invited to come and be the speaker. I had prayed, prepared and perspired over my preparation. I was excited to go and share the Truths God had taught me and I had spent hours and hours studying and praying over each session. Finally the weekend of the retreat came and I flew to Indiana to speak to a precious group of women. God gave me joy in my obedience, and I loved the opportunity that was before me.

Then after the first session, I went back to my hotel room for the night and the attack from Satan came so heavy it brings tears to my mind even now to recall the feeling of defeat that it caused. I stood with my head against the wall and I listened to his lies and I believed every one of them. I swallowed each one like a starving woman on a deserted island. I felt so discouraged and defeated that I wasn’t sure I could go and finish the other two sessions the next day.

It was then that I dropped to my knees, crying out for God’s forgiveness if I had failed Him. Any area of pride was confessed and the understanding of my need for Him overwhelmed me. The Spirit of God then comforted my heart with TRUTH.

My Word will never return void.

I will not suffer your soul to famish. I will give you exactly what you need tomorrow.

Your work will never be perfect. All I ask is faithfulness.

I will do the through you.

I got up, washed my face and went to bed and slept peacefully. The next morning, I took those truths with me as I humbly and gratefully stood before that group of women to again share God’s Word with them.

I have no idea if anyone was helped by that weekend, but the Lord taught me precious lessons that I’ve had to return to over and over again.

  1. Each day I must surrender myself and obey what He tells me to do. I cannot conquer the world, but I can do what He calls me to do. Philippians 4:13
  2. God will fill me with His Spirit and give me exactly what I need at each moment as I walk with Him. Proverbs 10:3
  3. I won’t do anything perfectly, but I am to be faithful and obedient. Proverbs 20:6, Proverbs 28:20, I Samuel 15:20
  4. God can take my feeble words and actions and accomplish great things because He is God. I Corinthians 1:27

Does the place you’re called to labor
Seem too small and little known?
It is great if God is in it,
And He’ll not forget His own.

Little is much when God is in it!
Labor not for wealth or fame.
There’s a crown-and you can win it,
If you go in Jesus’ Name.

Friend, if you’re feeling like you’ve blown it, or that you’re inadequate for the task before, you, talk to the Lord. Admit your inadequacies to Him. You CAN”T do anything without the His help, but HE promises to strengthen you and help you if you will call to Him to do so. Then what is accomplished is all for His glory and none of our own.

You didn’t blow it – you just fell for the enemy’s lies! Start believing the truth instead. Now you can wipe your tears and go in God’s strength to do what He has called you to do.

Click here for more “mom” encouragement! If you could use some “back to school” ideas you can go here, and if you are struggling with the empty nest I’d encourage you to read this post.

Refresh your heart with the Truth,

Dinner · Make-Ahead

Shepherd’s Pie Made Light

I have a beloved cookbook that houses the recipes of some of our nation’s best Bed and Breakfasts.  One such recipe is for Shepherd’s Pie.  If you’ve never had it, it’s basically a roast beef dinner served in a casserole dish.  The beef, gravy and vegetables are on the bottom and then it gets “iced” with mashed potatoes! 

My cookbook’s recipe  contains a very detailed list of ingredients, including roast beef to make this delectable dish.  I don’t often have a roast on hand to make it, so I’ve learned that there is a simpler, but still delicious way to make a Shepherd’s Pie. It uses ground beef instead of roast. That makes it so much faster, but still delicious! 

My favorite new substitute for the roast is ground turkey, making it lower in fat.  Don’t worry – you still get the gravy, the vegetables and the mashed potato topping!  I like using just carrots and celery with the meat. I don’t want it to taste like a beef stew, but you could certainly add other vegetables to it. This is a great weeknight dish with all the hearty flavors your family will love!

Another blessing of this recipe is that you can make the whole thing up to two days ahead of time and pop it into the oven to heat up for dinnertime!

Here’s the easy recipe:

Shepherd’s Pie

INGREDIENTS

Potatoes:

  • 1-1/2 lbs  potatoes, peeled, diced
  • 3/4 cup fat free chicken broth
  • 2 tbsp reduced fat sour cream
  • salt and pepper
  • paprika

Filling:

  • 1 lb ground turkey (of course you could use lean ground beef as well)
  • 1 tsp oil
  • 1 medium onion, diced
  • 1 celery stalk, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, diced
  • 2 large carrots, chopped
  • 2 tbsp flour
  • 1 cup fat free beef broth
  • 2 tsp tomato paste
  • 1 tsp Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 tsp freshly chopped rosemary leaves
  • 1 tsp freshly chopped thyme leaves
  • kosher salt and pepper

INSTRUCTIONS

  • Boil potatoes in a medium pot of salted water until cooked and soft.
  • Drain and mash with chicken broth, sour cream, 1/2 tsp salt and pepper, set aside.
  • Preheat oven to 400°F.
  • In a large saute pan brown meat over medium high heat, breaking the meat up with a wooden spoon as it cooks. Season with 1/2 tsp salt and pepper to taste.
  • When cooked, set aside on a plate.
  • Add the oil, onion, garlic, carrots and celery. (Add other vegetables of your choice) Sauté on medium heat about 6 to 8 minutes, until the vegetables are tender.
  • Add the flour, beef broth, tomato paste, Worcestershire sauce, rosemary, thyme, cooked meat and mix well. Simmer on low about 8-10 minutes.
  • Spread the meat on the bottom of casserole dish. Top with mashed potatoes and sprinkle with paprika
  • Bake 20 to 25 minutes, then place under the broiler 1 to 2 minutes until the potatoes turn golden.
  • Remove from oven and let it cool 5 minutes before serving

This would be a great dish to take to a new mom, someone recovering from illness or surgery, or a new family that’s moved into your neighborhood.  Add a salad (how about a copycat Olive Garden Salad?) and a biscuit (here’s my favorite recipe) and you’ll have a complete meal!

If you like make-ahead recipes, you might enjoy this one for Hot Chicken Salad!

With love from my country kitchen,