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He’s Still God in the Valley

Sorry for the late posting this morning. It was a migraine night and a dental cleaning this morning, then computer complications! Every day isn’t sunshine and roses, is it? What do we do with migraine nights or dentist mornings (not my favorite place in the world!)? We must go on believing the truth we know in the good times! What truth is that? This:

For the God on the mountain is still God in the valley.
When things go wrong, He’ll make it right.
And the God of the good times
is still God in the bad times.
The God of the day
is still God in the night.

Yesterday I was literally up on the mountain. My husband and I travelled to Mount Mitchell, the highest peak east of the Mississippi. It was so beautiful with the clear blue sky, fall colors, and snow! They had about 3-4 inches a few days before and it was all over the tree tops – as you see in my picture here. But today, it’s back to dealing with life, laundry and labor. I don’t have to be down and discouraged though, because as the song above reminds us, God is still God, in good times and bad.

Whatever life has dished out to you this morning, remind yourself that God is in the heavens, on His throne, sovereignly ruling and caring for you as much today as when you were up on the mountain!
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What’s Cookin’ in the Parsonage?

Yesterday our church celebrated its 53rd anniversary. God has been so abundantly good to Boones Creek Bible Church!

As part of the celebration we had a dinner following the morning service. We have a church full of good cooks and when there’s a dinner there is always plenty of good food!

I decided to make a potato dish, rolls, and a Chocolate Torte.

The potato dish is a great one to make for Sunday dinner because it has to be made the night before. I actually made it on Friday so it wouldn’t be a hectic Saturday.

Here’s the recipe:

Gourmet Potatoes
6 medium potatoes
2 C shredded cheddar cheese
1/4 C butter
1 1/2 C sour cream (I used light)
1/3 C chopped onion
1 t. salt
paprika

Peel the potatoes. Leave them whole. Cook in boiling water ’til tender. Cool.
Shred potatoes coarsely. In medium-sized saucepan, melt butter and cheese. Stir ’til melted. Remove from heat; blend in sour cream, onions and salt. Fold in potatoes and pour into a 2 qt. casserole dish.

Sprinkle with paprika on top. Refrigerate overnight. Bake @ 350 degrees for 30 minutes.

I tried a new roll recipe that only requires one rising. They’re not your typical fluffy rolls, but they are good and my family enjoyed them. They make lots (36 rolls), so we had some with supper Saturday night and I had plenty to take to church.

Simply-a-must Dinner Rolls from Taste of Home Magazine (you’ll find the recipe on the link)

You mix the dough and knead it …


then immediately after kneading you roll out the dough into three 12-inch circles and brush with melted butter. I use a pizza cutter to cut the dough in 12 pieces.

Roll from the long end and place on a baking sheet where they rise until ready to bake (30-45 minutes).

Bake for 10-12 minutes. I brushed the tops with butter when they were hot.


Dessert was a snap with this new recipe I found in my Pampered Chef Cookbook.
Chocolate Caramel Pecan Torte
1 package 9 oz devil’s food cake mix ( I used a regular sized cake mix and it made two layers. I froze one for a later use.)
25 caramel candies, unwrapped
2 Tablespoons milk
1/2 cup pecans
1 1/2 cups thawed frozen whipped topping
1/4 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
1 tsp. vegetable oil
Prepare the cake mix according to package directions; pour into a greased and floured springform pan. Bake at 375 degrees for 20-25 minutes or until wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool in pan 10 minutes. Loosen cake from rim of pan; cool completely.
In medium microwave-safe bowl, combine candies and milk. Microwave on high 1 1/2 – 2 minutes or until smooth, stirring every 30 seconds. Stir in pecans. Spread mixture evenly onto cake. Refrigerate 20 minutes or until caramel mixture is cooled.

Pipe whipped topping around edge of cake. In small microwave-safe bowl, combine chocolate chips and oil. Microwave on high 1 1/2 – 2 minutes or until smooth, stirring every 30 seconds.
Drizzle chocolate over cake.

Yield: 12-16 servings
This is a rich cake and little goes a long way, but it’s very good!
What did you have for Sunday dinner? I’d love to hear!

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A Day Out

Everyone needs a day to get away. Yesterday was our day. My husband and I were privileged to take a group of our seniors from our church to Shatley Springs where we headed for a late lunch. We left early enough to be able to meander, enjoying the beauty of the fall leaves, even on a rainy day.
Our first stop was at the Hampton General Store in Linville, NC. It’s so quaint with its creaky floors, old fashioned goods for sale, and beautiful setting.

The Blue Ridge Parkway was breathtakingly pretty in many spots. The Lord was so gracious to even allow the sun to pop out a few times. The rays enhanced the beauty of the leaves even more!

God’s handiwork was seen all day. Even the forest, though somewhat bare already, was a sight to behold!

En route to the restaurant the Lord let us discover a beautiful and huge Christian bookstore in Boone, NC. We got to wander through the shelves of music, paintings, books, cards, journals, their little coffee shop and much more for about thirty minutes. What a treat! They were playing beautiful piano music by Steve Sensenig. The music was a blessing and added to the sweet day we enjoyed.

We also got to shop for a bit at the Mast General Store in Boone. What fun that place is! Do you see a theme here? Shopping! =)

After all that meandering we finally made it to the restaurant (with an appetite – good thing!). It is a rustic place that serves the best Southern meal you can imagine! We enjoyed fried chicken, country ham, mashed potatoes and gravy, green beans, corn, slaw, cooked apples, biscuits and cobbler with ice cream! It was served family style. I didn’t try everything, had no seconds and ate only 1/3 of my dessert, and I was very full, but oh so happy! It was delicious.

Here’s part of our group before our meal…
waiting for our meal…

and getting ready to dive into our meal! Look at that chicken!

How I thank the Lord for our seniors. They make these trips a blessing because of their sweet attitudes. It rains? They don’t care! They just enjoy being out, honoring the Lord with our fellowship, and having fun together!



We usually always have cookies for our trip on the van. Yesterday we enjoyed chocolate chip cookies (thanks Reva). She makes the best. She’ll have to share her recipe with me so I can share it with you!

Thanks for letting me share the blessing of my trip with you. I pray you can get out and take a drive while the leaves are pretty…if they haven’t fallen already where you are.
The Lord is so gracious to allow us days like this and I praise Him.

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Great Tools

My blog has a new feature. Have you seen it? It’s the Search engine to the right of this posting. It’s a new gadget that Blogger has recently added and it can save all kinds of time! Perhaps you already know how to use it, but just in case, let me explain.

If you want to find the post I did on the pork chop casserole all you need to do is type the word “pork” and every post that has that word will pop up for you to see. When you find the post you were looking for, you just click on it and, Ta-da! You’re there! If you want to see if there’s an entry on a particular topic it will be much easier now! What a great tool this is on a blog!

I love good tools. The right cooking utensils can make a job so much easier. I’ll never forget when I got my Kitchenaid mixer! I couldn’t believe how much faster I was able to get something mixed up! A great pair of sewing sheers are a must in order to cut fabric without chewing it.

Another wonderful tool is an online commentary. Do you use one? The one I use nearly every day is this one. There are so many resources here. Once you choose the book of the Bible you’re studying, it will bring up a whole page full of options to choose from as your study help.

Remember though, that it is only a tool; it cannot replace the Bible, just as the search engine on this blog won’t replace the blog – it’s just a help. Read the passage in your Bible first, and ask the Holy Spirit to teach you. If you’re still stumped, or just want to do a little deeper digging after that, then use the commentary. This has been a great resource to me and I thought I’d share it with you, in case you hadn’t found it.

I wouldn’t want to go back to baking without my Kitchenaid mixer; it’s such a blessing! Is there a tool you couldn’t live without?

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Progress

I have recently acquired a “new to me” treadmill. It’s a super nice model with incline and speed programs designed to gradually take you from a snail’s pace to a jog or run while increasing the incline. I’m working on Program #1. It lasts less than thirty minutes but I’m more than ready for it to stop when the time is up! The part that gets me is the jogging. I’ve been walking for years now, but jogging is new to my exercise routine.

After I finished working out last night I talked with someone who runs – he’s run in a marathon! He runs 6-10 miles! I think I’m doing well to make the 1.5 miles jogging part of the way! But I think I know how he got that way – I think he was born into a family of runners. His parents must have run. It’s easy to understand how he can endure such long runs! Now, I’m from a family of walkers, so people shouldn’t expect that much of me!

My friend continued to talk about running and he tells me that he began running short distances – just to the corner, then the next day around to the next street. He kept increasing his running distances until he could run in the marathons. Oh, that’s how he accomplished that!

Do you know where I’m headed with this? =) Yep, the Christian race. So often people expect a pastor’s wife to be able to excel spiritually, after all, she’s married to the preacher! It’s easy for her! Some may look to a Sunday School teacher or deacon and assume that it’s easy for them to understand the Bible because they have a position in the church. But both of those assumptions are so untrue! Anyone who has accomplished any spiritual growth has done it the way my running friend has made it to ten miles – they start out small and keep adding and they don’t quit! They read Scripture, then they add journaling what God has taught them. Soon they’re looking verses up in a commentary and pouring over the Word. Their prayer life that began as bedtime prayers now is a precious time in the morning before the day starts. It soon increases to “praying without ceasing.”

When I’m standing on the treadmill I have a choice – to keep adding speed and distance, or quit. We each have the same choice in our spiritual life. We won’t grow without adding to our original faith virtue, to virtue knowledge. II Peter 1:5 It doesn’t happen because of who we are, but because of what we do (with the Lord’s help, of course!). How are you doing in growth and change? Keep at it and don’t quit!

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Planning Ahead for Christmas

Guess what? It’s 72 days until Christmas! Now, I’m not one to rush the holiday, but the planner in me is already starting to wonder what I can do ahead of time to make the holidays less stressful and less costly.

I used to have a tradition that on Halloween as I sat and waited on trick-or-treaters, I would begin to address my Christmas cards. I usually got a good jump-start and felt like I was preparing ahead in some small way.

My strategy for my cards is a little different this year. Over the weekend I had a little time to work on the computer, so I went to Smilebox by Hallmark and began making a Christmas card. I made a card that encompasses our family’s year in about 15 pictures. Everyone that I have e-mail addresses for are getting the Smilebox card in place of a paper card. It saves the cost of cards and stamps, and I’m sure people would enjoy this more than a card with just our signature on it! The recipients will be able to see in pictures what we did this year without having to read the boring details of our vacation, or our daughter’s wisdom tooth extraction!

Buying gifts ahead of time saves so much money! I begin looking for gifts in the summertime when the clearance sales are everywhere. I also love TJ Maax and Marshall’s because of their great prices. I pop in there frequently and comb the clearance aisles for treasures to tuck away into my gift stash. Last week I got the idea to wrap the gifts as I buy them, so that’s been started as well.

I saw that on Amazon some magazine subscriptions are selling for $10 for a year! I’m planning on picking out a couple for some of the people on my list. A favorite magazine is a gift that gives all year long!

Consumable gifts are always nice too. Spiced nuts made from a simple recipe and put into a decorative jar would be appreciated by the sports fan that could munch away on game night. Homemade cookies in a tin, pretzel rods dipped in chocolate and sprinkles and placed in a cellophane bag and tied with a ribbon, or hot chocolate mix in a jar topped with mini marshmallows would all be great gifts.

Begin now to buy a couple of baking items as you shop for your weekly groceries. If you buy all the nuts, chocolate chips, decorating sugars and dried fruit at one time, your grocery bill will shock you, but buying a couple of non-perishable items each week makes it manageable.

I don’t mean to overwhelm you with thoughts of Christmas in October – it’s bad enough when you walk into Cracker Barrel or a craft store, but just thought I’d encourage you to think ahead and save yourself a little stress and a lot of money!

Do you make a special homemade gift, have a great recipe or a creative idea you use to reduce the stress of the holidays? I’d LOVE to hear about it!

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What’s Cookin’ in the Parsonage? A Guest Blogger Shares

One thing I loved about having girls was teaching them to cook. We shared many hours together in the kitchen. I was determined that with the Lord’s help, I would prepare them to have a home of their own. I desired to see them be able to fix a complete meal, bake, and be able to be a blessing to others with meal preparation. Both of our daughters have turned out to be great cooks!

God has provided a lovely home for Whitney and it’s been a blessing to my heart to watch her open her home to others, whether it’s for a meal, or for a snack. She’s prepared food gifts for friends to say thanks, to help with a meal, or welcome them home from vacation.

Now she’s using her cooking skills on her boyfriend who, I’m sure, is really glad she’s a good cook! She recently made her famous muffins for him. She’s served them to us when we’ve visited, and we loved them, but I’ve never gotten the recipe, so I asked her to share it with all of us here and be my first official guest blogger! Here’s her post:

Happy Monday everyone! I know you all love reading my Momma’s blog as much as I do. I am super excited to get to be her first guest blogger! =) My Momma taught me that serving good meals is a way to express how much you care for the people in your life. Here are two of my favorite recipes that (even as a single person) have helped me do just that.

This chicken dish is one of my favorites from growing up. Mom made it for Sunday dinner – probably because you can make it ahead of time and put it in the oven before church (if your oven has a self-timer). I like it for weeknights because I can make it the night before and put it right in the oven when I get home from work. I usually serve it with white rice and green beans.

No Fuss Chicken

1 bottle (8 oz) Catalina Salad Dressing

1/3 C apricot preserves

1 envelope dry onion soup mix

8 boneless skinless chicken breasts (or cut up fryer)

In a bowl, combine dressing, preserves and soup mix. Place chicken in ungreased 11” x 7” x 2” baking pan; top with dressing mixture. Cover and bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes, baste. Bake 30 minutes longer or until chicken juices run clear.

These muffins never last long! The craisins absorb the liquid in the batter, so they are actually just as good the 2nd day as they are straight out of the oven. I’ve made them for people coming home from vacation, taken them to Nana’s for holiday breakfast, and served them to my boyfriend, who has declared them his absolute favorite muffin. =) I love this recipe because it’s so easy to keep all the ingredients on hand. Watch for the Krusteaz muffin mix to go on sale at Publix!

Cranberry Walnut Muffins

1 ½ C craisins

1 package cinnamon muffin mix (my favorite is Krusteaz)

1 egg

¾ cup milk or orange juice

½ C chopped walnuts or pecans

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Grease 14 muffin cups or line with paper liners. Empty muffin mix and half the brown sugar topping mix into medium bowl. Add egg and milk. Stir until moistened, about 50 strokes. Stir in craisins and walnuts. Spoon batter into muffin cups. Sprinkle with the other half of the topping mix.

Bake 18-22 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool for a few minutes, remove to cooling racks.

I want to thank Whitney for sharing her recipes. Try them both – I think you’ll love them!