refreshing others · Time management

A Time to Serve

You just looked at your “to do list” and it’s a mile long.  You’re late for where you’re headed, you haven’t eaten breakfast, the laundry’s piled up waiting to be folded, and then you get a phone call and learn of a friend in need. You also remember the requests that were mentioned in church of hurting people and want to help, but where is there time to be able to minister to others in the busyness of every day life?

Solomon reminds us that there is  time for everything…

To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven: Ecc. 3:1

Perhaps we need to be a little creative so we might make the opportunity to be able to serve others.

One solution would be to find a day or even just part of a day each week that is a little slower than the rest.  There has to be at least one – even if it’s on Sunday afternoon.  Make that your “ministry day.” It’s not that you can’t minister to people on other days if needed, but make that your time where you really focus on writing cards, making calls or even making a visit.  Through the week, keep a list of people that need ministering to, then on that day put your thoughts into action.


You might even use that day to bake some things to put in the freezer for upcoming opportunities to minister.  Prepare an extra casserole, batch of cookies or bread so you’ll be prepared to serve others.  This will cost you some time, as well as expense, but

Ministry that costs nothing accomplishes nothing. – J.H. Jowett


Stop just wishing you could do something for others and starting planning a day to put your hands busy doing what’s in your heart.

Bear ye one another’s burdens, and so fulfil the law of Christ. Galatians 6:2

denise a

organization · Priorities · Refreshment · Time management

Planning Can Bring Rest

All those pretty planners that were sold in the month of December or January were so inviting.  There were stickers and binders as well as pretty pens to mark up the dates.  Did you purchase one?  Maybe you got one from Target or ordered a special Erin Condren version.  At any rate, how’s it going?  Is it still in use?  I think it’s easy to get started in those kinds of organizational tools and then let it slip off into the Ocean of Good Intentions.

Sometimes our feelings of being overwhelmed are due to over-scheduling ourselves.  Over-scheduling can come from lack of planning, and a lack of planning comes from getting a bit careless.  This is true of my own life.  I’ll tuck my planner in the cabinet, then start the week off and realize I’m going in circles, and not really sure what needs to be done that day/week.  The reason?  I didn’t write it down!  Why?  I was just too lazy to sit down and do it.


If you feel overwhelmed and don’t have a planner, can I encourage you to try some sort of daily list?  It can be written in a simple notebook.  It doesn’t have to be anything fancy to get you organized.  Here’s my strategy:

  1. At the beginning of the week, I fill in all the appointments and daily routines I know I need to do.
  2. Each day I add the other things that I’d like to accomplish, such as blog posts, cleaning, service to others, etc.
  3. As I accomplish each task, I check it off.  This lets me realize at the end of the day, that even if some things were left undone, I did  get some things completed!

If other things come in and keep you from doing what you’d planned, accept it as the Lord’s intervention and go with it!  If you give each day to Him, your time is not your own and He will allow you to do what is necessary.

If you find you’re not getting things done and there was no “Divine Intervention,” make sure to look over your day and see where you’re wastitng time.  You might want to

  • Limit social media until after noon or after those tasks are completed.
  • Get up earlier, if possible.
  • Try to work on a time schedule – write out the time in the day when you think you should be on that next task.

Proverbs 28:19a He that tilleth his land shall have plenty of bread

Hard work pays off.  If we forget to “till the land” (prepare for a future time) we will feel overwhelmed with everything that is left undone.  A little tilling now will allow you to reap more than just bread!  You’ll reap the blessing of a rested heart.

Do you use a planner each day or do you need to start one?



baking · Easter · Entertainment · Make-Ahead · Time management · Uncategorized

Organizing Plans for a Special Dinner- Like Easter!

Cake a

This Sunday is Easter – my favorite holiday!   I’m excited about attending our church services, worshiping the Lord with a thankful heart, hearing God’s Word preached, and then having guests in our home for a special Easter dinner.  What a great day to look forward to!

Because the meal is quite involved, I knew I needed to really get my plans organized.  I even started my preparations last weekend.  I thought I’d share my plans with you about how I am working to get everything ready as much ahead of time so I won’t be  Continue reading “Organizing Plans for a Special Dinner- Like Easter!”


Summer Plans and An Exciting Goal

strawberries a

Happy June everyone!!  I’ve sure loved our spring and I look forward to the summer ahead!  Our tomatoes are planted, my flower boxes are full, the fire pit is primed for marshmallows, the grill is ready for delicious entrees’, pizzas, breads and treats, and the patio is fully decked and ready for guests, afternoon naps and dining alfresco.

My calendar is also filling up with some planned events that I’m excited about – visiting family, shopping excursions, day trips, Bible studies, prayer with friends, home improvements and ICE CREAM are just a sampling of the goals on my list.

Another item that I’m planning is time to work on a project that has been on my “To-Do” list for a very long time.  Some projects take an afternoon, others a week, and yet others months (maybe years!).  This adventure will be taking good chunks of time each day and I’m asking the Lord to help me be intentional to accomplish a long-time desire and get this accomplished.  What am I desiring to do?  I’m longing to do some writing.  But in order to accomplish that, I have to say “no” to some other responsibilities or even interruptions.

My blog is a true love of mine, but it takes lots of time each day.  I’m always thinking about my next post and what I want to share.  Then I write, edit, post photos, edit the photos, edit some more, and then schedule the entry.  I’m not leaving my blog for the summer, I just couldn’t do that after NINE YEARS and  2,195 posts!!     Instead, I’m planning on writing new material every Monday and Friday.  So you’ll still be getting new recipes and ideas for your kitchen on Monday.  Then on Friday I”ll probably post about a sundry different topics.  Tuesday through Thursday will be re-posts from my blog from over the nine years.  I’m sure no one has read every single post, and even I forget what I’ve written!!   So hopefully even though it’s not new material, it will still benefit you to reread it.

My goal is to have a theme for each week ~

  1. Sensational Summer – Ideas for fun with your kids, meals, and dates
  2. Parenting – The joys the struggles, the helps for tough times
  3. Conflict 
  4. Home Comforts
  5. Helpful Tips for Home
  6. Frugal Living
  7. Godly Friends – Being one and and having one.
  8. Knowing and Doing God’s Will
  9. Effective Evangelism

Now, let me ask you, are there other topics you’d like to see covered this summer?  Leave me a comment here and I’ll definitely do what I can to add that to the list! 

I’m excited about what the Lord will do this summer!  How about you?  What plans do you have?  Do you have any ambitious goals you’re seeking to accomplish?  I pray you will do whatever is necessary to make the most of your time for God’s glory!


Denise Signature 150 px

Dinner · dinner in 30 minutes · Make-Ahead · Sunday Dinner

(L)Oven Monday – Three Steps to a Successful Sunday Dinner

Sunday dinner table 1.jpg

Happy Monday, friends, and welcome to the beginning of the posts to help get you ready to prepare a  Sunday dinner that provides for the needs of your guests, is delicious, and ready in a hurry! Thank you to so many of you who shared your Sunday dinner struggles with me!  I’m going to try to help you solve those difficulties as we touch on this subject for the next several Monday’s.

Today I want to lay out the three steps that are crucial for your Sunday meal to be a success.  What constitutes success? I believe it’s the three things listed in the previous paragraph – a meal that

meets needs,

is delicious,

and on the table quickly.

But that doesn’t happen all by itself, of course! I need to start by saying, anything that is worth doing, is going to take effort and it’s going to take being intentional.  There is work involved, but it’s so worth the efforts!  Here are the three crucial things you need to consider so that your Sunday dinner will be a success:

  1. Ponder the needs – That simply means that you must consider what the needs of the day are, your budget and what your guests will need.
    1. Is there a time constraint?
    2. Do you only have xxx amount of dollars to feed a crowd?
    3. Is there a dietary need – ie. Gluten-free?

      Consider whatever needs are necessary – A baby that will need to be fed, a child will need a nap very soon, someone with low-blood sugar will be shaky at this point, etc.  Then, considering those needs, you move to #2.

  2. Plan the menu – Considering your needs, you can now pull out this blog’s Recipe page, your Pinterest boards, your cookbooks – whatever will help you find a menu to meet those needs.
    Determine how extensive you want the menu for Sunday to be.  If you’re not into the routine of fixing a fresh meal for Sunday, I’d encourage you to start with a simple menu – a Taco Soup in the crock pot, some tortilla chips, and a dessert like the pie linked here, or go with something super easy like a purchased Angel food cake and fresh strawberries.  Don’t overwhelm yourself.  Take baby steps. 
    My recipe page has a list of 30-Minute meals, but if you wait until you get home from church to even prep those things, you are going to be frustrated, so stay tuned for #3.

3. Prepare ahead – I can’t tell you how important this step is!  As early in the week as possible, start preparing.  The earlier you start, the less stressful it will be!  Consider doing these things ahead of time:

  1. Prepare the table.  Set the table – The family will know that something good is on the way!  Even if you can only do it after breakfast on Sunday, do it before you leave for church.  If everyone can eat breakfast at the kitchen island, set the table on Saturday night.
  2. Prepare Foods.  Make ahead anything that can be made ahead of time!
    1. Salad – I love frozen salads for this purpose, also green salads without the dressing can be made the day before.
    2. Dessert – If you were serving Angel Food cake and berries, make the sure the berries are washed, sliced and ready ( or thawed from their frozen state) on Saturday night.
    3.  Vegetables – Peeling potatoes and putting them in water overnight will make them ready for the crock pot.  If you’ll need onions, get them sliced and put into a ziplock bag.
    4. Dishes and pans – On Saturday night, set out the crock pot you’ll need, or the pan for the roast chicken.  Have them out on the counter and ready.
  3. Prepare an hors d’oevre – Make something ahead of time that everyone can snack (lightly) on as soon as you get home.  This is especially wise if you have little children that are fussy and need something to eat right away!  Make life easier for you and them and make something they can munch on while you get dinner on the table.  It could be something as simple as crackers and peanut butter, celery and peanut butter, apple slices, tortilla chips and salsa.  Set out little plates and limit the little ones, so they’ll be ready to eat dinner, of course, but this will make them much happier while they wait.

So, there you have it – Ponder the needs, Plan the menu and Prepare ahead.  These three steps will get you on your way to Sunday dinner success!

Can I give you a challenge for next Sunday?  Do one thing ahead of time – perhaps set the table, or prepare an hors d’oevre, or get the vegetables prepped on Saturday, and see how much smoother Sunday dinner is next week!

Next Monday we’ll talk about some specific meals that are doable for prepping ahead and eating very soon after getting home!  This will include Crock Pot entree’s and sides!  Be sure to come back so you don’t miss any tips!

Which of these three steps of success is the most difficult for you?

With love from my country kitchen,

Denise Signature 150 px


How I Spend My Time Each Day


As I was typing the title – “How I spend My Time Each Day” the word spend struck me. Time is like money – it’s given to us to use wisely. It’s our choice to “spend” it on bubble gum or sirloin.

When my girls were in home school, I’d dream about the day when I’d be able to run to Target and the grocery store alone and without the worry of what I needed to help them with, or what school responsibilities were waiting for me when I returned. I loved being with them, but we spent lots of time together and it was fun to have an hour or so by myself. Now that I’m actually in that place in my life, it seems there’s more to do than ever! I find now that more than ever, it’s really important that I organize my week so I can maximize my time and not waste it on trivial things that don’t matter. This is truly an issue I give to the Lord over and over again.

One important step to spending time time wisely is writing out a plan of what I need to accomplish in my daily planner. That usually happens either the night before or first thing in the morning. I also have my menu written out so I know if the meat needs to be thawed, or something put in the crock pot for supper. I can look ahead and see if I need to get a jump start on something that’s coming up later in the week.


So here’s what a typical day looks like (and remember that interruptions that change what we planned are also of the Lord):

  • Rise between 6:00 – 6:30. Some days the Lord wakes me earlier and I try to get up when He does. I believe that’s His prompting that I need those early morning hours with Him. Just this week as I read Mark 1, I was reminded that the Lord got up long before it was day just to spend time with His Father. I believe it was in those prayer times that the Lord Jesus got His direction for the day (v. 35). How else would He have known which town to go to, or who needed Him the most? I must follow His example, if I’m to know how to spend my time each day!
  • Wash face, brush teeth, the FEED THE KITTY!
  • Head to the laundry room to feed Liza. Pick up the laundry load  get it in the washer..
  • Quiet Time. Bible reading, journaling, Bible memory work and prayer time. (This is usually and hour and half or two hours. It’s such a luxury to have this amount of time – I remember the days when I’d be in prayer and I’d have many knocks on my bedroom door. =) That was fine, but it’s a blessing that my only disturbance now is a kitty wanting attention or my husband bringing me coffee!)
  • Walk around 8:00. – I walk close to 3 miles
  • Breakfast
  • Shower, get dressed for the day. While doing that I’m tossing the clothes in the dryer, then folding them after I’m dressed.
  • Clean bathroom.
  • General housecleaning – Each day it’s different tasks, but could include – dusting, wiping down appliances, mopping floor, cleaning glass doors, wiping out oven and fridge, grocery shopping,etc.
  • Lunch
  • Write blog post before supper
  • Work ahead on things coming up – Bible club, speaking engagements, Bible studies, etc.
  • Prepare supper
  • Ministry/ time with my husband in evening

I’ll Quickly show you what each day of the week may hold:

Monday – Rest. After a busy week, I try to sleep in a little and catch up on time with my husband.

Tuesday – Normal routine. Work ahead on projects, if possible.

Wednesday – I found that Wednesday is a good day to devote to “others.” Since Wednesday night night we’re planning on being at church, I just make that the day I think about others all day! If someone needs a card, a call a visit, or a meal made, I try to do that on Wednesday – my Others Day.

Thursday – Aside from my normal routines, this is the afternoon I have Bible club with the neighbor children, so I need to get things out and ready for our 4:00 time together

Friday – I try to work ahead for my blog on Friday. I like to keep Sunday media-free, so I do Monday’s post either on Friday or Saturday.

Saturday – Prepare for Sunday. This may include preparing for having company for dinner. I set the tables, prepare the food and also make sure I’m ready with clothes ironed for the morning.

Sunday – This is the Lord’s day. The only work I do is the meal. I nap after dinner and look forward to being back in church Sunday night!

Extra tips:  

  1. I keep books I’m reading in a couple places in the house, so when I have a few minutes I can read, rather than waste time on my phone or computer.
  2. I keep my memory verse cards at my fingertips so I can take them with me in the car or around the house and review as I’m driving or working on a project at home.
  3. I try to challenge myself to do little 5 minute projects like clean out a drawer, iron linens, or sweep while I’m on the phone, waiting for the coffee to perk, or waiting to head out the door to an appointment.

I confessed a minute ago that I wrestle with wasting time – mostly with with my phone, and it’s something I give to the Lord, but I seldom ever watch television, unless I’m doing something else while watching. I see the benefits of spending my on sirloin, rather than bubble gum!

vs.    Related image

What do you choose?

Do you wrestle with spending your time wisely? What changes need to be made in your routine? The Lord will help you!