Tuesday, April 30, 2013

The Fine Art of the Photo Bomb

     Anthony was caught when he photo-bombed cousin John and girlfriend at a recent family wedding.

Sunday, April 28, 2013

Berry Good Surprise!

     Love begins at home, and it is not how much we do... but how much love we put in that action.  ~Mother Teresa
     Martha would never approve!  This recipe isn't complicated or even really homemade.  It's just adding a little something to make the ordinary into a treat!

Berry Good Surprise:
Store bought chocolate covered donuts
Fresh or frozen fruit (defrosted)
Chocolate sauce
Your favorite whipped topping
How to:

Drizzle chocolate sauce across the serving plate.
Place donut.
Top with fruit and whipped topping.  Serve with love.   

Saturday, April 27, 2013

Less Miserable

     Pat and I were walking into the movie theatre a few months ago when I was tickled by a conversation behind us.
     A women’s voice was complaining, “Less Miserable.  Who would want to see a movie about being less miserable?”
     “Huh?”  was the response from her companion.
     “Really, that’s kind of a downer," she continued.  "No one wants to be less miserable, they want to be happy.”
     “Actually, I think the movie is Les Miserable.  It’s French.” the companion enlightened her.
     Pat and I did see Les Miserable a few weeks later.  Les Miserables is based on Victor Hugo’s 1862 novel set during the period of the French Revolution.  It is about a man named Jean Valjean who is imprisoned for 19 years for the crime of stealing a loaf of bread to feed his family.  He becomes known as Prisoner 24601.    Valjean is fleeing from a tenacious inspector when he finds shelter at the home of a Bishop.  The conversation between Valjean and the Bishop struck me.    
     "Monsieur le Cure," said the man, "you are good; you do not despise me.  You receive me into your house.  You light your candles for me. I have not concealed from you that I am an unfortunate man."
     The Bishop, who was sitting close to him, gently touched his hand. "You could not help telling me who you were. This is not my house; it is the house of Jesus Christ. This door does not demand of him who enters whether he has a name, but whether he has a grief. You suffer, you are hungry and thirsty; you are welcome. And do not thank me; do not say that I receive you in my house. No one is at home here, except the man who needs a refuge. I say to you, who are passing by, that you are much more at home here than I am myself. Everything here is yours. What need have I to know your name?  Besides, before you told me, you had one which I knew.
     The man opened his eyes in astonishment.  "Really? You know what I was called?"
     "Yes," replied the Bishop, "You are called my brother."  ~Les Miserables, Victor Hugo
      Can you hear the depth of a Father’s love?  "This door does not demand of him who enters whether he has a name, but whether he has a grief,"  and “You are called my brother.”
     Isn’t that the way God receives us?  We come to Him poor, in need, filthy with sin.  We are not turned away.  He accepts us as we are with the stench of our sin still on us.  Even before we confess our history of sin to Him we are welcomed.  We are brought to a banqueting table filled with the riches of His grace.  God brings out the fine silverware and the precious silver candlesticks.  He does not withhold anything.  Everything He has is ours.  We do not deserve the gifts that He lavishes upon us.  Even more astonishing, He sits beside us as friend and gently touches our pain.
       Let him lead me to the banquet hall,
  and let his banner over me be love.  ~Song of Songs 2:4
     What gift has He lavished on you?

So flattered to say that this post was featured by the fabulous Richella at Imparting Grace!

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

You know God's talking when...

     On Sunday I posted this lovely daffodil picture with the scripture from Romans on it.  There is also a story to go with it.  You can read it here.
     Pam from Thankful Expressions popped over for a visit and invited me back to her blog.  Here is what I found there.  I was as tickled as she was!  You know God is talking to you    when ....
     Pam is taking part in the Romans Project.  They are memorizing Romans 1, 8, and 12.  Pam is using photography to enhance scripture memorization.  What a fabulous idea!  Stop by Thankful Expressions and visit.

Sunday, April 21, 2013

Oh, Poop!

     From the archives:  October 2, 2005,
     On a beautiful Saturday morning eight years ago, Mr. Odell came to clean out our septic tank.  Now I know many of us have them, but most of us don't discuss them, particularly at church on a Sunday morning.  I did just that.  Here is what I shared.
     When the big septic tank truck roared up our driveway my youngest children, Anthony, age seven, and Connor age four, hurried out to see what was happening.  The truck with its huge hoses was far more interesting than any Saturday morning cartoon.  Even better, the man driving the truck had a shovel and was looking for a good spot to dig.  The boys were excited.  They were under the mistaken impression that a treasure was going to be found right in our front yard!
     Mr. Odell has known Pat and I for years and so we chatted while he was digging.  Connor was yanking on me, climbing me and being his usual charming self.  Anthony however, was full of questions.  "What are you doing?  Why are you digging?  What will you find?"
     Mr. Odell patiently explained that the truck was a "poopy truck."  He continued digging and explained the general process of toilets, pipes, and septic tanks.  Anthony's eyes got bigger and bigger with disbelief.  He thought Mr. Odell was telling him a funny story with some bathroom humor.  Mom certainly didn't tell stories as good as this.  He moved closer.  Mr. Odell was clearing the dirt away from a round door hatch with a small handle.  Anthony was thrilled, clearly Mr. Odell had found something.  Mr. Odell lifted the hatch and tossed it aside.  I took a firm hold of Connor so he wouldn't go for a swim.
     Anthony crept even closer for a look.  Sure enough there was something down there.  Anthony peeked in the tank, gasped, and jumped back.  He was overcome and appalled.  He was looking at two years and a family of eight worth of yuck.  Anthony peered up, his brown eyes huge, and solemnly said, "Mommy, I will NEVER poop again!"
     Mr. Odell and I laughed as Anthony, full of impossible good intentions, ran into the house and closed the door.
     This reminded me of a passage in Romans written by Paul.
     I do not understand what I do.  For what I want to do I do not do, but what I hate I do.  And if I do what I do not want to do, I agree that the law is good.  As it is, it is no longer I myself who do it, but it is the sin living in me.  I know that nothing good lives in me, for I have the desire to do what is good, but I cannot carry it out.  For what I do is not the good I want to do; no, the evil I do not want to do, this I keep on doing.  Now if I do what I do not want to do, it is no longer I who do it, but is sin living in me that does it.
     So I find this law at work: When I want to do good, evil is right there with me.  For in my inner being I delight in God's law; but I see another law at work in the members of my body, waging war against the law of my mind and making me a prisoner of the law of sin at work within my members.  What a wretched man I am!  Who will rescue me from this body of death?  ~Romans 7:15-25
     We all know what it is like to have good intentions, to set our minds and hearts on accomplishing some task.  We make great plans; to eat a healthier diet, to start an exercise program, get up when the alarm rings, get to places on time, to somehow be good enough.
     In our minds, we say, "This time I'm really going to get it together."    But then we eat the donuts, the exercise bike sits alone in a corner, we hit the snooze button, and we are running late everywhere we go.  Some of us feel that we should clean ourselves up before we come to God or even deepen our relationship with Him.  Like Paul and Anthony, we want to do good, but we don't.
     Fortunately, it is not what we do that saves us.  It is what Jesus has already done.  Jesus has done all that needs to be done for our forgiveness.  He has paid the price for our sins.  Nothing we will ever do will add to our salvation.
     Who will rescue me from this body of death?
     Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus, because through Christ Jesus the law of the Spirit of life set me free from the law of sin and death.  ~Romans 8:1-2

Wednesday, April 17, 2013


     Our thoughts and prayers are with the city of Boston, the people injured, the families of those who lost a loved one, and all the first responders on the scene.

Monday, April 15, 2013

Savory Thyme Scones

     Patty made these delicious scones for our dinner.  Everyone loved them.  They were the perfect bread accompaniment.

Savory Thyme Scones:
3 cups of flour
1/2 cup sugar
2 tablespoons of baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
3 tablespoons thyme
2 cups of heavy cream
How to:
     Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
     Combine dry ingredients in a medium mixing bowl.  Shape a well in the center of the dry mixture and pour in the heavy cream.  Stir with a fork.
      Roll out onto counter into one inch thickness.  Cut into triangles.  Place scones on parchment paper dusted with flour on a cookie sheet.  Bake for twenty minutes at 350 degrees.  Remove when golden brown and they sound slightly hollow, if you tap them.  Serve warm.

Sunday, April 14, 2013

Wrong Way

      Whether you turn to the right or to the left, your ears will hear a voice behind you, saying, "This is the way; walk in it.  ~Isaiah 30:21
     Last Sunday morning, after taking pictures of bald eagles, the five of us joined my husband’s youngest sister and her family for breakfast.  We had to walk about a quarter of a mile along narrow back roads to a family restaurant.  There was a surprising amount of traffic on the road.  When I saw the crowd walking toward this sign, I knew I had a photo opportunity.
    Has you life had some “Wrong Way” in it.  Have you been a bit lost or in the wrong place?  Maybe things are flying at you too fast and you are unsure of your journey and even your destination.
     We can change our wrong way direction and give the control of our life to the God who allows U-turns.
     For I know the plans I have for you," declares the LORD, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.  ~Jeremiah 29:11
     Our Savior wants to lead us to our destination.  To the place where we will never be lost.   To a place of perfect peace and love.  A place that was prepared just for us.
     "Do not let your hearts be troubled. Trust in God; trust also in me. In my Father's house are many rooms; if it were not so, I would have told you. I am going there to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am. You know the way to the place where I am going." Thomas said to him, "Lord, we don’t know where you are going, so how can we know the way?" Jesus answered, "I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.   ~John 14:1-6
     Jesus told us that there is a narrow gate.  Sooner or later all of us will pass through it.  This may come unexpectedly through accident or perhaps we will know and be given some time to prepare.  Take comfort that the narrow gate will be wide enough for two, You and your Savior.  The One who has led you all through life will not desert you then, and where He is, there you will be also.
     If you find yourself walking the wrong way take time to speak to God and let Him set you back on the right path.

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

On Eagles Wings

A bald eagle soaring.
Always trust an unknown future to a known God.  ~ Corrie Ten Boom
     Have you ever felt like you were at the end of your rope?  You are not having a bad day, you're having a bad season.
     Your dreams have been put on hold.
     Your hands are tied.
     Your vision diminished.
     You are exhausted.
     You are the one who is sick and in need.
     The situation, not only seems to be getting worse, but there doesn't seem to be any hope of it ever getting better.  Can you relate?
     I was reading over a favorite portion of scripture, one I've read many times, when I noticed something I had never seen before.
     Lift up your eyes and look to the heavens:  Who created all these?  He who brings out the starry host one by one, and calls them each by name.  Because of His great power and mighty strength, not one of them is missing.  Why do you say, O Jacob, and complain, O Israel, "My way is hidden from the Lord, my cause is disregarded by my God." 
     What the children of Israel were saying was, "Isaiah, God just doesn't get it.  He doesn't understand my situation.  God isn't paying attention to my problem.  In fact, He didn't even notice."
     Here is how Isaiah responds:
     Do you not know?  Have you not heard, The Lord is the everlasting God, the creator of the ends of the earth.  He will not grow tired or weary, and His understanding no one can fathom.  He gives strength to the weary and increases the power of the weak.  Even youths grow tired and weary, and young men stumble and fall;  But those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength.  They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not faint. ~ Isaiah 40:27-31
      My youngest son and I saw bald eagles in the wild this past weekend.  You can read about it here.
   Our circumstances are no surprise to God.  Our God is God.   He fully understands and comprehends our situation.  He meets us in our situation.
     A friend once said, "Cheer up!  Someday you are going to die!"  He knew that our God specializes in resurrections.  He is our Creator.  He can bring new life to dead situations and dead relationships.  He can cause new love to blossom and healing to take place.
     Ah Lord God!  Behold, You have made the heavens and the earth by your great power and out stretched arm, there is nothing too hard for thee.  ~ Jeremiah 32:17

Monday, April 8, 2013

Bald Eagles

A bald eagle
     Our family went to a wedding in Pennsylvania this weekend.  When we checked into the hotel, the hostess mentioned that there were a pair of bald eagles nesting by the lake on the property.  So at seven o'clock in the morning, Connor and I hurried down to the lake with my camera.  Connor reminded me that I should have brought a pair of binoculars for eagle watching.  He also told me that I needed coffee to fuel my brain first thing in the morning, but let's talk about the eagles.
Yup!  It really is a bald eagle!
     The eagle was roosting pretty far away on a dead tree at the edge of the lake.  This was as close as I could get and even with my long lens, it's not a great shot.  Still, we were able to see a bald eagle in the wild.  Connor and I were pretty excited.
     A bald eagle has a wingspan of about 6 to 7 1/2 feet.  This eagle was impressively large.  Connor was thrilled when we heard it call, "kleek kik ik ik ik."
The bowl shaped shadow in the tree is their nest!
     Bald Eagles were moved off of the endangered list in 1995.  They are now on the threatened list.  Have you ever seen a bald eagle outside of a zoo?

Monday, April 1, 2013

Strawberry Lemon Spring Cupcakes

     When I saw these adorable Spring Cupcakes made by Jenny @ The NY Melrose Family, I knew that they would be perfect for our church's Easter Breakfast.  Not only are they cute, they also taste delicious.  The strawberry frosting is light and fluffy.  The cupcake is lemon.  The Peeps added the cuteness factor!  They were a big hit.
     The frosting can be made in many flavors and takes only a few minutes to make with ingredients you already have in the house.  You can find the recipe here.  Like Jenny, we went semi-homemade.
     My daughter, Patty, is making chocolate cupcakes to take to school tomorrow.  She is going to use up the rest of the strawberry frosting on them.  I'm sure her friends will be happy!
     So cute and fun.
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