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Sunday, April 28, 2013

I Have Set the Lord – A Poem by Annie Johnson Flint

I Have Set the Lord

Psalm 16:8 I have set the LORD always before me: because he is at my right hand, I shall not be moved.

I set Thy love between the world and me,
O Lord, its cruelty, its wrong, its scorn;
They cannot reach me through Thy tenderness
That once for me their worst has known and borne.

I set Thy cross between my sins and me,
That so their shadow darken not my days,
Nor rob my nights of rest.  Thy blood blots out
The long indictment from my shrinking gaze.

I set Thy prayers between my doubts and me,
That so my faith shall fail not, but abide,
Though tried and tested sore; that shield shall serve
All fiery darts to quench or turn aside.

I set Thy strength between my foes and me,
And walk, so guarded, panoplied and girt,
Through dangers seen and unseen, unafraid;
Through flames unscorched and raging waves unhurt.

I set Thy thoughts between my thoughts and me,
The calm, pure visions of Thy holy mind,
Till nothing that disturbs me or defiles,
Into my heart or soul can entrance find.

I set Thy self between my self and me,
And losing mine, Thy life abundant gain;
Take Thy sufficiency for my deep need,
And to Thy perfect stature so attain.

Annie Johnson Filnt

Ephesians 4:13 Till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ:

Saturday, April 27, 2013

Sew Happy Saturday – Vintage Handwork Recycled Into An Apron


Here is a cute little apron that a friend of mine has hanging in her kitchen.

This apron was made using a vintage embroidered dresser scarf/table runner that had been spoiled by at least one stain.  The lady who made this cut the dresser scarf up, pieced it together avoiding or covering the stains, added a few embellishments (crocheted butterflies – which might be covering spots), and added ties.  Isn’t it a cute way to use up an old marred piece?  Really the embroidery on it is too beautiful to throw away, so this was a great way to recycle it.  My friend thought it too pretty to wear, so she made this sweet arrangement including a vintage crocheted potholder, a wooden spoon, and an old family recipe for biscuits. :-)

Do you have a piece of vintage embroidery or handwork that has been marred with a stain?  Maybe you could figure out a way to transform it into something “new”.  It’s a great way to shop your own stuff.  I have an old pillowcase with some lovely embroidery along the edge that I’d like to recycle into another project – a sofa cushion cover, worked into a quilt or garment…something.  If I get it done I’ll try to remember to post about it. :-)

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

A Hard Week – Boston and Other Things


The last week or so has been a hard week what with the Boston Marathon bombing and the Texas fertilizer plant explosion, followed by the manhunt - again in Boston - and then the flooding in the Midwest.  Some readers may wonder why I haven’t mentioned anything here.

For one thing, my posts were all scheduled a couple of weeks in advance since we have had company.  But, the main reason is that I expressed my thoughts on some of these situations at the time of the Sandy Hook shooting in Connecticut.  Rather than repeat myself, I will just give a link to that article and let you reapply it as it may fit.

Hard Questions:  What Is the "Right" Response to this Tragedy?

Kitchen Happening – Check Before Using, You’re In Texas Now


In my rural Texas kitchen it is pretty important to check the insides of pans and mugs before using them.  Here’s why:

This second scorpion was still alive!  He wasn’t very lively, but possibly enough to sting. 

As you might guess, it’s a bit shocking to find these critters in my kitchen cupboards!  I don’t know why, but something about scorpions really freaks me out.  We have had a little less of this since the chickens are free ranging more right up around our house.  But, as long as there are bugs to eat they are still around, so look before you use and don’t grab mugs with your thumb inside!

Oh, and watch for small piles of dead bugs where there is no obvious spider web.  In such cases it is likely you’ll find a scorpion lurking about.

Sunday, April 21, 2013

What Do We Really Sing?


These altered titles of hymns and spiritual songs are a commentary on what some people seem to be really singing.  What about you?  Is there something here that applies – either specifically or in the spirit of the thing?  Some of them are humorous, but probably most of us should stop and think about what we do “sing” about in our daily conversations, motives and thought life.

1 Corinthians 11:31  For if we would judge ourselves, we should not be judged.


* Spirit of the Living God, Fall Somewhere Near Me

* My Faith Looks Around for Thee

* I'm Fairly Certain that My Redeemer Liveth

* A Comfy Sofa Is Our God

* When We All Get To Burger King

* My Sins Are Blotted Out I Hope

* We're Marching To Epcot

* Sitting In the Premises

* I Surrender Some

* There Shall Be Sprinkles of Blessings

* Fill My Spoon, Lord

* Oh, How I Like Jesus

* Heaven Came Down and Swindol Filled My Soul

* He's Quite a Bit to Me

* Soldiers of Christ Recline

* I Love to Talk About Telling the Story

* Take My Life and Let Me Be

* It is My Secret What God Can Do

* All Hail the Power of Calvin's Name

* Where He Leads Me, I Might Follow

* Haven of Romance

* Pillow of Ages, Fluffed for Me

* When Peace Like a Trickle

* Is It the Dividend Day?

* Blest Be the Tie that Doesn't Cramp My Style

* I Need Thee Once A Year

* Send the Funds

* The Road Leads to Mc Donald's

* Something for Me

* I Am Bound for the Real Estate Office

* Jesus Loves Me This I Kind of Know

* Lead On, Oh C.H. Spurgeon

* Tell Me the Stories of Hunting

* Why Worry When You Can Charge It?

* I Believe the Answer's Gone Away

* I Am Still On the Throne

* Great Is My Faithlessness

* Dare To Be A Good Ol' Boy

* I Wonder Have I Done My Best for BJU?

* I Stand Amazed In the Presence of Trinity Broadcasting Network

* True Hearted, Half Hearted

* Go Ye Into All the Pews and Read the Hymnals

* I Am Resolved A Little Longer To Linger

* Ye Might Not Be Born Again

* Turn Your Eyes Upon Television

* God Might Take Care of You

* O Could I Speak the Matchless Self

* My Work Alone, Oh Savior

* No One Understands Like Rick Warren

* Jesus Paid It Mostly

* I'd Rather Have Blue Jeans and Silver and Gold

* Nearer My Broker To Thee

* Something Between

* My Sirloin First of All

* Every Day With Barley Green Is Sweeter Than the Day Before          

* Do You Know My Boyfriend?

* Elvis Is the Sweetest Name I Know

* Oh Sacred Pride Now Wounded

* Always Take Time to Shave

* I Need Chocolate

* Ring the Bells of Quitting Time

* I've Reached the Land of Joy Online

Saturday, April 20, 2013

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

MSG-free Seasoning Mixes – Taco, Onion Soup and Ranch


Check out these great seasoning mixes.  They came from a Facebook page called Southern Gal’s Tips & Tricks.  There are quite a few interesting recipes there.  These that I’m passing on are really great for those of us with MSG intolerance, since these particular mixes are hard to find without it.

Taco Seasoning:
1/2 cup chili powder
1/4 cup onion powder
1/8 cup ground cumin
1 tablespoon garlic powder
1 tablespoon paprika
1 tablespoon sea salt
Put ingredients into a jar and shake.

[My note: Chili powder does sometimes refer to a blend of red pepper powder and other spices – often including MSG.  For this recipe I’d suggest just using straight red pepper powder.  Choose yours based on the heat level that you want.]

Dry Onion Soup Mix:
2/3 cup dried, minced onion
3 teaspoons parsley flakes
2 teaspoons onion powder
2 teaspoons turmeric
1 teaspoon celery salt
1 teaspoon sea salt
1 teaspoon sugar
1/2 teaspoon ground pepper
Mix all ingredients in a jar, then give the jar a good shake. I’d recommend shaking the jar to mix the ingredients well before each use.
Use 4 tablespoons in a recipe in place of 1 packet of onion soup mix. Store this in a dry, cool place.

[My note: If you have access to an Indian store, you might want to try using dry fried onions in this to give it more of a French onion taste.  I don’t know exactly what they call them, but they are pre-cooked and browned.]

5 tablespoons dried minced onions
7 teaspoons parsley flakes
4 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon garlic powder
Mix together and store in an air tight container.
For dressing: Mix 2 tablespoons dry mix with 1 cup mayonnaise and 1 cup buttermilk or sour cream.
For dip: Mix 2 tablespoons dry mix with 2 cups sour cream.
Mix up a few hours before serving, so the flavors all blend.

Sunday, April 14, 2013

Thoughts from the Past – A God Who Forgives


Sept. 24, 2006 [Edited]
A God Who Forgives

Psalm 130:3 If thou, LORD, shouldest mark iniquities, O Lord, who shall stand? 4 But there is forgiveness with thee, that thou mayest be feared.

Did you ever stop to think that a "god" who cannot forgive is worthless?

Think of the gods of the heathen - the ancient Greek gods, the Hindu gods, the gods of old Europe and much of Asia Minor, the gods of the pagans and neo-pagans. According to their mythology, most of them are worse sinners than those who worship them. So, why would they care about the sins of mankind? They wouldn't, except in an arbitrary, unjust way.

But, if some human was worried about their sin, these gods also have no permanent remedy and they cannot forgive them. If there is some pretense of forgiveness in their god-lore it is no comfort for, after all, the gods and goddesses are sinners themselves. When the gods cannot forgive sin there is either no reason to fear punishment or there is no way to escape it.  Unless they were salted by the Gospel, their cultures were and are usually full of immoral customs and low-level crime, at best. In the worst cases there is so little call for "morality" that many are totally amoral unless they live in an environment where it's required to achieve financial gain - good for business or government aid.

Then think of the gods of Islam and Buddhism, Hinduism, the New Age and others. While there may be some call for certain types of behavior in order to appease the gods or get to their "heaven", these gods basically don't care that much about sin. Just "do the best you can". "God" is impersonal and far away. He/she doesn't notice sin much as long as they are faithful to a few basic tenants of the faith, or as long as they give the required "offerings".

But then, if someone does want forgiveness, there is no answer. Ceaseless works and self-privations may give a puny hope that the sin may be forgiven, but if they really thought they were forgiven they wouldn't have to keep on and on with the sometimes torturous practices.

Even in the so-called "christian" sphere we find "Gods" who are not able or are hindered to forgive.

The Roman Catholic God must have a priest - a man who is a sinner like the people - stand between himself and the laity to "absolve" sins - often with some price prescribed in works attached. The conscience is massaged, but the sin is not permanently gone. A stay in "Purgatory" is required by the very best Catholics before they are permitted to "possibly" enter heaven. It is generally forbidden among them to say, "I am going to heaven." "No body knows for sure" they tell us. This boils down to the fact that their "God" cannot forgive! If he could, they would know.

The Mormon "God" was supposedly "once what we are now" - sinners. So, for him to call for holiness is quite dubious. But, more than that, their doctrine states that there are sins their "God" cannot forgive, and so the person who commits such a trespass must pay for the sin with his or her own blood. In the old days, they practiced this out in the open. It was called "blood atonement." Well, that's not much of a "God", frankly. He apparently has not reached the truly powerful forgiveness stage.

What good is a god that cannot say, "You are forgiven" and really mean it? He is no good. There is no point in fearing him. He can't do anything for you.

But, thanks be unto the Lord God who made heaven and earth and all that in them is! He can and does forgive sin! He is able!

Colossians 2:13 And you, being dead in your sins and the uncircumcision of your flesh, hath he quickened together with him, having forgiven you all trespasses; 14 Blotting out the handwriting of ordinances that was against us, which was contrary to us, and took it out of the way, nailing it to his cross;

What's more, His kind of forgiveness should be "contagious" for the Christian.

Ephesians 4:32 And be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ's sake hath forgiven you.

That's the kind of God I want! One who not only forgives me, but who also is an inspiration to me to forgive others. Surely this is a God worth fearing. Not only is He just and holy, but He has the power to forgive those who are not! Now, that's a real God!

And by the way, the desire to forgive is based in love and mercy. That's another attribute missing in most false "gods"!

Ephesians 2:4 But God, who is rich in mercy, for his great love wherewith he loved us, 5 Even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ, (by grace ye are saved;) 6 And hath raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus: 7 That in the ages to come he might shew the exceeding riches of his grace in his kindness toward us through Christ Jesus.


Other Articles:

Saturday, April 13, 2013

Sew Happy Saturday – Bobbin Adjustment


This piece of information is so important that I’m going to limit this post to just this one link.  If you have a vertical bobbin (as opposed to the drop-in horizontal variety) this information is very important!

A Tensioning Trick You May Not Know

On the same subject – I recently was having a lot of trouble getting the bobbin adjustment right on my sewing machine.  No matter what I did it wouldn’t sew properly.  I cleaned the area thoroughly as well as adjusting the bobbin itself.  Eventually I decided to remove the feed dog plate.  I was a little surprised at how much lint had collected under there.  After cleaning it out with a plastic pointed tool (that came with my machine) and oiling the parts that seemed to be appropriate for that (consult your manual), it worked fine again!

Thursday, April 11, 2013

Thousand Word Project – Spring Time In Texas





Argarita (sp?)


Evening primrose


Texas mountain laurel

Texas Paintbrush

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Kitchen Happenings – Garden Wagon


Last autumn my husband bought me this neat garden wagon.  It is supposed to be capable of carrying a significant amount of weight and it has a “dump truck” feature so that you can lift the box and empty it easily.  I’ve used it some this spring and it’s a very handy tool for hauling debris and other stuff around the yard/garden (ours happens to be rather large).

However, as you can see from the picture, the first use this little green wagon got was in the kitchen.  It was brand new at the time and still clean.  I had made a batch of green tomato enchilada sauce and the jars needed to have a hot water bath to finish the process.  I can’t do this on my stovetop as it won’t take the weight, so I needed to transport them over to my mom’s house for processing.  The wagon came in very handy for this! :-)  In fact, it’s quite possible that I’ll clean it up and use it again when our heavy canning season starts here.  What a great dual purpose wagon!

Sunday, April 7, 2013

Thoughts from the Past – A Sad Truth


July 25, 2006 [edited]
Sad Truth

Someone will probably think I'm really "unspiritual" when I say that Bible reading is not always a blessing. Let me explain what I mean by that.

The other night in my evening Bible reading I came across this verse:

Proverbs 17:4 A wicked doer giveth heed to false lips; and a liar giveth ear to a naughty tongue.

Of course, I'd read that many times before, but for some reason on this particular evening it made me think of something I had not thought of before. Perhaps I should say something I had been unwittingly trying to avoid.

Some years ago I had a friend whom I liked a lot. She and I were agreed in a number of areas where I often can't find agreement with other women. She was often a fun person to be around and also loved the Lord. I could talk to her about a lot of things that many women did not understand - Christian women.

Accustom your children constantly to this; if a thing happened at one window and they, when relating it, say that it happened at another, do not let it pass, but instantly check them; you do not know where deviation from truth will end. - Samuel Johnson

But, (it's always "but", isn't it?) ...but, she was a horrible exaggerator. At first, I didn't realize this, but after quoting her and listening to her talking to different people I came to realize that she "stretched" things - sometimes considerably - to make them more impressive and that she changed details to make people think what she wanted them to think. I was sorely embarrassed at least once after having quoted her when the factual account was given by someone else.

Now, my inclination was to overlook this to some degree. It bothered me, but I just dealt with it by not quoting her or by emphasizing, "I was told...". In general I still considered her a pretty decent person.  However, there were later events that were “highly irregular” and which left me wondering just how much she did deviate from the truth.  The situation may have been instrumental in ending our friendship at least for the time.

Getting back to the verse: Proverbs 17:4 A wicked doer giveth heed to false lips; and a liar giveth ear to a naughty tongue.

No one tells the truth 100% of the time, not even the most honest person. Only God is capable of that. Rom. 3:4

Had I taken God at His word I would have realized my friend's problem a lot sooner, for this lady did willingly "lend" her ears to people who had false lips and naughty tongues. She eagerly listened to certain more "spiritual" gossips in her church family, especially in certain situations.

The really sad part of the verse came in for me when I realized what this lady really is.  Finally I had to face what God thinks of her. She is not just misguided.  She is not just careless.  She is wicked.  She is a liar.  That really hurts, but God forbid that I would argue with Him!

As for my own part, I also should have learned much sooner to not listen to her, as I was falling into the very same thing.  I needed to discern her false lips and not give heed!

Now, lest ye judge her unsaved based on this, let me say that I really think she is saved. She is very different from the rest of her family, who are godless by and large. She also really seems to have been chastened. While this is not for me to judge, it is my hope for her! (How sad when we have to cling to someone's chastening as our hope of their salvation!)

Dear reader, is this lady you? Are you listening to false lips and naughty tongues? Perhaps you are like I was and are "overlooking" this behavior in a close friend. Please consider the verse above and also these other verses in Proverbs:

Prv. 22:24 Make no friendship with an angry man; and with a furious man thou shalt not go: 25 Lest thou learn his ways, and get a snare to thy soul.

Prv. 14:7 Go from the presence of a foolish man, when thou perceivest not in him the lips of knowledge.

Prv. 13:20 He that walketh with wise men shall be wise: but a companion of fools shall be destroyed.

Do you just "stretch" things a little here and there (or perhaps a lot) to give the impressions you want people to have? Do you use your tone of voice to suggest things that the facts do not always support? I brought this up here partly because I have seen that we womenfolk have a tendency to interpret, stretch, and imply things to "encourage" people to think the way we want them to think. God's standard of truth is much higher!

Ephesians 4:14 That we henceforth be no more children, tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the sleight of men, and cunning craftiness, whereby they lie in wait to deceive; 15 But speaking the truth in love, may grow up into him in all things, which is the head, even Christ:

Ephesians 4:25 Wherefore putting away lying, speak every man truth with his neighbour: for we are members one of another.


Note to the overly sensitive: Please don't run to excess with this. As one man said, "You can tell 10 people something and they will take it 25 different ways." We don't all see or hear things the same. Also, it is common for a person to tell the same story differently every time he or she tells it, but the gist of the thing is the same. People often don't remember exact details. I'm talking here about intentional or obvious exaggerations, slanting stories to achieve an agenda, lying, slander and the like. In some cases these must be identified over a period of time. I'm also talking about people who seldom apologize when caught misrepresenting the truth. Be wise in applying this.

Saturday, April 6, 2013

Sew Happy Saturday – Recycling A Book for A String Quilt


Some time back I bought a book on the history of food.  I didn’t get very far into the book before I came across something rather basic that I knew historically was totally inaccurate.  Usually when I’m reading an informative book and something like that happens, I discard the book because I figure if I can’t trust them to get something fairly basic or well known right then there are probably other things I don’t know about that are inaccurate too. 

Well, here was a useless book which I could have thrown away, but I happened to notice that the paper was of the sort that would tear somewhat easily.  As some of you know, I’ve been trying to shop my own stuff – to reuse and repurpose things I have rather than buying.  So, it occurred to me that this might be useful for paper piecing.  The pages were a little small for my style (smaller than a phone book), but they weren’t smudgy, so I decided to give it a go. 

It worked out quite well, I thought.

For this block I made the piece of paper square.  I put a yellow strip in the middle and built it out on each side.  (I’ll give a link to show you how to do this.)  I did draw some lines to help myself line the first strip up, but this may not be necessary.

I trimmed it down to the size of the paper (use scissors or a rotary cutter) and then I tore the paper off the back.  You can see that it came off in decent sized pieces without much trouble.

Normally, for constructing a quilt, I wouldn’t take the paper off till I was ready to sew the edges together, or perhaps even till after I’d sewed the squares together.  These strips are running at an angle and on most or all of them the bias is on the edge.  In this case, it might be better to sew the squares together with the paper intact.

This is a great way to use up scraps.  You might make it totally scrappy and sew the pieces on in random patterns, or you could make all the center strips of one color and make a “secondary” pattern with them based on how you put them together.  You could also border every square or you could put four together and border them to make blocks.  The options are limited only by your imagination. :-)

Here is a picture of a beautiful string quilt made in a similar manner.  (I don’t know if she used paper.) 

Here is a video showing how to do this.  Quilting with Scraps – Make the String Quilt!  This is done by Jenny Doane and the Missouri Star Quilt Company.  She is selling the papers for this project, but you can certainly do it on any paper that is of a good tearing quality. 

If you don’t have a book you want to dedicate to this project and you don’t want to pay for the 10” squares she’s selling, you might look for a book at a second hand store or yard sale.  Of course, you won’t be able to actually tear to paper to see if it will tear well, but a cheap paper back with that roughish kind of paper that you probably know from experience tears easily is what you’re looking for.  I bought a larger book for this purpose at a used book store.  It is an outdated study aid for an art test and is probably about 8X10” in size.

With this method you are making the quilt according to your own specifications, so you can make a 1/4” seam allowance on the edges when you trim the blocks, or you can just cut it at the edge of the paper as I did.  You can also leave the pages their original size.  I’ve started another scrap quilt idea using the pages from the smaller book and I’m using them at their original size and shape.  (Hopefully I will show you what I’m making at some point.  It is also a project designed to use up scraps.)

Thursday, April 4, 2013

Thousand Word Project and Creatures Great and Small – Sign of Spring


Two of the most common sign of spring in north America are robins and dandelions! :-)

Song of Solomon 2:11-13  For, lo, the winter is past, the rain is over and gone; The flowers appear on the earth; the time of the singing of birds is come, and the voice of the turtle is heard in our land; The fig tree putteth forth her green figs, and the vines with the tender grape give a good smell. Arise, my love, my fair one, and come away.

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Dumplings for Soup


I was inspired awhile back to make chicken soup with dumplings. I looked up some recipes for dumplings and ended up combining two – one from the internet and one from my Mennonite cookbook. :-)  You may use these on your favorite chicken soup recipe or on some other type of soup.  Please see the note at the end, though, as there are some soups and stews that probably would not work well with dumplings.


1 1/2 C. flour (I used white whole wheat)
1/2 tsp. salt
2 1/2 tsp. baking powder
2 Tbl. parsley flakes (optional)
1/4 C. milk (enough to make a sticky dough)
3 Tbl. butter
1 egg

Measure dry ingredients and mix in a medium size bowl.  In a measuring cup stir egg and milk together.  Add milk mixture and butter to flour mixture and stir till blended.  (Add milk if more moisture is needed.)

Drop onto top of boiling soup with a spoon, or roll with hands if dough is stiff enough. Cover and cook for 12 minutes at a medium boil without removing the lid.

Note: It’s important to have enough liquid in your soup when you add the dumplings. If there is too little it might cook away and burn on the bottom before the dumplings are done.  Also, I wouldn’t recommend them for thickened stews or heavy soups that require regular stirring to keep them from scorching or burning. Twelve minutes would probably be too long to not stir such dishes.