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Sunday, November 24, 2013



Here is an item I posted some years back.  It is a good challenge to think about how we can be thankful for our own thorns in life.


2Corinthians 1:3 Blessed be God, even the Father of our Lord
Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies, and the God of all comfort;
4 Who comforteth us in all our tribulation, that we may be able
to comfort them which are in any trouble, by the comfort
wherewith we ourselves are comforted of God.
5 For as the sufferings of Christ abound in us,
so our consolation also aboundeth by Christ.

Sandra felt as low as the heels of her Birkenstocks as she pushed against a November gust and the florist shop door. Her life had been easy, like a spring breeze. Then in the fourth month of her second pregnancy, a minor automobile accident stole her ease. During this Thanksgiving week she would have delivered a son. She grieved over her loss.

As if that weren't enough her husband's company threatened a transfer. Then her sister, whose holiday visit she coveted, called saying she could not come. What's worse, Sandra's friend infuriated her by suggesting her grief was a God-given path to maturity that would allow her to empathize with others who suffer? "Had she lost a child? No - she has no idea what I'm feeling,"

Continue Reading

Saturday, November 23, 2013

Sew Happy Saturday – Vintage Coats

One of my uncles very kindly converted a lot of old photographs and slides that belonged to my grandparents to digital format.  I thought it might be fun to share some of those that relate to either sewing or past styles here.  Today, in honor of the season here in the northern hemisphere, we’ll look at some vintage winter coats that belonged to my Gramma and her friends and/or family.

Here is my Gramma (right) with her aunt (left) and another lady.  This photo was taken in 1931 and was probably during her years at Wheaton College.  The coat she’s wearing looks like a kimono style and appears to have a velvety texture.  Of course, this was during the Depression.  Gramma was very blessed that her father didn’t lose his money or job.  He was not what we’d call wealthy today, but due to his wise use of a good income, they never suffered like others did at that time.

Gramma (center) was at Bible school in Philadelphia when this was taken.  She went there after she graduated from Wheaton.  She was planning to go the missionfield at this point and wanted more Bible training.  Check out the wiiiide collar and snazzy buttons on this coat. :-)  The lady on the left was her best friend, Bea, who later became her sister-in-law.  (By the way, that is her younger brother in back on the left.  He’s not the one who married Bea.)  The ladies’ hats are cute, but I doubt that they kept their heads terribly warm. :-)

Here is Gramma with her parents aboard a ship.  I’m pretty sure this is the same coat as in the picture above, but here she has it all buttoned up.

Another coat she wore during her time at Philadelphia School of the Bible.  Note the wide fur collar and the big buttons.  She seemed to like big buttons. :-)  (That’s “Aunt Bea” again on the left.  The poor lady in the middle looks like she has headlights because the sun is reflecting off of her buttons.)

Yet another coat of hers with big buttons (second from left). :-)

Years later – 1946, the family was home from East Africa on furlough with the three oldest kids (no. four came later).  Aren’t their little outfits cute? [That’s my mom on the right.]  This furlough had been much delayed due to WWII.

Gramma and my mom in the 1960s.  Although this coat is different from the one I was used to her wearing, the overall look here reminds me very much of how she looked in winter when I was growing up. 

She loved those thin little, rubber “boots” that slipped on over her shoes.  I don’t know how she kept her feet warm in a Michigan winter.  Obviously she didn’t.  My mom’s boots here are much better suited for that weather and snow.  [That’s an ice fishing hut in the background.  This was on a frozen lake.]

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Chocolate Dump Cake


This recipe came to us from my aunt.  It is very simple since you mix the cake up right in the cake pan!  No bowls, no other messes.  It is not the cheapest or most low-fat cake you will find, but if you need a cake in a hurry this one will certainly go together quickly.

Our family is no longer particularly worried about the oil issue as it turns out oil is not nearly as “unhealthy” for us as the so-called experts claimed at one time.  I do recommend that you use a healthy oil such as grape seed or something similar.  Some olive oils might have an odd flavor in a sweet dish like this, but it could be used as well.  I have not tried coconut oil as yet, but I hope to do so.  I am not sure if melted butter would work or not, but I will probably try that as well at some point just to see.  (That would make an extra dirty dish, though.)

If you want the edges of the pan to look better than this, you will want to wipe them off before you bake the cake. :-)  I used a chocolate butter frosting to frost this cake.

I made this cake in a disposable pan to take to an event where we were asked to help provide cake.  As you can see, I still use some sprinkles occasionally just for fun.  We get very few food colorings in our food any more, so I figure it’s OK for a once-in-awhile treat. :-)

Chocolate Dump Cake

Dump into a 9x13 cake pan:

2 C. flour
1 1/2 C. sugar
1 tsp. vanilla
1/2 C. cocoa powder
1 egg
1 tsp. salt
1 C. buttermilk
1 C. oil
2 tsp. baking soda

Mix fairly well. 

Add 1 C. boiling water.

Mix thoroughly.

Bake 30-35 minutes at 350F.

Note: The last time I made this I reduced the oil to about 3/4 C. and it still turned out fine.  I think I also reduced the sugar to 1 C.  I also used peppermint flavoring instead of vanilla, but I was not impressed with how that worked in this recipe, so be forewarned.  Almond would probably be fine.  This cake also keeps well in the freezer.

Sunday, November 17, 2013

Two Poems about Thankfulness for Hard Things


A Thanksgiving

For all Thy blessings given there are many to thank Thee, Lord,
But for the gifts withholden I fain would add my word.

For good things I desired that barred me from the best,
The peace at the price of honour, the sloth of a shameful rest;

The poisonous sweets I longed for to my hungering heart denied,
The staff that broke and failed me when I walked in the way of pride;

The tinsel joys withheld that so content might still be mine,
The help refused that might have made me loose my hand from Thine;

The light withdrawn that I might not see the dangers of my way;
For what Thou hast not given, I thank Thee, Lord today.

Annie Johnson Flint

Psalm 84:11 For the LORD God is a sun and shield: the LORD will give grace and glory: no good thing will he withhold from them that walk uprightly. 12 O LORD of hosts, blessed is the man that trusteth in thee.

A Thanksgiving for Hard Things

Thank You, my Father that Your wisest choosing,
To my own wayward heart is ever proving,
That some glad joy I longed my life to garnish,
Would but have left me marred with rust and tarnish.

Thank You, Lord, for that most kind depriving,
Which mercifully withstood my soul's mad driving,
Has kept me from some greater, horribler loss,
While teaching me the glory of Thy cross.

Thank You that the smaller scars I have sustained,
Have kept me, Lord, from what I might have gained,
Of deeper wounds that span the years of life,
And bear the loathsome fruit of constant strife.

Thank You for Your thoughtful little tokens,
Reminding that I'm loved, though sorely broken;
And so I find these smaller blessings meet,
To bring me here in worship at Thy feet.

Thank You, Lord, that that which seemeth good to Thee,
Hath overruled that which seemed so good to me,
And so withheld some earthly satisfaction,
That I might serve Thee here without distraction.

O Thank You, God, that confidence yet growing,
Can rest in Thy great wisdom, safely knowing,
Though troubles come which I can never tell,
Yet my Redeemer doeth all things well.

By Mary Stephens
Originally written in Nov. 2004

1Thessalonians 5:18 In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.

Mark 7:37  …He hath done all things well…

Romans 8:28  And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Some Thoughts On the Resignation of Doug Phillips of Vision Forum Ministries


Ecclesiastes 10:1  Dead flies cause the ointment of the apothecary to send forth a stinking savour: so doth a little folly him that is in reputation for wisdom and honour.

This post is not likely to be a popular one.  Some things in this life are not pleasant to deal with.  For those who wonder why I would address this subject, let me give a brief explanation.

The “patriarchal” movement, as it is called, is generally an extremely conservative Christian sect which promotes and preaches the idea that the father is the central and most important figure of the home.  It is considered his right to rule the home as he sees fit, but in a way that too often goes well beyond the requirements of scriptural headship.  The so-called “Quiverfull” movement is based on the ideology that we should “trust God with our families” and by “faith” “receive every blessing He wants to give us” in regard to children – usually meaning that any form of birth prevention (even non-life-threatening ones) is “wicked” or sinful.  (It is not uncommon for this to extend even to the point where the mother’s life is in danger or her health is seriously compromised.)  Because there are many different groups who hold to part of the theories surrounding these views, it’s hard to give basic beliefs that apply in all cases.  One common view seems to be that through having large, father-centric families, they will be able to “reclaim” society and win the “war” against an evil culture.  Of course, this is not the message of the gospel preached unto us.  See 1 Corinthians 15:1-10.

Doug Phillips is a well known and prominent leader in the “patriarchy” and Quiverfull movements as well as in the homeschooling world.  He has taught many followers on the subjects of fatherhood, motherhood, marriage, the family, the father-centered home, purity, homeschooling, courtship/betrothal, the restoring of America and the church through the restoring of the home/family, multi-generational family “Visions”, and the need to “take back” America through large families that are then trained up to be “warriors” who will go out and win the “war on culture”.  After all of this, he has been unfaithful to his wife – a direct failure of the things for which he has so strongly spoken. 

Galatians 6:14  But God forbid that I should glory, save in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom the world is crucified unto me, and I unto the world.

The entire situation is very unpleasant, but it is my hope that through this perhaps some people will begin to question the ideology that places the father and families in a place of importance that often supersedes that of Jesus Christ and his bride, the church.  I hope that there will be those who in questioning this ideology will find that it is not a righteous and biblical interpretation for the church age, but is based upon a misguided doctrine that removes Israel from all of the promises and blessings in the Old Testament and appropriates them to the church, and that in realizing this, they will also realize that “patriarchy”, as taught by these people, is not true Christ-centered, Christianity.  It is my hope that they will re-examine the teachings of the New Testament and realize the liberty that we truly have in Christ.

Galatians 5:1  Stand fast therefore in the liberty wherewith Christ hath made us free, and be not entangled again with the yoke of bondage.

Because so many people in the conservative parts of the Christian community have bowed to Doug Phillips and Vision Forum in one way or another, accepting their teachings without examining the scripture to see if these things be so (Acts 17:11), it seemed needful to bring this subject forward for examination.  If you’ve never had to deal with this subject nor its adherents, you are blessed.  There are some sweet people among them, but there is also a strangeness to the manners and behavior of too many of them that has bothered some of us on more than one occasion.  The smell of legalism and bondage is heavy around this movement.

So, here are some things to consider specifically relating to the details surrounding Mr. Phillips’ sin and resignation.

Sunday, November 10, 2013

A Thanksgiving Challenge


This year I’d like to do just a small challenge relating to Thanksgiving, which is on the 28th of November this year.  (It was on Oct. 14th in Canada, but I’m sorry to say I didn’t think of it earlier.)

We have many, many blessings to be thankful for in life, it is true.  I have no problem with people who are posting something they are thankful for each day on various social medias.  I think it’s a good idea.  The scripture clearly teaches us to Bless the LORD, O my soul, and forget not all his benefits:  Psalms 103:2 

However, this year we have been through some difficult experiences.  The two biggest from my perspective are that my mom had major surgery in January and we undertook a trip to Australia in Sept./Oct.  These were both difficult things.  As some of you know, I’ve had trouble with anxiety and also some physical limitations.  The fact I was even able to get on a large jet for some 15 hours and fly thousands of miles over water with a whole lot of other people at close quarters is nothing short of a miracle to me.  Five years ago it would have been impossible.  My husband and I have been through some other situations in addition to these this year that have been difficult to deal with in various ways.  As much as I disliked all these situations and some of the things we had to deal with, I am truly blessed to see how the Lord has used those things to draw us closer together and to show me things in my husband that I respect and appreciate.  I am also humbled to see what He has done for me.

Having these thoughts on my mind maybe it was not surprising that the Lord would point me in the direction of challenging us to thank the Lord this year particularly for the hard things – the hard things we’ve had to deal with this year that have grown us, made us wiser, given us a better perspective and more compassion, brought us better relationships, and made us lean more on the Lord.

Nothing is wasted with God.  If He allowed it, He can and will use it in some way to improve us for His purpose – if we love Him. Romans 8:28  And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.

I don’t believe that “What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger.”  That is not true as a general statement, and I’m not talking about that kind of cavalier attitude.  Just ask anyone who has burned out their brains with drugs or alcohol or destroyed their lungs with tobacco. Or ask someone who has suffered permanent health problems from an accident or illness.  Many things that don’t kill you outright will indeed weaken you.  So here I’m talking about being thankful for those things beyond our control that are the result of circumstance (for lack of a better word) or the result of other people’s choices.  I don’t really see consequences for sin as a matter of praise, except in as much as His chastening reminds us we are truly God’s children (Heb. 12:8).

I have shared in a general way some of the things I’m thankful for.  How about you?  Can you see the hand of God in some difficult situation that you’ve been through this year?  Can you thank Him for allowing that situation or event so that you could sustain the results of growth that He has given?

Hebrews 13:15-16  By him therefore let us offer the sacrifice of praise to God continually, that is, the fruit of our lips giving thanks to his name.  But to do good and to communicate forget not: for with such sacrifices God is well pleased.

Lord willing, I’ll post some more things for consideration on this subject over the next few weeks.

Saturday, November 9, 2013

Sew Happy Saturday – The Blind Quilter


Something to encourage and inspire you in your sewing (and life) today.

Diane Rose – The Blind Quilter

Yes, she really is blind, and she’s made hundreds of quilts – not homely, ugly quilts, but pretty, colorful quilts.  Don’t let your limitations hold you back from doing something useful with your life.

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Memories of Great Meals – Australian Originals


Meat pie – and Australian tradition.  (This one was store bought.)

Enjoying my piece of meat pie with sauce.


Sausage roll and sauce (we’d call it ketchup), another Aussie tradition.  (Also store bought.)





Damper, another original Australian food. 
Sorry it’s a blurry.  They were in a hurry to eat! :-)

Ground Kangaroo meat!

My brother cooking the ‘roo burgers on the “barby”. :-)

My ‘roo burger with pickled beetroot, and with grated carrot and cheese (something my sister-in-law’s mother liked to add to burgers).  Of all the Aussie originals that we tried, I think this was the best! :-) 

Of course, it wouldn’t have been right without sausages as well, so we had those too.  They were a bit different than American varieties of this type.  I liked them better, but they were still rather rich.

Sunday, November 3, 2013

The Church Walking with the World – A Poem


The Church Walking with the World

The Church and the World walked far apart
On the changing shores of time,
The World was singing a giddy song,
And the Church a hymn sublime.
“Come, give me your hand,” said the merry World,
“And walk with me this way!”

Continue reading.

Matthew 7:13-14  Enter ye in at the strait gate: for wide is the gate, and broad is the way, that leadeth to destruction, and many there be which go in thereat:  Because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it.