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Sunday, May 29, 2016

Oh, for the Bliss of Heaven

Oh, for the Bliss of Heaven

The roseate hues of early dawn,
The brightness of the day,
The crimson of the sunset sky,
How fast they fade away;
Oh, for the pearly gates of heaven;
Oh, for the golden floor;
Oh, for the Sun of Righteousness,
The setteth nevermore!

The highest hopes we cherish here,
How fast they tire and faint;
How many a spot defiles the robe
That wraps an earthly saint;
Oh, for a heart that never sins;
Oh, for a soul washed white;
Oh, for a voice to praise our King,
Nor weary day or night!

Here faith is ours, and heavenly hope,
And grace to lead us higher;
But there are perfectness and peace
Beyond our best desire.
Oh, by Thy love and anguish, Lord,
Oh, by Thy life laid down,
We have been purchased by Thy grace,
And hope to win a crown!

Mrs. C. F. Alexander 

John 14:2-3  In my Father's house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also.

Friday, May 27, 2016

Berry Fun Friday - Free Printable Strawberry Theme Labels

Here are some very cute and fun printables that JES from Strangers and Pilgrims On Earth posted a couple of years ago.  And they are FREE - which makes it even better. :-)  Strawberries are a favorite motif of mine and have been since I was around 10 years old.  I have quite a few things in my kitchen...and around the house...with strawberry decorations.

Strawberry "Mason Jar Labels and More" Gift Kit ~ Free Printable

Tell you what I like the best -
'Long about knee-deep in June,
'Bout the time strawberries melts
On the vine, - some afternoon
Like to jes' git out and rest,
And not work at nothin' else!
- James Whitcomb Riley

Thursday, May 26, 2016

Food Memories - Homegrown Orangeade

Several years ago my Texas sister-in-law had an orange tree in a pot.  It produced a few oranges for them, and she wanted to share them with the family, so she juiced them and made this "orange-ade" for a family breakfast.  It was really good, but it was a once only delight because the tree didn't produce well again and later died.  It is still beautiful to look at, though. :-)

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Danish Butter Cookies

[Originally published Nov. 2010. Edited]

After I’d expressed a desire for homemade cookies several times, one evening my husband suddenly decided that we would make some (despite the lateness of the hour).  Was I ever glad he did!  We chose this recipe (the origin of which I no longer know) since I didn’t have any brown sugar at the time.  It is quite simple, but doesn’t make a lot of cookies.  One warning – once you’ve eaten these homemade Danish butter cookies you’ll probably never really like the store bought variety again!

Also, you might try adding some shredded coconut or dipping half of each cookie in chocolate coating to make them a bit fancier or to offer variety.  I think that you could refrigerate them and put them through a cookie press as well to make prettier shapes.  They taste great without any of this, though, so it may not be worth messing with!  Simpler is often better in my opinion. :-)

1 C. butter
1 egg
1 C. sugar
1 tsp. almond extract  (or vanilla)
2 C. flour (or 1 C. white whole wheat and 1 C. white flour)
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. cream of tartar

Cream butter and sugar together. Add egg and almond extract and mix. Whisk dry ingredients in a separate bowl, then add a little at a time to the butter mixture until it is all mixed in.

Roll into walnut size balls, place on an ungreased cookie sheet and flatten with a fork or spoon.  Sprinkle with colored sugar if desired.  Bake at 350F for about 10-12 minutes or until lightly browned.  Allow to cool slightly on the sheet before moving to a rack.  Completely cool before storing in an airtight container.

Makes 2-3 dozen cookies.

Note: These cookies freeze well.

Sunday, May 22, 2016

God's Plan vs. Ours

Graphic source: The Enchanting Rose.

God's Plan vs. Ours

by Mary Stephens
May 2016

In Exodus chapter 5 we read about Moses and Aaron going before Pharaoh for the first time to tell him that the Lord wanted His people to worship Him in the wilderness.  Pharaoh, of course, didn't think much of this plan and as a result, he commanded the taskmasters to stop giving the Hebrews straw to make their bricks and to make them find their own while still delivering the same number of bricks per day.  Well, this didn't work out well and the Hebrews suffered sorely for it.  In fact,  the officers of the children of Israel were beaten for not keeping up the production of bricks.  But, when they went to see Pharaoh to ask why this injustice, he answered them very rudely -

Exodus 5:17-19 But he said, Ye are idle, ye are idle: therefore ye say, Let us go and do sacrifice to the LORD. Go therefore now, and work; for there shall no straw be given you, yet shall ye deliver the tale of bricks. And the officers of the children of Israel did see that they were in evil case, after it was said, Ye shall not minish ought from your bricks of your daily task. 

These officers of the children of Israel happened to meet Moses and Aaron as they were leaving their audience with Pharaoh and, in typical human form, they blamed them for causing them this trouble, despite the fact that they themselves had believed that Moses and Aaron were sent of God, as we read at the end of chapter 4.  (People so often do blame the preacher or teacher when they follow God's command and things don't work out.  Somehow it feels safer than blaming God.)

Continue Reading.

Friday, May 20, 2016

Sew Happy Friday - The Curved Log Cabin Quilt - Tutorial with Jenny Doan

Here is a tutorial for the curved log cabin block from Jenny Doan of the Missouri Star Quilt Co.  This is a very versatile block, and using pre-cuts will make it much quicker.

Look at some of the interesting and amazing ways to lay out this quilt here!

Thursday, May 19, 2016

Australian Memories - Purple Something

It's time to visit the Brisbane Botanic Gardens at Mt. Coot-tha again.  More photos from our trip to Australia in 2013 (and yes, I do have a lot!). :-)  These little beauties remind me of an orchid a little.  I don't know what they are.

Tuesday, May 17, 2016

To An Unknown Bust in the British Museum by Austin Dobson

To An Unknown Bust in the British Museum

By Austin Dobson

Who were you once? Could we but guess,
We might perchance more boldly
Define the patient weariness
That sets your lips so coldly;
You "lived," we know, for blame and fame;
But sure, to friend or foeman,
You bore some more distinctive name
Than mere "B. C.,"—and "Roman"?

Continue Reading.

Sunday, May 15, 2016

Lessons from The Shepherds

Cade’s Cove, Tennessee (Great Smoky Mts.)

(Originally published Feb. 2012. Edited.)

Not long ago I started reading the book of Luke again.  John has been my favorite Gospel for some time now, but I’ve really been enjoying Luke more this time through it.  Not that I didn’t before, but the Lord has brought different things to my attention this time.  Maybe the new Bible helps since it isn’t all marked up with previous thoughts. :-)

Anyway, the thing that particularly stood out to me in Luke chapter 2 this time through was God’s revelation to the shepherds.  A number of things struck me, some I’d heard and thought of before.  Some seemed new, though it’s quite likely that I’d heard them at some point from someone.  I know they are not really “new”.

You might want to go read this passage in your King James Bible as it is rather long to post here, or you can read it on my husband's Bible page: Luke 2:8-20.

1. These shepherds were believers, of course.  They were looking for the Messiah or the Lord would not have revealed this wonderful news to them, nor would they have gone so quickly to see it for themselves.  It is interesting that so often it’s the people with simple, childlike faith who understand the great things God reveals, not the high and mighty scholars.  Luke 10:21  In that hour Jesus rejoiced in spirit, and said, I thank thee, O Father, Lord of heaven and earth, that thou hast hid these things from the wise and prudent, and hast revealed them unto babes: even so, Father; for so it seemed good in thy sight.

2. We find the shepherds in the place where they were supposed to be, doing what they were supposed to be doing – keeping watch over their flocks.  God doesn’t always reveal His great things to those who are in important places, nor to those who are doing supposedly big and important things.  This is a good reminder to be faithful where you are and not despise the day of small things (Zech. 4:10).

3. God first revealed the Great Shepherd (Heb. 13:20) to shepherds.  He revealed “the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world” (John 1:29) to keepers of sheep, men who cared for lambs.  There is something particularly sweet and wonderful about that.

4. Because they were shepherds, they weren’t  too persnickety to go into a humble place where a messy, “unclean” event had just happened.  A manger was part of their natural sphere.  Maybe it was even their own manger!  Who knows. :-)  These men would have helped their ewes deliver lambs, no doubt.  Remember the story of the good Samaritan and how the priest and the Levite “passed by on the other side” rather than help a man who had been attacked by robbers.  Luke 10:30-33.  I can only imagine the response if one of them had been told to go to a manger to view a newly born baby.

5. They were quick to act upon the amazing revelation they had received.  They didn’t “sleep on it”.  They believed and went.

6. They spread the news.  These men were not afraid of what people might think.  People talk about women gossiping.  I suspect there was a reason that God reveal this event to the shepherds.  They may well have been the “news agency” of their day.  In meeting other shepherds from other areas out on the pastures, the news would have had a chance to spread farther.

7. They knew whom to glorify.  Luke 2:20  And the shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things that they had heard and seen, as it was told unto them.

There are a lot of good applications here, but I’d like to condense it into a nutshell, so to speak.  We need to…
1. Be faithful in the “mundane” things of everyday life, and be where we are supposed to be.
2. Believe God’s revelation to us (His word) and then act upon it.
3. Spread the good news of Jesus Christ.
4. Glorify God and praise Him for the things He has revealed unto us.

1 Corinthians 2:9-10  But as it is written, Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him. But God hath revealed them unto us by his Spirit: for the Spirit searcheth all things, yea, the deep things of God.

Saturday, May 14, 2016

Evening Song - I Gave My Life for Thee

Mark 8:34-35  And when he had called the people unto him with his disciples also, he said unto them, Whosoever will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me. For whosoever will save his life shall lose it; but whosoever shall lose his life for my sake and the gospel's, the same shall save it.

Thursday, May 12, 2016

Memories of Great Food - German Pastry

We bought this almond ring in Fredericksburg at a German bakery.  We brought it home to share with my family at a "tea time". :-)  It was exceptional.

Sunday, May 8, 2016

Mother’s Day – Something from the Past

(Originally published May 7, 2011. Edited.)

Here is a picture of my mom learning to be a mom from her mom.  I love this picture. :-)  It was taken in East Africa where my mother and her brothers were born and mostly raised.  This was how the African women carried their babies. 

I don’t think Gramma normally carried her babies this way, but it is a sweet picture, and she taught my mom a lot about taking care of babies over the years! :-)  She was a huge help with my youngest brother and sister, especially since we lived closer to her when they were small.

One of my earliest memories is being in Ethiopia and sitting with my mom while she wrote to her mom.  I was filling a piece of paper with scribbles and wanted Mom to send it to Gramma.  She couldn’t because she was using an air form and wasn’t allowed to enclose anything.  Interestingly enough, I always enjoyed corresponding with people by mail.  I think that love was passed on to me from this early experience and the “specialness” that was conveyed to my thinking of my mom receiving and sending letters to Gramma who was far away. :-)

I thank the Lord for my mother!  She has been a tremendous blessing in my life.  She has prayed so much for me and been such an encourager.  She also is a close and dear friend.

My Gramma was also a dear friend as well as a helpful grandmother and mentor.  She made time for me and we talked about so many things.  I value that very much.  I love and miss her and look forward to seeing her again soon in Heaven!

God bless the mothers and grandmothers who strive to instill in their children and grandchildren a love for the Lord and His word!  God bless the aunts and sisters, and all the "mothering" ladies who do this!

Proverbs 31:25 Strength and honour are her clothing; and she shall rejoice in time to come. 26 She openeth her mouth with wisdom; and in her tongue is the law of kindness…28 Her children arise up, and call her blessed; her husband also, and he praiseth her.

Saturday, May 7, 2016

Evening Song - Come Every Soul By Sin Oppressed

Matthew 11:28-30  Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.

Thursday, May 5, 2016

The Thousand Word Project - Springtime Deliciousness

A friend of mine actually sent me a box of rhubarb from Michigan one year!  Talk about a kind act. :-)  We can't grow it here.

Wednesday, May 4, 2016

No Challenge this Month

A Field of Flowers by Daniel Ridgway Knight.

Dear readers,

Some of you may have come around expecting to find another challenge posted this month.  I had been toying with the idea of not doing one at all for May because we have some things going on that may prove to be kind of stressful for me.  Today, that thought was confirmed to me by the Lord.

First of all, our well has gone out.  I don't know yet what the trouble is but my sister-in-law and I tried to reset the breaker with my husband's direction (over the cell phone), and it wouldn't stay on, so we know something is wrong that is affecting the electricity.  This could prove to be a big problem or a little one, only time and a well expert will tell us that.  (Once my dad got home, he and sister-in-law did run a water hose from the other well up to our property so at least we can shower and flush toilets.  I'm very glad that house wasn't sold yet.)

On top of that, I discovered this afternoon, quite by accident, that I am iron anemic - again.  This is a constant battle for me since my teens, so it isn't a surprise, but it is an added challenge and will take some focus.

So, all things taken together, it looks like this is a good month to step back from the challenge program and just focus on the challenges that I have to deal with. :-)  Lord willing, we'll get back to the challenges next month if possible!

In the mean time, keep looking unto Jesus (Heb. 12).

Mark 6:31  And he said unto them, Come ye yourselves apart into a desert place, and rest a while: for there were many coming and going, and they had no leisure so much as to eat.

Sunday, May 1, 2016

The Bridge of the Cross - A Poem by Annie Johnson Flint

"The Bridge" by William C. Ressler (williamressler.com)

The Bridge of the Cross

Man fain would build a bridge to God
Across the fathomless abyss
That lies between his earth-bound soul
And heaven's perfect bliss.

He takes his knowledge, small and vague,
The great inventions he has wrought,
His mightiest efforts, finest plans,
And his profoundest thought:

He binds them with his strands of straw,
His strings of tow, his ropes of sand,
With all the power and the skill
Of cunning brain and hand.

Through swirling mists he strains his eye,
Above the unseen torrent's roar
He pushes forth the makeshift thing
And hopes to touch the shore.

But when he seeks to cross the chasm
With eager heart and step elate,
He finds his bridge too short to reach,
Too frail to bear his weight.

Oh, baseless dream! Oh, useless toil!
Oh, utter and eternal loss!
For God has laid, to span the void,
His Son upon the cross.

And when man's broken bridges fall,
And sink into the gulf at last,
Still wide and long and safe and strong,
The bridge of God stands fast.

Annie Johnson Flint

1 Corinthians 1:23-29  But we preach Christ crucified, unto the Jews a stumblingblock, and unto the Greeks foolishness; But unto them which are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God, and the wisdom of God. Because the foolishness of God is wiser than men; and the weakness of God is stronger than men. For ye see your calling, brethren, how that not many wise men after the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble, are called: But God hath chosen the foolish things of the world to confound the wise; and God hath chosen the weak things of the world to confound the things which are mighty; And base things of the world, and things which are despised, hath God chosen, yea, and things which are not, to bring to nought things that are: That no flesh should glory in his presence.

Titus 3:5-6  Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us, by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost; Which he shed on us abundantly through Jesus Christ our Saviour;

Acts 4:12  Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved.