Wednesday, February 27, 2013

My First Recipe Swap!

The end of one month is approaching and that means the beginning of a new month is on the horizon. It also means that the new month menu is planned (check), shopping list complete (check), and groceries are purchased (check).  But I'm not done- it also, also means that now begins next months planning! It takes me a few weeks to plan out my family's dinner menu for a month. I like looking for new recipes and digging up old ones. I am a member to and have searched through saved file upon saved file of their suggested recipes and it's a great help, but I've come up with a much more exciting plan!

I thought I might intrigue you to do a recipe swap with me. Send me your top five favorite recipes and I'll send you mine! They can be 'tried and true' recipes or new ones. As an added bonus the people who respond can come over for coffee one fine afternoon with their recipes (copies made for all attendees) and swap recipes! I am combining a coffee day with a work day. Who's up for it???

I love my afternoon coffee dates with friends each week, so please consider coming!!! Of course your children are welcome too! Looking forward to new recipes and my coffee guests!

(PS - if you would like to come please send me a note via e-mail to let me know and so I can tell you the date, time and how many copies to make). 

Monday, February 25, 2013


I've heard it said, "With great power comes great responsibility." Well, I've got tell you, with wisdom comes... grief and sorrow. I am presently reading the Book of Ecclesiastes and at the end of the first chapter  it reads: "For with much wisdom comes much sorrow; the more knowledge, the more grief." (Ecclesiastes 1:18)

How can wisdom bring grief? Well, how did you feel the first time you heard about child abuse? I remember. I was in college and was required to attend a Child Abuse Seminar. I ignorantly assumed that abuse of the magnitude I was made to witness couldn't possibly be happening anymore. Upon viewing the slide show of children beaten, bruised, and burned awakened in me wisdom and I grieved over it. How about when you heard about prostitution and sex trafficking? I remember being completely horrified and I've felt great sorrow. I remember 9/11. I remember finding out that it wasn't an accident, but terrorism. The more we learn about what is going on in the world and in the hearts of men the more we will grieve.

So when I read the words, "For with much wisdom comes much sorrow;" my heart confirmed it.  Another saying, equally as true, but not a Biblical one is: "Ignorance is bliss." How true that was for me. For example: I remember a time in my early married life that I thought that to be submissive to my husband meant to turn off my brain and allow him to make all the decisions for us. I thought that my husband was to have our spiritual walk on his shoulders and basically that I was to have no responsibility or accountability. I really liked it. Being ignorant and not responsible means you never get in trouble with man or God. There is no confrontation of any kind. My husband made the decisions and if anything went wrong it was all his fault. But after a week or so in this very wrong and un-Biblical thinking I found that I am my own person, responsible to God for my actions, and thoughts and spiritual growth.

As I continue to read chapter after chapter in the book of Ecclesiastes the author also repeatedly says, "All is meaningless, a chasing after the wind." That can get a little depressing after a while, but then it hit me, 'with wisdom comes grief' and 'all is meaningless'-- IF you don't know the Lord, the power of the resurrection and hope of salvation!"  "Why are you downcast, O my soul? Why so disturbed within me? Put your hope in God," (Psalm 42:5) With God's leading and help we can effect lives, change laws, and spread the Gospel. The amount of things we can do with God is limitless. Our hope is in God.

So, what's our decision going to be? Live blissfully ignorant?  Not search out the truth? Not challenge yourself or others to live in right standing with God. Turn your head to injustice? Let someone else do the work? When do we say, "With God all things are possible?" When do we really walk in that truth? When do we stop making excuses and take a stand? Or will we seek wisdom and allow God to use us in big and mighty ways to change the world for Him? I choose wisdom and hope in God. What will you choose?

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

"I Am a Christian." -Perpetua

I bet you're wondering who Perpetua is. I didn't know who she was until recently either, but her story has touched my life. She was a 22-year-old noble woman who was martyred in 203 A.D. for simply saying, "I am a Christian."

She was born into wealth in 187 A.D. in Carthage. It is said that her father loved her so much that he preferred her to her brothers and she was denied nothing. She was taught to speak in Greek and Latin, and also taught to write, even though women at the time were not allowed. In her riches she had the finest clothes, slaves, and entertained. It is not known how she came to know about Jesus Christ or when exactly she asked Him to be her Lord and Savior, but what is known is how committed she was to her faith in Christ.

There was a new edict in the time of her salvation. Any new convert to Christianity would be given over to the wild beasts during the "Games." This edict was meant to put fear in the hearts of anyone who might want to be a Christian. So, if one wanted to become a Christian the pastor would tell them of the law and ask if they were ready for such a death. If they accepted this, the new convert committed to be taught the Scriptures and doctrines for three years. At the end of his/her training they were given a water baptism. Perpetua was in her second year of study when she and her infant son were arrested along with her friends.

During her time in prison she wrote the story of her capture and time in the prison. She wrote of the vision God gave her of the trial she would have to face and how in the end she would see Jesus and have the victory. Everything happened as she saw it in her dreams. She had to go before the Roman Proconsul on the day of her trial and as she walked up the steps to him, her father was whispering in her ear, "Just deny Jesus as Lord and you will go free. Offer a sacrifice to the gods - you do not even need to mean it and you will have your son back in your arms today." When she reached the top step, where the Proconsul was sitting, she was asked to offer just a pinch of incense as a sacrifice to the gods, but she would not. In a loud voice for all the onlookers to hear, she shouted, "I AM A CHRISTIAN!"

She was taken away with the others, imprisoned again, and waited for the day of the Games. A few days later Perpetua and her friends were taken out into the arena. When they came out they all proclaimed, "You have judged us, but there is One who will judge you." For that, they were all flogged. It is written that they praised and thanked God with each lashing to be able to suffer as Jesus did. After the beating, one by one they were attacked by the different beasts: bear, cougar, boar, wild bull. Only one of the five Christians perished. The survivors were then killed by the sword by one of the guards.

Perpetua's written story is the oldest one recorded by a woman. She had asked her jailer to finish recording her final moments, partly so her son would understand why she died for Jesus. The jailer, named Pudens, wrote of her death in the arena. He was so moved by her faith that he later became a Christian too.

Her time in the arena was supposed to strike fear into people to prevent them from becoming Christians. But when Perpetua was thrown by the wild bull over and over again, and trampled, she consistently stood up saying, "I feel no pain." After the witnessing how God protected her in that way, many onlookers were amazed and became new converts to the Christian faith.

I have spent 24 years following Jesus. Perpetua only knew him for 2 years. Could I stand? Will I stand? She left her family, husband and child behind to follow Jesus. When asked if she was afraid, she said, "Yes, for physical pain, but not of death." She stood before the Roman government and declared, "I am a Christian" with boldness and confidence knowing that would seal her fate, and here I am nervous to share the gospel in a country where there is religious freedom! I walk into a store and bump into people all the time that want to talk to me about my many children. I think, "This is not a coincidence, I will share the gospel or ask them if they would like me to pray for them." But my heart begins to race, and I freeze. Sometimes the words come out, and sadly sometimes they do not.

Father in Heaven, I pray for boldness. I pray for a deeper faith. I pray for conviction. I pray that I will not be ashamed of the gospel. Forgive me. Help me to love as you love. Help me to weep over the lost as you weep. Help me to be a witness to all people everywhere I go. Help me to proclaim: "I love Jesus! I am a Christian!" without fear. May I shout the scripture: "For I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is the power of God that brings salvation to everyone who believes." (Romans 1:16) Amen.

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

How Bad is a Lie, Really?

My husband and I have worked hard to teach our children not to lie. (It has always been stunning to us how early lying begins in a little child). We have taught them to stand for the truth no matter what the consequence may bring. And to be honest, some of the situations where we have found them lying have almost been comical, but none-the-less they have been disciplined for their actions.  I have found my children lying even in a retelling of a simple experience they had. The exaggerations come flying out of their mouth, the  kids start laughing, but when they get a look from me, it all stops. They confess the parts that were exaggerated and then continue with their story. We've taught the children that exaggerating a story is a form of lying, especially when the audience hearing the story doesn't understand that it is a hyperbole. We have also taught them that there is no such thing as, 'a little white lie." There is no small lie or big lie-it's all lying. (And by the way, the person who told you, 'it's just a little white lie,' lied to you).  It's been a tough lesson for them and tough on us to keep on top of. So, how bad is a lie, really? Should I be going to all this effort and hard work to keep my children from lying?

Of course the answer is yes, but why? I went ahead and asked my children, "Why do you think lying is bad?" Some of the answers were predictable: "You'll get in trouble if you lie,"  "It's not nice," and "It's not Christian to lie," but some of the answers were more thought provoking: "It hurts others and yourself,"  "It hurts God," and "The Bible tells us not to." Okay, with that I thought I would look again at the Scriptures. What does God think about lying?

Immediately I went to Deuteronomy and checked the Ten Commandments and there it was, number nine: "You shall not give false testimony against your neighbor."  Not lying made the ten commandments, along with  murder, adultery, and stealing!"

This next Scripture got me in the heart when I read it twenty years or so ago and I've never forgotten it:
There are six things the LORD hates, seven that are detestable to him:
haughty eyes, a lying tongue, hands that shed innocent blood, a heart that devises wicked schemes, feet that are quick to rush into evil, a false witness who pours out lies, and a man who stirs up dissension among brothers." (Proverbs 6:16-19)
That is very clear and the words are very strong- "hate" and "detestable" Yup, I'd say lying is pretty bad in God's eyes. What about hurting others? Does lying really hurt others?

Scriptures says, "Like a club or a sword or a sharp arrow is one who gives false testimony against a neighbor. (Proverbs 25:18)

I will agree fully with that Scripture. The times in my life where I have been lied to or someone has given false testimony about me to another did hurt. It really did feel like someone hit me with a club. And it hasn't happened only once. I have many memories of people lying to me or lying about me that I could share, but I will tell you the story of the very first time I ever encountered an out-in-out lie.

I was five years old and my sister was seven. We got into an argument over something and we couldn't seem to settle it ourselves when my sister said, "I'm going to tell mommy." I honestly thought in my heart, "Yes, that is a great idea! No one hearing this story will believe how ridiculous she is being."  We ran down to find mom. My sister got to her first and preceded to tell my mother what had happened. As the words came out of her mouth my mind became completely twisted by her lies. I tried to tell the truth, but my mother would hear none of it. I was yelled at for the first time. I was blamed completely for the incident. I was punished. As we walked away my sister smiled at me. I asked her why she made up that whole story and her response was, "I knew mom would believe anything I said."

I think we will all agree that lying is wrong, Christian or not. So, why are people lying? It's not just children lying. In talking with adults I automatically believe every word they share with me. I have no reason to think that an adult would lie, but sadly adults do lie-Christians lie! ("Those who consider themselves religious and yet do not keep a tight rein on their tongues deceive themselves, and their religion is worthless." James 1:26)

I have actually had adults look me in the eyes and lie to me! I have also heard adults lying to other adults. (I only know they have lied because I was there and knew the truth). And of course I have had the opportunity to hear someone give false testimony about me to another, but that's not all, they did it right in front of me! It was quite shocking. (I have forgiven them- from my sister to the present).

So why lie? Are adults afraid of getting in trouble? I think some of them are. Why do they embellish a story? To gain more friends? I think some of them do. But at what cost? They are breaking the Ten Commandments, they are hurting others, loosing friends, (not gaining them) hurting themselves, and not maturing in God. Lying is a serious issue for children and adults. Scriptures tells us that all of us should watch our tongues, be careful of our words, and do not lie!

So, as hard as it is, I am going to keep teaching and training my children not to lie. Why? Because, as my children clearly and accurately stated, "It hurts others and yourself,"  "It hurts God," and "The Bible tells us not to."

Sunday, February 3, 2013

What is it About a Cuppa Coffee?

This was a big week for me. I had my regular scheduled responsibilities, plus: doctor appointments, ballet class for the girls, a new women's night-time Bible study to attend and on top of it all I made plans to have one dear friend come over on Tuesday afternoon and another come on Thursday afternoon for a cuppa coffee. You would think that with all that I was doing during the day and some evenings that I would not have pushed more into a very packed week, but gladly I did.

I didn't prepare a big luncheon or an elegant dinner, it was only coffee and dessert, that was the invitation and my friends came. What is it about a cuppa coffee?

My friend came in, the children ran off to play, and we talked with coffee in hand. We had nothing to do, but talk, catch up, laugh and share. For the little time we were going to be together we drank down our time while the coffee was hot.

It was so simple and yet so perfect. Yes, I cleaned or picked-up the house for my guests, but there was no stress because it was a friend coming over for coffee. (We even went upstairs so I could show her something- I wasn't worried at what she'd see!).

In the past I always thought I had to invite a friend over for lunch or dinner. And honestly, the thought of cleaning the house, thinking up the perfect lunch or dinner menu, cooking it and making it all was very stressful. But with coffee- there was not much to prepare, except to think about my friend and waiting anxiously for her to arrive. I loved it. I loved it so much that I think that this is going to be my new thing. Having a different friend and their children come over every week for coffee. Taking the time to catch up, minister, be ministered to, and love on a friend over a cup of coffee.

I think this is what Jesus did, don't you? He visited people and didn't worry about what He wore, or how clean their house was. Remember He told Martha to stop working and sit and listen. He went into so many homes and talked with people. Now,  I don't know if He drank coffee, or wine, or water, it doesn't matter. The point is He took time for people and that's what I want to do. I remember too many times when the children were younger (and even still sometimes) when life was hard how I'd wish for someone to invite me over for lunch or coffee. I didn't have it in me to invite anyone to my house, but how I longed to be invited. To be thought of, to be accepted, to be welcomed into a friend's home. Well, because I know how much I wanted it I am inviting others over just to love them.  I'm so excited about this new found adventure!

So, this week I'm inviting over two friends to come on the same day-I haven't asked them yet -hope they can make it!