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Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Help! I feel attacked!

 In all circumstances take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming darts of the evil one  Ephesians 6:16

We've seen how God supplies the breastplate of righteousness to protect our heart, the belt of truth that gives us confidence in our relationships with God, ourselves, and others, and shoes of peace to walk out the Gospel in the lives of those around us.  What about the shield of faith?  How exactly does it put out the flaming darts of the enemy of our soul?

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

All the single Mommies

This is a pat on the back to all the single Mommies in the world.  You are doing a great job.  Maybe there are some exceptions to that but all the singles Moms that I know are doing a really great job.  And I, for one, want to tell them so.

As I consider my friends that are solo in the parenting role, I realize that they are usually weary, often scared, and mostly lonely.  Yet I cannot recall a single one of them ever complaining or wishing they could check out of this job.  This role that they didn't sign up to do alone.  Whether by choice or circumstances, they have not only accepted this load but have embraced it.  And they are good at it.  And I am so proud to know every one of them.  So stinking proud of them.  What they are doing is really really really hard.  I don't think I could do it.  Seriously.  Wow.  Their path is steep and hard and long.  And lonely. 

Those of us with a cohort in this parenting thing,let's just think about it for a minute.  These gals (and I know there are some men that have to walk this path, too, so I also applaud them.  But for right now, I'm just thinking about my girlfriends) work all day.....so they can keep the lights on and pbj's on the table.  Then they come home and have no one to help slap the pbj's together and tag team to soccer practice, ballet class, and homework.  Then there's bedtime prep and hoping to remember to slip prayers in tonight cuz there wasn't time the last 47 nights when they had to referee the sibling wars and navigate the book bag contents and make sure there was something accessible the kids could wear the next day.  Clean might have to wait til next week.  Once that was done, there were bills to prioritize...as in which ones could wait til the next paycheck...then there would be prayers for a miracle.  Even a small one that would mean survival for a little bit longer. 

I know some Moms have to do all this and more even with a cohort...but, let's be real.  Sometimes we get a break.  Truly.  And we often get encouragement and support and at least someone else to discuss options with.  These Mommies don't.

When there's a sick baby, there's nobody to share the days off from work.  Or the night shift.  Or the decisions about care. Or the worry. No arms to hold them...or to hold them up. 

Nobody to say thank you.  Or tell them they are doing just fine and their kids are gonna be OK.  That's their main fear.  Not one of the single Mommies I know has ever worried about themselves but they admit to me their terror that they are not covering all the parenting bases.  Now, I know all Moms fret about that....but when there's Daddy in the picture, he's there to quell those fears and insist that the mistakes are not life-altering and to point out the good that we don't see in ourselves.  These single Mommies never hear that perspective.

So I'm gonna give it.  And I'm asking God to grant you grace and peace and strength...and hope. 

If you've got a single Mom in your circle, send her a text and tell her.  She's doing a great job.

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Lessons I want to be sure got through....

Several months ago, I posted a couple of lists of "just some things to tell the children".  My little tax deductions are moving more and more into adult life (marriage, parenthood, job interviews, college decisions, etc) and my Mommy-heart is aching for the days when they all sat at my breakfast room table 3x a day...every day.  Wondering if the really important stuff got through, sandwiched in between Latin and handwriting and Chemistry.  The real life lessons.  And most important of all - that they are my world and I love them nearly as much as I love Jesus and their Daddy.  Enough to make my heart nearly burst. 
Did those truths get through?  In the midst of chores and holidays and my mistakes?  I don't know.  So I am reposting the combined lists. My Chambers quartet - I love you!!

How well does your belt fit?

In keeping with the theme of our last couple of Wednesday's Word posts, today we will consider another piece of the armor God has provided to keep us from injury -- our belt of truth.

Ephesians 6:14  Stand therefore, having fastened on the belt of truth.    Sounds like this belt helps us stand....how so?

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Heart health

Living a life of faith is the most wonderful path possible, I am convinced.  But that doesn't mean it's easy.  Sometimes - lots of times - it's downright hard.  Our goals seem to often collide with those of the world around us, resulting in stress.  The enemy of our souls is clearly in opposition to a life of faith, which means continual conflict.  Not to mention the war going on inside us, the struggle to think the right things, do the right things, stand for the right things.  More stress.  More conflict.

God doesn't leave us defenseless.  Ephesians 6:10-18 explains how He equips us to successfully wage the wars we will inevitably face.  Not that we get to avoid the war, mind you.  But how to avoid injury and defeat.

Last week we noted our shoes of peace.  I hope that encouraged us all to walk in directions we might otherwise not have taken.  Today, let's see what the breastplate of righteousness can mean for us in the battles..........

Sunday, October 13, 2013

Couple more that sound yummy.....

Crockpot ravioli casserole from Mary

1.5 lbs ground beef, browned
1 onion, chopped
1 clove garlic, minced
1 15 oz can tomato sauce
1 tsp each oregano and Italian seasoning

Put in crockpot for 6-7 hours
Then add for 30 minutes:
10 oz frozen spinach (or fresh)
16 oz. bowtie pasta, cooked and drained
1/2 cup parmesan cheese
1 1/2 cups mozzarella cheese


Creamy Chicken Pasta from Brionne

2 cups uncooked pasta (penne or ziti)
4 chicken breasts
1 can chicken broth
8 oz cream cheese
1 pkg frozen chopped spinach, thawed and drained
1 tsp chopped garlic
1/2 tsp salt and 1 tsp pepper
3 chopped roma tomatoes
1/2 cup parmesan cheese

Cook pasta.  Slice chicken into 1 inch cubes.  Cook chicken in large skillet with 1/2 chicken broth until no longer pink.  Add cream cheese, spinach, as much remaining broth as needed, garlic, salt and pepper.  Heat 3-5 minutes until cream cheese melts.  Add tomatoes.
Toss with drained pasta and cheese.

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Update of Love for my Living Letters

With the whole gang here, I'm in cooking mode!  So I've got an update on Love for my Living Letters - check it out (especially the peach pound cake recipe.....)

Click here


NOTE - This link is currently inoperative - I'm working on it and I'll let you know as soon as I figure it out.  Sorry!!!!






https://www.dropbox.com/s/1ywkj3xxyvq9eg8/Love%20for%20my%20Living%20Letters.docx?dl=0https://www.dropbox.com/s/1ywkj3xxyvq9eg8/Love%20for%20my%20Living%20Letters.docx?dl=0

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Recipes :)

Cream Cheese Spinach Stuffed Chicken Rolls - from Amanda

Ingredients
o 6 boneless chicken breast halves
o 1 (8 ounce) packages cream cheese
o 1/2 cup cooked spinach, well drained
o 1 tablespoon minced garlic
o 1/8 teaspoon nutmeg
o seasoning salt and pepper ( or use cayenne)
o 2 large eggs ( mixed with 2 teaspoon water)
o 1 1/2 cups dry unseasoned breadcrumbs
o 1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese
o 1/3 cup melted butter
o 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder


Directions
1. Heat oven to 375 degrees.
2. Flatten the chicken breast to about 1/4-inch thickness.
3. In a large bowl, mix together cream cheese, spinach, garlic, nutmeg, seasoning salt and pepper (or cayenne pepper) until well combined.
4. Mix the dry breadcrumbs with Parmesan cheese in a shallow bowl; set aside.
5. Mix together the melted butter with garlic powder; set aside.
6. Spoon equal amounts of mixture across the narrow end of each breast.
7. Roll up jelly-roll style, and secure with toothpicks.
8. Dip the stuffed breast into the egg, then roll into the dry breadcrumb mixture.
9. Place into a buttered baking dish, seam-side down.
10. Drizzle with butter/garlic mixture.
11. Bake for about 30 minutes.

These shoes were made for walkin'

 and having shod your feet with the preparation of the gospel of peaceEphesians 6:15

We've all been admonished to "walk a mile in their moccasins" in order to understand someone else's point of view.  Good suggestion.  But we are exhorted in Scripture to walk in a different manner.  Our feet are to be shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace.  Let's unpack that verse....

First of all, this verse is in the midst of the passage sometimes referred to as "The Christian's Dress for Success"  -- putting on the armor of God so that we can successfully withstand the attacks of the enemy.  What do shoes have to do with it?

Well, the writer of this epistle is drawing on a picture quite familiar to the readers of his day -- that of the Roman soldier.  The image evoked here would be of thick shoes, strapped onto the feet of the warrior.  The bottom of the shoes would be studded with iron nails which provided better traction on rugged terrain as well as protection from razor sharp spikes stuck in the ground as enemy traps.  The shoes were strapped on with secure binding so that they wouldn't come loose in the battle.

The Gospel of Peace prepares the Christian to walk successfully in the battle, to endure the rugged trail, to avoid injury from the traps set by the enemy.  But how?  This Gospel of Peace is not referring to our peace with God (that's taken care of by the breastplate of righteousness...but that's another post).  No, the Gospel of Peace is referring to our relationship with others. 

The counsel given here is that having peace with others is a key to victory in our walk of life.  Peace, reconciliation, that is possible because we have peace with God ourselves. 

When there is not peace with others, we are prone to stumble along the trail.  To get cut by the spikes set out by the enemy of our souls.  To be unable to walk or stand, sustaining injury.  Practically speaking, this looks like bitterness towards a sister.  Hard-heartedness towards a neighbor.  Avoidance of a former friend.  Private pains of loneliness, feelings of rejection, depression over unmet needs, isolation.

Maybe we need to strap on the shoes of peace and walk to someone today for reconciliation.  If this brings a name or two to your mind, I hope you'll walk on, sister.  Walk on.  Victory's in sight - for you - not to mention what it will do for your comrade.

Sunday, October 6, 2013

Savory Crescent Squares


Got some ideas coming in!  Here's one for tonight and I'll post more tomorrow.  Merci, my cooking friends, merci!!! :)

Christy's Chicken Crescent Squares

INGREDIENTS


3 oz. pkg. cream cheese, softened
1/4 tsp. salt
3 T. melted margarine
1/8 tsp. pepper
2 cups cooked, cubed chicken (approximately 3 boneless breasts equal a cup)
2 T milk
1 T chopped chives or onion
1 T pimento
8 oz. Pillsbury Crescent rolls - 1 can makes 4 chicken squares (I use the reduced fat crescent rolls and can't tell a difference)
3/4 cup seasoned croutons, crushed

INSTRUCTIONS


1. Blend cream cheese and 2 tablespoons margarine until smooth. Add chicken, salt, pepper, milk, chives or onion, and pimento. Mix well. Separate dough into 4 rectangles. Press perforations to seal in each rectangle. Spoon 1/2 cup meat mixture into the center of each rectangle. Pull 4 corners of dough to top center over mix, twist slightly and seal edges. Brush tops with remaining 1 tablespoon melted margarine; cover top and sides of each square with the crouton crumbs. Bake on un-greased cookie sheet at 350 degrees for 20 - 25 minutes until golden brown. Serves 4.

Need a little help from my friends

OK so it's not (quite) life or death but this is an SOS that I'll bet every woman can relate to.  I've hit a brick wall when it comes to what to have for dinner.  I am completely aware that the internet puts all sorts of menu planning options at my fingertips but I want ideas from real people like YOU.  What did you feed your family for dinner last week and what are you planning for this coming one?  No take out suggestions please (I can cite those in my sleep!!).  I'm looking for simple, inexpensive ideas using ground beef or chicken.  No Tazmanian gingerroot - I don't have time to shop for it.

Please give me some ideas.  NOTE:  If you receive this via email, I do not receive your response if you try to "reply" to the email.  You'll need to comment on FB or on the actual blog site.  Otherwise, your life-saving ideas will wander around in cyber space and never reach me.  And my family will starve.  Or maybe have chicken enchiladas or spaghetti again.  Again.   Again.

Please help.

Thanks.

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Treasures in the darkness

Have you ever noticed that some people have a depth that sets them apart from other folks?  For some, it is manifested in a quiet compassion that not only feels the pain of others but especially moves to meet their needs.  For others, it's insight that surpasses prevailing wisdom.  Or it might be a heart that seems to always notice the needs of every situation and matches with a willingness to serve. But always with an attitude that never seeks to be applauded or even noticed.  Confident humility. 

I've studied these folks and found a common denominator.  Each one has known difficulty, brokenness, disappointment, heartache, pain.  Even defeat.  But then survival.  Sustaining endurance.

That's where the depth of character came from.  Isaiah 45:3 says "And I will give you the treasures of darkness, and hidden wealth of secret places, in order that you may know that I am The Lord, the God of Israel".  Treasures aren't found lying around on top of the ground.  They are located deep down, in dark places.  To get to them, one has to go to the depths, to the darkness, through the hard spots. 

Treasures that only come from the darkness.  Wealth that is hidden but shared with those that go into the deep places.  Places immersed in trials or heartaches or pain. 

We don't usually choose to go into life's hard places.  But maybe if we remember they are the only places that these treasures can be found, we won't run away from them when God takes us there.

Treasures in the darkness.  Getting to know that He is The Lord.  Treasure indeed.