Tuesday, March 29, 2011


How sweet it is!
Sound the bell (even if it is a cowbell I got as a door prize from Chick-Fil-A).
Should we cook up a little something special to celebrate?

It has been one whole year since I started blogging. It's funny how something I started on a whim so I could be accountable on a diet actually has become so important. Actually the blogiversary (I know it's not really a word, but I like it) was yesterday, but it was an unexpectedly busy day and I never got time to finish my post.

I went back and read that very first post and was amazed, I guess I should be depressed, at how little has changed for me. I'm still struggling with my dieting. I had to laugh because the day I started the blog Deb and I had begun a no flour, no sugar diet. I didn't last so long on that one! Even then I was bemoaning my love to bake and my sweet tooth. But here it is a year (and several pounds) later and guess what I've finally had to do to get even a modicum of success...step away from the sugar.

I'm still gardening in my same little plot of suburbia. My vegetable boxes are full and the patio is lined with containers full of peppers, herbs, and other veggies. The peach trees we planted last year have really grown and I'm hoping for a good crop of peaches this summer. The blueberries are ripening and there's squash growing in the flowerbed. Thus begins my battle with the bunny rabbits to see who gets to eat them. They usually win the blueberry/squash battle, but I plant them and hope anyway.

Y'all would laugh if you could see some of my containers. I got these huge terracotta pots at a yard sale. Well, my mom got them and then passed them to me. We're guessing they were used at some chain smokers' wedding because painted on the side of each one in pretty silver script they say..."Butt Pott". Seriously? Who does that? These pots are going to get a paint job as soon as it quits raining around here. I just needed to go ahead and get my stuff planted. If I plant my jalapenos in a butt pott should I call them poopers instead of peppers? If so, I'm also growing tootmatoes, oh,no-ions and rad...well, we'd better still call them radishes.

Even if I did accidentally stumble into blogging, it has been such a great experience. I've talked with people from all around the world and been blessed to share a little of my life with you all. Whether it's cooking a recipe, sitting together to study the Bible, or laughing at our craziness, you've let me have a part in your world. And for that I am eternally grateful.

Happy blogiversary!

Oops, almost forgot Rednesday. Visit everyone over at http://suelovescherries.blogspot.com/

Monday, March 28, 2011

Rainy Day in Georgia

We've gotten over 4 inches of rain at my house in the last 48 hours. I guess I won't be working out in the yard today. I'd have to swim to the vegetable boxes. I'm thankful for the rain. We needed it.

Since it's a dreary, rainy day I thought I'd make some soup for supper. That's something quick and easy, which is nice because I have lots of cleaning up to do from the weekend. How can five people make such a mess when we were hardly at home?

If you need extra inspiration to get going this morning, check out Aunt Ruthie's (no she's not really my aunt, that's just what she calls herself) Sugar Pie Farmhouse blog. She's in my list of favorites on the right. It was extra good today and just what I needed to get me going this morning.

What else are we having besides soup? Let's think on it.

Monday--Homemade Chicken Noodle Soup, rolls, fresh strawberries
Tuesday--Taco Salad
Wednesday--Baked Pork Chops, Mashed Potatoes, Green Beans, Rolls
Thursday--Lasagna, Salad, Garlic Bread
Friday--Grilled Sausage, Mac & Cheese, Strawberry Pretzel Salad
Saturday--Homemade Pizza

Chicken Noodle Soup Express
I have to double this recipe for my family. The kids really like it and eat seconds, sometimes thirds. Plus, it makes a good lunch the next day.

3 1/2 c. chicken broth
pepper to taste
1 carrot, sliced
1 stalk celery, sliced
1/2 c. uncooked egg noodles
1 c. cubed, cooked chicken

Mix broth, pepper, carrot and celery in a pot. Bring to a boil. Stir in noodles and chicken. Cook over medium heat for 10 minutes. Serves 4.

Friday, March 25, 2011

Who Do You Think You're Looking At?

Last week in our study on peace we talked about how important it was to seek peace with others. Not how easy, how important. Peace isn't easy. It takes effort.

So, how do we learn to be peaceable instead of posturing? Let's turn to I Thessalonians 5:12-13 to find out. "But we request of you, brethren, that you appreciate those who diligently labor among you, and have charge over you in the Lord and give you instruction, and that you esteem them very highly in love because of their work. Live in peace with one another."

The way to live peaceably, to make peace, is by appreciating and esteeming them highly. That sounds like a sappy answer at first glance, but it's in the Bible and we need to give it a shot. First, we have to appreciate those laboring among us (other believers).

But we can't notice what others are doing if we are focused on all we have to do. How often do we grumble and complain over all we have to do when others seem to be just taking things easy? Why are we asked to do everything, be on every committee, when Miss So-and-So never lifts a finger?

That's when we've got the Martha Syndrome--not Martha Stewart, Martha from the Bible in Luke 10:38-42. She's the one who whined to Jesus about her sister not doing her share. We cannot get the Martha Syndrome. Service from a self-righteous woman is not really service at all.

We do not know how much effort it took for someone else to just show up. It could have been ten times greater than all the things we had to do in our little assignments. Make peace with the fact that what you are called to do is never going to look equal to what others are called to do. Rejoice in what tasks you are given. Let God worry about what the others are doing.

That's a lot to ask. But there's more. We need to go beyond merely minding our own business. We do need to stop looking around and comparing jobs, that's true. But we also need to start looking around and noticing, appreciating, the efforts of others.

We're still looking. We're just shifting our focus from 'why aren't you doing?' to 'what are you doing?'. Is there a new mom with other little children? Appreciate the fact that she actually showed up with her teeth brushed and no baby spit on her clothes. That took great effort.

How quickly we forget the different stages of life. Is there an older lady who constantly voices her opinion? Appreciate the fact that she has many years of experience from which to draw and try to listen and learn. Remember that there are many things we still need to know. Sometimes simply being listened to is a great blessing.

Appreciation of others is possible only when we stop looking at ourselves and all we have to accomplish and we start looking at others and seeing who they really are. Our prayer should be that we would be able to look on others with the eyes of Christ, able to see them and love them as He does.

Next week we'll work on the other part, how to esteem someone. This shift in focus is enough to accomplish in one week.

So, who are you looking at? More importantly, how are you looking at them?

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Now for a Few Things from the Outside

By the time I was able to get outside to take pictures, there were lots of shadows and wasn't a lot I could photograph. I'll just have to share some more another day. This first one is of one of my azalea bushes. I have several. They are all over our town in masses. It's a really pretty place to live right now.

This tree stands between my house and my neighbors. Brenda planted it and I'm not sure what kind it is, something Japanese I think. Right now it's shedding its flowers so every time you walk outside you're walking in a soft pink rain.

These little purple flowers don't like getting their picture taken. Every time I try it doesn't turn out right. They are a darker purple than they look with a bright blue center, a nice little addition beside the step.

Anyone in the mood for salad? I usually plant buttercrunch but this year I tried the gourmet blend. It's been really good. Maybe next year I'll plant both.

I thought I'd lost my grapevine over the winter, but it surprised me and came back with a vengeance. We've got to slow down and make it a permanent home. For now it sits contentedly in the pot.

That's it for me today. Can you guess where I'm off to this morning? Picking strawberries! Yummy, yummy springtime.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

What Time Is It?

I seem to be running later and later lately in getting my blog done. If I don't do it before everyone else wakes up, it's hard for me to make it back here. Once they all wake up it's go, go, go. But I'm slowing down a minute to soak up some spring with you. Don't you just love this picture? It is a vintage postcard I found in an antique shop while visiting one day with Jen from Jennalane. Hopefully I'll be getting my own little chicks soon. Meredith's requested the ones that lay colored eggs.
So, what time is it? IT'S SPRING TIME!!!

I'll show you around to some of the spring things I've set out. I don't have a lot of spring decorations, more of my time and energy are taken up outdoors with gardening these days, but I do have a few things to see. I found this adorable bunny made from an old quilt at a yard sale a couple of years ago. I really like him.

The changing of the weather calls for the changing of the throw pillows around the house. Here's one in our old rocker.

It's a bowl full of bunnies...and eggs but you can't really see them at this angle. I picked these up at a craft sale in Florida. For some reason it struck my fancy to stick them in the bowl this year.

Meredith made this hatching chick in preschool. It's egg has real crushed shells on it that have been colored. From his expression, I don't think he was quite ready to come out.

This little bunny is a little worse-for-the-wear. I think it's from Riley's preschool days. They like to display things they've made. I added this picture to give you teachers an idea for Easter party treat bags. If it were me, I'd use those googly eyes and pipe cleaners for whiskers. Looks like the glue is showing on his nose...or maybe that's just the pollen. It's giving everyone a runny nose.

A basket of hydrangeas hanging by the door. Well that concludes our tour for today. Maybe tomorrow I'll walk you around outside and show you what's new. So what do we say to spring now that it's shown up?

Let's see what other great spring things we can find over at http://suelovescherries.blogspot.com/

Monday, March 21, 2011

Pint Sized PR Agent

Apparently I'm popular enough to have a PR agent. I had one and didn't even know it. She's the best there is and good and getting my "talents" out there. She's also six years old.

At our church we have a snack time between Sunday School and church service. I had made some blueberry pound cake to take since I have lots of blueberries in the freezer and I need to use them up before this summer.

My pint sized PR agent was overheard telling her friend's dad, "Try some of my Mommy's world famous blueberry bread. It's delicious."

Now I'm not sure how my "bread" got to be world famous, but I appreciate her effort and confidence in my cooking. I wonder if she'll try to get me on Oprah or Letterman...

Here's what other world famous dishes I'll be preparing this week.
Grilled burgers, home fries, applesauce
Chicken Stir Fry
London Broil, Stewed Tomatoes & Rice, Salad
Pork Chop Bake, Au Gratin Potatoes, Steamed Broccoli

Well, this starlet is off to scrub bathtubs. I'll try not to let the success go to my head.

Friday, March 18, 2011

Peace, Part VII

I told you last week it was going to start getting a little stickier. In our Friday talks on peace we have talked about peace with God and are now on peace with others. The last couple of weeks were on dealing with other believers who are blatantly doing wrong. Here comes the hard part, the side of judging that has more to do with self preference than sin.

Right at the start let me state that there are certain things that are undeniable absolutes in Scripture. Those are not what we are discussing. Fundamentals of faith are not open to what we feel like doing or what the world around us is calling acceptable. That said, let's carry on.

There are certain things that for one of us God says "no" to while He allows it for someone else. The person God says no to doesn't need to go correct the person who is free in Christ to carry on. And the person who is free doesn't need to worry about the person who can't seem to let things go. That is what Romans 14:16 is trying to tell us.

Here's the part where it gets prickly. Just because there's a way we prefer doesn't mean that's how it has to be done. This is where we have to make peace, because peace certainly doesn't come naturally when it comes to going against our preferences.

But we must be so careful to do this. The friction created by rubbing against "my way" syndrome has set many a fire of divisiveness to blazing in our churches, leaving many spiritually and emotionally burned to the ground.

What sort of things am I talking about? Someone might go to the movies while another thinks it's wrong. Someone might feel the need to give up eating meat while others enjoy a steak. A friend once felt convicted not to have a Christmas tree. Did I call her Ebenezer Scrooge? Did I take down my tree just because she did? Of course not!

I'll give you an example from my own life. I am a big picture girl. If there's a project to do, I see it in my mind complete and finished. I simply work from that mental picture to make it become a reality.

Nothing raises my hackles more than someone nitpicking over details. To go over and over what could be done for each and every point makes me feel absolutely claustrophobic. It honestly makes me want to run screaming from the room.

I am decisive.

I am able to see all those details in my mind at one time.

I am also not perfect.

I am also not always right.

My own way is not the only way and not always the right way.

God in His infinite wisdom requires that this world be a mixture of many different kinds of people and requires us to work together to accomplish His tasks.

I don't get to run screaming from the room no matter how much I might want. Sometimes those questions regarding details are necessary.

If I go my own way all the time, pretty soon I'm going it alone.

It isn't possible to build each other up when we're building by ourselves.

Remember what Jesus said in His sermon on the Mount in Matthew 5:9, "Blessed are the peacemakers, for that shall be called the sons of God." Isn't that what we're after? We want God's blessing. We want to be recognizable as His child.

We get those things by being peacemakers. We have to make peace. We have to go after it.

It reminds me of the scene at the end of the first Lord of the Rings movie, Fellowship of the Ring. It's the scene where the orcs are running through the woods on their way to find those in the fellowship. We must throw down our preferences, put on our war paint, and hunt down fellowship.

Now orcs aren't the prettiest things to be compared to, and in the movie are on the bad side, but we do want to emulate their tenacity. Why do we have to be so aggressive about peace? Because we have an enemy out there that is ripping and tearing away at the body of Christ!

And he's doing it one carpet sample, song style, and clothing choice at a time.

What he cannot accomplish from the outside, he happily lets us do to each other from within. We have to slash through self. If we lack peace as a body, we are a laughing stock to the world.

Next week, how to be peaceful instead of preferential.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

St. Patrick's Day

I found this little Leprechaun wandering around the house. I asked him what how he thought his special day would turn out, would there be blue skies and spring weather? Our little Leprechaun friend is telling us that it's looking like a good day. Isn't he dapper in his little pink bow tie?

Apparently the pot of gold is to be found under a mushroom. That sounds about how it would go for me--actually find a pot of gold but it's about the size of a thimble. But wait, looks like maybe this is candy gold...with maybe a cherry filling. Chocolate covered cherry gold, maybe it is my kind of treasure after all.

Thanks to Meredith for her artistic contributions. =)
Happy St. Patrick's Day y'all.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Talkin' Turkey This Tuesday

First of all, how do you like my little turkey? I thought the costume turned out well, especially considering I was just making it up as I went along. I think those craft foam sheets are one of the best inventions. I can work wonders with them. They're my 'go to' resource for costumes, crazy hats, etc.

The other turkey to talk about is the one I cooked for supper last night. It turned out great. Nice and brown and very flavorful. The kids really liked it too. I'll share the recipe with you. I'm not sure where this recipe originated. I clipped it out of something, but it's on cardstock, so it wasn't a magazine. I really need to start writing it down as I clip things out.

Herbed Turkey Breast

1/2 c. butter
1/4 c. lemon juice
2 Tbsp. soy sauce
2 Tbsp. finely chopped green onions
1 Tbsp. rubbed sage
1 tsp. dried thyme
1 tsp. dried marjoram
1/4 tsp. black pepper
1 turkey breast

In a small saucepan, combine the first eight ingredients; bring to a boil. Remove from the heat. Place turkey in a shallow roasting pan; baste with butter mixture. Bake, uncovered, at 325 degrees for 1 1/2 to 2 hours or until meat thermometer reads 170 degrees, basting every 30 minutes.

Monday, March 14, 2011

Musings and Menus

When I was having my quiet time this morning, I read a verse in Psalms that I thought was a good one for us to think on at this time of year. "How great is Your goodness, which You have stored up for those who fear You, which You bestow in the sight of men on those who take refuge in You." Psalm 31:19

I liked this verse because it reminded me of spring. Winter is often bleak and barren. We grow weary from the lack of beauty. We forget that goodness is stored up, waiting to burst forth at its appointed time.

The same is true for us as well. Sometimes our lives are bleak and barren. Sometimes there is winter in our souls. Dear one, do not lose heart. God is storing up goodness.

Just like the flowers, sometimes we need a winter in order to come back bigger and stronger than before. Spring does come. It requires a little Sonshine.

Now for menus. Hmmm... Maybe this week we'll experiment with some recipes I've clipped and saved in my handy, dandy notebook. Oh no, shouldn't have said that. Now I have an overwhelming urge to sing "Here's the Mail". I'm kinda glad my days of preschool television viewing are done.

Monday--Herbed Turkey Breast, Mashed Potatoes, Carrots, Rolls
Tuesday--Italian Meatball Packets, Mac & Cheese, Fresh fruit
Wednesday--Spiced Chicken with Tangerine Sauce, Rice, Salad
Thursday--Breakfast for Supper
Friday--Grilled Fish, Roasted Potatoes, Creamed Corn, Rolls
Saturday--homemade pizza

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Favorite Pink Pics from Louise's

I've been sharing some pictures this week from my visit with my good friend Louise. She has the most beautiful yard, and down here spring is at its peak. I saved some of the pinkest ones just for y'all.

I'm linking up with other Pink Saturday participants over at http://howsweetthesound.typepad.com/ Be sure to visit. You always find the most interesting blogs there.

Friday, March 11, 2011

Peace, Part VI

We're trudging along in our series dealing with peace. If you haven't joined us before, you can click on the bottom of the post where it says 'Peace Series' and find all the posts we've had so far. We started off talking about peace with God and are now beginning to work on peace with others.

Let's backtrack just a second to a verse we read last time. James 3:18 "The seed whose fruit is righteousness is sown in peace by those who make peace." There was one more thing I wanted us to see here. It is sown by those who make peace. It doesn't say those who are peacable, it says those who make peace.

Peace doesn't come naturally. We have to make it.

We have to make peace with our circumstances.

We have to make peace with the fact that we are not in charge of the whole world.

We have to make peace with other people.

We have to make peace with our bodies and our mortality.

We have to make peace with time, because I can guarantee you that things rarely happen on our timetable.

We have make peace.

Peace requires our active participation and, if necessary, our sacrifice of liberties. Turn to Romans 14:16-19 and let's take a look.

"Therefore do not let what is for you a good thing be spoken of as evil; for the kingdom of God is not eating and drinking, but righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit. For he who in this way serves Christ is acceptable to God and approved by men. so then let us pursue the things which make for peace and the building up of one another."

The verses in Romans previous to these deal with judging one another. Well, the quickest way for us NOT to make peace or build each other up is by judging. Now I'm not saying we should just let everyone do whatever they feel like and never say a word even if it goes against what the Bible teaches. No, there are two separate issues that we must keep in mind and there is a distinct difference in the two. One is meant to bind up, the other always tears down.

Are we the sin police? Do we go around checking under bedskirts and snooping through closets looking for sin in someone's lif that we can expose? Absolutely not. But, if sin becomes evident, it is our job to pray for that person. And then, if necessary, we prayerfully, prayerfully approach. The Bible gives us strict guidelines we are to follow when taking such a course.

Christ tells us in Matthew 18:15-17, "If your brother (that's a fellow believer)sins, go and show him his fault in private; if he listens to you, you have won your brother. But if he does not listen to you, take one or two more with you, so that by the mouth of two or three witnesses every fact may be confirmed. If he refuses to listen to them, tell it to the church; and if he refuses to listen even to the church, let him be to you as a Gentile and a tax collector."

This is rarely the method used for rebuke, but it can be very powerful. It should never be undertaken lightly or with relish. But it is at times necessary to bring back a fellow believer who has walked away from his faith and is caught in a stranglehold of sin. Turning a blind eye to this kind of sin is a deterrent for those who remain faithful. We have been called to address it, unpleasant though it may be.

Next week we'll talk about the flip side of judging--personal preference.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Projects, Projects, Projects...and a Few More Pictures

I shouldn't have said anything about looking for a project to do. I was talking about a decorating project. But we're bogged down in school projects. Here's Jack's cake of Australia. Last night I couldn't get the Ayer's Rock to look right and gave up and used a plastic one. This morning my husband suggested a Rice Krispie treat, so there I was at 5 a.m. icing a "rock". Last night I also filmed Riley's "infommercial" for his book report and helped with the layout of his Venn's diagram on 12th century Korea.
Y'all better really love this picture. I went through great peril to bring it to you. I was standing there taking this and looked down at a bush next to me--there was the biggest, fattest snake. You've never seen a girl walk backward so fast!

That's it for me today. I'm off to do some more spring cleaning and sew a turkey costume for tomorrow night's talent show. A mom's schoolwork is never done.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

A Walk Most Beautiful

There aren't enough pictures to begin to show you the beauty of my friend Louise's garden. Every little space is filled with something waiting to be discovered. I took LOTS of pictures to share. I'll have more tomorrow. And the next day. And probably the next day. Enjoy.

She made this herself from concrete and broken dishes!

I love this stump in the flowers.

The Easter Bunny is checking on things.

The architect of her own little Eden, Mrs. Louise.


Red Camelia

Cinnamon Fern

Succulents and pretty pink flowers

A view through the bushes

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

A Few New

First, I wanted to share with you a new blog I found. Well actually, our sweet friend BJ from Sweet Nothings found her and shared. Now I'm sharin' with y'all. LOVE the things she makes. It gives me project fever. The blog is Creative Ambitions and you can find a link to it on the right side of my blog.

I finally finished cleaning in Meredith's room and getting out all her warm weather clothes, putting away the winter ones. That was a big job. She has more clothes than any other girl I know. I don't have to go buy them. They breed in the closet. Now maybe I'll get to tackle a new project.

I also went to one of my favorite garden stores yesterday and got some more plants. Today I'm going to dig in the dirt. Hooray! Broccoli, tomatoes, peppers, lettuce, cilantro, basil...

I did manage to load some pictures for you today.

Have a great day!

Monday, March 7, 2011

A Time to Plant

Like it says in the Bible, there's a time to plant...and I did manage to plant a few things at the end of last week. Admittedly, I was a little late. Around here, the sayin' goes you've got to have your potatoes in the ground before Valentine's Day. I didn't quite make that cut off, but I planted them just the same. We'll see.

I planted red potatoes, onions, garlic and asparagus in a couple of my vegetable boxes. My peach trees have blossoms, the grape vine is putting out new leaves (which is a good thing since I thought I'd killed it) and the blueberries have already blossomed and are getting ready to make fruit. One little blossom is still hanging on.

There are lots of other things to plant still--tomatoes, cucumbers, peppers, squash, watermelon...maybe tomorrow. For today, I'm stuck inside cleaning. The whirlwind of a weekend we had left a monster of a mess.

What's for supper?

Monday--Crockpot Chicken, Biscuits, Fresh Strawberries

Tuesday--Chili, Cornbread

Wednesday--Spaghetti, Salad, Garlic Bread

Thursday--Ham and Scalloped Potatoes, Glazed Carrots, Rolls


Saturday--London Broil, Peas, Buttered Corn, Rolls


Here's the recipe for tonight's supper.

Crockpot Chicken

4 carrots, sliced
1 onion, chopped
1 celery rib, sliced
1 can greeen beans
5 small red potatoes, quartered
4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
4 strips bacon, cooked and crumbled
1 1/2 c. hot water
2 chicken bouillon cubes
1 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. thyme
1/2 tsp. basil
pinch of pepper

In a crockpot, layer the first seven ingredients in order. Combine the remaining ingredients; pour over the top. Do not stir. Cook on low 6-8 hours. You can change the seasonings to suit your taste. I'm spicing mine up a little tonight.

I had some pictures of my plants to show y'all but my computer is not cooperating with uploading them. Maybe tomorrow.

Saturday, March 5, 2011

I Guess It's the Real Thing After All

The weather here turned warm about halfway through February. The trees all burst into bloom. Things began to get a little greener. I kept waiting for another blast of cold to send it all withering. It hasn't come. I guess I'm having a hard time believing that the winter really is over. I can just let out a big breath and enjoy the spring.

So many friends are barely seeing the snow melt. We have to mow our grass today. I thought I'd share a few more pictures for those of you still shivering.

These are the first little blossoms on our peach trees. We planted four of them last year.

Some pretty pink snapdragons.

Be sure to visit the other Pink Saturday posts at http://howsweetthesound.typepad.com/

Friday, March 4, 2011

Peace, Part V...Peace with Others

I've said before that in studying this fruit of the Spirit, we could call it Peace-The Prickly Fruit. Kind of like that cactus looking fruit you see at the grocery store, on display but I've never seen anyone actually pick it up and buy it. Well, we're picking ours up. Better put on some gloves before you cut into it, because it's gonna prick you.

You may be thinking I'm just saying that. So far, our talks have been mostly about our nobility through Christ and the niceties that come from our relationship in Him. That's not prickly, it's praiseworthy! The prickly part comes when we put that into practice. And here we are.

We'll begin by first digging into the truths found in James 3:17-18. "But the wisdom from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, reasonable, full of mercy and good fruits, unwavering, without hypocrisy. And the seed whose fruit is righteousness is sown in peace by those who make peace."

First, we see that wisdom itself is peaceable. Notice that it didn't say intelligence is peaceable. Intelligence and wisdom are two different things. Many who are intelligent have no peace. You can be highly intelligent and not the least bit wise. (Oh, don't let me get up on that soapbox today. Hoppin' down.)

Next, righteousness is sown in peace by those who make peace. What in the world does that mean? Well, let's put our overalls on and think like a farmer. Would we, as farmers, just throw our seed on any old patch of dirt and call it a day? No!

I was outside yesterday planting some early things. Before I could put the onions and potatoes in the ground, I had to prepare the bed. I had to work up the soil, breaking up clumps, pulling out sticks and debris. I had to add more compost to it. It took effort. It took thought.

Planting takes preparation. If we eventually want to reap the fruit of righteousness, we have to break up our ground in peace. Why does it say in peace? Because we, as farmers, cannot plant the seed until we have cut through some earth, pulled some weeds, and gotten a little dirty.

It's a hard row to hoe to get that seed in the ground. Remember, we're breaking up our ground. We turn up some ugly truths about ourselves. There may be some unpleasant confrontations with other believers. The weeds of the world are constantly trying to choke out our effort.

We must sow in peace. The peace of Him who called us, the peace of the God of peace. When we try to sow in our own strength and in our own time our rows are crooked and our plows get bent by hidden boulders. And besides, when we plant in our own strength, the only thing we end up producing is self-righteousness. And that's definitely not what we're after.

When we sow in peace we take our time. We are careful to pay attention. And we can hear the voice of the Master Gardener.

We'll talk more about it next week. Bring your trowel and your gloves.

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Beans, Beans, Good for the Heart

I'm still reeling from a nasty stomach virus. On the up side, I lost three pounds in a day. I did want to share a little something with you though. I missed you all yesterday.

This is a recipe I found in Meta Given's Modern Encyclopedia of Cooking. Modern, by way of 1945. It's a great little set to have if you can find it. Packed full of recipes on just about every food, with basic ways of cooking to more elegant recipes.

Fresh Green Beans

1 1/2 lb fresh green beans
1 tsp. sugar
1/4 c. melted butter
5 small red potatoes, optional

Wash green beans in cold water. Snap ends. Place in a large pot of boiling salted water (1 tsp. to 1 qt water) along with potatoes, if desired. Cook uncovered until desired tenderness, 20-30 minutes. Drain; add sugar and butter. Stir and heat through.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Pucker Up for Something Sweet

Jack came home from school and told me he needed me to bake for school tomorrow. Apparently they have to bring something that's a 3D shape, preferrably edible since it'll be after lunch and they'll like a snack. Hmmm... We looked through my book of recipes I've clipped out but haven't tried yet and he picked some little lemon cakes. We decided that a rectangular prism would be easiest.

I got this recipe from Pampered Chef. It calls for cooking it in six individual prep bowls in the microwave. You know me, I'm not good at following instructions. Seriously, it's true. Anyway, I don't have six little prep bowls (I'm not chef-y enough to feel the need to measure all my ingredients into little bowls before I start to cook. I feel the process of scrambling around in the kitchen in a mad fury counts as my exercise for the day). I also don't like cooking the cake in the microwave. Stuff's just never as good, at least to me. I made it in my six serving mini loaf pan and baked it in the oven. It turned out perfect.

Mini Glazed Lemon Cakes

2 Tbsp. butter, softened, divided
2 Tbsp. sugar
2 small lemons, divided
1 (9 oz.-that's the small one) bx of yellow cake mix
1 egg
1 (8 oz.) container sour cream

2 Tbsp. lemon juice (from lemon for cake)
2 Tbsp. butter
1/4 c. sugar

With 1 Tbsp. of the butter, grease the mini loaf pans then sprinkle evenly with the sugar. Thinly slice one of the lemons, being sure to remove any seeds. Place lemon slices in the bottom of each pan in a single layer.

Zest remaining lemon to measure 1 Tbsp. zest. Set lemon aside for glaze. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

In a microwable mixing bowl, melt remaining 1 Tbsp. butter on High for 15-20 seconds. Add lemon zest, cake mix, egg, and sour cream; whisk one minute or until smooth.

Divide batter between the six mini loaf pans. Bake at 350 degrees for 15-20 minutes, until a toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean. Cool in pan for 5 minutes.

Meanwhile, melt the butter for the glaze. Stir in the lemon juice and sugar; microwave on high 30-60 seconds or until boiling. To serve, gently tap the pan to release cakes. Invert onto serving tray. Drizzle glaze over cakes.

Next week's assignment? A cake in the shape of Australia. Who knew middle school was so yummy!