Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Muddling Through with Menus

I give up. I've been working and working at adding a video or even pictures and my blog is not cooperating with me. I think I might even have a couple of grey hairs to attribute to the process. I finally came to the conclusion that I'd forget it all and post anyway. A bland post with no pictures is better than no post at all. Right?

The menus for the week include yesterday's since I didn't get that far. Consider it a bonus idea.

Monday--Enchilada Bake, Corn, Jello
Tuesday--Beef Tips in Mushroom Gravy, Rice, Carrots, Rolls
Wednesday--Stuffed Shells, Tossed Salad, Garlic Bread
Thursday--Baked Chicken, Asparagus with Cheese Sauce, Candied Sweet Potatoes, Rolls
Friday--Pork Roast, Potato Supreme, Green Beans, Rolls
Saturday--Homemade Pizza

Things are also hectic right now with projects for the PTO. Next Monday I'll share some things (and, please Lord, some pictures) of what we've been doing for Teacher Appreciation Week.

Hopefully I'll be back later in the day to try ONCE AGAIN to load some pictures. I had lots of Easter pictures to share. Oh well, maybe next year. I'll get it all figured out one of these days.

Thanks for hanging in there with me!

Friday, April 22, 2011

Last Little Bit of Peace

Hi there. I haven't abandoned y'all this week. It's just been a rather hectic week, plus I'm having computer issues. I tried to upload pictures and/or a video for almost the entire day yesterday. After that, I could use a little peace myself.

This is our last week talking about peace. I'm not quite sure what we'll do next. Last week we ended by talking about our needs being met vs. God saying in Philippians that He'll meet all our needs.

Often times we're too busy stuffing the emptiness we feel full of the wrong things to give Him the room or the time to give us what we need. Psalm 27:14 says, "Wait for the Lord; be strong and take heart and wait for the Lord." Isaiah 30:18 also tells us, "Yet the Lord longs to be gracious to you; He rises to show you compassion for the Lord is a God of justice. Blessed are all who wait on Him!"

We don't want to wait on Him. We want what we want and we want it now! Stomp, stomp, stomp and a great big pout. Why? Why do we have to have such immediate gratification? Are we afraid He won't give us our fair share if we don't hurry up and take it? Are we afraid He's senile and will forget us? Are we afraid He doesn't really care at all?

It could be any of those we fear. It could be all of those that eat at us and cause us to doubt and rob us of peace. We must hold onto truth instead. Philippians 4:6-7 says, "Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God which surpasses all comprehension, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus."

We should not be anxious. What we should do is let Him know our troubles, for they surely come, but do so in a manner of praise, knowing He has the power to accomplish the job and the love that spurs Him to do it. When we're willing to do that, the peace that he supplies is beyond all understanding. We'll find that when we take our focus off "me, me, me" that He is actually better suited for the job of handling me than we are.

We focus on what we lack in material things or appearance or in personality. He sees what is best in us. He sees all the great things He created us to be. He sees all we are capable of being, all the possibilities that lay before us, and most importantly for believers, He sees His Son.

"'For I know the plans that I have for you,' declares the Lord, 'plans for welfare and not calamity to give you a future and a hope. Then you will call upon Me and come and pray to Me, and I will listen to you. You will seek Me and find Me when you search for Me with all your heart,'" Jeremiah 29:11-13.

It says 'search for me', as in God, not me the person. We don't need some self-help book or to go off in search of some inspirational guru to 'find ourselves'. We have all the help we need in one book and God knows right where we are.

Remember Isaiah 30:18? He longs to be gracious to you. He waits on high to have compassion on you. Long for Him and you will be blessed. This verse speaks to us beautifully of just how much God loves us and wants to provide for us, to bless us. He longs to bless us with His grace and compassion. The blessings flow when we long after Him as well.

We're going to close by reading I Thessalonians 5:23-24 one more time. May it be our prayer this week for ourselves and for each other. "Now may the God of peace Himself sanctify you entirely; and may your spirit and soul and body be preserved complete, without blame at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. Faithful is He who calls you, and He also will bring it to pass."

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Idiot Day

Have you ever had one of those days where you feel like a complete idiot? Today's my day. And the sad part is, it wasn't some major catastrophe that brought it on. Nope, just an oridinary day.

It's one of those days where there's no time to even finish putting on makeup before I have to head out the door. Then there's a major dilema with the clothes I wore. I finally make it meet my friend to walk the track but the only shirt I have that remotely matches the jacket I need is white. My sports bra has a grey stripe. (What's the matter with bra makers?) I'm fine with my jacket zipped but it soon gets too hot for a jacket. Step, step, step...with the constant battle in my mind--zipped and sweaty or cool and stripey.

Finally retreated to the air conditioning of my vehicle and ran a million errands on the way home, one of them sent me to the grocery store...and to my doom.

I parked opposite perfection. Perfect luxury car, perfect size, perfect hairstyle, perfect clothes, perfect tan. Walking in beside that I felt...well, very UN-perfect.

The little bit of makeup I'd had on I'd sweated off. The crazy curls that make their dwelling on the top of my head were shooting out on one side and lying flat on the other. That bag of cherry sours I'd eaten were mocking me from my hips. And I was rocking my zipped up stripey bra look, capri pants...and tennis shoes and socks.

It's moments like these when you really wish you couldn't see your reflection in the windows as you walk in the store.

And I just thought to myself, what an idiot. I even stink at being a girl.

We won't even talk about my inability to load my photos on the new computer. Some misery I need to save for another day.

Enough self-pity for now.

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Playing Pink

Playing In a little girl's room Nodding each time she asks, "Mommy do you like..." Keeping these special moments treasured in my heart

Hope your Saturday is PINK too.

Friday, April 15, 2011

Peace X

Can you believe we've been doing our study on peace for ten weeks now? Thank you to all of you who've sent me messages on the study. This is the last leg of the study--peace with self.

We'll start with Romans 8:5-8. "For those who are according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who are according to the Spirit, the things of the Spirit. For the mind set on the flesh is death, but the mind set on the Spirit is life and peace, because the mind set on the flesh is hostile toward God; for it does not subject itself to the law of God, for it is not even able to do so, and those who are in the flesh cannot please God."

Those verses pack a big punch.

Peace is produced by the Spirit. It is one of the fruits of the Spirit. It is the opposite of the outcome the flesh produces. Going it our own way always leaves us unsettled and dissatisfied. Understand that "according to" in the verses above means agreeing with. So when we walk "according to the flesh", we are agreeing with what the flesh is telling us or if we are agreeing with the Spirit we are listening, believing and obeying the Spirit.

It is standing at a crossroads. The path we choose on any given topic or any given day shows who we're really agreeing with in our hearts. Sometimes our minds justify it as semantics. The first steps in each direction might look a lot alike. But beware, down the road they take a sharp turn from one another.

Flesh and Spirit. The two are always vying for our attention. It is a battle of mind, heart and will. Flesh wants you to fail. It fights against your Christianity. Why, just when I start doing well on a diet do I run to the pantry for a snack? Because the flesh that is in me wants me insecure and defeated so that I pour all my attention on feeling bad about myself instead of being about my Father's business.

Flesh wants us weak and self-centered. When we are self-centered we are not outreaching. We cannot be focused inward and reach out to others at the same time. We are rendered ineffectual. It seems like a such a clear decision to choose the Spirit yet we all struggle greatly with this. What could be at the root of the problem?

Let's look at Philippians 4:19, "And my God will supply all your needs according to His riches in glory in Christ Jesus." We feel no peace if we feel our needs are not being met. We panic and run to flesh and try and make do on our own. We need to remember that God will meet all our needs.

This includes the need to feel loved and the need to have purpose. Even our emotional needs can be met through Him.

He will meet the need--if we let Him.

Be sure to come back next Friday for the last of our talks on peace. Whatever will we talk about next?

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Wanna Swap?

I'm in the mood to do something a little different...and apparently in the mood for something crafty. I want to try a swap. For those of you who know me well, that'll be a surprise. I can be crafty and I am (surprise to myself) good at the stuff I do. I am just the most procrastinating crafty person there is. I have all these crafty intentions, even put it on my 'to do' list everyday. And that's where it stays. To do. (Although I DID make something the other day I'll have to show y'all in another post that's a little strange and a lot adorable.)

So I'm calling on all of you (and others you want to tell) to let's try somethings new. No matter if you're crafty or artistic or just in the mood for a challenge.

Here's what I'm calling it: SPRING CLEANING SWAP/CHALLENGE Rules:

  1. Go through all those things you've collected to create with but haven't got around to.

  2. Get one of those small 'all you can cram in for one price' boxes at the post office.

  3. Fill it with all the bits you want to use in the swap/challenge--anything, everything.

  4. Here's the twist (and the challenge). You're getting back your stuff. The person who receives the box has to take the materials they find and create something with it. And don't worry, the things in the picture above aren't necessarily the things I'd send you. They're just a few random things I pulled from my craft cabinet.

  5. They mail it back to you. This way, you know you'll love the colors/style of what you get because they are things you picked out. You don't have to use the same size box to mail it back in and you can add something from your craft closet to complete the project if needed.

  6. You get the fun of having something made for you that you never got around to and in a way that you wouldn't have thought to do.

  7. You get the challenge of creating (in a time limit to prod us procrastinators) from a box of unexpected materials. It'll stretch your craftiness and your imagination.

So what do you say? You'll have until May 1st to let me know you want in on the swap. On May 1st I'll email you with your address. Box up your supplies and send them out right away. You'll have until June 1st to return your box.

Clean out those supplies and start making a pile of stuff to use.

Prepare to 'think outside the box'.

I'll try to get my techno guru (help Jen!) to work on a swap button we can post.

Visit the other people at http://suelovescherries.blogspot.com/ and see what crazy ideas they've come up with.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Our House, in the Middle of Our Street

I always liked that song by Madness from the '80's. I thought today I'd share a bit of the happenings at OUR house.

It all started with a rustling sound in my rosemary. I looked to see what it was and there was this rabbit. I guess that's what I get for putting out that bunny flag in the backyard that says "Happy Easter". It was some sort of banner that apparently means help yourself in rabbit-speak. I will give him some credit. By the time I took the photo he'd hopped over to another flowerbed and ate a large dandelion that I'd yet to pull.At the time the rabbit was making his rounds in my garden, my neighbor and her chihuahua puppy had come for a visit. The puppy's name is Chloe and can often be seen wearing a sundress. The puppy started running in spastic circles at lightning speed all around my yard. The kids were trying to catch it for Brenda, my neighbor, before she spotted the rabbit and took off on a chase. Rabbits in bushes, spastic chihuahuas, fruitless chases and me trying to water the peppers. This is a typical moment in my life and the sort of site you often see at my house.

Measuring around 1/3 of an acre, our house manages to produce a lot of action. It is home to pirates (see last week's post), host to neighborhood boys' WWII re-enactments or Star Wars intergalactic battles, depending on the day and, as you can see, boasts monkeys in the trees.Be careful when you walk near the fort or behind the shed, there are quite a few potholes from attempts to dig to the center of the Earth.

This little yard isn't all play. I do manage to squeeze in a few pretties, like these purple irises. They look so delicate but they're made of tough stuff. They make their home right in front of my water hose and are constantly being bumped and battered in the daily treks to water the vegetables.The flowers are often transplants from others. The African irises came from my parents' old home, the thrift from Mrs. Louise. Everywhere I look is a reminder of the ones I love.

I've got vegetables and fruit growing everywhere. There are vegetable boxes, herbs in pots, squash in the flowerbed and cherry tomatoes in hanging baskets.Here's a little baby tomato. Nothing beats a homegrown tomato.

One final thing to share. Meredith was drawing quietly during the sermon at church on Sunday. I looked to see what she was drawing and here it is. Isn't that what we all long to see from our kids? 'I love home.' This drawing is a keeper.

That's a typical evening at our house. Like the song says, our house IS a very, very, very fine house.

Monday, April 11, 2011

I Didn't Forget...Pass the Peas

This has been a busy morning with appointments and errands, but I didn't forget about our weekly menus. I know I didn't get to it last week. And I ended up runnin' around like a chicken with my head cut off every night at supper time trying to figure out something to fix.

Enough of that. I'm back on track and making a schedule.

Monday--fried chicken, hashbrown casserole, broccoli with cheese sauce
Tuesday--baked pork chops, field peas (aka white acre peas), carrots, macaroni & cheese, biscuits
Wednesday--Cheeseburger Pie, corn, sauteed spinach
Thursday--out to eat (school funddraiser)
Friday--grilled salmon, risotto, salad
Saturday--homemade pizza

Speaking of peas for our supper, I've got a story to tell you.

Down south we love peas--field peas, black-eyed peas, crowder peas, speckled butter beans, lima beans, and lots more.

Well, my first week living in Maryland my in-laws took us out to eat at a restaurant and I was looking at the side dishes on the menu. For those of you who don't travel much, side dishes are not the same in all parts of the country or the world. My choices weren't very appealing (not one bowl of cheese grits to be found) until I spied 'peas'.

Good southern girl that I am, I asked in my friendliest voice to the waitress, "What kind of peas are they?"

She looked at me like I was the biggest idiot the world had ever seen and said in her not-so-good un-southernlike voice. PEAS. They're green. And their round.

She'd better be glad the Lord blessed me with a laid back attitude and enough grace to bring my manners all the way from Georgia. "Oh. I know what peas are. Where I come from we also know there's more than one kind."

So tomorrow night you have to cook peas. Whatever kind you want.

Saturday, April 9, 2011

A Couple of Pinks and One Purple

I've been busy working outside, but I wanted to take a minute to share a couple of pictures with you. The roses are really blooming this spring. Here's a pink one to share. The large azaleas are already done blooming this spring. The miniature ones last longer and are packed with blooms. I know it's not pink, but I thought this iris was still worth sharing. Happy Pink Saturday! Visit all the participants at http://howsweetthesound.typepad.com/

Friday, April 8, 2011

Our Grocery List for Shopping at the Deal with Others Depot

I told you last week that this one would require a shopping cart. That's because there's so many things we can't carry them all in our hands. This load requires a buggy. (That's what we call them around here, Southern thing I'm sure.)

Let's check out the things we need to add to our cart in order to have peace with others and begin to think about peace with ourselves. Our grocery list can be found in I Peter 3:8-12.

"Finally, all of you, live in harmony with one another; be sympathetic, love as brothers, be compassionate and humble. Do not repay evil with evil or insult with insult, but with blessing, because to this you were called so that you may inherit a blessing. For, whoever would love life and see good days must keep his tongue from evil and his lips from deceitful speech. He must turn from evil and do good; he must seek peace and pursue it. For the eyes of the Lord are on the righteous and his ears are attentive to their prayer, but the face of the Lord is against those who do evil."

--brotherly love
--not repaying evil for evil or insult for insult
--being a blessing
--watching our words
--pursuing peace

God gives us in these verses a grocery list of good behaviors that lead to peace with others and cause us to be blessings. Why should we give a blessing? Why should we be a blessing? Because, we are to inherit a blessing.

If the very God of the universe can bless us despite our many failures and flaws, we should be able to do the same to our fellow man. Remember the parable of the unmerciful servant in Matthew 18:21-35. The consequences of choosing wrongly are very costly indeed.

Seeking peace isn't all give. It brings life, love and good days. It is to our benefit to pursue peace. However, peace with others is hard to obtain if we have no peace with ourselves.

Our internal battles always spill out eventually into our relationships with others. I think peace with self will be the hardest one of all to deal with because it is such a constant battle. There is no hiding from ourselves. But, peace with self is a worthy pursuit and a critical one if we are to lead fruitful lives.

We'll talk about that one next week.

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Apparently I'm Wearing Ports

We were sitting there eating breakfast and Meredith was talking about her outfit. She's hot natured and loves shorts and sleeveless shirts. She'd wear them in the winter if I'd let her. You all have no idea how many times I've said, "No, you may not wear shorts. It's January."

Like I said, we were sitting there discussing her fashion choices. "Mommy, did you know my shirt has a side zipper? And sequins?" She looked down at me, giving me the fashion once over that mothers of girls come to dread.

You're wearing ports!" I am? She explains for her apparently fashion ignorant mother. "There pants down to here and shorts from there. Ports."

Here I thought they were walking shorts, the kind that come just above your knee.

Little did I know.


Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Recipes Written in Red

It all started with these little bowls my mom and aunt picked up for me on a shopping trip. They bought them for me so I could be like the hosts you see on Food Network who always have their ingredients measured and waiting in these tiny bowls when they're cooking. (Yes I know, there's a specific name for them--it just escapes me at this early hour.) I once heard someone on television speaking on the importance of these bowls. I had always thought of them as pretentious. Seriously, who has time in the real world to measure all those ingredients into tiny bowls just to dump them again into a bigger bowl or pot? Television hosts or chefs--both of whom have someone else to do the dishes.

I guess I was feeling a bit pretentious myself yesterday because I thought "why not?" and whipped them out as I made supper. When I took them out of their nested wrappings, I was surprised to find that they were marked with measurements on the inside of the bowls. Now maybe I'm the biggest idiot in the world, but I didn't know they actually measured the ingredients for them. I thought they were just there to be cute. I stand corrected.

So now that I'm using my pretension pots, I thought I'd share a recipe to make while using them. Something about seeing them lined up there said 'salad' to me. Don't ask me why. Lo and behold, I flipped through my recipes and there was one written in red. It doesn't get any better than that for Rednesday. And it's a really good one too, given to me by a friend at church--Mrs. Mabel who is 95 years young. I do believe the lady could work circles around me. I want to be like Mrs. Mabel when I grow up.

Kraut Salad

1 large can sauerkraut (wring out dry with hands)
1 cup of each, chopped--celery, red and green peppers
1 large onion, chopped
1 1/3 c. sugar
1/2 c. vegetable oil
1/2 c. cider vinegar

Beat dressing very good. Make the dressing first, as you wring the kraut. Combine with vegetables and let stand 2 hours before serving.

Even my garden is getting into the spirit of Rednesday. For other friends, visit http://suelovescherries.blogspot.com/

Monday, April 4, 2011

Arrr...Me Yard Be Infested with Pirates

It appears pirates have landed in my backyard in search of treasure. Rather vicious looking pirates they be.

They come with a map to aid in their quest.

Thankfully, the pirates appear to be friendly. So far all they've uncovered is a buried Happy Meal toy.

Oh, the joys of spring break!

Butt Pott Picture

By request, here's a picture of my terra cotta pot. They are large pots with silver writing and whoever wrote on them had also hot glued on large silver bows. Hmmm... One of these days I've got to get to work on covering them up. For now, being labeled a butt pott hasn't slowed down the tomato plant one bit.

I've had conversations with some people about comments. Some people have trouble, some people don't like to, some people do. Our friend Jen over at Jennalane had a post about the subject this weekend. I told her I might repost it, which she said was fine, but then I struck upon another idea.

Let's play a game. I like games and quizzes and puzzles and such. So I figure if we make commenting a bit of a game, some of you comment shy people might be more willing to try. I'll ask some questions and give my answers. Then you comment with your answers to the same questions. You can copy and paste mine and change the answers or you can simply give your numbered answers. This way, you comment and we learn a little about each other at the same time.

Here goes--

1. Favorite color? yellow
2. Last 3 things you read from? Around the World in 80 Days, Bible, back issue of Southern Accents
3. Favorite magazine? Maryjane's Farm House
4. Stripes, plaid or polka dots? Polka dots
5. Top 3 wish list items? chickens, farm, 10 pounds (at least) lighter
6. Where would you go if you could go anywhere? a little house in some small town in Ireland
7. Favorite food? watermelon
8. Least favorite food? egg dishes
9. Where do you live? Georgia
10. Worst habit? procrastination

Friday, April 1, 2011

Peace, Part VIII...Esteeming Others

Sorry about yesterday. I was running late again. When I got home yesterday and went outside to take that picture you're all wanting. Well I bent down to snap it and the battery died. Went back in and put it on the charger but by the time it was ready, it'd gotten dark. I've got to help out at school today with field day, so you'll have to check in and see it tomorrow. Besides, I couldn't put it up there today. Something about mixing Bible verses with a picture of a butt pott just doesn't seem right to me.

Let's see. Last week we were talking about dealing with other people and how I Thessalonians 5 calls us to appreciate them. That we can understand. Those verses also tell us to "esteem them very highly in love". Now that's not a word we toss around everyday. At least not at my house. So we'd better think on it for a few minutes together.

What does it mean to esteem someone? To esteem means to have great regard for; value highly; respect. We must regard others in love and value them highly. After all, our dear Savior paid a very high price to ransom them for Himself. If they are of value to Him, they should be valued by me. See what it says in I Peter 1:18-19, "...knowing that you were not redeemed with perishable things, like silver or gold from your futile way of life inherited from your forefathers, but with the precious blood of Christ."

When we esteem others we respect them. Let's look at Romans 12:17-18. "Never pay back evil for evil to anyone. Respect what is right in the sight of all men. If possible, so far as it depends on you, be at peace with all men." Now flip over to II Corinthians 8:21, "For we have regard for what is honorable, not only in the sight of the Lord, but also in the sight of men."

Esteem is the bit that keeps us from charging down the road of vengeance and bitterness. And it reigns us in when we get too full of self.

There's one more thing to note from the verse back in I Thessalonians. It says to "live in peace". Notice that living in peace is not a request, it is a command. Another time in Mark 9:50 Christ commands us to be at peace with one another. Why?

Because, living without peace isn't really living at all. It's like grappling for a foothold in a pit of mud. There is no stable place. Refusing to make peace with situations, circumstances or people in your life comes with ramifications.

Now let's turn to Romans 14:13 and find out what this peace stuff does not involve. "Therefore let us not judge one another anymore, but rather determine this--not to put an obstacle or a stumbling block in a brother's way." Peace is something we have to work at and push for, but here are some definite don'ts. Don't judge. Don't put obstacles in a brother's way.

These are so much harder to keep than they seem because personal preferences and experiences are strong. I can't, therefore no one can. God said no to me, so that must mean no for everyone.

Sometimes God calls us to abstain from something that is okay for everyone else. It doesn't mean we have a new cause to champion and that we should beat everyone over the head with admonitions if they don't follow suit. No, He's working with us on a particular thing for our life.

The things that are for everyone are already written for everyone in His word. To add to it is to place an obstacle in the life of another believer.

And sweet one, when you refuse peace you harden yourself to what God has told you and to who He created you to be. Then, the one who is supposed to go to Him who offers living water refuses. And you dry up. Ever seen those pictures of a dried up lake or riverbed?

They don't just dry up, they start to crack. And the cracks are jagged. The same is true of us.

When we refuse to obey, we begin to dry up spiritually. We harden ourselves to His call, to His word, to His people. Then we start to crack. The things we could've handled easily now send us into a panic or a rage. We hurt those around us with the barbs we spew from our mouths and the attitudes we adopt.

Not choosing peace is about so much more than simply not letting go of past hurts or future fears. It has painful consequences. And they're are not just for us. Our refusal for peace hurts all those around us.

Next Friday we're going shopping. We'll look at the grocery list of behaviors that do bring peace. Bring your cart...and your coupons.