March 26, 2017

March 26, 2017

  “Waffles? Can you put chocolate chips in mine?” “Ooh, could you crumble up bacon and add it to mine?” “Mmm…they’d taste great with brown sugar and cinnamon sprinkled on top.” For some reason, the little people think Hubby and I are here to serve. Well, as parents we are in many ways, just not necessarily the way they’d like. And sometimes they have too many preferences for my taste (no pun intended). Brown Sugar will eat scrambled eggs if she can add an extra dash of salt. Maven likes to cook her own eggs until they’re almost golden brown. Today, I went with the request for chocolate chips, but I left it up to the individuals to make bacon-and-waffle sandwiches or specialized eggs. Sometimes, they just have to eat it my way. (And if you’re also a fan of waffles try the easy recipe I included below from Soul Food: Classic Cuisine from the Deep South.) Today’s sermon emphasized this point today in “Quit Asking Questions.” Pastor Livingston used The Message Bible to make his message plain and clear: “I’ve concluded that whatever God does, that’s the way it’s going to be, always. No addition, no subtraction. God’s done and that’s it. That’s so we’ll quit asking questions and simply worship in holy fear.” (Ecclesiastes 3:14) I’ve been asking God “When, Lord?” “How, Lord?” “Why, Lord?” There hasn’t been much praise, thanksgiving, and patience during this season of testing in my life. While I know I must endure trials, I want to do it my way and on my timetable. But really, trust and faith don’t work that way....
March 19, 2017

March 19, 2017

This morning, while I cooked breakfast, Hubby read Matthew 24:29 in Sunday School and then he talked to Lone Ranger and Brown Sugar about one of their biggest fears—the dark. Every night, they keep their door open wide so the light from the hallway will illuminate their room. This might’ve seemed an odd discussion to have while basking in the almost-spring sunshine as our block potatoes sizzled on the stove. But the setting and the timing were perfect, for Think Tank had just read, “The city had no need of the sun or of the moon to shine in it, for the glory of God illuminated it. The Lamb is its light.” (Revelation 21:23). The little people should rest assured—literally: they might need a nightlight now, but one day, Jesus will provide all the light we need. He will take away every fear and wipe away every tear. (Revelation 21:4) God often uses the dark moments in our life to speak to us, as He spoke to Jacob in Genesis 46:1-4, the subject of today’s sermon. He illuminates those midnight hours in our life, when we’re at our lowest, most afraid, or most confused, bringing meaning and understanding to our circumstances. Yet, sometimes we just need to go, do, or stand still, especially when we don’t fully comprehend the wheres, whens, whys, and hows. We struggle over here with the fear of failure and the dread of the unknown. The perfectionist in me over-analyzes every scenario; I’m paralyzed by every “if…then.” Pastor Livingston explained how God uses what we see as failure to shape us and fit us for service. He...
March 12, 2017

March 12, 2017

“I think bacon is the only meat you can wrap around any other meat to make it taste better, including more pork,” Songbird observed today. “I mean, you don’t hear people wrapping baked chicken around fried chicken.” Ain’t that the truth? It works on everything from pork loin to steak to Brussel sprouts. If you need some convincing, check out the recipe for “Bacon Maple Crack,” a recipe that made its inaugural visit to our kitchen last Thanksgiving. (Yes, it’s as addictive as its name.) Sadly, we didn’t have time for any special recipes this morning since Crusader’s leave-taking hijacked breakfast and Sunday school. We just had time for plain old Oscar Mayer, and it had to work overtime to lift our spirits. Brown Sugar was sad about placing just eight mats around the table. Songbird mourned the last day of spring break and the return of early nights and mornings. Even our daffodils drooped once they heard an approaching snowstorm was threatening their early fling with spring weather.  But bacon isn’t the only thing that makes things better. I’ve been anxiously awaiting word from a literary agent for the past two weeks. Every email alert on my phone causes heart palpitations. I worry my manuscript isn’t good enough or that its message isn’t “Christian” enough. These worries lead me to believe that my meager faith just can’t do enough—which makes me worry even more. But today, Pastor Livingston taught about the “mighty man of valor,” and I felt better even before I ate my bacon. I don’t need to wonder if my faith is strong enough to win my war with...
March 5, 2017

March 5, 2017

  We cooked fourteen eggs this morning: I used four in the puffed apple pancake and scrambled the other ten. We were happy to crack all those eggs; it’s spring break and Crusader is home. We haven’t had the apple pancake in a long time, so it seemed fitting to have it today, the first Sunday morning of his return. I hope you like it as much as we do if you try the recipe. Homecoming. It was today’s Sunday School lesson, and really the underlying theme the past two weeks. We’ve been looking forward to having our oldest back in the fold. To the little people (and me, too), it seems too long between the Crusader’s visits. Hubby and I are actually grateful for the spike in the food budget and a hiked water bill. But the real family reunion we’ve been talking about is the one with our Abba Father. And surely, believers have been looking to the skies for more than 2000 years for Christ’s return. We can take heart, for His Word assures us in Hebrews 10:37, “For yet a little while, And He who is coming will come and not tarry.”  “Finally, brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy—meditate on these things.” Philippians 4:8 Waiting and watching for Jesus to appear should help us keep our minds on things above and not on the things of Earth. (Colossians 3:2) It’s easy to get...
February 26, 2017

February 26, 2017

“What have you noticed about the past few days?” Our answers to Hubby’s question this morning—warmer temperatures, people working in the yard, new sprouts, trees budding, sandals and short sleeves—indicated that we see signs spring is around the corner. This led to our discussion of Matthew 24:27-31 and how we believers see and seek our own signs that point to Jesus’ swift, decisive return. “For as the lightning comes from the east and flashes to the west, so also will the coming of the Son of Man be…Then the sign of the Son of Man will appear in heaven, and then all the tribes of the earth will mourn, and they will see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of heaven with power and great glory. And He will send His angels with a great sound of a trumpet, and they will gather together His elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other.” While Hubby taught, I worked on breakfast. I had to adapt a recipe from my friend, due to a lack of some ingredients (blueberries, sour cream, and lemons) and an abundance of others (bags of my mama’s frozen strawberries). I replaced the missing sour cream and lemons with about an 8-ounce mixture of key lime and vanilla yogurt and I used mushy, cut-up strawberries instead of blueberries. Also, I baked it in a 13-by-9-inch dish instead of a muffin tin and topped it all with plain old brown sugar. What came out of these blessings and cursings was this crispy-soft strawberry bread that Songbird deemed “birthday worthy.” I just needed to...
Sunday, February 19, 2017

Sunday, February 19, 2017

We. Love. Sundays. We all look forward to a day of rest and worship after a hectic week running from pillar to post, so we make a big deal out of the Sabbath at our house. There aren’t any fireworks; we just focus on God and family. We usually start our day with music and a Sunday school lesson, followed by a big breakfast and church service. This morning, Hubby set the tone by talking about all the reorganizing and cleaning we did Saturday afternoon (remember the sock party?). He used the passages Luke 11:25, Colossians 3:23, 1 Timothy 3:5, and 1 Corinthians 14:40 to liken our weekend’s work to the spiritual housecleaning we should do daily. Today, we added a new favorite to our breakfast menu: the Pioneer Woman’s French Breakfast Puffs. Now, this muffin is not for the faint of heart. No, really. You roll the baked pastry in butter (one cup, no less) and dip it in a mixture of sugar and cinnamon. The finished product gave Brown Sugar a run for her money in their sweetness. Maven thought they tasted like apple cinnamon boardwalk doughnuts—minus the apples. Mine didn’t turn out very “puffy,” but they worked well with our grits, bacon, and eggs. The batter yielded eighteen muffins, and if I hadn’t left them in a shade too long, they would’ve been perfect. When I think about it, I guess our entire breakfast was a heart stopper! TD finally joined the grits-eating side of the family, leaving Songbird the only holdout who still refuses to let one grit grace her tongue, unless it’s got a shrimp swimming in it....