Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Quote for the day


Quote for the day...

"The ability of God is beyond our prayers, beyond our largest prayers! I have been thinking of some of the petitions that have entered into my supplication innumerable times. What have I asked for? I have asked for a cupful, and the ocean remains! I have asked for a sunbeam, and the sun abides! My best asking falls immeasurably short of my Father's giving; it is beyond that we can ask."

-- J.H. Jowett

A thought on trials





"Our trials are great opportunities. Too often, we look on them as great obstacles. It would be a haven of rest and an inspiration of unspeakable power if each of us would henceforth recognize every difficult situation as one of God's chosen ways of proving to us His love and look around for the signals of His glorious manifestations; then, indeed, would every cloud become a rainbow, and every mountain a path of ascension and a scene of transfiguration.

"If we will look back upon the past, many of us will find that the very time our Heavenly Father has chosen to do the kindest things for us, and given us the richest blessings, has been the time we were strained and shut in on every side. God's jewels are often sent us in rough packages and by dark liveried servants, but within we find the very treasures of the King's palace and the Bridegroom's love."

-- A.B. Simpson

If We Could See Beyond Today...


If we could see beyond today
As God can see;
If all the clouds should roll away,
The shadows flee;
O'er present griefs we would not fret,
Each sorrow we would soon forget,
For many joys are waiting yet
For you and me.

If we could know beyond today
As God doth know,
Why dearest treasures pass away
And tears must flow;
And why the darkness leads to light
And dreary paths will soon grow bright;
Some day life's wrongs will be made right,
Faith tells us so.

'If we could see, if we could know',
We often say,
But God in love a veil doth throw
Across our way;
We cannot see what lies before,
And so we cling to Him the more,
He leads us till this life is o'er;
Trust and obey.

-- Norman J. Clayton

The words of this splendid song are always a wonderful comfort to my heart. I hope that they will encourage someone else today, too.

Monday, July 28, 2008

Menu Plan Monday for July 28


A hot, humid Monday here in northern New England. Humidity is a normal part of summer here (and central air conditioning is not the norm, since our summers are so short). I have to keep reminding myself that this is the day that the Lord has made, and I am to rejoice and be glad in it! As usual, I've included some repeat meals which ended up not being used last week, and also several main-dish salads to help us beat the heat. Here's my menu plan:

MONDAY: Salmon Dill Sandwiches, Pasta Salad, 3-Bean Salad

TUESDAY: Leftovers from Monday

WEDNESDAY: Crab & Shrimp Salad, Tomato-Cucumber Salad

THURSDAY: Swedish Meatballs, Noodles, Broccoli

FRIDAY: Hot Ham & Potato Salad, Cornbread

SATURDAY: Leftover buffet

SUNDAY: (potluck at church) Mandarin Chicken Salad, Italian Sweet Bread, Picnic Cake (a chocolate cake with marshmallows that sink into the batter)

If you would like to see menus which others have shared, head over to I'm an Organizing Junkie and check out the links. Usually close to 200 people share links to their weekly menus. You'll find some great ideas and often recipes too.

Friday, July 25, 2008

Favorite Ingredients Friday for July 25


I had a hard time trying to decide what recipe to share today, but I did want to share something.

With people's gardens producing zucchini and summer squash prolifically, here's a deliciously light main course to try.

GARDEN SQUASH RAVIOLI

1 package (24 ounces) frozen miniature cheese ravioli
1 medium yellow summer squash (or 2 small ones), cut in half-inch chunks
1 medium zucchini (or 2 small ones), cut in half-inch chunks
2 cans (one 15-ounce, one 8-ounce) tomato sauce (or use 3 8-ounce ones)
1 tsp. garlic salt
1 tsp. dried minced onion
1 tsp. dried oregano
1 tsp. dried basil
1/2 tsp. sugar
1/2 tsp. chili powder
1/4 tsp. pepper

In a large saucepan, cook ravioli according to package directions.

Meanwhile, in a 1.5-quart or a 2-quart microwave-safe dish (I used a 2-quart casserole) combine all of the remaining ingredients. Cover and cook on High for 7 to 10 minutes, or until vegetables are tender. Drain ravioli; top with sauce. We also topped ours with grated Romano cheese.

Yield: 6 servings

This recipe produces a very nice, full-flavored sauce for such a quick microwave method of cooking! I was thrilled to find a low fat, whole-grain ravioli (I don’t think it is entirely whole grain, but certainly it contains some, and is a tad healthier than the regular kind) in the frozen food case.


To see what others have shared for Favorite Ingredients Friday, head on over to Overwhelmed with Joy and check out the links.

Sew Crafty Friday for July 25


I have just a couple of things to share today.

This is the cross-stitch pot holder I am working on with a design of blueberries. The design is a border and goes just across the top. I want to camouflage the age spots on the holder itself, so I am going to cross-stitch the word "Blueberries" further down on the pot holder.


This craft is something I made a long time ago. But with canning and jam-making season upon us, people will have their canning jars out, and so I thought it might be a good time to show this candle holder made from a Mason jar. I saw something like it in a catalog and decided to try making my own. I started by painting the jar a cream color. It takes several coats to coat the glass completely. Then I chose a suitably-sized stencil and stenciled the house design on both sides of the jar. When the paint was dry, I thinned out some black paint a little and spatter painted the entire jar using a old toothbrush. I found a clear glass votive holder that just fits in the top of the jar (Wal*Mart has these) and set it in there and added a votive candle. A strip of homespun tied around the threads of the jar top is the finishing touch.

How about you? If you have managed to accomplish or even start any crafting this week, then head on over to Waiting for Him and share your projects. Shereen and others will be eager to see what you have to share. Happy Crafting!

Show & Tell Friday for July 25


Tasha Tudor Treasures

Today for show & tell, I would like to show a few treasures from my collection of Tasha Tudor items. These 6 items are books.

These two books are wonderfully illustrated books -- The Springs of Joy and All for Love. The latter has a Valentine theme and even includes some crafts and a few recipes.


These three books are from my childhood. The one called And It Was So tells the story of Creation. The other larger book also has a Biblical theme in that it tells the story of God's chosen people, the children of Israel. The tiny book is an early copy of Pumpkin Moonshine and was mine when I was little.

This last one, a falling-apart paperback, is a wonderful treasury of Tasha Tudor themed crafts. The idea our family has had the most fun with is the instructions for making one's own watercolor Advent calendar.

So that is my show & tell for today. To see what others have shared for Show & Tell Friday, head on over to There is No Place Like Home

and check out the links. Happy Show & Tell Friday, everyone!

Thursday, July 24, 2008

By Request...


Here are the recipes which were requested from this week's menu plan. I must say that while I have tried the almond chicken stir-fry before (and it is very good!), I have never previously tried the beef stir-fry salad, so can't vouch for how it will come out. But it sounds delicious! Hope those who requested these recipes will enjoy them.

ALMOND CHICKEN STIR-FRY

1 cup whole unblanched almonds
2 Tblsp. vegetable oil
1 pound boneless skinless chicken breasts, cubed
1 Tblsp. cornstarch
1/2 cup chicken broth
3 Tblsp. soy sauce
2 tsp. honey
1 tsp. ginger
1 14-ounce pkg. frozen sugar snap peas
Rice or pasta

In a large skillet over medium heat, cook almonds in oil for 3 minutes.  Add chicken; stir-fry until lightly browned. In a bowl, combine next 5 ingredients until smooth; add to chicken mixture. Bring to a boil; cook and stir 2 minutes or until thickened. Reduce heat; stir in the peas; cook until heated through. Serve over rice or pasta. Top with chow mein noodles if desired.

Serves 4.

BEEF STIR-FRY SALAD

4 romaine lettuce leaves, washed and crisped
1 to 1 1/4 lbs. beef flank steak
1 Tblsp. vegetable oil
1 tsp. basil
1/2 tsp. minced garlic
1/2 tsp. pepper
3 medium tomatoes, cut in small wedges
1/4 cup chopped green pepper
6 green onions, sliced thin
1/2 cup dairy sour cream
Chopped parsley
1 avocado, peeled and sliced

Arrange a lettuce leaf on each dinner plate. Cut steak in half lengthwise, then cut across the grain into 1/8-inch thick slices. In heavy skillet, heat oil over medium-high heat. Add beef, garlic, basil, pepper. Stir-fry about 2 minutes, just until beef loses pink color. Remove from heat. Add tomatoes, green pepper, and green onions; toss lightly. Divide salad mixture among lettuce-lined dinner plates. Top
each with a dollop of sour cream; sprinkle with parsley and garnish with avocado slices.

Serves 4.

Monday, July 21, 2008

Menu Plan Monday for July 21


Another overcast, humid Monday here in northern New England. Humid weather is not my favorite, but it's a part of summer here. I have to keep reminding myself that this is the day that the Lord has made, so I am to rejoice and be glad in it! As usual, I've included some repeat meals which ended up not being used last week, and also several main-dish salads to help us beat the heat. Here's my menu plan:

MONDAY: Beef Stir-fry Salad, Italian Sweet Bread

TUESDAY: Spinach Pie, 3-Bean Salad

WEDNESDAY: Summertime Tuna Rice Salad, Italian Sweet Bread

THURSDAY: Almond Chicken Stir-fry, Bow Tie Pasta, Fruit Salad

FRIDAY: Crab & Shrimp Salad, Tomato-Cucumber Salad

SATURDAY: Salmon Salad Croissants, Carrot Salad

SUNDAY: Changeling Chicken, Rice, Fruit Salad

If you would like to see menus which others have shared, head over to I'm an Organizing Junkie and check out the links. Usually close to 200 people share links to their weekly menus. You'll find some great ideas and often recipes too.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Trees of God's planting


Graphic from Baptist Bible Hour

I read this poem in Streams in the Desert Volume 2 and was so blessed by it, I thought I would share it here. The Scripture verse shared with this selection (the reading for July 15) is a portion of Nahum 1:3 -- "The LORD hath His way in the whirlwind and in the storm." 

Here's the poem, from an unknown author:

God of the gallant trees
Give to us fortitude;
Give as Thou givest to these
Valorous hardihood.
We are the trees of Thy planting, O God,
We are the trees of Thy wood.

Now let the life-sap run
Clean through our every vein,
Perfect what Thou has begun,
God of the sun and rain.
Thou who dost measure the weight of the wind,
Fit us for stress and for strain.

Part of what the author has shared is the following:
 

"God takes the things that are against us and the very enemies that would fight us and the forces arrayed against us to lift us up to the heights... You may be one who feels himself like a tree on the mountain height alone in the wind of God. Take courage, dear one! God's eye is upon His child in the heart of the storm. The winds may seem to be uprooting your trees, but fastened to the Rock of Ages, you shall not be moved."

I hope these thoughts encourage someone else as they have me!

Monday, July 14, 2008

Menu Plan Monday for July 14


A very overcast, humid Monday here in northern New England. Humid weather is not my favorite, but it's a part of summer here. Showers and thunderstorms are in the forecast for today. As usual, I've included some repeat meals which ended up not being used last week, and also several main-dish salads to help us beat the heat. Here's my menu plan:

MONDAY: Chef's Salad, Focaccia Bread

TUESDAY: Shepherd's Pie (made with meat from leftover ribs), Barbecue Slaw

WEDNESDAY: Chicken Caesar Salad, Italian Sweet Bread

THURSDAY: Almond Chicken Stir-fry, Bow Tie Pasta, Fruit Salad

FRIDAY: Summertime Tuna Rice Salad, Italian Sweet Bread

SATURDAY: Salmon Pie, Carrot Salad, Coleslaw

SUNDAY: Changeling Chicken, Rice, Fruit Salad

If you would like to see menus which others have shared, head over to I'm an Organizing Junkie and check out the links. Usually close to 200 people share links to their weekly menus. You'll find some great ideas and often recipes too.

Friday, July 11, 2008

Favorite Ingredients Friday for July 11


I haven't been able to take part in any of my favorite Friday activities for a long time, so it's a treat for me to be able to post a recipe for Favorite Ingredients Friday today. I've taken note of the themes for upcoming weeks, and will try and post more often. Here's a favorite recipe for strawberries:


STRAWBERRY LOVERS' PIE

3 ounces semisweet chocolate, divided use (I use chocolate chips)
1 T. butter or margarine
1 pastry shell, baked (9 in.) I haven't ever tried doing this, but I would suppose it could be made in a purchased graham or chocolate crust
6 ounces cream cheese, softened (I use the lower-fat Neufchatel)
1/2 cup sour cream
3 T. sugar
1/2 t. vanilla
3 to 4 cups fresh strawberries, hulled
1/3 cup strawberry jam, melted (I do this in the microwave)

In a saucepan or in the microwave, melt 2 oz. chocolate (1/3 cup chocolate chips) and butter over low heat, stirring constantly if using saucepan. Spread melted chocolate over bottom and up sides of pastry shell. Chill.

Meanwhile, in mixing bowl, beat cream cheese, sour cream, sugar and vanilla until smooth. Spread over chocolate layer; cover & chill for 2 hours.

Arrange strawberries, tip ends up, over the filling. Brush jam over strawberries. Melt remaining chocolate (you may need to add a bit of shortening or butter to get it to drizzle properly) and drizzle over all.

Makes 1 pie -- 6 to 8 servings.

We served this pie to missionary guests from Spain and the husband took this picture of it:



I love how God allows us to bless others through hospitality!

To see what others have shared for Favorite Ingredients Friday, head on over to Overwhelmed with Joy and check out the links.

Sew Crafty Friday for July 11


Well, it has been some time since I've been able to participate in Sew Crafty Friday, but I am going to try it today. In addition to the things I'm showing, I also managed to complete a flannel jumper I started back in the winter for one of my granddaughters. Hopefully it will still fit her or her younger sister by next winter.

Here is the completed apple pie potholder I've been working on, plus the second one in progress. I only need to add the bias tape. (These potholders were among my many UFOs -- they've been languishing in a tote for years!)



Also languishing in the large drawer where I keep most of my cross-stitch supplies were 3 Christmas guest towels with aida inserts. I decided to start stitching those for Christmas gifts, and have only gotten this far on the first one. It's going to have a design of 3 colorful Christmas ornaments decked out with greenery, and the words "Holiday Wishes!" stitched in red.



A dear friend I met through blogging was recently in New England and we were able to meet in person! What a treat that was! My friend is talented in paper crafting (and many other crafts as well!) and brought a whole box of her lovely cards and tags to show me. I was inspired! I have not done much paper crafting at all, other than a few gift tags. But since her visit I decided to try a couple of simple tags using a favorite verse to place in different parts of the house. Here's the result:



This last craft is not mine, but I just had to show the beautiful anniversary card my daughter Carrie recently made. The illustration is a stamp of Betsy and Joe from the book "Betsy's Wedding". Didn't she do a nice job?



How about you? If you have managed to accomplish or even start any crafting this week, then head on over to Waiting for Him and share your projects. Shereen and others will be eager to see what you have to share.

Happy Crafting!

Show & Tell for July 11



My Show & Tell today is extremely simple, but I really wanted to share something, however simple. This is the last of my posts showing things on my walls.

This picture is on the wall in our living room, over the couch. This is a familiar print; you have probably seen it in country-type catalogs, and some of you may even own this yourselves. I had often seen it in catalogs myself, and admired it every time, but would not spend the money to get one. Well, a number of years ago we became acquainted with some new friends. These folks visited our church while staying at a local campground, and came to know the Lord as their Savior during that time. We got to know these folks and became close friends. When they decided to sell their home and become full-time RVers, they sold or gave away whatever belongings they could not take. This painting was a gift to us from those very special friends. At the time, we were making a few changes in our living room -- changes which are still not fully complete due to lack of funds -- and this painting helped to pull all of the changes together. Every time we look at it, we think of our dear friends and are reminded to keep them in prayer.




To see what others have shared for Show & Tell this week, go visit There is No Place Like Home

and check out the links. It’s so much fun to see what others have to share!

Tuesday, July 08, 2008

When you are overwhelmed...


Are you feeling overwhelmed today? There is comfort and encouragement in Psalm 142:3.

"When my spirit was overwhelmed within me, then Thou knewest my path." (Psalm 142:3)

"The bravest spirit is sometimes sorely put to it. A heavy fog settles down upon the mind, and the man seems drowned and smothered in it; covered with a cloud, crushed with a load, confused with difficulties, conquered by impossibilities. David was a hero, and yet his spirits sank: he could smite a giant down, but he could not keep himself up. He did not know his own path, nor feel able to bear his own burden. Observe his comfort: he looked away from his own condition to the ever-observant, all-knowing God: and solaced himself with the fact that all was known to his heavenly Friend. Truly it is well for us to know that God knows what we do not know. We lose our heads, but God never closes His eyes: our judgments lose their balance, but the eternal mind is always clear."
-- Charles Spurgeon, in The Treasury of David

"I wish you much comfort from David's thought... The Lord is not withdrawn to a great distance, but His eye is upon you. He sees you not with the indifference of a mere spectator; but He observes with attention, He knows, He considers your path: yea, He appoints it, and every circumstance about it is under His direction. Your trouble began at the hour He saw best, -- it could not come before: and He has marked the degree of it to a hair's breadth, and its duration to a minute. He knows likewise how your spirit is affected: and such supplies of grace and strength, and in such seasons as He sees needful, He will afford in due season."
-- John Newton, quoted in The Treasury of David

Walking through the valley...


This past week in my study of Psalm 23, I was so encouraged by the thought that we only walk through the valley of the shadow of death. Our Shepherd is with us, and He doesn't leave us there in the valley of the shadow. This truth was such a blessing to me. And the Lord has continued to reinforce it in my thinking.

During the opening time of our Sunday School hour each week, kids and adults alike share verses they've memorized during the week. This week, one man shared Isaiah 43:1-2. Verse 2 stresses the same thought: "When thou passest through the waters, I will be with thee; and through the rivers, they shall not overflow thee: when thou walkest through the fire, thou shalt not be burned; neither shall the flame kindle upon thee."

The Lord also just brought to mind Psalm 66:12 -- "We went through fire and through water: but Thou broughtest us out into a wealthy place."

We walk through difficulty, and God is with us to bring us through it -- into a wealthy place!

Monday, July 07, 2008

Menu Plan Monday for July 7


A very warm sunny Monday here in northern New England. A little bit too warm for my liking, but this is the weather the Lord has given us so we will try to rejoice and be glad in it. As usual, I've included some repeat meals which ended up not being used last week. Here's my menu plan:

MONDAY: Leftovers Buffet

TUESDAY: Picante Broccoli Chicken Salad, Cornbread or Corn Muffins

WEDNESDAY: Crab Melt Loaf, Pasta Salad

THURSDAY: Swedish Meatballs, Noodles, Broccoli

FRIDAY: Denver Sandwiches, Breakfast Potatoes, Coleslaw

SATURDAY: Summertime Tuna Rice Salad, Italian Sweet Bread

SUNDAY: Chef's Salad, Foccacia Bread

If you would like to see menus which others have shared, head over to I'm an Organizing Junkie and check out the links. Usually close to 200 people share links to their weekly menus. You'll find some great ideas and often recipes too.

Friday, July 04, 2008

A Special Fourth of July Memory


In July 2005, we were blessed to be in Elko, Nevada visiting our daughter and son-in-law. We had a truly special day on July 4th. My daughter called last evening while we were out and left a message telling us something of their plans for today. That triggered the memory of our own special Fourth of July with them, so I went back and looked at what I'd written in my journal about that day. I thought I would share some of it here.

We began the day by going out to breakfast at a wonderful place called the Coffee Mug. Breakfast was delicious. My son-in-law and I both ordered the "Pancake Sandwich" which included 3 pancakes, 2 eggs any way, and sausage or bacon. It was only $4.25! My daughter had a Mexican omelet and Mr. T had the "sink omelet" which included everything but the kitchen sink. It was a fabulous way to start our day. We love going out for breakfast!

Then we went back to our daughter & son-in-law's apartment where the guys did some work on projects. Mr. T helped Clay build a tea rack to hold boxes of tea. He had made one for me years ago, and so they cut and measured and built another one now. They also installed some shelves for spices on the inside of the pantry door.

Meanwhile, Jo and I worked on sorting out some things in their storage area in the basement. After we had been working there quite awhile, we were interrupted by a lot of noise and yelling in the basement. When we looked, we found the guys stomping through the basement in a protest march. They were carrying signs they'd made out of cardboard boxes -- with slogans such as "Forced Labor on Independence Day!" and "Feed the Slaves!" Needless to say, we quickly took action to feed them.

We had a wonderful day as we spent time with some of their friends and church family throughout the day. In the evening, we went to the home of friends for a cookout. We enjoyed a bountiful meal in their beautifully landscaped back yard, from which we could later have a wonderful view of the fireworks being set off at the fairgrounds. But for us, the highlight of the evening was when they brought out a "Happy Birthday America" flag cake complete with candles, and the entire group joined in singing "Happy Birthday" to our country before enjoying cake, ice cream, and s'mores. What a meaningful moment! And how blessed we are to have such truly marvelous memories!