Friday, July 12, 2019

Friday five for July 12


I'm not sure how the week got away from me, but it seriously did!  Let's see if I can search my memory (and my "Best of My Days" calendar) for five blessings from the week:

1.  A lovely phone chat with my friend Jennifer on Friday.  I was so blessed that this busy young mom carved out time to call and catch up with me.

2.   Getting out to walk at 6 a.m. several times this week.  It feels really good to be out there while it's still relatively cool -- and even better to have the rest of the day ahead of us when we return.

3.  Lots of good quality time spent on my Sunday School lesson preparation last Saturday.  I tend to work several weeks ahead, and it felt great to have gotten a lot of good work accomplished.

4.  A great day at the beach with my daughter, grandkids, sister-in-law and friends on Wednesday.  There's often a breeze at the lake when there isn't one elsewhere, and this proved to be the case again. 

5.  Time spent planning and scheduling posts for Christmas in July at my Christmas blog, Mrs. T's Christmas kitchen.  Link is in sidebar if you'd like to visit.

Happy weekend, everyone!

Friday, July 05, 2019

Friday five on the fifth of July!


Lovely photo by Abby at Little Birdie Blessings.   Don't you love the sand dollars lined up at the right?
Sorry, I just couldn't resist that catchy title!  Friday again (though it feels like Sunday, having had yesterday off) and time for another Friday five post.  So here goes:

1.  Seeing God answer prayer for the details in a specific situation where wisdom was needed.
Another from Abby at Little Birdie Blessings
2. A McDonalds breakfast date last Saturday.  It doesn't take much to make us happy!
Like these daisies in our back yard.  Mr. T left this pretty clump while he was mowing the lawn.
3.  Supper last Saturday at our daughter and son-in-law's home with visiting family from out of state.  Also very thankful for safety as we traveled home in a torrential downpour, complete with penny-sized hail!
We were so thankful Mr. T had gotten this photo of our peonies.  This is the largest amount of blossoms we have ever had, and of course the heavy rain and the hail just beat them down.
4.  A good day in God's house with such an encouraging message.  A man who grew up in our church but has lived and worked in Florida for many years was home in NH with his family for a visit.  Although he is a teacher, not a pastor, he is always willing to fill the pulpit when he is in our state. He gave such an encouraging message reminding us as believers to be steadfast, diligent, faithful, and vigilant. 

One more by Abby
5.  The blessing of starting a new simple Bible study for my quiet time this month.  I've  had  this one on hand for awhile and decided to use it for July.  These simple studies add a journaling component to a Scripture reading plan.  I have another in-depth study going for Sunday School at this time, so simple is really good for my quiet time right now.  I'll be blogging a bit about this as we get further into the month.

6.  And a bonus -- a great time celebrating the Fourth of July with family and friends yesterday!  We are so blessed to live in this country!

Thursday, July 04, 2019

A blessed and glorious Fourth of July to you!

Lovely photo and graphic by Abby at Little Birdie Blessings
 (If you think this post seems a little familiar,  as if you've seen it before -- well, you probably have.  Nearly all of it.  I've updated it just a little.  This was last year's Independence Day post, and it seems even more appropriate today.)

From 2019: We're wishing all of you a most blessed and glorious Fourth of July!  I spent a busy few hours in the kitchen while Mr. T worked on his woodpile. Then we headed off to a favorite picnic spot by a river.  But we are near the lakes, you say.  Yes, yes we are.  But no local in their right mind would be trying to picnic anywhere near a lake today.  Hordes of people!  We enjoyed our time by a rushing river instead, with only one other family at a picnic table nearby.  They told us they'd been planning to go to the state park, but weren't able to get in (those hordes of people again) so they decided to go exploring and found this nice spot with picnic tables beside the river.

Taken at the riverside picnic spot last Saturday.  The water was rushing much more that day.
May we all take time to thank the Lord today for the blessings that are ours living in a free country, and to pray for those brave and committed men and women who are serving right now to protect our land and keep our nation free.  May we take a moment to pray for our country, so deeply divided and so much in need of the healing that only God can truly bring.

Do you pray for our nation regularly?  I take some time every Thursday to pray for some specific requests -- very appropriate as the Fourth of July is on Thursday this year!  (Of course, I pray for America on other days too when the news is particularly bad or there is an urgent need.)


I begin by thanking God for the blessing of living in a free country.  I thank Him for the freedom to worship, the freedom to share my faith with others, the privilege of voting, and the privilege of living in a country with so many natural resources, such natural beauty, and a high standard of living.    I then pray for our president and other leaders, our men and women in the military, our judges and courts, and my state and governor.

The printed page you see across the bottom of my prayer journal is from a pdf titled How to Pray for America.  It's a free download at Revive Our Hearts, and I have found it very helpful in praying for our country as a whole.  If you are not in the habit of praying for America, may I encourage you to do so?

Later today we will be attending a Fourth of July gathering at the home of friends.  There will be food, fellowship, and very likely fireworks as well.  Hope all of you will also enjoy a blessed day celebrating with family or friends!  Happy Fourth of July!

Wednesday, July 03, 2019

Independence Day Medley


Meaningful graphic by Abby at Little Birdie Blessings
So it's Wednesday again, and time for the Wednesday Medley hosted by Terri at Your Friend from Florida.  Appropriately enough, this week's questions center on Independence Day, which we'll be celebrating tomorrow, July 4. Why not head on over to Terri's and get the the questions to answer on your own blog?   Here goes:

1.  Please share a favorite July 4th memory with us.
One year we were in Elko, Nevada, with our daughter and husband on July 4th. (There were no children yet at that time.)  I wrote an account of our day here: A special Fourth of July memory.  If you don't have time to click over and read, here is one of the highlights of that 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!"
2.  How do you plan to spend tomorrow?  If you are working, will you celebrate later?
Not sure yet.  We usually celebrate at a late-afternoon picnic with friends, and I think that will be happening again this year.  The earlier part of the day will hold other activities, but I'm not sure what yet.  The photo below is from last year's picnic and was shamelessly borrowed from my daughter.
Photo by Carrie at Life on a Back Road
3.  Is there a favorite food always reserved for your 4th of July celebration?
I'm pretty pathetic, I guess.   Just any summer picnic food will work for us; no food just reserved for the Fourth.
4.  In Florida, you can buy all kinds of fireworks, including some that fly high and burst into pretty cascades.  Are fireworks legal in your state/community and does anyone you know put on a display for your neighborhood?
Yes, they are legal here and yes, folks in our neighborhood often put on a fireworks display.  Not just for the Fourth; they seem to do displays for the end of school, New Year's Eve, family members' birthdays, and more.   
The folks we usually spend the Fourth with generally put on a fireworks display over a pond in their yard.  Very pretty!  We probably won't be staying until dark, though, as Mr. T has to work the next day.  Again, the  photo below was taken by my daughter (and rudely borrowed by me) and is from last year's party.
Photo by Carrie at Life on a Back Road
5.  Do you have a favorite movie that you always watch sometime during the 4th of July?
Never thought of doing such a thing.  We're usually outdoors.
6.  Share something from your week, please.
I've been busy writing and scheduling posts for  Christmas in July over at my Christmas blog, Mrs. T's Christmas Kitchen.  Link is in sidebar.  I hope you'll visit!

Monday, July 01, 2019

July goals


Yes, unbelievably, it's a new month, and time for setting some fresh goals.  Here are my goals for July:
* Do a July Scripture writing challenge
* Continue reading through the New Testament
* Memorize at least 4 Bible verses and review some older ones
* Continue our discipleship study with new believers
* Continue to  help a recently widowed friend with the challenges of life in general
* Continue study for Sunday School -- A Woman Who Reflects the Heart of Jesus
* Get to bed by 9 pm each night  
* Limit sugar
* Drink enough water each day
 * Walk and/or exercise at least 4 times each week
* Keep up with Flylady's homemaking zones of the week (with some help from Clean Mama)
* Do something creative each day
* Post in this blog as often as possible
* Post in my Christmas blog every day for Christmas in July!
* Get together with friends on July 4th
* Continue planning for family birthday gifts and crafting any handmade ones
* Spend a little time on some UFO craft projects
* Continue stocking my Etsy shop and continue selling vintage items
* Work on Etsy and trust bookkeeping as necessary
* Write at least 4 encouraging notes to friends and family
* Help and encourage my local daughter as I'm able
* Continue to encourage and support my hubby as he works through a pastoral search for our church
* Clean church and set up for fellowship time
* Continue to sort out and declutter my dad's house, hopefully taking many loads to the dump and thrift store and consolidating the remaining items yet to dispose of;  work on estate
* Spend a day helping my cousin get started with a similar task at her childhood home
* Plan meals with a greater emphasis on healthy eating
 
HEALTHY HABITS FOR JULY:  Drink more water/get more sleep/limit sugar

And here's how June went:
* Do a June Scripture writing challenge --- done!
* Begin reading through the New Testament -- I've fallen behind by a day or two, but not bad, so --- done!
* Memorize at least 4 Bible verses and review some older ones  -- not done; only learned 2 verses
* Continue our discipleship study with new believers --- done!
* Continue to  help a recently widowed friend with the challenges of life in general --- done!
* Continue study for Sunday School -- A Woman Who Reflects the Heart of Jesus --- done!
* Get to bed by 9 pm each night   -- not done
* Limit sugar -- not done consistently
* Drink enough water each day -- not done consistently
 * Walk and/or exercise at least 3 times each week --- done!
* Keep up with Flylady's homemaking zones of the week (with some help from Clean Mama) -- not done
* Do something creative each day --- done!
* Post in this blog as often as possible --- done!
* Post in my Christmas blog as often as possible --- done!
* Continue planning for family birthday gifts and crafting any handmade ones --- done!
* Spend a little time on some UFO craft projects --- done!
* Continue stocking my Etsy shop and continue selling vintage items --- done!
* Work on Etsy and trust bookkeeping as necessary -- n/a
* Write at least 4 encouraging notes to friends and family --- done!
* Help and encourage my local daughter as I'm able -- I always feel as if I could do more
* Attend wedding of our friends' daughter --- done!
* Create one (possibly 2) handmade wedding gifts --- done!
* Continue to encourage and support my hubby as he works through a pastoral search for our church --- done!
* Clean church and set up for fellowship time --- done!
* Continue to sort out and declutter my dad's house, hopefully taking many loads to the dump and thrift store and consolidating the remaining items yet to dispose of;  work on estate --- done!
* Get several large pieces of furniture from the old homestead to their new owners --- done!
* Plan meals with a greater emphasis on healthy eating --- done!
 
HEALTHY HABITS FOR JUNE:  Drink more water/get more sleep -- not done consistently

So many of these projects are ongoing that I hesitate to declare them done.  They aren't finished and won't be for awhile.  Still, I met my goals in that I spent some time this past month in working on them. 

Friday, June 28, 2019

Friday five for the end of June


Time for another Friday five ... the last one for this month.  How did June ever pass so quickly?  No matter; it is gone.  Here goes with five blessings from the week:

1.  The fun of beginning a very simple cross stitch project ... a little Scripture sampler I want to make for friends.  Even though I have a number of UFOs sitting about (one of them being a large cross stitch project I've barely touched in months) I found joy in starting this and should be able to finish it quickly.  It's so simple I can work on it in the car.

2.  Seeing several bears this week -- a sow and three cubs on our property, and then a bear crossed the road in front of my friend and I while we were walking.  We decided that we would turn around and walk the other way for awhile to let the bear get to wherever it was going.  We didn't see it again.

3.  Getting to enjoy a picnic together on Saturday night.  It was a blessing to pack up some food and take it to a pretty spot by a rushing river.  The photo at top was taken by the water's edge.

4.  Hearing two good, encouraging messages from Psalm 86 on Sunday.  Our former pastor, now retired, is visiting family in our area and preached for us this past week. 

5.  Our favorite ice cream place is open for the season!  (Sign below is from our second-favorite ice cream place, which is also now open.)

And there's this week's simple Friday five!  All of the flower photos (other than the one at the top of the post)  are from either our yard or at the home I am cleaning out.

Thursday, June 27, 2019

Banana Crunch Cake


On Sunday, a friend at church gave me some bananas that needed to be used up.   She is in the process of moving and does not yet have a functional kitchen in the new place.  I really wasn't sure I could find time to bake, but took the bananas anyway.  I was thinking of either muffins or a coffee cake, but was undecided (and uninspired).

I didn't get around to using the bananas until Tuesday and was just looking through recipes trying to find inspiration.  After a bit I remembered an old Quaker Oats cookbook I have.  This is a great little cookbook and I still use the meat loaf recipe from it, quite often.  I thought it just possible I might have seen a banana cake recipe in that book.

Sure enough!  In the dessert section, I found this:

Best of all,  the recipe didn't call for anything unusual that I didn't have on hand.  (If you need to enlarge the recipe, just click on the photo.  That should do it -- it did for me.)


One thing I appreciated while putting this together was that the ground oat flour was specified in an actual cup measurement.  Often, recipes will call for a certain amount of oats and have you grind them into flour in a blender.  I usually buy the Bob's Red Mill oat flour in a bag, so a recipe that requires starting with oats (and doesn't tell you how much oat flour you'll actually need) isn't too helpful.  For the all-purpose flour called for, I used the Bob's Red Mill 1-to-1 Gluten Free Baking Flour.  I didn't use the chopped nuts in the cake part, but did in the topping, since I had a couple tablespoons of toasted walnuts on hand.  I think another time I would use quick oats rather than old-fashioned in the topping, just to make it more attractive.

This cake was delicious the day I made it, but by the next day it was really fantastic.  Very moist and flavorful.

It was fun cooking from one of my older cookbooks!  I hope you'll give this recipe a try.  We enjoyed it very much!