Wednesday, November 30, 2022

End of November hodgepodge


 It's Wednesday again, so time for the Hodgepodge -- the linkup where Joyce, at  From This Side of the Pond, asks the questions and bloggers provide the answers on their own blogs.  This week's Hodgepodge questions help us sum up November and begin to think about December fun.  Here goes:

 1. Sum up your November in ten words or less. 

Wonderful, heartfelt times of fellowship with family and friends.  

 2. Are you hosting any holiday parties this year? Attending any? Party pooper, party animal, or life of the party...where do you land when it comes to parties? 

Not planning on hosting one.  So far we are planning on attending one, with my hubby's former work crew.  It's always a low-key time with lots of delicious food and he enjoys catching up with everyone.   Out of the partier categories mentioned, I guess you would say we are both party poopers.  We tend to go to bed early and so we don't stay late anywhere.  My hubby is Mr. Congeniality and can talk to anyone about anything, but he wants to leave a party by 9 pm if not before.  Thankfully the one party we are planning on is always an early night.

Above you see Mr. T with our daughter, son-in-law, and friend Patty.  He learned a new game on Thanksgiving and had a blast doing so.

3. Do you purchase holiday clothing of any sort (sparkly tops, Christmas jammies, Santa suit, etc). 

Maybe a holiday sweater or vest.  Possibly socks.   I have a couple of Christmas-designed turtlenecks.  The great thing about festive clothing is that it's worn for such a short season it tends to last for years, so I haven't bought anything like this in awhile.

4. What's your go-to recipe when you're asked to bring an hors d'oeuvre to a party? 

This time of year it is always my Festive Cheese Log which I've been making for years.  It travels well and only needs a box or two of crackers to accompany it.

Photo is from Taste of Home, but my cheese log looks quite similar.

5. December 3rd is National Play Outside Day...what might you do to celebrate? 

 Let's see, it will be Saturday.  Maybe a hike or a walk if the weather is nice.

6. Insert your own random thought here.  

We got to stay overnight at our little camp on November 27.  The night was rainy but warm, and we must have warmish temps to stay there in winter or late fall.  Much of the building is not insulated and our main source of heat is a wood stove which doesn't hold a fire all night.  So we have to pick and choose our times.  One thing my hubby did while there was to get the lights on the loft Christmas tree.

No, we don't have that much snow yet!  Almost no snow, in fact.  The photo below is from last December.

Oh, and just an FYI to all who are interested -- I'm going to try and post daily during December in my Christmas blog, and hopefully here at my kitchen table as well.  Stop in and visit when you can!

There's the Hodgepodge for this week.  Have a wonderful day, everyone!

Sunday, November 27, 2022

Sunday Scripture


Photo from

Again this Sunday, I'm sharing from the Made for Community reading plan from Love God Greatly that I worked on back in 2015.  With this study, as I have often done, I used the SOAP method of Bible study.  Just a quick reminder that the S is for Scripture, O is for Observation, A is for Application and P is for Prayer.  The seventh section is Living in Community in Our World.  So here we go with the Scripture for the second day of that section. 

S= "Ye are the light of the world.  A city that is set on an hill cannot be hidden.  Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father who is in heaven."  (Matthew 5:14-15)

O= Jesus' teaching in the Sermon on the Mount is recorded in Matthew, chapters 5 through 7.  C.I. Scofield summarizes the teaching in this sermon as "The principles and the Rule of the Kingdom."  The first 12 verses of chapter 5 record Jesus' teaching on the Beatitudes.  Verses 13-16 record what Scofield, at least, calls the Similitudes.  The teaching compares believers with everyday, important substances -- light, and salt.

In verse 14 He says that believers are the light of the world.  (He also says the same of Himself in John 8:12.)  "World" here is the Greek word kosmos -- meaning organized humanity -- the world system.  

Jesus adds that a city set on a hill cannot be hidden.  And that is true.  Think of the lengths to which cities have gone in wartime to fit windows with blackout curtains, and even enforce a nightly blackout, in order to disguise the city and protect it from air raids.  It's very difficult to disguise a city.  And so the fact that we are Christians cannot and should not be hidden from the world.

We are to let our light shine before others for two important reasons: 1) that they may see our good works; 2) that this will cause them to glorify our heavenly Father.

A= Am I taking my responsibility as a light to the world seriously enough?  Are the "windows of my city" (so to speak) clear and free of smudges so that the light is spilling out, visible to the world?  The world needs to see the light of believers to see that we are different, and to give the glory for this difference to our heavenly Father.  The world will not want the hope that believers have unless they can first see that we are different.

P= "Lord, how I thank and praise You for bringing me into Your kingdom.  Thank You for Your Word which makes it so clear how citizens of Your kingdom are to conduct themselves.  I pray that You will help me to truly let my light shine in such a way that the world will see a difference and understand that You are that difference.  Help me to bring honor and glory to You with all that You have given me.  I thank You for all You will do, in Jesus' name, Amen."

That's the study for this week!  Let your light shine, friends!

Saturday, November 26, 2022

A timely reminder ...


 I've shared this post before, but I'm feeling led to post it again this year and maybe make it an annual tradition.  I'd like to encourage my readers to do an Advent Bible study or participate in an Advent or Christmas themed Scripture writing plan.  It has never been more important for believers to become thoroughly grounded in God's Word.  You may have plans to get more serious about Bible study in the new year, but why not start now? 

 One of the easiest ways to do this is to participate in Abby's 25 Days of God-Given Gifts at Little Birdie Blessings.  Abby has beautiful free graphics -- like the one above -- for each day, as well as verses and illustrations for each God-given gift.  These readings are not lengthy but they are most meaningful, so you might wish to go over and look at this series each day, maybe writing out the verses and even journaling them using the SOAP method of meditating on Scripture.  I have done this in the past.  Abby also provides links to follow the series on Facebook, Pinterest, or Instagram.

Another relatively easy way to do an Advent study  is by doing a Scripture writing challenge.  You can find  a number of Scripture writing and journaling plans at Rachel Wojo, among other places.  

The one shown below,  the Birth of Christ Scripture writing plan, is from Shannon at Sweet Blessings.


A couple more from Shannon are Gifts & Blessings, Peace, and a general December plan.  It looks like Shannon is no longer writing Scripture plans,  but the older ones are still easily available.

One plan I have done in the past is The Light, from Rachel Wojo.  It was such a blessing!

The Road to Christmas, from Love God Greatly is an Advent study I've done in the past and highly recommend.  God With Us is another Advent study I've done from Love God Greatly.  It seems as if the journal and reading plan may be downloaded for free on their site, but if you want to purchase the book it may be found on Amazon.

Another Advent study I have done which I greatly enjoyed in the past was this free download from Good Morning Girls: Keeping Our Hearts Focused on Jesus

In 2020, I used Peace, Be Still: A 31-Day Christmas prayer journal, from Women Living Well.  I'm thinking that I may use some of my thoughts from this study as Sunday Scripture posts during December, but we will see!

I definitely suggest starting an Advent study or Scripture writing plan if you can make the time.  You will gain so much.  It is never too late to begin a good Bible study that may impact your life for eternity!

For one final bit of inspiration, you might visit my Christmas devotionals Pinterest board.  Lots of good reads there, and also a Christmas-themed Scripture writing plan that, again, it wouldn't be too late to start.

I hope you will seriously consider an Advent study or a Scripture writing plan for December.  You will find it such a blessing!

Wednesday, November 23, 2022

Cruising into Thanksgiving with the Hodgepodge


 It's Wednesday again, so time for the Hodgepodge -- the linkup where Joyce, at  From This Side of the Pond, asks the questions and bloggers provide the answers on their own blogs.  This week's Hodgepodge questions involve Thanksgiving, Christmas plans and much more.   Here goes!

1. Have you ever been on a cruise? If so where did you go and how did you like it? If not, do you have any desire to take a cruise someday? 

Nope, no desire for a cruise.  If I was ever to take one,  I would want it to be either a cruise down the Mississippi or possibly an Alaskan cruise.

A lake cruise is a lot more my speed and I've been on a number of those on large lakes.  Below are a couple of scenes from the M/S Mount Washington on Lake Winnipesaukee. 


2. Tell us about your Thanksgiving plans...are you hosting? cooking? eating out? turkey or some other main? is it stuffing or dressing in your house? homemade cranberries or cranberries in a can? are pies on the dessert menu? what kind? what are your 'must have' sides? Tell us one thing you're especially grateful for this year.

Not hosting, but I am helping with food.  Turkey, cooked by my daughter using Deanna's method, will be the main event.  It's stuffing in our family, but not everyone likes it so I'm making stuffing separately and bringing it in a crockpot.  Homemade cranberry sauce is my preference, but the grandkids all like the canned jellied kind.  Only thing is, it must be the Woodstock organic kind as one of my grands cannot tolerate high fructose corn syrup.  Woodstock is the only brand I've seen without it.  Pies are definitely on the dessert menu -- an apple cranberry, two pumpkin, and a pecan so far.  Must-have sides include Carrie's make-ahead mashed potatoes and honey rolls, and broccoli casserole from my sister-in-law Dawn's recipe.

One thing I'm especially grateful for this year is the opportunity to know God through His Word.  Knowing Him and learning about His character makes it more possible to see His sovereignty over all things and to rest securely in His care regardless of all that is going on in our world.  It helps us too to understand that He has the power and wisdom to do what's best and to change things as He chooses.

Above is my Caramel Pecan Pie:


36 caramels, unwrapped
1/4 cup butter
1/4 cup milk
3/4 cup sugar
3 eggs
1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
1/4 tsp. salt
1 cup pecan halves
1 9-inch unbaked pie crust

Combine the caramels, butter and milk in a heavy saucepan; heat until the mixture is creamy and caramels are melted, stirring often. Remove from heat and set aside.

In a large bowl, beat together the sugar, eggs, vanilla and salt with an electric mixer; gradually blend in the caramel mixture. Fold in the pecans and pour the mixture into the pie crust. Bake at 350º for 45 to 50 minutes or until set. Cool pie until firm before cutting or serving. Store leftovers in refrigerator.

And I'll add my pumpkin pie recipe too:


1 9-inch unbaked pie crust
1 15-ounce can pumpkin
1 14-ounce can sweetened condensed milk
2 eggs
1 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 tsp. nutmeg
1/4 tsp. ginger
1/4 tsp. salt

Preheat oven to 425º. Combine all ingredients except pie crust in a large bowl and beat with electric mixer until well combined. Pour into crust.

Bake 15 minutes. Reduce oven temperature to 350º. Bake pie for 35 to 40 minutes longer or until knife inserted 1 inch from crust comes out clean. Cool pie before cutting or serving. Refrigerate leftovers.

On a more temporal note, I'm super thankful to have sold the last piece of property for my dad's trust.

3. If someone approaches you and asks for money do you give it to them? Do you drop money 'in a tin cup' that belongs to a person on the street? Do you have a specific charity you support during the holiday season and/or year round?

No to all.   I will put money in a Salvation Army kettle if I encounter a bell ringer at Christmas time.  

And of course we give to our local church all year round.  We also have some missionary friends we have personally helped to support for years.

4. Have you started decorating for Christmas? Is your tree up? Shopping done? Wrapped? 

No to all.  I have started my shopping and making, but nothing is wrapped.  My tree is not up and my decorating not started.  My hubby has, however, started baking Christmas cookies and has gone through two batches of fudge already giving it out for various occasions.

 He has baked a batch of Whipped Shortbread (above);

 a double batch of Secret Spice Cookies (above);

and two batches of Heavenly Delight fudge (below).

He's also baked a double batch of Chocolate Mint Crisps.  And he's talking about baking more cookies today.

5. Create your own acrostic using the word THANKS. 

Trustworthy God

Home (heavenly as well as earthly)

Abundant blessings

Nearby family and friends

Knowing God through His word

Salvation in Christ

(I borrowed part of this from last year's "Thankful" acrostic.)

6.  Insert your own random thought here. 

So looking forward to Thanksgiving!  My favorite holiday, though I love Christmas dearly as well.  If you've never read my Thanksgiving memories, you might enjoy them here.

There's the Hodgepodge for today.  Have a wonderful Thanksgiving, everyone!

Sunday, November 20, 2022

Sunday Scripture


 Again this Sunday, I'm sharing from the Made for Community reading plan from Love God Greatly that I worked on back in 2015.  With this study, as I have often done, I used the SOAP method of Bible study.  Just a quick reminder that the S is for Scripture, O is for Observation, A is for Application and P is for Prayer.  The seventh section is Living in Community in Our World.  So here we go with the Scripture for the first day of that section.

S= "For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life.
"For God sent not His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved."  (John 3:16-17)

O= These verses are part of a conversation that Jesus had with Nicodemus, a ruler of the Jews who came to him by night with questions.  After explaining that a man will not see the kingdom of God unless he is born again, Jesus goes on to tell why He came to earth -- that God loved the world so much that He sent His only begotten Son to die for their sins.  Whoever truly believes in Jesus will not perish, but will have eternal life.  

C.I. Scofield notes that "belief, in the New Testament, denotes more than intellectual assent to a fact.  The Greek word [pisteuo] means adherence to, committal to, faith in, reliance upon, trust in, a person or an object, and this involves not only the consent of the mind, but an act of the heart and will of the subject ... 'whosoever trusts in or commits himself to Him'."

Verse 17 tells us that:
* God didn't send Jesus into the world to condemn the world;
* God sent Jesus so that through Him, the world might be saved.

A= Verse 16 is an oft-quoted Bible verse that many people have memorized.  Yet many of those who recite it so glibly haven't personally applied it.  Intellectually, they believe in Jesus, but they are not truly saved.  

I need to be sure I am telling others of God's love for the world, and just why He sent Jesus.  I also need to make sure they go beyond intellectual assent to true belief.

P= "Lord, I am so thankful that You sent Your Son Jesus into the world so that we might be saved from sin and have everlasting life.  I thank You for drawing me to You.  I pray that You will help me to be faithfully sharing that Good News with others so that they also may trust Jesus as Savior.  I praise You for the opportunities You will give.  In Jesus' name, Amen."

There is the simple study for this week.  I would love it if, one of these weeks, someone else studies out the Scripture with the SOAP methods and shares their thoughts.  It would be interesting to compare notes!

Wednesday, November 16, 2022

On the fast track to the Hodgepodge


It's Wednesday again, so time for the Hodgepodge -- the linkup where Joyce, at  From This Side of the Pond, asks the questions and bloggers provide the answers on their own blogs.  Since this week's Hodgepodge lands on Fast Food Day, the questions mostly involve fastness in some way.   Here goes!

 1. When did you most recently need to 'think fast'? Elaborate.

 Last Thursday we were at our little camp doing a bit of cleaning, yard work and cooking prior to our friends coming for breakfast on Friday morning.  Mr. T was outside raking leaves and I was in the kitchen chopping a tomato to add to a dip recipe.  [Important information: The only door to the camp is in the kitchen, and my back was to it as I worked at the counter.]   I was nearly finished with my task when I heard a rhythmic thumping sound emanating, it seemed, from the next room.  It sounded almost exactly like a washing machine out of balance.  But there is no washing machine at the camp.  We had a fire going in the woodstove that afternoon, and we have an Incinolet toilet.  Could something have gone wrong with one of these?  Mystified, I went into the next room only to find a child perched on the bed, drumming her heels rhythmically against the bed rail.   This girl, below, now a few years older but wearing a similar hat as she was dressed up "as a young lady" (her words).

She had sneaked past my hubby outdoors and managed to come in the screen door and through the kitchen without me ever noticing.  She then went up to the loft and waited, hoping to scare me when I came into the living room.  When I didn't do that, she came back down and waited in the sleeping nook, finally drumming her heels in an effort to get my attention.

She did that!  I had to "think fast" as to how she had gotten there.  But first, I jumped.  And screamed.  Very satisfying reaction, from Ari's viewpoint.

2. The Hodgepodge lands on National Fast Food Day. What was the last fast food you ate? What's your favorite fast food? How often do you grab fast food? 

The last fast food we ate was at McDonalds back in mid-October as we headed north for our Back Lake getaway.  We were in a hurry and yet wanted to stop for a very short break in our journey.  This McDonalds is the last fast food outpost on our route.  It was okay and served its purpose of refueling quickly.  Favorite fast food?  Probably Wendy's.  How often we grab fast food -- as seldom as possible.  Very, very rarely. 

In years past, we often took our grandkids to McDonalds for breakfast during the Christmas season.  This lodge-themed McDonalds, complete with fireplace,  was a favorite of ours.

3. Life in the fast lane, get nowhere fast, on the fast track, not so fast...pick one and tell us how it applies to your life in recent days. 

Life in the fast lane describes our October.  We were constantly on the go, meeting up with friends, attending a retreat, spending a week at our volunteer jobs.  We did have that getaway up north in the middle of it all, thankfully, but it meant 3 hours of travel each way.  Below is one of the roads at The Wilds of New England.  A slow lane within the fast lane of October, you might say.

4. Are you a fast walker? fast talker? fast worker? fall asleep fast? stay fast asleep without too much trouble? 

I'm not a fast walker and I try not to be a fast talker.  I'm a lot less fast of a worker than I used to be: everything seems to take longer as we age.  I do tend to fall asleep fast, and I do tend to stay fast asleep without much trouble.  I guess those two may be more valuable in the long run than being fast in other areas.  So thankful that God gives rest.

5. What is one 'hard and fast rule' in your house? 

My grandchildren know this one well: No boredom allowed.

6. Insert your own random thought here.  

We're supposed to get our first measurable snow of the season tonight (as I write this on Tuesday).  My hubby has been doing a lot of work preparing for winter -- cleaning the garage so cars will actually fit inside, putting away outdoor furniture both at home and cottage, draining water at the cottage, removing freezable things from there -- such a lot of work.  We still may stay a night or two at the cottage now and then if the temperatures allow -- but it will be more like camping.

Above, a November snow in 2017.

And this week's hodgepodge is a wrap!   Why not go see Joyce at  From This Side of the Pond and snag the questions to answer on your own blog?

Monday, November 14, 2022

Fall meet-up with friends #5 -- another breakfast and lunch at our little camp


It's a rare treat when we are able to get together with our good friends Syd and Cyndy from Vermont.  So when it happens, we like to spend most of a day together, usually beginning with breakfast.  Often it's at our home, but in summer and fall we love to entertain at our little cottage.  And thanks to a mild November, such was the case on Veterans Day.  Amazingly, this was the second meet-up with them this fall; they are the same friends mentioned in my October post about meet-up with friends #4!

I kept breakfast super-simple with breakfast sliders and with a Hash Brown Casserole, which I kept warm in a crockpot rather than baking it in the oven.   (The oven at the camp is tiny and only has one rack, so I could only bake one 13x9 dish.)   Cyndy is somewhat of a baked-apple specialist, so I had asked her to bring baked apples to add to the breakfast menu.  She surprised us with an unusual but scrumptious variation -- baked apples filled with bread pudding!  Of course we also had coffee with our breakfast.

The sliders were from Jamie at My Baking Addiction.  They were delicious!  I tweaked the recipe in a few ways.  I couldn't find Hawaiian rolls in the right size, so I bought Pepperidge Farm slider buns.  (They were still expensive -- $4.29 -- but not as expensive as the Hawaiian rolls would have been.)  I made homemade sausage patties instead of using purchased sausage.  And, I used American cheese for the cheese on the bottom roll layer and shredded cheddar for the top layer.  I really liked the cheddar, so another time I would likely use all cheddar cheese.   There will definitely be a next time! 

I imagine some readers might like to have the homemade sausage recipe.  I have posted it before, but it's been years.  So here it is:


1/4 cup water
2 tsp. salt
2 tsp. rubbed sage
1 tsp. pepper
1/2 tsp. ground nutmeg
1/4 tsp. crushed red pepper flakes
1/8 tsp. ground ginger
2 lb. ground pork

In a bowl, stir together water and seasonings. Add pork and mix well. Shape meat mixture into eight 4” patties (or a larger amount of smaller ones). In a skillet over medium heat, cook patties for 5 to 6 minutes on each side or until no longer pink in the center.

This is such a yummy recipe for homemade sausage! I often cut the amounts in half to make a smaller batch. This sausage is very lean and not at all greasy.  For these sliders, I used about 1 1/4 pounds of ground pork, which is what I had, and used half the amount of seasonings specified here.

We lingered over breakfast just enjoying the fellowship and wonderful food.  After the breakfast dishes were done,  we decided to take a walk at nearby Quincy Bog.  Syd took these photos with his phone.

There is just something about red berries after all of the other foliage is gone.  Love them.
We were fascinated by this large tree apparently growing out of a rock.
Such unusual moss growing vertically on this stump!

For lunch, we were joined by our daughter and three of the grandkids, who walked through the woods from their house next door.   Chili seemed like the perfect choice for a fall day, although the day turned out to be quite balmy. Once again I served  Easy Crockpot Chili.  And again I need to add a quick note that I tweak the recipe by cooking the spices and onion with the ground beef first.  It seems to add a very measurable depth of flavor to the chili.  (And the grandkids LOVE it!)   Even though this is a super simple recipe, I usually get many comments about how good it is.  I also use much less meat: a pound or less rather than the 3 pounds called for.  I often add an extra can of beans too -- usually kidney beans.  And I'd forgotten about this, but I usually cut down on the water and sometimes on that large quantity of tomato sauce as well.  It all depends on how many people I'm serving, the size pot I use, and whether or not I'm transporting it somewhere.  This time I used around 16 ounces of tomato sauce and no water, as we were transporting a very full crockpot over a bumpy dirt road.  (Once we got there, I transferred some of the chili to a saucepan and added some of the tomato sauce to each batch.)  So if you make this, feel free to tweak it too! 

Cyndy brought a pan of delicious cornbread and a jug of cider,  and we also had tortilla chips and a Baked Taco Dip.  I had seen this dip recipe on the Hodgepodge this week and decided to try it.  With teenage appetites present for lunch, I wasn't sure if the chili would stretch far enough without it.  (It certainly did, because two of the teenagers in question enjoyed leftover breakfast sliders and hash brown casserole.  After which I heard, "Amazing food, Grammy!")

For dessert, I had made two Turtle Pumpkin Pies.   This is apparently a Kraft recipe, but I found it in my Gooseberry Patch Big Book of Holiday Cooking (the link will take you to my review of the book).  In fact, it's one of the cover recipes!  I got this book at Thriftbooks for $5.99 a couple years ago.  It's always worth checking there for good deals on cookbooks.

I made homemade graham cracker crust (which the recipe I had specified doing).  Instead of cinnamon and nutmeg (which totaled 1 1/2 teaspoons) I substituted 1 1/2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice.  My pie slices came out looking just about exactly like the picture, which was surprising and encouraging!


(My family has teased me for years about trying out new recipes on company.  I'm notorious for doing that!  But this may be the first time I have tried three new recipes on one hospitality occasion.) 

Just one more photo, for fun.  Our dear friend is "Miss Cyndy" to our young granddaughter Arielle (as well as to many other children).  When she saw Ari's deer costume (purchased on clearance after Halloween) she decided a photo shoot was in order.  A little deer is bounding through the woods on a gray November afternoon!

What a delightful day it was!  So thankful for good friends as well as for family "just through the woods". 

Sunday, November 13, 2022

Sunday Scripture


Again this Sunday, I'm sharing from the Made for Community reading plan from Love God Greatly that I worked on back in 2015.  With this study, as I have often done, I used the SOAP method of Bible study.  Just a quick reminder that the S is for Scripture, O is for Observation, A is for Application and P is for Prayer.  The sixth section is Living in Community in Our Spheres of Influence.  So here we go with the Scripture for the fifth day of that section. 

S= "As every man hath received the gift, even so minister the same one to another, as good stewards of the manifold grace of God."  (1 Peter 4:10)

O= I like the way C.I. Scofield has titled this section [1 Peter 4:7-19] in the Scofield Reference Bible:

"Christian conduct in light of the times in which we live."

Peter begins this thought back in verse 7 with this admonition: "But the end of all things is at hand; be ye, therefore, soberminded, and watch unto prayer."  Verses 8-9 declare the importance of fervent love, discretion, and ungrudging hospitality among believers.

Now verse 10 speaks of the importance of using our spiritual gifts to minister to other believers:

As each one has received a spiritual gift, he is to minister that gift to others.

This is being a good steward of the manifold, multifaceted grace of God.

A cross-reference for "received the gift" is Romans 12:6-8: "Having then gifts differing according to the grace that is given to us ..." and goes on to describe the manner in which we are to use specific gifts: "He that giveth, let him do it with liberality; he that ruleth, with diligence; he that showeth mercy, with cheerfulness."

For "good stewards" a cross-reference of 1 Corinthians 4:2 is given: "Moreover, it is required in stewards that a man be found faithful."

And for the phrase "grace of God" there is a note by Scofield: "Grace is the method of divine dealing in salvation and in the believer's life and service ... Having by grace brought the Christian into the highest conceivable position, God ceaselessly works to impart in him corresponding graces.  Grace ... stands connected with service, with Christian growth, and with giving."

If we were to read on to verse 11, we would see the reason for ministering our spiritual gifts one to another: "that God in all things may be glorified."

A= I'm so humbled and thankful as I consider the spiritual gifts God has blessed me with.  Scripture tells us that every believer has at least one gift, and I think most believers have been blessed with several.  I'm thankful that over time, God has helped me to identify my spiritual gifts and to prayerfully consider how He might have me to use them.

But I am responsible for actually using those gifts to benefit others.  I can't just put them on a shelf and allow them to gather dust.  I must be using them to minister to others.  In so doing I will be a good steward of God's grace and will bring glory to Him.  What a privilege and responsibility!

P= "Lord, how thankful I am for the spiritual gifts You've given me.  Even one spiritual gift would have been far more than I deserve, yet in Your mercy and grace You not only saved me, but but then equipped me to serve You and others with several spiritual gifts.  I pray that You will help me to use these gifts as a good steward to minister to others and glorify You.  I praise You for all You have done and all You will do, in Jesus' name, Amen."

That's our study for this week!  I hope it encouraged you as much as it did me.

Wednesday, November 09, 2022

November 9 hodgepodge


It's Wednesday again, so time for the Hodgepodge -- the linkup where Joyce, at  From This Side of the Pond, asks the questions and bloggers provide the answers on their own blogs.  This week's questions mostly have to do with the number 9.   Here goes!

1. Last time you were 'dressed to the nines'? 

I'm not sure I have ever been dressed to the nines!   One memory that comes to mind is of a dress I once owned  similar to the lefthand view (View 1) below, only it had a straighter skirt.  It was purchased at an upscale dress shop, not homemade, and was a pale aqua wool.  I think I was around 15 at the time and I remember wearing it to a dressy event I attended with my parents.  I may even have worn gloves like the models in the pattern illustration!  That's probably as close as I have ever come to "dressed to the nines"!

2. Something recently that had you on 'cloud nine'? 

Hmmm ....  maybe our recent getaway up to the Great North Woods, which I have yet to really blog about, though I have posted a few photos.  It was a truly relaxing time and we just soaked up the beauty and tranquility of God's creation.

3. Tell us about a time, circumstance, experience, or decision you made where the saying 'a stitch in time saves nine' proved true. 

 Oh, there have been many of those times and it is always a huge blessing to see how God gives wisdom to think ahead and be proactive.  One recent time was when my hubby realized if we did not schedule our planned foliage trip on the Cannon Mountain Tramway for the very next day, we might not get to take the trip.  That was so wise!  Had we not scheduled that trip when we did, we would have been scrambling to fit it in on a day that might have not been the best weather-wise.  Or, even worse, we would now be kicking ourselves that we didn't go, and telling each other lamely that there's always next year.

4. A recipe you make that calls for exactly nine ingredients? 

I am going to say my favorite chili recipe: Easy Crockpot Chili -- it calls for 10 ingredients but one of them is water, which I believe is not counted when one is counting the number of ingredients in a recipe.   I'm shamelessly sharing this recipe again though I linked to it only a month ago.  It's that good, and I plan  on making it again for company on Friday.  

As I mentioned in that post about the get-together where I served this in early October, I do tweak this chili recipe in a major way as far as how it's put together.  I think it makes a huge difference.  So what I do differently is, while browning the hamburger, I also brown the chopped onion and all of the spices along with it.  I really think that doing this adds a very measurable depth of flavor to the chili.  Sometimes I use ground turkey instead of beef, but with the spices cooked with the meat like this, one would never know it was turkey.  Even though this is a super simple recipe, I usually get many comments about how good it is.  I also cut WAY back on the meat in this recipe, using a pound or less rather than the 3 pounds called for.  I often add an extra can of beans too -- usually kidney beans.  

Spice rack made by my wonderful hubby
5. This coming Friday is Veterans Day in the US of A. Will you mark the day in some way? Are you a veteran? If you live outside the US does your country have a day dedicated to celebrating veterans? 

I am not a veteran (but my dad was a veteran of World War 11) and there is not much for celebrating Veterans Day here in our rural area.   We do have friends coming to spend the day with us at our little camp, so that will be a special way to mark the day.  It might be a nice thing to go and visit his grave on Friday if it's not raining.  The cemetery is only a few minutes from our camp.

6. Insert your own random thought here. 

I've been adding lots of things to my Etsy shop (link in sidebar) in the past week.  Mostly sewing patterns and Christmas cards, but one item I recently added is the book below.  Illustrations are by the inimitable artist Marjorie Cooper, who is well loved for her greeting card designs.

I've also sold a couple books in the past week.  A good reminder to me that I have dozens more to list.

And this week's hodgepodge is a wrap!   Why not go see Joyce at  From This Side of the Pond and snag the questions to answer on your own blog?

Tuesday, November 08, 2022

Don't forget to vote today ... but more importantly, don't forget to pray!


From Abby at Little Birdie Blessings.  Isn't it interesting that today's Election Day is the same?

I've been pondering what thoughts I might share for Election Day.  I encourage you to get out and vote, for sure!  But more importantly, pray about how you will vote.  I hope that we've all been praying about this important civic responsibility for awhile now, since the primary, at the very least.  If you haven't already made up your mind, do a little research (and a lot of praying) before marking those ballots.  

But we all ought to be praying intelligently and specifically for our country every day.  I ended up adapting an older post to encourage my readers (and myself!) in this, so if it seems you have read some of this information before, you probably have.   Feel free to skip the read, and just go vote.

Consider these words from the meaningful song "America the Beautiful":

"America! America!  God shed His grace on thee!" 

If our country ever needed God's grace, it is now.  I have come to believe that we are engaged in a struggle between good and evil -- a battle for the hearts and minds of our people.  Our liberty is truly at stake, friends.  This is not a battle between political candidates or between two political parties.  It is a battle between liberty and socialism and quite likely communism.

Mr. T and I are praying that evil will be exposed (and that it will be honestly and justly dealt with), that Americans will see the seriousness of our situation and that believers will pray faithfully for our beloved country.

For many years, I've prayed for our country every Thursday.  (I've shared about this before, but for those who may have missed it I will share the basics again.)  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, my state and governor, and my town.

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.   In 2016, these requests were printed in our church bulletin, and I clipped them out to use in praying for our country on a regular basis.  Below is a scan:


You will notice that one of these requests is for truth in the media.  Thankfully, there are a few independent news outlets where one can hear the truth.  We are not hearing it from the mainstream networks.  The Epoch Times is one that we have found trustworthy. We have also found many fascinating interviews and good news shows on Epoch TV.   If you subscribe to the newspaper, access to the interviews, etc. is free.  Check it out!

Another important request on this list is that people will be able to see truth, that error would be exposed, and that people with wicked agendas will be made weak.  I am actually praying that those who have wicked agendas will be caught in their own nets, thinking of some of the imprecatory requests that David prayed for the wicked.  Another great request is for God to overcome the enemies of truth and righteousness.  The Scripture verses for this request are pertinent:

"Give us help from trouble: for vain is the help of man.  

"Through God we shall do valiantly: for He it is that shall tread down our enemies."
(Psalm 60:11-12)

 If you are not in the habit of praying for America, may I encourage you to do so?

  "America the Beautiful" also includes these powerful words:

"America! America!
God mend thine every flaw.
Confirm thy soul in self-control,
Thy liberty in law!"

I've often been reminded that truly, God is the only One who can mend our flaws -- but we have to want that to happen and we need to beseech God that it will happen. Our flaws have never been more obvious, it seems, and never have I been more aware of how fragile our liberties are and how easily they can be snatched away.

  As we exercise our right to vote, let's take time today to beseech God to help us "mend our flaws" as a nation, and to thank Him for the privilege of living in this land. Pray for His hand to be evident in the outcome of this election.  I'm so thankful today for God's sovereignty!

Sunday, November 06, 2022

Sunday Scripture


 Again this Sunday, I'm sharing from the Made for Community reading plan from Love God Greatly that I worked on back in 2015.  With this study, as I have often done, I used the SOAP method of Bible study.  Just a quick reminder that the S is for Scripture, O is for Observation, A is for Application and P is for Prayer.  The sixth section is Living in Community in Our Spheres of Influence.  So here we go with the Scripture for the fourth day of that section. 

S= "Therefore, all things whatever ye would that men should do to you, do ye even so to them; for this is the law and the prophets."  (Matthew 7:12)

O=  This verse is considered "The Golden Rule".  It is also stated in Luke 6:31 -- "And as ye would that men should do to you, do ye even so to them."

Matthew 7:12 begins with the word "therefore".  I've learned, when I see that word, to ask what it's "there for".  

The use of "therefore" in this verse seems to be pointing back to verses 1-5, where we learn that we will be judged by the same judgment with which we judge others, and measured by the same standard as we measure others by.  We are also warned in this passage against hypocrisy.

Another possibility is that "therefore" is pointing back to verse 11 where we learn that our heavenly Father gives good things to those who ask Him.   Thus, we also need to show kindness to others and be givers of good things to them.

Either way, we need be treating others as we would have them to treat us.  

For the phrase "this is the law and the prophets", The Open Bible gives two cross-references:

Galatians 5:14 -- "For all the law is fulfilled in one word, even in this, Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself."

1 Timothy 1:5 -- "Now the end [or goal] of the commandment is charity out of a pure heart, and of a good conscience, and of faith unfeigned."

Believer's Bible Commentary explains, "This saying by Jesus ... summarizes the moral teachings of the Law of Moses and the writings of the prophets of Israel.  The righteousness demanded by the Old Testament is fulfilled in converted believers who thus walk according to the Spirit (Romans 8:4).  If this verse were universally obeyed, it would transform all areas of international relationships, national politics, family life, and church life."

Food for thought!

A= This is a pretty simple, straightforward command.  I'm to treat others as I would have them to treat me and to measure them by the same standard as I'd want to be measured by.  I'm to be treating others with kindness.  

I think that in general, by God's grace, I'm able to do this.  I definitely don't hold others to a higher standard than I have for myself.  Of course there are times when I fail, but in general I do have this verse as a rule of life.

P= "Lord, I thank You once again for the clarity of Your Word and for the guidance it gives for our everyday lives.  I pray that You will help me to consistently treat others as I would want to be treated.  Help me, too, to clearly communicate the truth of Your Word to other Christian women, and that You would use ths to make a difference in their lives.  I thank You for all You'll do, in Jesus' name, Amen."

There is this week's simple study.  Hope you enjoyed it!

Thursday, November 03, 2022

Couples retreat 2022

As part of our mini getaway, we spent Friday evening and an entire Saturday at The Wilds of New England for a couples retreat.  Housing for couples is limited on the campsite, so we usually get a hotel or Airbnb for that night so we don't have to be driving home late Friday night and then heading back to the retreat early on Saturday morning.

This time we stayed at the cute cottage referenced in this post: A mini getaway.  You can read more about the cottage here: Trailside Cottage, if you are interested.

Yes, that was the cottage where we had to pass this gorgeous autumnal pond coming and going:

The photo at the top of the post and the one just below were taken on the Saturday afternoon at The Wilds of New England.  Such lovely colorful trees!

We always enjoy this retreat so much.  It has become an important part of our fall.  In fact, we are at the point where we don't want to miss it.  The fact that we need to get an Airbnb or other lodging turns it into an overnight getaway, so that's even nicer.  It also gives us some time together to talk over what we have learned or are learning.  Sometimes, we even take two nights -- Thursday and Friday -- so we can spend some time exploring the area the day before the retreat.  That's how we got the photo below, last year:

As usual, the Bible teaching at this year's couples' retreat did not disappoint.  Our speaker was Brian Trainer, and although he spoke on Marriage 101, it was by no means too basic for us, even though we've been married for decades.  We picked up a number of really important concepts (and also a few easy but effective tips) and we will be implementing these into our marriage.  

One of the really important ones is that if both spouses are believers, then they are not only husband and wife but brother and sister in Christ.  Now, Mr. T and I understood this and have even remarked on it a few times.  But Brian expanded on this and pointed out that, as brother and sister in Christ, we are responsible for all the biblical "one another" instructions, including admonishing and encouraging one another.  Food for some deep, deep thought.  I think that many times we are prone to not treat our own spouse with the respect we would other believers.  On the other hand, I think I've sometimes hesitated to admonish my husband, wondering if it might be disrespectful.  As with so many things, balance is so important, right?

One of the smaller tips (with a potentially big impact) we picked up in the last session: if it seems like something is amiss between you, ask your spouse the question: 

"Are we okay?"

Sometimes everything is fine between you, but one spouse is dealing with some other difficulty and is coming across as if things are not okay.  In that case it opens the door for the hurting spouse to say that yes, we are fine, but I'm upset, stressed, or whatever over this other thing.  

Or sometimes things are not okay between you and need to be brought out into the open and worked through.

A related tip (it seems to me, anyway) came up in the Q&A session with Brian and his wife Sherry.  They noted that often in a marriage, one person is a night owl and another has a brain that shuts down at 9 pm.  So if a "robust discussion" looks like it will go past 9 pm, just stop right there.  Pause the discussion, pray, and make a concrete plan to continue the discussion at a specific time, over coffee, a meal, etc. at a better time for both of you.  This not only enables you to go to bed without "letting the sun go down upon your wrath"; it also moves the problem into a solution-oriented phase.  

To me these two tips are worth their weight in gold.  They are just a sample of the great things to be learned at a couples' retreat or conference.

Do you live in New England?  Why not plan to attend a retreat at at The Wilds of New England next fall?  In addition to the couples' conferences we enjoy so much, they also offer retreats for men, women, and even a one-day retreat for seniors.