Wednesday, March 29, 2023

Hodgpodging the hodgepodge


It's Wednesday again, and that means it's 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 have a true hodgepodge feel -- they are all over the place but look like fun.   Here goes:

1.Why do you blog? Have your reasons changed over time? 

I started blogging in 2005.  This is what I wrote in my very first post:

 "Inspired by my daughter and some other friends, I've decided to try my own hand at blogging. It occurred to me that so much of life takes place around a kitchen table. We do so much more there than just eat meals and share family time. Board games may be played there, homework may be done there. Craft projects may be worked on, and the pieces of sewing projects may be cut out there. Food preparation, correspondence, bill-paying... the list could go on and on. Not to mention all the wonderful times of fun and fellowship that happen at the kitchen table. As a friend of ours once commented, 'We're kitchen-table people'. So much laughter takes place at a kitchen table! Tears may be shed there as well. Jokes are told and serious conversations are shared. I hope that this blog will be a "virtual kitchen table" where I can share recipes, memories, and kitchen-table thoughts with those who visit here." 

I don't think my reasons for blogging have changed much over time.   About the only difference is that now I do see blogging as more of a ministry than I did back then.

2. What's a typical Friday night look like at your house?

A few years ago we routinely had young friends over for supper and Bible study on Friday nights.  Life circumstances have changed and that seldom happens now, though I think we all wish that it did.  Our Friday evenings tend to be quiet and low-key. 

3. Do you like donuts? Your favorite kind? How often do you treat yourself to a donut? Have you ever made homemade donuts? 

I do like donuts.  I would be hard-pressed to decide on a favorite kind.  Dunkin' Donuts have often been a staple for us on road trips.  They used to make a glazed whole wheat donut that I really liked, and blueberry cake donuts too.

I very, very seldom treat myself to a donut, though.

Yes, I have made homemade donuts a number of times.  My grandmother taught me.  Here's a post from my first year of blogging where I describe teaching a dozen girls to make homemade donuts: Doughnut doings. This is the No-Fry Doughnut recipe referenced in that post.  


I've also made a gluten free baked pumpkin doughnut that we really enjoyed.

4. How do you feel about shopping?Are you an online shopper? Catalog shopper? Brick and mortar shopper? Do you order groceries online or prefer to select items with your own two hands? 

I am not a shop till you drop type person at all.  I'm a catalog shopper at times but usually order on line.  I also like to order from Etsy shops for really unique gifts.  And I really appreciate that many of our grandchildren have Amazon wish lists.  It simplifies birthday and Christmas shopping.

I don't order groceries online.  I definitely prefer to select items with my own two hands, especially produce.

5. Next week's Hodgepodge finds us somehow in the month of April, which just so happens to be National Poetry Month. Sum up (or tell us something about) your month of March in the form of a limerick. You can do it!! 

There once was a month just so busy,
My hubby and I felt quite dizzy:
From maple sap hauls
To the painting of walls,
This March has had us in a tizzy!

6. Insert your own random thought here.   

Oh, let's see.  Well, we met our goal of being able to stay at our little camp for at least one night each winter month.  As I wrote about before, this is quite a challenge in an uninsulated building.  But it worked with the various adaptations I mentioned, and we were able to stay three nights each in January, February, and March!

And there's the Hodgepodge for this week.  So thankful I was able to take part!

Sunday, March 26, 2023

Sunday Scripture


It's Sunday again, and time for a Scripture post.  Recall, I'm going back to The Book of Psalms One Chapter a Day study from Good Morning Girls.  In Summer 2020 I started this study but had never completed it, so I've decided to go back and finish it up.  This particular book only covers Psalms 101-150, and I had previously completed Psalms 101- 129, so I have a few more to go.  I have purchased another journal covering Psalms 51-100 and will plan to go through that after I finish this one.  

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.

Also, there is a reflection question for each psalm.  I don't always answer it, but when I do it will usually follow the SOAP portion of my study.

The Psalm for today is Psalm 134.  Another psalm with just three verses!

S= "Behold, bless ye the LORD, all ye servants of the LORD, which by night stand in the house of the LORD.

"Lift up your hands in the sanctuary, and bless the LORD.

"The LORD that made heaven and earth bless thee out of Zion."  (Psalm 134:1-3)

O=  Scofield titles this psalm "Praise by night."  It is the final psalm in the series of "songs of degrees (or ascents)".  It is an exhortation to "bless the LORD".  In return, it seems, He blesses those who bless Him.

Who is to bless the LORD?

His servants who stand in His house by night.

How are they to bless the LORD?

By lifting up their hands in the sanctuary.

What is the result of blessing the LORD?

The LORD, the self-existent One who made heaven and earth, will bless them out of Zion.

Charles Spurgeon, in The Treasury of David, paints a word picture for us: "The pilgrims are going home, and are singing the last song in their psalter.  They leave early in the morning ... for the journey is long for many of them.  While yet the night lingers they are on the move.  As soon as they are outside the gates, they see the guards upon the temple wall, and the lamps shining from the windows of the chambers which surround the sanctuary; therefore, moved by the sight, they chant a farewell to the perpetual attendants. ... Their parting exhortation arouses the priests to pronounce upon them a blessing out of the holy place; this benediction is contained in the third verse.  The priests as good as say, 'You have desired us to bless the Lord, and so we pray the Lord to bless you'."

Also in The Treasury of David, Spurgeon quotes N. McMichael as having written the following: "The priestly benediction brings God before us in a twofold character.  He is described first as the Creator of the universe.  He is described, in the second place, as dwelling 'in Zion'.  In the first aspect, He is represented as the God of nature; in the second, as the God of grace.  When I contemplate Him as the Creator of the universe, there is abundant proof that He can bless me.  When I contemplate Him as dwelling in the church, there is abundant proof that He will bless me.  Both of these elements are essential to our faith." 

I also found some helpful thoughts in Believer's Bible Commentary, another favorite resource of mine --  "Notice four things about the blessing: 

The Blesser -- the LORD, Jehovah, the covenant-keeping God;
His greatness -- He made heaven and earth;
The one blessed -- "May the LORD bless you (you is singular);
The locale of the Blesser -- Zion, the place of the sanctuary.

Scofield explains that Zion was "the ancient Jebusite stronghold ... on the south part of the eastern hill of Jerusalem.  It is called 'the city of David' and is associated with the Davidic royalty both historically and prophetically.  The name 'Zion' is often used of the whole city of Jerusalem, considered as the city of God, especially in passages referring to the future kingdom age."

A= So -- as we praise God, as individual believers, we are blessed. The One who blesses us is the almighty, covenant-keeping, eternal God who made heaven and earth.  Simply put, this psalm is a call to worship.  In addition to time spent worshiping Him with other believers, and worshiping Him in my quiet time, I believe that I am to live my life in an attitude of worship.

P= "Lord, as I come to You in prayer in light of this exhortation,  the words of a chorus we've been learning in church come to my mind: 'I worship You, Almighty God, there is none like You.'  We've been learning this chorus in light of 1 Samuel 2:2 which reminds us that there is none as holy as You, there is no one beside You, and there is no Rock like You.  Indeed, I worship You, Almighty God!  I praise You in Jesus' name, Amen."

The Reflection Question noted that "as we bless and praise God, He blesses us.  The Lord's blessings are not just for the church as a whole but for each of us as an individual and it is for all of His children everywhere.

"This Psalm is a call to worship and the act of praising the Lord is a blessing in and of itself.  So let's bless the Lord right now.  Write a word of praise below and then pause and sing a song of worship to Him right where you are!"

My answer: "Lord, how I praise You that You are the Maker of heaven and earth!  It's a special blessing that our help comes from You (Psalm 124:3), the all-powerful, all-wise Creator.  What greater Helper could there possibly be?"  If I were to sing right now, it would probably be: "I sing the mighty power of God that made the mountains rise; that spread the flowing seas abroad and built the lofty skies!"

There is this week's Sunday Scripture.  I know this study was a little longer than some.  Hope it was a blessing to someone!

Saturday, March 25, 2023

Saturday six


Just popping in on a Saturday afternoon to share a few blessings from this week.  Here goes:

1.  The opportunity to have our missionary friends Bill and Karen visiting our church last Sunday to update us all on their ministry in Papua New Guinea.  It was a wonderful day of fellowship.

2.  The blessing to be able to volunteer this week at The Wilds of New England.  It continues to amaze us that God is using us even in a tiny way in this wonderful ministry.

3.  Everything going smoothly in all of our projects -- my hubby's painting, carpentry and floor installation projects and my own work in the kitchen which helped keep volunteers and staff well fed.  It took a lot of detailed planning but I am praising the Lord that everything went so well.  We prepared lunches and dinners in the Inn, below.

4.  Lots of time with people!  Getting to know our fellow volunteers and staff a little better as we worked together and also shared meals around a table. Two phone calls with my friend Jennifer this week; it was good to stay caught up with her even while out of town.  Instagram messaging with my daughters and even a message from granddaughter Emily.  Getting to attend a discipleship Bible study on Tuesday night.  Having a wonderful, iron-sharpening-iron visit with my younger friend Cassie after supper last evening.

5.  Being able to go out for brunch yesterday with our friends Terry, Bill and Karen.  What a treat that was!  It meant taking a few hours out of our time at TWNE, but was well worth it to be able to get our widowed friend Terry a little time with these dear ones she remembers from years gone by.  It was a refreshing time for all of us.

6.  Small amounts of free time so I was able to do a little bit of crochet and counted cross stitch,  and even a little bit of blogging.   I was also able to have a truly blessed quiet time each morning and do some studying ahead for Sunday Scripture posts.

It was a busy week but a good one.  Hope all of you had a good week as well!

Wednesday, March 22, 2023

Just one question

It's a busy week at our volunteer jobs, and any blogging must be done from my tablet, but I didn't want to dispense with the Hodgepodge entirely.  

So I decided to answer just one question.  It's this one:

5.  What was your favorite thing to do as a kid?   Elaborate.

Of course, there were many things I enjoyed doing as a kid.  But one of my favorite activities was paper dolls.  Of course I owned many wonderful sets of paper dolls.  Back in the day they were very inexpensive.  They came in large softcover books, with the dolls ready to be carefully removed from their card stock covers and their wardrobes and sometimes accessories ready to be cut from the pages inside.

Some of these sets represented movie or TV stars, like the Lennon Sisters paper dolls above (snagged from Pinterest).  Others were characters from cartoons or kids' books.  Trixie  Belden and her friend Honey Wheeler, for example.  There were many different sets of Barbie paper dolls.

But my favorite paper dolls were the ones I made myself.  I might draw my own, or trace around an existing paper doll.  Then I would find colorful magazine pages to use as "fabric" to design clothing to fit the dolls, adding tabs to hold it in place.

One Christmas, my parents got me the most amazing gift: a Betsy McCall Fashion Designer set.  It included a light box and patterns for paper dolls and every sort of clothing and accessory imaginable.  Entire pages of skirts and tops, for example, with dozens of combinations to choose from.  So much fun!  I spent hours with this activity.  It's a special childhood memory for me, and the set remained intact for my daughters to use.  Fun times!

Happy Wednesday, everyone! 😀

Sunday, March 19, 2023

Sunday Scripture


So it's Sunday again, and time for a Scripture post.  If you recall, I'm going back to The Book of Psalms One Chapter a Day study from Good Morning Girls.  In Summer 2020 I started this study but had never completed it, so I've decided to go back and finish it up.  This particular book only covers Psalms 101-150, and I had previously completed Psalms 101- 129, so I have a few more to go.  I have purchased another journal covering Psalms 51-100 and will plan to go through that after I finish this one.  

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.

Also, there is a reflection question for each psalm.  I don't always answer it, but when I do it will usually follow the SOAP portion of my study.

The Psalm for today is Psalm 133 and the verse to zero in on is verse 1.  This may sound a little familiar, since I wrote about this verse back in September as part of the Made for Community study.  But I think today's SOAPing of this verse will be different enough that no one will find it redundant.  (I hope.) I find that no matter how many times we read a portion of God's Word there is still more to be learned from it.

S= "Behold, how good and how pleasant it is for brethren to dwell together in unity!"  (Psalm 133:1)

O= C. I. Scofield titles this psalm "The blessings of brotherly love."  Psalm 133 is another of the "songs of degrees" found in Psalms 120 through 134.  

Joseph Alexander wrote concerning Psalm 133, "This psalm is an effusion of holy joy occasioned by the sight of the gathering of Israel as one great household at the yearly feasts!"

To which I would add -- and even more so if these songs were also sung by those returning to Jerusalem from captivity, as some scholars have conjectured.  What an "effusion of joy" that must have been, though I'm sure it would also have involved many tears.

Now, moving into verse 1 -- it begins with the word "Behold".  "Behold" means to pay attention and watch.  To what are we to pay attention and watch for in this verse?  

We're to pay attention to and see:

* how good it is for brothers to dwell together in unity;

* how pleasant it is for brothers to dwell together in unity.

If we are paying attention to something and see how good and pleasant it is, we will act upon it.  

Two cross-references are given for "brethren":

"Let brotherly love continue."  (Hebrews 13:1)

"And Abram said unto Lot, Let there be no strife, I pray thee, between me and thee, and between my herdsmen and thy herdsmen; for we are brethren."  (Genesis 13:8)

A= It's important to pay attention to unity in the church.  Unity is good for many reasons.  Among others, it pleases God and it presents a good testimony to the watching world.  It is pleasant because it makes our lives sweeter, while disunity makes us bitter.  It's never pleasant (or good) to have our fellowship and worship disrupted by conflict or sinful attitudes like envy, anger, pride, and more.  I need to do my part to contribute to the pleasantness of unity in the church.

P= "Lord, what an encouraging little psalm this is!  I'm so thankful that it shows us Your heart in the matter of unity, and that it teaches us so clearly about the importance and blessings of unity among Christians.  I'm thankful that You've helped us to experience the joy of unity in our local church, and that you've helped us to honor You during the occasional challenging times over the years when things have felt less unified.  I praise You for all that You have done and are doing, in Jesus' name, Amen."

The reflection question for today notes, "God wants us to have unity in the church ... Have you experienced this sweetness?  Sometimes conflict or hurt feelings can break up the unity.  How can you show more love and grace in the family of God so that you can experience the blessings of unity?"

My answer:  I have experienced this sweetness.  It's a true delight!  Most of my church experience has reflected this good, pleasant unity that helps us serve and worship to the glory of God.

Yet I've also seen how easily sinful attitudes of just a very few people can disrupt the unity and make things unpleasant and unsettled in the local church.

I'm thankful for how God has helped me and my hubby to be peacemakers and to extend love and grace even to those who may have hurt us in the past.  It truly is a blessing how God encourages and enables His children as they seek to faithfully walk with Him.

There is this week's Scripture Sunday.  I hope it was a blessing!

Friday, March 17, 2023

Cookbook review: Grandma's Favorites


 I have SO many Gooseberry Patch cookbooks.  It's true that the majority of them are Christmas cookbooks, which I have trouble resisting, but many are books I've received for free in exchange for having a recipe published.  This year I'm hoping to share quite a few cookbook reviews with you all, so you can get an idea which ones you might enjoy adding to your own collection.  

Grandma's Favorites has been redone and now includes photos, 

but the edition pictured at the top of the post, the one I own, is still available on Thriftbooks.  One thing I particularly love about the cover of the edition I have is the inclusion of granny squares.  The strip of granny squares across the top above the title is lovely, and I also like the pretty granny square hot mats or pot holders at lower left.  I'd love to find a pattern to make some of these.

But on to the cookbook review!  The little note on the cover summarizes: "Can't-miss recipes for delicious family dinners, just like Grandma used to make."  Inside, the Dedication is "For everyone who craves the old-fashioned comfort of sharing meals with family & friends ... who know that the secret ingredient is love!" 

 The authors say: "Our most heartfelt thanks to all of you who shared their family's cherished recipes, saved on index cards and scraps of paper."  That sentiment really resonated with me, since in cleaning out the family homestead,  I have come across so very many index cards and scraps of paper with recipes scribbled on them.

Fun fact: Two of my recipes are actually included in this book -- a salad and a dessert.

The table of contents includes just six chapters: Old-Fashioned Breakfasts; Chill-Chasing Soups & Breads; Fresh-Picked from Grandma's Garden; Grandma's Best Supper Dishes; Fun Foods for Get-Togethers; and Something Sweet for You!

Old-Fashioned Breakfasts has a lot of great recipes for breakfast casseroles and other hearty breakfast main courses, as well as for  coffee cakes, muffins, pancakes, French toast, fruit dishes, some homemade jams and even Old-Fashioned Hot Cocoa!  I've made the Frozen Fruit Cups (only I used plastic cups rather than muffin tin liners) often in the past and they are good.  I used to make Butter Dip biscuits in the past also, but this method (using the exact same ingredients) is much easier than the one I used.  I think I will make these, using this method, to accompany a stew the next time our young friends come for lunch.  One of the main-dish recipes, Bacon & Sausage Gravy, looks over-the-top delicious.  Not sure I will be able to resist trying that one!

Chill-Chasing Soups & Breads is filled with recipes and hints for making those classic partners,  bread and soup.  There are at least a half-dozen different chicken soup recipes, as well as many other soups and breads like rolls, cornbread, biscuits, Irish soda bread, and quick breads.  There are several recipes for chili, a New England clam chowder, a creamy shrimp chowder, and a zucchini garden chowder (pictured below) which I've made several times and which we really enjoy.  All in all, this chapter would be a wonderful resource for fall and winter suppers.

Fresh-Picked from Grandma's Garden is a chapter filled with vegetable salads, side dishes, and even quite a few canning recipes for pickles, relishes and jams.  Veggie-Loaded Potato Salad, with cucumber, celery, radishes and green onions in addition to potatoes, with a flavorful mayo-based dressing, sounds really good to me -- or maybe I'm just tired of winter.  My own recipe for refrigerator carrot salad is in this section.  There's a Garden Vegetable Casserole which sounds easy and good, one for Fire & Ice pickles which I'd love to try,  and a couple of jams that sound so deliciously different -- Spicy Apple Pie Jam, and Blueberry-Lemon Jam.  

Grandma's Best Supper Dishes is just what it sounds like: a chapter full of homey supper meals.  Lots of pasta dishes as well as a mustard gravy chicken that sounds fantastic, a pork chop and apple bake, oven sausage & peppers, a fancier tuna noodle casserole, and several delicious-looking slow cooker recipes.  Milk-Baked Fish reminds me of my mother as she often baked haddock or other white fish in milk.  We loved it that way.  Granny's Hot Dogs and Potatoes sounds like a nice dish to have for supper at the cottage some chilly spring evening.  

Fun Foods for Get-Togethers is the next chapter, and it includes recipes for dips, snacks, spreads, sandwiches, beverages and other fun foods.  Deviled eggs, pickles, a cheese ball or two.  Betty's Deviled Ham & Cheese Ball sounds fantastic.  I'm probably odd, but I have always loved the flavor of deviled ham and can almost taste this cheese ball.  There are also burgers, salsa, and much much more.  

Something Sweet for You is a logical ending chapter to a cookbook of Grandma's Favorites.  There are pies, cobblers, cakes, brownies and other cookies, cream puffs, and much more.  My own recipe for double-good blueberry pie is here.  There's a brownie ice cream pie that sounds fantastic.  There are a number of delicious-sounding cookie recipes, including Granny's Cornflake Cookies, which has only three ingredients: corn flakes, butterscotch chips, and crunchy peanut butter, and requires no baking.  There are several nice cake recipes and even a recipe for homemade ice cream!  There's a recipe for pecan pie bars -- like pecan pie, but made in a jelly roll pan.  What a practical way to serve pecan pie to a large family or a crowd!  There's a recipe for cream puffs that sounds scrumptious,  and even a couple of canning recipes, one for canned apple pie filling and the other for apple-walnut maple conserve.

There are so many charming line drawings in this addition of the book, too.  Just a sweet country cookbook with all sorts of classic recipes as well as some truly innovative ones.  I'm glad this cookbook found its way to my bookshelf!

Tuesday, March 14, 2023

Snowy day in New Hampshire!

 Yes, it's a snowy morning here.  We had some heavy wet snow overnight.  Not a lot of snow in inches, but because it is heavy it has coated every branch of every tree.  I'm going to just share a few photos and captions.

Above is a corner of our balcony.  Bent-over trees like this can be a common phenomenon, especially for birch trees (Have you ever read Robert Frost's poem Birches? If not, you will want to look it up.) but in this case the tree is a maple.  When my hubby opened the balcony door to take this photo, the storm door immediately fogged up.  Hence the foggy look of this particular picture.
Our bird feeder is out in the middle of this clothesline to keep squirrels away.
Our snowy back woods.
Just a close-up of some snowy branches.
Snow-topped sap buckets.
And more of the same.  Just a pretty sight.
Tire swing half buried in snow.
Snowy trees in our front yard.
These are at the edge of our lawn.
Another sap bucket.  Those are beech leaves which tend not to drop in the fall.
Tall snowy treetops.

Our driveway and my hubby's old red plow truck.  

Hope it's a pleasant day where you are.  If you are not in New Hampshire, you can enjoy our snow from a distance!

Sunday, March 12, 2023

Sunday Scripture


As I mentioned last Sunday, I'm finishing up a One Chapter a Day study of Psalms 101-150 from Good Morning Girls.  Although I love working on more in-depth Bible studies, these simpler ones are also a blessing to do.  In fact, once I finish this GMG Psalms study, I hope to begin the one that preceded it for Psalms 51-100, then maybe tackle a more in-depth study of  Psalms from the The Daily Grace Co.  But we will see.  I don't want to get ahead of myself. 

 I like to use the SOAP method of Bible study, and the journal from GMG uses a very similar method.  I find this method a real blessing whether I am studying shorter passages or longer ones, so I hope you'll give it a try if you haven't ever done so. Just a reminder that the S is for Scripture -- just write it out -- and the O is for Observation, the A is for Application and the P is for prayer -- concerning how you'll apply this verse or praise for what it means to you.

This study also includes a reflection question for each passage.  Sometime I answer this in my study, and sometimes not.  Most often, when I do answer it, I'll do so right after the SOAP part.

Today's study is from Psalm 132.  Today we were to focus on verse 7, but I chose to look closely at verses 7 and 9, with a passing glance at verse 6.  As you will see, though, I did some work on the entire psalm, which I found to be a bit of a challenge.  Here goes:

S= "Lo, we heard of it at Ephratah; we found it in the fields of the wood.  We will go into His tabernacles; we will worship at His footstool.  Let Thy priests be clothed with righteousness, and let Thy saints shout for joy."  (Psalm 132:6-7; 9)

O= C.I. Scofield has titled this psalm "Trust in the God of David."  It's another of the Songs of Ascents, and as we read verse 7 in particular, we can almost hear pilgrims singing this on their way up to Jerusalem.  

Look back up at verses 6-7 above.  Spurgeon observes: "Before leaving [verse 7] let us note the ascent of this psalm of degrees: 'we heard ... we found .. we will go ... we will worship'."

For the phrase "we will go into His tabernacles", a cross-reference is given of Psalm 122:1-2 --

"I was glad when they said unto me, Let us go into the house of the LORD.  Our feet shall stand within thy gates, O Jerusalem."

Another writer referenced Hebrews 10:25 -- 

"Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together ... but exhorting one another, and so much the more, as ye see the day approaching."

In The Treasury of David, Spurgeon quotes Anthony Farindon:

"Note their alacrity and cheerfulness in going.  Their long absence rendered the object more glorious ... 'We will go: We long to be there.  We will hasten our pace.  We will break through all difficulties in the way'."

For the phrase "Let Thy saints shout for joy", Spurgeon remarks: "The sentence, while it may be read as a permit, is also a precept: saints are commanded to rejoice in the Lord."

Spurgeon also summarizes this psalm in three points, which I found very helpful since as I read through it I had trouble following all that was being said here.

1) This psalm contains a statement of David's anxious care to build a house for the Lord (verses 1-7)
2) The psalm contains a prayer concerning the removal of the Ark of the Covenant (verses 8-10)
3) The psalm contains a pleading of the divine covenant and its promises (verses 11-18)

A= Spurgeon comments: "A joyful song indeed: Let all pilgrims to the New Jerusalem sing it often."

So that means me!  Along with all other believers, I'm "a pilgrim to the New Jerusalem".  Our former pastor often reminded us that we were all on "a pilgrimage from here to glory".  And it's so true!

And I'm to worship the Lord cheerfully and joyfully.  I like the quote from Farindon concerning how eager the pilgrims were to reach the place of worship they had missed so much.  How we should praise God for the blessing and privilege to worship with other believers.  And we should never take it for granted, but appreciate every single opportunity we have to do so.

P= "Lord, once again I am so thankful for Your Word.  There is so much in this psalm that I hadn't seen before in my quick readings of it.  I thank and praise You that You are an unchanging, promise-keeping God.  You will keep all of Your promises and You will accomplish all of Your purposes.

"I thank and praise You for the blessing of worship and fellowship with Your people in Your house.  Help me never to take this privilege for granted, but to take advantage of every opportunity to be in church and to be a cheerful, joyful worshiper.  I thank You in Jesus' name, Amen."

Now, for the reflection question:

It was pointed out that David endured many hardships as he sought to follow God -- and God had promised that He would establish David's throne forever.  We know that promise was fulfilled through Jesus, the Messiah.

In light of that, here's the reflection question: How does knowing that we have a God who keeps all of His promises, from Genesis to Revelation, build your faith and joy?

My answer: It definitely builds my faith.  Of course I do realize that the old hymn "Every Promise in the Book is Mine" is not really true.  As we "rightly divide" God's Word, we understand that every promise in the Book is not for believers.  Some promises were made to specific individuals, others specifically to Israel.  Still, there are hundreds, if not thousands, of promises in the Bible that I can cling to and rest upon.  

Verse 11 reminds us, "The LORD hath sworn in truth unto David: He will not turn from it."

And He will be equally faithful to keep His promises to us.

Spurgeon comments: "Our confidence: 'He will not turn from it.'  He is not a changing God ... He is able to carry out His purpose.  His honor is bound up in it.  His oath can never be broken."

This encourages me so much today!  I hope it was a blessing to others as well.

Wednesday, March 08, 2023

Taking a break for the Hodgepodge


  So 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 have a fun "spring break" theme.   Here goes:

1. We're in to a season students call 'spring break'. Did you/your family travel over spring breaks when you were growing up?  Tell us something about a 'spring break' you remember (from childhood or adulthood, either one). 

As I remember, many of our spring breaks from school were spent in the production of maple syrup.   And as very little kids, we also spent a lot of time in the sugarbush or my grandparents' sugarhouse.

You can read ALL of my maple memories here.

2. Last thing you broke? Was it a big deal? 

A tooth, and it's turning into a very big expensive deal as a crown is going to be the solution.  As my dad always said ...

3. March 7th is National Cereal Day...are you a fan? What's your favorite? If not cereal what's your favorite breakfast? Your typical breakfast? 

Not a fan of cereal in general because it really is best with milk and I don't care for milk.  Also trying to eat far fewer carbs, so that lets cereal out.  If I could be said to have a favorite cereal it would probably be homemade granola.  

My favorite breakfast would likely involve sausage and eggs in some form.  At a favorite breakfast spot I usually order the All Country, which involves sausage, sausage gravy, biscuits, eggs, and a breakfast side (I most often choose the cinnamon apples).

With intermittent fasting, our breakfast is more likely to be lunch. 

Just for fun though, a vintage Kellogg's cereal advertisement from my collection!

4. Break ground, break of dawn, break down, break the bank, break one's stride, break the ice, break a law, break a habit, break bread...choose one of the idioms listed and tell us how it applies to your life currently.

Hmmm ... the broken tooth isn't going to completely break the bank, but it won't be cheap.  And I'm going to need a second crown for a cracked front tooth, later on.  That one was going to be first until this one happened.

This jolly piggy bank is a 1940s birthday card available in my Etsy shop.

5. Where do you go to connect with friends and family? What do you like to do most when you're home alone? 

Well, I connect with some friends and family at church.  I connect with some on Instagram.  I connect with some at our house or theirs.   Mr. T and I love it when we can connect with friends and family at our little cottage.

While home alone, I guess that depends on the time of day.  If daylight hours, probably I'd prefer either getting caught up on some household task, or working on a sewing project.

In the evening, I might spend time on a cross-stitch or other needlework project, or maybe do some blogging.

6. Insert your own random thought here. 

Last night I adapted a "burger bowl" recipe I'd seen on Instagram -- burgers, salad greens, roasted cubed sweet potatoes, onions and a special sauce.  I had to leave out the cherry tomatoes and the dill pickle slices because we didn't have any.  What a wonderful meal!  So many great flavors that all mingled so well.  I think some variation of this may become a weekly meal for us.

That's the Hodgepodge for this week, friends!

Sunday, March 05, 2023

Sunday Scripture


Sunday again, and time for a Scripture post.  Recall, I'm going back to The Book of Psalms One Chapter a Day study from Good Morning Girls.  In Summer 2020 I started this study but had never completed it, so I've decided to go back and finish it up.  This particular book only covers Psalms 101-150, and I had previously completed Psalms 101- 129, so I have a few more to go.  I have purchased another journal covering Psalms 51-100 and will plan to go through that after I finish this one.  

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.

Also, there is a reflection question for each psalm.  I don't always answer it, but when I do it will usually follow the SOAP portion of my study.

The Psalm for today is Psalm 131.  Just three verses!

S= "LORD, my heart is not haughty, nor mine eyes lofty; neither do I exercise myself in great matters, or in things too high for me.
"Surely I have behaved and quieted myself, like a child that is weaned of his mother; my soul is even like a weaned child.
"Let Israel hope in the LORD from henceforth and forever."  (Psalm 131)

Since this psalm is so short, I decided to look at verses 1-2 in the ESV as well:

"O LORD, my heart is not lifted up; my eyes are not raised too high; I do not occupy myself with things too great and too marvelous for me.
"But I have calmed and quieted my soul, like a weaned child with its mother; like a weaned child is my soul within me."

The verse to zero in on was verse 2, but I chose to look closely at both 1 and 2.

O=  Psalm 131 is one of the fifteen "Songs of Ascents" which include Psalms 120-134.  Most scholars believe that these particular songs were either sung by worshipers from all over Israel as they made their way "up to Jerusalem"  for the great festivals, OR that they were sung by pilgrims on the ascending march from the Babylonian captivity to Jerusalem.  In The Treasury of David, Spurgeon quotes T. Le Blanc, who favors the latter view and thinks "this is a song of the Israelites who returned from Babylon with humbled hearts, weaned from their idols."

C.I. Scofield has titled this psalm "Growing in grace".    

We see that David tells the Lord here:

* My heart is not haughty;
* My eyes are not lofty;
* I don't exercise myself in great matters or in things too high for me;
* I have behaved and quieted myself;
* My soul is like a weaned child.

In my Scofield study Bible, there were no cross-references for either of these verses, for some reason.  But my ESV Bible listed a number of them, so I looked them up in the KJV for additional clarification.

For the phrase "lifted up" there were two cross-references:

"For thus saith the high and lofty One who inhabiteth eternity, whose name is Holy: I dwell in the high and holy place, with him who is of a contrite and humble spirit, to revive the spirit of the humble, and to revive the hearts of the contrite ones."  (Isaiah 57:15)

"Though the LORD be high, yet hath He respect unto the lowly, but the proud He knoweth afar off."  (Psalm 138:6)

For the phrase "raised too high" there are two cross-references:

"Him that hath an high look and a proud heart will not I tolerate." (Psalm 101:5)

"And seekest thou great things for thyself?  Seek them not."  (Jeremiah 45:5)

For the phrase "occupy myself":

"Be of the same mind one toward another.  Mind not high things, but condescend to men of low estate.  Be not wise in your own conceits." (Romans 12:16)

For the phrase "too marvelous for me":

"Who is he that hideth counsel without knowledge? Therefore have I uttered that which I understood not: things too wonderful for me, which I knew not." (Job 42:3)

And for the phrase "child with his mother":

"Brethren, be not children in understanding; however, in malice be ye children, but in understanding be men."  (1 Corinthians 14:20)

A= To me the phrases "my heart is not lofty, nor mine eyes haughty" speak of humility.  We know that God blesses those who exhibit a humble and contrite spirit.  He resists the proud and gives grace to the humble.  

God also does not want us to meddle with things too great and marvelous for us -- things that are beyond our understanding, areas in which He works as He sees fit.  Instead He would have us calm and quiet ourselves in His presence, resting in His sovereignty and His infinite wisdom.  In one of Elizabeth George's books, she notes that we can take all of the unexplainable things of life and simply file them in between God's wisdom and His knowledge:

"O the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God!  how unsearchable are His judgments, and His ways past finding out!" (Romans 11:33)

Spurgeon notes: "The Psalmist ... had smoothed down the roughness of his self-will; by holy effort he had mastered his own spirit .... It is no easy thing to quiet yourself; sooner may a man calm the sea, or rule the world, or tame a tiger, than quiet himself."

P= "Lord, how very thankful I am for Your Word and even for this little psalm which I have read many times, but which has layers of meaning I had not thought about before.  Help me to be your humble, obedient servant in the responsibilities You've given me in this life -- and help me to rest in Your sovereignty and wisdom concerning all that I don't understand.  Help my calmness and quietness in the storms of life to be a testimony that points others to you.  I ask this in Jesus' name, Amen."

The reflection question for this psalm asks: Are you enjoying your walk with God?  How can you become calmer and quieter in His presence?

My answer:  I am very much enjoying my walk with God.  I'm so thankful for the close walk with Him that He has led me into.  Yet I know that I could become calmer and quieter in His presence by getting to know Him even better and learning to trust Him more.  We get to know God through His Word and through communicating with Him in prayer.  I love the fact that learning more and more about God and His dealings with people and situations is something available to us, something we can apply to every need and concern that we have in this life!

That's our Sunday Scripture for this week.  I hope you all enjoyed it as much as I did.

Thursday, March 02, 2023

Some goals for March


 Time certainly continues to fly!  Yes, February is always a short month, but it seemed to fly by even more quickly than usual.  It's March already, and time to set a few goals:

* Keep up with Flylady's homemaking zones of the week
* Continue working through the "Make Room Challenge" from Make Room for What You Love
* Post in this blog as often as possible -- hopefully several times per week
* Post in my Christmas blog as often as possible
* Continue planning for family birthday gifts and crafting any handmade ones
* Celebrate several family birthdays
* Craft some homemade Christmas gifts and decorations (yes, even now!)
* Do some sewing projects ( a few more sachets to stave off musty odors, plus maybe curtains) for the cottage
* Finish 2 pillow quilts for youngest granddaughters
* Spend a little time on some UFO craft projects
* Continue decluttering the entire house, zone by zone
* With my hubby, set some goals for 2023
* Plan a winter getaway with my hubby
* Continue stocking my Etsy shop and continue selling vintage items
* Spend some time on my trust responsibilities
* Spend some time volunteering at The Wilds of New England
* Do some solid planning for meals for the above opportunity
* Write at least 4 encouraging notes to friends and family
* Help and encourage my local daughter as I'm able
* Plan meals with a greater emphasis on healthy eating
* Memorize ten Bible verses and review ten older ones
* Begin study for a devotional to share at a ladies' brunch in May
* Get back into our study of the book of Daniel with younger believers
* Continue to help a widowed friend with the challenges of life in general
* Drink enough water each day
* Walk and/or exercise at least 4 times each week

HEALTHY HABITS FOR MARCH:  Drink more water/get more sleep/get more exercise/intermittent fasting/limit carbs 

And there are my simple goals for this month.  How about you?  Any goals to share?

Wednesday, March 01, 2023

Marching into 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.  In this week's Hodgepodge questions we welcome March and sum up February.   Here goes:

1. Hello March! Is it coming in like a lion where you live? How do you feel when it rains? 

Well, I'm writing this on Tuesday (and it's snowing hard as I write), so I can only share the forecast for March 1 and let readers be the judge:

In spite of decently warm temperatures, I guess I'd classify this as more lion-like than lamb-like.  More snow in the offing for the rest of the week, too.

As for how I feel when it rains, at this time of year I always hope it's not freezing rain.  That complicates driving.

2. What's something you'd like to do differently this week than the last? Explain. 
Follow my plan for the day a bit more closely.   I know that I seem to get more done if I do household tasks in the morning or early afternoon.  Computer tasks are absorbing and I like to do them in the hour or so before lunch, because intermittent fasting.  I begin to get more hungry at that point and if I'm doing something that absorbs my interest, it helps a lot.  Also, my plan often involves some type of crafting in the later afternoon but I so often ignore that.  I would get a lot more accomplished if I stuck with my plan.

3. March 1st is National Sunkist Citrus you drink orange juice? Orange, lemon, lime, tangerine, grapefruit...what's your favorite citrus fruit? A dish you love with a citrus fruit as one of its key ingredients? 
I don't drink orange juice.   Of the citrus fruits, my favorite might be grapefruit.  A dish I love with citrus as a key ingredient would probably be lemon meringue pie or lemon-filled shortbread cookies.  

Or maybe the lemon ice cream at our favorite local ice cream place.
Love this Sunkist cookbook from my collection:

4. What do you consider to be your culture. Elaborate. 
Hmmm.  Not sure about this question.   Looking up the definition of culture did not help me much.  
I know that families can be said to have their own culture, and I guess that might fit with the part of the definition that includes a modifier.  So one could say something like "family culture: the attitudes and behavior characteristic of a particular family."  Even that I don't feel that I can comment on, because it isn't something one can generalize about every member of a family -- or every member of any social group, either.

I might say I consider my culture to be kombucha.  That is the main cultured food I have produced in my kitchen.  For me, I guess that's a better answer.

5. Sum up your February in fifteen words or less. 
 A happy, busy month with several nights warm enough to stay at our little camp.

6. Insert your own random thought here. 
Let's see.  From the kitchen I hear my hubby washing dishes.  He handles intermittent fasting quite a bit differently than I do.  He also needs an absorbing task to keep him busy in the last hour or so before lunch, but for him that absorbing task could be cooking or baking -- whereas it's best for me not to go near the kitchen.  He just made the umpteenth batch of Heavenly Delight 

and I believe he also mixed up the dough for Whipped Shortbread.  We have two occasions coming up for which we are going to need dozens of cookies.  It's a snow day here and he's getting started!

And that's the Hodgepodge for this week!