Wednesday, January 31, 2024

Last day of January 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.   Here goes!

1. January 29th is National Puzzle Day.  Do you enjoy puzzles?  What kind?  How often do you work a puzzle?

I do enjoy puzzles -- jigsaw puzzles especially, but also word puzzles, sudoku, crosswords, and more.  We currently have a 1000 piece jigsaw in the works at home.  I would like to keep a jigsaw going at all times, but we don't really have space for that.  I'd like to do word puzzles more often, but seldom think of it.  I know it's good for my brain. ๐Ÿ˜‰

A jigsaw we did at our cottage this past fall

2. Something you currently find 'puzzling'?

The number of citizens who are so deluded and misled by what they hear on "the news".  Have people really become incapable of thinking for themselves?

3. What's your go-to dish to take to someone who needs a meal?

Usually lasagna, with bagged salad, a loaf  of Italian bread, and some sort of simple dessert.  Often I will freeze a couple of lasagnas and give them to people to cook as needed.  For a bereaved household, I might take muffins or a coffee cake to help with extra family who might be in town.

4. Do you watch any HGTV and/or The Food Network?

No.  We watch very little TV and don't have cable.  We keep our TV out of our living space and only bring it in when we want to watch a movie.

5. Wrap up your January in five words, with a five word phrase, or with a five word sentence.

Busy, yet somehow oddly relaxing.


This is one of the few photos I took in January.  We were at my friend Patty's for our Ladies of Grace meeting a couple Saturdays ago, and I noticed the sweet handmade holiday garland over her kitchen window.  The picture isn't the best but it's good enough to remind me of how they are made.  I'd love to make some of these! 


6. Insert your own random thought here.  

 Snowy day here as I write this on Tuesday at The Wilds of New England.  So pretty to see this picturesque campsite with a frosting of white!

Photo from last winter

And that's the Hodgepodge for this week!

Monday, January 29, 2024

Happy Homemaker Monday

 


As usual, there's no time for a long post, but I'm taking a few minutes to join Sandra for this link party over at Diary of a Stay at Home Mom

The Weather:::

 It's 30ยบ and cloudy.  Only 6 mph wind so it feels like 24.  About 8 inches of heavy wet snow fell overnight.  I'm blogging from a tablet so I'm rather challenged with fonts.  So I'll say right here that as I look out the window of the inn at The Wilds of New England, where we're currently working, I see snow  snow, and more snow, on the ground and on every tree, bush, and building.  We tried to take some photos last night.  Those snow laden branches are on a lilac bush!

As I look outside my window:::


Right now I am:::

 Working on a blog post. And simultaneously keeping an eye on the time so I get my lunch preparations completely in a timely way.
 
Thinking and pondering:::

 Continuing to think on a devotional I studied this morning on the topic of thoroughness.  There are so  many tasks I need to thoroughly complete.  I took some time and organized my massive to-do list into categories and I think that will help me take a more balanced approach to my tasks.  Of course, I won't accomplish much on my list other than some blogging and hopefully some note writing while staying here at TWNE for a few days in Room ⬇




On my bedside table::: 

 A lamp, a books, a water bottle and a wood slice coaster.

 Listening to::: 

Literally, silence.
 
On the Breakfast plate:::

I do intermittent fasting so don't have breakfast.  We're currently at our volunteer job and I'm cooking for those helping on a remodeling project.  Lunch today is going to be pizza and pasta salad, with a cookie tray for dessert.

On the dinner plate::: 

Ranch House Chicken, Mashed Potatoes, Roasted Butternut Squash Cubes, Cranberry Sauce

On the menu for this week::: 

 A few meals on my menu plan:

Tortilla Enchilada Soup
Lasagna
Burger bowls
 
On my reading pile:::
 
 Every Ocean Has a Shore, by Jamie Langston Turner, a Christmas gift I'm really enjoying.
Adorned by Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth
A Step Farther and Higher, by Gail MacDonald
High Call, High Privilege
, also by Gail MacDonald


On my to do list today:::
 
Spend time cross stitching
Write some thank-you notes
Prepare lunch and dinner for volunteers
Do some planning for later in the week
Work on menu planning and grocery list


Plans for this week:::

Plan menus and make grocery list
Etsy listings
Ironing
Take a bag to the thrift store
Work on Sunday School lesson 19
Blogging
Get started with an exercise regimen
Continue 40-day sugar fast
Begin some serious decluttering
Start a pillow quilt
Cook meals for volunteer crew


What I am creating:::
 
January cross-stitch sampler, plus another wintry cross-stitch intended for a gift
Some "condensation catchers" out of old towels to place behind toilets that sweat in the humidity -- no, I still haven't finished started those! ๐Ÿ˜•  And I need to do so, because the old towels are just sitting around waiting to be used!   And also because we keep getting sporadic warmer weather and I half expect the toilets to start sweating again.
An older unfinished dishcloth in a more challenging pattern
Need to start a pillow quilt 

Bible verse, Devotional, Quote:::
 
This quote from Stand Firm, the Daily Grace Co. study on the armor of God :
 
"What preservation we find through faith in Jesus Christ!  Unwavering faith guards us against the flaming arrows of doubt that Satan throws our way, and it leads us to stand before the throne of God, unblemished by his many throws.  By grace through faith, we are saved from our sins and justified.  God brings us into His family to live in His presence forever, for in Christ's death, justice was served. Christ absorbed the blows of Satan through his death, and emerged victorious in His resurrection.
 
"We will lose the battle if left to ourselves.  But through faith in Christ, we find hope in a better outcome.  Faith leads us to persevere.  We are no longer exposed and unprotected but are walking forward into the battle of sin with confident hope that God will bring us to the other side."

 This is from the chapter concerning the shield of faith, from Ephesians 6:16.  I'm loving this study.  It's currently on sale for $5, which is an amazing price.  
 


On my prayer list:::
 
Friends & family
Church family
Missionaries
Our country
 
And there's the Happy Homemaker Monday  for this week!

Sunday, January 28, 2024

Sunday Scripture

 

For this week's Sunday Scripture series, I'm almost finished with my simple study of a little devotional journal titled Reflections: The Woman God Sees, by Jane L. Fryar -- a journal gifted me by some dear young friends.   It has a daily devotional one works through -- about a month's worth or so.  The daily devotions were a blessing to me when I worked through the book, so I've been sharing them here.  I  There are just two more pages after this, so we will see what I come up with next!

The Scripture for today is Isaiah 43:4.   Here's the assignment: "Spend a few minutes writing about each of these words: precious, honored, loved."  I chose to SOAP Isaiah 43:1,4 as I considered this assignment.   (Our final lesson in the series, two weeks from today, will also involve Isaiah 43:1.)

S= "But, now, saith the LORD who created thee, O Jacob, and He who formed thee, O Israel, Fear not, for I have called thee by thy name; thou art Mine.

"Since thou wast precious in My sight, Thou hast been honorable, and I have loved thee."  (Isaiah 43:1, 4)

O= These verses are quite obviously speaking of Israel, as we see from looking back at verse 1.  However, in a broad sense we can apply them to ourselves as believers.  

* God has told us not to fear
* He has called us by name
* We are His
* We are precious in His sight
* He loves us.

A cross-reference for "loved" is Isaiah 63:9 -- "In His love and in His pity He redeemed them; and He bore them, and carried them all the days of old."

Warren Wiersbe comments: "God formed Israel, forgave His people their sins, and is glorified in them.  He speaks to His people and is faithful to keep His word.  May we never take for granted the privilege we have of knowing and worshiping the true and living God!"

A= In response to the assignment "Spend a few minutes writing about each of these words: precious, honored, loved." here's what I wrote:

PRECIOUS: Of great price or value, highly esteemed or loved; dear.  This is certainly true of believers.  We were so valuable to God that He paid an incredibly high price for us.  We are loved by Him; we are dear to Him.

HONORED: The KJV says "honorable".  I've searched the dictionary and no definition seems quite right for the meaning of "honored" here.  Although this one is pretty general, it probably comes the closest: "To regard or treat with honor."  

A verse that came to my mind was 1 Samuel 2:30 where God tells Eli, "Them that honor me I will honor, and they that despise Me shall be lightly esteemed."  We do need to be honoring God with our lives.  And oh, what a position of honor we have as His children!

LOVED: An old dictionary defines love as "the benevolence attributed to God as being like a father's affection for his children."  There are so many facets to a father's love for his children, and it's such a blessing to be God's child and to have Him as our heavenly Father!

P= "Lord, how I thank You for Your Word and its comforting truths.  I praise You than I am precious in Your sight -- that You loved me so much You would send Your only Son to redeem me from my sin.  I'm so thankful that because of my relationship with You as Your loved and blood-bought child, I need not fear.  I cannot thank You enough for the privilege I have to know and worship You, the true and living God.  I praise You in Jesus' name, Amen."

And there is the Sunday Scripture for this week.  Just two left in this series!

Thursday, January 25, 2024

A word for 2024 -- Continue

 


 Before I begin, my usual yearly disclaimer:  I understand, and I'm sure most of my readers do also, that it's not a necessity to choose a word for a new year.  It's not in any way a practice that makes one any more spiritual, any more committed, or any more anything.  Vast numbers of believers don't choose a word for the year, nor do they need to.  I had never thought of doing such a thing until 2013.  I'd read in the past of others doing so and in 2013 I prayerfully considered it for myself.  That year I ended up with the word "Purpose".  I found it incredibly helpful throughout the year to zero in on God's purposes for me.

Each year since (except for 2022, when I just didn't feel led to do so), I have prayerfully chosen a word for the year.  Some times it has seemed as if God laid a particular word on my heart, and that has seemed to be the case this year, although for awhile I was undecided between "persevere" and "continue" (which after all are rather similar words).   I've now settled on "continue" as my word for 2024. 

First, maybe we should look at some definitions. 

I was surprised to learn that perseverance means "Steadfastness in doing something despite difficulty or delay in achieving success."

In thinking of a word for this year, I was more thinking about continuing on faithfully with a number of things, most (but not all) of them related to my spiritual life.  Although I expect there will be difficulties in the year ahead, "persevere" wasn't quite the word I was looking for.

So here is the definition of "continue":

There are a number of facets with this definition that fit with what I hope to do this year.  I'll be sharing those, most likely in a second post.

And I thought it was also important to check out this word in a Bible dictionary.  I discovered that there are quite a number of Greek words translated continue.  My Vine's Dictionary of New Testament words didn't spell out what Greek verb is used in 2 Timothy 3:14, so I looked it up in an online source and found this from the Defenders Study Bible: "Despite all the perilous times and persecutions of the last days, plus all the false teachers and seducing spirits, believers must simply continue believing and obeying the Word of God. The same word (Greek meno) is often translated 'abide' and 'remain'." 

A couple of other verses regarding continuing came to mind.  One is Colossians 4:2:

"Continue in prayer, and watch in the same with thanksgiving."

Another is Romans 12:12 -- "Rejoicing in hope; patient in tribulation; continuing instant in prayer."

Beautiful graphic by Abby at Little Birdie Blessings

Both of these are the Greek  word proskartereo, literally meaning to be strong toward, to endure in or persevere in, to be continuously stedfast with a person or thing, used here of continuing in prayer with others.

Colossians 1:23 exhorts us to "continue in the faith grounded and settled, and be not moved away from the hope of the gospel".  That one is the Greek epimeno, meaning to remain on, to continue long, still to abide.

And James 1:25 instructs us that the one "who looketh into the perfect law of liberty, and continueth therein, he not being a forgetful hearer, but a doer of the work, this man shall be blessed in his deed."  This use of "continue" is the Greek parameno, meaning to remain by or near; hence, to continue or persevere in anything.

To sum up (for now; look for another post on this topic): I want to continue in the things I have learned; to continue in prayer; to continue in the faith grounded and settled; to continue in the perfect law of liberty -- God's Word.  

Continuing in spiritual disciplines and spiritual growth sounds like just what I want to do for the new year!

Have you picked a word for the year?  Do share, if you have!

 



Wednesday, January 24, 2024

Taking a tip from 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.     Here goes!

1. Do you have a word for the year (WOTY)? If so, and you'd like to share, please share. How do you decide on a word? If you don't have a word are you still on the hunt for one for 2024? 

I have chosen a word for the year, but haven't posted about it yet.  I want to try and sort out many of the nuances of the word and note how I plan to apply it throughout the year.  The word I've chosen is continue.  

Beautiful graphic by Abby at Little Birdie Blessings
 
As to how I decide on a word --  I consider prayerfully whether or not God wants me to choose a word for the year.  Sometimes He doesn't show me one, but other times He either impresses a word on my heart or just drops one into my thinking. 

2. January 23rd is National Pie Day...will you celebrate? Do you like pie? What's your favorite? 

I do like pie, but I'm currently in the middle of a 40-day sugar fast so am not likely to be celebrating.  My favorite pie?  Oh, that's a tough one.  I make an Apple Crumb Pie that is scrumptious, and a Reese's Pie (peanut butter, chocolate pudding, chocolate whipped cream)  and a Red, White and Blueberry Pie that we really like.  Any of those might be my favorite.  This post has all three of those recipes in it.

3. Tipping. What are your thoughts, expectations, as to who, when where? Do you appreciate a store/restaurant giving a 'suggested amount'? Have you ever left an extravagant tip? 

20% is the most we will ordinarily tip (but at times we are more generous if the service was exceptional) and generally I think most service we receive is worth tipping 20% for. I don't think we have ever had service so bad it deserved no tip, but we have been known to leave a very small tip if the service is abysmal.  And a very generous tip at other times.  Never left an extravagant one, though.

I don't appreciate "suggested amounts" or the payment systems that have you tipping people who basically did nothing, in establishments where tipping is not usually a thing.

Check out this adorable ceramic travel mug I found at our local thrift store!

4. Share with us one household 'tip' that works for you. 

I'll do even better!  Here's a whole post on some kitchen tips.  I wrote it in 2021 at Christmas time, but these kitchen tips will come in handy any time of year. 

Evidently having the freezer on the bottom of the fridge is not a new idea.  Ad from a 1950s magazine!

5. Influencers on social media are people who've built a reputation for their knowledge and expertise on a particular subject. Do you follow any influencers online? Have you made a purchase or tried something new because of that 'influence'? If there's one you particularly enjoy tell us who they are and why you enjoy them. 

I may follow one or two influencers on Instagram, but I can't think of one I particularly enjoy or have made a purchase, tried something new, etc. based on their recommendation.

6. Insert your own random thought here. 

Tuesday, January 23 (when I'm writing this) is the New Hampshire presidential primary.  Really no idea how it's going to turn out.  Things I liked about the voting process: it was quick; our town has its own "I voted" stickers which feature a covered bridge and are more original than what we usually see; and the 8th grade bake sale outside.  Things that annoyed me: there's a table where you check in.  This used to be done by alphabet, but no more, which is fine, but confusing.  So, there are six people sitting at this table; they work in teams of two.  Theoretically one would go to the team where there's no line, in order to move things along efficiently.  Person after person went to that team, only to be told, "We're processing absentee ballots".  Okay, fine, good for you, but  how about something novel like a little sign that says "Please use first two lines only" or even "Absentee ballot processing in progress".  

And there's the Hodgepodge for this week!

Monday, January 22, 2024

Happy Homemaker Monday

 


As usual, there's no time for a long post, but I'm taking a few minutes to join Sandra for this link party over at Diary of a Stay at Home Mom

The Weather:::

Now, at 3 pm, it's 33ยบ and partly cloudy.  Only 5 mph wind, so it feels like 28ยบ.  Hoping to get out for a walk later.

As I look outside my window::: 

 I see a partly sunny, partly cloudy late-afternoon winter sky.  The ground is snow-covered but the road is bare.

Right now I am:::

 Working on a blog post. 
 
Thinking and pondering:::

 Continuing to think on the new year and just what my goals and priorities should look like.  I've chosen the word "continue" and am working on a post for that -- hopefully to be published this week.  I thought it would be last week but ... well, have been too busy "continuing" with the activities of life to complete the study for the post.

 On my bedside table::: 

 A lamp, three books, and a pen.

 Listening to::: 

Literally, silence.
 
On the Breakfast plate:::

I do intermittent fasting so don't have breakfast.  We were helping a friend with a kitchen sink issue and she made us an amazing lunch of homemade sauce, meatballs and sausages with spaghetti.

On the dinner plate::: 

Zuppa Toscana soup

On the menu for this week::: 

 A few meals on my menu plan:

Tortilla Enchilada Soup
Hamburgers, roasted Brussels sprouts
Egg roll in a bowl
 
On my reading pile:::
 
 Every Ocean Has a Shore, by Jamie Langston Turner, a Christmas gift I'm really enjoying.
Adorned by Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth
A Step Farther and Higher, by Gail MacDonald
High Call, High Privilege, also by Gail MacDonald


  
On my to do list today:::

Work on several blog posts
Work on Sunday School lesson 19
Help Terry with kitchen faucet √
Spend time cross stitching
Write some thank-you notes
List a sewing pattern and maybe a card on Etsy
Send Etsy order √

Plans for this week:::

Plan menus and make grocery list
Etsy listings
Ironing
Take a bag to the thrift store
Work on Sunday School lesson 19
Blogging
Get started with an exercise regimen
Continue 40-day sugar fast
Begin some serious decluttering
Start a pillow quilt
Ladies Bible study on Saturday 
Plan menus for volunteer crew next week

What I am creating:::
 
January cross-stitch sampler, plus another wintry cross-stitch intended for a gift
Some "condensation catchers" out of old towels to place behind toilets that sweat in the humidity -- no, I still haven't finished started those! ๐Ÿ˜•  And I need to do so, because the old towels are just sitting around waiting to be used!   And also because we keep getting sporadic warmer weather and I half expect the toilets to start sweating again.
An older unfinished dishcloth in a more challenging pattern
Need to start a pillow quilt

Bible verse, Devotional, Quote:::
 
This quote from Stand Firm, the Daily Grace Co. study on the armor of God :
 
"A solid foundation in our understanding of the gospel of peace brings hope to any circumstance we may face in this lifetime and enables us to share our hope with others ... Our foundation -- our footing -- is found in the perfect peace offered through the hope of the gospel.  That foundation allows us to ... move toward others in light of that hope.
 
"For those around us, our lives and words serve as a testimony to the peace we have found in Christ.  We can point them to the only One who offers us true comfort and rest.  The gospel message is a message of peace that speaks into every broken part of this world.  In seasons of hardship or suffering, brokenness or doubt, the gospel serves as an anchor for our souls, keeping us firmly planted in the peace of Jesus."

 This is from the chapter concerning being shod with readiness for the gospel of peace, from Ephesians 6:15.  I'm loving this study.  It's currently on sale for $10, but Daily Grace Co. has frequent sales and sometimes you can find it for even less.
 


On my prayer list:::
 
Friends & family
Church family
Missionaries
Our country
 
And there's the Happy Homemaker Monday  for this week!
 

Sunday, January 21, 2024

Sunday Scripture

 


For this week's Sunday Scripture series, I'm returning to my simple study of a little devotional journal titled Reflections: The Woman God Sees, by Jane L. Fryar -- a journal gifted me by some dear young friends.   It has a daily devotional one works through -- about a month's worth or so.  The daily devotions were a blessing to me when I worked through the book, so up through November I had been sharing them here.  Then I switched to something more seasonal for December and now -- for a few weeks at least -- I am back to these again.  We will see!

The Scripture for today is Isaiah 38:17.   Here's the assignment: "Jesus carried all our sins to His cross -- and left them there.  He has thrown our guilt 'behind His back'.  How does that good news give your courage to face today's troubles?"  I chose to SOAP Isaiah 38:16-17 as I considered this assignment.

S= "O Lord, by these things men live, and in all these things is the life of my spirit; so wilt Thou restore me, and make me to live.
"Behold, for peace I had great bitterness, but Thou hast in love to my soul delivered it from the pit of corruption, for Thou hast cast all my sins behind Thy back."  (Isaiah 38:16-17)

O= Scofield points out that Isaiah 38:10-20 were actually penned by Hezekiah.  That was a really interesting fact to learn.

Although I'm quite familiar with verse 17, and have read this account from Hezekiah's life numerous times, I'm not sure I remembered how it all fit together -- that these verses are part of Hezekiah's response to God's healing him and sparing his life.  

Warren Wiersbe noted, "During this time of suffering, Hezekiah examined his own heart and confessed his sins, and God forgave him.  'Undertake for me' (verse 14) means 'Be my surety.  Stand with me'."

 Cross-references for "back" are these:

 "I have blotted out, like a thick cloud, thy transgressions, and, like a cloud, thy sins; return unto me, for I have redeemed thee."  (Isaiah 44:22)

"For this is my blood of the new testament, which is shed for many for the remission of sins."  (Matthew 26:28)

About that word "remission" above -- Scofield notes that it is elsewhere translated "forgiveness" and means   "to send off or away."  He adds,

"And this, throughout Scripture, is the one fundamental meaning of forgiveness -- to separate the sin from the sinner.

"The sin of the justified believer interrupts his fellowship [with God]; it is forgiven upon confession, but always on the ground of Christ's propitiating sacrifice."

A=   Wiersbe says of Hezekiah, "There was a new humility in his walk, a deeper love for the Lord in his heart, and a new song of praise on his lips.  He had a new determination to praise God all the days of his life, for now those days were very important to him."

Hezekiah's time of suffering might have been wasted, had he not used that time to pray and get his heart right with the Lord.  Once he did, and had the assurance of God's forgiveness and healing, he was quick to move forward with praising and serving God once again.

    In answer to the question "He has thrown our guilt 'behind His back'.  How does that good news give your courage to face today's troubles?", I responded: 

This good news does indeed give me courage to face each day's troubles without fear or guilt.   Keeping short accounts with God frees me to serve Him wholeheartedly.

P= "Lord, I'm so thankful that You have delivered my life from the pit of destruction!  So thankful that my sins are gone as far as the east is from the west.  I'm thankful too for this example of how You worked in Hezekiah's life.  Help me to have that fresh determination to praise You with my remaining days!   In Jesus' name, Amen."

And there is this week's Sunday Scripture!  Just three more in this series, and I have figured out what I'll be doing next, so I'm thankful to have direction on that.  Stay tuned!

Wednesday, January 17, 2024

Hundred Acre 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.    Today's questions have a very definite and fun theme.   Here goes!

1. On January 18th we commemorate A.A. Milne's birthday. Milne is the author of the beloved classic Winnie the Pooh. In many ways Pooh represents innocence and simplicity. His optimism reminds us to appreciate the little things. What are three little things you're appreciating in mid-January? 

1. A slightly slower pace.
2.  Time to cross-stitch in the evenings we are home.
3.  The slow but sure lengthening of daylight hours.


2. Piglet teaches us even the smallest of individuals can achieve big things with the proper amount of determination. How do your current responsibilities make you feel? 

I've chosen continue for my word of the year.   My biggest responsibility at this time of my life is just to continue walking with God and to serve Him and others well.  That's a huge responsibility and can only be done as I abide in Him.  And although God is the One doing the work, it takes determination on my part to stay close to Him. 

3. Tigger is known for his enthusiasm and energy, his boundless joy and love of life. What's something you're interested in learning more about in this new year? 

Truly healthy eating; effective exercise for folks in my age bracket.  I'm well on track with eating -- keto bordering on carnivore, and intermittent fasting -- and even though I walk frequently I know I need to build more strength in my upper body and work on balance, etc.  And I'm interested in learning more about many other subjects as well.  


4. Eeyore, while a melancholy character, teaches us the importance of resilience and perseverance. How do you stay motivated and persevere in difficult circumstances?

Looking to God and the promises in His Word.  The Sunday School lesson I'm currently working on is all about Romans 8:28.  We can persevere through difficult circumstances when we understand that God is going to use them for our eventual good and for His glory.

Beautiful graphic by Abby at Little Birdie Blessings

5. What's the last thing you ate that was made with honey? 

I am not sure.  Oh, I remember!  Someone gave us a log of goat cheese with figs and honey as part of a Christmas gift basket.  We took it along last Wednesday when we stayed overnight at our cottage.  We couldn't taste the honey, which is fine with me.  I like honey but not really as an ingredient.  Other than that cheese log, I think the last thing I had with honey was a combination of honey and lemon juice to soothe a cough. 


6. Insert your own random thought here.  

 Snowy day here, with a winter weather advisory and a prediction of 4 to 6 inches.  Sounds like a good day to stay in.  Mr. T and I have some plans for decluttering and cleaning, and I intend to put a hearty soup in the crockpot for supper.  If I can, I'd love to spend an hour cross-stitching in the evening!

 
And there's the Hodgepodge for this week!


Monday, January 15, 2024

Happy Homemaker Monday

 


As usual, there's no time for a long post, but I'm taking a few minutes to join Sandra for this link party over at Diary of a Stay at Home Mom

The Weather:::

Now, at 4 pm, it's 24ยบ and sunny.  A winter weather advisory in the works for tomorrow with 3 to 5 inches of snow predicted.

As I look outside my window::: 

 I see a sunny late-afternoon winter sky.  The ground is snow-covered and some of the trees bear a light frosting of snow after yesterday's snow squalls.  Most of that has melted, but there is still a bit clinging to bark of trees here and there.

Right now I am:::

 Working on a blog post. 
 
Thinking and pondering:::

 Continuing to think on the new year and just what my goals and priorities should look like.  I've chosen the word "continue" and am working on a post for that -- hopefully to be published this week.

On my bedside table::: 

 A lamp, three books,  and a pen.

 Listening to::: 

Literally, silence.
 
On the Breakfast plate:::

I do intermittent fasting so don't have breakfast.  We did have brunch with friends at our daughter's home since it was a holiday and it made a nice way to visit with old friends we seldom see.  I brought breakfast sliders, and hash browns, our daughter made an egg bake, and our friends brought fruit salad.  Late lunch was a small salad with turkey, cheese and avocado in addition to leaf lettuce.

On the dinner plate::: 

Chicken divan

On the menu for this week::: 

 A few meals on my menu plan:

Chicken divan
Hamburgers, roasted Brussels sprouts
Egg roll in a bowl
 
On my reading pile:::
 
 Every Ocean Has a Shore, by Jamie Langston Turner, a Christmas gift I'm really enjoying.
Adorned by Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth
A Step Farther and Higher, by Gail MacDonald
High Call, High Privilege, also by Gail MacDonald


  
On my to do list today:::

Work on several blog posts
Work on Sunday School lesson 18
Brunch with friends and family√
Make sliders to take to brunch √
Spend time cross stitching
Write some thank-you notes

Plans for this week:::

Plan menus and make grocery list
List some Christmas cards on Etsy
Ironing
Take a bag to the thrift store
Finish Sunday School lesson 18
Blogging
Get started with an exercise regimen
Continue 40-day sugar fast
Begin some serious decluttering
Start a pillow quilt
Ladies ministry meeting on Saturday

 
What I am creating:::
 
January cross-stitch sampler, plus another wintry cross-stitch I've just started
Some "condensation catchers" out of old towels to place behind toilets that sweat in the humidity -- no, I still haven't finished started those! ๐Ÿ˜•  And I need to do so, because the old towels are just sitting around waiting to be used!   And also because we keep getting sporadic warmer weather and I half expect the toilets to start sweating again.
An older unfinished dishcloth in a more challenging pattern
Need to start a pillow quilt

Bible verse, Devotional, Quote:::
 
This quote from Adorned, by Nancy Demoss Wolgemuth:
 
"The truth is, if we are going to invest ourselves in others or receive the wisdom offered to us by others, some of the most significant encounters will occur within the context of human weakness and inadequacy.  Yes, even failure and sin.  Because even while we're still in the process of being changed into the image of Christ, He can use us as a means of grace in others' lives.
 
"We're still far from where we ought to be (and one day will be, praise God!).  But this is part of the story we have been given to share with others.  Even our failures -- humbly acknowledged and redeemed by His mercy and grace -- can become a path to a more fruitful life and ministry."

 There is so much more to this book!  I'm still reading it, but wanting to underline almost every word!

On my prayer list:::
 
Friends & family
Church family
Missionaries
Our country
 
And there's the Happy Homemaker Monday  for this week!

Sunday, January 14, 2024

Sunday Scripture

 


For this week's Sunday Scripture series, I'm continuing on with my simple study of a little devotional journal titled Reflections: The Woman God Sees, by Jane L. Fryar -- a journal gifted me by some dear young friends.   It has a daily devotional one works through -- about a month's worth or so.  The daily devotions were a blessing to me when I worked through the book, so up through November I had been sharing them here.  I switched to something more seasonal for December and now -- for a few weeks at least -- I am back to these again.  There are four more pages after this, so we will see what I come up with next!

The Scripture for today is Psalm 51:6.   Here's the assignment: "True wisdom includes insights into life's real meaning and the ability to deal with life's problems in godly ways, relying on Jesus for forgiveness and salvation.  As you look back over your life so far, what wisdom has your Lord taught, placing it in your 'secret heart'?"  I chose to SOAP Psalm 51:6 as I considered this assignment.

S= "Behold, Thou desirest truth in the inward parts, and in the hidden part thou shalt make me know wisdom."  (Psalm 51:6)

O= I thought it might be instructive to look at this verse in the ESV also:

 "Behold, You delight in truth in the inward being, and You teach me wisdom in the secret heart."

 The verse begins with "Behold"!  Pay attention!

A cross-reference for "the inward being" is 

"Who has put wisdom in the inward parts?  or given understanding to the mind?"  (Job 38:36, ESV)

Spurgeon, in the Treasury of David, quotes George Swinnock: "A great French pear is called le bon Chretien, the good Christian, because they say it is never rotten at the core."

๐Ÿ    ๐Ÿ    ๐Ÿ    ๐Ÿ    ๐Ÿ

Now you just know I had to dig a little deeper to find out more about this.  Turns out the variety of pear he's referring to is actually the good old Bartlett pear most of us are familiar with.  And I'm not 100% sure, because I seldom buy pears, but I dare say I have tasted at least one that was in fact rotten at the core.

I was surprised when I searched for the name of this pear to find that it's actually called Williams Bon Chretien.  I read on the Taste France site: "Williams Bon Chrรฉtien’ is a fruitful collaboration between both sides of the Channel. Let’s start with ‘Bon Chrรฉtien’, meaning ‘Good Christian’ in French: in the 15th century, St Francis of Paola is said to have gifted King Louis XI of France a pear seed when he came to visit him on his deathbed. It then later made an appearance in England at the end of the 17th century, where it was popularised by a gardener named Williams. Voilร ! Centuries of cultivation followed, and the Williams pear as we know it today is the star of French orchards!" 

But, in 1765 in England, this pear was first discovered in Aldermaston, Berkshire. It was sold commercially by  nurseryman Richard Williams of Turnham Green near Chiswick in London,  who recognized its great potential and formally named it Williams in 1814.  So now we have two names: Williams and Bon Chretien.

But there's more!   According to the British site Orange Pippin, "Samples were soon sent to the USA where, unlike many European pears of the era, it appeared very well suited to the climate and quickly became an important commercial variety.  However the variety name became lost so a Boston nurseryman who was involved in propagating it, Bartlett, named it after himself."

This is all just a rabbit trail, but I was interested in getting to the bottom of Swinnock's quote.   Hope others find this almost as fascinating as I did.  Let's pray that we all live up to our name as Christians without all the confusion and mixed messages that surround this pear variety!

๐Ÿ    ๐Ÿ    ๐Ÿ    ๐Ÿ    ๐Ÿ

But then there's a better quote, this one from Spurgeon himself: "No one can teach our innermost nature but the Lord, but He can instruct us to profit.  The Holy Spirit can write the law on our heart, and that is the sum of practical wisdom.  He can  put the fear of the Lord within, and that is the beginning of wisdom.  He can reveal Christ in us, and He is essential wisdom.  Such poor, foolish, disarranged souls as ours, shall yet be ordered aright, and truth and wisdom shall reign within us."

A= True wisdom includes so much!  I love the phrase in our assignment: "insights into life's real meaning and the ability to deal with life's problems in godly ways".  So, so important!

In answering the question "As you look back over your life so far, what wisdom has your Lord taught, placing it in your 'secret heart'?" I wrote:

Trusting Christ as Savior brings about a change of mind and heart.  As we grow in our faith, we come to understand what life is truly all about and how God wants us to live our lives as His children and representatives.  We do indeed learn to handle life's problems in godly ways, and a large part of that is learning who God is and understanding that He allows difficulty for good purposes of His own and to help us learn to trust Him.

God wants us to be truthful, not only with others, but also with ourselves.  We need to honestly acknowledge our sin and face it before God, confessing and forsaking it.  There is wisdom in making the choice to do this and to have the reverential trust that is "the fear of the LORD."

Another question was asked:"As you look into the mirror, do  you see a wise woman looking back?  The answer is yes, because 'the fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom; all those who practice it have a good understanding.'  (Psalm 111:10)"

I wrote this verse out:

"The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom.  A good understanding have all they that do His commandments; His praise endureth forever."  (Psalm 111:10)

Reverential trust -- the 'fear of the LORD' -- is where wisdom starts.  As we gain understanding, we grow in obedience and bring glory to Him.

P= "Lord, I am so thankful to be Your child!  I am so eternally grateful that You drew me to Yourself and brought me to the place where I trusted Christ as Savior.  You have indeed taught me so much over the years since then.  I'm so thankful that You've helped me learn what life is truly all about and how to handle its problems in godly ways.  I'm blessed that You've helped me to learn more and more about who You are and to learn to trust You accordingly.  I pray that You will help me as I seek to show others the way to You.  I know that You will give wisdom for this, and I praise You for all things in Jesus' name, Amen."

And there is the Sunday Scripture for this week!  Four more to go in this series!

Wednesday, January 10, 2024

Icing on 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.     Here goes!

 1. What's a change you'd like or need to make this year? 

To begin a simple exercise program that will strengthen more of my muscles.  I walk a lot and my legs and thighs show that, but I need to seriously work at strengthening other areas.  Like my arms and core, for instance.  Another important change I want to make this year is to, finally, declutter and downsize the entire house.  High property taxes may mean a move at some point down the road, and if that happens it will be to a smaller place, so I need to be much more ready than I am right now.

A flooded brook turned to ice near my childhood home, some years back.

2. Break the ice, on thin ice, ice skating, tip of the iceberg, ice cold...which icy idiom applies to your life right now? Explain. 

I think I'll say tip of the iceberg.   See the declutter and downsize goal above.  I've done some decluttering and downsizing, but it is the tip of the iceberg.  Another way this applies is to the mountain of items still to sell in my Etsy shop.  I've made nearly 700 sales and this is exciting, but oh -- the amount of vintage paper is almost overwhelming.

3. What's a project you've been putting off? Will you get to it this month? This year?

Starting pillow quilts for my two youngest granddaughters.  I would like to think I will get to it this month.

A past pillow quilt unfolded.
Same pillow quilt folded.
A space-themed pillow quilt unfolded.  Guess I don't have a picture of it folded.  This was a glow in the dark fabric panel if I remember right.
A Curious George pillow quilt, folded.  I've made pillow quilts for all the other grands, so it's obvious I need to complete these last two.

4. Of the fruits that grow well in winter which ones have you tried? Which is your favorite? 

pomegranates, clementines, persimmons, passion fruit, pears, grapefruit, lemons, pomelos, kumquats

 I have tried pomegranates, clementines, passion fruit, pears, grapefruit, lemons and pomelos.  I think of all of them probably grapefruit is my favorite.


5. What do you think it means to be courageous? 

My word for the year in 2019 was courage.   So logically enough I looked at definitions as I approached that word.   Here's what the dictionary said:


I thought it meant quite a bit more, so I looked it up in a Bible dictionary too.

Here is the definition from Nelson's Illustrated Bible Dictionary: "the strength of purpose that enables one to withstand fear or difficulty.  Physical courage is based on moral courage -- a reliance on the presence and power of God and a commitment to His commandments."

I like that quite a bit better.  So I would define courageous thusly:   Having the strength of purpose, based on a reliance on God's presence, power, and promises, and commitment to Him and His Word that enables one to withstand fear or difficulty or even face death bravely.

Graphic from Abby at Little Birdie Blessings

6. Insert your own random thought here. 

Whew, after that definition almost anything else would feel random.  I think I'll share a couple of skating cards from my collection.  (The Valentine at question 2 is listed in my Etsy shop.)  I bought the one below in a stationery store in the late 1990s specifically to display  it.

"My warmest memories of winters past: A snowman, hot chocolate and skating fast."
I've always loved the scene above.  From my personal collection of vintage cards.
 

Another skating scene from my personal collection, this one with a city theme, which the two below also have.


The two skating scenes above were in my Etsy shop, but sold during November and December.

And that's the icing on the Hodgepodge for this week!