Friday, March 30, 2018

Little Letters to Remember March

If you love words and language, and you simply enjoy writing...well, blogging is not only a natural "fit" but quickly becomes a passion.  So, when your computer is gone and you are unable to blog, or write or simply feels the keys under your fingers, it is a sad thing for sure.  And that was me last week.  Sad - and missing my time to blog.  But....all is well.  My computer is being cooperative and not a thing was lost! Just in time to look back at March - the very fickle month of March - in "letter style!"

Dear March - yes, I will start with you.  You tend to drive me crazy.  Yes, you came in like a lion!  The winds were fierce this year and we had one of the strongest wind storms that I remember in quite awhile.  So many homes damaged, folks impacted by power outages that lasted for days, and downed trees, in varying stages of being removed, can be found everywhere.  March, you give us hints of spring and then, just days later, bring us our only measurable snowfall of the year.  But, you do seem to be going out like a lamb!  With the windows open and the curtains blowing, how quickly we forget those nastier days earlier this month!

Dear daffodils and forsythia - I love you!  Your pops of yellow - faithfully pushing through even the snow - not only confirm that a new season is, indeed, coming but also remind me of God's faithfulness, bring wonderful memories of my garden-loving dad to mind and, quite simply, just make my heart happy!!

Dear Tribute friends - It seems the plans for my weeks are beginning to revolve around my volunteer time at the Tribute.  Oh, I look forward to Tuesdays and Thursdays.  All of you make me laugh (every week!!), have so sharpened my UNO skills, and you have helped me refocus and appreciate the slower pace and simpler things of life.  You are special friends, indeed!

Dear back surgeon - the one who operated on our good friend, Tom - one half of our best "double date buddies!"  Thanks for fixing him up!  I really am grateful for skilled surgeons and good medical care.  Now, let's get rid of that walker, my friend.  We have places to go, things to do, antiques to buy and new restaurants to discover!

Dear will power - hang in there!  Easter season is in full force.  You have helped me avoid many Cadbury egg displays but peanut butter eggs, coconut anything and (the oh- so tempting) dark chocolate bunnies seem to be everywhere!  Don't fail me now....but you have your work cut out for you!

Dear crochet pros - you know who you are.  Your fingers flying.  Yarn effortlessly moving back and forth...creating the prettiest shawls and afghans.  You impress me.  You even inspire me but you also intimidate me.  A very sweet friend began teaching me to crochet this month.  I really want to work well with my hands - be productive during the quiet hours of the evening - but it does not come naturally for me.  Will I ever have a project so pretty?Goodness, will I ever get to the end of a project??  Thanks for all the encouragement this month!

Dear brother of mine - you are another one that never fails to impress. Honestly?  you rode a bike 100 miles in three days in the Southeast Asian humidity.  How can we be related??   I am so grateful for our time together this month....the chance to hear about your trip to Viet Nam.  To learn more about your fundraising and your heart to help.  I love your passion - and can you please teach me how to take such beautiful pictures!?

Dear Thai food - you were "an experiment" in my kitchen this month and you did not disappoint!  Oh my.  You just might be my new obsession.

Dear Spring - come on in...and stay awhile! A good, long while!!

Friday, March 23, 2018

The Blessing of the Ordinary

Routine.  Otherwise, often thought of as "the ordinary."  The typical, the normal, or the day-to-day. 
Even the definition sounds a bit...well, boring.  I think we are becoming accustomed to think of the day-to-day or the ordinary as boring and undesirable.  Everything pushes us to examine, and re-examine, our ordinary - our routine - in order to tweak it, improve it or, truth be told, make it more like someone else's normal.  There is so much pressure not "to settle" - certainly not to be content.

Contentment seems to be a constant battle for me.  Apparently, for many.  But I know, for me, there always seems to be a need for the reminder to be content.  Content with not only the things I have, but also the stage of life I am in and where God has me right now.  I stay so focused on what might be ahead, and that whatever happens today is simply preparing me for tomorrow....that I miss the joy of today!!

My mother's love language was food. The planning, the preparing, even the shopping for food. (Yes, that explains a lot!)  Whenever we were coming for a visit, she would begin, weeks in advance, making menus - for all three meals of the day.  She included everyone's favorites and some new treats, as well.  By the way, she was an amazing cook!  Every evening ended with a wonderful meal with everyone too far past full; however, before anyone could even leave the table, Mom would say something like, "sooo, for breakfast tomorrow...."  Oh my.

I know, she was totally in her element!  And, I so miss her meals.  But isn't that the perfect picture of how we miss the joy right in front of us??   We miss all the beauty and blessings - no matter how small or routine - that are in today.  This moment.  I read this quote in a devotional today (another gentle reminder...)

"Perhaps living inside a regular day in which nothing of earth-moving significance happens is at the heart of all that is truly meaningful and extraordinary.   The glory of life is found quite simply in the ordinary moments."  - Carol Burton McLeod

What a wonderful thought to ponder all day....this regular day.  I want to look for, and then savor, all that is ordinary and routine today.  It can't simply be a thought on my coffee mug - blessed.   Yes, I am blessed.  And I want to be content with - and fully enjoy - all the blessings of this day!

These were my thoughts on totday's FMF prompt:  routine.  I went a tad longer but really wanted to include the memory of my mother.  She loved us well - with every meal, every dish and every labor of love from her kitchen.  I miss her.

Tuesday, March 20, 2018

Butterfinger Cake

Happy Spring.  Yes, it is sleeting and the forecast is for snow all afternoon and tomorrow but it is spring:)  And the calendar makes official!  Goodness, March is fickle and spring even more so but I am enjoying my bunnies (did you see a few of them on my Instagram?) and thinking towards Easter.  I am still working on my Easter menu.  I am planning to have a brunch but am always looking for something just a little bit new.  Any suggestions?

I am taking dinner to a friend this evening - including one of my "go-to" desserts.  Butterfinger cake.  It is always sure to please.  When I came in from the grocery store yesterday, my son immediately saw dessert in his future.  Sorry - but it did inspire me to make one for Easter.  I tend to think of coconut cake for Easter but my family would all love Butterfingers over coconut any day!

This recipe is so simple but I thought I would share today - perhaps it will inspire you.  Or remind you of a family favorite that you haven't made in a while that would bring a smile to your family!

1 box Cake Mix – I used German Chocolate...could also use Devil’s Food.
1 - 14 ounce can sweetened condensed milk
1 - 11.5-ounce jar caramel ice cream topping
1 - 8-ounce container Cool Whip
2 -  Butterfingers candy bars, crushed


  1. Bake cake according to instructions on the package.  Cool.
  2. Poke holes in the cake about an inch apart with the back of a wooden spoon.
  3. Pour condensed milk over cake, making sure to fill holes.
  4. Do the same with he caramel topping.
  5. Cover the cake with the Cool Whip.
  6. Sprinkle with the crushed candy bars.  (the photo above has only one candy bar - I
          will add some more just before delivering it this evening.)

Refrigerate for one hour and be sure to store in the fridge!  Enjoy!:)

Friday, March 16, 2018

He Provided a Way for Me

If you see me on Instagram, you know this week has been one of computer woes.  Woes of the most aggravating kind.  Still have not been able to resolve the problem - as in, have not been able to even unlock the computer:( but I did not want to miss FMF.  The prompts cause me to think, to ponder and to meditate on truths and, just as much, I am always blessed by the other posts.  I encourage you to spend some time in the links.

Obviously, I am "borrowing" a computer which means I just might stick with the five minutes for today's prompt:  PROVIDE    With Easter on our hearts and minds, no doubt, there will be several posts with similar thoughts, but that is okay.  It bears repeating.  Again, and again.

GO - From the very beginning, God's desire was to fellowship with us.  To be with us and to commune with us.  However, sin separated us.  Sin brought consequences.  But God provided a way.  A way to have sin forgiven and a way of escape.

When God's children were suffering in Egypt, He heard their cries.  Exodus 3:7-8 "And the LORD said, I have surely seen the affliction of my people...and have heard their cry....for I know their sorrows.  And I am come down to deliver them...."  He knew their hopelessness.  He used plaques to prove His great power and when Pharaoh still refused to let them go, He sent the death angel, proving His sovereignty.  Even then, He provided an escape. 

That escape for the God's children then is the same as it is today - a sacrifice.  The shedding of blood by a spotless lamb.  "....and when I see the blood, I will pass over you..."  Exodus 12:13   God has always offered mercy and a way of forgiveness. 

STOP - I am so grateful for His death, burial and resurrection.  Because of His sacrifice, I have forgiveness and reconciliation!  That is real joy Easter provides!!

Friday, March 9, 2018

I'm So Tired - What Might It Mean?

I begin most of my mornings leisurely enjoying a cup of coffee with my husband before heading
upstairs for my devotions.  It is one of the small pleasures of this phase of life - for which I am grateful and that I am enjoying.  But until just several months ago, I was working and, before 8:00, I would interact with staff, parents, students of all ages and several service providers.  I greeted people with, "Good morning!  How are you?"....and so, so often the standard answer was, "Tired."

But you've just started....haven't even been out of bed that long!?  Why does it seem everyone is always tired?  I know there are plenty of answers to that question - situations, circumstances, etc. that leave us tired.  Even when we get out of bed. The answers could probably be discussed in a blog post for hours - but this is Five Minute Friday, so these are just a couple of my thoughts.

GO -

I believe that for many being tired is synonymous with being busy.  And being busy is a badge worn with honor these days.  So, if we are tired, we must be busy and, in some way, that must mean, we are productive, hard-working people.  Exhaustion proves it.  But, could it be a constant state of tiredness is a symptom of poor planning, misplaced priorities, or little to no self-care...perhaps a jumble of all three?

No doubt, there are days when we are the "slave" to our schedule rather than the reverse.  Emergencies happen, but these days should be the exception and not the rule. Even when best-arranged priorities seem thrown off balance, there can (and should) be adequate time for rest and for sleep.  Sleep is as necessary as eating and bathing and as crucial as our time spent in prayer and Bible reading.  Plan for it all.  Here are three reasons why I think it is important.

One - God expects it.  We are His temple. The dwelling place of the Holy Spirit.  Many directions and principles are given for taking care of the temple.  Lack of sleep not only runs us down but negatively affects our bodies - this temple.

Two - Jesus was our example.  He slept.  After long days full of ministering, He slept.  Even during storms, when the needs of others seemed paramount, He slept.  I know there are many applications in that account but certainly, if Jesus chose to sleep before serving, meeting needs and teaching His disciples, there is a lesson there as well.

Three - There are promises to those who will put their cares away, give their worries to Him and will lay down to sleep.  Christ offers sweet sleep.  And, no doubt, renewed energy to handle the tasks for the new day ahead.


Yes.  There are moms of newborns and little ones.  Caregivers - to spouses, aging parents, special need children, and many others.  There are single moms working full-time and then putting themselves through school in the hours leftover.  Some suffer chronic illness or other physical ailments.  All that deprive them of necessary sleep.  I can attest to many of these situations myself.  And I believe in these times, God can take our little sleep and give us the strength that we need.  I pray that He does.  However, for most of us who regularly hear ourselves saying, "I'm so tired," it just might be a red-flag that we are not sleeping as we should.  Just a thought.

 It is vain for you to rise up early, to sit up late, to eat the bread of sorrows:
 for so he giveth his beloved sleep.
Psalm 127:2

Tuesday, March 6, 2018

Joy in Any Season

"I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly."  John 10:10b

I have included this verse several times in my posts.  I quote it often.  Yes, it is one of my be sure.  All Christ did and all He does is so we might live the abundant life....and that "our joy might be full." (John 15:11b)  An abundant life is full of joy. 

Then, why oh why do I (too) often feel joyless?  No doubt there are many answers to that question, and blog posts that could be written for months to unravel the answer.  I have been reading about, studying, and meditating on joy in my morning devotions.  My joy often seems especially lacking during the winter months... and  I know that seasonal depression is a real thing.  I struggle. But I also know these verses are true in any season. Winter.  Summer.  Busy seasons.  Long, quiet days.

There are no simple answers.  No one size fits all solution.  But I do know, as Christians, we face the same enemy.  Satan.  And He desperately wants to rob us of all joy.  He would love to steal our eternity - our home in Heaven.  But he cannot, so he will stop at nothing to ruin our joy until we get there.  So often, we think our enemy is "out for" our marriages, our children, our homes, finances or health.  And, yes, he would love to see them ruined.  But, truthfully, he wants to work through our homes, our health and relationships in order to steal our joy.

Another verse I have been using often is Nehemiah 8:10b...."neither be ye sorry (grieved, depressed); for the joy of the LORD is your strength."  I am able to fight against the devil.  Of course, there can be times and situations where counseling or medical help is needed.  It might be we simply need to reach out and invite someone to support us along the way.  Many times, being still with our savior - sharing our heart and then listening for His voice -  is what we need to pull back the shadows.  Whatever it takes, we have the strength we need.  Strength to dismiss the enemy.  Strength to keep fighting for the joy that He has promised.

Spring is coming - just as it always does.  Just as God faithfully brings the seasons...He is faithful to meet us where we are.  To supply our need and to strengthen us.  And to restore our joy - and not just any joy....but abundant joy!!

Thanking the Lord for His rich mercies:

"They are new every morning; great is thy faithfulness."  Lamentation 3:23

Friday, March 2, 2018

No Regrets

Today's FMF prompt is Regret.  Since I  first read the prompt, I have been mulling over regrets.  My own personal ones - we all have them.  And what my response to those regrets should be - and can be because I am a Christian.  I did not sit down to write earlier today and then took the hour or so to watch the LiveStream of Billy Graham's funeral (technology really can be wonderful!) and I am later than usual joining the link-up.  But, that's okay.  The Graham service was so encouraging.  Funerals always cause a time of reflection and self-evaluation.  What type of legacy am I creating?  It's very sobering.  And my thoughts from the morning went in a totally different direction.

Somewhere among those sobering thoughts, I was reminded of the story of William Borden.  A life defined by the words:  No Reserve.  No Retreat. and No Regrets.  I think I will save some of my earlier thoughts and simply post a glimpse of Borden's story.  It is inspiring.  Just as Billy Graham's story was this morning.  Just as hundreds of others who have chosen to live wholeheartedly for their Savior - and did so without regret.  If you haven't heard this story, I encourage you to read more of it when you can.  It will be a blessing.

Perhaps you have heard of Borden’s milk or Borden's cheese.  In the late 1800’s, the Borden family was one of the wealthiest families ever in the United States.  And it was into this family that William Borden was born- and was groomed and educated to take over the family business.  He was to be a millionaire in an era when there were very, very few millionaires.

When he was just a young boy, William’s mother became a Christian and she began taking William to church.  After hearing Dr. R.A. Torrey preach, William made the decision to accept Christ and follow Him.  That decision changed his whole life. He began praying and studying his Bible and seeking to know God’s plan for his life. While studying at Yale, he attended a missions conference and heard one speaker make an appeal for workers to reach the most unreachable people on the planet – Muslims in China.  The missionary said, "Of course it will cost life. It is not an expedition of ease… nor a picnic excursion to which we are called…"   William Borden knew this was what God wanted him to do.  In a notebook, he wrote "In every man's heart there is a throne and a cross… If Christ is on the throne self is on the cross… If Jesus is on the throne you will go where He wants you to go…"

After school, he went to Egypt to practice the Arabic language before going to the field.  While in Egypt, he contracted meningitis and died at the age of 25 before ever getting to China.  After his death, three phrases were found written in his Bible - ones that characterized his life:

No Reserve – written after he renounced his fortune in order to became a missionary

No Retreat – written a time later and shortly after his father told him he would never be welcome to work in the family company again, and

No Regrets – written shortly before he died in Egypt.

A life lived with Christ on the throne and saying yes to follow Him will be a life without regrets.  My life of following Christ may not take me to far off lands.  It probably will not have me disinherited or even distanced from those I love.  Everyone's path is different but everyone has the opportunity to follow God - without regrets.