Happy Birthday America! Patriotic Desserts for All!

Happy 4th of July to you and Happy Birthday to America!   This is the 243rd birthday for this country of ours.  The United States of America is the Land of the Free and the Home of the Brave.  Each year on this day we celebrate by throwing a big birthday party!

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What are you giving America this year?  Peace, harmony, and respect might be on her list.  She deserves all three and much more.

Usually the party ends up being a picnic or pool party.  Family and friends gather from near and sometimes far to celebrate living in the extraordinary country.  We celebrate freedom, our freedom.  Summer is in full swing.  The weather is hot with the nights warm.  Fireworks light up the skies to celebrate.

When my family gathers to celebrate we usually have a pitch-in.  Does yours?  We have some favorite dishes and try to make at least one patriotic dessert.  What are some that you make?  Here are a few from our recipe box:

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Recipe for above:

Take any flavor of cookie dough and spread in the Pampered Chef round white stone. Bake according to directions for a big cookie. Let cool. Frost with white icing and decorate with red, white, and blue M&M’s.

Below:

The following is a luscious, light dessert that pleases everyone.  It looks gorgeous, too.

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Flag Red Velvet Cakes:

These Red Velvet Flag cakes are really a hit at the party.  They are easy to make and eat!  Kids and adults love them.  They work for more than Flag Day.

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Today is about much more than red, white and blue desserts, fireworks, and picnics.  Far more.  It is about freedom, liberty, and justice.  Blood was shed so that we might live free.  Never take that for granted.  Our forefathers planned and organized to make certain this would be the best land for them and their descendants.  Their blood was given for it.

While you are celebrating the birthday of this land that I love today, please lift this country, her leaders, and her protectors up in prayer.  They need our prayers daily now just like our founding fathers prayed for them.  Our country and each one of us needs God.  Let’s start with prayer.  That would be a precious birthday gift for America.

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Memorial Day, Remember and Honor

The Memorial Day weekend is upon us.  Do you have big plans?  Living in Southern Indiana by Louisville there are many activities all weekend close by us.  My favorite is picnicking with family and playing games.

How much do you know about Memorial Day? It is much more than the Indy 500 and unofficial start of summer or three day weekend.  Even more than playing games and picnicking with beloved family.  The first Memorial Day was May 30, 1868.

This was a day for people to decorate graves of Civil War soldiers and originally known as Decoration Day. Unfortunately, grievously the United States lost many men during that horrible war against itself. Approximately 620,000 died during the Civil war. That is a staggering number. 620,000!

May 30th was chosen because no Civil War battles were fought that day and flowers across the nation would be in full bloom to decorate the graves.  It remained that date until 1971. Then it became a federal holiday known as Memorial Day and was changed to the last Monday of May giving people a three day weekend.

In honor of those who died, the American flag should be hung at half-staff until noon on Memorial Day. It should then be raised to the top. Since 2000, all Americans have been encouraged to stop for a National Moment of Remembrance at 3 p.m. IMG_3842Red poppies are a symbol of remembrance for those who died in war. People, men and women, wear them to honor those who died in war. Especially on Memorial Day you will see a lot of red poppies.IMG_3850Scouts can be seen placing flags on the graves in the National Cemetery. What a great honor for a young scout to do this.  I have a grandson that does this.  His Dad is a former Marine so he is very respectful of our military.

This Memorial Day think about your life, your freedom, and how you are privileged to live. Without those that unselfishly gave their lives defending our country, our freedom, and us, what would our lives be? Very different indeed.

Memorial Day is a time to remember those that gave all for our country, for us. It is our responsible to take care of what and who was entrusted to us and honor our military and especially God. We need to keep remembering and pass those memories on to teach our children. Children need to learn about our holidays… that they are more than a day off and that our country and freedom were paid for with the blood of brave men and women. There is a price for freedom.IMG_3846We live in a great country with strong roots. Many people have lived and died for this land of ours. Let us always remember you brave soldiers. Those that stood and stand between us and the enemy. Pray for them, our leaders, and our country. May God continue to bless America.

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“Righteousness exalts a nation, but sin condemns any people.” Proverbs 14:34 NIV

Tongues of Fire Celebrate Lit Book and Giveaway

Greetings from my stop of the Celebration Lit Book tour for  Tongues of Fire, 50 days of celebrating Pentecost devotional book.  There is information about the book, tour stops, and Giveaway.  Don’t forget to enter!

My Thoughts

Tongues of Fire is a 50 day devotional celebrating Pentecost.  The book opens and asks why we don’t celebrate Pentecost?  We celebrate Christmas and Easter.  It goes on to explain the importance of Pentecost and the Holy Spirit.

There are fifty devotions to help better understand Pentecost by giants of faith both classic and contemporary.  I knew most of them but a few were new to me.  The devotions are all different and inspiring.

A great number of the devotions are about speaking in tongues.  This Methodist raised gal is unfamiliar with that.  I am open-minded and have heard various thoughts on it.  Another topic given a lot of  days was healing.

Some of the devotions spoke to me more than others.  I agree that we all need to welcome and accept the Holy Spirit into our lives.  Jesus sent Him to us for a reason.  One devotion said “when you receive the power of the Holy Spirit, you become someone you could never be on your own”.   I totally agree.

Another devotional said “Simply by paying attention to what He is doing and cooperating  with Him, we come to understand God better.  Who doesn’t want to know God better?  I certainly do.

This was a devotional that is meant to be read over a period of 50 days.  I read it in just a few days in order to write this review.  Some of the days spoke straight to me and I was inspired.  Other days were hard to understand.  I felt chastised in a few places rather than enlightened.

I did not receive answers to some of my questions.  It is a hard to read at times devotional and not exactly uplifting.  It felt more scholarly.  Scripture is plentiful.  This is definitely biblically based.

I would recommend this for anyone wanting to delve deeper into the Holy Spirit and Pentecost.  It is good for learning a little about speaking in tongues.  I would not recommend it for a young person, simply because I had trouble in some parts.  I rated it 3 out of 5 stars.  Celebrate provided an e-book but I was under no obligation to write a review.

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About the Book

Book: Tongues of Fire
Author: Various Authors
Genre: Christian non-fiction, Pentecost Devotional
Release Date: April 19, 2019
Tongues of FireA fifty-day devotional for Pentecost featuring the words and teachings of writings of faithful men and women of God, both classic and contemporary authors, regarding the miraculous power available through God’s gift of the Holy Spirit. Includes excerpts from Smith Wigglesworth, John G. Lake, William Seymour, Aimee Semple McPhearson, Maria Woodworth-Etter, Andrew Murray, E. W. Kenyon, R. A. Torrey, John Wesley, Mary K. Baxter, Guillermo Maldonado, James Goll, Bill Johnson, and many more. Let this collection of charismatic classics help you to celebrate the wild tongues of fire that signified the coming of Holy Spirit on the day of Pentecost, and be filled anew with the powerful presence of God.

Blog Stops

Mary Hake, May 10
Artistic Nobody, May 17 (Spotlight)
Power of Words, May 18 (Spotlight)
Simple Harvest Reads, May 20 (Spotlight)

Giveaway

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To celebrate the tour, Whitaker House is giving away a grand prize of a $20 Starbucks gift card!!
Be sure to comment on the blog stops for nine extra entries into the giveaway! Click the link below to enter. https://promosimple.com/ps/e318/tongues-of-fire-celebration-tour-giveaway

Modern Day Proverbs 31 Woman

With Mother’s Day tomorrow it made me think of all the women I have known. The ones that have crossed my path, shaped my faith, loved me, and some I haven’t seen in a long time. I couldn’t think about women without pondering the Proverbs 31 woman. Have you ever thought about her? She was a phenomenal lady, a Wonder Woman for her family and the community, and our role model.

i have always wanted to be a Proverbs 31 woman but have fallen short in many ways.  Don’t get me wrong, I’ve tried.  Really, really tried.  I just can’t quite live up to those high standards.  Do you know anyone who can?

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What if that was written today? How would it sound? Who is today’s Proverbs 31 woman or is there really one today?

Can any man find a moral, virtuous wife?
She would be more valuable than diamonds or gold.
Her husband could trust her with everything,
Especially his love, and would lack nothing of true value.
She gives him her best and does not deceive him ever.
She does laundry, ironing, and makes delicious meals with loving hands and never complains.
Her alarm clock goes off while it is still dark so she can prepare breakfast, fix lunches, and fill the slow cooker with dinner before going to work.
She does not gossip, lie, or slander. Her word is true.
Never does she steal even one penny. She does not take from others.
She attends church each Sunday and has raised her children to go.
She gladly gives her time, money, and self to those that need it.
She helps those in need, giving money and food to young families and
Taking hot meals to elderly, staying to visit and clean for them.
She volunteers in the community and at church. She loves to help.
Her husband is respected in their church and community.
She does nothing to disgrace, only honor him.
She has a strength and dignity that she wears like a sweet perfume.
She trusts in God and does not concern herself with worry over the future.
She is wise and gives good, sound advice. When her girls need to know how to do something they turn to her for direction and instruction.
She keeps an immaculate house and is never lazy, always working to make her home better.
Her daughters call her a treasure and blessing. Her husband praises her, also.
Many women do noble things, but she is above them. She does everything with love for God and family.
Some women are only pretty on the outside, but she is a true woman of faith.
Beautiful inside and out.
Her family loves and cherishes this wonderful, beautiful, perfect for us Proverbs 31 woman.

As you might have guessed, this was rewritten for my precious, beloved Mother, our sweet Proverbs 31 woman. She is the best, most perfect woman for us. God blessed us by giving this amazing woman to our family.  God is awesome.  Isn’t He?

What about your family?  Who are your Proverbs 31 women. Have you told them how fabulous they are? How loved and appreciated? Mother’s Day is a great time to show appreciation.

 

Happy Mother’s Day, Mom. You definitely are the Proverbs 31 woman of our family and loved beyond what we could ever say.  Your daughters strive to be like you.  You have the love of every one of us, and our gratitude, also.  Thank you for all you do.  Enjoy Mother’s Day and always. You are treasured and adored.

Proverbs 31:10-31 KJV

10 Who can find a virtuous woman? for her price is far above rubies.

11The heart of her husband doth safely trust in her, so that he shall have no need of spoil.

12She will do him good and not evil all the days of her life.

13She seeketh wool, and flax, and worketh willingly with her hands.

14She is like the merchants’ ships; she bringeth her food from afar.

15She riseth also while it is yet night, and giveth meat to her household, and a portion to her maidens.

16She considereth a field, and buyeth it: with the fruit of her hands she planteth a vineyard.

17She girdeth her loins with strength, and strengtheneth her arms.

18She perceiveth that her merchandise is good: her candle goeth not out by night.

19She layeth her hands to the spindle, and her hands hold the distaff.

20She stretcheth out her hand to the poor; yea, she reacheth forth her hands to the needy.

21She is not afraid of the snow for her household: for all her household are clothed with scarlet.

22She maketh herself coverings of tapestry; her clothing is silk and purple.

23Her husband is known in the gates, when he sitteth among the elders of the land.

24She maketh fine linen, and selleth it; and delivereth girdles unto the merchant.

25Strength and honour are her clothing; and she shall rejoice in time to come.

26She openeth her mouth with wisdom; and in her tongue is the law of kindness.

27She looketh well to the ways of her household, and eateth not the bread of idleness.

28Her children arise up, and call her blessed; her husband also, and he praiseth her.

29Many daughters have done virtuously, but thou excellest them all.

30Favour is deceitful, and beauty is vain: but a woman that feareth the LORD, she shall be praised.

31Give her of the fruit of her hands; and let her own works praise her in the gates.

St. Patrick’s Day Musings and Recipe

Well, top of the mornin’ to ya and Happy St. Patty’s Day! ‘‘Tis the day everyone claims to be at least a wee bit Irish,  What about you?  Are you really of Irish decent or just Irish today?

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A sea of green will be flowing everywhere today because most everyone wears green clothes, Irish or not, on this day. It is the day many foods turn green on purpose.  Even the river in Chicago turns green.  This is also the one day of the year that we all put a “Mc” or “O” in front of our surname and become Irish. Yes, it’s St. Patrick’s Day!

St. Patrick was a soul saver. IMG_1716A soldier for the Lord.  That is what we are really celebrating.  He used a three leaf clover to teach people about the trinity.  St. Patrick turned thousands of hearts, minds, and souls to the one true God.  Now, doesn’t that sound like cause to celebrate!  I think so, too.

It isn’t about having things green and being Irish. No fictional little leprechauns with rainbows and pots of gold were there.  This is about celebrating the vast number of Druids, pagans that were saved and became Christians.

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Irish are supposed to be lucky among a lot of other things. You’ve heard of the “luck of the Irish,” right? Hmm, I am not sure about that. Well, I guess you could say the ones that met St. Patrick were lucky, or could you? Was it luck that drew them to St. Patrick or something else?  Perhaps the Holy Spirit.

Do you believe in luck? Do you think there is gold at the end of the rainbow? Personally, I don’t really believe much in luck or leprechauns. Maybe if I keep losing when playing a game I say I have bad luck, but outside of that I don’t put belief in luck. My faith and trust are in Jesus. He is the one that guides and directs me just like He did St. Patrick.

When I accepted Jesus as my Lord and Savior, He was the Way or rainbow to my riches. I followed Him. My gold happens to be where Jesus prepared a place for me at the end of my earthly life – in Heaven. IMG_3600That is where my heart is, too. In Heaven the Bible says there will be beautiful streets of gold.

My saved loved ones will be there. There will be no more sickness, no more death, no more tears. My Savior, Jesus, is there. Our Almighty God, my Maker, is there. Talk about hitting the jackpot or pot of gold! That is everything I could ever want. Wow, no riches can compare to that. None. So what about you? Where is your pot of gold?

“Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moths and vermin destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moths and vermin do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” Matt. 6:19-21.

Traditional Irish St. Patrick’s Day Dish

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Irish Colcannon, an Irish Treasured Dish

1 lb. potatoes peeled white or unpeeled red potatoes
½ lb. bacon (cut into small 1-inch squares)
1 T. Kosher salt
6 cups thinly sliced cabbage (approximately a head)
6 T. butter (four for the cabbage and two for the potatoes)
½ cup whipping cream (or milk)
Fresh parsley chopped finely-a few sprigs will do
A large onion, chopped
5 or 6 scallions or a clump (handful) of chives
Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
Wash potatoes and peel if you’re using thick skinned.
Cut the potatoes in quarters and place in a large pot of boiling water.
Add the Kosher salt. Boil for approximately 25 minutes.
Stick one of the potatoes with a fork to see if they’re cooked. They should be tender and easy to penetrate with the prongs.

Cook the bacon in a large skillet over medium heat.
When they’re finished cooking, add 4 T. butter.
Add the cabbage and onions.
Sauté the cabbage mixture until almost done, with the onions translucent and cabbage a bit crispy. Some people prefer to cook the mixture until everything is soft. It just depends on whether you like a bit of crunch or not. It takes about 10 to 15 minutes.

Drain the potatoes and add the butter and cream or milk, mashing it to silky smoothness—unless you left the skins on, then almost silky smoothness.

Add the onion, cabbage mixture and salt and pepper to taste.
Serve hot. Enjoy this Irish classic dish.

 

 

 

Be God’s Vessel

On a rare trip to the inside of the grocery, I noticed most people hurrying past the Salvation Army bellringer.  No eye contact, and especially no hello or Merry Christmas to her was offered.  I supposed people were afraid it would cost them a donation.  My attitude was taking a turn for the worse so I checked it at the door.

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Inside was a flurry of activity.  School is out for Christmas break, and kids were excited just to be at the grocery store.  “Mom, could we get this?  Mom, I really want some of these.  Mom, Mom, Mom!”  Poor mothers were trying to finish shopping while kids were requesting items not on the list or in the budget.  I spied one young mother longingly check the price of a turkey and then ham.  Reluctantly she put both back and went to the reduced section where she picked up some marked down ground meat.  The four kiddos danced around the packaged lunches down a ways that all kids love but were good when she shook her head no.  For a family of six, her cart was surprisingly scant.  I crossed paths with them again as I went down the toy aisle checking for stocking stuffers for my four grands.  The kids were eager to offer opinions even though they were much younger than my grands are.

I was delayed at the pharmacy for a short bit but ended up in line next to the delightful family.  After flagging down a worker, I asked him to hurry and get a ham, turkey, dozen lunchables, and some toys the kids had ogled.  I was ready to check out and the mother was next in line next door so I needed him to hustle.  He did.  With the help of “Ryan” I was able to get these bought and later loaded into her van without her knowing.  He even contributed some items he knew she needed since she shops there often.

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At her checkout time the mama did not have enough food stamps to pay so she started to put things back.  The person in back of her asked “for the privilege of paying for your order” and even added some items from his cart and the candy display.  I heard the woman say through tears she had prayed for a miracle and thanked the man for allowing God to use him.

That day God used me, Ryan, and another man to provide groceries and toys for a faithful, praying woman.  I tell you this not for any glory for myself at all, but for God.  He is Jehovah Jirah, our God that provides.  Answering prayers is just in a His nature.  He will use you if you just make yourself available and ask.

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Friends, I am abundantly blessed and that could have easily been me or one of my children except for the Grace of God.  If you are nudged this season by Abba, please follow through with it.  Let Him use you as the vessel to answer someone’s prayer.  You will end up being blessed.

Put Christ back in CHRISTmas

The most wonderful time of the year is fast approaching.  Is it one of your favorites?  There are lovers of Christmas and then there are the Scrooges.  In fact, throughout the Advent Season, we could even find that we switch from one to the other.  Oh my!  Isn’t that a dreadful thought?!

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Christmastime is one of the most delightful times for me.  Just thinking about Jesus being sent here to be our Savior bring tears to my eyes.  I never get weary of listening to Christmas hymns.  Today I absent-mindedly hummed and half sang “O Little Town of Bethlehem” while I did paperwork.  That isn’t even my “go to” Christmas song.  Usually “Mary Did You Know” is first on my mind.

I am a consultant for Pampered Chef and do my parties on Facebook.  Like in-home parties we, too, play games.  One of my popular this year has been to name something that has to do with Christmas starting with A, the next person takes B, and on through the alphabet.  As I totaled points for the door prize drawing, I reviewed the answers.

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The results were about 50% Christian answers and 50% secular.  The letter J brought words Jesus, Joy, Jingle and Jolly.  S gave Savior, Star, Santa, and Stockings.  Every one of the reindeer were mentioned, but I don’t remember seeing Mary, Joseph, Elizabeth, or Bethlehem.

What about your list?  When you think about Christmas do your thoughts immediately turn to the first six letters in that word…..CHRIST?  Maybe this world has pushed Him back from the front because of the hustle, bustle, and commercialism of today.  Don’t let that happen.

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This is the season of love and miracles.  God gave us all a miracle, His Son, our Redeemer.   That is the biggest, best present anyone has ever given you and me.  Hmmm, what have we given Him in return?

For me, I am going to try to keep more CHRIST in Christmas.  Play more hymns, read more scripture and Christian based books.  I have decided “do not stress and show grace” is my motto.  Without stressing out, I am a much nicer person.  Not only do I get grace from Abba, but I will in turn give it to others.  Everyone deserves grace.  People are more important than some of the silly things that upset others.

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Okay, so our focus will be on Jesus and helping show Him to others this year.  Even if we are playing a game or singing a song, we can easily do this.  A former minister once told me if I kept dripping little drops on someone eventually they would get wet.  Are you game?

Take Christmas back.  Give it to Jesus.  It is His birthday and so much more we are celebrating.  Spread joy, love, grace, and His light.  Let’s shower drops of Jesus on everyone.

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