Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Morning Dovotions for a good day!

"I wait quietly before God, for my salvation comes from him.  He alone is my rock and my salvation, my fortress where I will never be shaken."  Psalm 62:1-2

Good Morning!

What a beautiful summer day!  I hope this post finds you all enjoying these warm, sunshiny days.  I miss meeting together with you and though I want the remainder of the summer to go as slowly as possible, I do look forward to seeing you again regularly in September with our next book, "The Girl's Still Got It" by Liz Curtis Higgs.

In the meantime....

We have talked about how important it is to stay in The Word daily.  Giving part of each day to spending quiet time with God to renew and strengthen us for the day ahead; to secure His teachings in our hearts; to be spiritually fed every day so that we can become the woman God designed each of us to be.  Proverbs 31 Ministries  is a strong believer in this; several of their leaders have studies and/or groups that encourage starting the day with devotion.  This summer we have been following one of those groups' formats, "Good Morning Girls".  How have you been doing? 
Me - not so great :(  

I'm good with my evening prayer.  You know, the one at bedtime that I sometimes drift off to sleep in the middle of!  I guess it comes from my childhood and teaching my own children to pray before falling off to sleep.  
My mornings are for coffee & breakfast, vitamins & dog medicine, forcing kids out of bed and making them breakfast, throwing in a load of laundry, and figuring out what I'm doing for the rest of the day!  Mornings are a time of action, not meditation. 
However, when I talk to people who spend a few minutes every morning of quiet meditation and prayer, even at the expense of sleep, they possess an attitude of positive energy I admire.  So I have been working on it; some days are better than others.  I'm okay with the fact that it's a work in progress.  I cannot change decades of ingrained habits in a matter of a few weeks.  I continue to do my best to start the day by giving my first thoughts to God and asking that he be with me throughout the day.  I hope you will continue to do this, too.

Did you know there's an app for that?!  Yes, Proverbs 31 Ministries has developed an app to help you spend the first 5 minutes of your day in The Word!  If you are technology inclined or not, it's a great, simple app that makes it just as easy to read Scripture in the morning as it is to check your e-mail! 
Click here to read more about the free app and a devotion from P31!  It's worth the click!!

Perhaps you already have a morning devotion you enjoy, but if you don't and have been looking for something to help, check out the free app, First 5.   I have been using it for a few days and I like it.  There are a few things I would like to be improved, but overall this app has me reading Scripture before my feet touch the ground in the morning!

I know the blog posts have been few & far between the last few weeks and I can't promise they'll be any better in the next few (camping trip coming up all next week), but I will post a few things before the end of summer!  Honestly, I don't know how bloggers do it every day - they must not sleep or have someone else take care of their daily "life things" like cooking, cleaning, laundry, etc.  I love posting, but lately life is just a little scattered. You know what I'm talking about :)

I'd love to hear how your summer is going.  How have you been staying in the Word, your struggles & victories with daily devotion.  Insights & questions  you've been pondering.  Adventures far & near.   

Have a fabulous day!  I miss you!

Your Partner in Ministry,


"Kind words are like honey - sweet to the soul and healthy for the body."  Proverbs 16:24

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Tasty Tuesday

"Mmmmm!  Smell this!  Oooo, this smells so good!  Ahhhh!"  ~Shelly Housel, moving from plant to plant in her herb garden

Is it okay to quote myself?  I'm sure there's lots of thought provoking, herb-related quotes in the world, but this captures an herb's best quality - how it effects people.  When I walk through an herb garden, I can't help but touch the plants and take deep breathes.  If you came with me on my meanderings, you may laugh at my habit of gently pulling on the plant leaves and then smelling my hands.  It looks funny, but it is intoxicating!

Right now, my garden consists of herbs in small pots on my porch.  The soil in my backyard is mostly rock, so I find it difficult to dig a real garden, even though herbs usually do well in various kinds of terrain.  Herbs do equally well in containers and for things like mint & catnip, it's recommended because they can totally take over a garden!  The draw back to herb container gardening is that they do require regular watering: not my strong suit.  Thank goodness herbs are fairly hardy and can withstand my occasional neglect.  This year my husband has made that task much easier by installing one of those pocket hoses.  I love that thing!  One of my most dreaded chores is to move a heavy, unwieldy hose, whether it's the central vac (which I no long use, in part because of the hose) or the garden hose, I work up quite a sweat trying to get the thing uncoiled and recoiled.  Seriously, you'd think I was wrestling a boa constrictor if you saw me!  I LOVE the pocket hose and so do my plants!

This year I planted 2 mint varieties, oregano, basil, parsley, cilantro, lemon balm, lemon grass, catnip, citronella, and lavender.  Is there anything better than making dinner and running to the back porch to finish it off with fresh cut herbs from the garden?  My tomatoes are almost ready for harvesting and I can't wait to eat a Caprese salad with my homegrown tomatoes & fresh basil leaves!  Mmmm, that will be a little slice of heaven!

My project, however, is cultivating a larger lavender garden!  I was inspired by my trip to San Francisco.  They planted herbs everywhere, especially lavender!  And before you say, "it's Tasty Tuesday, this is suppose to be about food", let me tell you, you can eat lavender.  I'm sure most of you knew that already, but there are probably some of you picturing a slice of cake that tastes like soap from Crabtree & Evelyn. Trust me, lavender is edible!  I had a scrumptious lavender French macaron (French spelling) from Miette's in The Ferry Building.  The trick is to use the right kind of lavender and not too much of it!  The flowers are beautiful sprinkled on top of cakes & cupcakes.  It can be used in hot and iced teas, too!  I've even seen the herb & the flower candied.  The possibilities are endless.  And if it's still not your taste, it has tons of other personal and household uses, not to mention it's a bug deterrent in the garden!

Here's a close up of my current, medium sized pot of lavender.  I have made several cuttings that will root on the window sill over the next few weeks.  The plan is to then pot them, nurture them over the winter, and plant them in the front garden in the spring!

Do you have an herb garden?  I'd love to hear about what's planted in it.  Even if you haven't had great success, maybe we could give you some helpful tips.  What favorite herbs to you use regularly use in your cooking?  Would you be willing to try a lavender flavored macaron?

I look forward to hearing all about your fragrant and useful herb gardens!!  I can smell their tasty goodness already!

Don't forget, go to the blog to make your comments!

Thank you for reading & commenting - your engagement feeds my soul and connects our community!

Your Partner in Ministry,


"Kind words are like honey - sweet to the soul and healthy for the body."  Proverbs 16:24

Tuesday, July 7, 2015

Tasty Tuesday

"He was a bold man that first ate an oyster."  Jonathan Swift

Did you ever wonder who decided to first eat an oyster, or clam or fish, or many things for that matter?!  I mean, who picks up a rock-looking thing, pries it open, sees a slimy glob and says, "Yum!  Let's eat!"    Okay, maybe it was out of desperation or perhaps they saw an otter eating one.  But, raspberries on a thorny bush look far more appetizing than a rubbery blob inside a seashell.

When it comes to food I am not bold.  I do not eat oysters, raw or cooked!  I just can't.  There are, in fact, many foods I just can't seem to stomach, for various reasons: smell, texture, taste, and how it makes me feel.  I know, within minutes, if something I ate will make me sick.  My body reacts very quickly to things it doesn't like!  Over the years I have learned to notice this with my nose before actually eating it, to avoid complications later.  I don't consider myself a picky eater, but I have to admit to having a more delicate constitution.  That does not stop me, however, from trying new dishes or eating local favorites.  While on a tropical island I always eat seafood, I just opt for dishes prepared without mushrooms, green pepper and loads of garlic (all things that make me ill).  When in Colorado I ate like a cowboy, though I didn't go for the Bison unmentionables when a plate was ordered to share at the table!

When it comes to traveling, I envy people who eagerly tuck into the local fare without any hesitation.  To be able to experience a place or a culture through it's favorite foods is one of the best ways to imerse yourself!  In a few days my son will board a plane to France to visit, explore, experience and taste the history and culture of that country.  I have always been careful to expose and encourage my children to try new things, including food.  They eat things I don't, can handle far spicier foods, and will try most things.  Although my son likes to separate his food (think divided plate) and eat one thing at a time, I hope his time in France will include savoring that country's delicious gastronomic offerings.  I have no doubt he will devour crepes and croissants (family favorites), but hopefully he'll get to also enjoy a few authentic French meals.

I will be off on an adventure, too this summer!  My husband and I will be spending a few days in San Francisco to celebrate a milestone birthday!  Having perused the tour book and the Internet, I think I'll have a more difficult time with the food in SanFran, than my son will in France!  I can't pronounce the names of many of the restaurants on the list of "Top 100 Place to Eat", which can't be good, with food I've never heard of and some I have and know I can't eat!  But, this will not deter me.  I have no doubt we will find scrumptious food and fabulous dining.  There seems to be hundreds of restaurants in and around the city; it's really quite overwhelming.  I don't need anything fancy or touristy or especially elegant (though one fancy dinner might be nice).  I prefer to move and pick when I'm traveling: a taste of this and a taste of that, leaving room to sample a wide variety of food, while not be committed to any one thing.  I enjoy bringing home from my travels a new recipe, whether inspired by the place I'm visiting or an actual recipe.  I can't wait to see what inspiration San Francisco holds for our family's dinner table!

When you travel, how do eat?  Do you look for the closest American restaurants abroad?  Do you stick to what you know (in other parts of this continent)?  Do you ask where the locals eat?  Do you dig in to dishes you have no idea what they are but have been assured they are authentic and delicious?  Do you eat simple or indulge in fancy meals?

On a more personal note: if you've been to San Francisco, where should we eat?  In such a foodie city, the possibilities are endless and we'd love personal, first-hand-experience recommendations!

I hope this summer holds some food adventures for you.  Even if you can't travel, you can "visit" a place through authentic meals.  Maybe you can try a new local restaurant specializing in another country's food.  Perhaps a "world food" day once a week, where you prepare authentic foreign dishes for your family.  

When you can't get out and explore the world, bring the world to your kitchen!!

Your Partner in Ministry,


"Kind words are like honey - sweet to the soul and healthy for the body."  Proverbs 16:24

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

ReAwakenings 1 Peter 3

"Finally, all of you should be of one mind, full of sympathy toward each other, loving one another with tender hearts and humble minds.  Don't repay evil for evil.  Don't retaliate when people say unkind things about you.  Instead, pay them back with a blessing.  That is what God wants you to do, and he will bless you for it."  1 Peter 3: 8-9.

Oh what a glorious place this would be if we all followed Peter's advice (above)!  Read it again.  Let it sink in.

Welcome!  I am so glad you are here.  I hope you are staying with the reading plan and are reading, pondering, and S.O.A.K.-ing your week in the Word of God.  As a group, we are up to 1 Peter 3, but if  you need to catch-up, that's okay.  Grab a few quite moments to spend with your Lord today, before the festivities of the holiday weekend kick off!

There's a ton of good stuff in 1 Peter 3!   However, the first seven verses are a bit of a 'pill' for me - hard to swallow!  I get it and the notes in my study Bible explain these verses in such a way that help me to process the notion of "submission" and "weaker sex".  But it's still "nails-on-a-chalkboard" for me to read those words.  I think it's because they have often been used to the detriment of women; to justify men's 'superiority' over women and to keep women from being equals to men in all aspects of life.  There is Scripture and examples of women throughout the Old and New Testaments that speak to the equality and strength of women.  When I read the first 7 verses, I did it with gritted teeth and tried to silence the screaming feminist in my head :)  If you don't have a Study Bible that can better explain what Peter is trying to say, let me know in the comments.  I'll be happy to share the notes I have, but I really want to talk about verses 8 & 9!

With all the latest social unrest, wouldn't it be so wonderful if these verses could become the new mantra for America!  It seems lately there is so much stirring of the pot of hatred that it's hard to see a bright future.  The sad part is that much of the stirring is done by religious leaders and 'Christians' quoting the Bible.   Why can't they quote this!?  WHY CAN'T THEY QUOTE THIS!!!

I'm a bit of a romantic mixed with a realist, so I accept that
1) there is evil in the world
2) we all have bad days
3) we're not perfect.

Even the best intentioned person is going to say something against someone at some point; they will lose their temper, be in a bad mood or just totally lose it on some one!  It's what happens after that, that makes all the difference.  How do we respond, whether we are the one being negative or the recipient? If we could pause and bring to mind Peter's words to "... pay them back with a blessing." perhaps the Evening News would be filled with stories of hope & healing rather than bitterness, accusations, and strife.

Evil, circulating in society as discrimination, superiority, entitlement, vengeance, payback, retaliation, human justice, and all manner of negativity, fan the flames of hatred.  God calls us to smother that fire with the cooling waters of Love, Grace, and Blessings.

When you have the opportunity to teach the next generation and influence your peers and children of all ages, teach them this: "Finally, all of you should be of one mind, full of sympathy toward each other, loving one another with tender hearts and humble minds.  Don't repay evil for evil.  Don't retaliate when people say unkind things about you.  Instead, pay them back with a blessing.  That is what God wants you to do, and he will bless you for it."  1 Peter 3: 8-9.  If the world could embrace this - what a wonderful place it would be!

I'd love to read what this week's Scripture means to you.  Leave a few thoughts in the Comments.    

Be a blessing in the world today!

Your Partner in Ministry,


"Kind words are like honey - sweet to the soul and healthy for the body."  Proverbs 16:24