Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Tea Party Primer

Tea parties aren't just for little girls. Getting together with other women for some visiting is beneficial. I'll go a step more and say it is necessary. We need time together to learn from each other, to encourage each other and plug into another human being's life. This is so important especially for the homeschool mom. I've learned more at a relaxed tea table than in any seminar.

It doesn't have to be is complicated. Sure, you go all out and bake for days, but you can have a more relaxed tea/coffee with store bought items. Here are some things I do to prepare for a tea party on the fly.

I keep a box of Nonni's Biscotti on hand.

I have frozen Community Coffee beans in my freezer for quick grinding. A coffee grinder is an inexpensive luxury (most under $20). There is nothing better than coffee made from fresh ground beans.

I keep a box of nice tea in the pantry. You can get boxes of assorted teas from Celestial Seasonings that I think are quite nice. I recently have tried the Green Tea assortment from Mighty Leaf and enjoyed it.

I absolutely insist on Sugar in the Raw! I keep a box of it in my pantry and pour it into a nice dish. It doesn't have the aftertaste white sugar does. I also keep an assortment of sugar substitutes in my pantry for those that want it. Sometimes I put out sugar cubes because they are pretty.

I serve half and half but most people are happy with a powdered creamer.

I also keep an assortment of pretty paper napkins for the season. I pick up a few packs at the beginning of the season to be ready for an impromptu visit.

Don't forget about temperature. If it is a warmer season, turn down your a/c a few degrees. Playing hostess can turn your internal temperature up a bit so keep yourself comfy.

Turn on some nice music and light a candle. Keep your scented candles away from the table so the smells don't compete with what you are serving.

Always keep a tablecloth on your table and/or a seasonal decoration.

OK, a few of you are just overachievers. For those of you who insist on homemade baked goods, here are some good standbys. I love to make homemade scones. I also make spice cake (recipe is on this blog). Today I made some Snickerdoodles that went over very well. Snickerdoodles are an old fashioned cookie with a yummy cinnamon taste. You can make a double batch of these goodies and freeze half to save for another day. Scones and cookies defrost quickly so you can enjoy them even for last minute parties.

Snickerdoodles

1/2 cup butter softened
1 cup sugar
1/4 tsp. baking soda
1/4 tsp. cream of tartar
1 egg
1/2 tsp. vanilla
1 1/2 c. all-purpose flour
2 Tbl. sugar (I use Sugar In the Raw)
1 tsp. ground cinnamon (I use McCormick Saigon Cinnamon)

Beat butter. Add sugar, baking soda & cream of tartar. Add egg and vanilla. Add the flour. Chill dough about 1 hour.

Combine 2 Tbl. sugar and cinnamon. Shape dough into 1-inch balls. I use a melon baller to measure out the dough. Roll balls in the sugar-cinnamon mixture. Place 2 inches-apart on an ungreased cookie sheet. Bake in 375 oven for 10 minutes or until edges are golden. Transfer to a wire rack and let cool.

Scones

1 cup sour cream
1 tsp. baking soda
4 cups flour
1 cup sugar
2 tsp. baking powder
1/4 tsp. cream of tartar
1 tsp. salt
1 cup butter
1 egg
1 1/2 tsp. vanilla
Sugar in the Raw or Decorating Sugar

Preheat oven to 350.

In a small bowl, blend the sour cream and baking soda. Set aside.

In a large bowl, mix the flour, sugar, baking powder, cream of tartar, and salt. Cut in the butter. Stir in the sour cream mixture, vanilla and egg into the flour mixture until just moistened. It's pretty sticky.

Turn the dough onto a lightly floured surface and knead briefly. Pat into two 6" circles. Sprinkle with Sugar in the Raw. Lightly pat the sugar on the surface. Cut each circle into 8 wedges. Place on a greased baking sheet (or use parchment paper).

Bake 12 to 15 minutes until golden brown.

Enjoy!




Monday, September 29, 2008

Cookin' on the Cookbook

I've been busy putting together our homeschool group cookbook. It is really cool how the participants can go to the Heritage Cookbook website and enter in their own recipe. However, I've found myself doing a lot of proofreading which is time consuming. I'm keeping my focus on the end result which will be wonderful. I'm especially excited that the proceeds will go to the Benevolence Fund at our homeschooling group.

I am also planning a Recipe Tasting Party for the cookbook at my house. We will be asking for an offering at the door to raise additional funds. My sweet homeschooling friend in Arkansas helped me with the wording.

A suggested donation of any amount at the door to directly benefit the Benevolence Fund would be greatly appreciated.

She is such a wordsmith. We don't want anyone to feel that they can't attend because of finances.
Another cool idea that came from a member in our group is that we should take a picture of the ladies that are contributing to the cookbook at the Recipe Tasting Party. Because the cookbook will be printed after our party, we can enter this picture into the cookbook itself.

I'm excited about the whole idea of this Recipe Tasting Party and Cookbook. I hope it is contagious! I need to sell at least 50 books to make a decent profit for the Benevolence Fund. I'm hoping others will see what a nice gift this will be to those in their family.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

My Fall Garden

After the Hurricane, my favorite garden store Nelson Water Garden had a huge sale. All plants were 50% off. They were just putting out some new fall plants, so I snagged some for my garden. My poor garden in the front was looking a little leggy after all the flowers and most of the leaves blew off. I needed to fill it in with some new plants and this gave me the perfect excuse to do so.

I even did some Christmas shopping while I was there. I found a beautiful Passion Flower vine for my mother-in-law. She so admired mine, that I wanted her to have one for her garden. At half price, I couldn't pass it up. I think the flowers on this plant are just amazing. When I look at it, I truly see the hand of God. The passion flower was given its name because its corona resembles the crown of thorns worn by Jesus during the crucifixion.



There were several spiky caterpillars on the plant.







We learned from the staff that they will turn into beautiful gulf fritillary butterflies. In fact, we saw several cocoons on the other plants. So we carefully took our caterpillars home and transferred them to the Passion Flower Plant in my front yard. The staff warned us that they will eat the plant down to the nubbins but it will come back next spring. The caterpillars were happily munching away at last check.


I've always wanted some old logs for my backyard. Our theme is woodsy. Because of the hurricane, there were tons of trees chopped up at the side of the road ready for pickup. We found several nice large logs for our backyard. They will rot and make nice homes for lots of cool bugs. Perfect for curious boys. Recycling at its best!

Take a walk through the rest of my garden...

I love bunnies. Especially in my garden.






















Sunday, September 21, 2008

They're not aggravating - they're missionaries in training...

Our Tapestry of Grace curriculum affords us the opportunity to be exposed to so many amazing books. One of those we are reading right now is the story of William Carey, one of the first pioneers of missionary work and a missionary to India. I love reading how God prepared him for this work since he was a little boy. He gave him certain talents for the purpose of furthering the gospel including a talent for learning languages.

I look at my boys and see their talents and their quirks and I can't help but wonder how they will be used for God. My youngest son talks non-stop and he has a VERY LOUD VOICE. We always joke with him that he will be an evangelist in a remote village in Africa where there is no sound system. My youngest son's bent for talking can be aggravating when I need some quiet time to myself. This book has really reminded me to be patient with my kid's "talents". I only have them for a very short time. I will look back very soon and have an "ah ha" moment when I see their talents fall into place in their lives.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Show and Tell Friday

I am participating in Show and Tell Friday at Kelli's Blog. You can join in the fun too! http://kellishouse.blogspot.com/

I've posted my fall decorating pictures before, but they have been archived, so here they are again...

My fall tablescape:




Of Hobbits and Tooth Fairies


I have a Hobbit living in my house. If you aren't a Lord of the Rings fan, let me explain. It is a small man with huge feet and an even bigger appetite. He gets into mischief from time to time, is sometimes moody and enjoys a good party. Of course, I'm talking about my oldest son. I'm quite sure J. R. R. Tolkien modeled his hobbits after pre-teen boys. My son's growth spurt will come soon and it will all even out.

Today he lost what we think is his last baby tooth. A few months ago he lost three teeth in ONE DAY. I kid with him that he really wanted a Lego Set and was pulling them out for the money. The poor tooth fairy is going broke!
I feel very blessed to witness all these changes in my son. Soon he will be out of the house on his own. I am grasping at the last moments of his childhood and I want to hold on tight. I have so much I want to instill in his life. We tend to focus on having our children behave in public, be clean, have good manners, etc. Of course, these are all vitally important in their lives. But if they don't have a great love for our Lord Jesus, we have failed. Failed is a scary word, especially when it comes to salvation. This should be our focus above all things. I feel very blessed that in homeschooling the boys, I am given extra time to talk about the Lord. I pray I use it wisely.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

The Convoys


Here is what my Aunt Clara sent me via e-mail. She gave me permission to reprint it here. She left Louisiana during Hurricane Ike for an impromptu visit to her sisters in Georgia. This is what she saw on the way back home.


The Convoys

On my way North, I began to see the first convoys. They were military groups moving into the stricken areas that I was heading away from. They would be the first help on the ground after Hurricane Ike. I saw them going South in every State I traveled through: LA, AL, MS, and GA.

Then after the storm, as I headed back home, I began seeing the convoys outside of Montgomery. These folks were moving South-- away from their comfortable homes, this time. The convoys included high and mighty utility trucks; tree cutters with their buckets at the ready; big Salvation Army vans; and Wildlife/Fisheries personnel with their boats in tow and blue lights flashing. They were in groups at the gas stations, in the rest areas, and alongside the roadways. As I got near the I-10 corridor, they were lined up in the right lane steadily making their way to the West, most traveling just a bit slower than the freeway traffic, but certainly on the move. Nearing Baton Rouge there were at least 2 deployments cutting trees and moving debris right along the highway shoulders (deployed only days earlier from Gustav's wake, no doubt).
But the intensity and traffic swelled as we all made our way across the two-lane Atchafalaya Basin bridge. Things began to slow as skies opened to a heavy rain, all in the last hour of the trip. Nearly my last stop after 12 hours of driving (Crowley exit 80) I experienced (for the first time in my memory), bumper to bumper, big city traffic (it felt like Los Angeles). Then, near Rayne, as I looked up ahead to a slight bend in the freeway, as far as the eye could see, maybe a mile or more, a convoy of slow moving vehicles with their little yellow lights blinking through my windshield wipers...all headed for the coastlines of West Louisiana and Texas.

The part that made me cry there on the highway, apart from my weariness and feeling the nearness of home, was that I had kept a list in the car. See, on the back of a used three by five card with my Philippians 4 Scripture verse on it, was my little list of abbreviations. Those condensed letters helped me to keep a record of all the States that were associated with these convoys. As the list grew and grew, I became overwhelmed with emotion. On the truck doors and license plates, I saw the states of Arkansas, North Carolina, Tennessee, Georgia, Kentucky, Oklahoma, and others from really far away impacted me even more----Pennsylvania, Ohio, Wisconsin, and Michigan. I am sure there were many more states represented from the West and North of Texas, and maybe some from these very states. And yes, I know these workers and companies will be paid...but to see the joint effort...oh my, I was truly moved. I'd never seen such a monumental effort on behalf of people in need. People in close proximity to the community where I was raised.

It made me proud to be an American, and happier than ever to be "home" in Crowley.
The END


Love ya'
Auntie Cb

My love/hate relationship with my teamaker


I love my Mr. Coffee teamaker. At the same time I hate it*. It makes amazing iced tea (a staple here in Texas). However whoever designed the blasted thing didn't think it would get much use. The pitcher has a seam right up the spout that cracks easily after several months. I've babied the darned thing and hand wash it and handle it carefully, but it still cracks. I've replaced my pitcher so many times. I have even purchased more than one to save on shipping. It is not the most frugal thing I should do. It is cheaper to just purchase a whole new one than to purchase two new replacement pitchers and have them shipped. I just can't bring myself to throwing away the perfectly good body part. So I keep looking for a new design from the Mr. Coffee people. Maybe most people just purchase a whole new maker when their pitchers crack and so the Mr. Coffee people are high-fiving each other thinking they have a well-made popular item when in reality it is just the same 25 people buying a new one over and over. Hmmmmm Maybe that's their plan all along. Anyway, I'm hooked. I love this thing, but at the same time I can't really recommend it to friends without warning them about the addictive purchasing cycle you will get in if you decide to get one.
*For an exciting update on this Mr. Coffee teamaker click here.
Here are two of my favorite teas at the moment. Mighty Leaf African Nectar is my favorite but a little pricy at $8.00 a box. It only makes 3 - 3 quart pitchers of tea. It also is hard to find. I did find it at my local HEB store. The Celestial Seasonings Country Peach Passion is inexpensive and tastes wonderful.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Look to the Heavens

We just finished Day Three of homeschooling. It has been hard for me to be focused on homeschooling while the city is in turmoil. I've done my best to create an island of peace in our home to preserve my sanity and the sense of well-being for the boys. Right now our food supplies are dwindling. I was able to find a store yesterday that had milk and flour. There is only one store in our town that has everything and everyone is quickly finding out about it. We have several Wal-Mart stores in our little town. One of them is trying to clean up after a fire. The other Wal-Mart has a non-operational freezer section. These two mega stores are of no use. The only operational stores are the small town stores. They had generators and people willing to ride out the storm to turn them on. They won't be able to keep up with the demand of our town for long. Houston is starting to get its power slowly but food shortages also are there.
Our astromony studies in Apologia about the planets brought me a lot of peace. We learned that the planets are in the exact position they need to be in to keep the earth in a smooth orbit around the sun. This is no accident. Each planet was placed in orbit by our loving Creator. The God that did this is surely in control of our situation.
Nehemiah 9:6 Thou, even Thou, art LORD alone; Thou hast made heaven, the heaven of heavens with all their host, the earth and all things that are therein, the seas and all that is therein; and Thou preservest them all; and the host of heaven worshipeth Thee. (emphasis added)
Continue to pray for Houston, Galveston and the surrounding areas.

Monday, September 15, 2008

A Tale of Ike

We are happy to report that we made it through Ike just fine. We continue to pray for our fellow Texans in Houston and Galveston and surrounding areas that have been devastated. I can't even imagine how they are feeling.

For a few days before the hurricane came I had been taking ice out of my icemaker and putting it in ziplock bags and putting it in my deep freezer in the garage. I also put several jugs of water in the deep freeze. The day before I took everything out of my refrigerator freezer inside and put it in the deep freeze. I only left those things that I wanted to defrost in my refrigerator freezer because we were going to eat them. Spaghetti, Soup, pancakes, muffins, cookies. I put two jugs of frozen water in with them. I filled my teakettle with water and one pot on the stove to boil spaghetti noodles. I baked a loaf of bread in my breadmaker. I also made a spice cake. Hey, you gotta have sugar & carbs during a crisis!

I had gone shopping well before the storm for some essentials. However, I told the boys that we needed to get some Hurricane food and brought them to the grocery store. I told them to think of some fun things we could get. They chose cinnamon rolls, Cheese-its and miniature Hershey bars. They really looked forward to having some cinnamon rolls the morning after the Hurricane.

We all slept in the living room Friday night. I found myself gritting my teeth, so I took some L-theanine, turned off the TV and put on the Christian radio station. Where God is, there is no fear. It was very calming. The wind started to pick up in the evening. We tried to sleep, but the wind and the rattling kept me up. The boys drifted off to sleep, but Greg and I stayed awake. At about 2:30 a.m. the noise intensified and we both jumped up and turned on the TV. The electricity would flicker off and on, so we were able to see where Ike was. I also used my cellphone Internet access to look at the radar at other times. It was a windy night, but strangely, very little rain fell. I listened for tornadoes, but I heard none. I finally went to my bedroom and tried to get a few winks. I fell asleep for what seemed only a few minutes, but the noise of the wind and the bushes hitting my window kept me up. We finally lost our electricity about 6:00 a.m. I am so thankful we had electricity through the night. The wind continued to blow all morning and a little rain fell. When daylight came, we checked our house. We had no damage. Our wisteria vine in the back fell down. Also our potted Norfolk Pine fell over and the tree roots that went through the pot into the ground snapped. Our back neighbor had a large tree that fell. It fell exactly in his back yard and didn't hit anyone's house or fence. Amazing!

For lunch, I heated up some of the spaghetti sauce that was defrosting in the freezer. I also cut up some of the Foccacia Bread from the freezer.

We tried to play charades, but it wasn't very successful. We ate Cheese-its while reading one of our library books outloud to pass the time. We are reading "William Carey, Obliged to Go" as part of our Tapestry of Grace Curriculum. It is a wonderful book about a missionary to India. It was a feeling of normalcy to read to the boys outloud for a while. The windows were all open and the air was heavy with humidity from the Hurricane. We were sticky hot and tired from staying up most of the night. Snugglebunny crashed in the bedroom for a nap and I read to the boys.

Later in the afternoon a friend came over to check on us. As we stood in the foyer, commenting about when the electricity would come on, IT DID! Praise God! We had gotten reports of it taking up to 4 weeks to get the electricity back on. We were jumping around and closing all the windows and turning on the a/c. She called to her family who lived a few streets up and told them to do the same. We then walked to a friend's house to check on the damage there. They were out of town and we wanted to give them a report. Only the back fence had come down in one place. Nothing serious. However, there was a report of a tornado touchdown in the neighborhood down the street a bit where our pastor lived. He was fine. I called a few friends around town to check on them. Everyone was fine. As of this writing, everyone we know has their electricity back on and no damage to their homes. Thank you God for your protective covering during this storm.

Continue to pray for this area. Even though the electricity is back on in some parts of town, many are without electricity. Officials are treating the water as if it is contaminated and are asking people to boil before consuming. Our area is on a water well system, so we are OK. However, food is at a premium at the stores. They are trying to restock and I am trying to do without. I so do not look forward to getting out to the stores. Gas is also somewhat hard to find around town.

Losing our electricity for a few hours and facing slim pickins in the grocery store makes me appreciate them more. I also feel the weight of responsibility of God's blessing on our family. I will not squander it on our family alone. We have made our home available to any in need.

Our poor Wisteria vine had to be trimmed back to nothing! It used to be so huge. Now our backyard looks so bare. However, I still have a backyard. So many have lost their entire homes. Enough whining!

Here is what we trimmed off the vine.

Friday, September 12, 2008

The Calm Before the Storm


Well it is very calm here right now at 12:45 in the afternoon. The sky was blue earlier, but now it is starting to cloud up. Our friends in Louisiana have lost electricity in one part of their town. Our coastal towns are already flooding because of the storm surge. Some idiots have even had to be rescued from their rooftops because they didn't get out in time. What part of "mandatory evacuation" didn't they understand. I hope they send these people a bill for the services of the rescue helicopter. I even saw some teens and other people at the edge of the surf. Debris from a broken pier was flying everywhere. They could have been easily hurt or killed. Pure idiocy. Some poor rescuer will have to risk his life to save these imbeciles.
Then we have the other side of the coin. People who are panicking and have fled areas where they have been told to shelter in place. They clog the freeways for those people that really need to leave.
We are trying to be prepared and prayerful here. We would appreciate your prayers as we weather this storm tonight.


Thursday, September 11, 2008

Yes, we are staying

We are staying for Ike. This thing turned too quick for us to react. Our mayor has asked us to shelter in place to allow those in real danger to be able to leave. We experienced catastrophy when the entire city tried to evacuate three years ago. Some even lost their lives. We live in a place in the city that will receive high winds but not much danger of flooding. We have invited friends to stay with us during the worst part of the storm. It just makes it better for everyone to have friends to distract you. Our plan is to leave the city after the storm if it looks like we will be without electricity for an extended period. Pray for those in the path of this storm.

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Stir Fry Chicken Primavera

This is an old standby at our house. Healthy and quick to make.

Stir Fry Chicken Primavera

1 ½ lbs. spaghetti (or pasta of your choice) already cooked and set aside
6 Tbl. olive oil
2-3 whole chicken breasts, deboned and skin removed, cut in 1-inch pieces (you can also use pre-cooked baked chicken take off the bone - see below when to add*)
3 large cloves garlic, crushed and chopped into small pieces (I used a garlic press)
2 medium carrots, peeled and cut into ¼” x 1” strips
½ bag of frozen broccoli tops (or 1 bunch fresh broccoli cut into pieces)
½ carton of mushrooms sliced
½ c. grated Parmesan cheese
1 Tbl. dried basil
Salt & pepper
(optional ingredients depending on your family’s tastes- frozen artichoke hearts, sundried tomatoes, green pepper strips, pimento & black olives)

Heat 6 Tbl. of olive oil over moderately high heat and cook the chicken pieces until they are lightly browned.

Lower the heat slightly. Add the garlic and cook until light brown. Throw in the carrots & broccoli (and green pepper and artichoke hearts if you are using them). No need to defrost the vegetables, just toss them in. Stir until tender. DO NOT overcook. (*PS - if you want to be extra quick here, you can just use precooked baked chicken and add it now)

Add the spaghetti noodles, mushrooms and any other ingredients you want. Add the basil and salt and pepper. Add the Parmesan cheese. Mix up quickly and turn off heat. Enjoy!

Monday, September 8, 2008

Cooking Cheap like a Cajun

Cajun people were not rich. They made do with very little and did very well. Some of the most delicious dishes you can eat are Cajun dishes. And as an added bonus, they are also the most economical. You can feed several families on one chicken with Gumbo or Chicken Corn Soup. Beans and Rice are also a staple of good Cajun cooking. I can feed large crowds cheaply with Red Beans & Rice and cornbread.
Yesterday I made a Chicken Corn Soup for a friend that was recovering from a stomach ailment. It fed our family and her family and we had leftovers here and I'm quite sure they had leftovers there. I thought I would post the recipe here.

Chicken Corn Soup
½ chicken skinned & cut up in pieces
1 yellow onion chopped up
1 clove of garlic finely minced
Frozen corn (1-2 c.)
1 - 6 oz can tomato paste
Chopped carrots (1-2 c.)
Chopped potatoes (2 c.)
2 Tbl. of vegetable oil
1 bay leaf
salt, black & cayenne pepper to taste
4 c. Chicken Broth (you can use water if you don’t have it)
Put oil in a heavy pan and use a medium flame. Once oil is hot, put the chicken pieces in until they turn golden brown and flip them over to brown the other side. The browner the better. This is the secret to a fragrant and delicious broth. After they are browned, put in the yellow onions and garlic. Cook until the yellow onions have turned clear. Add in the rest of the ingredients. Simmer for at least 1 hour. I take the chicken meat off of the bones after it has cooked to stretch the meat. You can also serve over rice to stretch further.
Once you make this soup, you will make it over and over again.

Gluten/Dairy Free Option:
Be sure your chicken broth is gluten free. You can use CENTRAL MARKET ORGANICS FREE RANGE CHICKEN BROTH from HEB.

Preparing for yet another unwelcome visitor...


Here we are again preparing for yet another unwelcome visitor. No, not my husband's old girlfriend... I mean Hurricane Ike. We are keeping our eye on the Gulf and a prayer on our lips. We don't yet know where it will strike. We have again opened our home to family and friends although we may be the ones on the road headed toward them. Our current plan is to stay. But a Category 5 or strong 4 could definitely cause us to rethink our plans. We are way out of the flood zone, but wind is our enemy. Our house is sturdy, but most houses are rated for 75 mph wind not the 100+ that a larger Hurricane could bring. Last time we evacuated for Hurricane Rita, the old girl followed us to Louisiana causing us to run further east to Baton Rouge. Not a pleasant time. At any rate, I'm preparing for company and baking cookies and other comfort foods. I hope our family and friends don't feel that they have worn out their welcome, because they haven't in the least bit. In fact, we very much enjoyed having everyone over.

Friday, September 5, 2008

The Good Shepherd?

There is a story going around the Christian community. It gives me the shivers. I even heard it repeated on the local Christian radio station. It is a story about a shepherd that broke the legs of his lamb in order to keep the sheep from straying away.
I found this version on the Internet:

"I guess you've heard the story of the shepherd that broke his sheep's leg one time. Many little stories has been told about it. And was asked this shepherd, "Did the sheep fall off of a mountain and do this?"He said, "No."Said, "What happened?"He said, "I broke its leg."Said, "Why did you break its leg? Are you a cruel shepherd?"He said, "No, I love the sheep. But the sheep got to running away from me. And he kept straying out to itself. And I know the nature of sheep. And I know if they stray too far away, the wolf will get them. So I had to break the sheep's leg to keep it with me, to draw it to my bosom, to give it a little special food. And I'll be so kind to it, that when its leg gets well, it'll never leave me any more."

This does NOT come from the Bible. As far as I can tell, it comes from a sermon delivered by Brother William Marrion Branham called 'The Good Shepherd Of The Sheep', delivered on March 8, 1957.

Why does this awful story perpetuate? It is not biblically based. I can't find anything in scripture that would even hint that this is in God's nature.

Here ARE some scriptures from the Bible:

...and the sheep hear his voice, and he calleth his sheep by name, and leadeth them out. John 10:3

So God leads us out, he doesn't break our leg.

Here is admonition from the Lord to the leaders of Israel:

The diseased have ye not strengthened, neither have ye healed that which was sick, neither have ye bound up that which was broken, neither have ye brought again that which was driven away, neither have ye sought that which was lost; but with force and with cruelty have ye ruled them (Ezekiel 34:4)
He shall feed his flock like a shepherd; he shall gather the lambs with his arm, and carry them in his bosom, and shall gently lead those that are with young. (Isaiah 40:11)

It shows God's nature. He doesn't want people to be ruled with force or cruelty.

And probably the best example of God's nature straight from Jesus himself:

And he spake this parable unto them, saying, What man of you, having an hundred sheep, if he lose one of them, doth not leave the ninety and nine in the wilderness, and go after that which is lost, until he find it? And when he hath found it, he layeth it on his shoulders, rejoicing. And when he cometh home, he calleth together his friends and neighbours, saying unto them, Rejoice with me; for I have found my sheep which was lost. I say unto you, that likewise joy shall be in heaven over one sinner that repenteth, more than over ninety and nine just persons, which need no repentance (Luke 15:3-7).

Uh... no where in this story does it say that God broke the legs of the sheep that strayed.

God doesn't put bad things on us to teach us a lesson. Bad things happen because we live in a fallen world. They are a result of either an attack of the enemy or because of sin in our life. We wouldn't go out driving drunk and injure someone and say that God did this to us. No! It was a result of our own sin. We can ask for God's forgiveness and his help in these situations but we must be prepared to face the consequences of our choice.
God has been merciful to me in my life. I have made really tragic choices and gotten out of God's will for my life. I had to ask for God's forgiveness. I had to repent and turn my back on sin. The consequences could have been devastating. God has helped me to bear those consequences that I did experience.

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Are you willing to call their bluff?

I'm waking up this morning to a quiet house. The last of our guests left this morning at 4:00 a.m. At last check, they were almost home with very light traffic on the roads. We are very thankful to everyone for their prayers. Our guests had favor on the roads. Their drive times were amazingly short compared to what we heard from other friends. They were all relaxed and said this was like an impromptu vacation for them. We kept the TV news off most of the time and only checked in briefly to see what was happening. We made fun of the TV station's fear monger type coverage when we did watch it. So it kept it light for everyone. I learned how to play poker from my nephew. I was ahead for a while, but my 17 year old nephew, wearing his 80's Ray-Ban knockoffs in true poker style, bluffed his way to victory. We left the house as often as we could and went shopping. Some of our guests took a family foray to the local mall. We cooked huge pots of spaghetti and gumbo and enjoyed each other's company. All in all, we believe we were successful in keeping everyone calm and entertained.

You wouldn't have know from the activity in our little town that there was a Hurricane in our neighboring state. Everyone one was working, shopping, eating out and going about their business. The sky was blue and we didn't get a drop of rain. How often do we do this in our own lives? Do we have neighbors that have a Hurricane in their lives and we don't even know it? Are we so busy and stuck in our routine that we don't pick up on the little signals someone is giving us that they are in trouble? Can we peer past their "Ray Bans" and tell if their "I'm fine" is a bluff? I am reminded of the words of Gal. 6:2, 10

Bear one another's burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ.

Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all, especially to those who are of the household of faith.

My prayer is that I will become more sensitive to the signals others around me are giving and to do something about it. I want to have the courage to roll up my sleeves and get dirty in other people's lives even when I'm busy. I will strive to pop my little "busy bubble" and be present when someone needs an ear.

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