Graze: To feed on growing grasses.

The LORD is my shepherd, I shall not be in want. He makes me lie down in green pastures, he leads me beside quiet waters, he restores my soul.

-Ps. 23:1-6

Growing up on a farm, I used to watch the cows, sheep & horses graze in the pasture. Each morning we would open the gate to the barnyard and they knew there was freedom from that small pen they were in. They also knew there was nice green grass beyond the barnyard. Once the gate was open, look out because those animals wanted to get where the tall, green grass grew – the pasture! They would take off sometimes even running up the old fenced lane that went up over the hill through the cornfield to the lush green pasture on the other side of the farm. There they would graze for a while then lay down and rest for a while then graze some more. They did this all day long. Come evening we would go over to the pasture’s edge and call the cows – 'come boss, 'come boss. They would gather at the pasture gate. Sometimes we would have to go round up a few stragglers and when all were accounted for, we’d open the lane gate and back over the hill they would go to the barnyard for the night. The next morning was the same routine, day after day.
What a life, huh?!

Oh that we could just graze and rest in shady green pastures all day long! But we can rest and graze in God’s green pastures and restore our souls . . . The LORD is my shepherd, I shall not be in want. He makes me lie down in green pastures, he leads me beside quiet waters, he restores my soul. (Ps. 23:1) I believe God wants us to slow down and “rest” and “graze” and “feed” on His Word. Life throws so many things our way and we are so busy – busy doing good things. But are we running on empty a good share of the time? Are we feeling stretched to extreme? Are we content with who we are in God’s divine providence? Slow down and take some time to just leisurely graze, rest a while, then graze and feed on the good things God has provided for you. Graze, rest, and enjoy the “shady green pastures” of God’s abundant love, grace, and mercy.

Friday, June 30, 2017

He will Cover You with His Feathers!

Psalm 91:4 - "He will cover you with his feathers. He will shelter you with his wings. His faithful promises are your armor and protection".

This picture captures it all, doesn't it?   Here - a mother bird - but in life among the living - our hope is in God who "covers" us with his feathers!  His feathers of protection, love, care, togetherness, shelter, companionship, trust, hope, nurture, need, mercy, meaning etc. God can and will be our "all" in "all" if we put our trust and faith in His promises. Promises to lead and direct our daily routines . . . every day; to protect and care for our every need . . . every day; to cover us with His feathers - his blessings, his grace, his mercy as we trust "Him" to provide out of the abundance of His ultimate love. 

Saturday, November 28, 2015

Advice from an Old Farmer

Shared photo by Ty Brown
The following is a bit of advice that would do us all good to read and take to heart.  Some's a bit humorous, some's just common sense - but all is worth taking time to read it for what it's worth!!

Your fences need to be horse-high, pig-tight and bull-strong.
Keep skunks and bankers at a distance.
Life is simpler when you plow around
the stump.
A bumble bee is considerably faster than a John Deere
Words that soak into your ears are whispered… not yelled.
Meanness don’t jes’ happen overnight.
Forgive your enemies; it messes up their heads.
Do not corner something that you know is meaner than you.
It don’t take a very big person to carry a grudge.
You cannot unsay a cruel word.
Every path has a few puddles.
When you wallow with pigs, expect to get dirty.
The best sermons are lived, not preached.
Most of the stuff people worry about ain’t never gonna
     happen anyway.
Don’t judge folks by their relatives.
Remember that silence is sometimes the best answer.
Live a good, honorable life… Then when you get older and
     think back, you’ll enjoy it a second time.
Don ‘t interfere with somethin’ that ain’t bothering you
Timing has a lot to do with the outcome of a Rain dance.
If you find yourself in a hole, the first thing to do is stop
Sometimes you get, and sometimes you get got.
The biggest troublemaker you’ll probably ever have to deal
     with, watches you from the mirror every mornin’.
Always drink upstream from the herd.
Good judgment comes from experience, and a lotta that
     comes from bad judgment.
Lettin’ the cat outta the bag is a whole lot easier than puttin’
     it back in.
If you get to thinkin’ you’re a person of some influence, try
     orderin’ somebody else’s dog around.
Live simply. Love generously. Care deeply. Speak kindly. Leave the rest to God.
Don’t pick a fight with an old man. If he is too old to fight,
     he’ll just kill you.
Most times, it just gets down to common sense.

Thursday, November 5, 2015

"Don't Let Me Miss The Glory" Gordon Mote

I just recently ran across this song and fell in love with it. I guess it is because I can relate to it so well. 

April 29, 2013

In light of discovering I had two brain tumors last December, I am realizing every week that I have "missed" a lot of things this last year and half! Things in my own life, my families lives and life in general. This realization comes to me as I talk with my family and friends.  They will mention things that I have no recollection of hearing or being a part of or if it sounds somewhat familiar - it is sometimes very vague and distant to me.  The kids will say, "mom, you probably don't remember this but ..." and they then begin to expound on the event, person, place, things involved in that particular situation.  It is so mind-boggling to come to this realization that for the past year and half, I have actually "missed" out on so many things and I didn't even realize it. It would appear that the two brain tumors were actually squeezing the "living-life" right out of me or I should say "right out of my thoughts and brain"! Each of the two tumors was the size of a tangerine.  When I think about two tangerines inside my brain cavity pressing and compressing my brain - I guess it is no wonder that some things were squeezed out of my memory and I "missed" out on a few things! 

As I listen to this song, "Don't Let Me Miss the Glory", I'm reminded of the day-to-day "glory" that God gives us. The blessings both big and small for us to enjoy and make our days "joy-filled" and "God-focused".  Are you looking at life through the eyes of God?  Are you seeing the grandeur of His design or are you "missing the glory"?  To look through His eyes is to see the glory of God's ultimate creation!

Lord, I pray that you would open our eyes so that we do not go through life "missing" the blessings of life, the real purpose of life, the ultimate gift of life through the sacrifice of Jesus Christ on the cross. I would like to challenge you to look at each segment of life whether it is a sunrise, a bird singing, a baby crying, a hurting heart, a brain tumor, or a tragic encounter as a part of the "glory" God sends our way ... the good, the bad, the heartfelt, the tenderness ... all in the many forms of His ultimate blessings and glory. The whole earth is vibrant with every aspect of God's creation. It is alive with His blessings and most of all His presence.  "You will seek me and find me, when you seek me with all your heart ."  (Jeremiah 29:13 - ESV) Seek Him and His Glory . . . . He is right there with you in the cool of the day, when the rooster crows, when your hope may be faltering - look to Him - "Don't Miss His Glory" wherever He takes you and in whatever your situation is. Take hold of His glory and "don't miss it!"  

My hope and prayer is that you and I experience every part of His creation and that we "Don't Miss The Glory . . . any of His Glory"!  But that we experience God's glory to the fullest extent that God Himself intended for each of us.

"Don't let me miss the Glory - Don't let me miss the Grace - Don't let me miss the wonder - Don't let me miss the grand design! Lord open up my eyes - Don't let me miss the Glory!"

Friday, October 16, 2015

Apple Butter Ginger Snap Cookies


1/2 cup butter, softened
3/4 cup sugar, divided
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
1/3 cup molasses
1 egg
2 1/4 cups flour
2 1/2 t ground ginger
1/2 t cinnamon
1 t baking soda
1 t salt
1 cup apple butter
Simple icing (optional):
1 1/4 cup powdered sugar
2 T milk

1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Line two large baking sheets with silicone baking mats or parchment paper.
2. In a large bowl or stand mixer, cream butter, 1/2 cup sugar, and brown sugar until light and fluffy. Add molasses and egg; beat until smooth.
3. In a medium bowl, combine flour, spices, baking soda, and salt. Add flour mixture to butter mixture and stir until soft dough forms.
4. Form dough into 1 T balls, roll in remaining 1/4 cup sugar to coat, and arrange cookies 2” apart on prepared baking sheets.
5. Using the back of a round measuring teaspoon, create a depression for the apple butter (Tip: If you hold the sides of the cookies with gentle pressure as you create the thumbprint, it reduces the size and number of the cracks).
6. Evenly divide apple butter between cookies and bake for 14 minutes, switching baking sheets between racks halfway through. Transfer to a cooling rack and cool completely.
7. Make optional icing: Combine powdered sugar and milk in a small bowl and mix until smooth. Transfer to a squeeze bottle. Drizzle over cookies and let dry completely.

Saturday, October 3, 2015

The Professional Prayer Answerer!

Image result for car key lock in car clipart
Here's a little story that reminds us of the power of prayer!!

She hurried to the pharmacy to get medication, got back to her car and found that she had locked her keys inside.

The woman found an old rusty coat hanger left on the ground. She looked at it and said, "I don't know how to use this."

She bowed her head and asked God to send her some HELP.  Within 5 minutes a beat-up old motorcycle pulled up, driven by a gruff bearded man who was wearing an old biker skull rag. He got off of his cycle and asked if he could help.

She said: "Yes, my daughter is sick.  I’ve locked my keys in my car.  I must get home. Please, can you use this hanger to unlock my car?"

He said, "Sure."  He walked over to the car, and in less than a minute the car was open.

She hugged the man and through tears said, "Thank You God for sending me such a very nice man."

The man heard her little prayer and replied, "Lady, I am NOT a nice man. I just got out of PRISON yesterday; I was in prison for car theft."

The woman hugged the man again sobbing, "Oh, thank you, God! You even sent me a Professional!"
        Is GOD great or what?

Matthew 6:8 says, ". . . your Father knows what you need before you ask Him".  

Isn't it awesome - God KNOWS our needs before we even ASK!!!   It continues to amaze me that God not only "knows" - He "knows" what is "best", what is "available", even "how" things will come to pass - God knows our needs and He knows how He is going to answer our prayers in advance of our human utterances.  And the best part . . . just as the lady in the story said, "God even sent a 'professional' to answer her pray"!!!  You can't beat that, can you?! 

Take a few minutes and stop to reflect on the answers to some of your prayers.  It's easy to set those answers aside and as the days, weeks, and months go by we sometimes put them out-of-sight / out-of-mind!  But let's stake stock and "remember" how blessed we really are - both in the little answers and, of course, in the big answers to our prayers.

P.S.  Don't forget to thank God when he answers our prayers!!  

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

No Bake Praline Cookies

  • 2.5 cups sugar
  • ½ cup milk
  • ½ cup corn syrup
  • 1 stick of salted butter
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2.5 cups chopped pecans
  • 2 cups sweetened shredded coconut
  1. In a bowl, combine coconut and pecans; set aside.
  2. In a medium saucepan over medium-high heat, combine the sugar, milk, corn syrup, & butter. Heat while stirring until the mixture comes to a full rolling boil. Let it boil while stirring for 3 minutes.
  3. Remove the pot from heat & stir in the vanilla extract along with the coconut/pecan mixture. Stir the mixture well to combine after you remove it from the heat.
  4. Drop by large spoonfuls on wax paper or nonstick aluminum foil. Allow to cool so that the cookies harden completely.
  5. Serves: about 2 dozen cookies

Friday, July 3, 2015

Diamond Rio: In God We Still Trust

"Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding". – Proverbs 3:5

Have you ever been at a place in your life where you thought you understood what was going on around you? You knew where you were going, what was up ahead, what was around the corner . . . you just knew what was up . . . and you "understood completely"! 

Then right under that umbrella of understanding you slipped and slid totally out of control not knowing or understanding where you were headed at that moment in time.  What do you do in times like this?  Do you try to handle the situation on your own?  Do you retreat into your own little world and separate yourself from all that is out there in this world that you fear will hurt you?  Or do you "Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not on your OWN understanding"? Proverbs 3:5 

God has us in His best interest . . . He knows the plans He has for us . . . His Word tells us this much.  He said it and we can believe it.  We don't have to lean on our own understanding we can trust in the Lord with all of our heart.

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Red Marbles Story by Devonay Potter

  Red Marbles! . . .

I was at the corner grocery store buying some early potatoes. I noticed a small boy, delicate of bone an
d feature, ragged but clean, hungrily appraising a basket of freshly picked green peas.
I paid for my potatoes but was also drawn to the display of fresh green peas. I am a pushover for creamed peas and new potatoes.
Pondering the peas, I couldn't help overhearing the conversation between Mr.. Miller (the store owner) and the ragged boy next to me.
'Hello Barry, how are you today?'
'H'lo, Mr. Miller. Fine, thank ya. Jus' admirin' them peas. They sure look good..'
'They are good, Barry.. How's your Ma?'
'Fine. Gittin' stronger alla' time.'
'Good. Anything I can help you with?'
'No, Sir.
Jus' admirin' them peas.'
'Would you like to take some home?' asked Mr. Miller.
'No, Sir. Got nuthin' to pay for 'em with.'
'Well, what have you to trade me for some of those peas?'
'All I got's my prize marble here.'
'Is that right? Let me see it' said Miller.
'Here 'tis. She's a dandy.'
'I can see that. Hmm mmm, only thing is this one is blue and I sort of go for red. Do you have a red one like this at home?' the store owner asked..
'Not zackley but almost.'
'Tell you what. Take this sack of peas home with you and next trip this way let me look at that red marble'. Mr. Miller told the boy.
'Sure will. Thanks Mr. Miller.'
Mrs... Miller, who had been standing nearby, came over to help me.
With a smile she said, 'There are two other boys like him in our community, all three are in very poor circumstances.. Jim just loves to bargain with them for peas, apples, tomatoes, or whatever..
When they come back with their red marbles, and they always do, he decides he doesn't like red after all and he sends them home with a bag of produce for a green marble or an orange one, when they come on their next trip to the store.'
I left the store smiling to myself, impressed with this man. A short time later I moved to Colorado , but I never forgot the story of this man, the boys, and their bartering for marbles.
Several years went by, each more rapid than the previous one. Just recently I had occasion to visit some old friends in that Idaho community and while I was there learned that Mr. Miller had died. They were having his visitation that evening and knowing my friends wanted to go, I agreed to accompany them. Upon arrival at the mortuary we fell into line to meet the relatives of the deceased and to offer whatever words of comfort we could.
Ahead of us in line were three young men. One was in an army uniform and the other two wore nice haircuts, dark suits and white shirts...all very professional looking. They approached Mrs. Miller, standing composed and smiling by her husband's casket.
Each of the young men hugged her, kissed her on the cheek, spoke briefly with her and moved on to the casket. Her misty light blue eyes followed them as, one by one, each young man stopped briefly and placed his own warm hand over the cold pale hand in the casket. Each left the mortuary awkwardly, wiping his eyes...
Our turn came to meet Mrs. Miller. I told her who I was and reminded her of the story from those many years ago and what she had told me about her husband's bartering for marbles. With her eyes glistening, she took my hand and led me to the casket.
'Those three young men who just left were the boys I told you about.
They just told me how they appreciated the things Jim 'traded' them. Now, at last, when Jim could not change his mind about color or size.....they came to pay their debt.'
'We've never had a great deal of the wealth of this world,' she confided, 'but right now, Jim would consider himself the richest man in Idaho ..'
With loving gentleness she lifted the lifeless fingers of her deceased husband. Resting underneath were three exquisitely shined red marbles.
The Moral :
We will not be remembered by our words, but by our kind deeds. Life is not measured by the breaths we take, but by the moments that take our breath.
Today I wish you a day of ordinary miracles:
A fresh pot of coffee you didn't make yourself...
An unexpected phone call from an old friend .....
Green stoplights on your way to work...
The fastest line at the grocery store...
A good sing-along song on the radio...
Your keys found right where you left them.

Share this with the people you'll never forget.  I just Did...
                                                                                         -  Devonay Potter
I too will think of this little story of the marbles, bartering and miracles in the days ahead!

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Ritzy Chocolate Pecan Nuggets

Ritz Crackers   36
Payday Bars    6
Chocolate Almond Bark
(24 oz)
Buttery Pam Spray

 Preheat oven to 350.

Cover cookie sheet with heavy duty foil. Lay out 36 Ritz crackers on cookie sheet.
 On wax paper, using Pam on sharp knife for non-stick, cut Paydays into 6 chunks per bar. Place on top of crackers. Bake in oven for 4 minutes (to soften candy). When finished, remove from oven and lightly mash Payday down. Use fork sprayed with Pam. (Need to respray about every 6 cookies. Return to oven for 2 more minutes. Set out to begin cooling.

 Melt chocolate according to package directions. Spoon onto cookies. Remove cookies onto wax paper and allow to cool until chocolate is no longer shiny.

This is quick and easy and oh, so good!!  Enjoy!

Wednesday, June 3, 2015

Difference between a Hymn and a Praise Chorus!!!

Being the "farm-girl" that I am and also being born and raised on music, this funny little story sure got the point across!!  And the fact that I grew up on Hymns and watched the emerging of choruses in the church-world made this quite humorous . . . Martha, Martha, cows, cows, corn, corn and more corn!!!  LOL!

 A Funny Little Story About Hymns and Praise Songs  By Author Unknown
An old farmer went to the city one weekend and attended the big city church. He came home and his wife asked him how it as.“Well,” said the farmer. “It was good. They did something different, however. They sang praise choruses instead of hymns.” “Praise choruses?” asked the wife. “What are those?” “Oh, they’re okay. They’re sort of like hymns, only different,” said the farmer.  “Well, what’s the difference?” asked the wife.

The farmer said, “Well it’s like this …
If I were to say to you, ‘Martha, the cows are in the corn,’ well that would be a hymn. If, on the other hand, I were to say to you, ‘Martha, Martha, Martha, Oh, Martha, MARTHA, MARTHA, the cows, the big cows, the brown cows, the black cows, the white cows, the black and white 
cows, the COWS, COWS, COWS are in the corn, are in the corn, are in the corn, in the CORN, CORN, CORN, COOOOORRRRRNNNNN,’ then, if I were to repeat the whole thing two or three times, well that would be a praise chorus.”

As luck would have it, the exact same Sunday a young, new Christian from the city church attended the small town church. He came home and his wife asked him how it was. “Well,” said the young man, “It was good. They did something different, however. They sang hymns instead of regular songs.” “Hymns?” asked the wife. “What are those?”  “They’re okay. They’re sort of like regular songs, only different,” said the young man. “Well, what’s the difference?” asked the wife.
The young man said, “Well it’s like this … 
If I were to say to you, ‘Martha, the cows are in the corn, well that would be a regular song. If on the other hand, I were to say to you, Oh Martha, dear Martha, hear thou my cry inclinest thine ear to the words of my mouth.

Turn thou thy whole wondrous ear by and by to the righteous, glorious truth. 
For the way of the animals who can explain there in their heads is no shadow of sense, hearkenest they in God’s sun or his rain unless from the mild, tempting corn they are fenced. 
Yea, those cows in glad bovine, rebellious delight, 
have broke free their shackles, their warm pens eschewed.

Then goaded by minions of darkness and night they all my mild Chilliwack sweet corn chewed. 
So look to that bright shining day by and by, where all foul corruptions of earth are reborn where no vicious animal makes my soul cry and I no longer see those foul cows in the corn . . .  

Then, if I were to do only verses one, three and four, and change keys on the last verse, well THAT WOULD BE A HYMN!

Saturday, April 4, 2015

David Phelps - The End of The Begining

As I celebrate this Easter, this song has been running through my head this entire week. 

What a message it tells - the "end" of the "beginning".  What an impact it can and will make in our lives - if we will really listen and look at the words.  It really does tell it all!!  It sums up the Jesus that was born as a babe, lived, walked on the water, healed the sick, raised the dead, and the ultimate sacrifice of "His Own Life" only to be raised from the dead on what we call Easter . . . the end of the beginning!  

This is a powerful song! I encourage you to enjoy, listen, look and live out the "end of the beginning" in your life this Easter season and all of the days ahead.  


Friday, February 6, 2015

Strawberry Danish Heirloom Cake

So Light and moist ~ Not Too Sweet ~Perfect after a heavy meal!! This recipe is so different from any cake you have ever tasted!! Give it a try....I know you will love it!!
You can Freeze the layers easily and have a picture perfect cake ready at the drop of a hat!
1/2 cup vanilla yogurt
1/2 cup sour cream
1 cup of sugar
pinch salt
1 egg
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. baking powder
1 + 1/2 cups flour
1 tsp. vanilla
1 pint whipping cream - whipped and sweetened with 1 Tbsp. icing sugar
1 - 2 pounds sliced slightly sweetened strawberries - or fruit of choice
In a medium bowl, mix together with a whisk or wooden spoon, yogurt, sugar, sour cream, egg, salt, baking soda, baking powder. Add flour and vanilla.
Grease or spray 3 - 9" layer pans and divide batter evenly between pans. (the batter will seem skimpy....but spread as evenly as you can with a spatula in each pan - layers will rise on baking).
Bake at 350 oven (325 if using Convection oven 325 oven) Bake for only 10 - 12 minutes....till Very Light Brown. Cool on racks...and remove from pans with a plastic spatula onto racks to finish cooling as soon as you can handle the cakes.
IMPORTANT: Do NOT over bake!! If not using immediately - put wax paper between layers, cover with plastic and refrigerate or freeze till ready to assemble cake.
Layer Cake Layers: 1/3 sweetened whipped cream and 1/2 sweetened sliced strawberries, or fruit of choice - then 1/3 sweetened whipped cream and 1/2 berries. Last layer - just sweetened whipped cream. Decorate with berries.
This cake tastes even better the next day and the day after that....if there is any left!! The Trick is Not to Over bake the layers...or it will be dry and not nice and moist.

This will soon become Your Favorite Family Cake too!!

Sunday, February 1, 2015

2015 - The Coming Year

What a beautiful sunrise/sunset this is . . . I just love to watch the sun rise or set in all of the earth's dark hues against the yellow - orange and pink of the fading blue backdrop of the sky.  Beauty only God could paint!

The above quote speaks loudly as I look ahead at this new year - 2015!  Read that again and really ponder what all of that means within your heart and life . . .

I have done a little new years' soul searching and I gave this a lot of thought . . . here is a little glimpse of what I found . . .

Increased riches of grace grace has been defined, not as a created substance of any kind, but as "the love and mercy given to us by God because God desires us to have it, not because of anything we have done to earn it",[1] "the condescension or benevolence shown by God toward the human race".[2] It is understood by Christians to be a spontaneous gift from God to man — "generous, free and totally unexpected and undeserved"[3] — that takes the form of divine favor, love, clemency, and a share in the divine life of God.

Hearing His voice more clearlyWhile God could speak audibly to people today, He speaks primarily through His written Word. Sometimes God’s leading can come through the Holy Spirit, through our consciences, through circumstances, and through the exhortations of other people. By comparing what we hear to the truth of Scripture, we can learn to recognize God’s voice.

It has been said, knowing the voice of God through His Spirit is something we learn over time. This recognition requires that we live day to day in submission to the Lord, setting aside time to quiet our minds and still our bodies. We must also go to Him regularly throughout the day, in the midst of our tasks and obligations, joys and worries. Eventually, we will come to know His voice so well that we’ll be able to hear Him even in the most difficult and busy circumstances.               (C. Stanley)

Growing up on a farm, I bought a horse when I was in the 6th grade with my 4-H money. Her name was Babe and down through the many years that followed that purchase we became close "friends".  I confided in her - she knew all of my "secrets"!!!  LOL!  But more than that - she knew "my voice".  I could go to the edge of the pasture and call her and it wouldn't be too long and she would come running to me.  Others could go and holler for her but to their disappointment - she wouldn't come running!  My cousins couldn't understand why she wouldn't come for them.  But I knew the reason . . . Babe knew my voice and trusted me and came when I called her.   It's like that with the Lord - when we truly know His Voice - we can trust Him - we can come running to Him with whatever burden we are carrying. When we know His Voice, we can respond to that still small voice and rest in Him and know that ALL is WELL with my heart and soul.

This 2015, let's strive to . . .

Rest in His love more fully

Trust His care more completely

Walk His path more peacefully

Know His presence more intimately

Be blessed by His goodness more abundantly

Quick & Easy Butterfinger Pie!

RECIPE: Butterfinger Pie (can also use Twix, Snickers, or Milky Way)

1 (12.5 ounce) bag Fun Size Butterfinger candy bars, crushed
1 (8 oz) package cream cheese, room temperature
1 (12 oz) container Cool Whip
1 pre-made graham cracker crust

Reserve ½ cup of crushed Butterfingers.
Combine remaining candy bars, cream cheese and Cool Whip in a large bowl.
Pour into graham cracker crust.
Sprinkle reserved candy bars on top.
Chill for 2 hours before serving.

RECIPE: Butterfinger Pie (can also use Twix, Snickers, or Milky Way)

1 (12.5 ounce) bag Fun Size Butterfinger candy bars, crushed
 1 (8 oz) package  cream cheese, room temperature1 (12 oz) container Cool Whip1 pre-made graham cracker crust

Reserve ½ cup of crushed Butterfingers.
Combine remaining candy bars, cream cheese and Cool Whip in a large bowl.
Pour into graham cracker crust.
Sprinkle reserved candy bars on top.
Chill for 2 hours before serving.
Who is to NOT like a Butterfinger??!!!   When I saw this recipe, I had to give it a try.  So I tried it out on our Christmas gathering and it was a hit.  And it is so easy - that's what I liked!!  And . . . OH, SO GOOD!!  
Try it - I bet you will like it!!

Saturday, January 24, 2015

Gracious Words

Years ago growing up on the farm, one of my fondest memories was the year we robbed the "honeycomb" out of the big tree down in the pasture!!  I will never forget that moment.  My Aunt Jinny and Uncle Howard were out visiting. They came out to the farm almost "weekly" and Aunt Jinny was "game" for almost anything.  She is the same aunt that we made divinity in every color of the rainbow - now just the traditional pink, white or green - every color . . . just to see if it tasted any different!!  LOL!

My brother came up to the house from checking on the cows in the pasture and said, "there's a big "honeycomb" in a tree down in the pasture"!  That is all it took for Aunt Jinny to perk up and say, "let's go rob it"!!!   And so we all - the whole family - tracked down the well-worn cow path up and down and around and over until we saw the bees swarming around the tree.  It brought back memories of Pooh Bear!!!  LOL!

We all kept our distance watching as Aunt Ginny and my brother, John, slowly approached the bee hive.  Moving slowly, so as to not upset the bees, they got the honeycomb down out of the tree, put it in a 5 gallon bucket, and managed to get only a sting or two. Leaving the confused, angry, buzzing bees behind, we trailed single file back up the old cow path to the barn and on to the house.

Aunt Jinny knew just what to do with the honey.  I remember it was the clearest, most tasty honey I had ever experienced. We decided that fresh, clear honey needed to top off some pancakes.  So mom was busy making hot pancakes and Aunt Jinny was taking care of getting the honey out of the comb and we kids anxiously awaited our feast of hot pancakes with fresh honey on them.  Mmmmmm . . . was that ever good!

I will NEVER forget that afternoon of robbing the honeycomb out of the tree in the pasture and pancakes dripping with the "best honey" I have ever eaten!!  

Just as that honey was the sweetest honey I have ever tasted - straight from the honeycomb - I realize how important our words are.  They too need to be pleasant, sweet, healing, uplifting, and encouraging.  Our words can have a positive influence on the world around us.  Let's strive to make our words . . . sweet to the soul and healing to the bones . . . just like that honey dripping from the honeycomb!

"Pleasant words are a honeycomb, sweet to the soul and healing to the bones."  Probverbs 16:24

Monday, January 12, 2015

Jalapeno Popper Roll-ups

Jalapeno Popper Roll-ups

1-8 oz package cream cheese, softened
8 slice cooked bacon crumbled (can use the already cooked kind)
1/3 c grated parmesan cheese (also good with cheddar cheese)
1/4 c finely chopped onion
1 medium jalapeno, finely chopped and seeded
2 Tbsp chopped cilantro
1 Tbsp milk
2-8 oz can refrigerated crescent rolls

Heat oven to 375 degrees.

Mix all ingredients together except crescent dough

Separate each can of dough into 8 triangles; cut each triangle lengthwise in half. Spread each dough triangle with generous tsp. of cream cheese mixture; roll up from ending with points. Place, point side down on baking sheet.

Bake 12-15 min or until golden brown. Serve warm with salsa.

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Thursday, December 18, 2014

Eight Qualities of a Successful Life

Qualities of Success

We all want to be successful deep down in our "heart of hearts" - but how do we accomplish this task?  Here are some things Suze Orman has observed as she talks to people.  She states 
. . .  It's about making the most of the life you have.  And that comes down to embracing the eight qualities that allow you to take control of your destiny. 
  • Harmony is when there is complete agreement between what you think, say and do.
  • Balance is the reward of harmony; it is when you are most calm and content because there is no disconnect between your thoughts, words and actions.
  • Courage. Is the ability to make choices that bring harmony and balance. Courage is not always about action. It takes courage to do nothing, rather than do something that you do not believe in or understand.
  • Generosity. True generosity is an offering; given freely and out of pure love. No strings attached. No expectations. Time and love are the most valuable possession you can share.
  • Happiness: bubbles up when the first four qualities are in abundance. Happiness is not a luxury. It is a necessity. When we are happy we are in the best possible place to be good to ourselves and those we love.
  • Wisdom: is the ability to make the right decisions at the right time. Wisdom alerts you when you are out of balance or having trouble summoning courage. It is your inner voice guiding you through and past the noise.
  • Cleanliness: When there is clarity and organization in your thoughts and your physical space you can more easily access the inner wisdom and courage that makes harmony and balance achievable.
  • Beauty is what you possess when you incorporate the seven preceding qualities into your life.
Suse shares some pretty basic qualities:  harmony, balance, courage, generosity, happiness, wisdom, cleanliness, and beauty. But look at how they impact each of our lives as we follow God's leading and direction.  These qualities plus God equals AWESOME!!!! 

Monday, December 8, 2014

My Faith Journey (Dec. 7, 2012-Dec. 7, 2014)

The Mowery Four

Little did I know some 39 years ago that the title song to our record album - (I've Come This Far By Faith) would become my "theme song" for these past two years!!  2013/14 has truly been a "faith-journey" for me. I am a little slow in getting all of my thoughts, feelings, and actions together for this little December 2014 blog - it is really hard to put "everything" I have experienced and felt over the last two years into words!! But I will try . . .
A MRI on December 7, 2012, revealed a 
"large, fast-growing, malignant tumor embedding in my brain" resulting in immediate admittance into the hospital and surgery scheduled.  Looking back, it kind of remindes me of the phrase in Monopoly   . . . "go directly to hospital from the doctor's office - do not pass go - do not collect $200"!!   I need not say that my whole world changed! My whole "outlook" on life, laughter, love, and legacy took on a different point of view! Things that were so important to me before discovering I had the brain tumors seemed somewhat insignificant since then and other things gained much more attention and significance!!  Isn't it strange how we get so wrapped up in "living" until we face something like this and have to turn "everything" . . . life, living, hopes, plans, dreams, yes EVERYTHING over to God and place our total being by faith in HIS HANDS and trust that He knows our future and what is ahead?!
For me, it was surgery on December 12, 2012 (12-12-12 - easy to remember, huh?), surgery, recovery, recuperation, and 5 1/2 months of intense speech therapy, new beginnings, first times once again - tackling things I had done before, without a thought, but now had to overcome those 1st's times. Every day, week, month, 3 months, 6 months, 9 months, and finally each year - were stepping stones in my recovery! Yes, there were times I had my set-backs but my "forward steps" led me down "new paths" nearly "daily".  When I think back two years ago - I was recuperating at my parents house - I went there when released from the hospital just in time for Christmas.  I was not working during my recover time but was going to speech therapy 3 times a week, learning 1,000's upon 1,000's of words, synonyms, antonyms, opposites, etc. I felt like I was back in school. All of that seems almost like yesterday!

I came out of surgery with some "communicative aphasia" because the tumors affected the communicative part of my brain.  I knew what I was trying to say and many times the "word" was right on the tip of my tongue but I just could not express the word.  Thus, the reason for my re-learning synonyms, antonyms, opposites, etc.  When I would not be able to speak and get the word I wanted out, I would have to train myself to quickly think of another word that had the same meaning that I was trying to express to take the place of the "blocked word".  It was a very interesting time and a time of renewal for me. I am now somewhat intrigued with "words", meanings, etc.  It took me a while before I felt capable to communicate with people. In the beginning I said things that really were not exactly what I meant.  A good example was when my cousin came to see me and he was saying "good-bye" - I knew I needed to acknowledge his "good-bye" and I knew there was an appropriate phrase for me to respond with - so I said . . . "congratulations"!!  My speech therapist was so good about explaining how intricate God made our brains, how they work and shared that my brain was searching for greeting/good-bye type phrases to use. And congratulations fits in that greeting/good-bye category!  That made me feel better as to why I responded with that particular word - but I know my cousin probably thought it a little strange!!!  LOL!!  It seemed that the minute I would say a strange word or phase like that, I would realize . . . NOT the right word!!   Actually, many times it was quite funny and we all had a good laugh over some of my speech ventures. But it seemed to get better every week!  Of which I am so thankful for. I now only experience a little of the the aphasia - especially when I am tired!!  God was with me every step of the way - miracle after miracle!!  I came home from the hospital right before Christmas so I call this 
"My Christmas Miracle" and the journey that has followed these past two years has been a journey filled with many, many miracles, blessings, much thankfulness and many thoughts and feelings that I cannot begin to express in just a few word.  My "faith" was stretched beyond what I thought it could be stretched and I can once again sing our theme song "I've Come This Far By Faith" leaning on the Lord!!  And I'm guessing today I sing that song with much more understanding and a whole lot more meaning than what I sang it 39 years ago!!  

(The days following my surgery were long days for my family and myself, as you can see from this little video, as I tried to communicate my thoughts and my family tried to decipher what I was trying to tell them!  It is a reminder of where I have been and how far I have come with the help of God!)  A GREAT BIG THANK YOU TO ALL OF YOU!!!

As I look back to where I started since the removal of the tumors I am amazed. And I can honestly say I have only minimal recollection of the months leading up to the first MRI and the discovery of the tumors.  I was in "survivor mode" only remembering what was absolutely necessary to get me by, from day to day. Everything "non-essential" is a blur or I can hardly recollect it. The doctor later explained how totally unique the brain is. It knows just what we need to survive. Because of the size the two tumors (each one the size of a tangerine), they were pressing against my brain squeezing and putting pressure on it as they grew, causing me to only remember the important things I needed to remember to survive each day.  The rest, I either did not remember at all or remember only faintly and many things are very vague. In other words, my brain was operating in "survival mode".

My last week to work before the surgery I only remember calling in sick to work on Wednesday. I didn't feel good. I couldn't tell you what was wrong - just did not feel right - not myself!  I had left a message on the answering machine but the pastor had trouble making it out. What I thought I said was, "Pastor, I am not feeling well.  I won't be coming in to work today. I will see you tomorrow!" What he heard was something slurred like . . . "IIIII  waaanntt toooo leaaave aaa messssssaaageeee"!!!!  A little alarmed, he came to my house to check on me. He immediately talked to one of my daughters who then stopped by on her lunch hour for a while and then both daughters stopped by the house as soon as they got off work. They set a doctors appointment for me the next morning, Thursday. My younger daughter took me to work and she later told me she was afraid to leave me alone but I insisted on going to work before the doctor's appointment.  She left and decided to stop and get us both  cappuccino, brought it back, and sat in the office with me until it was time for the appointment. 

It is totally "mind-boggling" to hear them share now, what they saw in me during those days - those weeks and months - preceding the surgery.  We went to the doctor that afternoon and he scheduled a MRI for the next day, Friday at 1:00 pm.  We all went to work and then the girls picked me up and we went to get the MRI and then we were all going to go back work.  But they sent us back to my regular doctor following the MRI and we waited in his office until he had no more patients.  He then came in and began to explain the MRI.  My girls started crying. They told me I just sat emotionless and very calmly asked, "how long do I have?" I was to go to the hospital and be admitted by 7:00 pm that same evening after the doctor's appointment.  

None of us had eaten lunch so Liz and I were going to make the necessary phone calls to break the news to family and Hannah was going home to get Noah and we were going to meet at Burger King and get a bite to eat and discuss the situation between the four of us.  I told Liz I should call mom so she dialed and I told mom and I just remember handing the phone to Liz after I told mom and she talked to mom for a little bit.  Liz tells me that I then called my brothers, John and Dennis - but I do not remember talking to either of them at all.  I do remember telling Liz as we headed for Burger King (5:30 pm) that I had to go back to work.  I had to finish the bulletin for Sunday. She got upset with me and told me in a FIRM voice that, "I wasn't going back to work I was going to the hospital and that was it"!!!!!  What I must have put my three children, my family, and my friends through during these months, must have been unimaginable!!  (Maybe it is better that I don't remember!!)

These two years have been an "unforgettable journey" for me and my family. We have crossed many bridges I never thought possible.  But I am reminded of Moses leading the Israelites . . . not "across" the Red Sea . . . but "thru" the Red Sea! I imagine they thought THAT was impossible also. But I have learned that with God, nothing is really impossible!  My hope, trust, and faith have grown since the tumors were discovered. I have had to lean on those close to me for support and encouragement but I have learned "anew" to put my hand in the "Hand of God" and let "Him" support and hold me up even when I could not get up by myself!! Knowing, when I couldn't even pray for myself . . . He was interceding on my behalf!  What an awesome experience that is! What an "awesome God" we serve!

I look back at the obstacles I have crossed these past couple of years in so many different areas of my life and I can truly say, "I've Come This Far By Faith". I am NOT the same person I was before. I have a new "lease on life!" I have a heart overflowing with a "new" sense of peace, love, and joy unspeakable!  Life is so very, very good!

(My faith-journey song) . . .

I've come this far by faith,

leaning on the Lord;
trusting in his holy word.
He's never failed me yet.
Oh! I can't turn back,
I've come this far by faith.

1) Don't be discouraged 
with trouble in your life;
he'll bear your burdens 
and move all discord and strife. Oh!

2) Just remember the good things he has done;
things that seemed impossible,
oh, praise him for the vict'ries he has won. Oh!

So, like that second verse . . . "I'm remembering the good things He has done - things that seemed impossible and praising him for the victories won!" 

I recently went to a Jeff and Sheri Easter Concert and Sheri (a cancer survivor herself) wrote a song that spoke to my heart. It touched me and the title says it all . . . "I Know How it Feels to Survive".
I've been afraid / Been confused  /  Doubted everything I thought that I knew / But I've felt peace / And I've been loved / Got back on my feet, thanking God above.

And I know how it feels to walk out of a valley / And how it feels to breathe the air that gives me life / I know the silence that comes with trusting and believing / And the darkness when the shadows hide the light / Yeah, I know how it feels to survive.

I've been alone / Felt betrayed / Didn't know if I could stand another day / But I found joy / And I've had faith / I've known the strength that gets me through one more day.
Now I live with eyes wide open / And my heart is filled with gratitude / I know everything I have is only borrowed / And by the grace of God I know I'll make it through.
. . . I'd like to think that these past two years have taught me to live with "my eyes wide open", with a heart filled up and overflowing with faith,  gratitude, and love knowing that everyday is a borrowed blessing. And that, by the grace and mercy of my all-knowing,  all-faithful God . . . I will make it through - come what may!

Thank you, God, for this little "bump" in the road along my "faith-journey"!