July 31, 2012

Recipe for the Perfect Dinner Rolls

Miracles really do happen.  I am posting a Tummy Tempting Tuesday Recipe on...wait for it...TUESDAY!!! YAY, ME!!! :)  Oh, it really is the little things in life that make me happy!  For example, I was also able to finally clean both of my bathrooms today - finished them at 3:30 this afternoon.  That would be approximately 7 hours after I began to clean them (don't ask),  but they are clean!

The recipe today is a delicious and easy dinner roll recipe that I enjoy making (and eating)!  I am a baker at heart.  I do not enjoy the everyday meal type of cooking, but give me a dessert or bread recipe, and I'm all there!  In my experimenting with breads, I still have not come across the perfect sandwich bread yet.  So, if any of you have a really good one, would you share it with me please?  I have a bread maker, but I make breads without it as well. I'd love to try any recipes you suggest!  Until then, you can use this dinner roll recipe and let me know what you think!

Perfect Dinner Rolls

1 Tbsp. active dry yeast
2 1/4 cups warm water (110* to 115*)
1/3 cup sugar
1/3 cup shortening
1/4 cup powdered nondairy creamer
2 1/4 tsp. salt
6 to 7 cups bread flour (I have also used self-rising flour)

In a large bowl, dissolve yeast in warm water.  Add sugar, shortening, creamer, salt and 5 cups flour. Beat until smooth.  Stir in enough remaining flour to form a soft dough (dough will be sticky).

Turn onto a floured surface; knead until smooth and elastic, about 6-8 minutes.  Place in a bowl coated with cooking spray, turning once to coat the top.  Cover and let rise in a warm place until doubled, about 1 hour.

Punch dough down.  Turn onto a lightly floured surface; divide into 24 pieces.  Shape each into a roll.  Place 2 in. apart on baking sheets coated with cooking spray.  Cover and let rise until doubled, about 30 minutes.

Bake at 350* for 12-15 minutes or until lightly browned. Remove from pans to wire racks.


July 30, 2012

Counting My Blessings

Today I am counting some of the blessings - big and small - that God has given me.

I am thankful for the cooler morning we had this morning.  I almost fixed myself a cup of coffee this morning! :)

I am thankful for beautiful music and for the blessing of having access to so much of it!

I am thankful for the Holy Spirit's work in my life, my family's life, and the lives of my friends!  It has been such an encouragement to watch us all grow closer in our relationships with Jesus and each other.

I am thankful for the excitement God has given me for homeschooling.  (I was a little nervous because it got here a little late!) :)  The school books are ordered and most of them will be here this week.

I am thankful for several opportunities of fellowship that I had this last week.

I am thankful for a shopping/therapy trip with my best friend and for the way she encourages me in my walk with the Lord.

I am thankful for my Mr. who still winks at me after seeing me for 16 years! ;)

I am thankful for wisdom God gives as we parent by faith.  

I am thankful for the prayers of my children.  Mr. G had a rough day today, but his prayers after discipline were so genuine and sincere..."I am sorry I disobeyed You. Will You please forgive me and keep me from sinning so much?" That made me cry tears of joy and thankfulness.

I am thankful that Miss E had a wonderful time at camp and is already talking about going next year!

I am thankful for all the people who are investing their time, wisdom and lives into me, my husband and my children.

I am thankful for the ice cream brownie sundaes that I'm about to go enjoy with my family!

I think I could write about all my blessings all night and still not come to the end!  Isn't God good?  I have nothing to complain or worry about.  He is my Savior, and He loves me beyond all measure!

July 26, 2012

What Kind of Christian Are You?

On Tuesday, I wrote about the burden I had for those who seem so lost and searching.  As I was writing that, it occurred to me that even though my post was directed to people who do not have Jesus as their Savior, there are many Christians out there who still have a void in their lives as well.  I know because I used to be one of them. I was a genuine Christian who did all the "Christian" things while still trying to enjoy as much of the world as I could.  Unfortunately, churches are full of Christians who are that way.  So, I'm asking one of those hard, uncomfortable questions again...what kind of Christian are you?  Are you a sold out, all the way, wholehearted, my holy God means everything to me and I do not want to offend Him in any way Christian? Or are you a go to church, read my Bible when I remember, listen and watch whatever I want as long as no other Christians are around, don't really think much about God during the week Christian?

Yep...that's a REALLY uncomfortable question to answer.  The truth is, all of us will never be "Christian" enough to deserve what God has given us.  However, because of all God has given us, we should be inspired and motivated to forsake everyone and everything and follow Jesus with complete wholeheartedness.  As a matter of fact Jesus said very clearly in Luke 14:33, 

"So likewise, whosoever he be of you that forsaketh not all that he hath, he cannot be my disciple."

Being a Christian is so much more than just going to church, reading your Bible a couple of times a week, or even being a good moral person.  It is a relationship!!! It is about making Jesus your very best friend!  It is about making Him the Person you talk to about everything before you talk to anyone else!  It is about reading His Word so that you can get to know this Friend - His likes and His dislikes, what He enjoys and does not enjoy, what He desires from you, and what He wants to do for you It is about becoming as much like Jesus and as little like the world as you possibly can. I encourage you...if you are a Christian, but you do not feel this way about Jesus, take some time today to sit still and listen.  Stop all the busyness and entertainment and search your heart.  Ask God to show you where you stand in your relationship with Him.  He promised in Jeremiah 29:13,

"And ye shall seek me, and find me, when ye shall search for me with all your heart."

If you are a Christian who has that love relationship with Jesus, will you pray?  Instead of judging others, instead of looking down on those who do not see things the way you do, will you pray?  The Holy Spirit is the One who has to do the work, and yes, maybe the Holy Spirit can use your example or your words to begin a change, but ultimately, it is His work in their hearts.  Let's pray that the body of Christ will step away from this world and follow in God's holiness so that we can be a bright light to this dark, dark world.

July 24, 2012

From a Burdened Heart

Today, I am writing with a burdened heart.  This week our country has been faced with so much ugliness and hatred.  I have also seen more young people this week who seem to be searching for something/someone that will fulfill all their dreams, but what they don't realize is that people and things will always fail you and never completely fulfill you.  So many people are looking for fulfillment in so many places - a special relationship, entertainment, work, doing good deeds.  Yet, none of these can ever completely fill that empty place.  That's why we end up with people who run into movie theatres and murder others.  That's why there are people who are filled with such hatred when a company stands up for Biblical values.  It makes me sad to see people react so.  It makes my heart grieve.  I cannot even begin to imagine how God, who created each and every one of us, must feel.

But there, I think, is the problem.  So many people have forgotten or have chosen to ignore the fact that they have a Creator and that whether they like it or not, whether they want it or not, they are nothing without that Creator, and they can do nothing without that Creator's knowledge.  God created us, and He gave us His Word so that we can know how to live the happiest and most fulfilled life while here on earth.  Jesus said while He was here on earth, "I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly." (John 10:10)  God wants you to be happy and fulfilled.  He is not an ogre looking down ready to bam you every time you do something wrong.  He loves you so much that He gave more for you than anyone else ever has.  He sacrificed His only Son...for YOU!  Has anyone loved you enough to die for you? Yet, your God and Creator did! John 3:16 says, "For GOD so loved the WORLD, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish but have everlasting life."  And not only does He want to give you life through salvation....He wants to give you ABUNDANT life!  

Yet, we continue to wallow in the muck of this world.  We entertain ourselves with music that has lyrics that should make us blush, yet we laugh at them.  We submit our bodies to the influence of alcohol and drugs instead of keeping ourselves under our own control.  We make up ungodly "lifestyles" in hopes of finding more and more pleasure.  We fill our lives so full of entertainment and busyness and work because we are genuinely afraid to sit still and listen.  When we sit still and listen, we will once again be confronted with the fact that despite all our attempts to make our lives complete, there is still something missing...a void, an emptiness, a longing.  

Friend, if this is you right now, please know that God, your Creator, made that void in your heart so that HE could fill it, but He will not fill it until you allow Him.  Maybe you have tried filling this place in your life with boyfriends/girlfriends, a partner, alcohol, drugs, work, entertainment.  Please know none of these will ever give you the life you want.  Only God can do that.  Also, please know that those of us who are true Christians and followers of Jesus do not hate you.  We are sad for you.  We want you to have the joy and the abundant life that we have.  Please take a few minutes today to sit quietly and search your heart.  Is that void there?  Ask God to fill it for you.  He will.  Below are some verses that, if you obey them completely, will fill that void and longing that is in your heart.

Romans 3:23  "For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God."
We all have sin in our hearts. We all were born with sin.  
We were born under the power of sin's control.
- Admit that you are a sinner.
Romans 6:23a  "...The wages of sin is death..."
Sin has an ending.  It results in death.  We all face physical death, which is a result of sin.  But a worse death is spiritual death that alienates us from God, and will last for all eternity.  The Bible teaches that there is a place called the Lake of Fire where lost people will be in torment forever.   It is the place where people who are spiritually dead will remain.
- Understand that you deserve death for your sin.
Romans 6:23b  "...But the gift of God is eternal
life through Jesus Christ our Lord."
Salvation is a free gift from God to you!  You can't
earn this gift, but you must reach out and receive it.
- Ask God to forgive you and save you.
Romans 5:8,  "God demonstrates His own love for us, in
that while we were yet sinners Christ died for us!"
When Jesus died on the cross He paid sin's penalty. He paid the price for all sin, and when He took all the sins of the world on Himself on the cross, He bought us out of slavery to sin and death! The only condition is that we believe in Him and what He has done for us, and repent of our sins, understanding that  we are now joined with Him, and that He is our life.  He did all this because He loved us and gave Himself for us!
- Give your life to God... His love poured out in Jesus on the cross is your only hope to have forgiveness and change.  His love bought you out of being a slave to sin.  His love is what saves you --  not religion, or church membership.  God loves you!
Romans 10:9,10  "...If you confess with your mouth Jesus as Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised Jesus from the dead, you shall be saved; for with the heart man believes, resulting in righteousness, and with the mouth he confesses, resulting  in salvation."
Jesus not only died for your sins, He rose again - proving that He has the power over your punishment of death and power over sin.  Believe that Jesus is the only way for your salvation, turn away from your life of sin, and He will save you!

Romans 10:13  "Whoever will call on the name of the Lord  will be saved!"
- Call out to God in the name of Jesus!

July 17, 2012

A Special Birthday and a Recipe

Nine years ago today was, outside of my salvation, the most life changing event in my little world...I became a mommy.  Marriage was a life changing event and  very eye opening, but the Mr. and I have always been the best of friends, and we never really had a hard time adjusting to marriage.  It just made life better! :)  However, becoming a mom has totally turned my world upside down and inside out!  I had so many pictures in my mind of what being a mom would be like, and bless my little daughter's heart, she didn't fit a one of them!  She was a terribly fussy little one, threw up (literally) all the time, never nursed well, and began bucking authority full force at the age of 9 months!  Motherhood quickly became a fight for survival for me!  Looking back, I see where much of the problem was inexperience and unrealistic expectations. Another was that poor Miss E just had a ton of tummy troubles.  

Today, I look at my beautiful little girl and am so thankful for the way she has stretched me.  I had a lot of growing up to do (still do today)!  She showed me how terribly selfish I was.  She showed me how negative I can be.  She showed me how impatient I am!  But, she has also shown me how unconditional love can be.  Isn't it amazing how we as parents can mess up so badly sometimes, yet our children still look up to us and think we're the greatest.  They see past all of our pretenses and see into our heart.  When they know our heart is sincere, they love us no matter what.  It still thrills me that even though she is nine, my little girl loves to cuddle up with me, and she is continually giving out hugs!  She loves me in spite of me!

I am so thankful for all the laughter Miss E has brought to us.  The Mr. and I always wonder what we used to laugh about before we had kids.  From the moment Miss E arrived, it always amazed me to think that everything she experienced was the first time for her, and I have always enjoyed watching her do something for the first time and seeing the joy and awe on her face!  She reminds me that God made life to be fully experienced and enjoyed!

Who would have thought that someone so little and small could begin such a life changing process? But then, God did create this little life, and so, of course, it would be amazing and special!  Happy Birthday, Miss E!  Every day, we thank God for the gift He gave us when He gave us you, and every day, we pray that you will "wholly follow the Lord God!"

Now, in honor of Miss E's birthday, I'll leave you with one of her favorite meals - Beef Straganoff!  I think this is the first time in three years that we haven't had this for her birthday dinner.  We've moved on to Chicken Alfredo!


1 chopped onion                                                                                     1 can cream of chicken soup
2 Tbsp. cooking oil                                                                                 1 can cream of mushroom soup
                                                                                                               1 cup sour cream
1 lb. ground beef
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. pepper
1 Tbsp. flour
1/4 tsp. paprika

Saute onion and oil for 5 minutes.  Add next five ingredients and cook until ground beef is done.  Drain off grease. Add the soups and cook for another 5 minutes.  Remove from heat and stir in sour cream.  Serve over rice or noodles.  Yields: 6 servings

July 13, 2012

90 Day Bible Reading - Day 15

WOOHOO!!! I'm on Day 15!  I am ready to move on now.  Hopefully, we'll get through the rest of this reading without a month long break again!  Tomorrow, I begin the book of Joshua, and I cannot wait to go through Israel's history with all the kings and judges.  There are so many fascinating stories.  Reading through all the laws that God made for Israel has made me realize God's grace and mercy even more.  I am thinking I probably would not have made it in the days of Leviticus!

Well, today is going to be short and sweet.  We are getting ready for a family BBQ at our place this afternoon.  I am going to try one more time to get my living room curtains up!  I can't wait to see the final "look."  

I hope you have a wonderful day!  Don't forget to make time for some quiet time with Jesus today!  He has done so much for us!!!

July 12, 2012

Coffee and Conversation from the Heart - 7/12

This summer has been a warm one, and I'm not a huge coffee drinker when it's hot out.  However, while flying home a few weeks ago, I accidentally discovered Starbucks new Cookie Crumble Mocha - a cold drink that is out of this world yummy.  I have wanted to get another one soon but haven't been able to.  So, I thought I'd use my imagination today and invite you all to meet me at Starbucks for conversation and a Cookie Crumble Mocha! :)

While we're drinking these fantabulous mochas, I would love to tell you about all the many things that have been happening this summer.  First off, my kiddos are getting so big!!!  We're about to end our birthday season next Tuesday with my oldest baby girl turning 9!  I cannot begin to tell you how sad but happy that makes me.  She will be going to Bible Camp in two weeks and will be 7 hours away from home for the entire week!  I told the Mr. I should volunteer at the camp that week, but he refuses to allow me! :)  I have no doubts that she will do wonderful.  Miss E has always been the independent one!

I would also tell you about the 90 Day Bible Reading Challenge!  I am so enjoying reading the Bible through, but it has been much more difficult to make the time for it than I thought it would be.  I am beginning to think I may never read an entire book through until after all my children have left home!

I LOVE my violin and am enjoying the lessons soooo much!  I was a little worried that I may not enjoy practicing because I have this thing called "never enough time," but I really have enjoyed it!  I haven't been able to practice very consistently these last three weeks, I my goal is to practice every day this week and really WOW my teacher next lesson! :)  

I would bemoan the fact that I missed the Tummy Tempting Tuesday again.  I would love to change the day to Thursday because that's an easier day for me to make the time to write.  The only reason I haven't changed it is because I love the little ditty "Tummy Tempting Tuesday!"  So silly, I know!!!

I would also tell you that I have discovered that I LOVE planting and caring for flowers.  I never in a million years dreamed that I would enjoy something like this.  I had helped plant and care for our vegetable garden a very little bit in the past and never cared at all for those poor veggies.  By the time the end of the summer came, I was hoping they would rot so I could quit caring for them! (I know this is a terrible attitude, but it was my true sentiments!)  I only planted a few flowers last summer out of that terrible thing called peer pressure.  One of our Mommies & Munchkins topics was planting flowers  After discussing the topic, we then took a trip to the local nursery to buy starters for our own flower gardens.  I bought a few thinking they would surely die, but alas, they did not!!! I planted even more this year, and I have found that it is so relaxing in the summer evenings to water and care for them, and I get to enjoy their beauty all day long.  The Mr. says he doesn't see what the difference is between flowers or vegetables, and he loves to remind me of all the benefits the vegetables will bring!  I gently remind him that he married a Lady of Beauty....not a Lady of Practicality...trying to make it sound all romantic and poetical...because we all know how the Mr. feels about romance and poetry! :)  I LOVE THAT MAN!

Speaking of that man, I would tell you that we just had our TWELFTH anniversary!!!  We were actually at Family Camp for our anniversary, and both of us forgot until the day was about half done!  Despite that, we really do love each other, and we are both so thankful for how abundantly God has blessed us over the last 12 years. It's definitely not what we had pictured or imagined...I think it's better! :)  I'm hoping we can actually celebrate in a few weeks...maybe with the Cheesecake Factory included!

As we finish up our Cookie Crumble, I would tell you that my number one goal for this summer was to have company over 2 Fridays each month.  Guess how much company we have had so far?  Not a one! (Insert huge sigh!)  We'll keep working on it!

I am beginning to get excited about the coming school year!  I am looking into changing things up in a MAJOR way and have had a great time browsing through curriculums and catalogs.  I will be homeschooling a 4th grader, a 2nd grader, and am attempting 2 kindergartners this year!  We shall see how it all goes!  

Well, despite all the conversation, the Cookie Crumble is nearly gone.  We should probably head back towards home and real life!  I would end our conversation by telling you how thankful I am for the friendship we've developed!  I am so thankful for the technology God has provided us with.  There are so many of you that I may never meet or might not see for such a long time.  I am so thankful that I can still keep in touch and hopefully be an encouragement to you.  I would leave by reminding you that life is short.  So, make sure you take the time to enjoy today.  Find God in everything you do!  He is waiting to show Himself to you!  Have a beautiful and blessed day!

July 9, 2012

Higher and Farther

 I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service.  And be not conformed to this world, but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect will of God. ~Romans 12:1-2
Hi there!  As I sit and write today, I am remembering the verses above.  Our family was able to go to a Bible camp that the Mr. grew up going to every summer, and while there, we heard some wonderful messages.  I counted them up, and our family has heard 11 messages since last Sunday, and nearly every one of them has included these verses! WOW!  I think God has something He wants us to hear!

If you have read my blog for any length of time, you already know that my heart's desire is for our family to be radically different in the way we follow Jesus.  I want to be radically different!!!  And I believe that the key to being that way is right here in these two verses.  I was once again reminded this week of how I need to step even farther away from the world so that I can become more like Jesus.  As Christians, we tend to compare ourselves to other Christians and their standards.  However, as one of the pastors we heard this week said, "The Holy Spirit's standard is always higher.  It calls us to bring EVERY THOUGHT to the obedience of Christ Jesus!" (II Corinthians 10:5)  There is no plateau in true Christianity.  There will always be a higher calling that God wants us to pursue.  There will always be the next thing to bring under subjection. 

I used to think this was a depressing way to view the Christian walk, but as I began to pursue Christ-likeness with a whole heart, I realized how rewarding it is to live out my relationship with Jesus.  The more I get to know Him, the more I love Him.  The more I love Him, the more I want to please Him.  The more I try to please Him, the more like Him I become. 

Please don't think that I have it all together and am the "perfect" Christian.  As I said before, there is no plateau.  There is that calling to go higher and farther, and I was convicted of several things this week that are calling me higher and farther.  It is difficult to swallow that pride and say, "Yes, God, I will surrender this too."  But I am so thankful for the Holy Spirit's work, and the love that my God has for me.  How humbling it is to know that the Creator of the universe, the One who can do anything, has taken the time to speak to my heart and has asked me to become more like Him. 

How about you?  Is the Holy Spirit active in you today? Are  you listening to His voice?  Is your biggest goal in life to become more and more like Jesus, or is it something else?  Let's step away as far from the world as we can and be transformed into Christ's image!  What a privilege God has called us into!

July 3, 2012

Chocolate Delight

In honor of the 4th of July, I will leave you with the dessert I make every year for our 4th of July celebration.  It's most definitely a family favorite, and most likely, a dessert you have had, but here's the recipe so you can make it yourself! 


1 box of Graham Crackers
Melted butter

I know this is very unconventional, but I just crush up enough Graham Crackers to thickly cover the bottom of a 9in. X 13in. pan.  Mix enough melted butter to the crackers to make it nice and moist, and then press it into the bottom of the pan with a fork.  Bake the crust for 15-20 minutes at 350*. Cool completely before adding the layers.

Layer 1:
8 oz. cream cheese
1/2 large cool whip
1 cup powdered sugar

Mix well and pour over crust.

Layer 2:
1 large instant chocolate pudding mix
2 cups milk

Mix well and let it sit in the fridge until thick (about 5 minutes).  Once it is thick, remove from fridge and pour over the cream cheese layer.

Layer 3:
1 large instant vanilla pudding mix
2 cups milk

Mix well and let it sit in the fridge until thick (about 5 minutes).  Once it is thick, remove from fridge and pour over the chocolate pudding layer.

Top the vanilla pudding layer with the other 1/2 of the large Cool Whip.  If you like, sprinkle the top with nuts.  Chill until ready to serve.


July 2, 2012

90 Day Bible Reading Update

The last time I gave an update on the 90 Day Bible Reading, I was on Day 10 (when I was supposed to be on Day 15), and I was ready to dig in and catch up!  Not 20 minutes after publishing that post, I got the message that my Granny was probably not going to make it, and she died within the hour.  After a quick trip across the country to be with my family, I returned home just in time to have my sister and her family here for a week. They have now left, just in time for me to clean my house, catch up on the laundry and pack for another trip!!!  Needless to say, I am still on Day 10.  Because I am terribly behind and about to leave home again, I have decided to work towards getting to Day 15 by NEXT Friday (July 13th).  I know that is a really slow pace, but I have decided I better be a little realistic.  I then plan on getting back into the reading schedule next Friday, and prayerfully, be able to stay with it.  

So, how about you?  Have you had great success with your Bible reading?  I pray so.  Remember, it's not just about being able to say we read the Bible in only 90 days. It is about getting to know God in a real and personal way - learning about Him and His desires for us His children.  If you are not a part of the 90 Day Bible Reading, I hope you have implemented a consistent quiet time in your day.  I have found that making the time for my quiet time is the best time saver of the entire day! 

Well, it is getting late here, but I did want to let you know that I have not completely dropped out of my own challenge! :)   I hope your Monday was amazing!  I have decided that having a hair appointment on Monday is a great way to start the week!  I vote to do it every Monday...I think the Mr.'s wallet might object though! ;)  Have a wonderful night.  We're off to read about Nate Saint before we turn in for the night.