Friday, May 30, 2014

Nehemiah 13...

As I finished reading through the book of Nehemiah yesterday with She Reads Truth, it's a bit discouraging that the children of Israel who were under captivity to Babylon due to their disloyalty to God and His ways, who had worked so hard to restore the temple and rebuild the wall around Jerusalem, were so quick to return to their old ways of compromise and neglect of the things of God.

It's especially disconcerting to read in verse 4 that Eliashib, the priest, had given Tobiah a room in the temple of God.  Tobiah had fought against, intimidated, and discouraged Israel in their efforts to rebuild the wall around Jerusalem.  He was also an Ammonite and God had expressly forbidden the Israelites to allow Ammonites into their assembly.  Yet, in the very room that should be used to store articles of worship, the priest had allowed Tobiah to take up residence.

I can definitely understand Nehemiah's righteous anger when he discovers what Eliashib had done, and yet, I've done the same thing.

In the New Testament God's Spirit lives within His people.  We are His temple.  As God's temple, I should be a house of worship that is clean and pure and consecrated for His glory.  And yet, I too have let the enemy set up residence in my temple.  The very same enemy that fights against me, and tries to intimidate me and discourages me and wants me to quit God's assignment in my life!  Yes, I've opened wide the door to unforgiveness, anger, bitterness, resentment, judgmental attitudes, faultfinding and said, "Come on in and make yourself at home!"  I've entertained these guests like bosom friends instead of barring the door to them like God clearly has instructed me to.  I've sat with them and eaten with them and had long and lengthy conversations about how used and abused I've been by others and how these sinful attitudes have a legitimate right to hang around in me.  Yet, in the beginning God made clear the way to deal with the enemy when he comes knocking at the door, "Sin is crouching at the door, eager to control you. But you must subdue it and be its master."  In other words, pull a Nehemiah.  He booted Tobiah right on out of the temple and threw his belongings right on out with him.  Then he cleaned and purified that room and filled it back on up with the instruments for worship.  

I know now what I need to do.  I must throw these adversarial attitudes out of my mind and heart, out of my soul and spirit, out of my temple.  No matter how justified I think I am to hold on to my offense,  I must get rid of every bit of their slimy stuff.  Then I must cleanse the room that I allowed them to occupy.  Thank God that Jesus will help me with that.  Next, I need to fill that room right on up with the love of God and hang a sign on the door..."NO ENEMIES ALLOWED!"

I want to be a clean, pure and free temple of worship for God.  I'm thankful for the lessons I've learned from Nehemiah on what to do to get there.

still following,

Scripture and Snapshot

Also happily linking up with Lisha Epperson.

Thursday, May 29, 2014

Friday's Faves....Trader Joe's Fresh Basil

You know that it's almost summer when the front entrance to Trader Joe's is flanked 
with tiered displays of fresh basil plants.
 At only $2.99, it's worth buying one even if only to clip all the leaves for your favorite pizza margherita.

Plant it outdoors and you'll have plenty of basil all summer long to make pesto or caprese salad.
I'm enjoying my basil plant indoors for a few days, but soon it will be planted in a container out on the patio.

Trader Joe's basil plants, one of the many joys of summer!

It's almost Friday, friends!
Have a HAPPY, HAPPY Friday
a BLESSED weekend!


TidyMomShabby Art Boutique

The homegoing...

I've heard it called a homegoing service. It's a softer sounding name than the somber word "funeral".  We're going to see another member of the generation before us laid to rest.  This time it's my husband's uncle, the pastor who helped my family through a really difficult time in our lives.  We've already said goodbye to both my parents and my husband's father.  Most of our aunts and uncles are gone now.  Many of the older ones that were members of our church when we first moved here seventeen years ago are in heaven now.  It's a strange season to be in,  joining the ranks of those who get the "senior discounts" and the people you thought of as the older ones going home one by one.

As we drive the miles and pass the hours, we drive through memories scattered about all out of chronological order.  It's as though someone has put together a photo album all willy nilly, with our family photos all out of sequence.   Familiar scenery zooms by out the car window.   

There's the road to the denominational office where we worked when life was more about climbing the organizational ladder than caring about people. There's the exit we'd take when we pastored the church in the small town where my girls spent their middle and high school years.  A little farther down the freeway and we'd hit the cutoff toward the coast, the place we were youth pastors at when our youngest daughter was born.  

Periodically a rain shower streaks the window and hinders the view.  As we drive through the familiar places, memories of tears and heartache are mingled with memories of laughter and joy.

We leave the freeway and head over the pass through the mountains.  There I go back in time, before ministry and marriage and children.  It's summertime and mama's got the car all packed with camping supplies, food and goodies she's been baking ahead of time.  We're heading to our favorite camping spot by the lake where my aunt and cousins from California will meet us for a week of pure youthful bliss.  

Thinking about it now, decades later,  I realize that tent camping and sleeping on the ground and still having to cook for and clean up after us couldn't have been much of a restful vacation for our mama, who worked so hard to support us kids now that daddy was gone.   But, oh what great memories she gave us!

We get to the town where the funeral will be held.  We check into our room, then head out to get something to eat.  We drive through the familiar streets. This was the town we did all of our business and shopping in when we pastored our very first tiny little home missions church.  It was located on a former Indian reservation and our very small congregation was mainly native Americans.  Our oldest daughter was three when we first moved there and our second born still a baby.  We were young and naive and inexperienced and poor as church mice.  But miracles of God's provision and intervention in our lives were abundant in our short time there.

At dinner we sit across the table with my husband's sister and her husband.  Our conversation drifts from talking about the uncle that will be laid to rest in the morning, to talking about their parents and memories of our younger married years as well as memories of their childhood.  It seems as though this whole trip has been a homegoing of another kind, a journey through the past.  We've remembered it's highs and it's lows, and recognized that woven through it all there has always been the evidence of God's faithful presence.  And His faithful presence will continue to be with us, all the rest of the way on our long journey home.

still following,


at 3-D Lessons for Life

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Baseball Beans...

Baseball beans are a family favorite.
The recipe started with my sister-in-law who got the recipe from a school cookbook
and then made some changes of her own.
Since then, I have made a few slight changes as well.
{My sister-in-law, is fairly new to the blogosphere, 
so why not pop in and give her a welcome!
Her blog is My Heart 4 Home.}

Baseball beans are something like a baked bean and something like an all in one hearty casserole.
We love them for picnics, barbecues and potlucks...actually we love them any time!
(I've only met one person who doesn't like them and she doesn't like beans in any way shape or form.)

Here's the recipe:

(the source of the name is a mystery)

1 lb. hamburger
1 lb. bacon (I used a 12 oz. pkg. instead.)
and 2 medium onions, chopped (I used one large onion)
Drain off fat.

In crock pot or dutch oven add:
2 - 15 oz. cans pork and beans
2 - 15 oz. cans kidney beans (drain off most of the liquid)
2 - 15 oz. cans butter beans (or another bean of choice-drain off most of the liquid)
1 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup white sugar (I omit this)
1/2 cup ketchup
1/3 cup molasses
1 teaspoon dry mustard (I use 1 1/2 teaspoon)
2 teaspoons worcestershire sauce
Add hamburger, bacon and onion to bean mixture and stir everything together.

Cook in crockpot on high for 4 hours,
or in dutch oven with lid on bake at 350 for an hour.


still following,


TidyMomShabby Art Boutique

Monday, May 26, 2014

Roses, roses, roses...

(edited with one layer of Kim's 0603 texture, soft light mode, 20% opacity)

(edited with one layer of Kim's 1412 texture, multiply mode, 50% opacity-texture erased from the rose)

(edited with one layer of Kim's cherish texture, soft light mode, 30% opacity)

(no texture)

still following,


Sunday, May 25, 2014


I don't know if it was a word in one of the songs or in the sermon this morning, but all I know is that I heard the word marvelous and it was as if it echoed and reverberated into the depths of my soul.  I suppose it's a bit of an old-fashioned word.  You don't hear it used in every day speech very often anymore, but it used to be quite common in our hymns and songs of praise, and rightly so.  According to Webster's dictionary, marvelous means causing wonder, astonishing, miraculous, supernatural, of the highest kind or quality, notably superior.  If that isn't a description of our God,  I don't know what is!   

Isn't He worthy of our adoration, our praise, our worship, our gratitude, our very lives?  Absolutely!  All glory, honor, praise and thanksgiving to our marvelous God!

Since 2009 I've been counting my blessings thanks to the prompting of Ann Voskamp.
 I continue to count my thanks
piling up gratitude day by day
in my little black journal.
(and capturing some of my blessings via my camera or iPhone)


-our "middle" daughter's birthday
(spent in the hospital with her new son)

-God's provision

-a beautiful day
-getting to spend a couple of hours with our two youngest granddaughters
while their mama went to visit her sister and nephew in the hospital
-our grandson passing all of his tests to get out of the hospital
-the guys from our church working on our daughter and son-in-law's yard
while she's in the hospital and he's in South Carolina for his father's funeral

-our grandson discharged from the hospital
(birth age 10 days, gestational age just over 36 weeks)

-our son-in-law safely home from South Carolina
-their freezer stocked with meals from the church
-texting back and forth with my youngest daughter

-our grandson gaining an ounce per day like the doctors say he needs to
-new glasses and contacts and the blessing of sight!
-celebrating together with root beer floats on the final night of our Battlefield of the Mind class
-a great time of prayer and worship

-a morning home with my hubs
-meeting our youngest daughter and our two youngest granddaughters this evening
 at Dairy Queen for ice cream cones

-remembering Uncle Ken and the difference he made in our lives as he went to heaven today
-helping my girl as she's still not allowed to lift and getting to rock and sing to my grandson

-fresh basil

- a healthy dinner

-new faces at church
-powerful worship
-praying for others
-food and fellowship at our BBQ/potluck following church

(cooking the hamburgers and hotdogs)

 (setting up the tables)

(organizing all of the food)

(lining up for the good eats!)

-hearing the good news that there was 13 people baptized at our son-in-law and daughter's church today

gratefully yours,