Courage To Believe

As a Christian, when I read this morning’s headline, I have to admit I was upset. I am talking about our president’s change of mind in his views about same-sex marriage. I suppose he could just be evolving in his way of thinking, as he claims, my guess is it was a campaign move. I think what upset me most was not President Obama’s change of mind but reading the comments of people congratulating the president on his courage and insulting Christians for what we believe. Many of the comments call Christians “old-fashioned”, “out of touch”, “narrow-minded”, “bigots” and much more – nothing new to me, I’ve been called these names before; but I ask-

 Doesn’t it take courage to stand by your convictions wholeheartedly?

Real Christians believe wholeheartedly that the Bible is 100% true and that it is the Word of God.

  • In the Old Testament it states that marriage is meant to be between a man and a woman. Genesis 2:24 (NIV1984) For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and they will become one flesh.
  • New Testament states this too:                                                                                                               1 Corinthians 7:2(NIV1984) But since there is so much immorality, each man should have his own wife and each woman her own husband.

Let me just state for the record, I am not judging anyone, only God can do that.                Matthew 7:1-2 (NIV1984) “Do not judge, or you too will be judged. For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.”

I am just stating that I believe the Holy Bible to be 100% true. I accept every word written in it, I do not just choose the parts that appeal to me. If this makes me narrow-minded, old-fashioned, and a bigot I guess I am. But this is a belief I am willing to die for. I wonder if everyone calling me (and other Christians) these names is just as willing to die for their belief.

I was once told by someone that if I could not tell them their way of thinking was ok, I could not be part of their life. This really saddened me, because in order for me to be part of their life they wanted me to give up what I believed. I understand that not everyone thinks as I do, I understand that not everyone has my same beliefs. This does not mean I “hold blindly and intolerantly to a particular creed or opinion” (the definition of a bigot). This means I have courage of convictions.

I know there are people out there who call themselves Christians who are very judgmental and the Bible states they will have to make account for their actions. But also know that the vast majority of Christians, who share their faith, do it because we care, and because we were commissioned to (Matthew 28:19-20), not because we are judging. We believe Acts 4:10-12 … I’ll be completely frank with you—we have nothing to hide. By the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, the One you killed on a cross, the One God raised from the dead, by means of his name this man stands before you healthy and whole. Jesus is ‘the stone you masons threw out, which is now the cornerstone.’ Salvation comes no other way; no other name has been or will be given to us by which we can be saved, only this one.”

Each of us has to choose for ourselves what we will believe. I believe the Bible to be true

– EVERY WORD OF IT –

My not straying from that belief doesn’t make me a bigot, it makes me courageous.

I stand by what I believe.

Posted in Wisdom | Tagged , ,

And So I Wait

I love how God works. My hubby, David, and I are making some big decisions and I really need to know Gods will. This morning I was really stressed, things have been really difficult, and David and I were arguing, because we just can’t wrap our human brain around what’s going on in our lives and we are not quite sure which path we should take. And as I sat down for my morning quiet time, I felt really led to go online to In Touch Ministries, and what do you think the message was today – “God Will Show You His Will”.

One thing that Dr. Stanley said was,

“Wait for the Lord. No matter what you want, never rush ahead of God to get it. It takes more courage to wait.”

I know this was meant for me, because I have been praying about these decisions we need to make for some time now, and I always feel like the Lord is saying – wait. Lately, this has been really hard, because I just want to be through this and I have become really restless. But like it says in Isaiah 40:31

but those who hope in (or wait on) the LORD will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.”

 …and so I wait.

God has walked along side of us all these months and perhaps there is something we need to learn, or some way we need to grow, or perhaps God just hasn’t put everything in the right order yet; whatever it is I know He will never leave us nor forsake us (Hebrews 13:5)

… and so I wait.

Posted in Wisdom | 2 Comments

Traditional Christmas Desserts… Sort Of

As part of our 25 Days of Christmas I’m trying out two new traditional Christmas recipes – fruitcake and plum pudding. These are not the traditional recipes, I would have had to start those about a month or more ago, and being the procrastinator that I am, that didn’t happen. Also, the traditional recipes are made with things like candied fruits, citron, and alcohol; and I’m only guessing here, but I think the combining of these ingredients may be the reason most people don’t like them. I like fruitcake (I know, I know – strange), but I wanted to make something everyone would eat, because after all, I don’t want to eat it all myself. The plum pudding recipe is absolutely nothing like the traditional, it’s more of a bread pudding made with plums, and it is so delicious that the oldest boy Crazy had two servings and he probably would have eaten more. So, without further ado…

Boiled Fruitcake

Ingredients

  • 1 ½ C. mixed dried fruit (I used golden raisins, craisins, and chopped dates)
  • ½ C. unsalted butter
  • ½ C. light brown sugar
  • 2/3 C. strong black tea (I actually used a rooibos)
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 1 c. or 125 g. self-rising flour

Directions

  • Preheat oven to 350*F.
  • In a sauce pan cook dried fruit, butter, sugar and tea over med-high heat.
  • Bring to a boil and then simmer for 20 minutes.
  • Remove from stove and allow to cool.
  • Stir in egg and flour.
  • Pour into a greased 1 lb. loaf pan.
  • Bake 1 ½ hours.

This is a super easy recipe; however, I almost made it into a great big disaster. Friday I came down with my annual Christmas cold and it has settled itself in my head, making everything cloudy. Anyways, when I added the butter I cut one cube in half making it only ¼ c. of butter. I caught my mistake after I simmered it for 20 minutes, so I just added the other ¼ C. to the boiled mixture which actually helped to cool it down quicker. Then my next big ut-oh was with the egg – I mixed everything together put it in the baking pan and set it in the oven to bake. I was cleaning up and thinking to myself, “Boy it’s strange that the recipe didn’t call for an egg”. Well, sure enough, I went back to the recipe and there it was -1 egg, beaten. So, I yanked that pan out of the oven and added the egg. Luckily, it had only been about 1 minute since I put it in, and all was fine.

Plum Pudding

Ingredients

  • 20 slices white sandwich bread, crust removed
  • 2 (15oz) cans purple plums
  • 2 C. golden raisins
  • 1 ½ C. granulated sugar
  • 2 tsp. cinnamon
  • 1 C. butter, melted (that’s 2 sticks, for those of us with head colds)
  • 7 large eggs
  • 2 C. heavy cream
  • Nutmeg

Directions

  • Grease and flour a Bundt pan.
  • Divide bread into 3 stacked piles (7, 7, and 6).
  • Cut each stack into 4 squares (just make a + in your stack).
  • Arrange the small squares from your first stack in your pan, covering the bottom.
  • Pit and slice open about 10 plums, then place cut side down on top of bread.
  • Spread 1 C. of raisins over plums.
  • Mix ½ C. sugar and 1 tsp. cinnamon and sprinkle over pan contents.
  • Pour ½ C. butter over everything in the pan.
  • Repeat all of the above steps 1 more time.
  • Finally, press last stack of bread into pan.
  • Sprinkle ½ C. sugar over bread.
  • In a mixing bowl, beat all the eggs and then mix in all the cream.
  • Place Bundt pan onto a cookie sheet and slowly pour egg mixture into your Bundt pan. (Don’t rush, allow mixture to sink into bread)
  • Sprinkle with nutmeg.
  • Let it all sit for about 30 minutes.
  • Heat oven to 350*F, then bake for 70 minutes.

When this is all finished it will look like a fancy bread pudding. Serve it warm with hard or light sauce, or vanilla ice cream. It is mmm-yummy.

I know these recipes are nothing like the traditional ones, but they’re something most people WILL eat and they don’t take a month to make. You can make and eat these all in the same day, and you can tell yourself, you are having a little bit of Christmas past.

Enjoy!

Posted in Recipes

25 Days – Cinnamon Dough Ornaments

One of the activities on our 25 Days of Christmas list last year and again this year is Cinnamon Dough Ornaments. They are easy, inexpensive, and can be made into any shape. We also made these for Thanksgiving and really you could make them for any holiday. The Crazys made these ornaments in Kindergarten, and the first time they came home, I was in Heaven, because they smell so fantastic.

Here are  two recipes, you can choose which works best for you.

The first is from Kaboose-

What you’ll need:

  • 1 1/2 cups ground cinnamon
  • 1 cup applesauce
  • 1/4 cup white school glue (like Elmer’s)
  • Bowl
  • Plastic food wrap
  • Rolling pin
  • Wax paper
  • Cookie cutters or a knife
  • Ribbon or yarn for hanging
  • Straw

How to make it:

  1. Mix cinnamon, applesauce, and glue together in a bowl. The dough should be as thick as cookie dough. Add a bit of water if the dough is too stiff.
  2. Remove from bowl and knead. Put it back in the bowl, cover with plastic wrap, and let sit for at least a half hour.
  3. Remove the dough; knead again to make sure it’s smooth. Flatten/roll the dough between waxed paper until it’s between 1/4″ thick and 1/8″ thick.
  4. Cut out desired shapes; use a straw to punch a hole for the ribbon to hang. The circle of dough will pull out with the straw.
  5. Gently place the shapes on a piece of clean wax paper. They will take 3-5 days to dry, and you will need to turn them over a couple of times a day for them to dry evenly and flat.
  6. Use acrylic paints or fabric paints to paint details, like white ‘frosting’ on a gingerbread man or gingerbread house.

The next recipe is from my MIL’s Beta Sigma Phi Celebrations Cookbook                                 (the appearance of these is a little more rustic, if that’s possible)-

What you’ll need:

  • 3/4 cup ground cinnamon
  • 1 Tbsp. ground allspice
  • 2 Tbsp. ground cloves
  • 1 Tbsp. ground nutmeg
  • 1 cup applesauce
  • Bowl
  • Rolling pin
  • Cookie cutters

How to make it:

  1. Mix cinnamon, allspice, cloves, and nutmeg in a glass bowl or plastic bag. Add      applesauce; mix well. The dough will be stiff.
  2. Roll to 1/4″ thickness on ungreased cookie sheet, marble slab or other flat surface.
  3. Cut into desired shapes with cookie cutters. Remove excess dough.
  4. Make holes for hanging ornaments with metal skewer or straw. Let dry, uncovered, at room temperature for 4 to 5 days.

Remember how I told you I was a procrastinator? Well, when we made these for Thanksgiving I waited too long and didn’t have 3 to 5 days to wait for them to dry, so I put them in my food dehydrator and they were dry by the end of the day.

These can be hung on the tree or on wreaths, attached to gifts, incorporate them into a center piece; whatever you decide to do your home will smell terrific.

Enjoy!

Posted in Recipes | 2 Comments

25 Days

Today is December 1st; this means there are only 25 days until Christmas.  Does the thought of this bring excitement, joy, and wonderment, or fear and dread? Or a little bit of all of them? I know for myself, it’s a little bit of all of them. I get so excited about all the things I want to do, then I plan too much and become overwhelmed. I picture my hubby and myself as one of those romanticized Christmas movie couples out on the town joyfully shopping and sipping cocoa, but our romantic evening turns into an argument about why the boy Crazys should not own a BB gun. I dream of the Crazys and me baking up beautiful masterpieces in the kitchen, but that usually ends with the Crazys eating all the cookies and climbing the walls. I realize I don’t live in a Hollywood movie and that the reality of my Christmas past is its insanity, and then depression kicks in.

Last year I decided I would do what a lot of my friends were doing, a little thing called The 25 Days of Christmas. The idea behind The 25 Days of Christmas is to do something fun each day of December to count down the days to Christmas, and to build wonderful memories. Going into this last year I did not realize just the magnitude of how much it would take to accomplish what I had planned. I made my list and was certain it would be exciting and would build memories that would last a lifetime. What I did not do was prepare for each event, and I also did not consider how busy I was. I was attending Bible school, volunteering several hours at my church and at the Crazys’ school, leading a table for MOPS, and running a household. I know some of you are super organized and this would have been a simple task, I am not like you, and needless to say I became a little psycho. Then to make matters worse I was posting a picture each day on Facebook of all the wonderful experiences we were having. The truth of it is there were days when the Crazys just didn’t want to do anything and their psycho momma kept telling them, “We are making memories here, and we need to get that picture on Facebook, people are waiting”. Oh, we were making memories alright.

Remembering just how chaotic (not to mention psycho) the 25 Days of Christmas was last year, I informed the Crazys they didn’t have to worry, they would not be forced to do it this year. 

“What! That was really fun,” was their response.

WHAT! Don’t you remember Psycho Momma? Well I remember her, so I went to MY momma for advice on what I should do. She gave me the best advice ever –Pray. And that is exactly what I did. The other day I was having Coffee with God, and I prayed that He would help me to build good memories and that I wouldn’t try to make Christmas a Hollywood movie, and that I would remember just why we celebrate. He sent His answer in the form of three grannies.

The girl Crazy has been wanting new clothes for her Barbie, and well, lets just say the ones in the store are a little too risqué for my taste, so I headed to the fabric store in hopes of finding something a little more modest. Enter the three grannies. I’m not really sure how our conversation began, but before I knew it these grannies were telling me all about their husbands who had passed, how little fabric and patterns used to cost, one of them was teaching her granddaughter to sew, and all three were making special gift for their children and grandchildren. I sat there for close to an hour listening to their stories, and I seriously considered exchanging phone numbers so I could talk with them more. I never did find a pattern for Barbie, but I did realize I didn’t want Christmas to be about the fancy places we could go, or the expensive gifts I could buy, I wanted it to be about little memories and remembering that we don’t give to get, but we give because it helps us to remember what was given to us – a Savior.

I was born in November, so this will be my 43rd Christmas, and I can’t remember most of the presents that were bought for me, but I remember little events and special gifts. Some of my favorite memories are of the Christmas programs I was in at church, saying my little piece of the Bible in front of the church, and then at the end we would always get a candy cane and an orange. We never had a lot of money when I was kid and one year I wanted Barbie furniture, well my mom couldn’t afford the stuff they had in the store, so she made some out of wood and material she had around the house. It was beautiful and it lasted forever, and now as an adult it means so much to me that she would do that. We always made ALL the cookies on Christmas Eve. I always thought this was because my mom wanted really fresh cookies when our guest came, but recently she told me it was because she was a procrastinator (I’m one too, like mother like daughter), but this is such a fun memory for me – all of us in the kitchen covered in flour with dough up to our elbows. We always had cocoa and toast after decorating the tree, and every year we receive PJs from my grandma on Christmas Eve. -Little memories that add up to so much.

Little memories, this is my goal for this year. I may not accomplish all I want, but I’m not going to be hard on myself, and I am definitely going to keep Psycho Momma away. We’re going to celebrate the birth of our Savior, and give because He gave.

Different ways to celebrate the 25 Days of Christmas:

  • 25 days of activities
  • 25 days of baking (make sure you have someone to share with or you’ll have 25 months of dieting after Christmas)
  • 25 days of scripture (read the prophecies about Jesus and the story of His birth)
  • 25 names of Jesus (there are more than 25, so this could continue past Christmas)
  • 25 days of crafts
  • 25 days of Christmas books
  • 25 days of Christmas movies
  • 25 days of good deeds and charity
  • 25 days of ornaments (make a new one each day, maybe put the names of Jesus on them)
  • 25 days of chocolate (e.g. those chocolate Advent calendars) or 25 days of treats

 The 25 days is only limited by your imagination. Decide what you want your Christmas memories to be and make your 25 Days of Christmas about that.

Posted in Wisdom | 1 Comment

Cats, Mice, and Cheesy Not-So-Goodness

“While the cats away, the mice will play” is how the old idiom goes. My hubby, who had reached the point of no return in stir craziness, having been cooped up in the Little House for the last week and a half, sneaked away to visit a friend of his while I was at work yesterday. Although I was a bit nervous about his little venture in to the real world, I realized he wasn’t ready to leave the planet just yet and probably wouldn’t do anything too stupid, so with a huge prayer to the Lord above I wished him well and went to pick up the Crazys from school.

Now, you are probably thinking I was the cat in this scenario, but you would be wrong, the cat was actually my hubby and the Crazys and I the mice. On the way home from school we needed to go vote and return a Blu-Ray and this little adventure took us right past the pizza joint we pre-heart attack visited weekly – my weekly turn a blind eye to preservatives dinner that we all inhaled without even a second thought to what it was doing to our insides. Anyhow, I digress, we were in the minivan headed home when the oldest boy Crazy spies the pizza joint and longingly asks,

“Wouldn’t it be great to have that unhealthy goodness for dinner tonight?” (Yes, he did actually say unhealthy goodness)

Well, I had to admit I too had been craving a nice box of cheesy pie; so I declared, “If Daddy eats out tonight, we’ll have pizza.”

A mere hour later the hubby called to let me know he was eating at his friend’s house. Once again, I wished him well and told him to make smart choices and informed the Crazys – “Its pizza night.” – there were hurrahs all around.

Then the oldest boy Crazy, you know the one who suggested the unhealthy goodness in the first place, nervously asked, “What’s Daddy having for dinner?”

“I don’t know,” I said, “but hopefully he will make good choices.” Then off to the pizza joint I headed.

On the way there I started thinking about the layers of grease that would be floating atop my pizza, and my stomach started to turn. After weeks of happy heart eating would this pizza even taste good? Will it be too salty? Will the Crazys enjoy it as much as they think they’re going to? Suddenly, the soy sausage zucchini bake we were going to have for dinner sounded much better. Never-the-less, I continued on to the pizza joint. Walking in I realized the last time I had stepped foot into this joint had been two weeks ago, the night my hubby had his heart attack, now the cheesy goodness was seeming more and more like sat-fat filled cheesy not-so-goodness. This, however, did not stop me from ordering our regular.

At home the Crazys anxiously awaited my arrival with the table already set. I had barely set the box down, when they began to dig in, and after a few chews I posed the question –

“Well, what do you think? Is it as good as you had hoped?”

The vote was split, the two boy Crazys were completely pleased. The girl Crazy and me – not so much. To be honest, the sat-fats were definitely not agreeing with me, all the cheesy goodness wasn’t really all that good, and my slice of pizza felt like a brick in the pit of my stomach. I was truly missing the heart happy food of the last two weeks. After we finished our sat-fat filled artery clogging dinner, the hubby called and told me he had had a nice meal of salmon and salad – I was very jealous. I promised myself right then and there, from now on the Little House serves only heart friendly meals. After all, after only two weeks of healthy goodness my skin was glowing and I could pull my jeans down without unbuttoning them – Can you say shopping spree?

So from now on when I start thinking a nice cheesy pie sounds good, I’m going to remember my stomach ache and the pimple I swear formed before the end of the meal, and just start chanting my new mantra – “shopping spree, shopping spree, shopping spree”

Unit next time, enjoy your adventure.

Posted in The Crazys

Pumpkin Chili

Many of you know my hubby suffered a heart attack a couple of weeks ago, and thanks to lots of prayer and great medical care he is doing well. He’s been home resting for about a week now, and he’s going a little stir crazy – he hooked up LOTS of speakers to just about anything he could, he arranged to have a new roof put on the Little House (thank Heavens we needed one), and he decided we needed cable TV so he could watch football. The new roof had me doing cartwheels, the speakers not so much, and football had me thinking – Football Food!!! The only problem was, having never really been a football watcher, I wasn’t really sure what football food was. I also had another problem, even though I wasn’t quite sure what football food was, I was pretty sure it was high in fat and salt – two ingredients that were now a no-no for my hubby. What I came up with was chili – Pumpkin Chili.

Pumpkin Chili is something I have been making for years and has always been a hit with both family and friends, and I have shared its recipe with just about everyone I know. I was very excited, because I was sure chili had to be a football food – right? My chili recipe had a problem though, it was made with canned beans and they have LOTS of sodium in them; even after you rinse them they’re still loaded. Also, in the past I’ve used canned pumpkin and canned tomatoes. Luckily, I had already cooked some dry beans and roasted some pumpkin and I had both in my freezer. I didn’t really want to use canned tomatoes and I didn’t have any freshly stewed, so I thought to myself – “hmm, I wonder how it would taste if I roasted the tomatoes and veggies for the chili?” Let me just say YUM! The chili was fantastic and it was great with football, so I thought I’d share…

If you’re going to make this fresh, you will need to start EARLY in the morning or a day before, because cooking the beans takes about 3 ½ hours at a minimum, roasting the pumpkin in an hour, and roasting the tomatoes and the veggies is another hour. 

Put dry red kidney beans in a pot with 3 C. water, bring to a boil and reduce heat. Simmer for 2 minutes; remove from heat, cover and let sit for 1 hour. Drain beans in a colander and rinse. Return beans to your pot with 3 cups of fresh water, bring to a boil, reduce heat, cover, and simmer for 2 ½ hours or until the beans are tender. 

If you hurry, you can still get sugar pumpkins. This is the girl Crazy at a local farm.

“No honey, that’s butternut squash not pumpkin” – crazy girl.

Bring that sugar pumpkin home, wash it off, cut it in half, clean out all the guts, stick it on a rimmed baking pan with just a little water and roast at 400* for about an hour, when its done the skin pretty much just falls off. Take that yummy pumpkin meat; stick it in your food processor and puree.

Next, you need to get those tomatoes and veggies into the oven. Reduce your heat to 350*, then slice 8 Roma tomatoes in half. Don’t worry about the skin and the seeds, just put it all in the baking dish– waste not want not. Core and seed one sweet bell pepper – use what ever color is your favorite (I used green). Cut it into large pieces and toss it into the pan. Also, toss in one medium onion peeled and cubed, one stalk of celery cut into about 2 inch pieces, and 4 garlic cloves. Spray it all with non-fat cooking spray and if you like sprinkle with salt (I skipped this part). Toss it all in the oven and bake for an hour.

When it’s done it should look like this:

Take those steaming hot veggies and toss them in your food processor

and puree them until they look like this

You’re almost done. You now need to fry up some ground chicken breast. You can buy this already ground at the grocery store, or you can do what I do and buy boneless skinless chicken breast and grind them yourself. The benefit of doing this is you can buy nice healthy meat and you know nothing else has been ground up with it. If you don’t own a meat grinder, fret not – head on back to that food processor, toss in your chicken breast, and puree. You now have ground chicken breast.

Ok, we’re heading into the home stretch. Now you’re going to mix it all together with some spices (in the shopping list below), bring it to a boil, reduce heat and simmer for 20 minutes. When its all done you can either serve it with a little grated cheese and diced green onion (how I used to do it) or you can serve it the heart-healthy way with cilantro and dice avocado (my new way).

Your shopping list:

  • 2 ½ C. cooked red kidney beans
  • 2 C. roasted pumpkin puree
  • 8 Roma tomatoes
  • 1 large sweet bell pepper
  • 1 medium onion
  • 1 celery stalk
  • 4 cloves garlic
  • 1 lb. ground chicken breast
  • 3 tsp. chili powder
  • ½ tsp. black pepper
  • ½ – 1 tsp. salt (I used a heart healthy half)
  • ½ tsp. cumin
  • ½ tsp. paprika
  • Avocado
  • Fresh cilantro

I hope you enjoy.

I’m off now, its Monday and football is on tonight – I need another football meal.

Posted in Recipes | 2 Comments