Let Go & Grow

Isa 43:19 I (the Lord) will even make a way in the wilderness, and rivers in the desert.

Yesterday a sweet lady who is much younger than myself called me out of the blue. We had met when she took a Bible class which I taught when we lived in Texas. Through the years there have been changes of jobs, a baby, and now, a possible move to a different state. She called to just visit with me about the possibility and ask if I would be praying that she and her husband would know what God was wanting for them. As she explained to me some of the reasons she felt that it would be a good thing, she also began to voice some concerns. As I listened (and yes, sometimes I do listen and keep quiet) to her, I began to try and think of the times when Randy and I were in the midst of a change and needed God’s guidance. After the phone call ended, I thought about the last 25 years of our lives and all the times which we felt afraid that we would make the wrong decision. As I sat there and wondered what words of wisdom I might pass on to her, I reflected on past happenings. Texting her some thoughts I ended one of the text with….let go & grow! After pushing “send”, I began to wonder where those words came from. I had never said that before. Continuing to think about that, memories came crashing through to me about the times, I had had to let go and the growth that ensued. There were times when letting go was the hardest thing I had done. I remember driving through the desert, moving to California, crying the whole way because we had left our kids and grandkids. What had we done? Why had we said yes to a job that would take us 1500 miles away from our precious family, friends and church? I didn’t want to let go and I didn’t care about growing. But 3 years later, as I looked back I could see that not only had I grown in my dependance on God, but some of our kids had grown in their faith and in their marriage. Since I wasn’t there, they grew more depending upon their spouse, and the Lord to provide some of the things I always tried to step in and do for them. God was getting me out of the way!
Looking back over those times when I really had to let go, there were signs there that let me know that there had been growth, not only in my spiritual life, but in my personal life. Why is letting go so hard, when in our hearts, we know that sometimes that is what God is convicting us to do, in order to get a bigger blessing down the road.
When talking to the sweet friend on the phone that day, of course I told her that I would be praying for peace about the decision they would make, but also that God would grow her heart and if they decided to go with the job offer, that her heart would be softened to allow herself to let go of the years in Texas. It is amazing how, when we are called to a new place, all of a sudden, just like the Israelites, when leaving Egypt, all they remembered was the “good” that they had left. The slavery, the hardships that God was rescuing them from, didn’t cross their minds. Fear of the unknown and not trusting, kept them from the blessing of letting God grant them His promises.
As we encounter new surroundings, we tend to fall back on the old familiar comfort of what we had. It is easier to do that than step into a new adventure with God sometimes. But oh when we do, that adventure can open doors of blessings. Blessings to meet new friends who will shower us with friendship. A new church in which we find ourselves with a new desire of serving, possibly in a new way that we had never thought. Now in my 60’s, it is getting a little easier to trust God for His plan, not mine. There are still times, that I fall back to the past of what I had, but then the Lord reminds me how He was always faithful to me in the new places. That each time I had let go, there was something special that happened in my life. Things that cannot be bought. Spiritual blessings. Hum….maybe after all these years, I am learning a little (quicker) to let go….and grow! Can we look back 10 years ago and see that our faith has grown? Do we have greater peace when those “bends in the road” come? Is our natural response now to pray, instead of panic or phone all our friends when circumstances throw us for a loop?
Let’s determine in our hearts to always trust His heart, even when we can’t see His Hand. We will, most assuredly, be blessed beyond anything we can imagine.

John 10:10, “I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly”

Whistle While You Work

Written a couple of years ago, while living in Texas, I was reminded of how I felt this past week when upon going into a Walgreens, the clerk, (without asking my age) gave me the Senior Discount.

Chocolate Castles

This is probably one of the saddest days of my life. After going to the Texas State Fair yesterday, which happened to be “Seniors Get in Free Day”, it just went downhill from there. As we walked in the gates of the Fair, some young whipper snapper handed both Randy and I a “get in free” ticket, without even asking if we were seniors! How dare he! How does he know that maybe I just wasn’t able to get in all my beauty rest, which would account for the bags under my eyes? Maybe, just maybe, I am prematurely gray and maybe, I might still be carrying some of the baby fat that accumulated while pregnant. Just because we walked in with a camera around our necks, wearing our matching Hawaiian shirts, does not mean that we should automatically be considered “seniors”. I could just not leave this alone. After…

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Slow-Cooker Green Been Casserole

This is a wonderful side dish to add to the Thanksgiving table. Taken from Cooking with Paula Deen, November 2017 magazine, it is one of the recipes that will be at our Thanksgiving dinner. This whole magazine is full of great recipes. Get out and buy it…you won’t be sorry.

3 tables butter
1 (8 oz) package sliced fresh baby portobellos mushrooms
2 large shallots,sliced
2 cloves garlic, diced
5 tables flour
1 cup half & half
2 teas kosher salt
1 teas Italian seasoning
1/2 teas black pepper
2 pounds fresh green beans, cute into 2″ pieces
1 cup fresh french-fried onions

Spray a 4 to 6 quart slow cooker wit cooking spray.
In a large skillet, melt butter over medium heat. Add mushrooms and shallots; cook, stirring occasionally, until tender out 5 minutes.
Stir in garlic, cook for 1 minute.
Stir in flour, cook, stirring constantly, for 2 minutes. Gradually stir in half and half, salt, Italian seasoning and pepper. Cook until mixture thickens, 2-3 minutes. Stir in green beans and spread mixture into the slow cooker.
Cover and cook on low until beans are nearly tender ,4 to 5 hours. Stir mixture and increase heat to high.Cook, uncovered, stirring occasionally until sauce is thickened and beans are tender, about 30 minutes more Transfer to a serving dish and top with french fried onions Serve immediately.

Makes 8 servings

Fall In Flagstaff

We just returned from Flagstaff where we spend several days with some of our kids and grandkids. They invited us along to join in the fun of Fall Break. We aren’t sure if they invited us so we would possibly bring a Handicap Parking sticker with us so that they could park close to all the places they intended to visit, or if they really desired us to be a part of making new memories. When we showed up and reminded them that we did not have a Handicap Parking tag, they let us know that we did indeed need to get one before next years trip, as we were getting old and would be needing one. They are just so caring and thoughtful.

We checked into our room and took a quick little nap, knowing that we would need the extra energy for going to Bearzonia the next morning. That first evening, we enjoyed going to eat at a local eatery, where we enjoyed a meal with the kids, before heading back to their room. Thinking that this would be such a fun night of sitting and playing cards as a family, we were quickly brought back to reality of looking around the room, seeing the kids, each in their own corners with iPads, iPhones or books, when our daughter begins to tell the kids, “get over here and put away the devices. We are going to play cards with Nana and Pawpaw. We don’t know how long they will live and this might be the last time you get to enjoy a vacation with them before they have to go to a nursing home.”

We felt so loved. But play cards we did. I like to think that I’m still pretty alert and have most of my mind, but when the score was added up at the end of the evening, we all just looked at each other after the scores were read aloud. Our 8 year old grandson, Caleb, had beat all of us playing 5 Crown. Now, feeling not only old and defeated, we left to go back to our room. Randy and I talked that evening about Caleb winning. That was his first time to play the game. We play it all the time. What had happened? Maybe we weren’t as alert and smart as we like to think.

Both Randy and I told each other that the next day at Bearzonia, we would show them just how spiffy we still are. We will NOT complain about being tired or how much our feet hurt after walking around for hours. We would not fall behind walking through the petting zoo. We would not complain of heat or cold. We would be the perfect Bearzonia companions. All those resolutions disappeared after about 4 hours. I never made it through the petting zoo. I told them to just take pictures of them petting all those little darling lambs so we could look at them, as i was soaking my feet later that night. After having an owl soar so close to my head that my hair-sprayed stiff hair stuck to one of his wings at the birds of prey show, Randy and I decided that we would just sit at the front gate and snack on the $6 mini bag of popcorn while the rest of the family went off to find the jaguar to take a picture.

As I am sitting here posting about our trip, the news is on. One of the news stories is about a man that was shot and killed in the Walmart parking lot in Flagstaff. We were just there on Wednesday. We had taken Noah to let him pick out some Halloween things to keep him busy while the others were experiencing Flagstaff Extreme Adventure, aka, zip lining and obstacle courses. Do we know how to entertain kids or what?
Looking back over the week, we came home after having made some really good memories. We loved our evening of just sitting with all of us laughing so hard at Family Feud. Watching Caleb beat all of us at cards, was a great reminder of how smart this new generation is and that still, the best times are spent with family. We just hope that we have a few years left to remember all the new memories before we loose our mind. Think we will be getting a handicap permit, if I can remember to apply for one. Maybe that will assure us an invitation to tag along next year.

Cherry Pie

  1. Pies are so much fun to make! Even if you dont like to make the pie crust, there are a couple of tricks that will make the store bought ones taste a little more homemade and flaky!  
  2. If you do like to make your own, the recipe on the can of Crisco is still my favorite! Easy and quick,it always turns out great.
  3. Before putting the top pie crust over the fruit filling, sprinkle about 1/4 cup sugar over the fruit! (This is if you are just using already prepared canned fruit pie filling) if you are using fresh fruit follow the directions from your favorite recipe and skip this step going straight step 5!
  4. If you are making apple or peach, use light brown sugar, all other fruits, use granulated sugar.
  5. Dot the top of the fruit with pats of butter before placing the top crust over the fruit.
  6. You can use minature cookie cutters (such as the fall leaf in the cherry pie above) to make different themes in the crust! Simply cut the top crust with the cookie cutter before folding the crust to place on top of pie.
  7. To use the pieces of dough You have cut out from the piecrust, place them along the outer edge of the piecrust with a little bit of milk to the back of the dough then press lightly into the piecrust edge. ( I just touched my finger in the milk and put it on the edge piecrust and then placed the little fall leaf on top)
  8. Bake at 400 until crust is golden brown. 

Totcho (tater tots meet nachos)

A dear sweet friend sent me a page out of a magazine which gives all the cakes which were popular during the last century. It was so interesting to see how peoples taste change through the years. As I was looking over the cake info, I happened to turn the page over and wa la…here was these delicious looking Totcho’s. For those of you who love tater tots, this one will certainly be one you will want to serve for all those game watching days.

Bake frozen tots as directed on the bag (depending on how many you want to serve will depend on how many tots you use.)
Meanwhile, saute a pound of ground hamburger meat with your favorite taco seasoning. Drain meat, then top the tots with the taco flavored meat. Sprinkle shredded Cheddar cheese and bake for about 5 minutes. Top with drizzled sour cream, chopped black olives and chives.
Add some heat with a drizzle of your favorite hot sauce or Sriracha. Instant Appetizer which will certainly score a touchdown with your guests.

He Goeth Before Me

This morning’s devotion brought back a memory of a poem that I saw years ago. As I was substitute teaching at First Bapt school Jr High in Dallas, TX, I was walking around the room looking over some of the students projects they were working on. As I stood behind a young lady, who was working on a poem, it was so powerful and spoke to my heart that I have remembered it all through the years. In todays devotion from Cheque Book of the Bank of Faith, it once again, came to my thoughts as I read the following:

“He goeth before you into Galilee, there shall ye see him, as he said until you.” Mark 16:7

“Where he appointed to meet his disciples, there he would be in due time. Jesus keeps his tryst. If he promises to meet us at the mercy seat, or in public worship, or in the ordinances, we may depend upon it that he will be there. We may wickedly stay away from the appointed meeting place, but he never does…
where two or three are met together in my name, there am I. He doesn’t say, “there will I be, but ” I am there already.”
Jesus is always first in fellowship. He goeth before you. His heart is with his people, his delight is in them, he is never slow to meet them. In all fellowship, he goeth before us.”

It was these words that brought back the poem, which I remember so vividly to this day. The young lady was writing a poem about a young man who was in a cafe, waiting for his fiancé. After a couple of hours passed without her showing up, the waitress ask him if he would like the check for his drink so he could leave. His response to her was, “oh no thank you, I”m sure she will be here, as she promised to meet me here today.” So he waited. Hours passed without a sign of her. Many attempts from the waitress to give him a check so he could leave always brought the same response, “oh no thank you, I will just wait, as she promised she would come and meet me.” At the end of the poem, the man in the poem was Jesus. The fiancé he was waiting for was you and I.
It brought tears to my eyes thinking about how many times had I promised the Lord I would meet with him in the morning and then got busy doing my own thing, and thinking, that maybe the day which dawned before me would slow down a bit and I would take a moment to sit down for a minute to read my Bible and pray. But then, it never happened.
Yet Jesus, God’s Son, has promised us that He will always be there waiting for us, as He has said in His Word. What is keeping you and I from meeting Him today? What is truly more important that meeting with the King of the Universe, our Creator? The answer to that question is nothing. Nothing should take priority over our meeting with our Lord, yet, then we wonder why He doesn’t speak to us. Where is God when we need Him? He is always there and will always meet us at our point of need, “he goeth before you into Galilee; there shall ye see him, as he said unto you.”
Before going into where ever your Galilee is, let’s take time to meet with Him that He would have a chance to speak to our hearts. He is the lover of our souls. “And we shall see him, for he promises to come to those who believe him, and to manifest himself to them. Rest assured that it will be so, for he does everything according to his word of promise…and be assured that to the end he will do for you as he said unto you.

Triple Chocolate Gingerbread Cake

A while back I posted that a precious friend of ours, from California, passed away a couple of years ago. When I was out visiting with his wife, she passed on to me hundreds of Dave’s recipes which he loved. This is one of those recipes. It also gives a little background about McCormick Cinnamon, which is interesting so will share that also.

“One of McCormick’s favorite destinations is Saigon, where they source premium Saigon Cinnamon. The cinnamon forests in this beautiful Vietnamese Countryside yield the most aromatic and flavorful cinnamon, with twice the volatile oils or regular cinnamon. McCormick global journeys allow your palate to experience international flavor adventures. Begin your own flavor adventure with this remarkable recipe.”

Servings: 16
1 package chocolate cake mix, any variety (Duncan Hines is best)
1 package (4 serving size) instant pudding, chocolate flavor
4 eggs
1 TABLESPOON McCormick Gourmet Collection Ground Ginger
1 teas McCormick Gourmet Collection Saigon Cinnamon
1/2 tesas McCormick Gourmet Collection Ground Allspice
1/2 cup sour cream
1/2 cup vegetable or canola oil

1/2 cup molasses
1/2 cup water
1 cup mini chocolate chips

White Chocolate Drizzle
1 cup white chocolate chips
4 teas milk
1/2 teas Mccormick Pure Vanilla Extract

Preheat oven to 350. Spray a 10 cup bundt pan with Pam baking spray with flour.
Beat all cake ingredients except chocolate chips in a large bowl with electric mixer on low speed until well mixed, scraping sides of bowl as needed.
Beat on medium speed for 2 minutes. Stir in chocolate chips. pour into prepared pan.
Bake at 350 for about 50 minutes or until cake tests done. Cool on cake rack for 15 min and then remove from baking pan onto serving platter.If cake sticks to pan, loosen it from side of pan with long skewer or knife. Cool Completely.

Drizzle: Combine white chocolate chips with milk; microwave on medium power 1 minute. Stir. If necessary, repeat microwave process in 10 second intervals until morsels are melted and mixture is smooth. Stir in vanilla. Drizzle over cooled cake. Drizzle will harden, so prepare just before drizzling over cooled cake.

Pumpkin Pecan Cobbler

Pumpkins Pumpkins everywhere! Isn’t it grand? In fact, if I’m not careful, I will be able to trick or treat as a pumpkin without putting on a costume. Fall is just the best time of the year. Moods change from wanting to find the nearest pool to wanting to bake. Actually, that is not a true statement for me at all. Because I would be the last person anyone would choose to see in a bathing suit, my comfort zone is always the kitchen. But, if I were rich and could afford an island where NO ONE lived or could see, I would love to swim. So I guess because Moo Moos are my costume of choice (and necessity) I love Fall and baking and eating all the great pumpkin recipes which are posted everywhere. I have never made this, but it sounds delicious, so I just printed it up. Taken from Lauren’s Latest on Pinterest, I think it will be one recipe that I will “fall” in love with.

Ingredients
1 cup plus 3 tables flour
2 teas baking powder
1/2 teas salt
3/4 cup sugar
1 teas cinnamon
1/2 teas nutmeg
1/2 teas cloves
1/2 cup of canned pumpkin puree (not pumpkin pie filling
1/4 cup milk
1/4 cup melted butter
1 1/2 teas vanilla

Topping
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup light brown sugar, firmly packed
1/4 cup chopped pecans
1 1/2 cups very hot water

Directions (be sure to read all directions before baking!

Preheat oven to 350.
In a medium bowl, stir together the flour, baking powder, salt, sugar and spices. Set aside.
In a smaller bowl, stir pumpkin, milk, melted butter and vanilla together to mix.
Pour wet ingredients into dry ingredients and mix to create a thick batter. Pour into a small 8″ lightly greased casserole dish with high sides. (Place baking dish on a baking sheet in case it bubbles over.)

For topping, in a separate bowl, stir sugar, brown sugar and pecans together. Spread over the top of the batter evenly. Pour hot water over the entire thing. DO NOT STIR! Bake for 40 min or until middle of cobbler is set.

Serve while still warm with more toasted pecans if desired and vanilla ice cream. Of course, I don’t need to tell you that the ice cream needs to be Blue Bell Homemade Vanilla, right?

Pumpkin Cheesecake Brownies

This is one of my favorite Fall Recipes! You will not be disappointed with this scrumptious brownie recipe. Cream cheese and pumpkin…what a great combination!

Chocolate Castles

Pumpkin Layer:

1/2 cup butter

1 cup brown sugar

1 egg

1 1/2 teas vanilla

1 cup flour

1 tsp baking powder

1 teas cinnamon

1/2 teas pumpkin pie spice

1/4 teas salt

3/4 cup pumpkin

1/2 cup nuts (optional)

Mix all ingredients and spoon into a 8×8 buttered pan.

Cream Cheese Layer

4 oz  softened cream cheese

4 tables sofened butter

1/3 cup sugar

2 tables flour

1 egg

1/2 teas vanilla

Mix and swirl on top of pumpkin mixture. Bake at 350 degrees for about 35 mins. I double this recipe because it keeps so well in the refrigerator. Great to top with whipped cream.

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