Laugh Out Loud

The radio guys just informed me that today is International Day of Laughter. I had no idea there was such a day!

I actually got a jump start on the celebration last night when my daughter sent a voice recording of my newest Grand. If I knew how to share it, I would. Who knew a one month old could sound so funny snoring!?! Yes, you read that right, s.n.o.r.i.n.g! Hubby and I both enjoyed a good belly laugh.

A cheerful heart is good medicine, but a broken spirit saps a person’s strength.
Proverbs  17:22

Be blessed today, and may you have many reasons to laugh out loud!

Easy French Bread

Oh. My. Deliciousness!!! The aroma is pretty intoxicating as well!

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However, there is a bread much better than this.

Jesus, the Bread of life.
John 6:25-59

Teaching a  crowd, Jesus said,

“The true bread of God is the one who comes down from heaven and gives life to the world.”

“I am the bread of life. Whoever comes to me will never be hungry again. Whoever believes in me will never be thirsty.”

“Yes, I am the bread of life!”

“For this is the will of my Father, that everyone who looks on the Son and believes in him should have eternal life, and I will raise him up on the last day.”

I have always appreciated and enjoyed a good, crusty bread, but I am humbled and grateful for Jesus. He gave His life so I may have eternal life.

Friends, do you believe?

 

Easy French Bread 

Combine:
2 Pkgs. rapid rise yeast
2 Tbls. sugar
2 tsp. garlic salt with chives
4 c. all purpose flour

Add:
1 egg, slightly beaten
2 Tbls. shortening
2 1/2 c warm water

Stir in 3-4 additional cups of flour, one cup at a time.
Knead 10 minutes.
Place in greased bowl, cover, and let rise 15 min.
Shape into 2 loaves, and place on greased baking sheet. Make 4-5 slashes across the top.
Cover with towel and let rise in warm place until double. (approx. 30 min.)

Bake:
Mix 1 egg and 2 Tlbs milk. Brush on loaves. Bake at 400 for 20 minutes.

A Trailer of Old Windows

A few years ago, a friend was replacing windows in a house. He called my husband and said, “I have all these windows that you should pick up so I don’t have to haul them to the landfill. Surely your wife has a project for them.”

Hubby brought that trailer load home, and the windows got sorted and stacked neatly in a shed. I immediately knew what OUR project would be. However, farm work and lack of confidence kept us from moving forward.

The windows had been stacked, sorted, measured, broken panes replaced, and re-stacked for a year. Finally, Hubby said, “Let’s get started.” So we started. We set all 4 corner support posts, and then it was time to drill wheat. Those 4 posts stood tall like pillars from August to May!

Very slowly, when farm work would allow, one window at a time would be attached to frame work. By end of July, we finally had all 4 sides put together.

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In August, the roof and door were finally in place.

 

 

I loved the old chipped patina on the reclaimed door, so I lightly sanded and sealed.

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Eventually, a “U” shaped potting bench was made with just a foot path through the middle of the house.

An old door makes a fun shelf for old tins and watering cans, and a hand-me-down chandelier adds a bit of glitz to this one-of-a-kinds greenhouse.

Jose’ the Hose Holder and hanging can with flowers great all who pass by.

Our trailer load of windows is now a greenhouse for starting garden seeds, and extending our growing season.

What would you do with a trailer of old windows?

 

Pray without Ceasing

Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.  1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 (ESV)

This verse could easily be devoted to 3 blogs, but today let’s focus on verse 17, “Pray without ceasing.” There are many times throughout my day that I, myself, need God’s wisdom or intervention. In 1 Peter 5, we are encouraged to cast all our cares on God because He cares for us.  Isn’t it wonderful that God cares for each one of us?!  Galatians 5 instructs us to  share in each other’s problems and troubles, carrying each other’s burdens. There are people hurting all around us, and one way to carry their burden is praying for them.

If we pray without ceasing/stopping, how can we get anything else done? Just think of your typical day; work, school, family needs, meal prepping and cleanup, household duties, laundry, bill paying, church and community volunteer responsibilities, after school activities, and …

Pray all day?!

How can we continually pray?

Obviously, we cannot physically be on our knees, head-bowed, and eyes-shut in prayer all day. Prayer is an attitude as well as an activity. Did you catch that?

Prayer is an attitude as well as an activity.

Here are three steps to get us started in our quest:

  • Diligently seek and depend on God throughout the day.
  • Intentionally turn thoughts of others into prayers. For instance, a friend pops into my thoughts while I’m working. I can use that opportunity to pray, “Thank you God for (friend’s name). She is hurting today; comfort her.”
  • When thoughts turn to worry, fear, discouragement, or anger, turn those thoughts into prayer. In Philippians 4:6-7, Paul reminds us, “Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God.” (ESV)

As we practice and are more intentional to “pray without ceasing”, our focus will change. Constant, never-ending, persistent prayer, longing for God and his help, being humbly dependent on God, is an essential part of christian living.

Continue steadfastly in prayer, being watchful in it with thanksgiving. Colossians 4:2 

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Good Morning

“Good morning, merry sunshine,
How did you wake so soon?
You chased away the little stars,
And shone away the moon!”

I remember my mom singing this little verse to wake me on summer mornings when I was young. I’ve tried it a few times with my camp girls, but they did not appreciate my early morning song!

Are you a morning person? Although my days have started early for so much of my life that even on vacation I usually wake with the sun or before, I naturally am not a morning person. I do enjoy starting early mornings with Jesus and the sunrise. A vast expanse of eastern skies with very little to block the view is right out my bedroom window, and the scene from my porch bench for warmer mornings. As I read my Bible and pray my eyes are often lifted towards the dawning sun. I begin the day with the assurance that God knows what lies ahead, and I do not need to try to tackle the obstacles on my own.

Morning by morning he wakens me
and opens my understanding to his will. Isaiah 50:4b NLT

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Those who live at the ends of the earth
stand in awe of your wonders.
From where the sun rises to where it sets,
you inspire shouts of joy. Psalm 65:8 NLT

 Satisfy us each morning with your unfailing love,
 so we may sing for joy to the end of our lives.                                                                                  Psalm 90:14 NLT

Do you remember this little chorus?

“Heavenly Sunshine. Heavenly Sunshine.   Flooding my soul with glory devine.  Heavenly Sunshine. Heavenly Sunshine.  Hallelujah! Jesus is mine.”

 Have a blessed day, and if the sun is not shining in your part of the world, I pray the SON will brighten your day!

The Word is “Kind” Part 2

2015 has been quite the year! Throughout these past 12 months I have been on a personal study of the word “KIND”. You can read about that decision HERE. My eyes have been open to the kindness around and in me. However, at first it seemed I was mainly aware of UNkindness.

Have you noticed how negative our society can be?  The daily news bombards us with doom and gloom reporting. TV and social media is full of backstabbing, criticism, lying, and cheating. Workplaces become a battle ground of gossip, jealousy, and sometimes a celebration of someone’s failure. It was disheartening to recognize the magnitude of this ugliness.  In the midst of these observations I was reminded that my word is “Kind” not “unkind”, and Ephesians 4:32 became my verse for the year.

 “Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you.”

I soon changed my focus to:

  • Intentionally looking for kindness in others
  • Expressing my appreciation when I witness kindness
  • Working on my attitude and behavior to be kind

Kind is a willingness to do good or give pleasure, a sympathetic attitude towards others, having a good or benevolent nature or disposition, considerate, helpful.

One day as I was subbing, I had a student that was being a pest to anyone that came near him. In fact, he had a girl in tears from his unkind words before the morning bell rang! Our day was not off to a great start, and I dreaded what might take place at morning recess. I breathed a quick, “Thank you, Jesus.” prayer when the boy left the basketball game to play with another student. As the class was lining up to return to class, I quietly told the boy I noticed and appreciated how kind he was on recess. The rest of the day was near perfect, and I have not seen the negative behavior on days I’ve been back in his classroom.

Opportunities to be kind present themselves every hour of the day. Growing up, my mom often said, “If you can’t say something nice, don’t say anything at all!” I oftentimes know very little of the trials others are dealing with. They may be having the very worst day of their life, and I have a choice. I can encourage or discourage.

Love is patient and kind” 1 Corinthians 13:4a.

This word study has been a great and challenging exercise, but more than that it is an ongoing life changer. It takes time and practice to overcome and rise above negativity. My goal was not to merely recognize kindness, but for my life and love to be overflowing with kindness. I have not yet accomplished that goal; I am a work in progress.

Did you choose a word for the year? If so, I’d love to hear about it. Will you be choosing a word for 2016? What will it be?

kind

Maundy Thursday Ponderings

On this Maundy Thursday, I have pondered throughout the day. I wonder; if I had lived when Jesus did, would I have been in the crowd singing praises to Him. Would I have been the one to prepare the “Last Supper”. or clean the “Upper Room” and make sure it was ready for Jesus and his guests?

As the sun begins to set beyond the trees…

sunset                                                                                                              I wonder…

If I had been one of Jesus’ disciples, how would I have felt when he washed my stinky, filthy feet? Would I have been like Peter, protesting, and then requesting Jesus  wash my hands and head as well? What would I have thought when Jesus said “And you disciples are clean but not all of you”? (John 13:10b)

Would I have suspected Judas to be the one Jesus said would betray him?

Maundy means command.  Jesus said to the disciples,

“So now I am giving you a new commandment: Love each other. Just as I have loved you, you should love each other. Your love for one another will prove to the world that you are my disciples.” John 13:34,35 NLT

Would I have understood that Jesus wanted me to serve others in love? As Jesus, continued to teach, how much would I have understood. The figures of speech, would I have grasped their meanings? Would I have been able to say with the other disciples,  “Now we understand that you know everything, and there’s no need to question you. From this we believe that you came from God.” (John 16:30 NLT)

How special I would have felt to hear Jesus pray for me and the other disciples. In fact, reading Jesus’ prayer (John 17), I do feel special, loved, cared for, and encouraged. I want to encourage you,dear reader, to read the account of the “Last Supper”. Much can be gleaned from the interaction between Jesus and his disciples immediately before the betrayal and Jesus’ arrest. Don’t miss out on this important part of the Easter story. Read John 13 – 17.