Tag Archive | inspiration

Secret Ingredient

The floating “I Love You” heart for our family tradition of 14 days of intentional acts of love has been tucked back in the drawer for another year. We don’t generally celebrate Valentine’s Day with roses, chocolates, wine and an elaborate night out, but we do enjoy being more intentional in the little ways we show our love to each other. Some days the paper heart shows up several times. Other days, it may only get passed once. Some expressions are easy to capture a photo others are not. These designated two weeks are a good reminder to not take love for granted, and to be mindful of ways we can show love every single day. If you want to know more about this tradition, you can read about it here.

The secret ingredient for any lasting relationship is love!

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Love others as Jesus has loved you!

Love is patient and kind. Love is not jealous or boastful or proud or rude. It does not demand its own way. It is not irritable, and it keeps no record of being wronged. It does not rejoice about injustice but rejoices whenever the truth wins out. Love never gives up, never loses faith, is always hopeful, and endures through every circumstance. 1 Corinthians 13:4-7 NLT

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Today

Today was a day of devotion, reflection, education, and introspection.

Doesn’t that sound impressive?! If you want to know the details, continue reading.

My days are generally quite scheduled, but today was a rare exception with not one thing penciled on the calendar. I hardly know what to do on such days! I could have cleaned the house, done some laundry, or baked, but I decided to focus on reconnecting with myself, my husband, and friends.

My husband and I like to begin our day with a short Bible reading together. We have just begun a devotional book that focuses on marriage, and each day has discussion questions. Today’s questions had us think back to our dating years, and reflect on how God brought us together. Thirty-eight years ago was fun to revisit!

I was in Arkansas the 4 weeks between Thanksgiving and Christmas. It was a pleasure  helping my daughter with childcare (AKA playing with grandsons all day). Oh what fun that was!! However, since then I’ve felt a disconnect with the ladies from church. It just so happens there is a ladies Bible study on Thursday mornings. This was a perfect opportunity to reconnect plus study God’s Word together. Following the study, I had lunch with a close friend at our favorite local coffee shop. Such sweet fellowship was shared!

When I arrived home, the sunshine beckoned me to come out and play. My road is much to muddy for a brisk walk, so to the lake I went.

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The peaceful environment and lack of interruptions and distractions allowed my thoughts to bounce from one topic to another. This hour of walking and contemplating was quite energizing.

My day may sound boring, lazy, or mundane to you, but it was rejuvenating to me. It all boils down to perspective. That is why I saw my day filled with devotion, reflection, education, and introspection.

Teach us to number our days,
    that we may gain a heart of wisdom.
Psalm 90:12 NIV

 

Saturday Show and Tell – Sourdough

It’s been quite awhile since I last posted a show & tell, therefore that’s how I’ll start this new year!

One of my very favorite things to do in the kitchen is bread baking. Many years ago, I discovered crusty, tangy sourdough bread tickles my taste-buds. That’s right! In fact, just thinking about a warm loaf fresh from the oven has me salivating! Seriously, I do not exaggerate!

My sourdough starter is several years old, and I started it with no store bought yeast. Did you know there is natural occurring yeast in the air around us? I’m no scientist so I really don’t understand how it all works, but to grow a sourdough starter one only needs water, flour, air, and patience.

There seems to be a rising number of people swearing off gluten whether they have a sensitivity to gluten or not. That would never go over well with my husband/wheat farmer/lover of bread. However, I’ve read many reports that bread made with long fermentation is much easier to digest. Why? During a long fermentation, the proteins begin to break down making it much easier to digest. I cannot tell you from personal experience how much difference this really makes since I don’t have any sensitivity to gluten. I will also caution that most store bought sourdough bread has most likely not had a long fermentation.

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To begin my bread making, I retrieve my starter from the refrigerator, feed it, and let it sit on the counter several hours until it gets bubbly. When it has expanded to almost fill my jar, it’s time to make the dough.

When my dough is mixed, then I put in a large covered bowl or jar for the long fermentation. I like to let it sit and do it’s thing over night. These beauties greeted me in the morning!

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It’s time to dump out the dough and make the loaves. I made two different breads. The round loaves are oat and molasses, and the formed loaves are cinnamon spiral.

The loaves need scored to allow a weak area for steam to release during baking otherwise the loaf may crack. As you can see, I used two different scoring techniques.

After scoring, the loaves are covered and allowed to rise until almost double in size. Then it is time to bake.

Sourdough baking is not a fast task. Time and patience makes the best loaves. This is all too similar to one’s maturity. It is through practice and experience, trial and error, faith and devotion that enables one to grow.

But grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To him be the glory both now and to the day of eternity. Amen. 2 Peter 3:18

 

 

Give Thanks

Whew! What a busy season the past several months have been!

Several years ago, I realized I was taking many of God’s blessings for granted. Quite honestly, I often was not even noticing the numerous ways He was blessing. Noticing and recounting these gifts of grace and joy are not merely for my benefit, but really for God.  You see, God wants us to delight in Him. He wants us to praise Him. He wants us to fully seek Him. By intentionally looking for His blessings and becoming more aware of His everyday presence, I am overcome with humble gratitude and drawn near to God.

God blesses in unexpected ways, and I don’t want to be so wrapped up in busyness that I miss His handiwork! These gifts that bring joy come in all shapes and sizes, some obvious and others minute.

First and foremost, I am grateful for His salvation. I am unworthy of this eternal gift of His grace.

I will praise you forever, O God,
    for what you have done.
I will trust in your good name
    in the presence of your faithful people.
Psalm 52:9 NLT

The sweet aroma and colorful blossoms of honeysuckle were a pleasant surprise; I don’t recall honeysuckle ever blooming mid November at my home on the range. This was a beautiful bright spot in the mostly brown landscape accompanied by gray skies, a blessing from the Lord.

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Encouragement from a longtime friend, an unexpected email asking “How are you?”, songbird choir filling the air with joyful melody, a smile across the room from My Love, answered prayer, a call from a son just to chat, end of wheat planting and harvest, health and strength to help others, the opportunity to live in a country with hard fought freedoms, flexible schedule to give and serve others, beautiful sunsets, starlit sky, a sweet hug, and the list could go on and on because God lavishly blesses with His goodness to each and everyone of us. Take time to notice and give Him praise and thanks.

Give thanks to the Lord and proclaim his greatness.
    Let the whole world know what he has done.
 Sing to him; yes, sing his praises.
    Tell everyone about his wonderful deeds.
 Exult in his holy name;
    rejoice, you who worship the Lord.
 Search for the Lord and for his strength;
    continually seek him.
Psalm 105:1-4 NLT

Weedy Mess

My garden has been a weedy mess! The soaker hoses are strung out, but they have not had to be used much. Weeds have flourished, and vegetables have needed pampering because in the past month my garden has endured heavy frost, a blizzard, hail, wind, and rain.

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Yesterday and today, I finally had some time to eradicate those pesky weeds. Between animal chores and running errands for my Farmer, I pulled weeds, installed tomato cages, mulched around plants, planted remaining vegetable seeds, and swept the carpet paths.  Whew!!

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What a transformation! The early potatoes are blooming and second planting of peas are almost ready to pick. It’s much more enjoyable to pick and dig without weeds. Also, the tomato plants survived the frost and blizzard, and they are blooming on strong stalks.

What’s the past month been like for you? Have you weathered some storms of life? Are you growing stronger, or have you let your guard down allowing weeds to take over? It is time to tackle those weeds! The following is part of David’s prayer of repentance found in Psalm 51, and I pray these verses often.

Wash me clean from my guilt.
    Purify me from my sin.
Purify me from my sins, and I will be clean;
    wash me, and I will be whiter than snow.
Create in me a clean heart, O God.
    Renew a loyal spirit within me.
Restore to me the joy of your salvation,
    and make me willing to obey you. (NLT)

Freezing Rain

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In my corner of the state, moisture of any kind has been next to nothing for quite sometime now. Therefore, when the rain began to fall last evening, I was filled with joy even when it did soon begin to freeze.

It rained through the night, and continues as I type. Already branches are snapping from the heavy coat of ice. This harsh pruning is leaving jagged breaks. Sometimes, when God prunes me, this is what it feels like – harsh, jagged, breaks. However, over time, as I submit to Him and grow He smooths out the splintered edges.

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Choring with Hubby was a bit cold, wet, and slippery, but there were many reasons to be joyful. There was a slight breeze to keep the windmill pumping water for the cows, and although the fence is sagging look at how wet the lane is! That field of wheat will certainly benefit from this moisture.

One does not need to look hard to see that beauty abounds!

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He [God] gives a command to the earth and it quickly obeys him.
 He spreads the snow like wool and scatters the frost like ashes.
He throws down hail like rocks.
    No one can stand the cold he sends.
 Then he gives a command, and it melts.
    He sends the breezes, and the waters flow.
Psalms 147:15-18 NCV