The Farmer’s Market

This week at the Farmer’s Market….

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I’m excited about what’s happening in Monticello.  I really think that people are awakening to a more nourishing way of life.  The 3 year old Farmer’s Market in town is becoming proof.

This week, I’ve been getting a few things ready to take to market.  I will have some of the following:

  • Blackberry Jelly
  • Peach Preserves
  • Jalapeno Blackberry Jelly
  • Jalapeno Strawberry Jelly
  • Peach Jelly
  • Sourdough Bread
  • Sourdough Cookies
  • Sourdough Pasta
  • Homemade Pet Treats
  • Non-Toxic Multi-Surface Cleaner
  • Homemade Laundry Detergent
  • And more…

There are lots of yummiess at the market.  You’ll be able to find lots of fresh produce as well as local honey and crafts.  Come hang out with us on Tuesday nights from 4:00 – 6:00pm.  The Monticello Farmer’s Market is in the little park by the Court House and Detention Center in Monticello.

DEVO: Unhand That Spoon…

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It is often my custom to read a chapter of Proverbs every day.  I love the wisdom contained in the pages.  Even though I read it often, it seems like new nuggets of wisdom jump out at me regularly.  My dad always used to suggest that to people, and I even suggest it myself, now.  Proverbs has 31 chapters, and it is know as the book of wisdom.  There’s one chapter of wisdom for every day of the month!  As I was sitting in my comfy chair reading Proverbs 26 this morning, verse 17 stuck out to me so much.  It was almost like a ton of bricks just fell in my lap!

Proverbs 26:17 AMP – “He who, passing by, stops to meddle with strife that is none of his business is like one who takes a dog by the ears.”

Not every pot we walk by in life needs to be stirred.  I tend to feel like I know what is best not only for me personally, but for all those around me as well, and if you don’t believe me, just ask me!  It’s something I have been working on in my personal growth and in my pursuit of less.  I can wear myself out with a quickness trying to attend to the affairs and business of others.  I am learning that managing my own life is enough for me.

I never would have considered myself a busy-body or a gossip – although that certainly applies with this scripture.  What I’m talking about for me is feeling the need to share from my pearls of wisdom how things should be done, and if it still isn’t done in a way I would like, then I’d get in there and do it for them!  Granted, some areas of my life demand that I get involved.  Some areas of your life demand the same from you.  These are our pots.  They are our responsibilities.  I operate a private school.  What happens in that school is my business, and I need to be involved.  I need to stir that pot.  Those of you with children, your child is one of your pots.  It is totally ok and necessary to be in your child’s business.  I’m not asking anyone to let go of their responsibilities.

What we are talking about is letting go of things that we can’t or don’t need to control.  We can’t make other people do what we want them to do!  Believe me, I have tried!!  It usually doesn’t end successfully.  Do we really need to instruct our spouse on the proper way to chop an onion or load a dishwasher?  My puppies wouldn’t like it very much if I picked them up by their ears, and Proverbs tells us the people that surround us won’t like it very much when we meddle in areas that are not ours in which to meddle.  More often than not, my need to unnecessarily control will end in the other person resenting me, and I end up with needless emotional turmoil.  Too many cooks in the kitchen makes for a bad meal.  We can walk past the pot without picking up the spoon to stir it.

Just a side note:  Leviticus 19:17 AMP tells us, “you shall not hate your brother in your heart; but you shall surely rebuke your neighbor, lest you incur sin because of him.” Galatians 6:1 AMP also says, “Brethren, if any person is overtaken in misconduct or sin of any sort, you who are spiritual should set him right and restore and reinstate him, without any sense of superiority and will all gentleness, keeping an attentive eye on yourself, lest you should be tempted also.”  There are times that we need to get involved.  There are times when we need to call sin for what it is; however, the majority of the time, we just need to focus on our own business and let everything else be.

PRAYER STARTER:  God, grant me the wisdom to stay in my lane.  Help me to know what to say and when to say it.  Show me what pots are mine, and give me strength to let go of unnecessary control over others.  Thank You for peace that passes all understanding.  I thank You that the Holy Spirit leads, guides, and directs me in every step I take.

Weekly Devo: Take No Offense

Take No Offense…

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I’ve heard it said, “Holding a grudge doesn’t make us strong; it makes us bitter.  Forgiving doesn’t make us weak; it sets us free.” Isn’t that the truth!  Every single day, we are given multiple opportunities to be offended by others.  Someone cuts us off in traffic – now we’re offended.  Our husband or wife says something to us in a less than loving tone – now, we’re offended.  We didn’t get the grade we thought we deserved – now, we’re offended.  We feel like we were overlooked for a promotion – now, we’re offended.  We find out someone has been spreading gossip about us – now, we’re offended.  Our friend doesn’t want to do something we want them to do – now, we’re offended.  In those moments, we have to decide if we are willing to trade our peace for offense.  We don’t have to be offended.  We choose to be offended.  An offence is defined as something that is designed to irritate, annoy or anger; cause resentful displeasure; to affect disagreeably; to hurt or cause pain.  If I don’t watch myself, picking up offences can become a daily habit.  Luke 17:1-5 tells us, “He [Jesus] said to His disciples, “Offenses will certainly come, but woe to the one they come through! It would be better for him if a millstone were hung around his neck and he were thrown into the sea than for him to cause one of these little ones to stumble. Be on your guard. If your brother sins, rebuke him, and if he repents, forgive him. And if he sins against you seven times in a day, and comes back to you seven times, saying, ‘I repent,’ you must forgive him.” The apostles said to the Lord, “Increase our faith.””  Jesus was telling us that there is no way getting around opportunities to be offended; however, when those times arise, the choice the believer must make is to forgive and let go.  Upon hearing this, the disciples said, “increase our faith!”  They knew how easy it can be to feel justified in our offended state.  We need faith in God that when we release it to Him, He will take care of it and heal our hearts.

There are three types of offense we will face in life.  The first type is imaginary offense.  This happens when we perceive some type of hurt that is simply not there or didn’t happen.  The next is accidental offense.  This type of offense happens when a person unknowingly does something that hurts our feelings or upsets us.  The third type of offense is real offense.  This is when a person does something on purpose to cause pain to another person.  We face these situations every day.  They come at us like little presents waiting to be opened.  When faced with offenses, we must decide whether we will pick them up or leave them there and keep going.  Acts 24:16 tells us, “Therefore I always exercise and discipline myself [mortifying my body, deadening my carnal affections, bodily appetites, and worldly desires, endeavoring in all respects] to have a clear (unshaken, blameless) conscice, void of offense toward God and man.”  It will take exercise and determination to not be offended when bad things happen.  If we are going to live a life free of offence and unforgiveness, we are going to have to daily work at it.  Forgiveness doesn’t come naturally.  Our flesh wants to get even or see people get what they deserve.  This type of thinking is dangerous.  It will evolve in to bitterness and slowly eat us up from the inside out.

So, how do we know if we are offended or have unforgiveness in us.  When we take offense to things that have been said or done to us, we start rehearsing it to ourselves and others over and over again.  Instead of dealing with what has happened to us, working through the pain, and giving it to God, we rehearse it, and we tell it everywhere we go.  Have you ever seen a child with a boo boo?  Most of the time, the child will want to peel off the bandaid and show and tell everyone what has happened.  It is the same way with us.  We have horrible things that happen to us or are said to us, and our natural reaction is to want to show everyone, tell everyone, and keep picking at the thing that happened until it becomes sore and infected.  This is not God’s intention for our lives.  There is healing for every hurt that we face.  We don’t have to allow the hurts of life to consume us and control us.  Psalm 55:22 tells us to “cast your burden on the Lord [releasing the weight of it] and He will sustain you; He will never allow the [consistently] righteous to be moved. [1 Peter 5:7].”  Another way to know that we are offended or have unforgiveness is if we are unwilling to go somewhere or do something that we would like to do, simply because there is a certain person at the same place. We are allowing ourselves to be controlled by that person.  God doesn’t want anyone or anything controlling us.  He wants us to be led by the Holy Spirit.  Proverbs 19:11 says, “Good sense makes a man restrain his anger, and it is his glory to overlook a transgression or an offense.”  James 1:19-20 goes on to say, “Understand this, my beloved brethren.  Let every man be quick to hear [a ready listener], slow to speak, slow to take offense and to get angry.  For man’s anger does not promote the righteousness God [wishes and requires].”

God is calling us to forgiveness.  I encourage you to let go of past hurts.  You will never move forward in your life hanging on to the problems and circumstances of the past.  God is not only calling us to forgiveness, He’s commanding forgiveness.  Leviticus 19:16-18 says, “You shall not go up and down as a dispenser of gossip and scandal among your people, nor shall you [secure yourself by false testimony or by silence and] endanger the life of your neighbor.  I am the Lord.  You shall not hate your brother in your heart; but you shall surely rebuke your neighbor, lest you incur sin because of him. [Gal. 6:1; I John 2:9, 11; 3:15.]  You shall not take revenge or bear any grudge against the sons of your people, but you shall love your neighbor as yourself.  I am the Lord. [Matt. 5:43-46; Rom. 12:17, 19.]

So, God is telling us, don’t gossip about everything that is going on around us.  Don’t hang on to grudges.  Be quick and ready to forgive!  Matthew 6:15 says, “But if you do not forgive others their trespasses [their reckless and willful sins, leaving them, letting them go, and giving up resentment], neither will your Father forgive you your trespasses.”  I don’t know about you, but I need the forgiveness of God.  I don’t want to go through life bitter and resentful over things that have happened in the past.  I encourage you, if you have unforgiveness or offense in your heart, do as the Disney movie once said, “Let it go!”

Weekly Devo: When did rest become a four letter word?

When Did Rest Become a Four Letter Word?

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Matthew 11:28-30 in the Message Bible says, “Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out on religion? Come to me. Get away with me and you’ll recover your life. I’ll show you how to take a real rest. Walk with me and work with me—watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace. I won’t lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you. Keep company with me and you’ll learn to live freely and lightly.”

Does this sound like you?  Our culture values busy.  Ask anyone walking the social mecca of Monticello, also known as Wal-Mart, how they are, and I would almost guarantee they will say, “I’m so busy!”  What are we busy doing?  Are we being fruitful, or are we just grinding on the daily hamster wheel of life?

I used to value busy.  I used to think that the more things I could pack into my answer somehow made me more awesome, more productive, or more spiritual.  I found that all it really made me was grumpy and exhausted.  I would come home at the end of the day wondering where my day went and why little to no progress was being made.

God values our quality of life! John 10:10 in the Amplified versions says, “The thief comes only in order to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have and enjoy life, and have it in abundance (to the full, till it overflows).”

This tells us the enemy is seeking to destroy our quality of life.  He comes to steal away precious moments which God gives us to steward.  He comes to steal family dinner time, precious time praying and interceding for others, time spent seeking God and reading His Word, and seeks to exhaust us to the point where we are ready to give up.  When speaking about Satan, the Prophet Isaiah said in Isaiah 14:12, “How have you fallen from heaven, O light-bringer and daystar, son of the morning! How you have been cut down to the ground, you who weakened and laid low the nations [O blasphemous, satanic king of Babylon!]”  He wants to weaken us and take our joy.  No one who is exhausted is full of joy.  Why does he go after our joy?  Nehemiah 8:10 tells us that the “joy of the Lord is our strength.”  Without joy, the believer is rendered powerless.

However, the blame cannot be given entirely to Satan.  Eve tried that trick in the garden by blaming Satan for eating the fruit, and God didn’t buy her “the devil made me do it” defense.  I have found that sometimes I can do a better job than Satan of putting on myself much more than I can bear.  Then, I begin the blame game of trying to ask God why He gave me so much to handle, or trying to tell myself that the old Devil is just stealing my time.  In reality, when I am overwhelmed to the point of being ready to quit, it’s normally me stepping outside of God’s intention and design for my life.

God is calling us to come away with Him.  He’s calling us to a more intimate relationship with Him.  That type of intimacy can only happen when we can devote time to Him – to prayer and reading His Word.  We will only be able to devote time to him when we begin to edit our life.  Not every good thing we do is something that God intended for us to do.  Maybe, the kids don’t need to have 5 extra curricular activities each.  Maybe, we don’t need to volunteer for everything going.  Maybe, we don’t need to say yes to every opportunity that presents itself that seems good.  Maybe, we can learn to be content with doing less, having less, and being less.  This line of thinking sounds so weird doesn’t it?  As I read those words back, I can almost picture the look on your face.  When we are willing to let go of a life lived pursuing the “Joneses,” then we can make room and time for a life lived pursuing the Master.

I’m reminded of Luke 10 beginning in verse 38:  “Now while they were on their way, it occurred that Jesus entered a certain village, and a woman named Martha received and welcomed Him into her house. And she had a sister named Mary, who seated herself at the Lord’s feet and was listening to His teaching. But Martha [overly occupied and too busy] was distracted with much serving; and she came up to Him and said, Lord, is it nothing to You that my sister has left me to serve alone? Tell her then to help me [to lend a hand and do her part along with me]!

But the Lord replied to her by saying, Martha, Martha, you are anxious and troubled about many things; There is need of only one or but a few things. Mary has chosen the good portion [that which is to her advantage], which shall not be taken away from her.”

Here Martha is just trying to be a good hostess.  She wants to make sure everything is perfect for Jesus’ visit.  She is trying to get the meal ready, make sure the house is clean, and try to make sure everyone has everything that they need. Sound familiar?  She sees Mary just sitting at Jesus’ feet, and finally, she can’t take it anymore!  She walks up to Jesus and says, “Do something about this!  She knows I’m working myself to the bone here!  Make her get up and help me!”

Jesus tries to make her see that it’s better to not be caught up in the hamster wheel of life.  He tries to invite her to drop all of it and come sit at His feet.  Jesus offers us the same invitation today.  “Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy-laden and overburdened, and I will cause you to rest. [I will ease and relieve and refresh your souls.]  Take My yoke upon you and learn of Me, for I am gentle (meek) and humble (lowly) in heart, and you will find rest (relief and ease and refreshment and recreation and blessed quiet) for your souls. [Jer. 6:16.]  For My yoke is wholesome (useful, good–not harsh, hard, sharp, or pressing, but comfortable, gracious, and pleasant), and My burden is light and easy to be borne.” Matthew 11:28-30 Amplified Version

So I Made Cheese Jello, & You Should Too!

Ok, so that’s probably not the most appealing title for a blog post!  However, if you will just hang with me, I’m going to show you how to make a homemade version of the cheese-like block that we’ve all bought to make our rotel dips, chicken spaghetti, and casseroles so ooooey and goooooey!

Why would I choose to do this???  I have a hip that bothers me a lot.  I’m even seeing the chiropractor off and on to make sure the pesky thing doesn’t go rouge and gets out of place.  My hubby and I prefer to do things as natural as possible.  The hubs suggested that I start taking collagen to help my joints.  We got some beef collagen, and I tried to take it.  I put it in broth.  I even tried putting some it soup.  Y’all, it was SO GROSS!  I can’t even tell you how gross!  Imagine jello soup!

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The collagen ended up setting in the pantry for a long time!  I finally decided that my body needed it, and so I determined to find a yummy way to get this stuff in me!

I am a lover of most all things cheese!  My husband, staff, and volunteers will verify that I eat nachos almost daily.  I can’t think of a day that I go without some kind of cheese or dip!  I can turn anything in to a nacho!  I began to research how to make my own cheese-like block.  We all know the one.  The block is a yellow-orange and comes wrapped in foil.  I know that the store bought version is full of chemicals, so if I can make this naturally, as well as getting this collagen to my joints… it’s a win-win!

I found a few recipes online for the cheese-like block, but I found that I tweaked them before I settled in on one that I really like.  The great thing about this recipe is you can have any kind of cheese-like block you want by varying what type of cheese and seasonings you use.  For this recipe, I used a mix of white cheddar and sharp cheddar shredded off the block.  I don’t like using pre-shredded cheese.  The pre-shredded bags are full of corn starch and preservatives that I can live without.  I didn’t put any extra seasonings in this first attempt; however, I believe the next time I make it, I will add some paprika, onion powder, and cyan pepper.  I’ve also included a similar recipe that I used to make a cheese spread for crackers.  It taste like the squeeze cheese you can get in the cracker aisle of the big box store.  I’ve been eating on that every morning since I made the original batch.

Enough of the why… Let’s talk about how!  The first step is to line a mini loaf pan with plastic wrap.  Let’s be honest here… You can line anything you want with plastic wrap to hold the goodness, but if you want it to resemble the cheese-like block when you’re done, use a loaf pan.  The next step is to grate 3 cups of cheese.  Again, I used a mix of white cheddar and sharp cheddar.  Put your 3 cups of cheese in a blender, so it will be ready for the magic!

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In a small pan, pour 3/4 cup whole milk, 2 tablespoons of heavy cream or half & half, 1 teaspoon of salt, and 2 teaspoons of your gelatin.  Put the pan on medium heat.  You’ll need to use a fork or whisk to stir the mixture as it warms.  It’s important to stir so that the milk doesn’t burn on the bottom of the pan.  When the liquid warms to the point that you can see steam coming off the top (NOT BOILING), you’re ready for the next step.

Just a note here… I use Himalayan pink salt.  It’s SO much better for you than table salt.  It’s full of minerals that your body needs.  Every time you eat food with this type of salt, it’s more heart healthy than normal table salt, and it helps to restore the minerals in your body.

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Turn your blender speed on low.  Now take the steamy milk mixture and slowly add it to the blender through the top.  Once added, replace the doo-dad that covers the top and turn your blender up to medium speed to process.  If you find that the mixture isn’t coming together well, you may have to increase the speed of your blender or use a tamper.

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Once the mixture is thoroughly combined, stop the mix and get a spatula to help you rake out the yummy goodness.  It looks like this, by the way, when it’s done.

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Now, scrape everything out, and put it in the loaf pan.  Place the loaf pan in the fridge for a couple of hours for everything to firm up, and you’re done!

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When you take it out and cut it up, it will look like this:

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I just added some milk and rotel, and I heated it in the microwave.

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Now, this doesn’t make as much as one of those big orange cheese-like blocks, so you will have to adjust your dip recipes accordingly, or you could always just make more.  It will keep for at least a week in the refrigerator.  Like I said earlier, next time, I’m going to add a few spices to jazz it up.   Just think…. Every time you eat this, you are adding minerals to your body and doing good by your joints!

Happy Dipping!!

INGREDIENT LIST:

3 cups of the cheese of your choice

3/4 cup of whole milk

2 Tablespoons of heavy cream

2 teaspoons of Great Lakes unflavored gelatin

1 teaspoon Himalayan pink salt

METHOD:

Grate 3 cups of cheese and place the cheese in a blender.  Add milk, cream, gelatin, and salt to a small sauce pan and heat on medium heat until there steam coming off the top of the mixture.

Slowly pour the liquid over the cheese through the pour spout at the top of the blender.  Turn the blender on medium until combined.

Spread mixture in a plastic wrap lined loaf pan and refrigerate for 2 hours.  It will remain good in the fridge for up to a week.

Squeeze Cheese:

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INGREDIENT LIST:

1 1/2 Cups Cheese

1/4 teaspoon Himalayan Pink Salt

1 teaspoon Great Lakes unflavored gelatin

1 Cup of Whole Milk

METHOD:

The method is exactly the same as the cheese block.

 

Weekly Devo: Get your buts out of the way

Get Your Buts Out of the Way

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Our buts get us in so much trouble.  I know there have been many times in my life that I felt like God would have me do something, and I would say, “But God…”  God isn’t looking for our excuses; He’s looking for our excellence.  My dad, Larry Doggett, used to tell me all the time growing up not to “slop-bop.” Ecclesiastes 9:10 tells us that if we are going to do something, “do it with all of our might.”  You know there were many people in the Bible that had the opportunity to make excuses; however, through faith, they rose to the occasion to which God was calling them, and the good Gospel news is we can too!  Be encouraged, by looking at these people of the Bible, that we don’t have to live a life full of what if’s and excuses.

Joseph had a dream.  He was hated for his dream.  He was sold into slavery by his brothers and sent to prison wrongfully.  If you study out the life of Joseph in Genesis, you will find that he was excellent in all things wherever he went. In Genesis 39, it talks twice of people who could see his excellence in all things and how he walked with God.  Even in prison, they gave him the charge over all the prisoners.  He was found excellent and trustworthy in every situation.  Eventually, he was brought out of the prison and placed in the palace as second in command in Egypt.  He ended up saving the people of Israel, his family – even those that betrayed him, and Egypt from famine.

In Exodus chapters 3 and 4, we see God appearing to Moses in a burning bush.  To be honest, I’m not sure what I would do if I heard the voice of God coming from a bush.  God wanted to use Moses to deliver the people of Israel from slavery imposed by his adopted family.  Moses thought no one would believe him, so God took away his excuses that he gave one by one by giving him signs to prove that he was telling the truth.  However, Moses still didn’t feel like he could do what God has asked of him.  Moses then told God that he wasn’t good at public speaking.  God then told him that He would send Moses’ brother Aaron to help.  What if Moses had let his excuses get the best of him?  What would have happened to the people of Israel?

Paul went from persecuting Christians to persuading people to be Christians.  He was shipwrecked, snake bit, stoned, talked about, and hated.  Yet, nothing moved him.  He did complain about a thorn in the flesh a couple of times.  God’s answer for him is found in 2 Corinthians 12:9 – “But He said to me, My grace (my favor and loving-kindness and mercy) is enough for you [sufficient against any danger and enables you to bear the trouble manfully]; for My strength and power are made perfect (fulfilled and completed_ and show themselves most effective in (your) weakness.  Therefore I will all the more gladly glory in my weaknesses and infirmities, that the strength and power of Christ (the Messiah) may rest (yes, may pitch a tent over and dwell) upon me!”

There are also people who didn’t get their “buts” out of the way in the Bible.  I’m reminded of the children of Israel in Numbers 13 when God told them to go and take the promised land.  They told themselves that it was everything God had said it would be, but they couldn’t do it because they looked like weak grasshoppers compared to the people in the land where they were going.   They ended up wandering in the wilderness for forty more years because of the excuse they told themselves.  I also think about the rich young ruler that came to Jesus.  He had the opportunity to be one of Jesus’ disciples.  However, in Matthew 19, it says that he went away sorrowfully because he had great possessions.  Now, God isn’t against us having things, but He is against things having us.  Jesus knew this man’s heart.  He knew the man was putting his possessions before anything else.  When we put anything before God, we make that an idol in our life, and God has clearly said in Exodus, “You will have no other gods before Me.”

Getting our “buts” out of the way and moving to a life of no excuses just excellence will require three things from us.  It will require God’s presence.  God has designed us for a close relationship with him.  In the garden of Eden, He came down every day to talk with man.  God isn’t looking for us to spend time with him out of obligation.  He is longing for us to have a close relationship with Him. Like a loving father, He is interested in our everyday, grocery shopping, work going, car line sitting lives.  Living a life of no excuses will also require the power of God working in our lives.  Acts 1:8 tells us, “But you shall receive power (ability, efficiency, and might) when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you shall be My witnesses in Jerusalem and all Judea and Samaria and to the ends (the very bounds) of the earth.”  God doesn’t just ask us to line up our lives with His commands and leave us hanging.  He also equips us with the power to change and manage those changes.  God is also calling us to live a passionate life.  Romans 12:11 tells us, “Never lag in zeal and in earnest endeavor; be aglow and burning with the Spirit, serving the Lord.”

What have you been saying, “But God….” to in your life?  I dare you to get your but out of the way and let God have His way!

Weekly Devo: It’s like waiting on pancakes

I was asked to write a weekly devotional for the local newspaper for the month of September.  I wanted to share them with you as well, so here we go….

It’s Like Waiting on Pancakes…

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I was cooking breakfast for dinner earlier this week.  I was craving pancakes.  As soon as the pan heated, I poured in the first of the batter.  I tried to wait patiently, but my lack of restraint got the best of me.  I flipped too early, and the whole thing became a mess in the pan.  I ended up having to wash out the pan and start again.  This time as I poured the batter, I reminded myself, “wait for lots of bubbles before you flip.”

Sometimes, waiting on God can feel like waiting on pancakes.  You have the batter mixed, the pan warmed, the butter is browned, and it all looks like a go; however, we have to be careful that we don’t flip in our own timing.  Habakkuk 2:2-3 says, “And the Lord answered me and said, Write the vision and engrave it so plainly upon tablets that everyone who passes may [be able to] read [it easily and quickly] as he hastens by. For the vision is yet for an appointed time and it hastens to the end [fulfillment]; it will not deceive or disappoint. Though it tarry, wait [earnestly] for it, because it will surely come; it will not be behindhand on its appointed day. [Heb. 10:37, 38.]”

Habakkuk was to write the vision and wait.  Wait on what?  The appointed time.  Ecclesiastes 3 tells us there is an appointed time for everything.  God has a clock, and unfortunately, it doesn’t line up with ours most of the time.

So, what do we do in the waiting?  Proverbs 3:5-6 tells us to, “Lean on, trust in, and be confident in the Lord with all your heart and mind and do not rely on your own insight or understanding. In all your ways know, recognize, and acknowledge Him, and He will direct and make straight and plain your paths.”  My job while waiting is to lean into Him, acknowledge Him, know Him, rely on Him, obey Him.  There’s a pattern here.  I can’t move when I want things done because I want things done yesterday, and that’s not how this works.  The very creator of the universe wants to be involved in my everyday, grocery shopping, work and school going life.  He’s longing for worship and fellowship everyday not just Sunday.  He longs for us to wait for all the bubbles to form and things to line up before we flip.

I challenge you to “stand fast in faith” while you wait.  Know that sometimes, you may have to wait a while, and that’s ok.  My Mammaw always took my Mom and her brothers and sister to church when they were growing up, but my Pappaw would never go.  He had gotten hurt in church early on in their marriage, and he told her, “If this is how these Christians are going to act, I don’t want any part of it.”  He allowed the misguided actions of others to control him, which is never a good thing, but that story is for another time.

My Mammaw continued to be faithful.  She continued to get all four kids ready every time the church doors were open, and she was faithful to continue to pray for my Pappaw.  She prayed that God would soften his heart, and she prayed that Pappaw would want a personal relationship with God once again.

Fifty years after my Mammaw started praying that prayer, long after their kids had moved out, gotten married, and had kids of their own, my Pappaw met my Mammaw in the kitchen after she came home from a midweek service.  He said, “Billie, I’ve got to talk to you!  While you were at church something happened.”

Mammaw was scared at first; however, her fear turned to tears of joy as Pappaw began to share how he felt like God had awoke him out of sleep.  He told her that he felt such an urgency to make things right with God and renew his relationship with God.  Pappaw had a dramatic shift in his life that night.  He truly repented!  He even called Mammaw’s pastor the next day and wanted to go out visiting the sick with the pastor that weekend.

FIFTY YEARS!  That pancake had to cook a long time!

Lamentations 3:25-26, “The Lord is good to those who wait hopefully and expectantly for Him, to those who seek Him [inquire of and for Him and require Him by right of necessity and on the authority of God’s word]. It is good that one should hope in and wait quietly for the salvation (the safety and ease) of the Lord.”

Adventures in Canning: MARINARA

Adventures in Canning:  MARINARA

This is the first year I’ve canned marinara.  To be honest, I didn’t really know how to make it from scratch.  I always just grabbed a packet of spice mix, tomato paste, and a jar or two of pre-made sauce.  This year, we’ve had SO many tomatoes.  Like the old woman that lived in the shoe…. We didn’t know what to do!  So, we got creative and spunky, and my mom and I set out to figure out marinara.

The First Step: Scald the tomatoes…

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We chose to use Travler tomatoes, but you can use whatever kind you like.  The main thing is…. They need to be ripe, and you need to leave them in simmering water until the skin starts to crack open.  Sometimes, tomatoes are stubborn, and no matter how long you leave them in the simmering water, they won’t break open!  (Side Note:  Wouldn’t it be nice if the Christ-Followers were that stubborn in their faith…. That no matter what – they don’t break open under heat and pressure.)

If you get one of these stubborn tomatoes, never fear.  Just leave it in the water for a while, take it out, and puncture the skin with a spoon or knife or whatever you have.

NEXT STEP:  Peel the tomatoes.

I don’t have a picture of this step because my hubby was off in Dumas tearing down a building our church has been given.  I couldn’t take it myself because I had on gloves and tomato juice was…. Well, let’s just say it’s not good for the camera!  Just take the cooled tomato and use your hands to peel off the skin.  This part is MESSY!  Not gonna lie to you about it, but the end result is worth it!  I peel them in the sink with a trash can close by me.  After the skin is removed, I hold the tomato by the top (where the core is located).  Then I use my other hand to pull all the tomato goodness away from the core.  This tomato wonderfulness goes into a bowl and the core goes in the trash.

You could skip the scalding and coring by hand process by peeling and coring them with a knife.  You don’t want to do it that way… but you could.

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That my friend is what luscious tomato-ness looks like!

Next for the add ins.  We added LOTS of chopped onions.  We had 2 5 gallon buckets of tomatoes, and we added 3 pounds of chopped onion.  You can add as much as you like.  We sometimes add more.

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Then, I added 1 tube of Gourmet Garden Italian Herbs Paste (I divided it between my two pans of tomatoes), 1 tube of Gourmet Garden Basil Herbs Paste (again, divide between the two pans), and I added 2 tablespoons of garlic paste per pan.  I also added ancho chili powder, salt, and pepper to taste.  Now, in my previous batches of marinara, I used herbs from my front porch.  I picked most of them, and I didn’t have enough to do a whole recipe, so I got the fresh herb paste from the produce section at the store.

You want to cook it on the stove at a simmer until it reduces by half.  It takes hours for that to happen, so don’t get impatient.  You will need to stir it from time to time or the tomatoes will start sticking to the bottom of the pan.

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Aren’t they just beautiful!!!

Once it’s reduced, you have options!  Oh, how I love options!  You can leave it chunky, or you can take an immersion blender and blend it up.  If you don’t have an immersion blender, you can use a regular blender…

Now, it’s time to jar.  I’m not a fan of the cold pack method unless I’m canning certain things.  We don’t want these tomatoes to cook any more; I mean… We’ve been cooking them ALL DAY for goodness sake!!! So…. Here’s what I do:

  • I make sure that the tomatoes are simmering almost to the point of a boil.
  • I make sure my lids are in a pan of simmering water.  (EVERYTHING MUST BE HOT!)
  • I put the marinara in the jar, place the hot lid on the jar, and screw on the ring VERY TIGHT.

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  • THEN FOR THE TRICK…..  ARE YOU READY? …..  I turn them upside down until they completely cool!

WHY?  Well, you won’t hear very much of that popping noise that goes on when you can if you do that.  Also, we want the heat to concentrate at the seal to make sure that they get completely sealed!

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That’s it!  I usually leave mine upside down overnight.  I like to make sure the seal has plenty of time to get hot.  I know that’s not quite the traditional method…..  But have we ever known me to be very traditional?  Exactly!

I hope you’ll try making your own marinara.  Not that I”m trying to sell you on it or anything, but the store bought and powder packet versions always gave me and the hubby heartburn.  Not the homemade stuff!  Plus, this is free of all those chemicals and what not that companies put in the food… YUCK YUCK YUCK!!!  And you’re supporting your local farmers.  Now, that’s a good thing!

 

Here’s the Recipe:

2 – 5 gallon buckets of tomatoes (I used Traveler tomatoes)

3 lbs Chopped Onion

1 Tube Gourmet Garden Italian Herbs Paste

1 Tube Gourmet Garden Basil Herbs Paste

4 Tablespoons Garlic Paste

Ancho Chili Powder to taste

Salt To Taste

Pepper to Taste

 

Here’s the How To:

Peel and core all the tomatoes.  I use the scald and peel by hand method, but whatever works.

combine all the ingredients and stir.  Simmer on the stove until it reduces by about half.

Pack and jar while everything is simmering (lids included).  Then flip upside down on the counter overnight.

 

Did you try this?  Do you like it?  Let me know.  Oh, and if you have canning tips you’d like to share, comment below.

Shalom

I was just thinking today about the word peace.  We know that in the Bible it refers to Shalom which means:

completeness, soundness, welfare, peace

  1. completeness (in number)
  2. safety, soundness (in body)
  3. welfare, health, prosperity
  4. peace, quiet, tranquillity, contentment
  5. peace, friendship of human relationships with God especially in covenant relationship  

Matthew 5:9 in the Amp version of the Bible says, “Blessed (enjoying enviable happiness, spiritually prosperous – with life – joy and satisfaction in God’s favor and salvation, regardless of their outward conditions) are the MAKERS AND MAINTAINERS OF PEACE, for they shall be called the sons of God!”

God wants us to be complete.  He wants us to be wanting and lacking no thing!   How awesome that is!  I challenge you this week to purpose to walk in the peace of God.  Be a “maker and maintainer of peace!”

If my People…

I truly believe that at this time in history, the USA is set for another “Awakening.”  We are on the edge of a new chapter in history.  We are a nation in need of healing.  2 Chronicles 7:14 in the Amplified Bible says, “If My people, who are called by My name, shall humble themselves, pray, seek, crave, and require of necessity My face and turn from their wicked ways, then will I hear from heaven, forgive their sin, and heal their land.” It’s important that the People of God rise up and begin to pray as never before.  We need to pray diligently for our new president and congress.  We need to seek God as never before.  May times we tend to get miss-focused and seek stuff more than God.  It’s time we “require of necessity (His) face…”  Only then can we experience the kind of healing that God wants to pour out on the US.  Joel 2:28-29 says, “And it shall come to pass afterward, that I will pour out my spirit upon all flesh; and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, your old men shall dream dreams, your young men shall see visions:  And also unpon the servants and upon the handmaids in those days will I pour out my spirit.”  Get ready to be “awakened.”