A moment in God’s Word today….1/13/2016

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From today’s My Utmost for His Highest (January 13)….Kind of along with yesterday’s message today’s is about Jesus getting us alone….I know that currently I am in a place in my life where I often “feel alone”….and it’s not that I don’t have friends or family, I do! And I know beyond a shadow of a doubt that I am DEEPLY loved, and even appreciated, that isn’t what I feel when I feel alone. I am currently not involved in a deep and meaningful fellowship with sister (or brothers) in Christ outside of our Sunday morning worship and my friendships with my sisters in Christ and my family, God has closed the door for me for the time being for being involved in a weekly Bible study. I know that the reason for that is that He desires to be my mentor, He wants to be my guide through the Word…..He wants for it to be just He and I so that I can focus SOLELY on Him….not on the food, not on which video series is next, not on the gossip (sometimes disguised as prayer requests). It is sometimes a lonely place to be, but I also know that it is temporary. He has a group of women for me, I know, but He hasn’t led me to them yet. Anyhow, the purpose for this “alone with Jesus” time is perfectly described in today’s lesson from My Utmost for His Highest and quoted below…. 

There are vast areas of stubbornness and ignorance the Holy Spirit has to reveal in each of us, but it can only be done when Jesus gets us alone. Are we alone with Him now? Or are we more concerned with our own ideas, friendships, and cares for our bodies? Jesus cannot teach us anything until we quiet all our intellectual questions and get alone with Him.

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A moment in God’s Word today…1/12/2016

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This year I am reading through “My Utmost for His Highest” again, today I wanted to share something from that…. 
Some notes from TODAY’s (January 12) entry in My Utmost for His Highest…. 
“We can only be used by God after we allow Him to show us the deep, hidden areas of our own character. It is astounding how ignorant we are about ourselves! We don’t even recognize the envy, laziness, or pride within us when we see it. But Jesus will reveal to us everything we have held within ourselves before His grace began to work. How many of us have learned to look inwardly with courage?
But as long as there is any doubt that we are unworthy, God will continue to close us in until He gets us alone. Whenever there is any element of pride or conceit remaining, Jesus can’t teach us anything. He will allow us to experience heartbreak or the disappointment we feel when our intellectual pride is wounded. He will reveal numerous misplaced affections or desires—things over which we never thought He would have to get us alone. Many things are shown to us, often without effect. But when God gets us alone over them, they will be clear.”
Sometimes God has to get us alone with Him (not just space wise, but in our hearts and our thought life) in order for us to see our sinful nature, and then to be sanctified. Sometimes those moments in time are long and difficult, other times they are short and sweet….at least in my walk with Him….but I am so thankful that God NEVER gives up on me, and that He is NOT finished with me!!! 

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Facebook “break” or “fast”

Last week, after the terror attacks in Paris while I was skimming my facebook timeline, I grew more and more distressed at all of the ugliness of this world and felt that it was time to take a break from facebook for the weekend.   On Monday morning I realized I hadn’t even really thought about fb (except for responding to the email notifications that I was getting for certain things).  Today I jumped on fb to just skim through posts and realized that it didn’t hold the same interest as it did last week.   For the past 4 days I’ve been reading, I’ve been cooking and baking, and most importantly I’ve been spending time with God and my family!     I can definitely say that I will be continuing my facebook fast/break with the exception of checking in here and there, once or twice a week. 
I have been doing something that I wish I did more of, and that is taking more pictures….so far just of food, but I’ve been taking more pictures and posting more on instagram.  That’s fun, and I’m able to cross post those photos to facebook and twitter which is nice.     And all of this means, that I will be blogging more as well!   

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A moment in God’s word today….11/9/2015

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Last week one of my facebook friends (and friends in real life) posted a Scripture Writing plan for the month of November.   I always am able to focus better on scripture while writing it, so I took the challenge.   I did two days and then was hit with a really bad bout of vertigo, so I stopped for a few days.  Today I got up and am feeling GREAT, but I KNOW that if I overdo it, I will be right back where I was last week….in fact, here is what I posted on my fb a few minutes ago….. 

ok, be prepared to giggle at the very beginning of this…..
So, I see and hear my kids and other young people use the quote “The struggle is real”….usually accompanied by a hashtag. Well, I just said it to myself because today, seriously, the struggle is real! I am feeling great today! THANK YOU LORD!!!! And thank you prayer warriors! I quite honestly, haven’t felt this good in a LONG TIME!!!!! SO, I am feeling great! And I have a week’s worth of stuff that I’d LOVE to get caught up on…HOWEVER, I KNOW that if I overdo it, I’m going to be right back where I was with my vertigo. Baby boy is sleeping right now, and I got the salsa verde made, and the green chilis roasted, peeled and deseeded for making green chili and chicken tamales, and was getting ready to roast some pumpkins and butternut squash to get some puree into the freezer, and I realized that I really should take a break before moving onto those projects. Please pray for BALANCE today…. #thestruggleisREALLYreal🙂

 

I sat and read for a few minutes, then I got up and got a pumpkin and a butternut squash into the oven to roast and 1/3 of the chicken bones that I collected over the weekend and started a pressure cooker full of chicken bone broth, made myself a cup of tea and sat down at the dining room table to do some scripture writing.   My plan had been to “get caught up”…..until I wrote the first day that I missed…..I think I’m going to marinate on this passage for a while before moving on.   I REALLY needed this passage today!!!!! 

2 Corinthians 4:15-18 (NIV) 

All this is for your benefit, so that the grace that is reaching more and more people may cause thanksgiving to overflow to the glory of God.

Therefore we do not lose heart.  Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day.  For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all.  So we fix our eyes not on what is seen but on what is unseen.  For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.

All I can say is WOW and AMEN!!!!   So totally appropriate for me right now!  Thank you God for always being so faithful to speak through YOUR living word!!!!! 

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Bad blogger….bad bad blogger!

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I have been missing in action from my blog for over 2 years!   This ends today!   I have had so much on my heart to share, but when it comes down to actually documenting, it it just doesn’t happen….mostly because the enemy gets into my head and heart and convinces me that no one cares, no one is interested in what I’m going to say, etc.   Well, I get asked at least a few times a year about my blog.   God and I have been wrestling over this for a while now….and I need to come back….please bear with me, as I find a format that works for me on a daily basis (as far as whether I need to just keep this blog as it’s always been, kind of a hodge podge of everything in my life….my personal thoughts, my time in God’s word, family doing, cooking/recipes, household, crafts, etc. )  I have friends that have separate kitchen blogs from their “personal” blogs, but honestly, my life is a big mish-mash of all of the above!  One moment I may be snuggling on the couch with my honey, or a dog, or a kid….and the very next moment I may have the canner out and be preserving food, and the next have my crochet hook and yarn out and working on something……I MAY just keep my blog the way my life is🙂    Not quite sure yet, and would LOVE the input of my faithful followers and readers!

Well, on that note, I will close this post with a prayer request….. as many of you know, I live in Central California…..and there are a LOT of wildfires burning right now.  But what is currently the 17th largest fire in CA fire history is burning in the mountains just east of us.  It is called “The Rough Fire”…..currently there have been over 120,000 acres burned or burning, and it is only 30% contained….it was started by lightening strike on July 31….yes, today is September 13!    There are over 2000 firefighters and support personnel on this fire, and have had to evacuate some very precious national treasures as well as thousands from their homes, and mountain cabins.  Please pray for rain for California, please pray for safety of our forestland, and the structures in the path of the fire, please pray for containment, and above all else, plese pray for the firefighters, their families, and the resources necessary to put this fire out!

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Money Saving Tips–Installment #6

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Today’s installment is inspired by the end of summer…..and end of fall….and end of winter.   This is something that we all see, and maybe you even have been guilty of (we have!)…..you have a fruit tree or two or maybe several  in your yard.  Maybe you planted it thinking that it would be nice to be able to make your own lemonade (so you planted a lemon tree) or you love peach pie so you planted a peach tree.  Within a few years, it has reached full production and you have fruit coming out of your ears and you aren’t quite sure what to do with it!   The fruit sits on the tree and rots and falls to the ground for the flies, ants and birds.  Been there done that!   However, that fruit is money!   Not just for your family but for friends, family, neighbors, church and work friends, etc.   If you have much more fruit than you can possibly handle PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE do not let it become ant food!   There is SOMEONE that would be beyond blessed to come and pick the bounty of your harvest.

So, after you’ve frozen all of the lemon juice in dixie cups and lemon zest in little packets of plastic wrap, and you’ve made and canned all of the peach preserves and frozen all of the peach slices that you can possibly use in a year your tree is still loaded!   Pick a few more and take to neighbors, friends, the office, church, etc and tell the recipients that if they’d like more they can come pick them.   (Or send your teenagers into the tree to pick for you :))   Others will be blessed by that fruit!

ON the other side of this coin, if you don’t have fruit trees of any sort or not of the varieties that you can preserve or that you eat a lot of or whatever, don’t be afraid to ask friends, relatives, neighbors, heck the stranger that lives down the street that has an orange tree that loses all of it’s fruit to the ground every year and you see the boxes and boxes and boxes of oranges/persimmons/plums/apricots/etc go to waste year after year after year…..knock on some doors and ask!   I have done it and while it’s not easy the first time, they are so frustrated by the loss of fruit and overwhelmed by the sheer volume of fruit that most people are THRILLED to have someone that can use it!   This summer I have gone to a friend’s cousins house to pick apricots and plums, I have gotten plums and apricots from another friend, peaches, nectarines asian pears and lemons and oranges from another friend and nectarines from another, and a bucket full of apples from a friend’s brothers tree…..this is all fruit that they were so thankful that didn’t go to waste!   And it has all be eaten, frozen, canned, and dehydrated for our family for these coming months and this coming year.

I would estimate that I have gotten $200-300 worth of free fruit this year from friends and family members of friends simply because I asked, and because they are so thankful that it won’t go to waste!

 

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Money Savings Tips–Installment #4

(Sorry that these are out of order, I had this one scheduled to be published months ago and for some reason it never published, and today when I tried publishing it, it wouldn’t work, so I’m starting all over with this post).

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Today we are talking food and food shopping and properly handling those foods.   I have heard it told that in America we throw away an average of 50% of our food….whether we are cooking too much/serving too much/restaurant portion sizes are too large, OR we buy the food and don’t use it and it ends up being tossed in the trash.   That is a LOT OF MONEY that is being wasted by the average American.   I am also guilty of this, but not to this level.   I am definitely one that will make something or buy something and put it in the fridge and forget about it.   Since the last time that I heard this  statistic, I have been more mindful of inspecting the deep dark crevices of both fridges every day…yes EVERY DAY to make sure I haven’t missed anything!

If I have something that is about to turn, I will incorporate it into a meal that day….even if it is something that won’t be eaten right away, I can freeze that dish or eat it within a day or two.  OR if it is a vegetable or herb or something along those lines, I will prep it and get it into the freezer (ie if I find an onion that has an outer layer of skin that is beginning to get soft, I will peel that layer off and shop the onion and get it into the freezer)…..if it is an herb I will either dry it in the sun or in the oven on VERY VERY low heat with the door propped open periodically to keep it from baking, or I’ll make a sauce or pesto with it.   Fruit gets cut up and frozen for desserts, muffins/breads or smoothies.   Leftovers get eaten right away or remade into something else.

Another manner of waste is something that I really deal with in my home….since moving almost 18 months ago, I have noticed that we generally only fill 1 1/2-2 kitchen trash bags per week, and half of that (if not more) is fruit and veggie waste.   If I had a compost pile, we would have virtually no trash, but to be VERY VERY VERY honest, the whole composting thing scares me.   I don’t want (and i know all of the arguments) pests (flies, ants, roaches, etc) and rodents (mice, rats, etc) and smell (I know, I know….if done properly no pests, no rodents, no smell…..BUT it would be MY house that that wouldn’t be the case).     If we had chickens, we would have virtually no trash (our yard is not conducive to chicken, but I also have a dog that I’m afraid would want to play with the chickens and in her overzealousness would kill them….she’s accidentally killed a couple of doves in trying to play with them).  BUT we don’t have compost or chickens and our city doesn’t allow food waste to go into the green waste can with yard clippings, SO we have probably 1 full bag each week of peels, egg shells, tops, bottoms, etc of our produce.    Well, this summer I have tried to remember to save some of those things for making stocks and jellies.   Peach pits and skins, and plum pits, and apple peels and cores (and I’m sure pears too) all can be cooked down with water and strained and made into jelly.   Carrot peels, onion peels, tops and bottoms of onions, carrots, celery, mushroom stems, broccoli stems, herb stems, etc, can all be used for stocks and broths.  SO I have a bag in my freezer for all of my veggie scraps to use in my broth and stock making, as well as a bag of peach and plum peels and pits to make another batch of “mixed fruit” jelly.  Watermelon rinds can be made into watermelon rind pickles, and even if you don’t can, they will be good in the refrigerator for a couple of months.

Meat bones….so many people just toss their bones from all of their meats out without giving it another thought, and if you were to look in their pantry they have boxes and boxes or cans and cans of processed chicken, beef, ham, etc broth.   They could have had FREE broth instead of spending all of that money!   If you don’t have time to put the bones (and the veggie scraps from your freezer….or a carrot, an onion and 2 stalks of celery) with some salt and pepper and cover with water into the crockpot and cook for 12-24 hours, then put the bones into the freezer until you do have time.   if you want an even richer broth and you have bones that were not already roasted with the meat on them, roast them.   Also add a splash of vinegar into the water to help draw the calcium and other nutrients out of the bones.  You can freeze (or if you have a pressure CANNER you can bottle) the broth.

Another sense of food waste is bread items, what do you do with the ends of your loaves of bread?   In our house, they get used in sandwiches by the adults.   But if the kids use the last 2 regular slices and leave an end….what to do with those?  PLEASE do not throw them out!   Let them dry on your counter top or in the oven for a few hours, (or toast them in the toaster or oven until dry) and crush them into bread crumbs.   Or put them into the freezer for later use for fresh bread crumbs or even feeding the ducks the next time you go to the park.   If you have single slices that are too dry for a sandwich, why not cut them into cubes and dress lightly with olive oil, garlic, dried basil and toast to make croutons for salad.

If you have bits and pieces of meals leftover, not enough for a full serving of anything for a single person, SAVE IT.   Some of the VERY VERY best soups that I have ever made were made from a bucket of scraps of leftovers that I had in the freezer.   For a season in my life, I had an ice cream bucket in the freezer that every bit of leftovers (yes, EVERY BIT….pasta with sauce, rice, lasagna, meats, veggies, mac & cheese, mashed potatoes, etc, etc, etc….that wasn’t enough for a meal for our family, it went into the freezer).   When the bucket was full, I’d put it into my soup pot, add chicken broth, and let it cook.  I know that it does not sound appetizing, but it IS!   Those soups were DELICIOUS and not anything that could ever be replicated.   One  of the soups that I made from my bucket had macaroni & cheese, spaghetti wtih meat sauce, tri-tip, ham, fried chicken, peas, corn, green beans, cheesy mashed potatoes, broccoli, cauliflower, carrots, spinach (leftover from a spinach salad with dressing on it), turkey breast, rice pilaf, and few other things that I don’t remember.   I know that it sounds gross, but HONESTLY it was DELICIOUS!

Those are some of my ideas on how to save money by eliminating food waste…..what do you do in your home?

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