Friday, November 30, 2007


I just read my "quote for the day" and appreciate its wisdom. The quote is by William Jennings Bryan:

"Destiny is not a matter of chance, it is a matter of choice; it is not a thing to be waited for, it is a thing to be achieved."

Some people believe that their future lies in being at the right place at the right time, meeting the right person at any one given moment, fate, luck, good fortune that happens by chance, and that somehow you were the benefactor of that "fateful" moment. All we have to do is sit back and wait for that moment to come our way, and all will be as it should be.

I agree with Mr. Bryan---that just doesn't happen! Our future lies in the foundation of our belief system and the choices we make because of what we believe. Positive thinking gets us nowhere unless our thinking is based on the right foundation!
I can positively think that I will not get hurt when I jump off a 20-foot building and believe it with all my heart, but the truth is that I will die no matter how positively I thought about the situation before I jumped. The law of gravity that God brought to pass will determine my future in my decision to jump!

My destiny depends upon acting on what I know, making the proper choices to achieve that goal and then taking the steps necessary to achieve the end result I desire. If we do nothing, we achieve nothing. We are not robots that depend upon someone else to do for us what God gave us the talents and abilities to do for ourselves. If we sat back and waited on chance to bring us our greatest desires, we would be sadly disappointed.

Our motivation for success in life needs to be based on the foundational truth of God's word. God's word is ACTIVE and alive and contains all that we need for a successful future. If we follow the instructions God gave us so clearly and learn a dependency on His promises and His character, the reality of success is much greater. Of course, we need to identify "success." Success in God's eyes and success in the world's eyes are quite often very different. Our destiny in the world's eyes may be focused on wealth, position, prestige in comparison to the individuals in your sphere of influence. Your focus is to become greater than your next-door neighbor, or your fellow employee. Our destiny in God's eyes is to be conformed to the image of His Son and become a changed individual in our character, in our actions toward others, and in our final destination, eternity with Him.

If you're waiting for the perfect man to come along to be your husband and expect all to be well for your perfect future, it probably will not happen. If you seek to find a man that follows God's pattern for his life and both of you together unite to follow God's instructions for marriage, the possibility will be greater that you will have a successful marriage that will last.
This same criteria can be applied to looking for a job or any other decision that you might need to make for your future. Don't depend on fate, or chance, or luck to make your life successful. Make that personal choice to follow God's foundational truths to assure that you will achieve success in God's eyes.

God knows the plans He has for you---"to give you hope and a future."

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Thoughts on Elijah and Elisha

Today my devotions led me to a brief contemplative study of the Old Testament prophets, Elijah and Elisha which punctuated for me the continuity of Scripture throughout the Old and New Testament. Here go my thoughts:

In II Kings 2, we learn that after a long season of being God's messenger to Israel, Elijah passed his cloak of responsibility to Elisha. In verse ll, I quote: "As they were walking along and talking together, suddenly a chariot of fire and horses appeared and separated the two of them, and Elijah went up to heaven in a whirlwind....and Elisha saw him no more."

In II Kings 13:14,20, I read the fate of Elisha, and I quote: "Now Elisha was suffering from the illness from which he died...Elisha died and was buried."

What is amazing to me is the fact that the Bible indicates that both Elijah and Elisha possessed life in one form or another after they disappeared from the earth. First, we see Elisha's bones that lie in his tomb brought life back to a dead man who was thrown into the same tomb (II King 13:21: "Once while some Israelites were burying a man, suddenly they saw a band of raiders, so they threw the man's body into Elisha's tomb. When the body touched Elisha's bones, the man came to life and stood up on his feet." WOW!

Elijah's appearing again after being swept into heaven by a whirlwind is more subtle. In the New Testament in Matthew 17, Jesus took Peter, James and John and led them to a high mountain. There Jesus was transfigured before them and with him appeared Moses....and Elijah! A bright cloud enveloped the three of them and a voice from the cloud said, "This is my Son, whom I love; with him I am well pleased. Listen to him."

Does that statement sound familiar---do you remember where you heard it first? At Jesus' baptism when he was being baptized by John the Baptist in Matthew 3:17: "And a voice from heaven said, 'This is my son, whom I love; with him I am well pleased."

Back to the Mount of Transfiguration---Jesus tells his three disciples an amazing thing: "But I tell you, Elijah has already come, and they did not recognize him, but have done to him everything they wished. In the same way, the Son of Man is going to suffer at their hands. Then the disciples understood that he was talking with them about John the Baptist."

Wow---John the Baptist, the incarnate Elijah????

After Jesus was resurrected and while Peter was in the midst of his ministry as Jesus' disciple, Peter retells the story of the events on the Mount of Transfiguration. II Peter 1:16: "We did not follow cleverly invented stories when we told you about the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but we were eyewitnesses of his majesty. For he received honor and glory from God the Father when the voice came to him from the Majestic Glory, saying 'This is my Son, whom I love; with him I am well pleased.' We ourselves heard this voice that came from heaven when we were with him on the sacred mountain."

Then during my study, I got to wondering---who are the two witnesses mentioned in Revelation 11 that lay dead in the streets of Egypt for 3-1/2 days, then were made alive again by the breath of life of God and went up to heaven in a cloud?
Could one of the witnesses be......Elijah? I don't know, the Word doesn't say, but....just wondering.

The Bible is electrifying to me when you see the truth of God's Word mesh so beautifully from the Old Testament through the New Testament with hundreds of years separating the writers. How could anyone doubt the gospel of God as stated in Romans 1: "the gospel he promised beforehand through his prophets in the Holy Scriptures regarding the Son, who as to his human nature was a descendant of David, and who through His Spirit of holiness was declared with power to be the Son of God by his resurrection from the dead: Jesus Christ our Lord."

I'm sure there is bound to be much more study on the subject of Elijah as related to Jesus Christ. If you have any thoughts on the subject, please let me know.

Let's thank God for His Word today.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Life is Like Coffee

This was sent to me today via email, but it was so relevant for today's society, I had to pass it on to you.


A group of alumni, all highly established in their respective careers,
got together for a visit with their old university professor. The
conversation soon turned to complaints about the endless stress
of work and life in general.

Offering his guests coffee, the professor went into the kitchen and
soon returned with a large pot of coffee and an eclectic assortment
of cups: porcelain, plastic, glass, crystal - some plain, some expensive,
some quite exquisite. Quietly he told them to help themselves to some
fresh coffee.

When each of his former students had a cup of coffee in hand, the
old professor quietly cleared his throat and began to patiently address
the small gathering. ''You may have noticed that all of the nicer looking
cups were taken up first, leaving behind the plainer and cheaper ones.
While it is only natural for you to want only the best for yourselves, that
is actually the source of much of your stress-related problems."

He continued. "Be assured that the cup itself adds no quality to the coffee.
In fact, the cup merely disguises or dresses up what we drink. What each
of you really wanted was coffee, not a cup, but you instinctively went for
the best cups. Then you began eyeing each other's cups.''

''Now consider this: Life is coffee. Jobs, money, and position in society are
merely cups. They are just tools to shape and contain Life, and the type of
cup we have does not truly define nor change the quality of the Life we live.
Often, by concentrating only on the cup, we fail to enjoy the coffee that God
has provided us. God brews the coffee, but he does not supply the cups.
Enjoy your coffee!''

The happiest people don't have the best of everything, they just make the
best of everything. So please remember: Live simply. Love generously. Care
Deeply. Speak Kindly. Leave the Rest to God. And remember - the richest
person is not the one who has the most, but the one who needs the least.

Sip slowly the coffee that comes your way, and enjoy!

Thursday, November 22, 2007

A Day of Thanksgiving

Giving thanks to God for our spiritual blessings and our physical comforts is often neglected in this fast-paced world we live in today. We go our merry way taking for granted so much with what God showers us daily. On this Thanksgiving Day, just let your heart ponder all the blessings that God bestows upon you without acknowledgment because they have become so routine and normal. Just to list a few: the breath we breathe to live, the sunshine that allows things to grow, the rain that waters the beautiful plants around us, the rainbows in the sky, the moon and stars at night, the grass we mow, the water we drink, the roof over our heads, the bed we sleep in, the birds that sing to us, the car we drive to work, the workplace itself, the privilege we have to attend church freely, our church family. Oh, so many many more---the list could be endless if we let our hearts dwell on the many many blessings God gives us.

When was the last time you thanked God for the special people in your life? Your husband/wife, your children, your parents, your extended families, your friends, your co-workers, government officials, soldiers that are fighting for our freedom, the people that serve you at the bank, the grocery store, at restaurants?

Have you thanked God recently for your health? So many people have health issues and if you don't have health issues now, as you grow older, you will. Thank God for your good health while you have it. How about thanking God for your five senses---the ability to see, hear, taste, smell and feel. As I age, I feel a decline in all of those areas. How hard it would be to totally lose those gifts God has given us. Thank God while you still can.

All of your blessings that you receive daily are gifts from the very hand of God. How long has it been since you've said, "thank you, God." His grace is boundless, His mercies new and fresh every day, His love is so deep and wide, His compassion abundant. We are so richly blessed in every way because He is our God that desires to give good gifts to His children.

It behooves us to develop a thankful heart and to be quick to give praise to the Giver of every good and perfect gift.

I'm so thankful for God in my life, for Jesus who saved me, for the Spirit who teaches me, for my dear and precious family, for my countless friends and Christian brothers and sisters, for spiritual blessings, for physical comforts, for being alive!!!

Happy Thanksgiving, Everybody!

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Cranberry Upside-Down Cake

3/4 cup unsalted butter
3/4 cup light-brown sugar
3/4 pound cranberries
1-1/2 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup granulated sugar
2 egg yolks
2 teaspoons vanilla extract, divided
1/2 cup 2% milk
2 egg whites
1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar
1 cup heavy cream (optional)
1 tablespoon confectioners' sugar (optional)

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Butter a 9x9 inch cake pan. In a small pan over medium heat, melt 4 tablespoons butter and the brown sugar and pour the mixture into the bottom of the cake pan. Place the cranberries in the cake pan on top of the melted butter and sugar.
2. Mix together the flour, baking powder, and salt. In a mixing bowl, cream the remaining 1/2 cup butter with the sugar. Add the egg yolks, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Add 1 teaspoon vanilla and mix well. Add the milk alternately with the dry ingredients, folding well after each addition.
3. In a small mixing bowl, using clean beaters, beat the egg whites to soft peaks. Add the cream of tartar and continue to beat until the peaks hold their shape. Fold the whites into the cake batter. Spread the batter over the fruit in the cake pan and bake until a toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean, about 55 to 60 minutes.
4. Remove the cake from the oven and run a small knife around the edges Let sit for 15 minutes. Invert the cake pan onto a serving platter and let it sit another 5 minutes, then remove the pan.
5. Optional: Whip the heavy cream to soft peaks. Flavor with the remaining vanilla and the confectioners' sugar.
6. Serve slices of cake topped with a dollop of the whipped cream, if desired.

Very pretty and tasty! Enjoy!

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Being Older

The comments below are not my original thoughts or words, but when I read them, I appreciated every word and thought it fitting to pass it on to you today, because no matter what stage of life you are in right now, someday, you, too, will be old. What a wonderful attitude to have about aging and I pray that as I get grayer and grayer, my attitude will match the one below.

"The other day a young person asked me how I felt about being old. I was taken aback, for I do not think of myself as old. Upon seeing my reaction, she was immediately embarrassed, but I explained that it was an interesting question, and I would ponder it, and let her know.
Old Age, I decided, is a gift.
I am now, probably for the first time in my life, the person I have always wanted to be. Oh, not my body! I sometime despair over my body, the wrinkles, the baggy eyes, and the sagging butt. And often I am taken aback by that old person that lives in my mirror (who looks like my mother!), but I don't agonize over those things for long. I would never trade my amazing friends, my wonderful life, my loving family for less gray hair or a flatter belly. As I've aged, I've become more kind to myself, and less critical of myself. I've become my own friend. I don't chide myself for eating that extra cookie, or for not making my bed, or for buying that silly cement gecko that I didn't need, but looks so avante garde on my patio. I am entitled to a treat, to be messy, to be extravagant.
I have seen too many dear friends leave this world too soon; before they understood the great freedom that comes with aging. Whose business is it if I choose to read or play on the computer until 4 AM and sleep until noon?
I will dance with myself to those wonderful tunes of the 60&70's, and if I, at the same time, wish to weep over a lost love ... I will. I will walk the beach in a swim suit that is stretched over a bulging body, and will dive into the waves with abandon if I choose to, despite the pitying glances from the jet set.
They, too, will get old.
I know I am sometimes forgetful. But there again, some of life is just as well forgotten. And I eventually remember the important things.
Sure, over the years my heart has been broken. How can your heart not break when you lose a loved one, or when a child suffers, or even when somebody's beloved pet gets hit by a car? But broken hearts are what give us strength and understanding and compassion. A heart never broken is pristine and sterile and will never know the joy of being imperfect.
I am so blessed to have lived long enough to have my hair turning gray, and to have my youthful laughs be forever etched into deep grooves on my face. So many have never laughed, and so many have died before their hair could turn silver.
As you get older, it is easier to be positive. You care less about what other people think. I don't question myself anymore. I've even earned the right to be wrong.
So, to answer your question, I like being old. It has set me free. I like the person I have become. I am not going to live forever, but while I am still here, I will not waste time lamenting what could have been, or worrying about what will be. And I shall eat dessert every single day. (If I feel like it)

Happy Aging!

Monday, November 19, 2007

Backpack of Worries

When you send your children off to school, the last thing you place upon their shoulders as they leave the house in the morning is their backpack full of their books, assignments, lunches and whatever else they may need throughout the day. It is quite a load, but all necessary, it seems.

In picturing backpacks stuffed and heavy, I wonder if we as adults don't start early in the morning loading our backpacks with unnecessary worries. We may start out by worrying about our husbands and the new project that needs to be accomplished in such a short time. Will he get it done by the due date today? We stuff that worry in our backpacks. Then we worry about the phone call we got yesterday from a friend announcing that she had been diagnosed with a serious disease, and we place that in our backpack. As we are working in the kitchen, we wonder if our son will pass that spelling test that he studied so hard for last night---it goes into the backpack. When the mail arrives, an unexpected bill lies amidst the junk mail, and suddenly a new worry ends up being placed in the backpack. And so on and so on....worries throughout the day have made that backpack of worries very heavy and we are stumbling against the weight of them all.

Now picture God who was present with you throughout every minute of that same day whispering in your ear, "Cast all your care upon (Me) for I care for you." (I Peter 5:7). As you stuffed your worries in the backpack upon your own shoulders, He is asking to carry that backpack for you. He is telling you that you don't have to carry that weight around with you all day and become tired and weary from its weight. He wants to carry that backpack for you. In fact, he is telling you constantly, "Do not worry." So instead of carrying around your worries all day long, picture yourself walking along beside Jesus throughout the day and placing your worries on HIS shoulders knowing that He is so much stronger to carry the load than you are. Then picture His ability to supply the answer to all your worries. "God shall supply ALL your need according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus." (Phil. 4:9)

God knows we will worry---it is human nature. He just doesn't want us to carry the worries around with us to weigh us down to the point of weakness, vulnerability, discouragement, and incapacitation. He has shoulders big enough to handle whatever we may face----give Him your backpack.

Have a worry-free day!

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Our Anchor, Jesus

Remember the plastic punching bags we used to play with as kids? No matter how hard we hit it downward, it would pop right back up because it was anchored at the bottom with a very heavy bottom that would right itself when knocked down. Boats have anchors that go deep into the floor of the ocean or river bottom that will not allow the boat to move even though the waves above may toss the boat around in a storm.

What is your anchor? Do you have something (or Someone) that you can cling to that will still the waves of the storm you are going through? All of us face circumstances that cause us to stagger and wobble and sometimes crumble at times, but does our anchor make sure that we are righted upward and straight again? We all need an anchor that will hold us steady while the waves pound us and the sea roars or fear and anxiety overtake us. Jesus alone is that anchor!

"Unless the Lord had given me help, I would soon have dwelt in the silence of death. When I said, "My foot is slipping, your love, O Lord, supported me. When anxiety was great within me, your consolation brought joy to my soul." Psalm 94:17-19.

Jesus is that anchor that we can trust to hold us upright, to secure us when we feel so unsteady, to assure us when we feel so afraid, to comfort us when we need someone to understand and care. There are many scriptures that we can claim that assure us that Jesus is there both to anchor us and uphold us.

He is our Rock!

Psalm 71:2-3: "Rescue me and deliver me in your righteousness; turn your ear to me and save me. Be my rock of refuge, to which I can always go; give the command to save me; for you are my rock and my fortress."

Psalm 9:9 - "The Lord is a refuge for the oppressed, a stronghold in times of trouble."

Psalm 18:2 - "The Lord is my rock, my fortress and my deliverer; my God is my rock, in whom I take refuge. He is my shield and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold."

Psalm 31:19 - "How great is your goodness, which you have stored up for those who fear you, which you bestow in the sight of men on those who take refuge in you. In the shelter of your presence you hide them from the intrigues of men; in your dwelling you keep them safe from the strife of tongues."

He will hold us with his righteous right hand!

Psalm 18:16 - "He reached down from on high and took hold of me; he drew me out of deep waters."

Psalm 18:35 - "You give me your shield of victory, and your right hand sustains me.."

Psalm 89:13 - "Your arm is endued with power; your hand is strong, your right hand exalted."

Isaiah 41:10 - "So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand."

When life knocks you down and you feel you will never recover from the blow, just remember--you are anchored by the Rock, the weight that will right you back up, and then His righteous right hand will hold you steady through the circumstances you are going through.

Isaiah 41:13 - "For I am the Lord your God, who takes hold of your right hand and says to you, "Do not fear; I will help you."

My anchor holds!

Saturday, November 17, 2007

A Big Football Fan

I admit to being a very big football fan, often loud, rambunctious and oftentimes embarrassing to my husband. As a young teenager, I fell in love with football in high school, as sports was about the only entertainment offered in our small town. My high school football team were the Nicholas County Grizzlies. When I went off to college, I fell in love with a football player and married him. It was so much fun to go to the away games with other football wives and be the only ones in the crowd rooting on our husbands---we had to be loud to be heard. Our college team was the West Virginia Tech Golden Bears. After graduation, we moved to Morgantown, West Virginia so that Dick could get his masters degree and we went to the games and rooted for Dick's brother who played for the West Virginia University Mountaineers, and are still loyal fans.

After graduating from WVU, Dick got work in Pittsburgh, where I experienced my most embarrassing moment of my life. Pittsburgh was playing the West Virginia Mountaineers (a huge rivalry) at Pittsburgh. Bobby Bowden was the coach. The year was 1970 and a client gave Dick two tickets on the 50-yard line in the middle of the Pittsburgh fans. Of course, being a die-hard WVU fan, there was no way I was going to keep quiet as I watched WVU take the lead 35-7 in the first half. In fact, I made such noise that I definitely irritated the fans around me and actually had people saying mean things to me, as I yelled and screamed to root the WVU team to victory. But I certainly got my come-uppance in the second half. Pittsburgh came out and actually won the game 36-35 in the second half and the fans around me certainly gave me back my own medicine. I slunk down in the seats and tried to slip out of the game as quickly as possible!!! In Dick's words, "you almost got us killed."

While in Pittsburgh, we began attending the Pittsburgh Steelers games and fell in love with them. In the 70s we loved the "Steel Curtain." We still follow the Steelers as totally loyal fans. In 1974, we moved to Hawaii, and got season tickets to watch the Hawaii Rainbow Warriors and still remain faithful fans.

We are having a fantastic football year this year. Hawaii is 10-0, with their quarterback, Colt Brennan, looked at as a possible Heisman Trophy candidate. West Virginia Mountaineers are having a great season at 9-1 and 5th place in the polls, with their quarterback, Pat White, also as a possible Heisman Trophy candidate. The Pittsburgh Steelers are going great guns this year and remaining in the top 5 teams of the NFL. How good can it get!

I have to remind myself often that football is a game. It is not to be the center of my focus, or the highlight of my life. It is not an area where I should blow my "gentle and quiet spirit" that is of "great worth in God's sight." It's not an area where I should lose my cool and act like a fool to others. It is just a game-------isn't it?

Go Warriors! Go Mountaineers! Go Steelers!

Friday, November 16, 2007

Living with Contradiction by Esther de Waal

I saw this excerpt from the book "Living with Contradiction" by Esther de Waal and thought I would share it with you today. I think all of us struggle with a need for affirmation, which contain elements of pride. Maybe we should ask the same questions as the questions found in the quote below:

"The journey by which we discover God is also the journey by which we discover, or uncover, our true self hidden in God. It is a journey that we all have to make. It is easy to play the world's game which is the power game, the game which depends on setting myself apart from others, distinguishing myself, seeking the limelight and looking for applause. I find that it is only too easy to become compulsive in my continual need for affirmation, for more and more affirmation, as I anxiously ask Who am I? Am I the person who is liked, admired, praised, seen as successful? My whole attitude towards myself becomes determined by the way in which others see me. I compare myself with others, and I try to emphasize what is different and distinctive about me. Those three temptations which Christ faced in the wilderness are equally my own temptations:
to be relevant
to be spectacular
to be powerful
Am I able, like Christ, to put them down? Am I prepared to shed all these outer shells, of false ambition, of pride?
Am I ready to admit that the mask is a disguise put on to cover up the insecure self? and the armour a shield to protect the vulnerable self? Am I ready to receive a new self, based not on what I can achieve, but on what I am willing to receive?"
(End of quote)

God wants us to conform to the image of Christ, not the image of the world. We must be careful in how we conduct our lives that we live it according to God's design for us rather than the affirmation of the world. God expects us to strive to do our best, to be good at what we do for Him, not to receive glory for ourselves, but to bring glory to God. We are to have the mind of Christ, not the desires of the world. What conflict that sometimes causes us as we go about our daily work.

One more quote by John S. Dunne:

"As I explore the height and depth and the breadth of life, each discovery I make about life is a discovery about God, each is a step with God, a step toward God."

May your walk with Him today be one step closer to God and His will for you!

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Birth Days and Modern Technology

I am constantly amazed at how technology has developed in recent years and has allowed us to reach out to others in so many facets. I am of the generation that used to walk a mile to get to the post office, open a little window to check to see if there was an envelope in there for me, and more often than not, walk away disappointed after seeing an empty box. When there was an envelope in that box addressed to me, it was as if I had received a gift of immeasurable worth, and would read and reread the message sent to me over and over again.

Today all we have to do is go to our computer in the house, press a button, and within seconds receive countless messages (granted most of them spam), but nevertheless you can be "in touch" with people from as far away as the mind can conceive, or as near as next door. Isn't that amazing?

This morning it was such a blessing to hear a little ring on my computer as a signal for me to open my iChat, a video program that allows me to actually see the persons on a camera attached to my computer. It was my son announcing that Bryan, our grandson, was awake and ready to be wished a happy 13th birthday and was eager to open the mailed package that we had sent him earlier. We were able to see sleepy-eyed Bryan smiling as we sang Happy Birthday, Dear Teenager to him and then he opened our package to him. We were able to see his expression, and hear his thanks as we sat in our computer room hundreds of miles away. It truly is amazing!

Have you ever thought how very amazing our birth days are? The day we were born was a miracle unlike any other that can be imagined. God conceived us in our mother's womb, formed us "beautifully and wonderfully" with a uniqueness that no other person can ever duplicate, allowed us to go through the amazing adventure of the birth canal, and sucked in our first breath as we entered the world. He chose the parents we were to be born to, the place for which we were to be born, the characteristics that we would own all of our lives, and granted to us a special purpose for our lives that we would have to discover and develop to fulfill His will for us. As a mother and a grandmother, what joy we feel as we see those gifted to us become the people that God desires them to be!

Happy Birthday, Bryan---may it be a very blessed year for you!

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Autumn Fruit Salad

Apples are now so crunchy and juicy and they are so healthy for us. Remember the old saying "An apple a day keeps the doctor away." I thought you might like to try this recipe as a colorful and healthy salad to feed your family.


1-1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1-1/2 cups water
1 teaspoon butter
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
6 cups cubed upeeled red apples
2 cups halved red seedless grapes
1 cup diced celery
1 cup walnut halves

In a saucepan, combine sugar and flour. Stir in water, bring to a boil. Cook and boil until mixture thickens. Remove from the heat; stir in butter and vanilla. Cool to room temperature. In a large bowl, combine apples, grapes, celery and walnuts. Add dressing and toss gently. Refrigerate until serving. Makes 8 to 10 servings.


Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Patience of Job

We've all heard others use the phrase "the patience of Job" as a trait that would be desirable and active in our own lives. In studying the book of Job lately, and in reading "Let God Be God" by Ray Stedman, Job was not always the picture of perfect patience. He questioned God many times about the pain and suffering he had to endure not of his own choosing. In Job 21:4, Job asks: "Is my complaint directed to man? Why should I not be impatient?" Job complained. Job asked why. Job even thought that it would have been better if he had never been born rather than have to endure the suffering and pain he had to go through. His wife bitterly nagged at him and said--why don't you just curse God and die. Does all of that picture the perfect picture of patience?

Patience is the ability to endure, to tolerate, to suffer long with calm and composure. Job learned patience from the things that he suffered. Through it all, he never lost sight of the Master he served. My favorite verse to remind me that God is worthy of serving is Job's statement "Even though he slay me, yet will I trust in Hiim." If Job can endure through all that he suffered with his view of God properly intact, then surely my suffering is small in comparison. I can place my faith in God who will endure with me through to the end. Romans 5:3-5 says "Not only so, but we also rejoice in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not disappoint us, because God has poured out his love into our hearts by the Holy Spirit, whom he has given us."

"Rejoice in our sufferings"---my, what a statement by the Apostle Paul in Romans. Can we truly rejoice in our sufferings? Christ did. "Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God." Job did. At the end of Job, we see Job as a contented man, blessed doubly, and he had peace with God and himself and those around him. We can rest assured that if God causes us to suffer and have pain, that first of all He will be with us through it---He promises never to leave or forsake us. He promises that the suffering we endure will build our perseverance, our character and ultimately the eternal hope of our relationship with Him. God cares much more for our character than he does our comfort. He wants to build within us a sustaining faith and trust in Him that will never end, that will allow us to cling to the hope of eternal peace forever with Him.

May patience be a trait we all strive to attain!

Monday, November 12, 2007


What a morning we experienced as we took my niece and her girlfriend to the top of Mt. Haleakala this morning! We began by waking up at 3:30 a.m. to start climbing (by car) from 1200 Elev. to the summit of Haleakala at 10,230 feet elevation. We arrived purposely before sunrise so that we could watch that incredible view of the sun rising and lighting up the crater at first light!

We were amazed that we were not the only ones to get that brilliant idea---there were hundreds of people waiting for that ultimate moment when the fringes of the clouds announce the sun's coming by its orange glow, then the first edge of the sun peeping over the top, and in a matter of seconds, the full sun popping up almost blinding in its brightness. You could see flashes of cameras all around trying to capture that moment in time when they personally saw the sun make its appearance.

At 10,000 feet it was quite cold--about 45 degrees. Some people were not prepared for the cold thinking that in Hawaii you should only experience warm tropical weather. They were very uncomfortable. Others knew that at such a high elevation, you would need extra heat from an outside source in the absence of the sun. We had gone prepared with warm jackets, gloves and hats, and a big thermos of hot coffee to get us through the morning.

I can't help but think of Jesus Christ and His return as I relate our experience up on that mountaintop this morning. Wouldn't it be a wonder if all peoples of the earth would anticipate God's Son, Jesus Christ, so eagerly and watch and wait for that sudden light of His presence to appear? Are we prepared for that day to occur? It will happen---it has been promised and God cannot lie! Are we "camera-ready" waiting to capture the moment and allow the thrill of it to grasp our hearts for eternity? When He comes to reign on the earth, His light will light the world. There will be no need for any other source of heat or light. His presence will light up the sky and we will either welcome the light or shrink from it depending upon our relationship with Him. Just as we were awed by the sight of the sun rising over the horizon this morning, we will be totally awe-struck by God's Son coming in the clouds to meet us in the air!

Awaiting the Son,

Thursday, November 08, 2007

"It's Already Tomorrow"

As a grandparent, I find myself telling younger couples with small children, that they should enjoy their children while they can because they grow up all too fast. It seems we turn around once and children jump from toddlers to teenagers. Our grandson, Bryan, will be 13 on November 15, a teenager. It just seems yesterday that I was carrying him in my arms to help him discover the wonders of outdoors as a baby. Soon he will be wanting his drivers license!

I just read a heart-rending story in "Home Life Magazine" where a father was rushing around the house trying to get ready for work one day when his small son came in and said "Daddy, I've turned over my cowendar and you can stay home from wuck today." The father replied "Grant, I have to go to work today, but I can stay home tomorrow." "But Daddy," he countered, "it's already tomorrow." "No, Grant, today is Friday. I can't stay home until Saturday." The little boy dropped his head, and said, "Well, maybe then you can come visit us."

Are we too busy doing good things that steal away the best things from our children? A child depends on time with his parents to gain the perspectives on life that will allow them to find their security, develop their worldview, and discover who they are and who God is. We are daily representing an image of God to our children. As grandparents, we look back and reflect on the time that we had with our own children, and wonder where the years have flown, and ponder how we could have maybe done things better---maybe extra morning hugs, more bedtime tales, and tuck-me-in prayers. Maybe more walks in the woods, talks in the car, or a greater listening ear. Our children are God's greatest gifts to us and He has placed us with an awesome responsibility as parents. Children are like sponges that soak up all that we have to offer them, especially when they are so young and teachable. Make sure your child knows that he/she is special in your eyes.

Sometimes I wonder why God waits until we are old to understand the wisdom that we should have had when we were young. On the news last night in an interview with an older doctor, the statement was made that he told his daughter who is mother to his first grandchild that it was his job as a grandparent to spoil the child, but her job was to make sure he wasn't spoiled. It's a joy to "spoil" our grandchildren. Parents, it's your job to obey God's commands and mentor the little hearts in your home. Plant God's love in the hearts and minds of your children He has blessed you with. Surprise your children with spontaneous "show-up" time, give them an extra moment when you tuck them into bed to hear what their day was like, laugh a little longer with them as you play with them. All of those precious moments add up to memories that children treasure!

I so appreciate how our son and "daughter" are raising our grandsons! Good job, Rich and Em!

Don't wait until tomorrow what you can give your children today!

Monday, November 05, 2007

Have You Lost Your Senses?

Have you ever taken a small toddler out on a bright sunny day and turned him loose in the yard to play to discover his or her little world around them? They discover their senses--the sense of touch, smell, sight, hearing, and taste. In little bare feet they run through the cool green grass wiggling their toes and feeling the tickle of the ground beneath them, or crunch up their toes when they hit a puddle of water or a little pebble under their tiny feet. With little hands they run to a bright colored flower and instinctively put it up to their nose to see if it smells good and usually graciously hand it to you to smell as well. They hear a bird up in a tree and cock their heads to hear its sweet trill in the trees, pointing in its direction, squinting their eyes to see it better. They try to pick up whatever they see on the ground, tree, or bush around them and put it in their mouths, their way of discovering new sights and tastes around them. They squeal when they run from one thing to another and are so quick to come back to you to show you what they found. Oh, the joys of little children discovering the gift of their senses!!!

Have we as adults gotten so busy that we forget to discover the sights, smells, textures and tastes around us? Do we stop to smell the roses, or the plumeria, or gardenia that is blooming nearby? Do we notice the rainbow in the sky after a rain on our drive to work? Do we hear the doves cooing outside our window in the morning as we awaken? Do we remember the touch of the velvety skin of an infant child, the wonder of smelling their little feet, the touch of their little fingers wrapped around ours in a tight grip of love? Do we remember hearing the giggling and squealing of little girls at play? Do we ever sit in silence and tune our ears to hear the still small voice of our Lord?

God as our Creator gave us a world to thoroughly enjoy and He gave us the gift of senses that we might enjoy it to the fullest. Let's take the time to exercise the wonderful gifts of touch, smell, sight, hearing and taste. God will communicate to you through the wonder of His world around you if you just take the time to find your senses once again! You can communicate to God by giving Him thanks each day as you discover anew the wonders around you!

Enjoy the wonders of your day!

Sunday, November 04, 2007

Angry Fist or Open Hands??

Life's circumstances can sometimes hit us without warning and we can be left reeling as if we'd been broadsided by the unexpected. How we face those difficult trials that come our way says a lot about us as persons. Do we immediately look up to heaven and shake our fist in the face of God railing against His unfair treatment of us, asking "Why me?" Or do we drop to our knees holding our open hands up to God seeking help and counsel from Him who promises to see us through the tough times?

Now that you've thought about your first responses to God, think about God's first responses to you when hard times come your way. Do you immediately think that God is bringing punishment to you by bringing the painful circumstance into your life and shaking His angry fist at you? Or do you see Him offering His open hand to you reaching down to comfort and console you in your pain?

I believe your responses in times of trial directly relate to your personal relationship with Jesus Christ and how well you know Him as your Savior. If you know His character to be loving, consoling, comforting, kind and gentle, you know that He would never deliberately bring pain to hurt you. He may allow pain to enter your life, but He personally does not bring the pain to you. He promises to be with you ever present through the trial, but He has never promised that pain would not enter your world. He even said that "in this world, you will have tribulation, but I have overcome the world." This world brings pain, sometimes unbeliveable unbearable pain, but God will always be the first one that offers His hand of mercy and grace to you and promises never to leave you or forsake you. He will always be right there with His open hand extended waiting for you to reach out with your open hand to receive his love, grace and mercy. God promises to "hold us with his righteous right hand", and believe me, He will never let go! Receive His peace in the knowledge that He is there amidst your pain!

The next time you want to shake your fist at God, try instead opening up those fingers and reaching upward to receive His love!

Have a great Sunday!

Saturday, November 03, 2007

O God Who Shaped Creation

We who know Christ often mourn what we see happening in our world---so much evil, pain, and heartache at every turn. When pain and anguish hits someone in our own family or our circle of friends, it's almost unbearable and so easy to question God. Then my thoughts went to how God must feel when he sees the same events happening here on earth, and I can almost hear him say, "Why, my children, do you turn away from me---the One who loves you so much?" I recently read the following hymn written by William W. Reid, Jr. and was touched by its message. I want to share it with you today:

O God Who Shaped Creation
by William W. Reid, Jr.

O God who shaped creation
At earth's chaotic dawn,
Your word of power was spoken,
And lo! the dark was gone!
You framed us in your image,
You brought us into birth,
You blessed our infant footsteps
And shared your splendored earth.

O God, with pain and anguish
A mother sees her child
Embark on deadend pathways,
Alluring, but defiled;
So too your heart is broke
When hate and lust increase,
When words you birthed and nurtured
Spurn ways that lead to peace.

Although your heart is broken
When people scorn your ways,
You never cease your searching
Through evil's darksome maze;
And when we cease our running,
Your joys, O God, abound
Like joy of searching woman
When treasured coin is found.

O God, when trinkets tarnish
And pleasures lose their charm,
When, wearied by our wandering,
We seek your opened arm,
With motherlike compassion
You share your warm embrace;
You set for us a banquet
And heal us through your grace.

In mercy and compassion
Your goodness is revealed;
With tenderness you touch us,
And broken hearts are healed.
You claim us as your children,
You strip our prideful shame;
With freedom born of mercy
We bless your holy name!

If you are going through a dark period in your life where you can't see what lies ahead, run into the waiting arms of Jesus who promises to be your deliverer, your guide, and your Friend!


Friday, November 02, 2007

Jokes? From Me?

I have been accused by my family often of being "too serious." I'm not one to remember jokes, to retell jokes, or even laugh at them very often. Yesterday I heard two jokes in the same day and I actually remember them this morning! Wanta hear them??

1. A local guy needed a job really badly. After looking and looking for a job, a manager of a hotel finally hired him and told him to report to work the next morning. Very excited, he went home and told his friend that he lived with that he needed to be woke up in the morning to report to work on time because he often slept through his alarm. After he fell asleep, his friend decided to play a trick on him and painted his face black. Sure enough, the next morning the guy slept through his alarm clock, so that when his friend came in and woke him, he said, "you're late---you'd better hurry to get to work on time." So he jumped out of bed, threw on his clothes and hurried out the door without even brushing his teeth. When he got to the hotel and reported to the manager, the manager said, "you're not the person I hired yesterday." The guy kept insisting, "yes, I'm the one! You gave me the job right here in this very office." The manager kept insisting, No, you're not the guy. Go look in the mirror!" When the guy looked in the mirror, he said "Oh, no, my friend woke up the wrong guy!"

2. Did you hear about the three-legged dog that staggered up to the bar and said to the bartender, "Okay, I want to know who shot my pa? (Paw---get it?)

Now why in the world would I remember two such ridiculous jokes? I giggled at them yesterday and still remember them today. A sense of humor is a gift from God. To be able to see the world with all of its problems with a lighter point of view is a blessing. Proverbs tell us that "a cheerful heart is good medicine, but a crushed spirit dries up the bones." Laughter allows us to release our burdens and it becomes a source of healing, if even for a short time. In Ecclesiastes, Solomon reminds us that there is "a time to weep, and a time to laugh."

I hope you will see something to laugh about today. It does the body good to have a good ole belly chuckle! Look for the fun things in life---it helps to keep your focus off your troubles!

Happy Giggling!

Thursday, November 01, 2007

Precious Gifts

Have you ever received a gift from someone that you wouldn't trade for all the oil in Texas, or all the gold in California? The gift is precious because it reminds you so specially of the giver and the heart in which it was given. I have many treasures in my home given to me by very special friends and every time I see them, either on a shelf, or on the wall, it reminds me of the precious gift of friendship and family.

There are two gifts that my youngest grandson, Bradley, gave me that warm my heart so much that when I see them, it brings tears to my eyes at the memory of his giving them to me. Dick and I were on Oahu and were meeting our son, Rich, and his family at a restaurant in the town where they live. When we got to the table where they were waiting for us to join them, little Bradley handed me a package wrapped up in white tissue paper. Upon opening it, I found a beautiful white glass angel. He had just been on a field trip with his first grade class and they had gone to a crafts fair, where Bradley saw this angel, and picked it out just for Nana. That little angel sits in my living room where I look at it every day and remember the love that he must have felt for me when he chose that angel.

The other gift he gave me is even more precious to me. We were again visiting with them in their Mililani home, when Bradley came to me and handed me this very tiny, tiny block of wood. He said, "I made this for you, Nana." When I examined it more closely, he had carved on it "Holy Bible" with a cross on it. I carry that little precious block of wood everywhere with me. Bradley has a tender heart for the Lord. He loves to sing praise songs and quietly does so often during the day. I know God has a special plan for this little one, and I pray that Bradley's heart will always stay tender and tuned in to what the Lord would have him accomplish during his lifetime.

God's Word, the Holy Bible, is His precious gift to us that tells the story of His Son, His most precious gift to the world. He wants us to know His Son personally and grow to love Him through the Word. If you're not in the habit of reading God's gift to you every day, you are missing out on the love that He wants to share with you. If you are reading faithfully God's Word, then you know what joy and peace it brings!

Open God's gift to you today!