Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Bible in 90 Days


This week proved the most difficult yet.  I began reading Psalm 90, through Proverbs, Ecclesiastes, Song of Songs, and ended after Isaiah 13.

Here are a few of the scriptures that jumped out at me!

Psalm 78

1 My people, hear my teaching;
listen to the words of my mouth.
2 I will open my mouth with a parable;
I will utter hidden things, things from of old—
3 things we have heard and known,
things our ancestors have told us.
4 We will not hide them from their descendants;
we will tell the next generation
the praiseworthy deeds of the LORD,
his power, and the wonders he has done.
5 He decreed statutes for Jacob
and established the law in Israel,
which he commanded our ancestors
to teach their children,
6 so the next generation would know them,
even the children yet to be born,
and they in turn would tell their children.
7 Then they would put their trust in God
and would not forget his deeds
but would keep his commands.
8 They would not be like their ancestors—
a stubborn and rebellious generation,
whose hearts were not loyal to God,
whose spirits were not faithful to him.

We are to teach our children about God and His precepts from before birth and beyond; so that they would put their trust in HIM!

Psalm 142.1-2

 1 I cry aloud to the LORD;
I lift up my voice to the LORD for mercy.
2 I pour out before him my complaint;
before him I tell my trouble.

Psalm 142.1-2 reminds me that I am to call to/go to GOD first, not after I've called 2 girlfriends to complain or vent.

If you are also reading the Bible in 90 Days, how are you doing?  Are you struggling with finding the time to read or what God is showing you?  There are times I'm not liking what He is showing me about myself.  I'm praying for us all!



Monday, August 29, 2011

multitudes on mondays


This past week has been filled with so many ups-and-downs that I feel like I just got off a roller coaster!  After a wonderful visit with friends we hadn't seen for 3 years, my husband had a terrible car accident.


11.  My husband is alive and well with only minor bumps, bruises and soreness.  (Here's a picture of his car... which, by the way, was totaled by the insurance company.)

12.  A terrific visit with Bob and Janet
13.  Janet's good health
14.  Hurricane Irene went west of my parent's home
15.  Staying on schedule with reading the Bible in 90 Days
16.  The insurance company's check will cover the lien amount.  PTL!
17.  My daughter telling me "I love you!"
18.  School going well
19.  My son's love of improv!
20.  For Rod... my hubby, my love



Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Summer visits... wonderful!

Me, Ann (mom-in-law), and Rod

The Cook family... including Grandmom Cook!

Do you enjoy birds, flowers, fish and stuff?

We enjoyed strolling through the Tennessee Aquarium.  Can you tell?!?!



Monday, August 22, 2011

multitudes on mondays... one thousand gifts


What are you thankful for?  What am I thankful to GOD for?  Why is it that I normally choose to demand question GOD on His doings in my life than thank Him for his blessings and teachings?  Well, hopefully, that "demandiness" will end here... or at least begin changing my heart for the better.

Each week I will be posting a list of the many things I am thankful to God for, and then linking up with others on Multitudes on Monday to see read how God is working in their lives. 

#1 - 10

1.  a long, overdue visit with a special family member
2.  penguins
3.  seeing God's creativeness in sea horses
4.  vine-ripened tomatoes
5.  so far, only a small tribe of stink bugs in the zucchini plant
6.  homeschooling friends
7.  Rod, my handsome husband
8.  a loving mom and dad
9.  computers that work
10.  crock pots

What are you thankful for this week?

Ann Voskamp wrote a book entitled One Thousand Gifts: Dare to Live Fully Right Where You Are.  More information on this can be found at One Thousand Gifts and at A Holy Experience.



Sunday, August 21, 2011

The Bible in 90 Days


This past week, my mother-in-law came in for a visit.  Since I really wanted to spend time as a family, I fell behind.  I have spent yesterday and today catching up. 

This week's reading included: Nehemiah, Esther, Job, and Psalms 1 - 89.

Throughout my readings, Psalm 15 keeps coming to mind.  I love it when scripture asks a question and then goes on to answer it.  God leaves no question as to what He wants us to know/learn.  Take a look....

Psalm 15

A psalm of David.

"1 LORD, who may dwell in your sacred tent?
Who may live on your holy mountain?
2 The one whose walk is blameless,
who does what is righteous,
who speaks the truth from their heart;
3 whose tongue utters no slander,
who does no wrong to a neighbor,
and casts no slur on others;
4 who despises a vile person
but honors those who fear the LORD;
who keeps an oath even when it hurts,
and does not change their mind;
5 who lends money to the poor without interest;
who does not accept a bribe against the innocent.
Whoever does these things
will never be shaken."

So, if you are currently reading through the Bible in 90 Day, how are you doing?  If you find yourself getting behind, set aside a time twice a day until you are caughts up.  I'm praying for us all during this time!



Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Fresh Basil

Thanks to a very dear friend, Michelle, I have learned to not only grow my own basil, but dry it for later use.  If I can do this, anyone can!

First, grow basil in a pot (like below) or in your garden.

 Next, pick the basil leaves off the plant, rinse them off, and pat dry.

 Arrange the dried leaves on a paper plate or or paper towel.  Cover with a dry paper towel.

 Microwave on HIGH 30 seconds.  Check their progress.  Microwave for another 30 seconds until the leaves are dried out and crunchy.  This usually takes me 1-1 1/2 minutes.

 When the leaves are dry, they will look like this.

 Using your fingers, crush the leaves like below.  If you have any large stems, remove them from the pile.

 Store in an air-tight jar for later use.  I am recycling a store-bought container.  I just changed the name to "Mom's Basil."

 Cool shot, huh!?!?!  Use in recipes just like you do store-bought seasoning.




Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Stealing Jake ~ a book review


Stealing Jake by Pam Hillman is a wonderful historical fiction novel that shows the forgiving love and amazing grace our our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. 

"When Livy O’Brien spies a young boy jostling a man walking along the boardwalk, she recognizes the act for what it is. After all, she used to be known as Light-fingered Livy. But that was before she put her past behind her and moved to the growing town of Chestnut, Illinois, where she’s helping to run an orphanage. Now she’ll do almost anything to protect the street kids like herself.

Sheriff’s deputy Jake Russell had no idea what he was in for when he ran into Livy—literally—while chasing down a pickpocket. With a rash of robberies and a growing number of street kids in town—as well as a loan on the family farm that needs to be paid off—Jake doesn’t have time to pursue a girl. Still, he can't seem to get Livy out of his mind. He wants to get to know her better . . . but Livy isn’t willing to trust any man, especially not a lawman."

This story has it all... romance, suspense, danger, humor, and more!  The characters are well-developed and have you cheering them on!  I especially enjoyed Gus, a quiet man who helped out his neighbors in the dark of night, not wishing to be known for his acts of kindness.  Throughout the story, God's grace and mercy and forgiveness shine through.  How many of us can say we have never sinned or have nothing hiding in our past that we don't wish people to know?  Yet, Livy, who lived on the streets of Chicago as a child, comes forward to share her past to help the street children of Chestnut.  Her desire to help others trumped her need to keep her past in the past.  How many of us would put our lives "out there" to help others?

My rating: 5 stars out of 5!

I received a complimentary copy of this book from Tyndale House Publishers for my review.



Women of Faith 2011

Women of Faith Imagine

"God can do anything, you know—far more than you could ever imagine or guess or request in your wildest dreams!"

Ephesians 3:20 (MSG)

This past weekend was amazing!  Not only did I have the privilege of attending the Women of Faith Imagine conference, but I attended it with my beautiful daughter Melissa.

How can you worship God in an arena filled with 8,000 women (and some men) and not be changed?  God and His redeeming work was so evident in the speakers' lives as well as our own.

Our weekend started out fuzzy....

and ended clearly...

The speakers' shared their faith walk through some very tough, dark times including depression, loss of a newborn, and a husband's critical illness.  Yet, God proved faithful in their darkest moments.  If God was faithful to them, why not me?  I was filled with God's love and forgiveness in different areas of my own life.  Thank you Women of Faith speakers for being open and vulnerable and for sharing your stories!

One of the verses discussed was Galatians 6.4-5...

"Pay careful attention to your own work, for then you will get the satisfaction of a job well done, and you won’t need to compare yourself to anyone else. For we are each responsible for our own conduct." (NLT)

Wow, I didn't know this was in the Bible!  How many times (a day) do I compare myself or one of my family members to other people?  I need to rest in the knowledge that GOD gave each of us our own work to do - not someone else's.  This verse is next in line for Bible memory!

A few pictures...

Me and Lisa Harper
I can't wait to read her book Stumbling Into Grace!

Luci Swindoll, Angie Smith, Lisa Harper,
Sheila Walsh, and Nicole Johnson dancing to
Mary Mary (on stage)

and the Praise and Worship team... terrific as always!

Melissa and I...

If you have a chance to attend a Women of Faith event, make every effort to go.  You will be so richly blessed by the music, speakers, and thousands of your closest girlfriends!



Monday, August 15, 2011

Easy Chicken Stir Fry



1 lb. boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into strips or small bites
2 cloves minced garlic
1 Tbs oil
1 1/4 cups water
1/4 cup soy sauce
1 Tbs sugar
1 pkg (16 oz) frozen stir-fry vegetables
2 cups Minute Rice, uncooked


1)  Cook and stir chicken and garlic in hot oil in large skillet on meduim-high heat 5 minutes or until chicken is cooked through.

2)  Add water, soy sauce, sugar, and vegetables; stir.  Bring to a boil.

3)  Stir in rice; cover.  Remove from heat.  Let stand 5 minutes.  Fluff with fork.

4)  Serve and enjoy!

Notes:  I increase the amount of vegetables.  When I made this last week, I added sliced zucchini and yellow squash near the end of the chicken's cooking time.  I don't particularly use Minute Rice brand;  any store brand will do!

This post may be linked to:  Tasty Tuesday Link Party   This Week's Cravings   Hunk of Meat Monday   Delectable Tuesday  Totally Tasty Tuesday   Tempt My Tummy Tuesdays   Tasty Tuesdays   Tuesdays at the Table   Hearth and Soul Hop   Tasty Tuesday   Tuesday Night Supper Club   Slightly Indulgent Tuesday   Dr. Laura's Tasty Tuesday   What's Cooking Wednesday   What's for Dinner?   Foodie Wednesday   Real Food Wednesday   What's On the Menu Wednesday   What's Cooking Wednesday   Full Plate Thursday   Fun with Food Friday   Tuesday Tantalizing Taste Sweets for a Saturday   What's Cooking Wednesday   What's on Your Plate?   Recipes I Can't Wait to Try   No Whine Wednesday   Savory Sundays   This Chick Cooks   Simply Delish Saturdays   Recipe Sharing Mondays   Fat Camp Friday   Whisking Wednesdays   What's Cooking Wednesday   Cooking Thursday   It's a Keeper   Ultimate Recipe Swap



The Bible in 90 Days


Reading through the Bible has been both amazing and tedious.  Amazing in the fact that so many things I have heard, I have now read for myself.  How cool is that!  Tedious.... oooh, Old Testament readings!

Week 3: Deuteronomy 23, Joshua, Judges, Ruth, and 1 Samuel

Week 4: 2 Samuel, 1 Kings, and 2 Kings

Week 5: 1 Chronicles, 2 Chronicles, Ezra, and Nehemiah

Thoughts on these readings (other than, "Now how do I pronounce these names again?)...

1 Kings 11.6 I read, "So Solomon did evil in the eyes of the Lord; he did not follow the Lord completely, as David his father had done." 

Wow!  Solomon was the wisest man/king in history; yet, he let his many wives lead him into idol and false god worshiping.  I know, I know, he was not to intermarry for just this reason.  But listen to the verse, he (Solomon) did evil in the eyes of the Lord.  This verse implies that David did follow the Lord completely.  What about his affair with Bathsheba or his other strayings from God's commands.  YET, GOD forgave him... lock, stock and barrel. This means GOD forgives my mistakes; and through my salvation, sees only the glory of His Son, Jesus, when He sees me.  Amazing!

You know the book The Prayer of Jabez?  I actually read the prayer!  See 1 Chronicles 4.4-9 and read it for yourself!

I want my prayer to echo Davids' Prayer in 1 Chronicles 29.10b-13.

"Praise be to you, O Lord, God of our father Israel, from everlasting to everlasting.  Yours, O Lord, is the greatness and the power and the glory and the majesty and the splendor, for everything in heaven and earth is yours.  Yours O Lord, is the kingdom; you are exalted as head over all.  Wealth and honor come from you; you are the ruler of all things.  In your hands are strength and power to exalt and give strength to all.  Now, our God, we give you thanks, and praise your glorious name."



Monday, August 8, 2011

Chicken Casserole



1 pound Ziti, Mostaccioli or other medium pasta shape, uncooked
14 oz. frozen broccoli florets or 4 cups fresh broccoli
2 cups cubes/shredded cooked chicken
2 cans cream of chicken soup
1 1/2 cans milk
1 cup shredded cheddar or mexican cheese blend
Salt and pepper to taste


1)   Cook pasta as directed on package.  Add the broccoli during the last 5 minutes of cooking.  Drain.

2)  Mix the pasta and broccoli with the chicken, soup, milk, and cheese.  Add salt and pepper to taste.

3)  Spray a 9 x 13 casserole dish with non-stick spray, and pour the mixture into it.  Cover with aluminum foil.

4)  Bake at 350 F for 30 minutes or until bubbling.

5)  Enjoy!


1)  Great served with homemade biscuits and green salad.
2)  Use what vegetables you have on hand.  In the picture above, I added broccoli and julienned carrots.  I also use more veggies than the recipe calls for... any way to get more of the good stuff into my family!

This post may be linked to:Tasty Tuesday Link Party This Week's Cravings Hunk of Meat Monday Delectable Tuesday Totally Tasty Tuesday Tempt My Tummy Tuesdays Tasty Tuesdays Tuesdays at the Table Hearth and Soul Hop Tasty Tuesday Tuesday Night Supper Club Slightly Indulgent Tuesday Dr. Laura's Tasty Tuesday What's Cooking Wednesday What's for Dinner? Foodie Wednesday Real Food Wednesday What's On the Menu Wednesday What's Cooking Wednesday Full Plate Thursday Fun with Food Friday Tuesday Tantalizing Taste Sweets for a Saturday What's Cooking Wednesday What's on Your Plate? Recipes I Can't Wait to Try No Whine Wednesday Savory Sundays This Chick Cooks Simply Delish Saturdays   Recipe Sharing Mondays   Fat Camp Friday


Plugged-In Parenting: How to Raise Media-Savvy Kids with Love, Not War

Plugged-in Parenting: How to Raise Media-Savvy Kids with Love, Not War  -     
        By: Bob Waliszewski

After reading Plugged-In Parenting by Bob Waliszewski, I now know there are more better ways to supervise my teenagers' screen time and entertainment choices.

With book sections on "Deciding Where You Stand" (as the parent), "Making Rules Without Making Enemies," and "Keeping the Peace and Passing It On", the author shares his principles and possible scenarios for implementing them.  The author's conversational-style of writing make this book easy to read and understand.  It is as he is sitting in the room with you answering any questions that may arise.

I enjoyed this book and was able to garner better ways to oversee my teenagers' entertainment choices.  I like the way he teaches us to look at the heart-issue, instead of just making rules.  Since I am a rule maker, this is something I really needed to hear.  He guides you through the principles of why choices are good or bad, and how to work with your family to minimize arguments over them.

Bob Waliszewski includes a chapter on the technology of today that our youth are  using.  He discusses the different types, cyber bullying, appropriateness of its uses, and how to monitor their time on the electronics.

Overall, this book gives parents a good starting point to raising "media-savvy kids with love, not war."

My star rating 4.5 out of 5 stars.

Tyndale House Publishers has provided me with a complimentary copy of this book for my honest review.



Tuesday, August 2, 2011

The Bible in 90 Days


This week I read from Deuteronomy 24 through Joshua, Judges, Ruth, and 1 Samuel.  What a week!  Here are a few things which stood out for me.

1)  At the end of Deuteronomy, we see that God blesses us for obedience.  (Later we learn of the curses, or lack of blessings, in Judges.)  Moses dies after seeing the Promised Land, since he "broke faith with Me (God) in the presence of the Israelites at the waters of Meribah Kadesh in the Desert of Zin and because you did not uphold My Holiness among the Israelites."  (Deut. 32.51)  And because of this he is not allowed to enter the "land flowing with milk and honey."  Yet, before Moses dies, he renews the Covenant between God and the Israelites.

2)  In the book of Joshua, we learn how a prostitute, Rahab, believes in God (from what she has heard through the grapevine) and is saved through her faith.  I witnessed the miracle of the day when the sun stood still to give light to the Israelites to win their battle.  Joshua then oversees the division of the Promised Land to the tribes of Israel.  And again, Joshua renews the Covenant between God and the Israelites before he dies.

3)  Ahh, the book of Judges.  This book could have been written today.  The recurrent scripture, "The Israelites did evil in the eyes of the Lord; they forgot the Lord their God."  According to Judges, when the Israelites cried to the Lord for help, He would send judges to save them and bring them back into fellowship with Him, but read what happened....

"Then the Lord raised up judges, who saved them out of the hands of these raiders.  Yet they would not listen to their judges but prostituted themselves to other gods and worshiped them.  Unlike their fathers, they quickly turned from the way in which their fathers had walked, the way of obedience to the Lord's commands.  Whenever the Lord raised up a judge for them, He was with the judge and saved them out of the hands of their enemies as long as the judge lived; for the Lord had compassion on them as they groaned under those who oppressed and afflicted them.  But when the judge died, the people returned to ways even more corrupt than those of their fathers, following other gods and serving and worshiping them.  They refused to give up their evil practices and stubborn ways."
Judges 3.16-19

Here's my thought.... why haven't we learned this lesson yet? We still do evil and then expect God to forgive and clean-up our messes. We have the Word of God in our hands; if only we would read it, learn from it, and apply to our own lives.

Oh, and how many of us would honestly admit to having idols which take the place of God?  Read about Micah in Judges 17.  He not only made idols from silver, but also a shrine, an ephod, and even named his own son a priest.  Hello there?!?!?  They were not of the clan of Levi to be a priest.  To top it off, Micah meets a Levite walking in Ephraim and invites him to live and serve as his personal family priest.

4)  In Ruth, we learn about Kinsman Redeemers.  What is a Kinsman Redeemer?  According to Bible Study tools, a kinsman redeemer is "a male relative who, according to various laws found in the Pentateuch, had the privilege or responsibility to act for a relative who was in trouble, danger, or need of vindication." 

What would this look like today?  Family helping family!

5)  In 1 Samuel, we find that the Israelites have rejected God as their king and demands an earthly king like the neighboring nations.  God granted them their desire, and through Samuel, forwarned what their life would be like subjected to an earthly, human king.  Not caring about the negative consequences, the Israelites still desired a king.  God acquiesced, and named Saul as their first king.

Why am I like the Israelites?  Asking Demanding of God things which are not good for me.  Why am I not content with God alone?  Why do I feel I need more.... stuff, control, etc.

I wonder what this week will bring.....



Monday, August 1, 2011

Shredded Chicken



5 Chicken breasts (with bones)
2 cups chicken broth
2 tsp Italian seasonings
salt and pepper to taste
enough water to cover chicken breasts


1)  Spray crock pot with non-stick spray.
2)  Rinse and place chicken breasts in the crock pot.
3)  Add remaining ingredients.
4)  Cook on LOW for 8 hours or HIGH for 5 hours.
5)  Remove chicken from pot and let cool.
6)  Pull the meat off the bones and store it in quart-size freezer bags.  To keep moist, add some chicken broth to the bags.  Use within 7 days or freeze for future use.


I use this in chicken salad, enchiladas, quesadillas, and casseroles.  This is great for any recipe which calls for precooked chicken.  It also freezes well!  (For me, 5 chicken breasts gives me 2 one-quart freezer bags.  Each bag is equivalent to 2-2 1/2 cups cooked chicken.)

When boned chicken breasts go on sale for $0.89-0.99/pound, I buy extras and follow the above recipe.  Then I always (usually) have cooked chicken on hand for simple lunches or dinners!

Chicken cooling...

Remaining bones and skin....


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