Thursday, April 30, 2009

Weigh-In Results...

I only have a minute. Just wanted to drop a quick note to let you know…I met my goal!!!! Praise God!!! In fact, not only did I meet the goal, but surpassed it by another pound! I’m giving glory to God because He’s helped me every step of this journey since its beginning back in September. Thank you for your sweet words of encouragement! They definitely helped give me a little extra push these last few days. I’ll share more soon about the journey but for now, I’m rejoicing! = )

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

A Breakfast Treat - Part 2

As promised yesterday, here are the recipes from our recently hosted breakfast. We'll start with the two made by my friend, Tracy.

Poppy Seed Bread with Orange Glaze

3 eggs
2 cups sugar
1 1/2 cups veg. oil
1 1/2 cups milk
3 cups flour
1 1/2 teas. baking powder
1 1/2 teas. salt
3 Tablespoons poppy seeds
2 teas. almond extract

Orange Glaze
1/4 cup orange juice concentrate, thawed
3/4 cup 10X sugar
1/2 teas. vanilla
1 teas. almond extract

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease two loaf pans . Beat together eggs, sugar, oil and milk in a medium bowl. Combine flour, baking powder and salt. Beat into egg mixture. Stir in poppy seeds and almond ext. Divide batter into loaf pans. Bake for 1 hour or until wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean. Leave in pan while mixing the glaze. Run a bread knife around each loaf to loosen the sides from the pan. Pour glaze over the warm loaves. With the bread knife pull the sides of bread away from the pan to let the glaze run down into the pan. Let cool completely in the pan. Slice and enjoy! Freezes well!

Cinnamon Rolls (bread machine recipe, dough cycle only)

1 cup water or milk
2 Tablespoons butter, softened
1 egg
3 1/3 cups bread flour
1/4 cup sugar
1 teaspoon salt
3 teaspoons yeast

1/3 cup sugar
2 teaspoons cinnamon
2-3 Tablespoons butter, melted

1 cup powered sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1-2 Tablespoons milk

1. Place all dough ingredients in machine bread pan in order listed. Select dough cycle and start.
2. Grease 9x11 pan. Mix 1/3 cup sugar and cinnamon. Flatten dough into 18 x10 rectangle on lightly floured surface. Spread with melted butter; sprinkle with cinn. sugar mixture. Roll up tightly beginning at ten inch side. Pinch edge of dough into roll to seal. Cut roll into 1" slices. Place in pan. Cover; let rise in warm place until double, about 1 hour.
3. Heat oven to 375 degrees. Bake about 20 - 25 min. until lightly browned. Remove from pan; drizzle Glaze over warm rolls. approx. 12 rolls

Tracy's Note: You can roll the dough from the long end and make mini-rolls; great for breakfast buffet when serving many. =)

Here are the dishes I prepared. We'll start with one of our family favorites. Nearly 20 years ago, our law firm published a great little in-house recipe book. That's where I found this one and I've been using it ever since.

Breakfast Casserole

1 lb. bulk sausage
6 eggs
Shake of oregano
1 cup sharp cheddar cheese
2 cups milk
1 tsp. dry mustard
1 tsp. salt

Crumble sausage and brown in skillet. Drain well. Beat together milk, eggs, dry mustard, oregano and salt. Pour into 13 x 9 inch glass baking dish. Sprinkle sausage and cheddar cheese over egg mixture. Refrigerate several hours or overnight. Bake at 350 for 45-60 minutes. (Let sit for five minutes before serving.)

I found the next recipe at "" a couple of years ago. It's incredibly easy and has a wonderful, buttery flavor.

Baked French Toast

3 eggs
2/3 cup milk or cream (I use cream)
1 tsp. vanilla
1/4 tsp. ground cinnamon
8 slices of Bread (I typically use Pepperidge Farm Cinnamon Raisin)
1/4 cup real butter

Mix eggs, milk, vanilla and cinnamon and pour into large, shallow pan.

Place bread slices in a single layer in pan and allow them to soak up liquid. (I usually turn them over, after soaking the first side. Also, sometimes my edges overlap slightly.)

Can be refrigerated overnight at this point.

Melt butter and pour into pan, lifting bread so butter can run underneath.

Bake at 400 degrees for 15-20 minutes, until golden brown.

Serve with confectioner's sugar & syrup or sweetened strawberries & whipped cream.

Baked Oatmeal

A few months ago, I found this recipe on my friend Judy's blog (Just a Little Something for You). I made it soon thereafter and discovered it was just delicious! Tom and I had Baked Oatmeal for the first time two years ago when we stayed at a Bed & Breakfast. We thoroughly enjoyed it then, but liked this recipe even more.

In the microwave, melt 1 stick of butter in a large bowl.

Add the following ingredients:
1 cup brown sugar
2 eggs
1 tsp. vanilla
1 tsp. cinnamon
3 cups oatmeal (not instant)
2 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. salt
1 cup of milk

Stir until blended. Put into a greased 9 x 13 pan or baking dish. Sprinkle with cinnamon/sugar. Bake at 350 degrees for 35-40 minutes (or until slightly firm to touch and a golden brown). Serve warm with milk, chopped walnuts, craisins, raisins or chopped apples.

Incidentally, Judy has a wonderful way to use this dish as a hostess gift. (I made up two of them over the Christmas holiday and they were a big hit!) Visit her blog here for details.

Finally, we also served sausage and fruit, but according to my Mom, breakfast is not complete without biscuits. ; ) Of course, her biscuits are legendary. (Friends and relatives will drive two hours out of their way for the promise of breakfast with her biscuits!) They are truly a little taste of heaven. Mine? Not so much. She insists the secret is White Lily flour, however I've tried and tried to master her recipe yes, using White Lily flour with no success. Would you believe just a few months ago (to my complete and utter delight), I found White Lily Frozen biscuits in the freezer aisle of our grocery...I was THRILLED! They are truly, the next best thing to Mom's and they could not be simpler. Needless to say, I bought plenty for our breakfast so I'm sharing the recipe only for those of you who might like a challenge. (Otherwise, head to the nearest freezer aisle!)

Mom’s Biscuits

2 Cups White Lily Self-Rising Flour
1/4 cup shortening
2/3 to ¾ cup of milk

In medium size bowl, combine flour and shortening.
Take fork or pastry cutter and work shortening into the flour until it resembles pea-size lumps
Add milk all at once and stir quickly until well blended.
Sprinkle flour onto surface and place dough on top.
Sprinkle flour on top of dough and knead gently until smooth

Roll out and cut with biscuit cutter or pinch off portions of dough and roll into a ball and flatten gently in place on greased cookie sheet.

Bake at 475-500 degrees for 8 to 10 minutes. Serve immediately.

Makes about 12 - 2” biscuits

I'd love to hear if you try any of these recipes. (Thank you Google Images for these photos...we were a little too busy to take photos!) Bon Appetit! = )

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

A Breakfast Treat - Part 1

Not long ago, we had the distinct privilege of hosting breakfast in our home for some students from The Academy of Arts along with some special family friends. The students were on their way back to South Carolina from Indiana. Since we've unofficially "adopted" many of them, they try and visit or stay with us when they're passing through the area. As is often the case when they are travelling, family members and/or friends of the students will come to wherever they are in order to see them, even briefly. We were thrilled to have them all! (You may recognize a number of them from "Our Town.")

Rachel & Anna - always thrilled to see one another!

One of the best things about having these students in your home is hearing them tell stories. They are always a highlight. = )

Another thing we love is their tradition of singing "Come and Dine" before partaking of a meal. It's an old hymn and they sing it with such beautiful harmonies. It never fails to bring tears to my eyes! (I wish I had thought to record it on video!)

A few more of my precious "adopted" daughters -
Erin, Lindsey & Natalie

A couple of days beforehand, I was contacted by Tracy Robertson. She and her family were coming to breakfast so they could see their daughter, Rachel. She asked what she might bring. All I could think to suggest was "a little something sweet." If you know anything about the Robertsons, they're all so very talented, yet also very humble. When Tracy arrived, her "little something sweet" was a large platter of homemade orange-glazed poppy seed bread! Her daughter Brittany followed with a large platter of homemade cinnamon rolls! Wow! Both were positively wonderful. = )

Tracy, Anna, Brittany & Rachel Robertson,
along with friend Lindsey

Ken Hines and Dale Robertson (who happened to be
the jeweler who created Breezy's engagement ring!)

We had such a great time together that morning, even though it seemed to pass too quickly. The sweetness of their love & laughter stays in our hearts long after they leave. As you can imagine, we're already looking forward to "next time." What a blessing and a treat.

Tomorrow, I'll post the recipes for everything we served (including Tracy's wonderful orange-glazed poppy seed bread and delicious cinnamon rolls!)

Monday, April 27, 2009

...and We're Walking

Let me tell you, if this post had a soundtrack, it would be "These Boots Were Made for Walking" by Nancy Sinatra or maybe "I Walk the Line" by Johnny Cash because this weekend, Tom and I did some walking! We love to walk anyway, but we doubled our usual weekend efforts. Why? First, because the weather in our part of the country was gorgeous! Hot for a spring day (yesterday 89 degrees) but windy, which helped keep us cool. Our secondary motive, however was to help me meet my weight loss goal. I'm 1.8 pounds away and our Weight Watchers session ends this Thursday! Only 1.8 pounds!!!

Saturday, we walked about 3 miles through a beautiful, very old local cemetery. We love walking through the cemeteries near our home, but hadn’t been to this one for a number of years. We both enjoyed it so very much.

After that, it was a pretty typical Saturday, went to the grocery, ran a couple of errands, worked in the yard. We fixed a huge salad with lots of great veggies for dinner.

After an awesome church service yesterday, we cooked up a quick lunch, changed into our comfy clothes headed outside again. This time, we walked a couple of miles on the track around a soccer field near our home. Surrounded almost entirely by woods, it’s beautiful…lots of wild flowers blooming along the edge of the track. Afterwards, we made our way back home and spent about an hour just relaxing in the back yard, listening to music and chatting (Glorious rest!) Then, we took about a 1/2 hour drive to visit a local arboretum (which happens to reside within a park.) What an incredible place! The walking trails are surrounded by a vast array of beautiful trees, shrubs and flowers. Truly God's creativity on display. We took a trail that was said to be 1 mile in length, but somehow managed to cross onto another trail along the way. Let me tell you, we walked ALOT further than 1 mile! Afterwards, with the help of their map, we concluded it was more like 3 and possibly more. It was positively gorgeous and we enjoyed it greatly, but we were two tired, sunburnt little cowboys by the time we finished! I carried my camera the entire time, in the hopes of capturing a few photos, but it was so windy yesterday (great for cooling you off when you walk, not so great for taking photos.) Maybe next time. = )

I typically walk 2 miles each night...I'll probably do 3 this week. I'm also being extra careful with my points, too. For some reason, this last 1.8 pounds has proven to be quite stubborn! I realize by sharing this I'll have to tell you how the weigh-in goes on Thursday. I'm hoping for a great report!

Hope it was beautiful where you live and that you, too had a great weekend!

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Giveaway Winner!

Congratulations to Joyfulsheep!

She's the winner of Celia Whitler's book, One Wish for You. I believe she will love this book every bit as much as I do. Thank you for entering the giveaway. Yours wasn't the winning name? Don't worry! I happen to know my friend Elaine from Peace for the Journey will also be giving away this book on her blog in the next few days. To purchase it, visit Celia Whitler's site (her site includes links to Amazon, Barnes & Noble, etc...) Once again, Congrats to Joyfulsheep!

Oh, and one more 200th blog post is just around the corner, as well. You know what that means...another sweet little giveaway! = )

Hope you're enjoying this wonderful weekend!!!

Thursday, April 23, 2009

One Wish for You - A Review and Giveaway

Recently, I was given an opportunity to review this lovely book by Celia Whitler. The moment I opened the package, I just knew I was in for a treat. One Wish for You is a book of gratitude and celebration. Think of all the women who have had an impact on your life. If given the opportunity to wish one thing on their behalf, what would you say? Celia Whitler answers this question beautifully amidst perfectly selected scripture and breathtaking photography.

As I read each page, God brought to mind a number of special women who had influenced my life. What an opportunity for praise! I finished this book with a heart overflowing with joy and thankfulness. Just in case that wasn't reason enough to love it, there is a CD tucked inside with music by the very talented author that continues to echo this theme. This would make a perfect Mother's Day gift for your Mom, or any woman who has helped to shape your life.

The publisher was kind enough to give me a copy of this book to pass along to one of you! All comments received on this post between now and Saturday evening at 5:00 pm (Eastern time), will be entered. I'll draw a winner sometime later Saturday evening. = ) Here's hoping you win!

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Vivid Imagery

Look at this gorgeous rainbow! Last night, we had really dark skies, wind and rain moving in as we arrived home from work. By the time we sat down to dinner, there was quite a storm. A little later, as I was cleaning up, the sun began shining brightly and revealed the most incredible rainbow! It was enormous! So much so that I couldn't get it all into frame. Just beyond, there was even a second, much more subtle rainbow. Such a beautiful gift from God!

Like the colors of this rainbow, I'm reminded of a message I read recently in Streams in the Desert whose illustrations spoke vividly to me. Perhaps they will to you, as well.

He will do this (Psalm 37:5)

I once believed that after I prayed, it was my responsibility to do everything in my power to bring about the answer. Yet God taught me a better way and showed me that self-effort always hinders His work. He also revealed that when I prayed and had confident trust in Him for something, He simply wanted me to wait in an attitude of praise and do only what He told me. Sitting still, doing nothing except trusting the Lord, causes a feeling of uncertainty, and there is often a tremendous temptation to take the battle into our own hands.

We all know how difficult it is to rescue a drowning person who tries to help his rescuer, and it is equally difficult for the Lord to fight our battles for us when we insist upon trying to fight them ourselves. It is not that God will not but that He cannot, for our interference hinders His work.

Spiritual forces cannot work while we are trusting earthy forces.

Often we fail to give God an opportunity to work, not realizing that it takes time for Him to answer prayer. It takes time for God to color a rose or grow a great oak tree. It takes time for Him to make bread from wheat fields. He takes the soil, then grinds and softens it. He enriches it and wets it with rain showers and with dew. Then He brings the warmth of life to the small blade of grass, later grows the stalk and amber grain, and finally provides bread for the hungry.

All this takes time. Therefore we sow the seed, till the ground and then wait and trust until God’s purpose has been fulfilled. We understand this principle when it comes to planting a field, and we need to learn the same lesson regarding our prayer life. It takes time for God to answer prayer.

Monday, April 20, 2009

Fighting off My-Boy-is-Back-to-College Blues

Hope you're doing well this Monday morning. I must admit to feeling just a little blue today. We enjoyed so much having Brennan home last week, but time together passes quickly these days, and all too soon it's time to say good-bye. (He'll be home on May 20th, which I know is just around the corner, but that good-bye gets me every time!)

Maybe you too could use a bit of cheer this Monday morning. If I haven't wearied you already with flower photos, let me share some from last Friday. Tom and I took a walk to Lytle Park on our lunch hour. It's a beautiful little spot that sits at the far end of downtown Cincinnati, directly in front of the Taft Museum. We visit at least once every spring. The tulip displays are breathtaking!

I love this statue of Abraham Lincoln near the entrance of the park.

That's the Taft Museum of Art in the background,
yet another wonderful place to visit.

Hope these brought a little joy to your morning. Have a great week, friends!

Friday, April 17, 2009

Wedding Update

As of today…the wedding is only six months away! I can’t believe it’s been three months since I first shared the news! Plans are definitely in full swing -- Brianna (aka "Breezy") has found and ordered the dress of her dreams (I‘ve seen it and it’s perfect for her!) The beautiful bridesmaid and flower girl dresses have been ordered, as well. The photographer has been booked, as has the church, reception hall and rehearsal dinner. The guest list has been compiled and finalized. The wedding rings, invitations, flowers and fabric for the reception tables and other decorative items have been purchased. They’ve had multiple pre-marriage sessions with the Pastor conducting their wedding (each time Brennan is home, including this week). In addition, this week they picked out the tuxes! (Whew!)

They both have a very busy summer ahead and they’re trying to have nearly everything done by August. It’s a tall order, but Breezy is a planner extraordinaire and there are lots of us looking forward to helping out any way we can! ; )

Oh…this reminds me! Before I go, I want to quickly share with you a gift idea for a special bride you might know. Are you familiar with
Lisa Leonard Designs? She’s a very talented jewelry designer, and a true delight to work with. This past Christmas, Tom and I bought one of her necklaces for Brianna. We chose an existing design and asked her to alter it slightly for what we had in mind. She was happy to oblige. As you can see, one heart has their marriage monogram, the other has their wedding date. Breezy positively loves it and wears it nearly every day! If you know a special bride-to-be who might like this, or possibly one of Lisa's other designs, stop by and shop her site. If you type in the code “welcome 15” on the order page, you’ll save 15% on your order! (Don't know anyone getting married? She also has some great gift ideas for Mother’s Day, as well!)

Happy weekend, my friends! We're looking forward to enjoying a little more time with Brennan before he heads back to school.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

2009 Scripture Memory Challenge #8 and Word-Filled Wednesday

(Image courtesy of

Read them again, and let the beautiful
and incredible words of Zephaniah 3:17
bring joy to your heart this day!

The LORD your God is with you,
he is mighty to save.
He will take great delight in you,
he will quiet you with his love,
he will rejoice over you with singing.

For more Word-Filled Wednesday, join us here

Monday, April 13, 2009

Happy Monday!

Hope you enjoyed a joyous Easter celebration yesterday. What an amazing reason to rejoice! Our family gathering this year was low-key but wonderful. We knew Brennan wouldn’t be arriving home until very late Saturday night. (He's been on a travelling team at school for the last few weeks so they had to return to South Carolina before he could begin making his way home.) Considering all those hours on the road, we planned a quiet lunch at home (more than anything so he could rest if he wanted). We knew he would be going to Brianna’s house to celebrate Easter with her family on Sunday evening. But as you might expect, he didn’t want to wait until then to see her and therefore had no interest whatsoever in resting! ; ) Instead, he picked her up and brought her over and the four of us enjoyed a wonderful lunch together. We really had a great time…so much so that I forgot about taking any photos until after they had left! As I was putting things away, I thought at the very least I could show you my beautiful flowers!

These were a surprise gift from my sweet boy. (Considering when he arrived home, this meant he was shopping for flowers at Kroger around 2:00 am Sunday morning!) They looked beautiful on the table. (He also bought flowers for Brianna, her Mom & Grandma.)

These beauties were a gift from Brianna and her Mom, Lisa. They are planted, so I'll get to enjoy them for several days and then save the bulbs! = ) The unusual pot is made from compressed coconut (like you see in wrought iron planters through the summer).
I had bought these pretty pink tulips to put on our table (not realizing I would be receiving others). I moved these to the family room where they look great on the coffee table. I love looking around the house seeing fresh flowers! What a treat. = )
Hope you have a wonderful week! (Tom and I are thrilled to have Brennan home for spring break!)

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Friday, April 10, 2009

Amazed by His Incredible Grace

Good Friday. What a day of reflection. I can't think of a better time to share this powerful video. I saw it for the first time last year and may have even shared it here. I've always loved the song, but even moreso since hearing it in the context of this moving video. If you have a few moments, please watch and consider anew Christ's incredible sacrifice on our behalf. How I thank you, Jesus.

Thursday, April 9, 2009

The Tale of Three Trees by Angela Elwell Hunt

Once upon a mountaintop, three little trees stood and dreamed of what they wanted to become when they grew up. The first little tree looked up at the stars twinkling like diamonds above him.

"I want to hold treasure," he said. "I want to be covered with gold and filled with precious stones. I will be the most beautiful treasure chest in the world!"

The second little tree looked out at the small stream trickling by on its way to the ocean. "I want to be a strong sailing ship," he said. "I want to travel mighty waters and carry powerful kings. I will be the strongest ship in the world!"

The third little tree looked down into the valley below where busy men and women worked in a busy town. "I don't want to leave this mountaintop at all," she said. "I want to grow so tall that when people stop to look at me they will raise their eyes to heaven and think of God. I will be the tallest tree in the world!"

Years passed. The rains came, the sun shone, and the little trees grew tall. One day three woodcutters climbed the mountain.

The first woodcutter looked at the first tree and said, "This tree is beautiful. It is perfect for me." With a swoop of his shining axe, the first tree fell. "Now I shall be made into a beautiful chest," thought the first tree. "I shall hold wonderful treasure."

The second woodcutter looked at the second tree and said, "This tree is strong. It is perfect for me." With a swoop of his shining axe, the second tree fell. "Now I shall sail mighty waters," thought the second tree. "I shall be a strong ship fit for kings!"

The third tree felt her heart sink when the last woodcutter looked her way. She stood straight and tall and pointed bravely to heaven. But the woodcutter never even looked up. "Any kind of tree will do for me," he muttered. With a swoop of his shining axe, the third tree fell.

The first tree rejoiced when the woodcutter brought him to a carpenter's shop, but the busy carpenter was not thinking about treasure chests. Instead his work-worn hands fashioned the tree into a feed box for animals. The once beautiful tree was not covered with gold or filled with treasure. He was coated with sawdust and filled with hay for hungry farm animals.

The second tree smiled when the woodcutter took him to a shipyard, but no mighty sailing ships were being made that day. Instead the once-strong tree was hammered and sawed into a simple fishing boat. Too small and too weak to sail an ocean or even a river, he was taken to a little lake. Every day he brought in loads of dead, smelly fish.

The third tree was confused when the woodcutter cut her into strong beams and left her in a lumberyard. "What happened?" the once tall tree wondered. All I ever wanted to do was stay on the mountaintop and point to God."

Many, many days and nights passed. The three trees nearly forgot their dreams. But one night golden starlight poured over the first tree as a young woman placed her newborn baby in the feedbox. I wish I could make a cradle for him," her husband whispered.

The mother squeezed his hand and smiled as the starlight shone on the smooth and sturdy wood. "This manger is beautiful" she said.

And suddenly the first tree knew he was holding the greatest treasure in the world.

One evening a tired traveler and his friends crowded into the old fishing boat. The traveler fell asleep as the second tree quietly sailed out into the lake. Soon a thrashing storm arose. The little tree shuddered. He knew he did not have the strength to carry so many passengers safely through the wind and rain. The tired man awaken. He stood up, stretched out his hand, and said, "Peace." The storm stopped as quickly as it had begun.

And suddenly the second tree knew he was carrying the king of heaven and earth!

One Friday morning the third tree was startled when her beams were yanked from the forgotten woodpile. She flinched as she was carried through an angry, jeering crowd. She shuddered when soldiers nailed a man's hands to her. She felt ugly and harsh and cruel.

But on Sunday morning, when the sun rose and the earth trembled with joy beneath her, the third tree knew that God's love had changed everything.

He had made the first tree beautiful.

He had made the second tree strong.

And every time people thought of the third tree, they would think of God. And that was far better than being the tallest tree in the world

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Word-Filled Wednesday

May your Easter be blessed as you reflect
on the incredible gift we have through Christ's sacrifice.

For more Word-Filled Wednesday, visit Amydeanne at

(Image courtesy of

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Teachable Moment for Easter

(Photo courtesty of Google Images)

Brennan and I always loved baking cookies together. It was not only a special time, it never failed to provide a teachable moment or two. If you’re looking for ways to help your children understand the Easter story, why not make these cookies together on Saturday night?

Easter Cookies

What you will need:
Bible (or use scriptures listed below – I used New International Reader’s Version for ease of understanding)
1 cup sugar
1 cup whole pecans (You can omit these from recipe, but use them for purposes of the object lesson)
ziploc bag
wooden spoon
Dash of salt
1 teaspoon vinegar
3 egg whites

Preheat oven to 300° F. (Important that you do this before starting the recipe)

Place pecans in ziploc bag and let children beat them with the wooden spoon to break into small pieces. Explain that after Jesus was arrested, He was beaten by the Roman soldiers.

Read: John 19:1-3
Then Pilate took Jesus and had him whipped. The soldiers twisted thorns together to make a crown. They put it on Jesus' head. Then they put a purple robe on him. They went up to him again and again. They kept saying, "We honor you, king of the Jews!" And they hit him in the face.

Let each child smell the vinegar. Put 1 tsp. vinegar into mixing bowl. Explain that when Jesus was thirsty on the cross He was given vinegar to drink.

Read John 19:28-30
Later Jesus said, "I am thirsty." He knew that everything was now finished. He knew that what Scripture said must come true. A jar of wine vinegar was there. So they soaked a sponge in it. They put the sponge on a stem of the hyssop plant. Then they lifted it up to Jesus' lips. After Jesus drank he said, "It is finished." Then he bowed his head and died.

Add egg whites to vinegar. Eggs represent life. Explain that Jesus gave His life to give us life.

Read John 10:10-11
The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I have come so they can have life. I want them to have it in the fullest possible way. "I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd gives his life for the sheep.

Sprinkle a little salt into each child's hand. Let them taste it and brush the rest into the bowl. Explain that this represents the salty tears shed by Jesus' followers, and the bitterness of our own sin.

Read Luke 23:27
A large number of people followed Jesus. Some were women whose hearts were filled with sorrow. They cried loudly because of him.

Up to this point, the ingredients are not very appetizing. Now add 1 cup sugar. Explain that the sweetest part of the story is that Jesus died because He loves us. He wants us to know we belong to Him.

Read Psalm 34:8
Taste and see that the Lord is good. Blessed is the man who goes to him for safety.

John 3:16
God loved the world so much that he gave his one and only Son. Anyone who believes in him will not die but will have eternal life.

Beat with a mixer on high speed for 12 to 15 minutes or until stiff peaks are formed. Explain that the color white represents the purity in God's eyes of those whose sins have been cleansed by Jesus.

Read Isaiah 1:18
"Come. Let us talk some more about this matter," says the Lord. "Even though they are deep red, they will be white like wool."

John 3:1-3
There was a Pharisee named Nicodemus. He was one of the Jewish rulers. He came to Jesus at night and said, "Rabbi, we know you are a teacher who has come from God. We know that God is with you. If he weren't, you couldn't do the miraculous signs you are doing." Jesus replied, "What I'm about to tell you is true. No one can see God's kingdom without being born again.

Fold in broken nuts. Drop by teaspoons onto parchment paper covered cookie sheet. Explain that each mound represents the rocky tomb where Jesus' body was laid.

Read Matthew 27:57-60
As evening approached, a rich man came from the town of Arimathea. His name was Joseph. He had become a follower of Jesus. He went to Pilate and asked for Jesus' body. Pilate ordered that it be given to him. Joseph took the body and wrapped it in a clean linen cloth. He placed it in his own new tomb that he had cut out of the rock. He rolled a big stone in front of the entrance to the tomb. Then he went away.

Put the cookie sheet in the oven, close the door and turn the oven OFF.

Give each child a piece of tape and seal the oven door. Explain that Jesus' tomb was sealed.

Read Matthew 27:65-66
"Take some guards with you," Pilate answered. "Go. Make the tomb as secure as you can." So they went and made the tomb secure. They put a seal on the stone and placed some guards on duty.

Now, go to bed. Explain you understand they may feel sad to leave the cookies in the oven overnight. Remind them Jesus' followers felt great sadness when the tomb was sealed.

Read John 16:20-22
What I'm about to tell you is true. You will cry and be full of sorrow while the world is full of joy. You will be sad, but your sadness will turn into joy. "A woman giving birth to a baby has pain. This is because her time to give birth has come. But when her baby is born, she forgets the pain. She forgets because she is so happy that a baby has been born into the world. "That's the way it is with you. Now it's your time to be sad. But I will see you again. Then you will be full of joy. And no one will take your joy away.

On Easter morning, open the oven and give everyone a cookie. Notice the cracked surface and take a bite. The cookies are hollow! On the first Easter, Jesus' followers were amazed to find the tomb open and empty.

Read Matthew 28:1-9
The Sabbath day was now over. It was dawn on the first day of the week. Mary Magdalene and the other Mary went to look at the tomb. There was a powerful earthquake. An angel of the Lord came down from heaven. The angel went to the tomb. He rolled back the stone and sat on it. His body shone like lightning. His clothes were as white as snow. The guards were so afraid of him that they shook and became like dead men. The angel said to the women, "Don't be afraid. I know that you are looking for Jesus, who was crucified. He is not here! He has risen, just as he said he would! Come and see the place where he was lying. Go quickly! Tell his disciples, 'He has risen from the dead. He is going ahead of you into Galilee. There you will see him.' Now I have told you." So the women hurried away from the tomb. They were afraid, but they were filled with joy. They ran to tell the disciples. Suddenly Jesus met them. "Greetings!" he said. They came to him, took hold of his feet and worshiped him.

Monday, April 6, 2009

Just Gotta Share It...

Greetings! Hope this Monday finds you well! I just had to take a minute to share with you something I received last week from Judy of Just a Little Something for You. I was one of the blessed recipients of her "Pay-it-Forward." Is this not the cutest apron you have ever seen!?

It was made by her very talented sister-in-law, Julia. Apparently a couple of months ago, she and Judy were chatting about being empty nesters. They were mulling over different options of things they might do at this stage of their life. Judy suggested that maybe Julia should start sewing again. (For many years she had been an exceptional seamstress, and even made clothes for her children when they were young. As they became teenagers, her sewing was put on the back burner.) Needless to say, Julia took Judy’s advice and literally ran with it. Within weeks, she had created a number of these beautiful aprons, all with matching tea towels! (Something tells me this might be a small business in the making!) I absolutely LOVE this, Judy…thank you again so much! ☺

Talent and creativity is in abundant supply in Judy’s family. She herself is loaded with it! Pour yourself a cup of coffee and take a visit to her blog and you’ll see exactly what I mean. She is a "Joy Spreader" in every sense of the word! She loves making everyday moments special with a favorite dish, a handmade creation or a bit of inspiration. Most importantly, she loves the Lord and does everything with such grace and humility. She is truly an absolute joy to know! I do hope you’ll stop by and see for yourself!

Have a blessed day, friends!

Friday, April 3, 2009

Divine Appointments

Have you ever had the privilege of meeting (in person) a blog friend? I know a number of you met through conferences or events such as She Speaks or the Siesta Fiesta. Others have planned special trips to meet a blog friend for lunch, for a day, or even a weekend together. While I’ve been privileged to speak to a few of my blog friends by e-mail and telephone, I have yet to meet any of them personally. This week, however, God provided a special opportunity …a “next best thing” if you will.

My son, Brennan is currently traveling with a team of students from his college. They are conducting week-long Christian drama seminars with high schools in various parts of the country. This week finds him at the high school attended by the son of a blog friend…Elaine of Peace for the Journey! On Monday, he met her son, Colton. Yesterday, he met her. She sent me a precious e-mail and then this:

My immediate response…tears. There was something so beautiful in the way God’s hand allowed for such a meeting. The sight of a friend and fellow Mom who has become quite dear to me here in blogworld, sharing a moment and showing love to my sweet boy touched me so. Tom and I had just spoken to him by phone the night before and we’re both missing him badly right now. It's been nearly two months since we last saw him and that's simply too long!

About a year ago, I met Elaine (via her blog). We soon realized we shared a number of commonalities. Her oldest son, Nick is Brennan’s age, which meant she and I had walked simultaneously the very difficult path of letting go of our firstborns. She too was from Kentucky. In fact, she grew up in the little town of Wilmore, home of the college Brennan attended last year. Not only was it her college as well, her Dad was (and remains) a professor at the associated seminary. Her Mom for many years, was the seminary registrar. She told me that among other things, she and Brennan enjoyed chatting about Wilmore. = )

Brennan has heard me talk about Elaine on a number of occasions. Many of her posts have impacted me and my walk with the Lord. She is not only an extremely gifted writer, the words that flow from her pen are truly anointed. I have often shared her posts with him (and others). I invite you to take a moment to visit her, too. Not only do I trust you’ll be blessed, I suspect you’ll go back again and again. (Thank you again, dear Elaine for spending a few moments with my boy and for sharing them with me. Hoping one day I'll get to meet you, too!)

Constantly amazed by God’s hand,
and the tie that binds us all…

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

2009 Scripture Memory Challenge #7 and Word-Filled Wednesday

(Photo courtesy of Google Images)

I'm combining my next Scripture for the memory challenge with my Word-Filled Wednesday this week. I loved the brief but powerful thoughts of Phil Ware of Heartlight on this verse:

Do you have a basis for pride? What is your source of that pride? Paul reminds us that our one, true, and dependable source of boasting is boasting in what the Lord has done for us on the Cross. This one source of boasting has absolutely nothing to do with anything that we have done, attained, or accomplished on our own. All other reasons to boast are fleeting glimpses at hollow fame compared to the joy and assurance of sharing in Jesus' life, death, and resurrection.

Forgive me, O Abba Father, for the times I have thought myself important because of some transitory accomplishment. Thank you for giving me a bedrock source of boasting in Jesus' love and grace demonstrated in the Cross. In Jesus' name I thank you. Amen.

I'm echoing his prayer this day...

For more Word-Filled Wednesday, visit Amydeanne here: