Thursday, June 30, 2011

Seven Devotionals - Day 4 - FAITH

Today faith is on my mind.  Are you firm in your faith, or struggling?  Faith plays a very important role in our religious beliefs.  It is the belief that things will turn out well and that we can enjoy our "now" because we know we have a future.

The dictionary tells us that "faith is confidence or trust in a person or thing or belief that is not based on proof."  In the Bible we read,

Hebrews 11:1
Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see.

God's word (the Bible) can give us knowledge to live a good life.  But along with that knowledge, we need faith to enjoy God's promise of eternal life.

Atheists and agnostics refer to faith as superstition and put it in a category with other material concepts.  I believe we can have faith in God the same way we have faith that Joan of Arc was burned at the stake or George Washington cut down a cherry tree.  While we cannot see God, we have the Bible to guide us, which is a written history of the beginning of the earth, and we have the beauty of His creations all around us.  As Christians, we enjoy faith in healing, in prayer, in others, and hope for our future. In 2 Corinthians 5:7 we read We live by faith, not by sight.

Matthew 17:20
He replied, "Because you have so little faith. I tell you the truth, if you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mountain, 'Move from here to there' and it will move. Nothing will be impossible for you. "

Mark 9:23
"Everything is possible for him who believes."

Our faith is our earthly connection to God.  If we have faith, He will use his maximum power to handle any situation that comes our way.  Our faith will get us through every storm that arises in our lives.
Peace, love and joy to you this week.  Thanks again for reading along with me.  I welcome your comments!

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Seven Daily Devotionals - Day 3 - Hope

Hope.  What is it?  Hope is the feeling that what is desired can be obtained or that future events will turn out for the best.  We all need hope and yet it seems to be a vague concept for many people.  Hope deals with the things we cannot see and also with the things we have not received.  Without hope, how can we move forward?  When the world says give up, hope whispers within our hearts to keep trying.

Hope is never passive in the Bible. It is life sustaining. We do not have to look hard to find verses in the Bible showing us positive results in the lives of those who believe and live accordingly.  It is not an escape from reality or problems.  Our hope, if based on God's promises, will strengthen us and lift us up!

In the following verses, we find that hope has rewards and blessings.  It gives us courage, joy, protection, peace, strength, comfort, and confidence. 

Psalms 33:22 May your unfailing love rest upon us, oh Lord, even as we put our hope in you."

Psalm 31:24 Be strong, and let your heart take courage, All you who hope in the Lord.
1 Timothy 4:10 For it is for this we labor and strive, because we have fixed our hope on the living God, who is the Savior of all men, especially of believers.
Romans 15:13  May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound in hope.

Hope is reassurance of our expectations.  It is with certainty that we can rely on God's promises that what He promised us is true.

Christopher Reeve (Superman) once said, "Once you choose hope, anything is possible."  

And my personal favorite quote on hope is from Emily Dickinson.  Hope is that thing with feathers that perches in the soul and sings the tune without the words and never stops... at all.

Has hope helped you through a tough situation?  Has it changed who you are and what you are doing with your life?  My challenge to you this week is to examine your life, release your worries, and give hope a chance to bring you peace!  Thank you for reading and studying along with me this week.  I appreciate your comments as they help me in my daily walk!

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Seven Daily Devotionals - Day 2 - What About Love?

This is day two of sharing my daily devotional with you, the readers.   I will have seven days of these and then return to my food posts.  Please leave comments if you agree or disagree.  We can learn together.

Let's start by defining love.  Most of us think of love in romantic terms or having to do with family members.  Love is an "intense feeling of deep affection."  Love is "an emotion of strong affection and personal attachment."

The Greek uses four words to describe love.

1.Eros, meaning sexual or romantic love.
2.Phileo, a brotherly love.
3.Agape, the deepest love.
4.Storgay, which is the love of one's relatives.
When most people today speak of love, they generally are referring to the love of a mate, parent or child.

Most Christians believe God is the source and essence of love.  In 1 John 4:8 we read

"Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love."
Jesus called these two the greatest commandments:  "thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind, and with all thy strength," and "thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself."

Love is patient; love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres." 1 Corinthians 13:4–7

I only have to read this verse to know God's love for me and for you was unconditional "For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved." (John 3:16).

Nothing we can say or do will ever change God's love for us.  He made us, He loves us, He provides for us, He blesses us, He watches over us and His love never fails us.  It gives us peace in our hearts to know that when the entire world may be against us, God is still in our corner loving us.  When we mess up, and we do, God is still there loving us.  He has promised to never leave us.  He refers to us as His children.  Being a mother, I know how deeply I love my children and His love is infinitely greater than that.

I wish you love today in your life.  Romantic love, love from your friends and family, and most of all that you allow yourself to feel God's agape love - the deepest love of all.  My challenge to you today is for you to show the important people in your life that you love them.  Trust me, they never tire of hearing those three words, "I love you."

Monday, June 27, 2011

Seven Days of Devotionals - Forgiveness

My blog has been used for the primary purpose of sharing recipes with my friends.  This week, however, I would like to share my thoughts and have a daily devotional with all of you who read on a regular basis.  I am not a professional in these matters.  My only intent is just to blog about matters of the heart and share my own personal feelings.

Yesterday I spent five hours in the emergency room.  I'm okay and hopefully my doctor will get my medicines straightened out soon.  If you have ever been to an emergency room, I know you will agree with me that being there gives you plenty of time to think while you are waiting. . and waiting. . and waiting.

One subject that came to my mind yesterday was "forgiveness."  Have you ever needed forgiveness and it did not come, or knew you needed to forgive someone but you did not want to?   If you are human and you are reading this post, at some point in your life you have been hurt.  Sometimes deeply.  Your hurt might have come from a friend, a co-worker, or a family member.  Please know that my heart goes out to you because I understand that hurt and grieve with you. 

Forgiveness is a decision.  First, let's look at what forgiveness really means.  To forgive means we release our resentment, release our need for bitterness, and release our need for revenge.  Yes, as humans, sometimes we think of ways to get back, to get even.  We think we want our offender to suffer.  And anger can make us feel powerful.  But that feeling is short lived and in most cases, our unforgiving hearts hurt us more than it hurts our offender.

Sometimes, the first thing we want to do is call a friend - someone we can trust to take our side in the matter, and help justify us to keep open that wound of unforgiveness.  Really, wouldn't a better friend be one who would help us rethink the situation, turn our thoughts into positive actions, and remind us to forgive even when we do not feel like it.  I'm thankful that I have a few friends that fit that category.

Sometimes we need to forgive and move on.  Other times, we need to forgive and reconcile with that person.  While one can forgive on their own, reconcilation involves both parties being willing to forgive and make changes in their behaviour.  Both parties have to reach out and work together to restore the relationship.  How do we do that?  First, we need true forgiveness.  Next we have to let go of our superior attitude remembering that all have sinned, yes that includes ourselves. We do not have to pretend the hurt was not there, we just have to let go of it.  We may have to even acknowledge that we have caused pain.  We have to accept responsbility for our own past actions and be willing to change, grow and improve our future actions.

An unforgiving heart focuses on the past hurt and does not care to move past the anger and bitterness.  A forgiving heart does not keep a record of wrongdoings and seeks to mend the relationship.

We can certainly take a lesson from Jesus, who was constantly offended and suffered more hurt than we can know.  He always forgave and he wants us to.  In Colossians 3:13, we read "Bear with each other and forgive whatever grievances you have against one another.  Forgive as the Lord forgave you."

Thank you for reading.  Again, these are only my thoughts for the day and in no way am I judging anyone. I hope you will pray for me in my daily walk, as I will pray for you.  I would like to leave you with this thought - forgiveness will free you and reflect a Godly heart.  Isn't that what we are all seeking?   My challenge to you this week is to find forgiveness for someone in your life and thus find peace in your own.
Wishing you joy, happiness, love, and peace this week.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

CEiMB - Tuscan Chicken

One of my favorite blogger friends, Margaret of Tea and Scones is hostess this week and she chose Ellie Krieger's Tuscan Chicken.  I'm hardly ever disappointed in Ellie's recipes, plus I always know I am eating healthy when I prepare one.

This is basically a chicken dish loaded with good vegetables - zucchini, tomatoes, fennel.  I love fennel - so licoricy.  Is that a word? 

You can google the recipe or you can find it at Margaret's webpage.
Going into the oven:
And the finished product was a delicious, healthy dinner!
We loved this!  Thanks Margaret for a great pick this week.

Monday, June 20, 2011

Tuesdays with Dorie - Date Nut Loaf

Hostess this week is Mary of  Popsicles and Sandy Feet.  You can find the recipe for this fabulous loaf cake - prepared the "correct" way at her webpage.  Sandy is in a couple other groups with me and she always has delicious goodies to share on her webpage.  Check it out.

Would you believe Publix did not have any dried dates?  I used to remember always buying Dromedary dates that came in a box.  I wanted to make this so I ended up getting dried apricots.  Dorie's recipes are usually very adaptable so I figured it would work.

The recipe says your mix will look curdled at first and not to worry.  I'm glad it said that because mine looked really curdled in the bowl until I added the flour.

I have to say that the smell coming from my oven was heavenly.  It was a mix of almond flavoring and apricots.  You have to love those smells!  It seemed like it took a long time to cook, but bread loaves usually do.  I couldn't wait to cut into it.  Mine was a bit on the dry side, but tasty.  Anyone else have that issue?  Also, it appears I did not fold the apricots and nuts in appropriately as they are random throughout the cake.

Delicious.  Thank you Mary!!

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

INA'S GARDEN - Chicken Piccata

We are starting a new group and we need you to particpate!!  Yes you.  All of you!!  If you love Ina Garten's (the Barefoot Contessa) recipes and are willing to cook along with us twice a month, please join in!  All you have to do is cook the recipe and then link up below.  As a courtesy, we do ask that you mention in your post where you linked up.  It is as easy as that!

Once per month we cook together what that month's host has chosen and two weeks later we choose what we want to cook from a "theme."  April of 21st Century Housewife chose Comforting and Delicious Chicken Recipes for the theme this week.   Check out April's blog to see what wonderful chicken dish she cooked this week.

I chose the Chicken Piccata.  Made for a delicious dinner for the two of us.  You can fine the recipe here.  It is a fairly easy recipe and oh so delicious.  I'm a huge fan of Ina's.  My breasts were huge.  Seriously.  I pounded and they did not flatten very much.  So I cooked them a bit longer than the recipe required.  It was lemony and delicious.

Check back in two weeks (July 7) for our next Ina recipe which was chosen by me!  I chose Ina's Zucchini Graten.  You can find the recipe here.   Please join us in cooking and blogging about this delicious vegetable dish.

Don't forget.  If you make a chicken recipe of Ina's please link up with us below!  The link will remain up for several days.


CEiMB - Cinnamon Raisen Toast with Honey Walnut Spread

A great blogger friend, Kayte, of Grandma's Kitchen Table, chose this week's recipe for our Ellie Krieger group.  She chose Cinnamon Raisen Toast with Honey Walnut Spread.  You can find the recipe on Kayte's blog or in Ellie Krieger's cookbook, So Easy.  Or I am sure you can find online.

This was an easy recipe and with summer here, we all need easy.  I love cinnamon bread so I was anxious to try it with the spread on it.  You just heat up the walnuts to get the flavor going, mix in with yogurt and honey.  I used a fresh pear to top mine.  The spread will keep in your refrigerator for a few days.  Delicious.  Thanks Kayte for an excellent pick this week!

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

CEiMB - Apple-Pecan Muffins minus the pecans!

My sweet blogger friend, Joanne, of Applecrumbles.com was the hostess for this week's CEiMB group.  I really wanted to make these muffins with her.

The DH and I have gotten hooked on Mexican Train dominoes.  We play whenever we get the chance.  We do not like regular dominoes, just the train ones.  Tonight, we decided I would put the muffins on and he would grill some pork chops and while they were both cooking, we could get in a game or two of dominoes.  You know where this is going, right?  While we were playing, it did not dawn on me until too late that he had closed the door to the patio and I could not hear my beeper go off in the kitchen.  When I did realize, I rushed to the kitchen only to find twelve burned bottom muffins!!  I tried to salvage what I could and we ending up eating the tops of them and they were good.

Please go to Joanne's webpage and see what glorious muffins she made.  I would do a remake tomorrow night, but I will be out with some friends.  So here are my burned muffins.  But get the recipe from Joanne's webpage and try these. Or, you can find them in Ellie Krieger's book The Food You Crave, on page 22.  They are delicious and loaded with fresh Golden Delicious apple.  I did leave out the pecans.  And I added a little brown sugar on the top of some of mine for a streusel effect.  Unfortunately, that did not add much to the burned effect!  I decided to just go ahead and let you all view the burned muffins!!  Bless their hearts.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Ina Garten's Tabbouleh

This week in our Barefoot Contessa group, Louanne of Louanne's Kitchen chose Tabbouleh for us to make.  You can get the recipe from Louanne.  We are a new group trying to work our way through some of the Barefoot Contessa's recipes.  On the first Thursday of the month we cook the same recipe together.  On the second Thursday of the month, we cook any recipe of our own choosing from Ina's collection, as long as it fits with the theme chosen for that day.  Be sure to link up at the bottom if you have made Ina's tabbouleh. 

I'm traveling this week so my post will be short.  The tabbouleh is easy to make, just a lot of chopping.  It is minty and refreshing!

Be sure to come back in two weeks when our theme will be "Comforting and Delicious Chicken."  If you want to join in, make any Ina chicken dish and come link up with us!


CEiMB - Spicy Egg and Avocado Wraps

This week's host is my sweet friend Marthe.  Her blog is bakingbluefinger.wordpress.com

Marthe has chosen Ellie Krieger's Spicy Egg and Avocado Wraps.  I made them tonight but we are planning to eat them in the morning so I cannot give a review on how delicious they are.  But I trust Ellie.  I have never made a recipe from her collection that I did not think was healthy and tasty.  I am hoping my avocado does not turn brown in the refrigerator overnight!  I left the yolks in my eggs even though the recipe only called for a few yolks.

I have a lot of trouble photographing "wraps."  If anyone has a secret to help me, please free free to advise!!

Check out the other cooks at Cravingellieinmybelly.blogspot.com We are a small group that enjoys cooking together on Thursdays and posting healthy, delicious Ellie Krieger recipes.  Come join us!!