Good News From a Far Land

Bethany flies home from Ecuador on Sunday. She wants steak and a massage. I’m thinking she’ll get both.

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We’re looking forward to hearing more stories. It’s not been as easy as expected. Perhaps that’s the biggest lesson–for her, for me. We pray our kids know God firsthand, but at the first sign of hard times, we whine and gnash our teeth– “Lord, aren’t You listening? Don’t you want her to have a great experience? Does everything have to be so difficult?”

A friend said recently, “Do we trust God enough to write our kid’s testimony?”

I know I don’t enough. I’m praying I’ll do better. Bethany’s learning to trust more. Time for me to catch up. I just found this verse taped to her mirror. Timeless. Precious. True.

Trust God from the bottom of your heart;
don’t try to figure out everything on your own.
Listen for God’s voice in everything you do, everywhere you go;
He’s the one who will keep you on track.
Don’t assume that you know it all.

Proverbs 3:5ff The Message

Well, that’s for sure. Never assume.

Just made a welcome home chocolate cake and put it in the freezer. This one’s perfect for a kid who doesn’t like frosting – freezes well for lunches, too. I add chocolate chips just because. See recipe here.

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Feast on Friday: Katie’s Fruit Pizza

Grace came to town which means old friends gathered. Food for body and soul.  Katie asked, “Should I bring my fruit pizza?” Two great words–no, three: fruit, pizza and bring. Well, sure. I had no idea…soooo pretty!

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Lucky you – here’s her recipe!

Katie's Fruit Pizza
Author: 
Recipe type: Dessert
Cuisine: Californian??
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 8-10
 
Katie used her tried and true Pampered Chef pizza stone. The berries were ginormous and the fresh peaches divine. Delish! We really didn't need anything else but, of course, we still ate everything else.
Ingredients
  • Crust:
  • ½ c. butter
  • ½ c. honey
  • 1 T. milk
  • 1¼ c. flour
  • ½ t. baking powder
  • ½ t. salt
  • ¼ t. cinnamon
  • ½ t. vanilla
  • Filling:
  • 12 oz. cream cheese, softened
  • ½ c. honey
  • ½ t. vanilla
  • Topping: assorted fruits
Instructions
  1. Beat together egg, butter, and honey
  2. Add milk and vanilla
  3. Mix in dry ingredients
  4. Pat onto pizza stone or rectangle cookie sheet with a rim
  5. Bake at 375 degrees fro 12 minutes
  6. Cool
  7. Mix filling ingredients together until smooth
  8. Spread on cooled crust
  9. Decorate as you wish!
  10. Katie used large blackberries, kiwi, raspberries, and peaches.

 

This luncheon began at 12 noon. . . we were still talking, laughing, praying and eating at 4:30. My, my–we needed it.

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Pizza creator in blue headband – thanks, Katie! Our dear friend, Grace in the middle. Food for the soul, you better believe it. Oh, and DeDe helped me get down Mom’s Coalport china – not that I need an excuse to use china, but Mom would’ve loved it (she loved Grace, too.)

photo 2You’ll have to excuse the mess — it’s a working kitchen. I like to cook. I didn’t say anything about cleaning. Here we go, Mom.

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Homesick

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I don’t live for military bands, but I’ll never forget the excitement and tears when my American friends and I heard about a visiting  USA Army band performing in Brasilia, Brazil. I was single and always on the look out for God’s perfect will (man) for my life, but even I knew these guys were in their early 20′s and I wasn’t. It didn’t matter! The music was great and I cried all the way through Shenandoah, Red River Valley and of course, the stars and their banner spangling through the night. I didn’t know I was homesick until I heard the music. All I needed was some fresh corn-on-the-cob and a ticket home and I’d be fine. Neither happened and I survived. Homesickness: a universal disease.

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Maybe you’re away from home. I get it. We’re taking Mary Grace to visit her new home away from home this weekend, U of O. Who knows? She may love it more than her real home. Here she is about ready to be homesick – leaving her best friend on her way to Iowa for three months. She was okay; she got corn, Iowa corn.

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Here’s a positive take on Homesickness:

“You can never give another person that which you have found, but you can make him homesick for what you have.” — Oswald Chambers (see Tuesday’s post here.)

I love this. I can’t save someone; but I can live so that someone else wants saving.

What can I do today to make someone homesick for Jesus? Maybe it’s who can I be? I’m not sure so I’ll ask:

Father, God,

Thanks for saving me. I love being at home with You. Help me abide — stay close, stay put, stay-in-touch (now there’s a home-stay-cation) – all for the sake of someone else coming down with a huge case of Homesickness. I hope to be wildly contagious. Make it happen, dear Lord.

Yours til Really Home,

Sue

Who wouldda thought? Only God.

PS For God’s invitation, see the free mini-Ebook, Invited to God’s Table, on the right.

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Tuesday’s O, Taste & See: The Homesick Restaurant (Link up)

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“You can never give another person that which you have found, but you can make him homesick for what you have.” —Oswald Chambers

I stopped reading Anne Tyler years ago. I grew tired of dysfunctional families, even made-up dysfunctional families. I can’t stay away, though, due to her compelling writing and storytelling. I’m still sad when there’s not a happy ending, and determine again never to pick up another.  An idealist to the core, that’s me, and why I liked Ezra, the main character in Tyler’s Dinner at the Homesick Restaurant. He’s an idealist and a cook and tries to get all the family happily around the table. It never happens. I feel so sorry for him. Here’s a fun excerpt that made me think of heaven. Ezra takes over a restaurant and wrestles with its identity:

Why not a restaurant full of refrigerators, where people came and chose the food they wanted? Or maybe he could install a giant fireplace, with a whole steer turning slowly on a spit. You’d slice what you like onto your plate and sit around in armchairs eating and talking with the guests at large. Then again, maybe he would start serving only street food. Of course! He’d cook what people felt homesick for–tacos like those from vendor’s carts in California… and that wonderful vinegary North Caroline barbecue …he would call it the Homesick Restaurant

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Practical? No. But cute.

In Brazil they called it saudades–Portuguese for homesick. It was someone you had – like a sickness. When I lived there for two years, I definitely had saudades for chocolate chips and iceberg lettuce only because you couldn’t get either at that time.

What are you homesick for? Most would admit that they “have saudades” for peace and joy and a perfectly healthy, happy family. (That’s all I want, Lord, oh, and maybe some more rain, uh, all our children walking with You, and while You’re at it, my 25 year-old-waistline. Not much to ask.)

The Holy Spirit gives us a taste – an appetizer – of what’s to come. We’re invited to taste and see that the Lord is good just so we can stand the homesickness.

I love Chamber’s encouragement. When we taste His goodness, we can all open that kind of restaurant.

“You can never give another person that which you have found, but you can make him homesick for what you have.” —Oswald Chambers

Feeling homesick? That’s okay. You’re not home yet.

“O, taste and see that the Lord is all the food you need; comforted is the one who hopes in Him, feeding on God’s strength and love while still homesick for all that’s ahead.”

Today’s Psalm 34:8

Today is linkup Tuesday. Post your blog on tasting God’s goodness, comment on the one next to yours, and please use this button on your site–code on the right sidebar. Thanks! Happy Tasting –He loves it when you do!

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Linking today with Holley Gerth

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The Most Important Thing About Us — Blog Hop

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Misty Boone from TheBarnPrincess.com asked me join her Blog Hop. Misty must be from the South because she invited me for sweet tea. In her own words:

The BarnPrincess is about loving the Lord and loving each other. It is about encouraging women in all walks of life (but especially single women) in their walk of faith with Lord.
Why the name the BarnPrincess? The simple answer is that I love barns and I believe that all women who love Christ are princesses. As I write this though, barns remind me of my life…On the outside, they can look so nice, clean, and in good condition, but on the inside they can be filthy and nasty, and the smell can be awful. They need to be cleaned and renewed. And that is what Christ does for our hearts and our lives…

You have to love someone who loves barns, right? Follow Misty here. As well as see some of her barns, encouraging words and recipes. She featured WelcomeHeart last week in her post (see here) and answered some great questions about her creative process.

She said I could use my own questions so here goes–Bottom Line Questions:

1) What is the most important thing to me about God?
2) How do I keep abiding in Jesus (John 15:1ff) ?
3) What’s my favorite way to share His light with another?
4) Why do I blog, anyway?

 

“What comes into our minds when we think about God

is the most important thing about us.”

― A.W. Tozer

1. The most important thing about God to me is that He pursued me – at creation, at the Cross–and continues to– through His Word and Holy Spirit. Not only is He the Ultimate Inviter, He’s the Ultimate Pursuer. What I do with that holy pursuit is up to me. Although I’m not sure that’s completely true. He draws me and when I don’t respond well or immediately, He lets me know it. So the reminding is the mercy and the grace.

“Keep the altar of private prayer burning. This is the very life of all piety.” 

– Charles Spurgeon

2. For me the only way to abide is to spend alone time with Him every morning. I’m not a morning person, but waking up with Him is the best way to begin any day. There are way too many scriptures on mornings and God for me to ignore. I try not to. I’ve blogged on it before and may again. For now, the only way to abide is: pray, read, pray back what I read and often write it all out. I ask God to remind me all day what He stirred up in me during (morning) coffee.

“The work will never go deeper than we have gone ourselves.”

—Amy Carmichael

3. My favorite way to share His light with another is to direct the conversation – casual or otherwise – to God’s existence, His strength, His hope, His love and His forgiveness. Very few reject the notion of God, and all long for His love and peace. This can often be heavy on the listening and light on the talking, which is always a good thing.

Never once did we ever walk alone, Never once did You leave us on our own
Every step we are breathing in Your grace, Evermore we’ll be breathing out Your praise

You are faithful, God, You are faithful
–Matt Redman/Never Once

4. Blogging is another way to breathe. I breathe in God’s grace and truth, and breathe out His Iessons of love. I blog to tell another what God is telling me; to remind the reader of His presence–no matter what, sprinkled with a few laughs and humility. A good recipe or two doesn’t hurt, and hopefully acts as a catalyst to invite a stranger to the table. 

Your turn!

Take a moment and answer for yourself. Leave a comment for someone to read and heed. You may not blog, but you all believe something important about God.

“What comes into our minds when we think about God

is the most important thing about us.”

― A.W. Tozer

I’m handing off the baton-blog-hop to two lovely bloggers who will answer these same questions next week on their blogs. Let me introduce you to:

Shay Malone

SmilingFountainMe

 A sinner, saved by grace, Shay finds her purpose and joy in God’s word and His love. She desires that everyone would experience abundant life with God. As a life coach, she partners with believers to reach life goals and transform relationships. As a speaker, she facilitates conversations about challenges in authentic Christian living.

Shay uses her blog at www.4hisglory.us to spark thought and conversation about everything from worship to business to relationships. See here.

And, Shawnele Surplus at two blogs: TheFarmSchoolMarm and Canaan’s Land Farm & Ranch – see here and here.

*

According to the Urban Dictionary, a “marm” is “a british word meaning an old school teacher, usually a bespectacled virgin. Somewhat old and stingy. Fond of floral print granny panties.” Okay, so I’m married…but other than that, pretty close…

Have fun getting to know God through the eyes of these beautiful women. He is the most important thing about them. And you. And me.

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Feast on Friday: Curry Chicken Salad

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Featuring summer salads again – the weather calls for it and I found just the right one in the 70th Anniversary Moore Family Cookbook, thanks to niece Hannah Payton Heath – it’s on tap for tonight (and maybe tomorrow!)

Curry Chicken Salad
Author: 
Recipe type: Main Dish
Cuisine: Delicious/Indian
Prep time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 4-5
 
Hannah cooks her chicken, de-bones, and dices. I bought deli chicken de-boned and cooked from Costco this morning to save time. Plus, it's delicious and feeds a crowd. I'll freeze half before making the rest into this salad.
Ingredients
  • Cool and chop 4 cups of chicken
  • ⅓ cup mayonnaise
  • ½ cup plain yogurt
  • 5 t. curry powder (or, to taste)
  • 1 T. fresh lime juice
  • 1 t. honey
  • ½ t. ground ginger
  • ½ t. salt
  • ¼ t. black pepper
  • 1 medium red onion, chopped (1 cup)
  • 1 firm-ripe mango, peeled, pitted and chopped
  • 1 cup red or green seedless grapes, halved
  • ½ cup cashews, chopped (I'm using slivered almonds)
Instructions
  1. Whisk together: mayo, yogurt, curry, lime juice, honey, ginger, salt, pepper in a large bowl.
  2. Add chicken, onion, mango, grapes and cashews.
  3. Stir gently to combine.
  4. Serve on lettuce or spinach or make into sandwich wrap or crescent

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Lunch for Mark tomorrow – lucky man! Enjoy!photo*Moore Family Cookbooks available: $15.00 plus s/h. Let me know in comments below.

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Worry vs. Trust, Seven-Day-Challenge

Here’s a review for those who took the “WAIT! I-am-a-child-of-God-I-will-not-worry-this-time- challenge.” For full post, see here.

Repeat after me:

Day 1: God isn’t surprised by your difficulties
Day 2: You shouldn’t be either
Day 3: God loved you enough to die for you
Day 4: Dying to yourself is the best way to live
Day 5: God has it all worked out
Day 6: Get out of His way
Day 7: Great trust brings God great delight

Why Day 3?  God loves me (and mine) and He proved it.

But here is how God has shown his love for us.

While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.

Romans 5:8

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Hands of Proof, painted by Hyatt Moore (see here)

Last week a new friend remarked in passing: “Buddha and God — all the same thing. No biggie.” 

Really? No biggie? I see a conversation brewing down the line. It may begin with the question: “How did Buddha show his love for you?”

Why Day 3?

Here’s why. He loved me enough to die for me.

I can choose not to worry any given moment. With three daughters and a wanna-be-contractor husband and double college tuitions this Fall, I’m given lots of moments. At any given moment, I can say, “God loved me enough to die for me. I think He loves me enough to take care of:_________________________________”

You fill it in. Your blank can be as long as you like:______________________________________________________________________________________ . . .

Christ’s love on the cross. He’s invited the world. Have you RSVP’d?

Next question: Do I live like I’ve RSVP’d? Today I choose trust over worry. It may not last more than a minute, but I’ll choose it again (and again.)  God knows my dusty frame * and keeps inviting and inviting.

Coming this week: Free ebook on God’s Invitation to His Table – one way to invite your friends. It’s why we’re here; it’s why we trust. Stay tuned:

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* For He Himself knows our frame;
He is mindful that we are but dust.
Psalm 103:14

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Tuesday’s O, Taste & See: Testing, Testing

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It’s one thing to say God’s got it all under control. It’s another to live it. Like I believe it.

Yesterday I threw (you) the gauntlet: Try not to Worry for Seven Days. Read it here.

What to remember each day this week – easy as breathing — here’s Day 1 and 2:

Day 1: God isn’t surprised by your difficulties

Day 2: You shouldn’t be either

How do I know? Jesus told me:

I tell you, do not worry. Don’t worry about your life and what you will eat or drink. And don’t worry about your body and what you will wear. Isn’t there more to life than eating? Aren’t there more important things for the body than clothes?

Look at the birds of the air. They don’t plant or gather crops. They don’t put away crops in storerooms. But your Father who is in heaven feeds them. Aren’t you worth much more than they are?

Can you add even one hour to your life by worrying?

And why do you worry about clothes? See how the wild flowers grow. They don’t work or make clothing.  But here is what I tell you. Not even Solomon in all of his glory was dressed like one of those flowers.

If that is how God dresses the wild grass, won’t he dress you even better? After all, the grass is here only today. Tomorrow it is thrown into the fire. Your faith is so small!

So don’t worry. Don’t say, ‘What will we eat?’ Or, ‘What will we drink?’ Or, ‘What will we wear?’ People who are ungodly run after all of those things. Your Father who is in heaven knows that you need them. Matthew 6:25-32

See? He knows what I need. What you need. What your kids need.

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Just so you know, He keeps me honest, too. (Testing, testing.)

Friday I wrote Monday’s post. He gave me the list of seven. Saturday morning I heard from Bethany in Ecuador. Fever. Dr’s visits. Tests.

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All day long I spoke to myself, “Why, my Father knows all about it…” That’s right, Lord, You do. Please heal Bethany. I don’t want to worry. I was a little anxious until I heard late today – bacterial, not viral. I think that’s better. The MD-Man-in-Plaid said it was. She’s hungry and grumpy and we continue to pray (and not worry, mostly.)

 

 

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Testing, testing. God isn’t surprised by difficulties. Neither should we be.

“O, taste and see that the Lord is good in spite of fevers and fears and sleepless nights and growling tummies; blessed is the one who puts their trust in the One Who loves us best, helps us through the tests, and covers us with His wings.” Today’s (and maybe tomorrow’s) Psalm 34:8

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Thankfully, Mark said this wasn’t a bad report. He speaks Spanish/Medicine. The hungry child learned how to make tortillas. They look more like pancakes to me. Just need a few chocolate chips (when she gets to feeling better.)

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Link up Tuesday’s Tasting of God’s goodness in your life (tests included!)

Use this pretty button and join in the tasting celebration:

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A Godly Notion, Easy as Breathing (Guest Posting at OneDayLighter)

I’m thinking I need to write a series on Worry. One should write on one’s expertise; I’d say I’m an expert. Got that from Mom. I used to say, “Mom, stop worrying!” And she’d reply, “I’m a mother. That’s my job.” I didn’t think she was very spiritual.

Then I became a mother. Now my girls say, “Mom, stop freaking out.” And I say, “Just wait.”

(Today I’m Aly’s guest blogger over at her lovely site: OneDayLighter – take a load off and visit this new friend from Nashville.)

See here.

 

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Feast on Friday: Lori’s Summer Salad – Yum!

Lori and Leonard are gardeners. They love their garden. They eat from their garden. They would share (I’m sure) but they live near Chicago. They do send photos. Naturally they have a lot to celebrate when the sun comes out and the lettuce pops up. Lori just shared her favorite salad and it is something to celebrate! I don’t garden. Well, I’m an accidental gardener. It’s an accident if things grow. But I live across the street from Trader Joe’s which helps me be healthy and make pretty salads.

Lori swears by Trader Joe’s Champagne Pear Vinaigrette which is found in the cold salad greens section (Lori directed me there from Chicago–I didn’t even need my GPS– and she was right.) Sooo incredibly delicious. Thank You, Mr. Joe and Lori. Sometimes it pays to listen to your younger sister.

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Lori's Summer Salad - Yum!
Author: 
Recipe type: side or main dish
Cuisine: summer
Prep time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 5-7
 
This is as pretty as it is delicious! Enjoy adding what your family likes.
Ingredients
  • Leafy greens
  • Sliced red onion
  • Mandarin oranges (I forgot)
  • Sliced strawberries or raspberries
  • Fresh blueberries
  • Feta cheese (Lori uses Bleu Cheese)
  • Sprinkle with sunflower seeds
  • Trader Joe's Champagne Pear Vinaigrette
Instructions
  1. Layer and set out for everyone to ooh and aah
  2. Toss with vinaigrette and dig in

 

photo 1To make it a main dish, add grilled salmon or chicken or leftover Tri-tip. YUM.

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Happy Summer! I suppose if you don’t live near a Trader Joe’s, they could mail you some dressing, or you could open a bottle of champagne and you might not notice you didn’t have a Trader’s or dressing or salad.

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