Sometimes I remember I’m small…

In my searching this week for children’s choir music (for the new chorus I’ll be directing this fall), once again I came across this beautiful poem that has been set to music. I’ve played it and sung it with a chorus before, and I remember loving it then.

But, in this moment, with a lump in my throat, while feeling a tiny bit inadequate to do some of things He has asked of me,  I’m reminded to give Him praise.  He is the Lord who comforts and heals, who bestows courage and voice, and He sees me with eyes of mercy and love.    Though I offer little, He gives much.

The Lord of the Small

Praise to the Lord of the Small Broken Things,
Who Sees the Poor Sparrow That cannot take wing.
Who loves the lame child and the wretch in the street
who comforts their sorrows and washes their feet.

Praise to the lord of the faint and afraid
who girds them with courage and lends them his aid,
he pours out his spirit on vessels so weak,
that the timid can serve and the silent can speak.

Praise to the lord of the frail and the ill
who heals their afflictions or carries them till,
they leave this tired frame and to paradise fly.
to never be sick and never to die.

Praise him, O Praise Him All ye who live
who’ve been given so much and can so little give
our frail lisping praise God will never Despise.
He Sees His Dear Children Through Mercy Filled Eyes!

 

Psalm 91

It has been a fairly uneventful summer for our little family.  Calm days spent at the pool, playing with friends – nothing that would get us out of sorts.  And, I’m grateful for that.

But, there are friends and family in the middle of trial and heartbreak.  My own heart has been heavy with prayer, asking my Heavenly Father to move in these different situations.   When it has almost been too much,  I have searched for comfort – and one of the places I have found my heart can rest is in Psalm 91.

A few of the girls from my family and I have been reading regularly and trying to memorize the whole chapter.  I have to be honest and tell you it has been a test for my heart and mind.  First, I’m not good at memory work, and then, at times it has also been a test for my mind to believe.    But, God is good to supply the gift of faith and my heart is filled because of His goodness.

For all of us, living in this broken world, there is this Psalm. It is an anecdote for the fears and devastation we face.    When I feel I can’t take a moment more, I slip away to these words and hide my heart in the shelter of His promises…

Psalm 91

1 He who dwells in the secret place of the Most High
Shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty.
I will say of the Lord“He is my refuge and my fortress;
My God, in Him I will trust.”

Surely He shall deliver you from the snare of the fowler[a]
And from the perilous pestilence.
He shall cover you with His feathers,
And under His wings you shall take refuge;
His truth shall be your shield and buckler.
You shall not be afraid of the terror by night,
Nor of the arrow that flies by day,
Nor of the pestilence that walks in darkness,
Nor of the destruction that lays waste at noonday.

A thousand may fall at your side,
And ten thousand at your right hand;
But it shall not come near you.
Only with your eyes shall you look,
And see the reward of the wicked.

Because you have made the Lordwho is my refuge,
Even the Most High, your dwelling place,
10 No evil shall befall you,
Nor shall any plague come near your dwelling;
11 For He shall give His angels charge over you,
To keep you in all your ways.
12 In their hands they shall bear you up,
Lest you dash your foot against a stone.
13 You shall tread upon the lion and the cobra,
The young lion and the serpent you shall trample underfoot.

14 “Because he has set his love upon Me, therefore I will deliver him;
I will set him on high, because he has known My name.
15 He shall call upon Me, and I will answer him;
will be with him in trouble;
I will deliver him and honor him.
16 With long life I will satisfy him,
And show him My salvation.”

May your heart find refuge and rest in Him!

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I stumbled across this precious find earlier this week, and now it is in my bedroom right where I can see it when I wake up, and when I’m falling asleep.  

just like Grandma…

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Okay, okay –  its not exactly true.  I don’t know if it is honest of me to say this recipe is just like Grandma’s.  In fact I don’t know if she ever made Blueberry Peach Crisp.  But, I made one today – and in true Grandma style.  I just went into the kitchen and did it.  I didn’t look for a recipe.

Let me repeat:  I did not use a recipe.

What is this world coming to, I ask you?

Now a crisp can be hard to ruin, so don’t go thinking I’ve turned into some great and adventurous baker.  I won’t be entirely forsaking recipes in the future.  But today, I was feeling it!  So, for those of you wanting a recipe, here’s how it goes:

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Blueberry Peach Crisp.

I peeled and chopped up 6 peaches and put them in a 9inch deep dish pie plate.  I cleaned a cup of blueberries and mixed them in with the peaches.

Then, I tossed together in a bowl a few tablespoons of flour (about three), a few tablespoons of sugar (about 4) and a few dashes of cinnamon.  I gently stirred this around with the berries and peaches until everything had a light flour/sugar covering.  oh, and I sprinkled a pinch of salt over the mixture.

Next I melted a stick of butter in a dish and to that I added around a cup and a half of oatmeal, a half cup or so of brown sugar and few tablespoons of flour.  When it was combined, I spread it over top of the fruit mixture .

I preheated the oven to 375 and baked the crisp for about 40 minutes – but watch so you don’t burn the top – just bake till golden.

It is fantastic served warm with vanilla ice-cream or whipped cream, but honestly I could eat it with a little milk for breakfast, or really any time for that matter.  It is really yummy. I may have just eaten some for dinner.  (sorry about the shadowy photo!)

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While I was on a roll, and the peaches were fresh, I decided to go for it and bake something else!     So, here’s another recipe, that I “borrowed” from my cousin Krista who lives around the globe right now in PNG (Hello, Krista! ) – and I made it my own!

Berry Peachy Muffins

Ingredients:

2 1/2 cup all purpose flour
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1 1/3 cups packed brown sugar
1/2 cup creamy ricotta
1/2 cup canola oil
2 eggs
1 tsp vanilla
1 heaping cup of chopped peaches
1 heaping cup of diced strawberries
2 tbsp of strawberry jam
cinnamon sugar to sprinkle on top.

Instructions:

Preheat the oven to 350.  sift the dry ingredients in a bowl.  cream the brown sugar, ricotta, oil, eggs and vanilla.  Add the flour mixture to the brown sugar.  Stir in diced peaches, berries and jam.  sprinkle with cinnamon sugar.  Bake for 35-40 minutes.  Allow to cool a few minutes before removing from pan.

Enjoy, guys!  and happy Monday to all!  :)

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my favorite

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(backstage view)

Recently I was able to attend the Thirty One national Conference with my husband while he played in the conference band.  Traveling to conference is a highlight of our year.  Time away as a couple, with good friends, and talented musicians always brings the refreshment we need.    We eat, we laugh, the guys play music, we laugh a lot more – good times, for sure!     (Plus we were able to do a lot of other cool stuff!  I even saw my bestie of 20+ years while we were in Salt Lake City – but that’s another post all on its own!)

I love seeing my husband thrive in this environment, it makes my heart happy!  In this setting, at some point in the conference, there is a time of worship and  these guys lead thousands of women singing about Jesus.  My already happy heart just swells to the point of bursting.  It is unforgettable!  In fact, this morning I’ve been listening to my favorite song that they sang this year on repeat, recalling all of those women’s voices singing truth!

Sons & Daughters
by Brett Stanfill

Before He spoke creation God of heaven knew our name
Formed in His reflection we are His glory on display
His heart is good
He is always kind
With the cross He proved
He is on our side

We are the sons, we are the daughters of God
no matter where we go we’re close to the Father’s heart
And though we stumble He will not let us fall
We are the Lord’s & He will never forsake His own
We are the sons, we are the daughters of God

His love He lavished on us & called us children of the King
In His loving kindness He choose the lowly & the weak
His heart is good
He is always kind
With the cross He proved
He is on our side

And when he lies speak louder than the truth
Remind me I belog to You
And when I can’t see past the dark of night
Remind me You’re always by my side

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the guys, officially known as the Scott Monroe band.

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pre-session music, as the arena fills up.

 

head in my hands…

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(a small bit life-giving beauty at my house. )

I sat at the table, facing my computer with my eyes sheltered, my forehead resting on my hands.  Perhaps, if I can’t see it, it isn’t true.   Friends – This is how my life has been going as of late.  I won’t lie that social media, and the speedy pace of all sorts of information wreaks havoc on my tender heart. Some days the best thing I can do is just PUT. IT. AWAY.

Bad news in politics.  Life altering situations for friends.  Frustration in my own personal life – It all piles up in seconds flat and I shut down.

Over the course of the summer my children and I have been listening thru the entire  Chronicles of Narnia. An all-time favorite for me, my heart becomes so wrapped up tightly in hope that I feel like I might burst when I hear what C.S. Lewis writes.  Truly, it is an anecdote for my plight.

Today, in the car, we finished the final book, “The Last Battle,” and I found myself thinking of all the parallels I find with our world today.  But one of the most beautiful things I heard, was at the very end, as Lewis uses the end of his story to describe eternity.

“And as He spoke, He no longer looked to them like a lion;  but the things that began to happen after that were so great and beautiful that I cannot write them.  And for us this is the end of all the stories, and we can most truly say that they all lived happily ever after.  But for them it was only the beginning of the real story.  All their life in this world and all their adventures in Narnia had only been the cover and the title page:  now at last they were beginning Chapter One of the Great Story which no one on earth has read:  which goes on for ever:  in which every chapter is better than the one before.”  

Lewis’ words dug deep into the soft places of my heart and I realized something:  In comparison with what is in store, the beauty of eternity with our Savior and all that is to come (which is impossible for us to even fathom), all of this junk that paralyzes me – my frustrations and pain, the heart ache of friends, the sickness and tragedy all around –  it is a tiny little nothing.  It has complete insignificance in light of the coming goodness of eternity.

from 2Corinthians 4: 16-18- So we do not lose heart. Though our outer self is wasting away, our inner self is being renewed day by day.  For this light momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison,  as we look not to the things that are seen but to the things that are unseen. For the things that are seen are transient, but the things that are unseen are eternal.   

When I think of that complete, unending joy, love, and peace that we will know forever, I’m undone and at the same time I’m rescued. Someday all these earthly heartaches that seemed to have checkered a lifetime, will seem like a simple moment.

With these thoughts, I feel as though He has lifted my head from my hands, and focused my eyes heavenward.  amen.

from Psalm 3:2-4  Many are saying of my soul, there is no salvation for him in God. Selah. But you, O Lord, are a shield about me,  my glory, and the lifter of my head.  I cried aloud to the Lord,  and he answered me from his holy hill.

 

 

a new flavor (including two new recipes)

Yesterday I did a little baking, loaves of zucchini bread and a batch of banana muffins were on the menu. BUT!  I used a new ingredient.  Just a teaspoon or two made all the delicious difference that you can possibly imagine!  In fact, it is a new favorite flavor, that I’m going to use whenever I can!    What is it you might ask?

vanilla butter nut extract.

I never thought something so seemingly insignificant, something that  disappears into the batter or dough, something that you can’t really see,  would change my baked goods so much.  But, I can promise you this!  I’ll be using this new little secret ingredient in my baking as often as I can.

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This morning I’ve been thinking about my relationship with Christ, the Holy Spirit in me.  He is not insignificant, by any means.  While I can’t physically see Him,  He should be the essence of who I am!  Those who come in contact with me, should sense His presence in tangible ways.  Who He is should sweeten my thoughts, words and actions with love and grace.

From 2 Corinthians 2 :

14 But thanks be to God, who in Christ always leads us in triumphal procession, and through us spreads the fragrance of the knowledge of him everywhere. 15 For we are the aroma of Christ to God among those who are being saved and among those who are perishing, 16 to one a fragrance from death to death, to the other a fragrance from life to life. Who is sufficient for these things? 17 For we are not, like so many, peddlers of God’s word, but as men of sincerity, as commissioned by God, in the sight of God we speak in Christ.

Oh Lord, let me be a lovely fragrance to those around me, so that they might know who You are!  I’m know that I’m not sweet on my own, so You must do this work in me!  amen.

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I know you’re wanting these yummy recipes I made yesterday.  They are taken from a very special cookbook! The ladies of Crestwicke Christian Academy in Guelph, Ontario put these recipes together – and I’m so glad my Aunt Jean gave us this book long ago!  (Or it is possible she gave it to my mum and I stole it from her.)

Zucchini Bread

3 cups flour
3 eggs
2 cups sugar
1 cup oil (I used 1/2 cup oil, 1/2 cup mashed banana)
1/4 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp vanilla butter nut extract
2 heaping cups grated zucchini
1 cup chopped nuts (optional)
handful of shredded coconut
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp salt
11/2 cup sour cream (I used plain yogurt)

Instructions – Preheat oven to 350. Grease two 9×5 loaf pans. Combine flour with dry ingredients. Beat eggs, combine with wet ingredients. Then, add wet to dry ingredients. mix well. pour into pans and bake for about 1 hour, be sure the middle is well done. Cool in pans.

Banana Chocolate Chip Muffins

3 large mashed bananas
3/4 cup sugar
1 egg
1/3 cup melted butter
1 tsp baking soa
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1 1/2 cups flour
1 cup mini chocolate chips
1/2 cup shredded coconut
2 tsp vanilla butter nut flavoring
Instructions – Mash bananas and mix with sugar, egg and melted butter.  Add remaining dry ingredients to the wet.  stir in chocolate chips.  Fill muffin tins and bake at 375 for 20 minutes.  Try not to eat them all in one sitting.  :)

So,  these photos of my zucchini bread and banana muffin are lame.  Yes, I know it is true, but, do not be deceived – they are DE-LISH!!!  IMG_3952

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high school, here she comes !

Okay, okay, I know what you’re probably thinking.  “Who has a party for their child for finishing 8th grade?”  It is true, most people don’t make a big deal out of moving into high school.

But, we home school – and for my girl who has worked so hard over the past year -so there was no promotion assembly to attend, or any type of “graduation” at school.  I decided we would party on our own!

On a side note, there seems to be overwhelming, unexpected tragedy everywhere right now – whether thinking about last week’s mass murder of innocent people, or a young toddler drowned at Disney in a freak accident by an alligator – None of us know about tomorrow; better to celebrate life with joy today! I’m happy we took the moment to love and appreciate our daughter and tell her just how much we think she’s incredible.

Here are a few photos from our afternoon with friends and family.  We are so grateful for the folks God has placed in Emily’s life to love and support her!

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