Twelfth Night Dinner

 

 

The Story of that Twelfth Night Dinner lives on. . .

The Story of that Twelfth Night Dinner lives on in our Home

If you’re visiting from Proverbs 31 Ministries Encouragement for Today devotions, welcome!

It was the most memorable dinner I’ve ever attended… It was a Twelfth Night Dinner.  The smell of roasted rib roast enveloped us as we walked through the front door. We were ushered through the bustling kitchen.  It was filled with homemade dishes.  Yorkshire pudding and mushroom pie were being taken out of the oven as we made our way to the family room adjacent to the dining-room.  Candles flickered all over the table.  Jars of homemade pickled watermelon rind and other delicacies adorned the table.

Their only daughter, Heidi (11 years old), was sitting on the sofa. We sat next to her.  A wig covered her sparse, thin hair. Cancer had taken a toll on her brainstem and she wasn’t who she used to be physically or mentally.  Slowly, she explained to us why her family celebrated Twelfth Night.

She looked off into the distance and recalled the beautiful story of the Magi following the star to find Jesus. The wise men were Gentiles (non-Jews) and were willing to go any distance to worship and adore Him with their finest gifts.  At the close of her story, her words got slower.  She took a long pause- we waited. Our daughters didn’t move a muscle nor did my husband or I.  It was as if she were listening to a voice we couldn’t hear. Our hearts melted when slowly she said “Come let us adore Him and give Him our best- just like the wise men.”

Clanging pots and dishes jolted us back into the twentieth century. Pat, our hostess invited us to gather ‘round the table. Her toddler started to cry. She said, “Please excuse Galen, his ear drum burst last night. He didn’t get much sleep, he’s a little grumpy.”  We joined hands and prayed.

I sat mesmerized that night, by this family.  While suffering, they served.  One child suffering the effects of brain stem cancer, another with a dreadful ear infection, a mom with no sleep, a third child that begged her attention and yet, she served us with joy. How ironic that her and her husband would host a night of worship in honor of the ultimate suffering servant, Jesus.

We ate our food with gladness and simplicity of heart, and praised God together.  Our children were young but even they could sense the sacredness of the night. No one said a word on our way home. Years have passed since then, but every 12th night after Christmas, I remember the Kastock family and that special dinner. Heidi went home to be with the Lord. But she lives on in my heart as the greatest story teller of Twelfth Night, that there ever was.

It was literally the most memorable dinner I’ve ever attended. The food was incredible.  The fellowship sweet but the living example of a suffering servant is so indelibly etched in my heart and soul that it changed me forever.

Lord, help me to never wait until my circumstances are perfect to serve. Help me to serve when nothing is perfect, when life is hard and when it’s good.  May I celebrate You all the days of my life with the same tenacity and with my finest gifts just like the wise men, and the Kastock’s.

I don’t know about you but I’ve already got the family in mind I want to invite over. How about you? We can’t wait till things get easier.  It never does! To make it easier, you could have them over for just coffee and dessert.

The best  Coconut Cream Cake (Gluten Free) recipe ever to serve with the coffee!

A make ahead dinner, try- Chicken and Dumpling  Casserole (Gluten Free) I keep one of these in freezer at all times for unexpected company. You can bake it before you freeze it or freeze unbaked, both work.

Pat Kasktock’s Twelfth Night Yorkshire Pudding

2 Corinthians 12:9a, “But He said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for My power is made perfect in weakness…”

Who are you going to invite? Leave their name in the comment section to enter the drawing to win this amazing book, Everyday Confetti written by my dear friends, Karen Ehman and Glynnis Whitwer and a $30 Target gift card to get the baking pan you need! The book is being released January 21, 2014. I’ll pick the winner next Wednesday!! Everyday confetti

 

When the Storms Rage and the Winds Blow on Your House

Hartwood_snow_modThe howling, frigid wind whipped and beat the house mercilessly last night. The old spruce tree bent and screeched against the house so much I couldn’t go back to sleep.   

Sometimes it’s good to be awakened in middle of a storm and listen. Listen to what you can’t normally hear. You know, the deep things, things you can’t hear on a quiet, calm night.

So, I talked to Him.

 I should reword that…I was pleading with Him and it had nothing to do with the storm outside my window.

You know, like the disciples did when the windstorm came down on the lake and the boat they were in filled with water.

The storm raged and the disciples were afraid. They pleaded with Jesus to help them, and He did. (Luke 8)

He calmed the storm and then asked, “Where is your faith?”

I felt like Jacob struggling and fighting my petitions before Him last night.  Then, His words were clear. “Where is your faith?” I sensed Him say.  I stopped struggling and asked, “Why, why does it have to be so hard?”

No answer. 

God uses hardships, disappointments and failures to strip our self-reliance away so that we will put our trust in Him alone.   Sometimes the process is grueling.

At the close of Jesus’ sermon on the mount He said,  ”Therefore whoever hears these sayings of Mine and does them, I will liken him to a wise man who built his house on a rock: and the rain descended, the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on the house; and it did not fall, for it was founded on the rock.

But everyone who hears theses sayings of Mine, and does not do them, will be like a foolish man who built his house on the sand: and the rain descended, the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house; and it fell. And great was its fall.”

The storms, floods and winds will beat on our house, but we will not fall.   He is always faithful.

Sometimes it’s good to be awakened in middle of a storm and listen. Listen to what you can’t normally hear. You know, the deep things- things you can’t hear on a quiet, calm night.

 New Year’s resolution:  Memorize Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount (Matthew chapters 5-7). He says that for those who hear His sayings and do them they will not fall when the floods come  and winds blow and beat on our house.   

Jesus’ Desire for Christmas

Merry Christmas!

Merry Christmas!

Jesus left the portal of glory to be born in a manger into the least of the clans of Israel, an oppressed nation and through a messy lineage! He had no place to call home, was ridiculed and crucified all for the sake of LOVE- to do ALL the will of His Father!

Jesus’ whole life was a life of sacrifice. He asks us to do the same. He says to us today, if you are my disciples deny yourself, pick up your cross and follow Me. What does that mean to us today, on Christmas Eve?

Christmas wasn’t meant to be a day of self-gratification. It’s a time to think of others. What is Jesus asking us to deny today? A selfish attitude. . .

What cross is He asking us to pick up? It’s the thing we don’t want to do but know it’s the right thing to do.  It’s the hardest thing.  But if you do it with the right attitude it will glorify Him. It’s just between you and Him, you don’t need to tell anyone else.

Are you supposed to hop in the car and make that trip home? Are you supposed to invite someone to Christmas dinner that you don’t want to? Is He asking you to give a gift that you don’t want to give? Is He asking you to give something of yours away to another person? Are you supposed to make a call and forgive someone? Love someone you don’t love. . . Be at the hospital visiting. . .Bring goodies to someone tonight. . .

May we be consumed by His LOVE today, to do all His will just like Him.

Prayers Needed for Bob

Matthew 8:16-17

Matthew 8:16-17

Thank you for praying for Bob. He’s in ICU in stable but critical condition. The day after his surgery all his numbers started to gravely decline. We almost lost him. The day after his surgery they did exploratory surgery to find out what was going on. There was no blood flow to vital organs. They found issues with his colon (not cancer), so they removed it. His liver and kidneys are struggling from the lack of blood flow that day.  His kidney’s are barely working, he’s on a ventilator and his body is exhausted from the trauma- would you keep praying!

 I want to tell you a story about an 88 year old man that I prayed for a couple of years ago. It will increase your faith! I got a call that this man (whom I had never met before) had had a stroke. Blood pressure was almost non-existent when I got to the hospital. He was pretty much dead. No brain activity. We (his family and I) prayed circles around him with scripture. I quoted Isaiah 53:5 “and by His strips we are healed.” I left the hospital thinking, maybe  he’s ready to meet the Lord. I came back the next day, he wasn’t in his room. The nurse said, they’ve released him to rehab! I found him in hall in a chair, we locked eyes. Immediately, he grabbed my arm TIGHTLY, with tears in his eyes he said with all boldness, “BY HIS STRIPES I AM HEALED.” Holy Ghost goose bumps covered me! He was a godly patriarch of his family- they still needed him.
WE NEED BOB! WE NEED GODLY PATRIACH”S leading our families ! Please continue to pray for Bob’s healing! Thank you!!

Bringing Good Tidings of Great Joy to the Broken Hearted

 

Cookie lead photo

A memorable Christmas tradition in our family is to bring goodies to the homes of hurting people on Christmas Eve. Notice I didn’t say our favorite Christmas tradition but a memorable one. The kids didn’t actually like this tradition when they were little. Just this week I got a call from one of our grown daughters, Hannah and she said even though it wasn’t one of her favorite traditions as a child, it is as an adult. She wants to carry the tradition on in her family. Throughout the year we would make a mental note of those who had lost loved ones, endured cancer, lost their jobs or husbands. Then on Christmas Eve we would deliver goodies to their homes and pray for them.

I’ll never forget one year in particular. We went into the home of a family who had lost their only teenage son. We didn’t call before we came. it was a surprise visit. The dad was drunk and he wasn’t a drinker.  The mom was crying.  The kids were sitting by the Christmas tree with no gifts. Sadness consumed the house. We gathered them into a circle, held hands and prayed. They didn’t want us to leave, we brought not just food- but the joy of the Lord. Isn’t that what Christmas is all about? Bringing good tidings of great joy to the poor and brokenhearted; Jesus came to heal the broken hearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and open prison to those who are bound…To comfort all who mourn, to give them beauty for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning, the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness.  We are His ambassadors carrying His anointing to the lost and hurting ones, He loves. Let’s be His hands and feet and bring joy where there is none.

Here are a few of my favorite recipes  to make for your goodie deliveries.

susan bday, christmas cookies and dinner 180

Prepare your goodie containers. Save oatmeal, cocoa and coffee canisters throughout year. Wrap cans with paper you’ve saved  and have fun decorating with supplies on hand. The point is to spend the least amount of money and make it look better than anything you could buy.

Soft Baked Oreo Cookies

Soft Baked Oreo Cookies-GF

1 box of chocolate cake mix (we used a gluten free mix, any cake mix works)

1/3 cup water (depending on how many ounces the mix -you may need as much as ¾ cup)

3 tablespoons shortening or butter, softened

Mix all ingredients. It will be a little dry. If you can’t form it into a ball, you need more water. Add extra slowly. Dust the counter with a little cocoa powder, roll out dough and use cookie cutter to form circles.  If your dough is too sticky, form into silver dollar size patties by hand and flatten.

Bake on greased baking sheet for 6 minutes on 325 degrees.

Filling

3 ½ cups powdered sugar (organic)

1 tsp vanilla

½ cup shortening or butter

3 tablespoons hot water

Mix well. After cookies have cooled squish a heaping wallop of frosting between two cookies! YUM

 

Candied Oranges

Candied Orange

6 thick sliced organic oranges (non-organic orange peel shouldn’t be eaten, chemicals are heavy)

4 ½ cups sugar

1 ½ cups water

Wash oranges. Quarter and peel the skin and pith off. Slice peel into thin strips. Put orange peel into a pot of cold water, bring to boil over high heat. Pour water off and repeat 1-2 more times. This helps take  bitterness away. Remove orange peels from water.

Empty pot and now add your sugar and 1 ½ cups of water. Simmer for 10 minutes, bringing the temperature up slowly to 234. Add the peels and simmer for 40 minutes. DON’T stir, it can make sugar crystals in your syrup. Drain the peels and roll in a little sugar if you desire. Let sit for several hours.

I actually used fermented oranges on one batch- OH MY GOODNESS—it was better than anything I’ve ever eaten. The oranges were soft inside and the outside was hardened candy. It was like eating heaven.

susan bday, christmas cookies and dinner 196

Maple Walnut Fudge

2 cups organic brown sugar (all sugar not organic is genetically modified)

5 ounces whole milk (I used raw goat milk for my lactose sensitive family)

1 cup unsalted butter

2 cups organic powdered sugar

1 tsp pure vanilla extract (don’t use artificial, it cheats you of perfection)

1 tablespoon maple syrup

1 cup coarsely chopped walnuts

Butter a 9×9 inch square pan. Bring to a boil over medium high heat sugar, milk, butter and maple syrup. Boil for 10 minutes, stirring constantly.

Take off heat and stir in powdered sugar and vanilla. Pour into mixing bowl and beat on medium until thick—about 3 minutes. Fold in nuts and pour into greased pan.

Let cool overnight. Slice into 1-inch squares.

 

Pecan Toffee

Pecan Toffee- GF Not hard but a soft crunch- YUM

½ cup chopped toasted pecans

1 cup butter (don’t use margarine)

1 cup organic sugar

1 tablespoon corn syrup or maple syrup (if you can’t find organic corn syrup use maple syrup)

¾ cup semisweet chocolate chips

½ cup crushed toasted pecans

Line a 9 X 13ish baking pan with foil and grease. Sprinkle ½ cup chopped nuts into bottom of pan evenly. In pot add butter, sugar and corn syrup or maple syrup. Cook over medium high heat to boiling.

Clip a candy thermometer onto side of pot. Cook and stir over medium heat. Stop stirring after sugar melts.  Cook until candy thermometer reaches 290 degree. Watch carefully, it can burn after 280. If it starts to turn too dark after 280 turn off heat. Pour mixture evenly over chopped nuts in greased pan.

Let stand for a few minutes. Sprinkle chocolate chips evenly over top. Let melt on top for a couple of minutes.  Spread chocolate over whole mixture. Sprinkle crushed nuts on top. Cool, when firm lift out of pan and break into pieces. Store in tightly covered container.

susan bday, christmas cookies and dinner 189

Banana Bread Muffins- GF

1 ¾ cups self-rising flour (I use GF Pamela’s Baking Mix or dairy free Cherry

1 cup mashed bananas

½ cup milk ( you can substitute with yogurt)

1 tsp vanilla

½ cup butter

1 cup organic sugar

2 eggs

1 cup chopped nuts (pecans or walnuts)

If you use non-self-rising flour you’ll need 2 tsp baking powder, ¾ tsp baking soda and ¾ tsp salt

Mix all ingredients. Pour into muffin pan or loaf pan. Bake 350 degrees  for 25 minutes.

Muffin topping

½ cup sugar

½ finely chopping nuts

4 tablespoons melted butter

Mix sugar and nuts together in a bowl. Melted butter in another small bowl.

Dip cooled muffin top into melted butter, then dip into sugar and nut mixture.

Enjoy!

 Flourless Decadent Brownie- GF

24 oz semi-sweet chocolate chips, melted (dairy free if you’re lactose intolerant)

1 ½ sticks butter

5 beaten eggs

½ cup organic sugar

1 ½ tsp vanilla

¼ tsp salt

1 cup pecans

Melt chocolate chips and butter in bowl and stir. Add all other ingredients and pour into 9X9 pan. Bake on 325 degrees for 40-45 minutes or until done.

Serve with whipped cream or ice cream.

 

susan bday, christmas cookies and dinner 138

No Bake Oatmeal Cookies

½ cup butter

2 cups organic sugar

½ cup milk (lactose sensitive people most often can tolerate goat milk)

1/8 tsp salt

3 cups quick cooking oats

½ cup crunch peanut butter

1 tsp vanilla

Mix butter, sugar, milk and salt in pot. Stir and bring to rolling boil. Boil for one minute. Stir in oatmeal, peanut butter and vanilla.

Drop by tablespoons onto wax paper or aluminum foil. Work quickly it will start to harden!

Homemade Marshmallows dipped in chocolate are GREAT to giveaway.

Blondie’s frosted in Christmas colors

Caramel Pecan Pie Cake muffins

Pray for Dale’s Step Father, Bob–He’s in Surgery

BobOne of the greatest men I’ve ever known is Dale’s step-father, Bob Mateer. A couple of weeks ago he was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer, he’s in surgery to remove it right now.  Would you pray with us? It’s a six-12 hour surgery, it’s pretty invasive.  They’re taking out 60% of his pancreas. We’re praying for full recovery from cancer and no side issues because of it!

We love him more than words can describe. He’s priceless. He’s the epitome of the grand and noble family patriarch that you read about in books.

You’ve just got to hear a short story about his conversion to Christ.

He had a high finance position at Chase Manhattan Bank in New York City- then left for an even better position in LA, CA. He had all the money he and his family needed and more—they lacked nothing of material worth.

One day Bob had lunch with a Campus Crusade man  at a country club, that man introduced him to Christ. The man asked if he could pray for the food and then asked the whole country club if they would join him! The country club was not accepting of the prayer but Bob was.  He was immediately enamored by Jesus. He wanted to know more and more of Him. Quickly he accepted Christ as his personal Savior and Bob’s life was never the same.

Everything in the tangible world lost its importance to him. Money didn’t have a hold on him, Jesus did.  He wanted to dedicate his life to further the kingdom of God. He decided to leave his high finance job, the only life he knew and luxurious lifestyle to impart wisdom to the body of Christ.

He left California and moved his family to Liberty University in Lynchburg, VA to become a professor of high finance.  He came for a fraction of the money he was accustomed to. But he was doing the will of His Father- and he was happy.

Bob is one of the most self-sacrificing people I’ve ever known. He has spiritual wisdom that surpasses us all by far. He is the definition of a servant. I glean something from him every time I’m with him.

Thank you for praying for him today and in the coming days.  The surgery is expected to take 6-12 hours. His recovery is intense.

James 5: 13-15

Is anyone among you suffering? Let him pray. ..Is anyone among you sick? …let them pray over him…and the prayer of faith will save the sick, and the Lord will raise him up.”

Years later–I’m living my Dream

 

Horizon at the break of day

Horizon at the break of day

 

When I was a little girl I had this recurring dream, that I was on a huge battlefield amongst thousands of dying and wounded people. I would wake up in the morning feeling like I had worked all night bringing life and healing to those who were perishing.

This dream became my thoughts in the daytime. I would stare out the window and recall my dream from the night before- it consumed me. I knew God was calling me. I would be a nurse and go into the mission field to bring life.

Well, chemistry class proved that I wasn’t called to go into the medical profession. I passed that class by the skin of my teeth, literally. This confused me, because I knew you had to be good in science to be a nurse. I continued to dream about bringing life and healing to thousands on the battlefield in my sleep. My passion and calling actually intensified.

As most of you know, I’m a speaker and writer for Proverbs 31 Ministries. Last week they announced our “Join Us on the Front Lines” campaign.  When I read those words I recalled the dream that I had dreamt hundreds and hundreds of times in years past– Endless numbers of people sprawled out on an open field waiting for urgent care.

I’ve had the privilege of writing devotions for P31 that go out to nearly a half million people a day.  This past fall I traveled almost every weekend as an ambassador  carrying the gospel to the sick and dying.

Halleluiah- I don’t need chemistry to be on the battlefield! We’re bringing life and healing to those who are perishing every day! I’m on the front lines administering care with Proverbs 31 Ministries under the leadership of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ!

I’ve seen more people receive Christ as their personal Savior this year than ever before!

I’ve received hundreds and hundreds of emails from families saying their marriages have been restored, broken lives mended, crushed spirits made whole, parents given hope and more because of our devotions, books, speaking, radio, Bible studies and more!  Oh my goodness I wish you could see all of what God is doing in the field.

We’re on the front lines of the battlefield ministering to millions of women around the world.  I want you to be a part of it!  Pray for us, the battlefield is vast and it cost money to go into all the world and preach the gospel—bringing life and healing to those who are perishing.

The dream I dreamt when I was a little girl has come true. I’m overcome by the awesome opportunity to minister to millions with Proverbs 31 ministries. Will you join us on the front lines? Have you had dreams of helping those whom you’ve never met? Would you like to help support P31?  

Renee Swope and Sharon

Renee Swope and Sharon

 

My amazing friend and president of Proverbs 31 Ministries, Lysa Terkerust
My amazing friend and president of Proverbs 31 Ministries, Lysa Terkerust

 

How to Cook a Perfect Turkey

 

Turkey was locally raised organic 30 pounder

Turkey was locally raised organic 30 pounder-Whiffletree Farm

Cooking a perfect turkey is simple if you follow all the steps below. Every step from thawing, brining, long slow roast to letting it rest is critical for perfection! The turkey will fall off the bones when you take it out of the oven! We had to prop the legs up for the photo because it fell apart.

1. What size turkey should you buy: How many people are you feeding? The general rule is one pound per person. This gives enough for leftovers.

2. How to thaw a turkey– Keep in the original packaging.  The guidelines for refrigerator thawing are as follows;

Turkey Weight Thawing Time
Up to 12 lbs 1-3 days
12 to 16 lbs 3-4 days
16 to 20 lbs 4-5 days
20 to 24 lbs 5-6 days

DON’T thaw on the counter, in water or in the microwave- you don’t want food poisoning.

3. If you want the turkey succulent follow my directions on how to   Brine a Turkey. Brining a turkey makes a huge taste difference and tenderizes it. Take the turkey out of the original packaging for the last day and a half of thawing time and put into the brine. The brine actually helps to thaw it.

4. Rinse brine off turkey, pat dry and put into your roasting pan.  Add three peeled carrots and 2 medium quartered onions to the bottom of the pan for added flavor. Cover well with aluminum foil. Tuck the foil around rim tightly, this locks in moisture. Do all of this the night before  your turkey meal. When I go to bed I set my oven for 325 degrees so that it will be ready when I get up in middle of the night (3:AM).

5. Turkey baking time: Take upper racks out of oven. Preheat oven to  325 degrees F.

Approximate Roasting Times for Stuffed Turkey
Turkey Weight
Hours
6 to 8 pounds 3 to 3-1/2 hours
8 to 12 pounds 3-1/2 to 4-1/2 hours
12 to 16 pounds 4-1/2 to 5-1/2 hours
16 to 20 pounds 5-1/2 to 6 hours
20 to 24 pounds 6 to 6-1/2 hours
Approximate Roasting Times for Unstuffed Turkey
Turkey Weight
Hours
6 to 8 pounds 2-1/2 to 3 hours
8 to 12 pounds 3 to 4 hours
12 to 16 pounds 4 to 5 hours
16 to 20 pounds 5 to 5-1/2 hours
20 to 24 pounds 5-1/2 to 6 hours

6. At 7:AM I turned the temperature down to 300 degrees.  Take foil off turkey when you get up and baste with butter. Put foil back on and every hour after take off and baste with  more with butter. Make sure you have a meat thermometer, insert it into the thigh not touching bone.  When the internal temperature of the turkey is 165 degrees take foil off and turn the temperature up to brown the skin. This only took 15 min’s- I turned it up to 450 for speed. Don’t go do something else, keep your eye on the bird.  You’ve spent too much time on it to dry it out!  After it is beautifully brown turn the oven temperature down to 250 degrees and let it rest in the oven to reabsorb any moisture it lost by puncturing it with the thermometer. 30 min’s to 1 hour before serving turn heat completely off. Continue basting turkey for moisture.

7. The turkey will fall apart. You won’t get beautiful photo’s because it’s falling apart.

8. To make gravy -pour turkey drippings into a skillet and turn up heat. Whisk flour of your choice  in and add water as needed. If you brined the turkey you WONT need salt. It is perfectly salted already. Enjoy!!

The pan wasn't big enough but we still used it! Aluminum foil kept it secure and sealed tight.

The pan wasn’t big enough but we still used it! Aluminum foil kept it secure and sealed tight

 

Why We Celebrate Thanksgiving

thanksgiving

Our Thanksgiving table last year

Innumerable blessings have been bestowed upon the United States of America. Concerning these blessings President Lincoln wrote: “No human counsel hath devised, nor hath any mortal hand worked out these great things. They are the gracious gifts of the Most High God.” President Lincoln went on to set apart the last Thursday of November as “a day of thanksgiving and praise to our beneficent Father who dwelleth in the heavens.”

While President Lincoln established America’s official Thanksgiving holiday in 1863, it was the Pilgrims who first celebrated a day of Thanksgiving in this land in 1621 and who set an example that many followed in the succeeding years.

As the Pilgrims gathered their harvest in the autumn of 1621 and looked back over the preceding year, they had so much for which to be thankful that they decided to set aside a day of Thanksgiving unto God, Whom they acknowledged as the Giver of all blessings and the only reason for their survival. It was indeed a miracle that they did survive their first year in the wilderness of New England and had a good harvest. Desire for a home where they could freely worship God, and the desire to “propagate… the Gospel of the kingdom of Christ” and be stepping stones for others to do the same, motivated a band of Christians later called Pilgrims) to set out on a hazardous voyage to plant a colony in the new world of America.

After sixty-six perilous days at sea, where the storms were so great that they were blown unknowingly hundreds of miles north of their intended destination, they reached Cape Cod. The captain attempted to sail south to Virginia, but the weather forced them to settle in New England. They later learned that the site they chose for a settlement – Plymouth – had been the home of the Patuxet Indians. Had they arrived a few years earlier, there would have been no place for them to settle, but a plague had mysteriously wiped out the Patuxet tribe in 1617, and no other tribe would settle in the area for fear of the same thing occurring to them.

Winter had already set in as they started to build houses to protect themselves from the unrelenting cold. Scurvy and other diseases began to infect the settlers due to the long voyage, lack of provisions, and unaccommodating conditions People began to die so rapidly that in two or three months’ time only half of the original 102 persons remained. While this was quite a tragedy, they still fared much better than the early settlers at Jamestown, who saw nine out of ten persons die in the first years of colonization.

During this dark winter in America, the Christian character of the Pilgrims shone brightly. At the time of greatest distress, there were only six or seven persons strong enough to move about. With the sick they “spared no pains night nor day, but with abundance of toil and hazard of their health, fetched them wood, made them fires, dressed them meat, made their beds, washed their loathsome clothes clothed and unclothed them; in a word, did all the homely and necessary offices for them which dainty and queasy stomachs cannot endure to hear named; and all this willingly and cheerfully, without any grudging in the least,

showing herein their true love unto their friends and brethren. A rare example and worthy to be remembered.” 

Though half of their number survived, the prospects of the coming year looked very bleak – they were surrounded by Indians, some hostile, they were short of food and supplies, and they knew little of how to survive in the American wilderness. But to their astonishment, and gratitude to God, an English-speaking Indian named Squanto came among them, took them under his care, and taught them how to survive in the new land.

He showed them how to plant corn, assuring its growth by setting it with fish; he taught them how to catch fish and the times when they could find the creeks stocked with fish (for the Pilgrims had only caught one cod in the preceding four months); he taught them to stalk deer, plant pumpkins, find berries, and catch beaver, whose pelts proved to be their economic deliverance.

Squanto was also helpful in securing a peace treaty between the Pilgrims and surrounding Indian tribes, which lasted over fifty years. In the words of William Bradford, “Squanto… was a special instrument sent of God for their good beyond their expectation.”

 His life story is amazing in itself.

In 1605, Squanto, a member of the Patuxet Indian tribe, was captured by an English explorer and taken to England. He remained there nine years, during which time he learned to speak English. In 1614, Captain John Smith took him back to New England, but shortly after this he was again taken captive and sold into slavery at a port in Spain. Providentially, some local friars bought and rescued him.

From Spain, he eventually went to England where he remained until 1619, when he obtained passage back to his home in New England. As Squanto went ashore at what was to become Plymouth, he found his entire tribe had been killed by a plague. He was the only survivor of the Patuxet tribe. Joining himself to a nearby tribe, he remained there until the spring of 1621 when he joined himself with the Pilgrims, determining to see them survive at the place where his tribe had not. 

Thanks to God, his instrument Squanto, and the character and determination of the Pilgrims, half of them had survived an unimaginably difficult first year. Moreover, they harvested a sufficient food supply for their second winter at Plymouth. Even though there was no surplus food, things looked much better than the preceding winter.

Governor Bradford appointed a day of Thanksgiving and invited the nearby Wampanoag Indians (Squanto’s adopted tribe) to celebrate and give thanks unto God with them. Chief Massasoit and ninety of his men came and feasted with the Pilgrims. They ate deer, turkey, fish, lobster, eels, vegetables, corn bread, herbs, berries, pies, and the Indians even taught the Pilgrims how to make popcorn. The Pilgrims and Indians also competed in running, wrestling, and shooting games. Massasoit enjoyed himself so much that he and his men stayed for three days.

 It is easy to see where the American tradition of feasting at Thanksgiving began.

While many people today follow the Pilgrim’s example of feasting at Thanksgiving, they too often ignore the entire reason that the Pilgrims set aside a special day – that was to give thanks to Almighty God and acknowledge their utter dependence upon Him for their existence. While many today take ease in having plenty, never seeing a need to cry out to God, the Pilgrims relied upon God in their lack and thanked Him in their abundance. Their trust was in God and not in their abundant provisions. This was seen even more fully in the two years following their first Thanksgiving.

Shortly after their Thanksgiving celebration, thirty-five new persons unexpectedly arrived who planned to remain and live at Plymouth. These being family and friends brought much rejoicing, but when they found out they had no provisions it also brought a soberness. Yet their reliance was upon God, so they gladly shared their food, clothing, and homes. With the new additions, their food, even at half allowance for each person, would last six months at most.

Their provisions had almost completely run out when they spied a boat in May of 1622. They hoped the English Company who had sponsored their colonizing Plymouth had sent provisions; however, this boat not only did not bring any food (nor the hope of any), but seven more hungry people to stay in Plymouth. In their extreme hunger, as in times of plenty, they put their complete trust in God to provide.

No one starved to death yet, it would be over a year before famine was completely removed from their midst. During that time there were many days where they “had need to pray that God would give them their daily bread above all people in the world.”

That spring and summer of 1622 God miraculously fed them, even as the ravens fed Elijah in the wilderness. He provided because the Pilgrims had determined to walk in the way of their Lord Jesus. This was most evident in early summer when sixty “lusty” men (as Bradford called them) came to them for help. Even though these men showed no gratitude, the Pilgrims still gladly took care of them, for many were sick. They gave them housing and shared their meager provisions. This they did for almost the entire summer until the men left.

Like the year before, the harvest of 1622 proved insufficient to meet the Pilgrims’ needs. Outside help appeared doubtful, so the Pilgrims considered how they could produce a larger harvest. Through God’s wisdom they chose to replace the collective farming they had practiced the two preceding years (being imposed upon them by their sponsoring company) with individual farming, assigning to every family a parcel of land.

Bradford wrote: “This had very good success, for it made all hands very industrious, so as much more corn was planted than other wise would have been by any means the Governor or any other could use… and gave far better content. The women now went willingly into the field, and took their little ones with them to set corn, which before would allege weakness and inability; whom to have compelled would have been thought great tyranny and.”

As they were freed from economic communism and entered into individual

enterprise, abundance began to come upon these people.

The Pilgrims learned the hard way that communism doesn’t work, even among a covenant community. Bradford wrote that “the experience that was had in this common course and condition, tried sundry years, and that amongst godly and sober men, may well evince the vanity of that conceit of Platos

& other ancients, applauded by some of later times; – that the taking away of property, and bringing in community into a common wealth, would make them happy and flourishing; as if they were wiser than God.”9

The Pilgrims’ hard work, resulting from them being able to directly benefit from the fruit of their labors, caused them to plant about six times more crops than the previous year. While labor certainly increases our prosperity, there are other factors. God wanted the Pilgrims to never forget that it is the Lord that gives men the power to get substance or wealth (Deut. 8:18).

The Pilgrims had great hopes for a large crop, yet as Bradford wrote, “the Lord seemed to blast, & take away the same, and to threaten further

 

& more sore famine unto them, by a great drought which continued from the 3. week in May, till about the middle of July, without any rain and with great heat (for the most part) insomuch as the corn began to wither away.”

In response to this, “they set a part a solemn day of humiliation to seek the Lord by humble

 

& fervent prayer, in this great distress. And he was pleased to give them a gracious & speedy answer, both to their own & the Indians admiration, that lived amongst them. For all the morning, and greatest part of the day, it was dear weather & very hot, and not a cloud or any sign of rain to be seen, yet toward evening it began to overcast, and shortly after to rain, with such sweet and gentle showers, as gave them cause of rejoicing, & blessing God. It came, without either wind, or thunder, or any violence, and by degrees in that abundance, as that the earth was thoroughly wet and soaked therewith. Which did so apparently revive & quicken the decayed corn & other fruits, as was wonderful to see, and made the Indians astonished to behold.”11

An Indian named Hobamak who witnessed this event said to a Pilgrim: “Now I see that the Englishman’s God is a good God, for he hath heard you, and sent you rain, and that without storms and tempests and thunder, which usually we have with our rain, which breaks down our corn, but yours stands whole and good still; surely your God is a good God.”

The harvest of 1623 brought plenty to each person, with the more industrious having excess to sell to others. From the time they started a biblical economic system, no famine or general want ever again existed among them.

That autumn of 1623, the Pilgrims again set apart a day of Thanksgiving unto God. They had much to give thanks for and knew Who to acknowledge.

Each year when we celebrate Thanksgiving, let us remember the heritage of that day and why the Pilgrims, as well as President Lincoln set aside a day of Thanksgiving. In the

words of Lincoln, proclaiming the second National Thanksgiving Day: this is “a day of thanksgiving and praise to Almighty God, the beneficent Creator and Ruler of the Universe.”

by Stephen McDowell

How to brine a turkey.

Dressing your children like pilgrims.

Marshmallow Fruit Salad- GF

Marshmallow Fruit Salad-No photo can capture the taste!!

Marshmallow Fruit Salad-No photo can capture the taste!!

Some recipes are so special that you use them only at  holidays and special occasions–this Marshmallow Fruit Salad  is one of those recipes! It’s a labor of love that’ll be passed down for generations. Serves 40 people-6 0z each or 20 people with leftovers for the next day.

Use organic ingredients when possible for longevity of your life.

2 cups of cooked Arborio rice

1 cup sugar

2 tablespoons flour (I use GF)

½ tsp. salt

3 egg yolks- beaten

1 20 ounce can crushed pineapple

2 15 ounce cans mandarin oranges

1 ¾ cup of juice from pineapple and mandarin orange’s

7 cups homemade marshmallows -Homemade makes a huge difference, but you can use store bought. I actually wouldn’t make this without homemade marshmallows. It’s what makes it special.

2 ½ cups Truwhip (homemade whipped cream is the ultimate ingredient but lactose intolerant people can’t eat it. Most tolerate Truwhip which is 70% organic w/ trace amount of sodium caseinate. Cool Whip is genetically modified- don’t use it)

  1. Cook rice according to package directions. Only use Arborio rice for this recipe.
  2. Combine sugar, flour, salt, egg yolks, juice from fruit- stir well and cook on medium until thick. Stir into cooked rice. Refrigerate overnight- to absorb all the goodness into rice.
  3.  Next day, stir into rice mixture; Truwhip, marshmallows, pineapple and mandarin oranges. Mix well.
  4. I make this for Thanksgiving, Christmas and Easter.
    While rice is cooking make fruit dressing in skillet--fruit juice, egg yolks, sugar and flour- cook till slightly thick

    While rice is cooking make fruit dressing in skillet–fruit juice, egg yolks, sugar and flour- cook till slightly thick

    Thickened

    Thickened

    Add to cooked rice, stir- refrigerate over night so rice absorbs all the yumminess

    Add to cooked rice, stir- refrigerate over night so rice absorbs all the yumminess

    Stir into rice mixture- marshmallows, Truwhip and fruit

    Stir into rice mixture- marshmallows, Truwhip and fruit

    Marshmallow Fruit Salad- refrigerate until ready to serve

    Marshmallow Fruit Salad- refrigerate until ready to serve

     

You Provide the Fire-I’ll Provide the Sacrifice

Speaking at P31 Conference- "The Cost of the Call"

Speaking at P31 Conference- “The Cost of the Call”

Not an ounce of energy was left in my body after six weeks of traveling and speaking. I had four hours of sleep the night before and ministered all day.  My eyes were so heavy.  I couldn’t imagine speaking that night- but I was the speaker.

I went to my room, opened the Word and desperately asked Him to fill me.  I was in Luke 6. “Jesus went out to the mountain to pray, and he continued all night in prayer to God.  And when it was day, He called His disciples to Himself… And He came down with them and stood on a level place with the crowd of disciples and a great multitude of people from all Judea and Jerusalem, and from the seacoast of Tyre and Sidon, who came to hear Him and be healed of their diseases, as well as those who were tormented with unclean spirits. And they were healed. And the whole multitude sought to touch Him, for power went out from Him and healed them all. Then He lifted up His eyes toward the disciples, and said: Blessed are you poor, for yours is the kingdom of God. Blessed are you who hunger now, for you shall be filled…”

Oh- a fire was kindled in my spirit.

Jesus had been ministering constantly; teaching the kingdom of Heaven and healing the sick. Being fully God and fully man, His flesh was exhausted (like mine).  Yet He knew the only way to be filled is to go to the power source.  So, that He did— all night long! ALL NIGHT LONG!

With no sleep, the next morning He gives His greatest sermon ever!

I couldn’t contain my excitement when I read it. I started to pace the floor, digesting every morsel.

It had been a rough week.  I was desperate for Jesus wholeheartedly.  He was the only one who could provide my greatest need.  I was poor in spirit and I WOULD receive the kingdom of God. I was hungry for His glory, His presence, His wisdom—everything He had.

I paced the floor in prayer.  Pretty soon I started jumping up and down.  I walked out of my room more full than when I entered.  He showed me that all I needed was to be poor and hungry in the spirit and the kingdom of God would be mine and I would be filled.

I walked out of my room- ON FIRE!

After the message that night, women received Christ as their personal savior.  People were healed from the inside out.  Women who hungered for more of God didn’t want to leave the altar! They wanted everything He had and He graciously filled us all. Oh my goodness, I wish you had been there.

I got back to my room and it was 1:00 AM.  Was I exhausted? No- I fell before the Lord and said, now I know why you stayed up all night long—I want more of YOU! Give me all you’ve got Lord! Fill me up!

You provide the fire—I’ll provide the sacrifice!!

Sweet Potato Gnocchi w/Crumbled Bacon Dressing- GF

Gnocchi with fresh salad and garlic infused pork

Gnocchi with fresh salad and garlic infused pork

This is DELICIOUS!

3 organic potatoes (yellow or white)

1 large sweet potato

1 cup flour (I used gluten-free  baking mix)

3 egg yolks

1 tsp salt (my gluten-free mix had salt so omit if yours has salt)

1/2 cup butter- room temperature

1/2 cup olive oil

2-3 slices bacon- fried crisp (save grease)

2 small shallots-diced

1 cup chicken stock

6 large sage leaves- chopped

1/3 cup crushed walnuts (more or less to taste)

1/4 cup of fresh parmesan cheese (optional)

1. Bake potatoes 400 degrees 60 minutes. Take skin off and mash in large bowl.

2. Add 1/4 cup butter, flour, egg yolks and salt and mix well.

3. Bring a pot of salted water to a boil.

4. Roll dough into balls. If you’re using gluten-free flour like I did, good luck–it’s really sticky. Other flours make perfect little balls, not so with gluten-free. Keep flour on your hands as your roll into balls. You’ll have to continue added flour in your hands the whole time. The dough is sticky. After you have 15 balls rolled, gently submerge into boiling water. Boil for 4 minutes or until they float to top and seem somewhat firm. With slotted spoon take each one out individually. Set on a plate. Roll you next set. This is a little time-consuming.

5. Fry bacon- set bacon aside. Keep  grease in  pan, fry chopped shallots in the grease. Add 1/4 cup of olive oil. Turn the heat up to high. Add chicken broth. Reduce to one-third. Add 1/4 cup butter and chopped fresh sage.

6. Empty into a bowl and set aside.

7. Wipe frying pan clean. Heat 1/4 cup of olive oil to medium high in pan. Once high add the gnocchi. Don’t let them touch each other. Fry until brown on the bottom then flip. Fry until brown on that side then take out. Fry your next batch until all gnocchi are fried.

8. Put all fried gnocchi back into hot pan. Add reduced chicken broth. Stir lightly and then top with crushed walnuts and fresh parmesan cheese. YUM!

Serve with fresh salad and garlic infused pork or chicken.

Gluten free dough is sticky

Gluten- free dough is sticky

Form into balls and boil in salted water until they float

Form into balls and boil in salted water until they float

Frying pan-- frying shallots in bacon grease

Frying pan– frying shallots in bacon grease

Frying gnocchi on medium high until brown on each side

Frying gnocchi on medium high until brown on each side

Gnocchi_5_890x1186

 

Sometimes Good People Do Bad Things

Glasgow_Hartwood_moon_and_Tree_January_20081033_1186x780

Moonlit night on the Glasgow Farm

Sometimes good people do bad things. The Bible’s loaded with their redemption stories. We all struggle with not doing what we should and doing what we shouldn’t (read Romans 7:15)! That being said, I did a bad thing last week. Let me back up a few days…
Our youngest daughter Ellie totaled our 13 year old VW bug last week, when she drove over a manhole. The damages equaled more than the value of the car. So, we’re trying to figure out where to buy a car for $2000 (value of VW Bug) or how to fix $3500 of damage with $2000. In the meantime, our insurance company gave us a rental car.
The rental car company loaned us a 2013 Dodge, Charger. Now when Dale saw this car, he decided that we should drive the rental and give Ellie our 2000 Echo- since I was making a trip to Charlotte, NC the very next day. It seemed like the most sensible thing to do.
Let me just say… a V-8 engine is vastly different from an Echo. One push of the gas petal and you’re going faster than you bargained for.
Now, I’ve learned a lot of lessons in my life and speeding is one of those lessons. I work very hard not to speed.
I was less than an hour from Charlotte, following the flow of traffic when I saw flashing lights in my rear view mirror. It was several cars behind me. I had to wait for the people in the right lane to slow down- so I could get out of the cop’s way. He was in a huge hurry. I pulled over to find that it was me he was in a hurry for!
I didn’t have a clue what I was being pulled over for. Everyone was going the same speed in both lanes. . . I hadn’t looked down at my speedometer for a while.
He said, “I stopped you for speeding. You were going 81 in a 65.” Then he left. He went to his car and wrote my summons. When he came back he said, “This is a criminal offense- you can be sent to jail and fined up to $1000. Get yourself an attorney.” I was speechless. What in the world?
I try to be good and follow the law and here I am: a common criminal.
It’s terrible; a criminal charge, points on your record, the cost of the ticket, and the court date? Not only that, but it’s on the day before Thanksgiving. It’s happening on the day that all mommas are at home baking pumpkin pies and homemade dressing for the family.
I don’t think they’ll lock me up. My driving record is good. But none the less,  guilty doesn’t feel good.
Sometimes good people do bad things– but the good news is that the ultimate judge, Jesus- forgives us as soon as we repent and  ask forgiveness when we do wrong things–Halleluiah! The Lord reminded me of David. He was a man after God’s own heart and killed a man for a woman. Peter denied Christ three times. Both suffered for what they did, but both were completely  forgiven, restored and used mightily for God.
I love Jesus’ conversation with Peter after his denial of Him. Jesus not only forgave him and wiped his slate clean but asked him to feed His sheep.  I pondered all this in my heart, and laid everything at the feet of Jesus, and went to sleep with joy.
Sometimes good people do bad things. The key is; to learn from our mistakes, ask God to help us to overcome our weaknesses,  become stronger from our experiences and live in the freedom Jesus paid His life to give us! Now, if you can pray for me when you’re baking those pies the day before Thanksgiving, that the NC judge will be as forgiving as Jesus!

                                                           Winner from last week’s drawing is Kim C. Email me your address!!!

10 Nostalgic Fall Decorating Ideas-DIY

Let dry until no moisture is left and flowers are dried completely- few days

In the olden days people decorated their homes with homemade treasures, often with resources grown on their own farms. I’m excited to share with you 10 nostalgic fall ideas we made this year from resources grown(mostly) our property.  I hope you make a few for your home! If you have any  old-fashioned ideas for fall decorating–I would love to hear them!

An industrious woman always plans for the future. Pin this post so you can plan for the things you’ll make next fall.  In the spring you’ll want to plant  flowers that you’ll dry at the end of summer for your fall arrangement. You’ll want to plant gourds and pumpkins if you have space. Back in the day even those who had little money purchased a few basic items in town at a store, like cloves and a lemon. I spent less than $10 on everything I made in this post.  I’m not sure how much money a grapevine wreath is in the store. You may find one at a yard sale or thrift store for a fraction of the cost of a new one.  A good resource to find free treasures to decorate wreaths would be in the forest. Go on a nature hike and return with bags of possibilities.

#1 Dried Zinnia Wreath

My summer Zinnia's dried--now I can enjoy them all year!

My summer Zinnia’s dried and made into a wreath! I enjoy them all year! I’m giving away zinnia seeds to 3 people! Just tell me you want seeds in comment section! I’ll pick 3 winners next week–save them for next spring!

Picked fresh Zinnia's multiple colors-you can see them growing from the window.

I picked fresh Zinnia’s of multiple colors-you can see them growing from the window.

Pour silica crystals into a large bowl- set flowers on top

Pour silica crystals into a large bowl- set flowers on top.

Cover flowers with silica crystals. I've had my crystals for 18 years. They still work.

Cover flowers with  crystals. I’ve had my crystals for 18 years. They still work.

After the flowers come out of microwave- shake off crystals and hang with clothes pins on a drying rack

Put covered flowers  in microwave for a couple of minutes-shake off crystals and hang with clothes pins on a drying rack.

Let dry until no moisture is left and flowers are dried completely- few days

Let dry completely for a couple of days- these are ready!

Use a glue gun to glue the dried flowers into place

Use a glue gun to glue the dried flowers onto grapevine wreath

 

#2 Pinecone Tree- We have pine trees on our property, so pine cones are plentiful. If you don’t have any–ask someone who does to give you some. Most people who have pine cones have hundreds or thousands to share.

Dale made this beautiful pine cone tree for me! We're putting lights on it tonight!

Dale made this beautiful pine cone tree for me! We’re putting lights on it tonight!

Some pine cones are open, some closed. I put the closed ones in the oven to open them. *pumpkin grown on Glasgow Farm

Some pine cones are open, some closed. I put the closed ones in the oven to open them. *pumpkin grown on Glasgow Farm

Pinecones_in_bowls

 

Closed pinecones- put in 200 degree oven until they fully open- couple of hours or more

Closed pinecones- put in 200 degree oven until they fully open- couple of hours or more

Half opened

Half opened

Pinecones_in_oven_open

Fully open- you can turn heat up for faster opening or reduce to slow–they are dry and break more easily when to heated too high

 

Two large tomato cages from the garden served as the base of the pine cone tree

Two large tomato cages from the garden served as the base of the pine cone tree

Dale screwed screws into the bottom of each pine cone and then took a long piece of wire-wrapped each pine cone tightly around each screw and wrapped around base of tomato cage

Dale screwed screws into the bottom of each pine cone and then took a long piece of wire-wrapped each pine cone tightly around each screw and wrapped around base of tomato cage

Pinecone_Christmas_tree_DG_101413_Hartwood_VA_SG_inside_1186x890

Pinecone_Christmas_tree_SG_102113_Hartwood_VA

 

 

#3 Cornucopia I bought our basket- but baskets are easy to make if you’d like to be 100% authentic!

I've had this cornucopia for 20+ years- every year I fill it will fall produce

I’ve had this cornucopia for 20+ years- every year I fill it with fall produce

#4 Pine cone garland

Pine cone garland- string pine cones on twine and hang from nails at your kitchen window

Pine cone garland- string pine cones on twine and hang from nails at your kitchen window

#5 Stained Glass Dried Leaf & Flower Art

Supplies needed: Iron, flowers or fall leaves and wax paper

Supplies needed: Iron, flowers or fall leaves and wax paper

 

Stained glass dried leaf & blossom art- Pick fall colored leaves and flowers, place between two pieces of wax paper and press with hot iron until sealed all the way around and inbetween

Stained glass dried leaf & blossom art- Pick fall colored leaves and flowers, place between two pieces of wax paper and press with hot iron until sealed all the way around and in-between Can you guess what these are?

 

10 Nostalgic Fall Decorating Ideas-DIY 049

Pansy in the center

Fall Leaf Stained Glass

#6 Pomander- Clove Studded Lemon

Prick lemon or orange with nail and then insert cloves into the holes. Cover the entire lemon or orange if you want it to last years. Then sprinkle oris root over top of it and let sit in paper bag for a couple of weeks. The orris root preserves it. The cloved lemon to the left is 18 years old.

Prick lemon or orange with nail and then insert cloves into the holes. Cover the entire lemon or orange if you want it to last years. Then sprinkle orris root, cinnamon and ground cloves  over top of it and let sit in paper bag for a couple of weeks. Every few days I shook the bag around making sure the powder covered it well.  The orris root preserves it. The cloved lemon to the left is 18 years old.

The blue bowl holding the cloves was made by my sweet nephew Thomas Killian, he makes  handmade pottery and has an online store.

Pomanders are wonderful smelling.  You can decorate them in patterns, wrap a ribbon around them and place in a bowl or cover completely and preserve them for years to come.

Supplies needed: small or medium size unblemished fruit. (Oranges, Apples or Lemons)

cloves

Spice mixture: 1 tablespoon each: cinnamon,  ground cloves and orris root

Knitting needle, toothpick or nail

#7 Corn Husk Garland

All the corn stalks tied together and ready to hang over front door

All the corn stalks tied together and ready to hang over front door

I bought 15 regular corn cobs @5 for $2.  Pull the husks up over the corn--like in the photo

I bought 15 regular corn cobs @5 for $2. Pull the husks up over the corn–like in the photo

10 Nostalgic Fall Decorating Ideas_DIY_004_1186_890

Tied twine around each corn husk

I tried to hurry the process by putting in the oven on 200 for 10 hours. It wasn't perfect, it overcooked the husks. You're supposed to let them dry in well circulated space for several weeks

I tried to hurry the process by putting in the oven on 200 for 10 hours. It wasn’t perfect, it overcooked the husks. You’re supposed to let them dry in well circulated space for several weeks

After out of the oven I tied all the corn cobs together

After out of the oven I tied all the corn cobs together with twine

 

 

All the corn stalks tied together and ready to hang over front door

All the corn stalks tied together and ready to hang over front door

 

#8 Natural Wreath

Fall wreath- Fall weeds and produce on a grapevine wreath–whatever you

find interesting in your part of the world that dry’s well- stick in the wreath

and hot glue into place. This only last one season. Next year it will be an

entirely different look depending on what I find interesting in our field.

 wreath1186X890

Weeds growing in our field- picked for wreath

Weeds growing in our field- picked for wreath

Wreath_corn

#9 Pomegranate pumpkin face

Pomegranite is hard fleshed and easy to use like a pumpkin- Crave with small knife, let dry and enjoy

Pomegranite is hard fleshed and easy to use like a pumpkin- Crave with small knife, let dry and enjoy-

#10 Retro Art

 

I'm going to send a copy of this retro Thanksgiving Day card to all my subscribers next week! Mine is framed and sitting in my kitchen window. You can find vintage frames at all thrift stores!

I’m going to send a copy of my retro Thanksgiving Day card to all my subscribers next week! Mine is framed and sitting in my kitchen window. You can find vintage frames at all thrift stores!

I’m giving away some of my zinnia seeds! Tell me your favorite color flower below to enter your name for the drawing. I’m picking three winners for the seeds. I’ll announce winners next week.

If you are a subscriber to my blog I’ll send you the retro Thanksgiving Day art next week!

Winner of $40 Target gift card and devotion book  from last week is Mary T. you posted on2013/10/14 at 12:09 PM! email me your address!

He Rolled Out the Red Carpet for Our Guests

Our dining room table set for dinner guests

Our dining room table set for dinner guests

If you’re visiting from Proverbs 31′s Encouragement for Today devotion, welcome!

I prayed weeks for this dinner. The couple we invited was sweet but tormented on many levels —they needed Jesus. I wanted to roll out the red carpet and treat them like royalty; God knows they needed a big dose of His love.

Time got away from me—cleaning the house, making the dessert and all.  I still had to run to the store to get the filet mignons. I know, they’re expensive, but I wasn’t going to spare any cost for them—it would be a feast!

I sat the grocery bags inside the front door and then ran back out to light the fire in the grill. They would be there in less than half an hour! I ran back to the front door, grabbed the bags of gold, I mean—filet mignons—and laid them on the kitchen counter. I reached in for the first steak and pulled out an empty package. Puzzled, I pulled out the second package, it was empty, the third and fourth . . .all empty, not even a trace of steak, just perfectly clean empty packages!  “What in the world?  Where are my expensive delicious steaks?“ I cried.

About that time my large greyhound dog, Cuzi walked around the corner, with his head cowered. He wouldn’t look at me. I called for him but he lowered his head even more and ran behind the couch. I followed him, and not a trace of a steak did I find, just one guilty dog with a very full tummy. He had done this kind of thing before; eaten entire large pizzas, cakes and whole plates of fried chicken without a crumb left behind. Yep, he was the thief, alright. Guilty was written all over his face.

I heard knocking at my front door. They were early, I had no main course to serve and I couldn’t find the red carpet to roll out (you know my mood—it was eaten by the dog).

While we were welcoming them, I remembered that I had a homemade Chicken& Dumpling Casserole in the freezer. It was my only choice so with a groan I turned the oven on and popped it in.

I then excused myself to the restroom, closed the door and said, “Jesus, help me, help me get over my own expectations of what tonight would look like. I’ve asked You for weeks to lavish this couple with Your presence. You don’t need steaks to make it grand. Bring Your presence powerfully into our midst. Jesus, you are all we need to make this night a royal feast. Come Lord Jesus and fill this place with Your glory.” And I walked back out to my guests.

Oh my, oh my-The dinner (though, not the food) was spectacular as His glory more than filled our house while we shared Jesus that night. None of us wanted the night to end it was SO good.

Jesus rolled out the red carpet, brought us to His banqueting table and His love enveloped us. It could not have been any more royal a night.

I surrendered my plans for His, and His were better, ah Jesus!

 What hinders you from inviting guests for dinner? Tell me in the comment section to enter your name in the drawing to win a $30 Target gift card (something to help your entertaining) and Proverbs 31 Ministries brand new Encouragement for Today devotion book.  Winner drawn next Wednesday!drying flowers, hannah's house, chicken casserole, gnoii 113

For my Chicken & Dumpling Casserole recipe click here.  

I Peter 4: 9-11, “Be hospitable to one another…if anyone ministers (entertains), let him do it with the ability which God supplies, that in all things God may be glorified through Jesus Christ, to whom belong the glory and the dominion forever and ever, amen.