Category Archives: Journey through Lent 2016

Best meal ever….really

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Last night I got to serve some of my family the best meal of all.

The ingredients are simple and yet quite complicated.

And very, very expensive.

In fact…they cannot be purchased anywhere.

They were a gift.

We eat it once a week, but on the Thursday before Easter…we have a whole gathering just to talk about what that meal means to us.

Because we know we had a problem…

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a problem common to all men and women…

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regardless of gender…race…

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age.

We were born into it…

and we had no way out of it…

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So God did what only He could do and He sent His Son…

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as an atonement for sin.

Yes…the sin of the world…yes…the sin of the fall….

but my sin and your sin.

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So as I handed out cubes of bread and said….

The Body of Christ broken for you

And as Russ held a cup of juice and said…

The Blood of Christ shed for you

We remembered the common ground we all are on at the foot of the cross.

Then we took our bread and we dipped it in the cup

And we remembered

Last week I shared about the song It is Well with My Soul.

It isn’t my favorite because it reminds me that even in the worst of times, God is my comfort.

It is my favorite because of the part that remembers….

My sin…oh the bliss of THIS glorious thought…

My sin…not in part, but the whole…

It IS nailed to the Cross 

And I bear no more…

Praise the LORD…Praise the LORD…

oh my soul <3                      Horatio Spafford

May God bless you with remembering …

today…

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what real Soul Food is <3

 

When you feel misunderstood…

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Last week I was driving home from an early morning errand and I was praying for some situations.

Normally, I kind of pray in my head when I am driving…but that morning I felt compelled to turn off the radio and really approach God in conversation.

So as I drove, I just talked to Him like He was right there in the car with me…since He technically and actually was.

I also was mindful that I can be a distracted driver, so I was keeping my eyes open…which is helpful anytime you are driving.

And I kept checking my lane to make sure I wasn’t swerving; and the speedometer…because anyone in my family can tell you…I accelerate and decelerate, dramatically, depending on the intensity of my dialogue…

All of this was taking an incredible amount of concentration but at a stoplight I became aware of a man’s voice and out of my peripheral I saw a head and arms waving out of the truck in the next lane.

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Please hear me…I am not judging…but simply telling you what I saw.

A man who could only be described as Santa’s evil twin was yelling at me.

With wild white hair and a beard to match, his angry face was leaning out the window as he gestured toward me venting an unmerited amount of wrath.

I would be the first to admit if my driving had been erratic, but I can assure you…I had consciously been monitoring it while pouring out my prayers and heart.

I can only assume that he thought I was talking on my cell phone and had judged me and found me lacking…and he was sentencing me right there at the stoplight.

Who knows…maybe I had given him the impression at some point that I was talking at him as we drove down the road…

Whatever prompted his rage…I felt misunderstood…

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wrongly accused and extremely grateful for the work of the Lord in me because I felt no enmity toward him.

I was sad I had prompted such anger, but as he turned off a side street, I went right back to talking to God.

Out loud.

I even prayed for that guy.

Because that’s what Jesus has done in me. He has changed me.

Whatever petty anguish I could ever suffer for His Name, He suffered more for mine.

He was misunderstood, misjudged, maligned…and more.

Much more.

All for me.

All for you.

All for guys in pickup trucks that lose it over blonde drivers.

All for blonde drivers.

Once and for all.

For ALL.

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God bless you as we move toward remembrances of His death and Resurrection this Easter season. God bless each of you as we commemorate His sacrifice and as we celebrate His Victory over sin and death <3

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I don’t have any pictures of this dish…it isn’t one that photographs well…but it is true comfort food and is delicious…so without further ado….

Dave Harangody’s Sausage Gravy

Brown a tube of sausage and crumble

Drain grease (but leave a little bit, maybe a Tablespoon) and set meat aside.

Melt 1 stick of butter in a stock pot on low. Add 3 heaping (and I mean heaping) Tbsp of flour (I use a big serving spoon and pile it high) for a thick paste. Add milk slowly…no measurement given…you just add until it is smooth and then add a smidge more. Keep stirring and as it thickens, slowly add mild until it reaches the consistency you want. They liked theirs thin, we like ours medium thick.

Add the sausage, pepper and salt.

Serve over biscuits

(We have learned to adapt this to gluten and dairy free by subbing olive oil, coconut milk and non-wheat flour…it looks and tasted a bit different…but still yummy for those who need dietary adjustments)

Olive Oil Biscuits – Not sure where I got this one…but delicious

Sift together:   2 Cups flour       3 tsp. baking powder        2 tsp. sugar       1 tsp salt

Add 1/2 cup olive oil  and  1 cup of milk

Stir until moistened

Drop by spoons

Bake 10-12 minutes at 450 degrees on parchment paper

Again…the flour can be non-wheat and the milk non-dairy =0)

 

Because even I get the message if you repeat it often enough…

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Even as I go through my personal meditations of this season of Lent, the thing that has been pressed over and over on me is Joy…

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because in the midst of all the repentance and all the serious focus on this season…

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I have been reminded over and over that Jesus was not only loving, but He was and is … so easy to love for those who belong to Him…

for those who followed Him….

for those who FOLLOW Him now…

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But also for those who are hurting, those who are broken, those who don’t have it all figured out in some kind of neat package but are a bit of a mess and are looking for a Savior who is also a Shepherd.

In the movie Risen, I was given a visual of the Scriptural accounts of Jesus and His tenderness and affection for His disciples and for the masses as He walked along.

And a clear picture of their joyous love for Him.

It was also a picture of how He didn’t force anyone to love Him.

He offers and He loves and He leaves it up to us…but there is Joy when we know HIm.

After His Resurrection, we see such sorrow in those who knew Him. The women are weeping that His body has been taken…

and we see fear in His disciples and followers as they hide out. Not just afraid but terrified…but when He appears over and over…

He says….Peace…peace…and they are calmed by His presence.

Seeing Him and being with Him fills them with joy.

They keep seeking after Him…looking for Him to show up in their midst.

Taking comfort in His presence.

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I don’t know how you grew up but having too much fun in my family usually led to trouble.

It was better to temper any happy moments with a good dose of seriousness or a remembrance of other’s sorrows to keep it all in balance.

Oh we laughed and had fun…we just were very careful to remember not to get carried away….

and for good measure most joy rides included a bonus guilt trip.

Somberness meant holiness and somehow I lost the joy part of Jesus…

I didn’t catch that I could enJOY Him…

and I have been refreshed by this revelation of Him this season of Lent.

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There is a lot of scary stuff out there…He says to take heart for He has overcome it.

There is a lot of stuff we regret…He says…Do you LOVE ME? … and gives us second, third and thousandth chances.

There’s a lot of wondering if He remembers us…He says He has gone to prepare a place, and if He is preparing a place then, of course, He is coming back.

There’s a lot of strife…He says Peace.

There’s a lot of pain…He says He will bind up our wounds.

There’s a lot of injustice….He says He will justify.

There’s a lot of confusion and so much change it makes my head spin….He says He is the same…

yesterday…

today…

forever.

Let us remember with appropriate awe and wonder.

Let us repent and turn from our sin.

But let us rejoice …re[JOY]ce..

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let us be filled with JOY over and over and over and over again….until He returns…

John 15:10 and 11 remind us…as we follow Him…as we keep His commands…this is not a somber thing but a thing of great JOY…

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and so I hope you are enJOYing the way I am walking through this last week of Lent with you…

this Holy Week as I share some of our favorites…

remembering the fellowship of shared meals and the love that flows because He first loved us <3

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If we have a “secret recipe” in this family, it was my dad’s pancakes…but the secret wasn’t in the ingredients…it was in the way he made them.

Oh he gave out the recipe…but no one was ever able to duplicate them the way the Colonel made them…they are delicious…just never have been as good as his…here is his recipe and do yourself a favor…read it because it is hilarious even if you never knew my dad…

Carl Lochner’s Pancake Recipe (animal shapes optional, but highly recommended)

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Sift together in a medium size mixing bowl: 1 Cup flour, 1/2 cup yellow corn meal, 1/3 cup sugar, 1 teaspoon baking powder, 1/2 teaspoon baking soda, 3/4 teaspoon salt.

Into another bowl: beat 1 egg, add 1 1/2 cup buttermilk and 3 Tablespoons of vegetable oil (liquid crisco, peanut oil or what have you…melted bacon grease also good here). Mix well.

Then pour entire liquid mixture into flour mixture and mix well – lumps are ok but be sure all dry mixture gets wet. Don’t beat to death.

Set fry pan to 375 degrees or use a good hot skillet on stove (a water drop should dance slightly and then disappear).

Grease skillet and fry until one side is done (air holes should appear on top – you can sneak a peek by lifting a lip if necessary) *the man was dead serious about his pancakes….

Flip one time and brown second side. Don’t flip-flop, flip-flop, etc.

Also don’t fry them to death on a slow burner.

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Oh my gosh…I laugh every time I read it…but not too hard…just the right, respectful, appropriate amount <3

Be blessed and Happy Wednesday!

 

 

From this side of the Resurrection…

Because part of the deal with Holy Week is that we know how it ends….

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But we go through it commemorating…so we hold this tension of remembering all that happened…

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while we are just grinning on the inside knowing how it all plays out….

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So as I read the accounts of Tuesday in the last week of Jesus’ life on earth as a human…

it’s kinda heavy stuff…

It seems he is bent on having a few last words with the Pharisees and the marginal believers.

He even curses a fig tree…IMG_0219

and it dies.

He confronts the Scribes and engages in some politically incorrect dialogue.

He warns and exhorts…

and all of this following the turning over of money tables and chasing people out of the Court of the Gentiles.

And He never…ever…sins….

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Righteous anger…which I do not have a handle on…

holy chastising….which I have not mastered…

This is the Lord on Tuesday of Holy Week.

So I bring my own heart before Him…

not because He will be crucified again for me…

once and done was His death… His life given for me…

But so that I can search my own heart with His Word and see…

Where are there sins hiding that need to be confronted when I think about what He valued and what He warned about and what He cleansed?

And all of this under the backdrop of knowing…

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He defeated sin and death…

once and for all…

and THIS also…

is commemorating and remembering our Lord.

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Over the years our family has developed different nutritional needs so we have been delighted to add a new favorite Egg dish to our family traditions…

This one was introduced to us by our Sarah….

Crustless Quiche

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Beat 6 eggs with about 1 Tablespoon of water and a pinch of salt, a dash of pepper and any other spices that suit your fancy!

Pour into a pie plate sprayed with Pam (or other cooking spray).

Add a layer of  spinach, some sliced tomatoes, and any other veggies you might have on hand (Of course you can sprinkle cheese, add some diced cooked bacon or sausage…whatever sounds good for your family!)

Bake at 350…about 15 -20 minutes…I start checking at 15…slice and enjoy!

A wonderful alternative for gluten/dairy free diets! Better make two because it seems to be a hit with everyone!

From Jesus to Jelly Beans…how do we pull it all together?

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Because this week is Holy Week, I will be focusing on the events that nestle between Jesus’ entry into Jerusalem as people sang Hosannah! Hosannah! and His arrest, crucifixion and the celebration of His Resurrection….

I also have….

IMG_0734the fixins for Easter Baskets and plans to hide eggs and sometimes I question just what in the world I am doing with all of this.

So I have been pondering how the traditions of the celebration of Easter fit in with the deep meaning of what this Christian holiday means to me.

And in my thinking I was reminded of our youth group back in my high school years.

We lived in a small town with one high school. It took five minutes to get anywhere so during Holy Week, our youth leaders had us meet at church before school.

Our parents took turns making breakfast….

they all had their specialties…

and while they cooked, we had a teaching about Holy Week.

Then we would all eat and glory! while the parents and youth leaders cleaned up, we piled into cars of anyone who was old enough to drive and headed off to school.

At the time, I have to admit that it was the exhilarating freedom of hopping in an upperclassman’s car and then finally to be the driver my senior year that caught my interest.

Something about nine kids piled into a Chevy Nova that leaves an impression on you.

However, this effort by our parents and youth leaders also planted seeds in my heart that to this day make Holy Week special and set apart to me.

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It is, for me, a time to observe those passages of Scripture that record Jesus’ activities His last week walking on this planet.

So for focus and meditation…I am sharing a bit of food each day from His Word

along with a favorite family recipe from our home as food for fellowship.

No…this is not turning into a recipe blog…

but I think Jesus would approve of us finding joy and nourishment around His Word as we commemorate this week…

so…

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On Monday Jesus entered the Temple and he cleansed it of those who were working the system.

While the services they provided for the people…

the selling of animals for required sacrifices and currency exchange so they could trade their own money for the temple coins that were required…

these businessmen were up charging on all of these services.

They had lost sight of the whole idea behind the people coming for Passover.

Jesus displays a rather aggressive side as he overturns tables and chases them out, declaring that …. His Father’s house shall be a house a prayer.    Mark 11:15-19

If you have never seen Jim Cymbala’s  “My House Shall be Called a House of Prayer”…may I suggest this week would be an excellent time to google that on Youtube.

It is one of the most encouraging and powerful words on the importance of prayer in the church that I have ever heard.

May I also suggest that you find a time during this week to go by your own local church.

Sit in the empty pews or chairs or whatever you use for seating and spend time in prayer.

If you can’t go during times when it is open, you can sit in the parking lot and pray…or walk around the building…there are so many ways you can make your own church to be a house of prayer.

May God bless you as you meditate on the importance of prayer in the church <3

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A holiday favorite for our family has always been …

Egg Casserole with Sausage and Cheese <3

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Brown and drain a tube of sausage.

Cube about 7 slices of white bread.

Mix together 6 eggs, 2 cups of milk, 1 teaspoon each of salt and dry mustard. Blend well.

Stir in the sausage, bread and 1 and 1/2 cups of shredded cheese (we like mild sharp cheddar)

Pour into a greased 9 x 13 glass dish.

Refrigerate overnight and bake at 350 for 45 minutes.