Midweek Morsel: How Big Is Your God?

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*I’ll be taking a blogging break next week for Thanksgiving. What are some of the best blessings God has given you this year? I’m especially thankful for God’s gift of our twin grandsons, for my husband’s back healing well enough so he could go back to work early this year, and also for God blessing me with a book contract in August.  I hope you all have a wonderful week celebrating Thanksgiving with your families. See you November 30th!

Sometimes we need a reminder of how big God is. We need to remember that his love and faithfulness can’t be measured—and that they never fail. We need to hear once again that his justice and love and protection are for one and all. Yes, sometimes we need a reminder of just how big our God really is.

And so, my friends, be blessed by this reminder from God’s Word today:

“Your love, O LORD, reaches to the heavens,
     your faithfulness to the skies.
Your righteousness is like the mighty mountains,
    your justice like the great deep.
O, LORD, you preserve both man and beast.
    How priceless is your unfailing love!
Both high and low among men
    take refuge in the shadow of your wings.”
                                                             Psalm 36:5-7

*When have you taken refuge in the bigness of our God?

*My photo (taken in Grand Teton National Park)

A Cranberry Salad Recipe for the Holidays

305095614_dd169d1ab0_zI don’t feature recipes on my blog very often, but there’s something about autumn, something about the holidays, that makes me want to share yummy food with you. I always try to offer soul and spirit refreshment and nourishment here, and I think a recipe can fit the bill every now and then. I don’t know about you, but something yummy has a way of refreshing my spirit!

Last autumn I shared my mom’s Old-Fashioned Dressing recipe, and this year I’d like to gift you with Mom’s Cranberry Salad recipe. It was a regular on Mom’s holiday turkey dinner menus. Mom has been gone for two years now, and we miss everything about her—including the delicious food she prepared for us all the time. So I’ll share this recipe today in honor of Mom. Hope you enjoy!

Mom’s Cranberry Salad

2 c. fresh cranberries
1 c. water
1 c. sugar

Boil for 10 minutes with lid (not too hard of a boil).


2 c. mini-marshmallows
1 pkg cherry jello dissolved in 1 c. hot water. (Add to cranberry mix after dissolved.)

Pour in serving bowl and start it to set up in the fridge.

When partially set, add:

1 c. finely chopped raw apple with peeling
1/2 c. chopped pecans.

Stir and then let it finish setting up. Keep refrigerated.

God bless as you prepare for your family’s Thanksgiving and Christmas this year. May your celebrations include not only yummy food, but love, gratitude, and lots of great memories as well. Be refreshed this season, my friends!

“‘Let me get you something to eat, so you can be refreshed and then go on your way—now that you have come to your servant.’” Genesis 18:5

*What are some favorite items on your holiday menus?

*Flickr photo by Half Chinese, Creative Commons License

Giveaway Winner Plus Power-of-Our-Words Quote

4686348235_444f5f004c_zAnother Life Notes Subscriber Appreciation Giveaway is now in the books. And I’m happy to announce that with the help of RANDOM.ORG, we have a winner of the $25 gift card to Barnes & Noble. That lucky Life Notes subscriber is . . . Chandi! Congrats, Chandi, and enjoy!

As always, I wish I could give a gift card to each and every subscriber, but since I can’t do that, allow me to encourage and inspire you with a great quote today. In his book Love Does, here’s what Bob Goff has to say about the power of our words:

“Words can launch us. We don’t need to be a dean [of admissions] to say words that change everything for someone. Instead, God made it so that ordinary people like you and me can launch each other . . . I believe it’s true that the right people can say words that can change everything. And guess what? We’re the ones who can say them.”

Friends, our words have power. Let’s use them to encourage, comfort, challenge, and inspire others. Let’s use them to launch one another. Let’s use them for good.

“Therefore encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing.” 1Thessalonians 5:11

*When has someone’s words launched you or made a difference for you?

*Flickr photo by bengrey, Creative Commons License

Hard Fought


Some victories are best described as hard fought, aren’t they? If we’ve lived this life for any length of time, we’ve discovered that many accomplishments, battle-wins, growth, or tasks completed don’t come easily. Much effort is required to get from point A to point B.

You might not guess it, but many of my blog posts and other writing projects fall into the hard fought category. Oh, some may come more easily than others, but if I’m honest, I’d have to say many are hard fought. Most require much effort.

For one thing, I’m a slow writer. For another, I have perfectionist tendencies. So unless an idea sparks and words tumble out as fast as I can write them down, they come out like a trickle or a drip rather than a flowing stream or bubbling brook. In fact, sometimes they’re birthed at an excruciatingly slow pace. It’s as if I’m stuck in mud. When that happens, getting pieces written is like struggling through a wrestling match. Any results are hard fought.

Other examples of hard fought victories in life abound. Sometimes learning a new skill or reaching an academic milestone takes all we have to see it through. Others engage in mighty struggles to lose weight or to quit smoking. Some reach their next wedding anniversary only by the grace of God and their non-negotiable commitment to honor their vows and protect their families. Still others fight to stay true to their faith in God when life deals them one blow after another.

I wonder if any of us today are currently faced with hard fought battles. Any wrestling matches underway? Any of us stuck in the mud? Let’s not give up. Let’s dig deep and press on. Like with my writing struggles, we may have to fight hard, but the victories will surely come. And oh, how sweet they’ll be.

“But as for you, be strong and do not give up, for your work will be rewarded.” 2 Chronicles 15:7

*What in your life has come or is coming with hard fought efforts?

*The Life Notes Subscriber Appreciation Giveaway is underway. Details are in my Oct. 19 post and sign-up is to the right under “Free For You.” Deadline is 6 p.m. Nov. 11. Don’t miss out on the chance to win a $25 gift card to Barnes & Noble!

*Flickr photo by Eric Langley, Creative Commons License

Midweek Morsel: Radical Faith Prepares for Answers

4929686241_05a2e2dc5c*May this encore post from November 2011 bless you today!

“And one thing more: Prepare a guest room for me, because I hope to be restored to you in answer to your prayers.” Philemon 1:22

Radical faith. The apostle Paul demonstrated it on numerous occasions, didn’t he? When he wrote the words above to fellow believer Philemon, he wrote them from prison—a place he frequented because of his bold displays of faith.

Being imprisoned didn’t dampen Paul’s faith, though. In fact, he made plans to visit Philemon based on his hopes of answered prayers. He encouraged Philemon to act in faith as well. Paul exhorted him to prepare a room for him—to behave as if the answer to prayer had already been granted.

When Paul told the Corinthians to live by faith and not by sight (2 Cor. 5:7), he not only doled out instruction, he lived it himself. His instruction to Philemon shines as just one example.

What kind of faith are you and I demonstrating in our lives today? Could someone point to us and say, “Look at how she lives by faith. Look at how she trusts God.”

Are we like Paul? Are we living in the hope of answered prayer? Let’s think about what we can do right now to live in expectation and to prepare for the answers that God will send. Let’s show some radical faith.

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

*The Life Notes Subscriber Appreciation Giveaway is underway. Details are in my Oct. 19 post and sign-up is to the right under “Free For You.” Deadline is 6 p.m. Nov. 11. Don’t miss out on the chance to win a $25 gift card to Barnes & Noble!

*Flickr photo by familymwr, Creative Commons License