Archives for March 2010

Christmas for Easter

Easter is fast approaching — the time to celebrate our risen Lord and our hope of heaven in Him. My heart cries out, “Joy to the World!”, and my voice soon follows. That’s right. A little Christmas for Easter fits right in.

After all, “the Lord is come”, “the Savior reigns”, “He rules the world with truth and grace”! Why shouldn’t we sing and pray “Let earth receive her King”, “every heart prepare Him room”, and “heav’n and nature sing”? If our hearts want to carol when we remember His resurrection, let’s add a little Christmas to our Easter worship. “O come let us adore Him” in every way!

Just think about it. We wouldn’t be celebrating Easter if Christmas hadn’t come first. On the other hand, the birth of Christ would be nothing to celebrate if He had not become our Savior, if He had not paid for our sins with His very life and gained victory over death by His resurrection. The fact is when we worship our Lord, we celebrate both holidays.

So as you celebrate our risen Lord over the next few days, I encourage you to add a little Christmas to your Easter worship. “Repeat the sounding joy”!

“Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men.” Luke 2:14 KJV

Happy Easter to you and yours!

Flickr photo by jurvetson, Creative Commons License
“Joy to the World!” lyrics by Isaac Watts

Church in My Backyard

I’m not the most observant person in the world. Case in point: We helped move our daughter and son-in-law to a townhome in a new city last November, visited them on New Year’s weekend, and then again over spring break, and it wasn’t until this last trip that I noticed they have a church in their backyard — or side yard or whatever you want to call it. The point is it’s right there.

Imagine my delight when I looked out the upstairs bedroom window early one morning before anyone else was stirring and saw a church tucked behind the stand of trees lining their development. Wow, I thought. They’ve got a church right in their backyard! I could feel a blog post coming on so I grabbed my camera and started snapping away.

Even though Kristin and Shawn don’t attend this particular church, I’m still excited to think they have a church — such a visible reminder of God — standing tall and strong so close to their home. A picture of God, if you will, living in their midst, watching over them, inspiring worship and peace for any who will open their eyes and see (the way I finally did!).

Believe it or not, I have a church in my backyard, too. No, it’s not a beautiful building made of stone and brick. It’s simply my yard. But it’s filled with visible reminders of God. The trees, the grass, the birds, the breeze all point to Him and remind me that He’s living in my midst. He’s watching over me, and yes, inspiring worship and peace when I take the time to lift my eyes and turn my thoughts toward Him.

Amazing, huh? I can’t help but proclaim, “Wow — I’ve got a church in my backyard!” How about you?

“Shout for joy to the Lord, all the earth, burst into jubilant song…” Psalm 98:4

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*My photo

A Bump on the Road to Spring

Who would have guessed that we’d have to drive through a snow storm on our way home from our spring break trip to Kristin and Shawn’s? Or find upon our return that our town had received six inches of winter’s handiwork? Talk about a bump on the road to spring!

The poor little purple flowers lining our front sidewalk certainly took a beating. That spring spoiler of a storm pummeled their young stems and laid them low. Even though the melt had already begun by the time we arrived home Sunday evening, the blooms still hugged the concrete when I snapped the photo above on Monday morning. I didn’t know if they’d pull out of this last (hopefully!) winter assault or not.

I’m happy to report today that spring has successfully sprung back and conquered that mean ole icy bump in the road. By yesterday afternoon, the temp climbed to nearly 70 degrees, and winter’s white calling card disappeared. Our little purple flowers stood erect and healthy once again, as if nothing had even happened to them. Spring prevailed.

I wonder if any of us have encountered a bump on the road lately. You know what I mean. Just when we think we are making improvements or have turned a corner with a situation, challenge, or trial, we get pummeled with a fresh assault of some sort. Something that tries to lay us low.

How will we respond? Will we spend as little time as possible “hugging the concrete”, or will we let the bump on the road to our spring get the best of us? Let’s be encouraged by my little purple flowers. We, too, can stand tall again as we allow the very Author of spring itself to strengthen us. Remember — He prevailed!

“The angel said to the women, ‘Do not be afraid, for I know that you are looking for Jesus, who was crucified. He is not here; he has risen, just as he said…” Matthew 28:5-6a

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Signature Recipes, Signature People

Spring break week certainly sprang by quickly, didn’t it? Let’s try to keep the spring in our step and kick the week off by talking recipes. And not just any recipes, but the ones we’re known for by our family and friends. We’ll call them our signature recipes.

I’ve already shared a couple of my signature recipes on the blog. Remember my family’s birthday cake for Jesus — the Fresh Orange Layer Cake? Or my Grandma’s Rolls? Both are beyond delicious and both garner high marks for me with my family. And since I’m not much of a cook, it’s kind of nice that they know me for something yummy.

The past few years, I’ve become known for another family favorite as well — Cinnamon Coffee Cake. It looks similar to the photo above of an almond coffee cake, but my recipe uses chopped pecans in the topping rather than almonds. I use lots of cinnamon, lots of brown sugar, and get lots of “Mmmm! This is good!” comments in return. I’m including the recipe below for your dining pleasure :)

Please feel free to jump in and tell us about your own signature recipes. If you’d like, share the recipe as well. It’s always exciting to hear about other “favorites” we might add to our baking/cooking arsenal, isnt it? By the way, none of my recipes shared here on the blog are my own original creations. I’ve adopted them from my mom or my grandma.

As you think about your signature recipes, take a minute to consider what you’re known for as a person, too. Do you have a signature quality? Are you known to be kind, funny, helpful, or wise?

Hopefully, we’re known for our good qualities rather than something bad or negative. As Christians, let’s be signature people and strive to let Him shine through our lives in all that we say and do. We could have no better signature than that of Christ our Lord!

“…and they took note that these men had been with Jesus.” Acts 3:13b

Cinnamon Coffee Cake

1 1/2 cups flour
2 1/2 t. baking powder
1/2 c. sugar
1 egg white
1/4 c. oil
3/4 c. milk

Mix first 3 ingredients. Blend in egg white, oil and milk. Stir until flour is moistened.

Make topping by mixing:
1/2 c. brown sugar
1/2 c. pecans
2 T. flour
2 T. oil
2 t. cinnamon

Spread half the batter in an 8-inch square pan sprayed with Pam. Sprinkle with half of the topping. Add remaining batter and sprinkle with rest of the topping. Bake at 375 for 22- 25 minutes or until done. (I double the recipe and use a 13×9 pan.) Hope you enjoy!

*Flickr photo by SheGotTheBeat, Creative Commons License

Gone Fishin’

Okay, so maybe I’m not actually going fishing, but I am taking a break from my blog this week. With Don on spring break, I figured I might as well declare one for myself.

Oh, we’ll do some work, I’m sure, but we’ll sandwich that in between days spent with our kids. Sounds pretty good, huh? In fact, that’s a sandwich I’d like to feast on a little more often :)

Whatever your week holds, may God be with you and bless you in unexpected ways. See you next week!

“May God be gracious to us and bless us and make his face shine upon us (Psalm 67:1)