Archives for October 2012

Autumn Fun: A Favorite Family Recipe

There’s something about fall that makes me want to share a recipe. I bet fall makes you want to cook or bake a little more, too. After all, with the sizzling temps of summer passed, it’s just a little easier to think about heating up the kitchen.

Even though I don’t post a lot of recipes here, I think something yummy can also refresh our spirits :) Past autumn seasons have found me sharing favorite family recipes for pumpkin bread, my Grandma Hoy’s homemade crescent rolls, crock pot chili, and potato chowder. All of these are part of my or my daughters’ heritage now, part of our baking roots, if you will.

Today I have another family favorite for you. My mom started making her now-famous Peanut Butter Bars around twenty years ago, and they immediately scored as favorites with our whole clan.

My initial attempt at making Peanut Butter Bars didn’t go too well so I’ve been content to let them be one of those treats I enjoy when I visit Mom and Dad. Our daughter Kelli has taken up the Peanut Butter Bar mantle as well so now I’m really set. I’ve got a generation on either side of me making sure I get to enjoy these yummy peanut butter and chocolate concoctions from time to time. It’s kind of fun to have a treat to look forward to that I don’t make here at home! :)

Hope you enjoy these as much as we do!

Peanut Butter Bars

1 c. flour
½ c. sugar
½ c. brown sugar
½ t. soda
¼ t. salt
1 c. oats
½ c. peanut butter
½ c. butter
1 egg

Combine dry ingredients then add peanut butter and butter. Press into 13×9 pan. Bake at 350 for 20 minutes (check earlier so as not to overbake). Sprinkle with 8 oz chocolate chips. Let stand 5 minutes (until melted). Spread. Then drizzle with peanut butter topping. If you have the will power, let them cool before eating :)


¼ c. peanut butter
2-4 T. milk
Powdered sugar (as much as you need, maybe 1 cup)

What are some of your family favorites? As we enjoy our favorites this fall, let’s whisper a prayer of thanks for our families!

“I have not stopped giving thanks for you, remembering you in my prayers.” Ephesians 1:16

*Flickr photo by Muffet

**The Life Notes Subscriber Appreciation Giveaway is still underway. Details are in my Oct. 17 post and sign-up is to the right. Don’t miss out on the chance to win a $25 gift card to Barnes & Noble!

In Times of Crisis: Only God

Times of crisis come into all our lives. None of us is exempt. Some we see coming, some we don’t, but all have the potential to knock us flat—and keep us there if we don’t know where to turn.

I pray this will be someone’s answer today. Be blessed as you read, dear friends.

Only God

Impossible situations

With towering odds,
The questions all different
The answer the same—
 “Only God.”
A job is gone
And money with it,
How will we manage—
Only God.
The tests are back
With devastating results,
Where do we turn—
Only God.
A marriage teeters
All hope is gone,
Who can restore it—
Only God.
Hearts are ripped open
With grief and despair,
How to stand now—
Only God.
Where is our hope,
Our strength, our peace,
Who can heal and redeem,
He alone is the answer—
Only God.

I lift up my eyes to the hills—where does my help come from? My help comes from the Lord, the Maker of heaven and earth.” Psalm 121:1-2

*How has God been your answer recently?

*Flickr photo by baronsquirrel

**The Life Notes Subscriber Appreciation Giveaway is still underway. Details are in my Oct. 17 post and sign-up is to the right. Don’t miss out on the chance to win a $25 gift card to Barnes & Noble!

Keep Praying, Please: An Adoption Update

Believe it or not, I haven’t been forgetting to update you about our daughter Kristin and son-in-law Shawn’s adoption efforts. I’ve just been waiting for the next big step in the process to get here. And praise be to God, it’s finally here!

Back in June, I asked you to pray (and keep on praying!) for Kristin and Shawn as they began pursuing adoption. Since then, they—and we—have found out what an indepth and lengthy process it is to be approved as adoptive parents by an adoption agency. I’m sure this is a necessary and good thing for the babies, but it can sure be frustrating and emotionally draining for adoptive parents and those of us who love them.

But now, the first big wait is over. Kristin and Shawn have been officially approved by their adoption agency! This means that a woman who wants to give her baby a better life will now have the chance to allow Kristin and Shawn to be her baby’s parents!

As you can imagine, our whole family is excited :) Parenthood for Kristin and Shawn (and grandparenthood for us!) feels within reach now, but we also realize that we could easily be on the front side of another long wait. So once again we have to trust God and know that his timing is perfect.

The long road getting to this point has definitely taught Kristin and Shawn—and us, too—some lessons about waiting and trusting in God. I think I can safely speak for all of us when I say we’re tired of learning lessons now, though, and are ready to move on to the blessing :)

If there are more lessons to be learned through this experience, however, before the blessing comes, it’s a comfort to know that our Lord will be right by our sides, walking with us each step of the way and even carrying us when needed.

One of the ways God carries any of us is through the prayers of others, so will you please continue to pray for Kristin and Shawn (and for us)—and also for the birth mother and for the sweet baby who will one day join our family?

I appreciate each of you so much. Thank you for praying!

“On him we have set our hope that he will continue to deliver us, as you help us by your prayers. Then many will give thanks on ourbehalf for the gracious favor granted us in answer to the prayers of many.” 2 Corinthians 1:10b-11

*By the way, I do know there are blessings even in the midst of lesson-learning. We’re waiting for one blessing in particular, though :)

*Photo by Kristin (as you can probably tell from her outstretched arm! :) )

**The Life Notes Subscriber Appreciation Giveaway is still underway. Details are in my Oct. 17 post and sign-up is to the right. Don’t miss out on the chance to win a $25 gift card to Barnes & Noble!

The Little Things

A cup of hot chocolate. A pretty journal. A sweet comment on my blog. All of these things—little though they are—make me smile, inside and out.

I love how little things like this can set the tone for my day—or turn it around if things are going badly.In the midst of all the stresses we face in our lives today, a simple joy can lift our spirits or spur impromptu communion with our Father as we whisper a word of thanks.

One recent joy I’ve experienced has been the early morning visits of a pair of cardinals. They must want to take advantage of my birdfeeder before any other competition shows up. I haven’t been able to get a good photo of them during this semi-dark hour—and they don’t wait around for good lighting for my camera. They take off as soon as too much daylight intrudes on their comfort zone.

Even though I can’t record their visits for posterity, I get to see them and enjoy their presence. I’m not sure why, but it makes me happy just knowing they’ve found my yard and have made it part of their routine. It’s a little thing indeed, but they make me smile first thing in the morning. And that’s a very good thing, right? :)

Likewise, little blessings in our spiritual lives can set a happy tone for our days or lighten our loads on difficult days as well. Like the lift to my spirit the cardinals supply, even small spiritual blessings can be all it takes to keep us encouraged and moving forward in our walk of faith.

Maybe a song comes on the radio and ministers peace or comfort just when we need it. Or perhaps the sun breaks through the clouds when we’re longing for a touch from the Lord. And God’s Word? One sentence or verse can make all the difference on any given day.

Yes, it’s the little blessings that keep us going over the long haul, isn’t it? Let’s thank God today for the little things. The things that make us smile inside and out.

“From the fullness of his grace we have all received one blessingafter another.” John 1:16

*What little thing has brought you joy recently?

*Update: I wrote this post a week or two ago, and now the early-morning cardinals have deserted me. Am hoping they will return. I miss them! :)

*Flickr photo by byJoeLodge

**The Life Notes Subscriber Appreciation Giveaway is still underway. Details are in my Oct. 17 post and sign-up is to the right. Don’t miss out on the chance to win a $25 gift card to Barnes & Noble!

Free Flying Leaves, Free Flying People

I love to watch the autumn leaves—and not just for their colors. I love to watch them fly as well.

The leaves of fall are free flying. They’re not bound by a must-follow route or a set of rules. No one tells them to drop at a perfect 90 degree angle—or any other angle for that matter. Each one is different. Each one takes its cue from the wind at the moment it falls.

Some fall headlong, landing right below their former homes. Others venture a few feet away as they drift gently through the air before finding a new resting place. Still others fly like crazy on the wings of a major wind gust, soaring as never before, looking like frolicking birds—up and down and all around, going great distances before running out of breath. Yes, autumn leaves are free flying.

Kind of makes me want to do some free flying myself. Anyone else?

The good news is we can. As believers in Jesus, as children of God, we can free fly on the wings of his Spirit living within us. We can abandon ourselves to his leadership, whether on short straight paths, lilting walks, or adventures of a lifetime. Following the Spirit, we’ll soar as never before.

We can also free fly on the wings of encouragement. Sometimes all we need to be spurred on to try something new or go after a dream is the confidence inspired by a friend or family member who is cheering us on. Sometimes all it takes is a little push. We then find ourselves free flying and loving every minute of it.

Other times it takes a little more. It takes a major gust of courage to launch our flight. The ride holds out hope of great and mighty things—but only if we’re willing to take the risk, only if we’re brave enough to step out of our comfort zones or battle whatever problems are trying to hinder our flight.

As the leaves free fly around us this autumn season, let’s ask ourselves if we’re ready to do a little free flying ourselves. Let’s abandon ourselves to the wings of the Spirit, let’s fly on words of encouragement. Let’s be bold and allow courage to carry us to new heights. Let’s free fly!

“. . . where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom.” 2 Corinthians 3:17b

*How have you been free flying lately?

*Flickr photo by hipea

**Also, the Life Notes Subscriber Appreciation Giveaway is still underway. Details are in my Oct. 17 post and sign-up is to the right. Don’t miss out on the chance to win a $25 gift card to Barnes & Noble!