31 December 2009

A Year Gone By

As this year is coming to a close, I wanted to take a moment to share some memories of 2009.

In early Spring, Rick and I enjoyed a brief retreat in the Whiteshell Provincial Park in Southeastern Manitoba. We had time to connect with each other and with God as we enjoyed a cozy cabin.

Global Day of Prayer on Pentecost Sunday found us joining with the world in worship and repentance and petition. Prayers were recited in many languages as the body of Christ united.

My mother's battle with cancer began and family drew closer as we made plans to love and support her in whatever ways each of us could. Trips down to the states grew more frequent.

It was a year of bounty in our garden. Our cold storage room is filled with jars of multi coloured delights that I spent hour upon hour preparing.

It seemed that everywhere I looked there was yet another reason to praise God for His creative powers and the beauty that surrounds us.

In late Autumn we staked out the land the Lord has provided for us, anointing and blessing and burying scripture.

We raised a twelve foot cross built by a dear friend near the barn, overlooking our valley. The land is His, as we are, and I love this constant reminder.

I challenged myself to write 50,000 words in the month of November. With God's help, I completed the task.
So as another new year dawns, I will continue to seek to do the will of the One Who created heaven and earth and little old me

and I will continue to look at the world around me through eyes of faith.

May His richest blessings litter the path before you in the year to come.

30 December 2009

Word Filled Wednesday - New Thing

God continued, "This is the sign of the covenant I am making between me and you and everything living around you and everyone living after you. I'm putting my rainbow in the clouds, a sign of the covenant between me and the Earth. From now on, when I form a cloud over the Earth and the rainbow appears in the cloud, I'll remember my covenant between me and you and everything living, that never again will floodwaters destroy all life. When the rainbow appears in the cloud, I'll see it and remember the eternal covenant between God and everything living, every last living creature on Earth."

Amydeanne hosts today at the 160 Acre Woods

29 December 2009

Lemon Garlic Chicken

This lemon garlic chicken is a wonderful dish to prepare when having a couple of friends in for dinner. It's simple and delicious and all of the work is finished before it goes in the oven to cook for 2 hours. I have no doubt it tastes so good in part because we have home raised birds from a neighbor and I use garlic that Rick grows in our own garden, but I think it will be almost as good when you make it yourselves.

1 chicken cut up
2 lemons
1 head garlic unpeeled
(yes, 1 head, not 1 clove)
a few sprigs fresh rosemary, chopped
3 Tbsp oil
2/3 cup white wine
(I used de-alcoholized wine)

Place chicken pieces in a baking dish. Slice lemons into 8 pieces each. Cut root end from garlic and separate cloves and add to chicken with lemon and rosemary. Drizzle the oil over and toss with your hands to coat evenly. Turn chicken skin side up and spread out evenly in pan. Pour in the wine, sprinkle with fresh ground pepper and cover tightly with foil.

Bake at 325F on centre rack of oven for 1-1/2 hours. Remove foil, increase heat to 400F and continue to cook an additional 30 minutes until chicken skin is golden and lemons begin to caramelize.

Don't worry if there seems to be too much liquid left in the pan, it would taste wonderful over mashed potatoes, although I serve this with oven roasted potatoes.

Enjoy. And if you're ever nearby, ask Rick for a head of his home grown garlic, I think he'd be more than willing to share.

26 December 2009

The Day After Christmas

It's the day after Christmas. I woke this morning with a vague sense of heaviness that I knew was not my own. In the stillness of the morning I asked the Lord what it might be that I was feeling.

"You are feeling the sadness, the let-down, the weariness and depression that has come upon my lost ones" I sensed Him reply.

So I find myself praying for all those who shopped and wrapped and decorated and celebrated a holiday, but not the reason for it. After all of their preparations and expectations, today dawned. There is nothing left to do but make trips to stores to exchange and return gifts. Nothing ahead but the cleaning up and storing away of the sparkle and glitter that had no substance at all.

"While I allow you to feel their sense of loss and emptiness, little one, you do not live there, for you are Mine, and I have planted a seed of hope in you that continues to grow. You know what you know. So as you intercede, take heart in the victory of My overcoming."

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning. Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made. In him was life, and that life was the light of men. The light shines in the darkness, but the darkness has not understood it. John 1:15 NIV

For those of us called by His name comes an understanding that Christmas day is never an ending, but merely a glorious beginning.

23 December 2009

Merry Christmas

May you and all those whom you love be blessed with the truth of His promises this Christmas and always.

Wordle: Isa9

For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. Isaiah 9:6 NIV

Image created at Wordle.net

Gift for Jesus

All of my gifts have been purchased, wrapped and piled beneath the tree.

Yet amid all the colour and glittering paper, there is nothing for Jesus. What can I bring to a King Who is worthy of more than I could ever imagine.

What does my Savior deserve? A trinket? A token? What do I offer to the One Who gave His life for mine?

I pondered. I prayed. I worshipped. Then faithful as always, the Holy Spirit placed His Word in my heart. I had never before considered this as a Christmas scripture, yet it perfectly states the very offering I had been searching for.

I appeal to you therefore, brethren, and beg of you in view of [all] the mercies of God, to make a decisive dedication of your bodies [presenting all your members and faculties] as a living sacrifice, holy (devoted, consecrated) and well pleasing to God, which is your reasonable (rational, intelligent) service and spiritual worship. Romans 12:1 Amplified

I shall give myself back to the One Who saved me, for indeed I am no longer my own, I was bought with His blood.

I think of all the time I spend adorning the packages I give to my loved ones. This year, may I spend as much time in prayer, asking God to cleanse and purify that which has become sullied.

I am offering all that I have and all that I am, that I might be holy and wholly His.

Word Filled Wednesday - Prayer

Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. Philippians 4:6 NIV

Susan is hosting us today at Forever His

19 December 2009


I have been in a place
that is without words
a place of wonder
a place of awe
the heart of worship.

I shop and I wrap
I bake and celebrate
fellowship and share
moments of joy.

In the glow of coloured lights
I gaze on the nativity scene
upon the mantle
the "Child" my Lord
in swaddling clothes
the miraculous incarnation.

I imagine that the angels
that grace our tree
are filled to overflowing
with songs of rejoicing.

My spirit finds wings
and eyes as I survey
the boughs laden with ornaments
to see through the glitter
and find the true glory.

There, my Lord
a child no longer
adorns the cross.
A gift beyond compare.

My heart breaks,
and mends
and breaks again
in wonder
in awe
the heart of worship.

16 December 2009

Word Filled Wednesday - White as Snow

"Come now, let us reason together," says the LORD. "Though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they are red as crimson, they shall be like wool. Isaiah 1:18 NIV

is being hosted this week by Christy at Critty Joy

15 December 2009

Tuesdays Unwrapped - Giving

Brightly coloured papers, ribbons, bows,
stickers and tags written with love.
The boxes pile up beneath the tree.
I imagine the smiles, the sparkling eyes,
the delight tasted by those who will receive
these presents selected with prayer.

Today I am unwrapping
the wonderous joy
of giving.

It is more blessed to give than to receive. Acts 20:35b

Join Emily at Chatting at the Sky and share what you're unwrapping today.

Christmas Romance Link-up

We're talking about a romantic Christmas season over at the Marriage Channel of Exemplify Online. Marsha asked us "What are you doing to keep romance alive in your home?"

Rick and I snuggle close, sharing a cup of coffee or cocoa or tea in the darkened living room, lit only by candles and the twinkling colours on our Christmas tree. We talk about the greatest miracle of Christmas:

"This is how much God loved the world: He gave his Son, his one and only Son. And this is why: so that no one need be destroyed; by believing in him, anyone can have a whole and lasting life. God didn't go to all the trouble of sending his Son merely to point an accusing finger, telling the world how bad it was. He came to help, to put the world right again." John 3:16-17 The Message

As we meditate on this simple yet most profound truth, we are filled again with His love, studying at the feet of the Master, the great romancer, the lover of our souls. This enables us to better love not only each other, but those around us.

We began a new romantic tradition last year to write love letters to each other and place the envelopes on the tree to be opened and read as our Christmas Eve gifts. We shall save each year's letters to be read again and again as a history of our love and where the Lord has led us.

Come visit at Exemplify Online and share your plans for Christmas romance.

12 December 2009

Chanukah Doughnuts

Tomorrow evening we are hosting another couple for dinner and a Chanukah celebration. With the Christmas tree lights twinkling, we will light the menorah and let it remind us of the miracle of the oil that lasted eight nights instead of one. Perhaps we shall read aloud from the book of Macabees in the Apocrypha.

This is the time to feast on foods fried in oil to celebrate the miracle. I would be lying if I said I didn't enjoy the taste of fried foods, but I don't relish the lingering smell of deep frying in my home. When my friends asked what they could cook, as they are always eager to try new recipes, I asked them to prepare the potato latkes (panckaes). I am cooking a traditional fruited pot roast.

Sufganiyot are the doughnuts that are enjoyed for Chanukah, but again, I didn't want to deep fry. I was very happy to find a recipe for baked doughnuts. The smell of the yeast, nutmeg and cinnamon warmed my kitchen on this cold winter day.

My verdict? I agree with the comment at the end of the recipe "They taste as doughnuts should."

If you want to try these at your house, you can find the recipe by clicking here.

10 December 2009

Christmas Recipe Link-up

There's a Christmas recipe link-up over at the Family Channel of Exemplify Online.

One of my favourite cookies to serve or to give away as gifts packed in pretty tins is

Fresh Lemon Squares

2 c flour
1 c chilled butter cut in small pieces
1/2 c icing sugar
1/2 c sweetened shredded coconut

2 c sugar
4 large eggs
1/2 c fresh lemon juice*
1 tsp baking powder
1/4 c flour

Preheat oven to 350.
Butter 13x9x2 inch baking pan.
Combine 2 c flour, butter, icing sugar and coconut in food processor.
Process until moist clumps form.
Press onto bottom of prepared pan.
Bake until edges are golden, about 20 minutes.

Whisk 2 c sugar, eggs, lemon juice, baking powder and
1/4 c flour until well blended.
Pour over hot crust.
Bake until topping is set and light golden brown, about 25 minutes.
Cool in pan on rack.
Cut into 36 squares.

*I have used a combination of lemon, lime and orange juice for a
fresh citrus taste. Fresh juice is essential to the great flavor.

Now it's your turn. Come visit us here at Exemplify Online and share one of your Christmas recipes.

09 December 2009

Word Filled Wednesday - Pondering

When they had seen him, they spread the word concerning what had been told them about this child, and all who heard it were amazed at what the shepherds said to them. But Mary treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart.
Luke 2:17-19 NIV

Lori is hosting today at All You Have To Give

08 December 2009

The Husband Gift Guide

Today over at the Marriage Channel of Exemplify Online we're sharing ideas about Christmas gifts for our favourite men -- the ones we're married to!

I always try to find something for Rick that only I would think of, for as his wife, it is my goal to know him in a deeper way than anyone else. We all hunger to be truly known and a present that displays that kind of intimacy is a treasure to be cherished. I also like to gift him with something he would not buy for himself.

I have already purchased this year's wrapable gift for my beloved. Because he's my number one blog reader I can't tell you about it here. But I can share a different sort of gift that the Holy Spirit just whispered about to me this morning. It's a present that I can't put in a box and I can't tie a ribbon around it, but it is a gift that will be given with all of my heart. Curious? Stay with me here...

My desire is to be the best partner possible for my husband, to walk beside Him, loving, supporting and encouraging him and helping him tread the path the Lord has chosen. I want to be a wife that sets a table before him laden with all of the fruits of the Spirit.

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law. Galatians 5:22-23 NIV

The only way I can be that woman is to draw ever closer in my relationship with Jesus.

My special gift this year will be a promise to spend more time seeking the face of my Lord, to learn to more fully abide in Christ, to soak in His presence, absorbing His love so that I can pour that love into my beloved husband, filling our home with light.

Now it's your turn. Come join us here and share your gift ideas for the man you love.

Tuesdays Unwrapped - Hope for all

Glittering lights and angels that shine on our tree remind us to rejoice:

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things were made through Him, and without Him nothing was made that was made. In Him was life, and the life was the light of men. And the light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not comprehend it. John 1:1-5 NKJV

Look beyond the tree and find the cross,
discover the Savior,
the loving Shepherd
Who gathers His sheep into His arms.

Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! Philippians 4:4 NIV

Join Emily at Chatting at the Sky and share the gift that you've unwrapped today.

05 December 2009

Praying for the next generation

In spite of (and because of) the spirit of heaviness that continues to hover around me due to the illnesses of my parents and the unstable state of their eternities, I am choosing to spend the weekend praying for the new generation being raised up in our churches.

We are hosting Becky Fisher of Kids In Ministry International at our church as she teaches, equips and releases parents, teachers, leaders and most of all our kids into the callings of God.

Becky's passion and mission is teaching children to hear the voice of God. Perhaps there is no better gift we can give them this Christmas.

04 December 2009

Waiting for His directions - The Ten Dollar Challenge

If you've never stopped by Billy Coffey's blog to enjoy the amazing way he puts words together to share insights the Lord gives to him, now is the time to start!

Just after Thanksgiving he blogged The Ten Dollar Challenge sharing a story about his friend Terri and the passing on of a blessing.

I know that the Holy Spirit is urging me to join in on the fun (yes, it is fun to bless others!) I have not acted yet for I am waiting on the Lord to hear what He would have me do, wanting Him to choose the time and place and person.

What better time than Christmas to shine our light in the dark places? What better time to be the hands and feet of Christ. The only way some people will ever see Jesus is for us to step out of our own comfort zones to be Jesus.

Today Billy posted The Ten Dollar Challenge Continues a blog carnival where you can add the story of how you passed on a blessing this year.

Stayed tuned....

When I complete my ten dollar challenge, I'll return to tell the tale.

And I do this for the sake of the good news (the Gospel), in order that I may become a participator in it and share in its [blessings along with you]. 1 Corinthians 9:23 Amplified