When they landed, they saw a fire of burning coals there with fish on it, and some bread. (John 21:9 NIV)

            Turn back the clock nearly 50 years and you might find me sitting beside a campfire with other campers. Inside the stone circle we piled some sticks and ignited a blaze, careful to sit downwind of the smelly, eye watering smoke. We sat on logs, or a grassy spot on the ground. We made Hobo Stew or hot dogs, munched chips, and enjoyed gooey-chocolaty s’mores. As the fire began to burn down our counselors handed out songbooks, which by now we needed our flashlights to sing along. We shared about our Christian journeys; how God played a role in our lives and ways we could grow in our faith. Jesus met us in the fading light of dusk and the glow of the campfire.

            As I read these words from the gospel of John, I can visualize the disciples at their own meeting with Jesus next to the campfire. Jesus shared a campfire meal of fried fish and bread. He used this instance as the perfect time to reinstate Peter. For the disciples this started their ministries with confidence.

            I can relate to John’s story. Just as those disciples met with Jesus at the campfire, I too encountered Jesus there, next to the campfire, in the very beginning of my faith-forming years. How many lives for Christ will we, as faithful Christians, be able to impact, by providing a campfire for the campers of today and in the future? Praise God for the times he meets us beside the campfire.

Prayer: Lord we praise you for your presence in our lives, that you meet us in our everyday situations. We pray for those campers who will learn to know and love you through the ministry at Camp Fontanelle. Thank you Lord for the opportunities to serve. In Jesus’ name, Amen.  

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Healthy Vegetable Soup

Why spend your money on food that does not give you strength? Why pay for food that does you no good? (Isaiah 55:2 New Living Translation)

This scripture was a great reminder to me. Part of seeking balance is healthy eating. I love this nutrient packed soup recipe and because it makes a nice sized batch I can freeze and enjoy all winter. Last winter I put 6 quarts in the freezer and hope to do better this fall.

Healthy Vegetable Soup

Fresh veggies from farmer’s market
Fresh Vegetable soup
  • 1 pound of extra-lean hamburger
  • ½ chopped onion
  • ½ cup chopped celery
  • 1 quart of stewed tomatoes
  • 1 ½ quarts of water
  • 2 beef bouillon cubes
  • 1 clove minced garlic
  • 1 6-ounce can tomato sauce
  • 5 cups chopped raw vegetables: 
  • (carrots, green beans, corn, 
  • zucchini, yellow squash,
  • red potatoes, peas, peppers)
  • ½ teaspoon basil
  • ½ teaspoon pepper
  • 1 bay leaf
  • ½ teaspoon thyme
  • salt to taste

Sauté hamburger with onion and celery. Add remaining ingredients in a large soup pot or crock pot. Bring to boil to get it started then simmer for at least 1 hour. The longer it simmers the better the flavor (I like 6 hours). Makes 4 quarts and freezes well. 

Variations: use whatever vegetables you have on hand. Frozen or canned will work if you need them. Ground Turkey will also work if you prefer.

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Read Something Challenging

May God himself, the God who makes everything holy and whole, make you holy and whole, put you together – spirit, soul, and body – and keep you fit for the coming of our Master, Jesus Christ. I Thessalonians 5:23 (MSG)

We all know it is important to eat healthy, exercise and get a good night sleep. But do you ever think about improving your brain health? Richard Steele said, “Reading is to the mind what exercise is to the body.”* That is why I chose to stimulate my thinking and read North and South by Elizabeth Gaskell.

What made this book challenging? The novel is 425 pages long, small print written in 19th century style, like Charles Dickens. Paragraphs and sentences are long, with lots description that we are not used to in modern novels.

So why read it? I first saw the story as a movie on Netflix and liked it. I thought if the movie is good, the book will be good. And the book was good. I think it is important to read challenging material keep the brain healthy. It is important to keep as sharp as you possibly can. I Peter 1:13 says, Therefore, prepare your minds for action.

Am I glad I read it? Yes, but it took several months, it was slow reading.

Would I read it again? No

Have I read other challenging books? Yes, my previous read was Gone With the Wind at nearly 1000 pages. Other titles include How Green Was My Valley and one about a hermit/weaver that I can’t remember the title.

Would I recommend North and South? Not without letting you know what you are in for. Charles Dickens did say about the book, “Admirable story…full of character and power”*

What’s my next challenging read? Haven’t decided yet, maybe Uncle Tom’s Cabin or Of Human Bondage. Any Suggestions?

*Full citation available upon request

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Answered Prayer

God hears and answers our prayers, even when we can’t see the obvious answer.  Read my latest published article from Grace and Peace Magazine.

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Lovely Day at Peace Church

Today I enjoyed baking with the ladies at Peace Church. Thank you for sharing your morning with me. Here is the basic muffin recipe-enjoy baking muffins and other quick breads

 Basic Muffin Recipe

2 cups flour
1/2 cup sugar
2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1 cup milk
1/2 cup butter or margarine, melted and cooled
1 egg
1 teaspoon vanilla

Combine the dry ingredients. In another bowl stir together the milk, butter,vanilla and egg. Make a well in the center of the dry ingredients and add milk mixture. Gently combine. Spoon into muffin cups and bake at 400 degrees for 15-20 minutes.

For variety choose any of the following additions; stir in 1 cup of fruit (blueberries, raspberries, diced peaches are my favorites) or mini chocolate chips. Add fruit juice  (1 tablespoon to 1/4 cup) for part of the milk, so total liquid equals one cup.  Add 1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon, nutmeg or allspice.

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A New Year

Thank you Lord for this new year, for friends and family. Thank you Lord for new beginnings. This year will be a year to declutter. Declutter my calendar (spend my time more thoughtfully), declutter my space (organize and economize physical space) and finally declutter my eating (choosing more healthful eating).

The next step will be devising a plan. More on that later.

Continue reading

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Jesus, I Have An Emergency!

“My little daughter is dying.
Please come and put your hands on her
so that she will be healed and live.”
So Jesus went with him.
(Mark 5:23-24)

Jairus, a synagogue leader, had an emergency. His daughter was very ill, and even though the synagogue leaders had spoken out against Jesus, Jairus was desperate. He pleaded for help and Jesus agreed. Upon arriving at Jarius’ home Jesus calms the panicky crowd and heals the little girl.  Jairus’ story can be read in Mark 5:21-24, 35-43.

How wonderful it is when Jesus goes with me. When he does I can expect to see what Jairus saw. Verse 26 reminds me that I do not have to be afraid, dispite circumstances that look desperate.  Verse 29 reminds me that Christ has power over chaos and can bring calm through all the commotion. Finally, verse 42 tells me that I can be prepared to be astonished.

Lord, thank you that you do go with us. I praise your presence in my life. Lord I trust that you can bring peace instead of worry and calm out of chaos, You amaze me. Amen.

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Spiritual Get-Up-And-Go

Remember that in a race everyone runs,                                                                                       but only one person gets the prize.                                                                                                 You must also run in such a way that you also win.                                                                     (I Corinthians 9:24)

I attended an ice skating competition. I was amazed at the athletic ability of the skaters. They spun on the ice. They did amazing jumps. The men lifted their partners above their heads as they skated .

I sat in the stands eating popcorn and  watched in awe. Watching was easy, it required very little effort on my part. I can only imagine the strict training, the daily discipline, and the perseverance it took to become the accomplished athletes I watched.

The same can be said for faith. What kind of effort am I putting into my spiritual life? Am I  merely an onlookers giving minimal effort, watching or reading about persons of spiritual get-up-and-go? I do not want to be only a fan of Christ, I want to find ways to practice my faith. I want to gain strength and wisdom, but also the peace and assurance of God’s love. That is the prize Christ offers us today. Today is the day to evaluate my spiritual get-up-and-go.

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Suddenly a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel,
praising God and saying,
“Glory to God in the highest heaven,
and on earth peace to those on whom his favor rests.”

     Tiny white lights, evergreen boughs and excited guests filled the sanctuary in anticipation of the annual nativity pageant. Excitiment permeated the room; children were costumed and the lights were dimmed. The reader began, “In those days the Roman Emperor decreed that a census be taken…” The story progressed, but when the little lamb saw the audience he burst into tears. The angel couldn’t stop twirling and Joseph was throwing up in the bathroom.

     Nevertheless, at the conclusion of the pageant grandparents gush over their grandchild’s participation, cameras snap, hugs, smiles and cookies are enjoyed.

     Advent is a time of anticipation, we anticipate festive events, family cheerful, with our homes decorated for the season. But it doesn’t always turn out the way we imagined. The food flops,  the weather is questionable, and overtired children become fussy, whatever the faults may be, the Christmas we anticipate never completely materializes.

     So whatever  your celebration looks like, at the conclusion the true joy of the season; Jesus the Savior is born is still all that matters.  So overlook the glitches, and revel in the birth of our King, our Immanuel. God is with us, and that is reason for celebration.

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A Blessed Thanksgiving

Taking the five loaves and the two fish,
looking up to heaven, he gave thanks.
Matthew 14:19

Thanksgiving Day. What a wonderful day to pause and give thanks to God. Before Jesus fed the people, he stopped and looked up to heaven and gave thanks, a simple gesture, it only takes seconds. But that simple gesture can focus our hearts and minds on the Giver of all good things. img_0524Jesus fed “about five thousand” that day, and you may or may not have that many to feed, nevertheless a moment to pause and join with families throughout the nation in thanking and praising God is what this day is all about.

Enjoy the feasting, the food, the family and the friends and have a very blessed Thanksgiving.

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