A COMMENTARY FROM THE HEART

TL A COMMENTARY FROM THE HEART (13)

http://beaninstitute.com/recipes/bean-reference-chart/

There are so many varieties of beans…  yes, BEANS!

Maybe it’s the rainy weather we’ve had in Wichita lately, but it’s made me want to dig out my soup recipes and start using my slow cooker.

I wonder why Navy beans have that name.  As I understand it, they have this name because they were served to sailors at sea so often.  They are small and are so compatible in most recipes.  Since it is such a “flexible” bean, it is often used by commercial baked bean manufacturers.

Navy beans are an inexpensive ingredient that provide much-needed fiber and nutrients for those of us interested in eating a healthy diet.

Just 1/2 cup serving of Navy beans pack a huge nutritional punch!  They have a mere 130 calories with 8 grams of protein and 5 grams of fiber!  They also contain 128 mcg Folate, 2 mg Iron and 64 mg Calcium.  My favorite part is that they have less than 1% fat content and 1 mg of sodium!

Women who are getting older (I’m raising my hand) should eat foods rich in calcium and essential vitamins and minerals while limiting fat intake.  Navy beans fit the bill perfectly.

Does anyone else need to smile today???  Watch this – it’s too cute!

Even though it would be easier to open a can of manufactured baked beans, it’s better to make your own dishes with raw ingredients so you know how much sugar and fat is in it.  When I make homemade baked beans it is with sugar substitute which cuts the calories and carbohydrates in half.  Have you read the label on a can of baked beans lately?  Read one the next time you go to the grocery store – it’s a real eye-opener! 

I want to share a recipe I look forward to making this autumn:

Smoky Navy Bean Soup (slow cooker recipe)

Makes 8 servings

1 pound Navy beans, soaked overnight

2 cups, chopped smoked ham, about 8 ounces

1 large onion, chopped

3 ribs celery, thinly sliced

3 carrots, peeled and thinly sliced

1 can Rotel tomatoes

1/2 teaspoon dried thyme

1 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon black pepper

1 bag (5 oz) baby spinach

  • Coat slow cooker bowl with Pam (or use a slow cooker liner)
  • Drain beans and add to slow cooker bowl.  Stir in 6 cups water, ham, onion, celery, carrots, tomatoes and thyme.
  • Cover and cook on LOW for 10 hours.
  • Remove 2 cups of the soup, purée (you can use a boat motor) then return to slow cooker.  Add salt and pepper; gradually add spinach and stir until wilted.

A little note – the first time I made this, I thought I’d just put my boat motor in the slow cooker to purée’ instead of taking 2 cups of soup out to purée.  That didn’t work well at all because my slow cooker liner got chopped into pieces along with the soup!  So, don’t do that!  Ladle the soup out of the slow cooker and put it in a separate bowl before you purée it.  LOL!!!

I hope this becomes one of your family favorites this autumn.  It’s economical and so very good and good for you!  Wink!  😉

I STILL BELIEVE AS I GRIEVE

I STILL BELIEVE AS I GRIEVE

In the fear of the Lord there is strong confidence, And His children will have a place of refuge.  –  Proverbs 14:26

We all know there are five stages of grief:

  1. DENIAL
  2. ANGER
  3. BARGAINING
  4. DEPRESSION
  5. ACCEPTANCE

WAITING WHILE I WAIT

I can’t forget the loss.  Am I supposed to forget???  I keep asking, “What’s next, Lord?”

Here’s the deal…  about the time I’ve reached acceptance and think, “I’m gonna be okay”, something happens and I’m suffering a setback of sorts.  Maybe this is God’s way of keeping me humble.

It may not help that I’m still living in the city I grew up in, but  I really can’t imagine living anywhere else.  If I were to leave Wichita, I think I’d feel like a fish out of water for a very long while.

Yesterday I was driving to the Walmart and had a little time to kill.  I decided to drive by my childhood home.

As I slowly crept down Charles Street, so many memories came to mind, starting with the street itself.  I remembered a dirt road.  For the first three or four years of my life, our street was dirt.  Then I noticed that the barbed wire fence around our neighbor’s field was gone.  John had 3 horses in there for years.  We had an apple tree in the back yard, so the horses got to eat apples once in a while.  I enjoyed feeding them!

Mom and dad had a non-fruit bearing, flowering crab apple tree in the front yard – only it DID bear fruit – and boy was it a mess; however, along with the messy crab apples were the most beautiful dark pink flowers!  I remember my mom in the yard with a rake picking up the crab apples every year.  The raking would begin around late August or early September.  I guess that struck a chord inside.

Then I lost it – I just lost it – again!  When does that stop happening???  The floodgates opened over a memory about crab apples???  Seriously???

The answer from God seems to be, “Bloom where you’re planted”.  So, here I am!

Am I stuck, or is the enemy trying to make me feel that way?  Is it bad to bounce from one stage to the other?  Some days I do just fine, but I guess I set myself up for a relapse.  How can I ignore the house where I grew up?  I was just a few blocks from it and decided to go visit some memories.  Maybe I need to visit so I don’t forget.  Yeah, like I could ever forget…  not gonna happen.  🙂

GENESIS 8:22 ON 8/22

TL GENESIS 8 22 ON 8 22

As long as the earth endures, seedtime and harvest, cold and heat, summer and winter, day and night will never cease.  – Genesis 8:22

rainbow-142701
A promise from God along with a sign

 

We can rely on God to allow the seasons to keep going with no interruption as long as the earth endures.  God is so reliable and His promises are true!

Of course in this present day, we wonder why there have to be floods in some parts of the world while other parts seem to be burning up.  I don’t have answers to those questions, but I do keep the folks in those areas in my thoughts and prayers every day.  We just need to trust God’s sovereign wisdom in these situations.  I’m not omnipotent, but He is.

The rainbow in the sky after the rain is packed with promises and makes every Christian smile with a sense of contentment with their Creator.  I believe most of us take a moment to silently pray, thanking God for giving us another chance to be the people He wants us to be in Him.

We only want to please our Father and make Him smile.  When we see evidence of His promises in the rainbow, it makes us want to be better in our faith.  It makes us want to walk even closer to God.

I suppose we can also look at this scripture and be reminded of a time of sowing the precious seed of the Word, which at times brings about a harvest, gathering souls into it.  Then there is a winter season, cold, with things seeming withered and dead.  Then there are summer seasons, when everything looks smiling and cheerful.  But sometimes summer brings with it intense heat – which could represent the persecution of God’s people.  I pray He is pleased with what we do with this wonderful life He gave us.

HE IS PLEASED

We have God’s promise that the seasons will continue until the time when He will turn to Jesus and tell Him to return to earth to gather His own and bring them to Him.  I look forward to that time, don’t you?  🙂

 

GENESIS 8:21 ON 8/21

TL GENESIS 8 21 ON 8 21

The LORD smelled the pleasing aroma and said in his heart: “Never again will I curse the ground because of humans, even though every inclination of the human heart is evil from childhood. And never again will I destroy all living creatures, as I have done.”  – Genesis 8:21

When Noah, his family and the animals got off the ark, Noah built an altar to praise God – and God was not angry with human kind anymore.   The anger at sin which had caused the flood was now over, and there was peace between heaven and earth.

As a sign of God’s remarkable promise to mankind, He gave us the rainbow.

rainbow-142701
A promise from God along with a sign

I love the rainbow, don’t you?  When you see it, are you reminded of God’s promise to us?  His promise to keep loving us and not destroying the earth again is important.

The rainbow is really represents God’s covenant with His creation.  It’s in the sky after a storm to remind us that He will never again destroy His creation.  We should be most grateful that we’ve been spared and God desires to draw us unto Himself instead of do away with us.

HE IS FAITHFUL

He is hopeful that we will want to draw closer to Him through His Son, Jesus Christ.  He sent Christ to earth to die on the cross – the lamb of God washes away the sins of the world.  We only have to believe and ask Jesus into our hearts and lives.

You don’t have to fix anything, just ask Jesus to come into your life and He will show you your sin and what needs fixing – and He will help you with it.  People can’t fix other people’s sin because we are not a higher power – but Christ can fix sin because He is THE Higher power!  He’s worthy of all our honor and praise.  🙂

 

 

 

AUGUST IS READ A ROMANCE MONTH

AUGUST IS READ A ROMANCE MONTH

 

CONTENTED PEACE

There is not a better escape from reality than to read a good book with a good romantic thread running through it.  Books are an inexpensive way for us to take a vacation to far away places and live vicariously through the characters.

August is READ A ROMANCE MONTH!  I’m reading a good book right now called “Signs of Love” by Kimberly Rae Jordan.  It’s book two of the Christian romance series “Black Thorpe Security”, a spin-off from the Christian romance series, “The McKinley’s”.

If you have not read those yet, check out book one called “This Time with Love”.  Once you open these books, you will not want to put them down!

I haven’t enjoyed a story this much since I read the “Love Comes Softly” series written by Jannette Oke several years ago.  Of course, now those great books have been made into movies.

I enjoy romance novels, but when it’s a Christian romance, I am often reminded of God’s ability to make even the most unlikely of marriages into something beautiful.  In these books there are many moments when you just know the hand of God was in the midst of challenging situations.

According to Amazon, book three in the “Black Thorpe Security” series will come out in October of this year.  I can hardly wait!

I also enjoy the Amish romance novels that have hit the bookshelves in the past few years.  There are three very popular authors of Amish romance—Beverly Lewis, Wanda Brunstetter and Cindy Woodsmall.

Once in a while I like a good romance with some suspense mixed in, don’t you?  Check out some of these titles when you’re in the mood to mix it up:

No matter which series you choose, kick back and take a trip to another country or another time.  Maybe you can be a part of a totally different culture!

There have been many criticisms regarding Christian romance novels, but I believe they are so well written, and they emphasize the fact that God can make all things good.  I’m reminded of His goodness in our lives and our relationships.  🙂

 

ISAIAH 8:19 ON 8/19

TL ISAIAH 8 19 ON 8 19

 When someone tells you to consult mediums and spiritists, who whisper and mutter, should not a people inquire of their God? Why consult the dead on behalf of the living?  – Isaiah 8:19

PRAYER WITH LAKE

I’m not making excuses…  okay, maybe I am.  Once in a while, as I’m flipping through the channels (all 150 of them), I land on the popular TV show, “Long Island Medium”.  I’m fascinated and get sucked in as I watch the sage burn and the talk of “spirit” and the accuracy with which this woman reads people and their pain.

Then it dawns on me – I need to find something else to watch and put my faith in God and not a human being who may claim to speak to my departed loved ones.  It’s a struggle for me because I so want to believe that someone could actually communicate with them and tell me what they think and how they are doing.  Most of the living who have lost loved ones wish that could happen.

But it can’t – it really can’t.  As sad as the realization makes me, I know that my parents are doing well because they are in heaven with Jesus.  I also know that there is no remembrance of things past – they do not remember me, but they are no longer in pain and they are young and happy.  I have that assurance from God’s Holy Word.  That’s good enough for me because that is truth.

Sometimes when we miss our loved ones so much, we want to believe that a gifted psychic or spiritual advisor could speak with them and be a translator of sorts – just so we could hear from them just one more time.  But according to God’s Word, once our loved ones go to heaven, they don’t remember the former things of earth.  We who are left to live on should have hope because we know they are happy and free of sorrow and pain.

God weeps for those of us who are still stuck here because He is taking care of our loved one(s).  We need to trust God and His promises.  Just have faith in Him.  If we can trust God for our needs and remember our loved one(s) are alright, it will help us to be alright too.

You know, sometimes when I pray to God, I ask Him to pass along messages to my mom and dad.  I like to think He does that for me – because He knows that I’m still stuck down here to keep living and struggling on without them.  It’s not easy, but when I think about God passing my messages along – it makes me smile.  🙂

 

A COMMENTARY FROM THE HEART

TL A COMMENTARY FROM THE HEART (23)

The very fact that we humans have a sense of humor indicates that God does, too, for we are made in His image.   You can’t look at penguins, platypuses, and puppies without thinking that God has a sense of humor!  Jesus, as the Son of God, shares the Father’s attributes, including a sense of humor.

As the Son of Man, Jesus shares in the full human experience. We cannot imagine life without laughter; even those in dire circumstances have known seasons of joy. Everyone laughs and appreciates good humor. To say that Jesus never expressed joy through laughter is akin to denying His full humanity.

Yes, I watched the Republican debate and there were certainly some funny moments, but when it’s all said and done I have to say…

NO MATTER WHO IS PRESIDENT, JESUS IS KING!

We have to learn to laugh, and for me this video did the trick!  I really dig that little Donald Trump, don’t you?  Love the rug!  The wee little Rand Paul is too cute as well.

You know, there was a time not so long ago when the ideologies of Democrats and Republicans were minimal.  They seem to be polar opposites these days.  That’s why I believe so strongly that conservative Christians need to wake up and pay attention to what’s going on.

For years I’ve heard friends and family say there’s nothing we can do about it, so why pay attention?  Well – maybe a few years ago we could have taken that attitude, but now…  I don’t know.  It seems to me we need to follow current events closer now.  And if you wonder what you can do…  as a voter – you can pray before the election – then vote your conscience.

The “real” debate (with the so-called grown-ups) was entertaining at times, but I just had to share the kid’s version because it’s just so darn cute!

Life gets heavy and weighs us down.  When we can find a reason to smile and laugh, why not share it?  I don’t believe God expects us to be less than joyful because we know that He has always seen us through – and will continue to lead us going forward.  We have nothing to fear because He is in control.  🙂