FALL IN LOVE WITH JESUS

Today I have roast beef, carrots, and potatoes cooking in the crock-pot.  There’s nothing like anticipating a wonderful, warm home-cooked meal.  It takes several hours to cook on low, but it’s so worth the wait.  The meat is always so tender, and the vegetables are done just right!  I know it’s going to taste so good!  It will be done in its own time and I can’t rush it – and wouldn’t even if I could.

Vegetables are interesting but lack a sense of purpose when unaccompanied by a good cut of meat. ~Fran Lebowitz

We are to taste and see that the Lord is good!  I love the Lord because He keeps His promises!  If we will put our trust in Him, He will fill our life with blessings!  My cup of blessings overflows!  He gives me so much more than I deserve; but He blesses as He sees fit, not when I read off my laundry list of needs and wants.  God is not a vending machine.

God is not a cosmic bell boy for whom we can press a button to get things done. ~Harry Emerson Fosdick

I have so much to be thankful for.  If I started a list, I doubt it would be completed the same day.  I’d be typing on that list this time tomorrow!  As long as I keep trusting God with my life, He will pour out blessings on my life.  To be blessed is to find favor with God.  Some people think that a blessing is something you wish on someone else, like when a person sneezes and you say, “God Bless You!”  I suppose it is that, but how sad if a person thinks that’s all a blessing is!

According to good ol’ Webster, a blessing is a favor or gift bestowed by God, thereby bringing happiness.  When we place our faith and trust in God, we can expect blessings in our lives!  This is a promise of God – and God cannot lie – and He will not break His promises.

As we place our trust in God, He blesses us and we are happy!  In the bargain, we receive the Father’s joy, love, peace, and wisdom!  Call me crazy, but that doesn’t sound like a bad thing to me!  As a matter of fact, it sounds better than the roast beef, carrots, and potatoes cooking in the crock-pot!  Only two more hours to go!  🙂

 

 

 

NATIONAL FALL FOLIAGE WEEK

tl-9-27-thru-10-3-national-fall-foliage-weekI know the upcoming election is important – it’s a turning point for America.  Having said that, I will add that I’m sick and tired of the campaign speeches, debates and mud slinging on both sides.

When I read that this week is NATIONAL FALL FOLIAGE WEEK, my first thought was “Oh how lovely to sit and watch the amazing colors dancing instead of watching politics on television.”

Here are a few poems about this beautiful time of year:

one-single-leaf-is-left

a-crown-of-beauty

headin-into-the-seasona-soft-bed-of-leavesall-the-samefall-in-the-valleythrough-gods-eyesprayer-about-short-autumn-daysa-dessert-for-the-eyeshow-can-i-thank-youprayer-about-autumnautumn-in-my-backyardits-crunch-timemy-first-applepatchwork-prairiepath-of-peacethese-people-rockthis-spider-has-such-talent

Sit back and turn up the volume because here are some of the most beautiful videos I could find on the internet.  Today let’s relax with a cup of any hot beverage and enjoy God’s nature.

A COMMENTARY FROM THE HEART

TL A COMMENTARY FROM THE HEART (31)12075076_1019943578045285_2006305397285375045_nHAPPY FALL, Y’ALL!!!  I don’t know why we are always so anxious to rush into this season more than the others, but my house has been decorated for autumn for at least two weeks!  We’ve had so much rain this month, it’s almost as if we’re jumping into spring instead of fall – but it’s fall according to the calendar – so we’re going to go with that!

Today I want to ask you if you’ve ever had a “happy accident”???  Take a moment to let that sink in before you answer.  The two words don’t seem to belong together – happy and accident – do they?  Hmm…  has Linda been hitting the sugar-free apple cider a bit too much?  No…  I really do want to know if you have a story to tell about a “happy accident”.  Oh…  I said that phrase again.  Does it set your teeth on edge?  I could see where it would.

Sometimes we think our mistakes are deal breakers for life.  We can’t seem to get over them, even though the most over-used sentence in America is LETITGO.  Thanks, Reba…  we’re learning.  I’m a work in progress.  Once I ask forgiveness from God and He forgives, it makes it easier for me to forgive myself and THEN I can letitgo.

The other day I was trying to find some images, photographs, for poetry I wanted to design.  My go-to place is Pixabay because I’ll be honest, I can’t afford to pay money for the images I use here on the blog or for poetry designs.  Lucinda and I also have good friends who have graciously given me unlimited permission to peruse through their facebook accounts for photos – thank you so much to Chris Cummins, Dave Mock, Karen Tubbs Stell, Sheri Berezowecki-Lemay, Valerie McKinney, Bill Woods, Terri Boggs Rowe, Marian Poppy Ballestero, Jimmy Stone, Katrina Huckabay, Stephanie G. Lutz, Candace Waters, Pete Lord, Sam Peters, Arleen Krueger, Gina Womack, Joanna Hays and Mike Durbin.

I also want to thank Lucinda not only for her wonderful poems, but for letting me use photos from her facebook page for my poems.  🙂

I was searching Pixabay for a certain kind of image – I had a very specific type of photo in mind.  I thought I typed a certain word in the search engine – but when I double-checked, I typed a completely different word.  It took me to a subject I know absolutely NOTHING about – and I mean nothing…  SPORTS.  Every writer knows this…  you write about what you know.  Never try to fake what you don’t know to be fact.

I laughed out loud and told God, “Wow – that was a huge OOPS, wasn’t it?”  God impressed me to take a look at the images on the page – and one in particular caught my eye – then another.

It was A HAPPY ACCIDENT – I knew these images needed to be used.  I also knew that I didn’t know a thing about football.  I fought with God – and said, “Lord, I don’t know anything about this subject – there’s no way I can write anything good.”  Then I heard God say, “Lucinda does…  give this to her.”

It’s funny because when we’re obedient, God rewards us – He really does.  Once I sent the image to Lucinda, look what she did…taking-a-knee

But wait…  God’s not done.  He gave me words to use for the second image I found!teach-us-to-pray

I know the term “happy accident” is from Bob Ross…  we all know how he used to refer to the OOPS in painting as a happy accident.  Around the time all of this was happening, I also saw this interesting photo from Bill Woods and thought, “That describes what happened perfectly!  I’m going to call it a ‘happy accident’ – like Bob Ross did!”  14067573_10208342567854653_5861265440443893614_n

Photo courtesy of BILL WOODS.  Thanks for the reminder!  The timing could not have been better.

God blesses our efforts when we obey.  I love “happy accidents” because when it’s all said and done, it was not an accident at all.  It was A GOD THING.  He works differently with each of us because we aren’t robots who can be dealt with the same way – we are individuals in God’s eyes, and He works with us in just the right way.  I’m so thankful that God can make anything work for the good…  aren’t you?  🙂

 

DAY TRIPPIN’ AROUND KANSAS

DAY TRIPPIN' AROUND KANSAS

Is it silly to want to take a trip out to Applejack Pumpkin Patch if you don’t have small children with you?  Can I tell you a secret???  I’ve never actually been to a pumpkin patch before.  I suppose it’s because I don’t have kids – but the second part of that secret is…  I’ve always wanted to visit a pumpkin patch!  It just looks like a lot of fun!  Having fun is not a sin – last time I checked.

So, this photo, taken just outside of the Applejack Pumpkin Patch is of my friend, Susan.  She posted it on facebook and I wanted to post it here today.  I love it when my Wichita friends post their day trips (even though I think she was technically on the job – which explains the vest).  I appreciate her giving me permission to share it with you.

The Minion Hay Bale... LOL!!!
Susan & the giant Minion Hay Bale… LOL!!!

I’m so thankful she posted this because we drove past it on the way to an antique store just a few days ago – and did I have my camera???  Well of course I didn’t!!!  I was kicking myself from that moment on.  I even suggested we take another trip just to get a photo of this.  That idea was not met with a great deal of enthusiasm, to say the least.  :-/

Applejack Pumpkin Patch is in Augusta, Kansas.  They have a facebook page:  https://www.facebook.com/Applejack-Pumpkin-Patch-306961532736120/

There are scheduled activities and loads of fun for everyone (even the childless – well – probably).  I may not have kids – but I feel as though I’m still a kid myself…  for better or worse!

I’ve seen bales of hay made into a lot of different things – I must admit this is the first Minion I’ve seen – how creative is that?  Usually we see hay bales made into  jack-O-Lanterns…  you know, painted orange with the scary black face – that’s usually what we see.

Susan’s husband posted that if she had her way, Susan would take this giant Minion hay bale home with her and put it in their front yard.  I replied by saying, “She would be fighting ME for it – LOL!!!”  In reality, could you imagine either one of us – or both of us together – lifting that thing???  I’d say the argument is moot at best, wouldn’t you?

If you would like more information about Applejack Pumpkin Patch, click on this link:  http://applejackpumpkinpatch.com/activities/

Click image to enlarge

I enjoy living in Kansas, especially this time of year!  We have a lot of farms, which means we have tons of corn mazes, apple festivals, fall harvest celebrations and of course, pumpkin patches!  Now, we apparently have added a giant Minion hay bale to the list.  Does it get any better than that?  I think not!  Wink!  😉

 

A COMMENTARY FROM THE HEART

TL A COMMENTARY FROM THE HEART (31)

https://youtu.be/EwcbYDcjZGg

I know I’m not supposed to question God’s plan, but I see others with their children this time of year and think, “You know, if I had children, we’d go to the pumpkin patch and we’d rent the big inflatable things for them to play on once in a while.”  I watch the neighbors with their children – and they throw the coolest birthday parties!  October would be the coolest time to be a parent.  How fun to take them to pick out just the right pumpkin – or at Halloween to go to the Field of Screams or some other fun place.

From the fullness of his grace we have all received one blessing after another.  – John 1:16

You’ve seen the images – the children tug at my heartstrings!  These are photos that are just too precious not to share.  I really love fall – especially where kids are concerned.  I could imagine myself taking these kinds of photos with my kids…  if I had them.

Little Apple Cheeks
Little Apple Cheeks

If I had a child, I imagine I would dress them in orange at this time of year.  I tend to wear orange and brown more, I suppose because of the colorful leaves falling all around.  I think I would be a frequent flyer at Zulily.com and be on the lookout for the newest and cutest clothing and shoes for my child.

Such a sweet face
Such a sweet face

When I was a kid, we had a big maple tree in the back yard and I loved to play in the leaves.  I was supposed to be raking them, but mostly I played in them!  I imagine if I had kids we would play in leaves – every day of autumn!  What a wonderful motivator to remain active children must be.  The desire to keep up with them is surely strong.

Playtime would be every day
Playtime would be every day

I would be more enthusiastic about decorating if I had children.  Most of what adults do are for their kids.  I would decorate with hay bales and potted mums and pumpkins – if it mattered.  I’m not excited about doing those things for myself necessarily.  If I had kids I know I’d want to surround them with beauty and give the very best I could.

Everyday Autumn Moments
Everyday Autumn Moments

If you have a child, do me a favor and enjoy every moment you have with him / her.  You are blessed beyond measure to have that charge.  🙂

A COMMENTARY FROM THE HEART

 TL A COMMENTARY FROM THE HEART (30)

9-22 FOR THE WATCHFUL EYE

The foliage has been losing its freshness through the month of August, and here and there a yellow leaf shows itself like the first gray hair amidst the locks of a beauty who has seen one season too many…. September is dressing herself in showy dahlias and splendid marigolds and starry zinnias. October, the extravagant sister, has ordered an immense amount of the most gorgeous forest tapestry for her grand reception.  – Oliver Wendell Holmes

I’ve shared a bit of the fun we have in late summer/early fall here in Kansas!  Our menus change from salads to stews!  Every woman in Kansas is reviewing their recipe cards and stocking up on slow cooker liners.  I’ve found a few coupons for those liners (they are expensive, let’s admit it).  The most important small appliance in my kitchen is my crock pot.  I use it quite often because it’s so simple to dump and cook.  That’s my style – dump and cook!  🙂

I was inspired by our trip to Louisburg, KS for the apple festival on September 10th to search for recipes that use apples.  We brought home a couple of jars of their wonderful sugar-free apple butter, but in my search today, look what I found!

CROCK POT APPLE BUTTER

Approximately 3 lb. apples ( make sure 1/2 are Granny Smith )
Gala , Fugi, Or Granny Smith
3 cups sugar (I will definitely use Splenda)
2 tsp. cinnamon
1 tsp. nutmeg
Dash of salt
3/4 cup water or fresh apple cider

Fill Crock-pot 3/4 full with peeled, cored and sliced apples. Add the remaining ingredients and stir until evenly mixed. Cover and cook on low setting overnight or until the butter is of a thick, spreadable consistency.

If apple butter has too much liquid, remove lid and cook on high until thickened. Stir often as butter thickens to prevent scorching.

Mash Apple Butter until chunky or smooth with hand-held masher or blender
Store in refrigerator for up to 6 weeks. Freeze for longer storage.
Put in jars with water bath processing also.

Found on Pinterest and Holly’s kitchen

I found a video tour from 2014:

https://youtu.be/khCFDem01YQ

I don’t think I’ve shared my photos from Louisburg with y’all.  If I have, just humor me and look at them again.  😉

APPLES-screenshot

top left:  I wish you could have heard that sign squeaking as it blew back and forth.  Squeak…  squeak…  sounds so much like autumn to me!

top right:  The business of this business is apple cider!  This is the barn where all the apple cider is made.  You can’t tell from this photo, but behind the barn there are apples floating around in water – they go up a conveyor belt and through all the different processes from there.  I wish you could have smelled the APPLE scent inside that barn – it’s better than any scentsy wax melt I’ve ever used!

bottom left:  Their own label of sparkling apple cider!  Ah – it is amazing!

bottom right:  Yep – it’s an apple cider donut!  Hey – I’m not gonna drive all those miles and not have one little apple cider donut.  That was lunch – and mmm…  it was yummilicious!  🙂

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!  😉

NATIONAL MAPLE SYRUP DAY

TL 12-17 NATIONAL MAPLE SYRUP DAY

 

12-17 MAPLE SYRUP FLAVOR

Since we just have a few short days before winter officially sets in, let’s spend the day enjoying some real maple syrup!  NATIONAL MAPLE SYRUP DAY is the perfect time to enjoy and appreciate this delicious American treat.  Native American Indians were the first to harvest and boil the sap of the maple tree into a thick syrup.

It’s a common misconception that maple syrup is harvested at this time of year, but it doesn’t take place until late winter, from February through March, when the sap is flowing.  It’s recommended that maple syrup be poured over pancakes, waffles or on vanilla ice cream.  Some folks drink the sap straight from the tree!

When you buy maple syrup, make sure it is not pancake syrup – most syrups labeled pancake syrup do not contain any maple syrup.

I haven’t enjoyed “real” maple syrup for many years – so of course when I go into a restaurant and order blueberry pancakes, I have to request sugar-free syrup.

So – how do I plan to celebrate?  Oh – don’t worry – I have a plan!  I found the most wonderful flavored coffee at a cozy little boutique in Belleville, Kansas called “The Feathered Nest”.  It’s called GOOD MORNING MAPLE and when I pair it with some fat-free, sugar-free pumpkin flavored coffee creamer, it turns into Autumn Morning Magic in my coffee cup!  While everyone else is moving on to the scents and tastes of peppermint for winter and Christmas, I’m hanging on to my fall scents and tastes until it is officially winter – on the 21st.  I still have a few more days to enjoy the spicy flavors of maple and pumpkin!  I’m still using my pumpkin coffee mug.  I won’t rush the season.  I’m stubborn like that!

However…

I do admit that when I think of maple syrup, I think of Buddy the Elf…  yeah.

This is my favorite scene – I can stay???

And while he’s on a sugar high, the announcement that SANTA will be in the store is made.  I don’t like the OMG, but it is what it is I guess…  sigh.

Before that movie came out – maple syrup was totally autumn in my brain – ELF changed my way of thinking.  It’s like a really cool ADOPTION STORY…  sort of twisted, but cool.  LOL!  😀

If you are looking for a perfect Christmas gift, may I suggest a new devotional book by Lucinda Berry Hill?  Everyone needs a new devotional book to begin the new year!

ResizeImageHandler

Click on the link below to order your copy!

http://bookstore.westbowpress.com/Products/SKU-000952694/A-Second-Cup-with-Jesus.aspx 

 

 

 

 

FALL BACK

DAYLIGHT SAVINGS TIME ENDS

AN EXTRA HOUR TO SLEEP

When there is change jingling around in my pocket or the bottom of my handbag, that my friends, is a GOOD thing.  It means I will have something to lay on the table at the end of a good meal in a restaurant to let the server know he or she is appreciated.  It means I can make a phone call, I think.  It’s been a while since I’ve had to make a call from a pay phone – do they have a slot for pocket change anymore or do they have dollar bill slots?  I wonder if they exist anymore – everyone these days (except me) has a cell phone.

The changing seasons are good too, although I could do with more mild, shorter winters.  I’ve put in that request with my Maker, but to no avail it seems.  He does know best in these matters.  Remind me again about how global warming is the ultimate doom of us all when there is a pile of snow in my driveway this winter – ok?  But autumn – the prelude to the cold and the snow and the cabin fever I know I will endure in the coming months – oh I love autumn.  If only we could keep autumn, but it’s not meant to be.  We need to keep changing, bending without breaking under the pressure.

It’s difficult to bend without breaking as things change.  As the morals around us lower, we hang on to our core values, beliefs and integrity.  We pray that God will help us stand strong.  We don’t have to be vocal and annoying about things, but there is a quiet strength that will stay with us and help us remember who we are in God.  His Holy Spirit is in us and He will be with us to the end.

 Change always comes bearing gifts.   – Price Pritchett

Gifts???  Seriously?  Changes are not always for the best – and just because the majority has gone along is no reason I should go along too.  I will not speak out, but I will not break under the pressure to go along either.  I may bend outwardly a little – but break – no.  God won’t let me break.  He won’t let me fail – no matter what is happening around me.

Here in Wichita we will be changing our clocks again.  It’s another change I’d love to do without.  The people in Arizona don’t have to do it – why do we?  Yes, I’m whining – but I will change all of the clocks in my house again…  daylight savings time goes away today.  We will have very dark mornings and it will get dark earlier now.  Sigh – I will miss the sunlight so much.  But I will keep smiling – and change my clocks – fall back one hour.  It’s not a change I embrace, needless to say.

On November 4th I hope to see a change in the government.  I hope to see a Republican senate in office because there need to be some core values, Christian beliefs and integrity in the White House.  Someone needs to put the brakes on what’s been going on for sure.  I wish the Republicans would give us a clear game plan instead of just saying they are opposed to the status quo.  It’s not enough to know they don’t agree with what’s happening – that’s lazy campaigning.  They really need to let us know they have a better plan – then spell it out for us.  That would be a great change in my humble opinion.

Christians – hang in there – bend with change without breaking.  Lean on the Lord – He won’t let you break.  He won’t let you fail.    😀

COUNTRY INN BED & BREAKFAST DAY

TL 10-5 COUNTRY INN BED & BREAKFAST DAY
http://youtu.be/4gKwCOOGlEo

Whether you are in Indiana or Maine, today is COUNTRY INN BED & BREAKFAST DAY!!!  Isn’t autumn the perfect time to stay at a bed & breakfast? We naturally enjoy a change of scenery and the rooms are usually very nice and smell amazing! The best part of the getaway is enjoying some wonderful meals and snacks. These great pumpkin cookies await you at White Cedar Inn in Maine. http://www.whitecedarinn.com/freeportmainetodo

Ingredients:
2 1/2 c flour
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
pinch salt
1 1/2 c sugar
1 stick butter
1 c canned pumpkin (15 oz can works well, use the remaining pumpkin as a snack)
1 egg
1 tsp vanilla

Grease baking sheets. Preheat oven to 350.

Directions:
Cream together sugar & butter in large mixing bowl. Mix in pumpkin, egg & vanilla. Add flour, baking soda, baking powder, cinnamon, nutmeg & salt to pumpkin mixture, beat until well-mixed.

Using a cookie scoop, drop rounded mixture on baking sheets, leaving room for expansion. Bake for 15 minutes until edges are set.

Let cookies cool and then drizzle on glaze. I used a condiment squeeze bottle, but a plastic bag with the corner cut off works well, too.

Glaze:
2 c confectioner’s sugar
3 tbsp whole milk
1 tbsp melted butter
1 tsp vanilla

Mix all ingredients in a bowl. Transfer to ‘dispenser’ to glaze.

Keep in mind that 15 ozs of canned pumpkin is by weight. You’ll be using 1 cup by volume so there will not be that much left over. Mix it in with some Greek yogurt for a really creamy, seasonal snack.
******************************************************
Well, I won’t get to stay at White Cedar Inn tonight, but maybe I’ll make a batch of these cookies! I’ll use Splenda instead of sugar, of course, and probably skip the glaze. They’ll still be good I’m sure! It is pumpkin season and we should celebrate! Wink! 😉