A COMMENTARY FROM THE HEART

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 So neither the one who plants nor the one who waters is anything, but only God, who makes things grow.  – 1 Corinthians 3:7

I’m the first to admit that winter is not my favorite season.  Some of my friends think it’s the bees knees, but no – not me.  I’m simply tickled to see spring peeking around the corner, although here in Kansas we had a remarkably mild winter.  I’m not complaining! 

There’s nothing like that first time in the garden in spring!  Gardening just makes one feel so close to nature and more alive somehow, doesn’t it?  This portion of Scripture is not talking about literal gardening though – it’s talking about spiritual gardening.

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Who’s doing the planting?  All of us, as God’s children, need to be scattering “seed” – that is, sharing our faith, at every given opportunity.  It seems when I hear the word WITNESSING, my knees begin to buckle – but if I’m told to share my faith – that’s really more natural and makes me more comfortable.  Just tell your story – that’s about it.  I was blind – but now I see.  That is scattering seed.  It’s not complicated – but so often we make it so.

Once seed is planted…  who waters them?  Well, God sends the right people along to do that.  It could be any of us, really.  Again, watering seed is like sowing it – you just keep sharing your faith and be there to answer questions, read Scripture, and pray with folks.  Sometimes you share and get a door slammed in your face.  That’s okay because you did what you’re supposed to do.  If someone’s not ready, you’ve still planted a seed.  I might add, this is a big reason we should do our best to avoid being a stumbling block to those who are still on the fence.  We have to be so careful – we don’t want anything we say or do to be the reason someone does not come to a saving knowledge of Christ Jesus.  I don’t have to remind you what God said about those who are stumbling blocks, do I?  No – that’s for another blog post.grow

Do we make the seeds grow?  NO WAY!  I can’t save anyone – this blog can’t save anyone.  Belief on the Lord Jesus Christ…  that can save everyone!!!  I pray it does.  How different our interactions with one another would be if we were all more kind, gracious, and sweet.  It would be so beautiful if every seed would flourish.  🙂

GUMDROP DAY

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Happy Gumdrop Day!!!  I’d also like to say happy birthday to my sweet mother in Heaven.

The first thing I thought of when I saw that it’s Gumdrop Day was how my mother used gumdrops to decorate a simple, clear plastic tree-shape at Christmastime.  It was so cute!

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Gumdrops come in both fruit and spice varieties.  Sometimes the spice ones are called spice drops.  Some folks use gumdrops for decorating baked goods, gingerbread houses and other crafting.  I like to eat them out of my hand – and I prefer the spice drops to the plain fruit gumdrops.
In the U.S., three other “old-fashioned” gumdrop candies are also popular:  Orange Slices, Licorice Babies, and Spearmint Leaves.  These are larger than traditional gumdrops or spice drops.
Sometimes my mom would use the same plastic tree to put pastel colored spice drops on for Easter.
 Do I have you tempted to buy some gumdrops?  Let’s take a look at oldtimecandy.com:
Interestingly enough, these are the larger size gumdrops – I couldn’t find the smaller ones here.  I’m a little surprised since this is old-time candy.  😉
SMILE

Don’t be afraid,
Don’t hold a grudge
Just ease back your fears
And smile.
Look at a young child
and wonder what makes them smile,
Lollipops, Gumdrops, Butterfly’s?
Chocolate, Rainbows, Blue sky’s?
What makes you smile?
Sun sets, Sun rise, Blue sky’s?
Roses, Noses Kisses, love?
A Fairy Tale, A happy ending, A white dove?

Bring the  things that you have that your already smiling at.
Family. Friends. Children. Mom. Dad.
Shelter. Food. Money.
Growth. Comfort
Love.
Just relax. And Smile.

Magean Martin

Although gumdrops are usually associated with Christmas, you can make up a batch for Easter for decorating or to have on hand for a sweet treat.  🙂

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http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/ree-drummond/homemade-gumdrops

 

WHITE CHRISTMAS

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Sprinkle me with water and I will be pure; wash me and I will be whiter than snow.  – Psalm 51:7

I love Lucinda’s new poem about a white Christmas.  There’s a stanza that talks about showing love and compassion at this time of year – about helping someone pick up items they’ve dropped.  I had to laugh because that very thing recently happened to me.  I’m not sure why the good folks at Walmart think that fourteen gazillion items can be stuffed into one of their plastic bags – and they don’t have to double-bag it.  Sigh…

I was crossing the parking lot and it was so crowded – people everywhere and cars lined up waiting for me to get out of the way.  I had left the cart inside the store, thinking I could carry the bag to the car alright.  I thought wrong.  The bottom of the bag broke and stuff dropped out!  It was everywhere!  I was so rattled and embarrassed!

I scrambled to quickly pick things up, although some things had rolled away from me.  It’s amazing how kind and helpful the folks around me were!  There seemed to be folks coming from everywhere to help – and many were showing true empathy, explaining that at some time or the other, the same thing had happened to them.

The people in cars put them in park and got out to help me!  Nobody seemed angry or upset – but everyone was so very kind and helpful.  I was silently thanking God for that.  As we all know, sometimes people are less than kind and compassionate to another person’s plight.

I hope you enjoy this poem as much as I did.

a-christmas-of-whiteAnd I’m reminded too that my neighbor is everyone – not just the person who lives in my neighborhood.  Every time others are kind and compassionate with me, I become more kind and compassionate with others.  We teach others how to treat others by our own actions and reactions, you see?  It’s a choice we make and it’s a choice to ask God for help or not.  I don’t know about you, but I want to learn every lesson I can from God if it will mold me into the kind, compassionate, caring person I need to be.

May all your Christmases be WHITE.  🙂

 

PROVERBS 10:8 ON 10/8

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The wise in heart accept commands, but a chattering fool comes to ruin.  – Proverbs 10:8

You know, the thing about  those Proverbs…  they don’t mess around.  Some portions of Scripture dilly dally around to get to the meat of the matter.  Wow – the Proverbs – not so much.  They say what they mean and they mean what they say! 

Whether your boss is wise in heart or a chattering fool…  once in a while they will criticize you about something.  Let God worry about which they are…  you just make sure you are wise in heart and know how to be accepting of corrective criticism.  😉

with-gods-wisdom-and-quick-witYou may ask, “Can you combine the wisdom you get from God with a quick wit?”  I’d ask how you couldn’t?  Maybe it’s just how God works with me, but more times than not, if I’m enduring some corrective criticism and asking God’s Spirit for help – He not only provides wisdom, but He also gives me thoughts about how to lighten the moment.  It’s very unusual to not have His wisdom and a joke or a story pop into my mind simultaneously.  dont-let-peoples-compliments-get-to-your-head-and-dont-let-their-criticism-get-your-heart-worship-quote

Is it necessary to explain what a chattering fool is – or how they can ruin???  I pray I’ve never been one, but I was young and immature at one time, so…  here’s the thing…  we are all works in progress.  God’s not done with any of us yet. 

By the same token, God loves us too much to leave us in an immature state.  He wants us to grow in our faith.  Let’s focus on the positive…  how do we become WISE IN HEART???  How do I learn to accept commands, to accept corrective criticism, to accept help given by authority to make me better?  What is that key attitude that God wants me to have as part of my armor to navigate this life?

  • PRACTICE DISCERNMENT.  I say “practice” because discernment is a part of wisdom that only comes with practice…  lots and lots of practice.  When a person in authority corrects you and you are tempted to let it hurt your heart, stop that process in its tracks – stop it right there.  Pray that God’s Holy Spirit would help you discern whether the correction is 1) necessary and 2) helpful to your future workmanship.  If God’s Spirit lets you know that it is both necessary and helpful to your future workmanship – then and only then can you accept it, learn from it – and move on.  When corrective criticism is given about your work – something you are being paid or compensated to do a certain way – and it meets this criteria…  it is not aimed at you personally.  Take notes…  do what you have to do to get it right – but don’t let the criticism set in your heart!
  • BE GRACIOUS.  We’ve all received corrective criticism – and a few of us have received the rantings of a fool who just happens to be our boss, am I right?  Regardless of whether you work for a wise person or a fool, always be gracious.  There are times to scream and cry and shout and yell at the top of your lungs.  That time is not as soon as you’ve been chewed out.  Go to the bathroom and stand in a stall or if it’s raining, go outside for a while (rain is great camo for tears).  My new go-to is a workout, followed by a shower.  Take it out on those machines…  they can take it! 
  • TOW THE LINE BETWEEN STRENGTH AND UNDERSTANDING.  God did not make you to be a door mat.  If you are unjustly called on the carpet, do what I call “the quick prayer” – you know, like, “Lord, please help me here – this isn’t right.”  He knows!  It’s amazing how quickly he answers those prayers.  He answers as quickly as you pray them.  If you work for a wise person, they can show understanding and answer any questions you may have.  If you work for a fool, it could get tricky – but God’s going to work that out for you because you asked Him to!  A foolish boss will just chatter and chatter to hear him/herself talk.  It’s frustrating.  But, when God makes your boss need to take a breath, don’t be afraid to be strong and find out more deets about the proverbial raking over said coals.  Ask nicely, but be strong, keeping a calm, even tone.
  • STAY SWEET.  Sweet words are like honey to the soul – even the soul of a foolish boss.  The wise boss will understand where you’re coming from, but the foolish boss will mistake your sweetness for weakness and assume you are afraid of people.  Nothing could be further from the truth, but in any case, stay sweet.  If you have been criticized and have prayed about it – and discern that it is unjustified, don’t lose your cool.  That wrecks your witness to your foolish boss.  Remember that God hasn’t given up on him/her.  You shouldn’t either.  The battle is the Lord’s.  Be still and let HIM fight it for you.
  • BE PRUDENT.  Once in a great while, we really do have to choose our battles very carefully in the workplace.  We need to be wise and think about consequences that follow actions.  Is X worth Y???  Again, we pray and ask God for HIS way to handle things.  When Jesus was taken before Pilate, remember how He didn’t speak, even though He was heading for a horrific beating and subsequent death on the cross?  One without wisdom just pops off without a thought of what follows.  Keep emotions in check – God’s got the big picture under control.  Sometimes it’s a matter of just taking the criticism and keeping your mouth shut.
  • EXERCISE INTELLIGENCE.  Before I explain, I want to say that intellect and common horse sense don’t even graze in the same field.  There are educated idiots running around all over the planet; however, if you are hearing corrective criticism from your boss and you actually have some knowledge about the subject at hand, it’s okay to speak up and explain why you did what you did the way you did it.  If you want God’s wisdom, it’s not always going to be intelligence that He wants you to use – but if it is, you’ll know it.
  • HUMILITY DOESN’T HURT.  If you can accept the criticism from your boss, pray about it (in your head – God hears), and be wise in your response…  add a dash of humility into the mix.  Most bosses, whether wise or foolish, come down off their high horse long enough to let a humble person know that it’s okay to be human now and then.  Again, take a note…  do what it is you need to do to keep it from happening again.  Being humble is a huge (pronounced UGE) part of acquiring God’s wisdom.

God’s wisdom in the workplace will give you true joy and satisfaction of spirit.  It’s true…  read Proverbs 16:16.  🙂

 


A COMMENTARY FROM THE HEART

TL A COMMENTARY FROM THE HEART (17)What an interesting experience we had at our local McDonald’s restaurant the other day!  As you know, my husband and I are both type 2 diabetics.  We had been shopping at Walmart and I began to have symptoms of low blood sugar, which is very unusual for me.  I’m not a disciplined patient – that is to say, I don’t typically carry candy or glucose tablets in my purse.  I know…  I know – I should.

We quickly checked our stuff out and loaded it in the truck – then made a beeline for the McDonald’s across the parking lot.  To our surprise, there was some sort of meeting going on with goodies that each person brought from home!  I’m so impressed that the management of McDonald’s would allow folks to do that.  You’d think they would insist that they buy the food there, wouldn’t you?

There were all sorts of cakes and cookies and assorted things of that nature.  I was busy with my oatmeal and coffee (4 points, yep – I counted it)…  and a sweet little lady came to our booth and said,

It’s April birthday month and we have all kinds of goodies if you kids would like to have some birthday cake or cookies, help yourself!

Two things hit me simultaneously…  first – the term YOU KIDS is one I have not heard in such a long time; in fact, not since my sweet mama passed.  Secondly – the sheer sweetness she showed.  We were not a part of their organization or group or whatever, yet she showed such a kindness to us!

I didn’t know her, but she was inclusive by inviting us to be a part of their celebration.  She had no way of knowing that I had a birthday in April – but how very sweet it was of her to ask if we may want to help them celebrate another year of life for those in their group – whatever it was.  I have no idea, but I am so impressed with the manager of that McDonald’s for letting these sweet seniors gather there with their homemade birthday goodies.APRIL BIRTHDAY JOY

As we left the restaurant, I made a little detour to the counter and let the manager know that I thought it was very kind of him to let them gather every month for a birthday celebration.  He just grinned and gave me two thumbs up.  He told me they’d been doing that since the restaurant opened and he doesn’t mind a bit.  I didn’t ask what organization they represent – I’m not sure he even knew to be honest.

Some things happen on some days that just restore your faith in human nature.  This was a good day – a very, very good day.  Thank You, Lord for good days and good folks.  🙂

NATIONAL HEAVENLY HASH DAY

TL 2-2 NATIONAL HEAVENLY HASH DAYYes, it’s called HEAVENLY, but if you have diabetes like me, this little treat packs a sugar PUNCH and should be eaten with extreme caution!  Even if you substituted Splenda for sugar, that would do very little to lessen the intensity of the sweetness.2-2 SWEET

Heavenly Hash Bars

Makes approximately 12 squares or 16 clusters; can be doubled

1 cup sugar
1 cup evaporated milk
3 tablespoons light corn syrup
16 ounces bittersweet chocolate, chopped
1 teaspoon vanilla bean paste or pure vanilla extract
2 cups roasted, salted almonds, kept whole
2 cups miniature marshmallows

Line an 8-inch square baking dish with parchment paper with enough excess hanging over the sides of the pan to use as “handles”; spray paper with cooking spray.

Combine the sugar, evaporated milk, and corn syrup in a medium-sized, heavy saucepan. Bring the mixture to a boil over medium-high heat, whisking often, and continue boiling the mixture until it reaches 218°F to 220°F on an instant read thermometer, 5 to 8 minutes. Remove the saucepan from the heat and let cool for 2 minutes. Fold in chocolate and vanilla and stir until melted. Let cool for an additional 15 to 20 minutes, then fold in the nuts and marshmallows.

Transfer the chocolate mixture to the prepared baking dish and spread evenly with a silicone spatula. Refrigerate the candy until firm, at least two hours. Using the parchment paper handles, remove the candy from the baking dish and cut into squares. (It helps to use a knife dipped in hot water.)

Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to a week. Pull 5 to 10 minutes prior to serving.

Recipe Notes:

To make clusters instead of bars: using a spring-form ice cream scoop, drop round clusters onto a sheet pan lined with parchment paper or a Silpat. Refrigerate until hardened, at least 1 hour. Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator; pull out 30 minutes before serving.

If you indulge, ENJOY!  🙂

NATIONAL COTTON CANDY DAY

JUNE 11TH IS NATIONAL COTTON CANDY DAY

Today we celebrate the fun food that nearly every child has eaten at one time or the other…  COTTON CANDY!  It’s so much fun because who would think of eating cotton?  But cotton candy almost immediately melts in your mouth and is so yummy and sweet.

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As we get older and have to face the big issues in life, it’s good to take a moment to close your eyes and think about fun moments of childhood.  Today I will close my eyes and think about eating cotton candy at the circus.  Every spot that got wet turned into a sticky mess!

The best technique is to pull a bite-size piece, but even then you have to make sure you didn’t get your fingers wet – lol.  It’s just messy no matter how you eat it – but isn’t that part of the fun?

This sticky mess is known as cotton candy in the United States, India and Canada.  It’s called candy floss in the United Kingdom, Pakistan, Ireland, New Zealand and South Africa.  My favorite name for it is fairy floss.  If you’re in Australia, that’s what you call it.

Most cotton candy is sold from a bag these days, but when I was a kid, we got to watch them make it.  It’s a form of spun sugar with dashes of flavoring and food coloring added.  It’s made by heating sugar and spinning the liquefied sugar out through tiny holes where it re-solidifies in minutely thin strands of “sugar glass”. 

Don’t you wonder who sits up at night thinking these things up?

Though cotton candy packs pounds on the body, it contains mostly air and weighs about an ounce.  When I was a kid, cotton candy was sold on paper batons.  Today it’s sold in plastic bags and you don’t get to watch them make it.

There are similar confections like the Persian Pashmak and the Turkish Pismaniye, but Pismaniye is made with flour and water in addition to sugar. 

For the most part, it’s not the cotton candy that matters, but the memory that encompasses it.  In my life, it was fun at the circus or the state fair with my parents.  Good times – yeah, really good times.  🙂