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What If? Asking Questions About Life

Untold by Matthew West

I haven’t written now for over a month as my husband and I have been traveling, visiting family as well as for work purposes. Writing is something I am passionate about and when I write, it is usually something that means a lot to me. This week was the Forty-Seventh anniversary of the Supreme Court decision to allow abortions. In this last year the state of New York declared that an abortion of a baby up to the birth is now allowed. This decision just really concerns me and I ask myself and think about many of the consequences of this decision. This decision causes me to ask a question that starts with the words “what If?”.

Negative OR Positive?

This question, “what if?”, comes with positive and negative connotations. We can think about certain situations on one hand and think that their circumstances are negative. We can also though look at our life and see positively about what happens.

Considered NegativeDefining a Baby

Society today tells women many things about what a baby is, often to justify the decision of having an abortion. Commonly, people de-humanize the baby by telling her that her baby is just “a fetus” or tissue that is inside, that the baby does not have a beating heart and it does not really exist as a true, living human being.

The Choice To Make

The abortion industry tells women that it is only her choice, no one else’s choice and that this is an option, their option to decide on. They say that it is about a woman’s body and a woman’s healthcare and that it has nothing to do with the life that is growing inside of her. The truth is that choice is only a factor because the law says it is, but the real issue isn’t really a legal one or an issue of choice. It’s really about the moral issue of the value of life. Born or unborn, it’s still a human being, created in the image of God.

Women are choosing to take someone else’s life and actually stealing away the choice of another human being to live as God intended. The baby doesn’t have any say or any choice in this matter of what happens to him or her. Fathers and other family members are also affected by this choice such as siblings who don’t get to have a relationship with a brother or sister. The father does not have any opportunity to enjoy their daughter or son if the mother takes the matter into her own hands.

What If They Could Be A …?

Another thought I consider is, what are women giving up, not giving other people the opportunity to experience? What are they giving up and not allowing a child to grow up and have the opportunity to give the world? Could this child grow up and be a great doctor who discovers the cure to a terrible disease or maybe solve problems that no one else did? What about a scientist, or a lawyer? Could they be an amazing neighbor, a friend, a great person in their community? So many “what if’s”! Have they thought of this before making a drastic, permanent decision to end a life?

What Defines My Success?

How do we define success? An actress recently was thrilled that she was so successful because she chose to give up her baby by having an abortion. (Michelle Williams). I have heard other women express that they were thankful that they did not choose to have their baby and they gave up this opportunity by aborting their baby. Is this truly success? If they really did not feel that they could raise a child in the situation that they were in at the time that they were pregnant, could they not give up their baby for adoption and bring joy to another family?

“You gave life to me

A brand new world to see

Like playing baseball in the yard with dad at night

Mom reading Goodnight Moon

And praying in my room

So if you worry if your choice was right

You gave me up but you gave everything to me

Everything to me by Mark Schultz

Today, there are many single women or young mothers who return to school and/or have very successful careers while having a family. It is difficult for some, but still very possible. They are very thankful for the children that they have now. Their children are a joy to them and have given them a great perspective on life. Is getting what I want the most important thing to consider?

What If We Have No Values?

What If we choose not to value babies as people? Where does it end? Who or what else is next? Many people see what they believe are unethical leaders in our country. They are not doing right for the state, local government and country they represent. Statistics already show that more than sixty million babies have been aborted. When does the death stop in the name of convenience? This number is more than the amount of people who died in the Holocaust and wars. Yet, It is now legal to kill a breathing child who has been delivered and no longer in the womb!

What If The Hurt is So Great?

What if another woman struggles with depression, anxiety and often suicide because of a decision she once made and now regrets? Planned Parenthood has painted a picture and told women the lie that says that they won’t feel or experience pain or regret from the decision they make. They train their volunteers, employees to tell women who come for abortions, that they will be ok once its all over, yet they are not. Many women suffer for years. Thankfully some though now know the forgiveness, love and grace that God offers when they have counseling through organizations started to help women who go through regretting their decision and make different decisions for the future.

What If for Doctors?

Another negative “what if?” pertains to doctors and those in the medical field. When doctors participate in abortion, they do not get to see lives cured and saved. Their lives are gone, they are no longer. No successes, no joy, no love, just the end of life! They realize that they can count the number of lives they did not save.

What If I believe Truth or a Lie?

What if they believe lies or the truth and what is capturing peoples attention today? Are we accepting life, or not? Do we look into what we are told, what we and thus our government is supporting, or not? This year, for the 2020 election, Planned Parenthood is paying 48 million dollars in tax payer money. Who do we support? What will we support? Do we believe what Planned Parenthood or other organizations/people supporting abortion state is true, or do believe facts, statistics and testimonies of people who have experienced the difficult and bad consequences of abortion?

Positive “What If’s”

Now, let”s take time to consider the positive “what if’s?.

What If I Do Receive Help?

Many women and families are concerned about help they would or would not receive. There are many organizations available and ready to help mothers feed, clothe and raise their children. Many crisis pregnancy centers help with this as well as many churches, ministries, individual families and some government organizations provide help.

What If My Baby Is Great Someday?

Who will my baby be someday? What if I get to raise, nurture and impact a life? Today when I arrived home from church, the TV was on and reporting how a very famous LA Lakers Basketball player (Kobe Bryant) and his daughter were killed in a helicopter crash. It doesn’t make sense and is a shock, but people who knew him were inspired and changed or because of him. What if there was no Kobe Bryant? What if there were no mentors and hero’s such as Kobe to influence lives? If his mother did not choose life, he would not have existed at all. What if we have moral and ethical leaders in our country? What if people show me love despite what my past looks like? Because of great people who’s mother gave them life, they can influence me to grow and understand God’s love, grace and forgiveness.

What If We Choose Right?

What would happen if people did understand what is happening in our world today, with hate, violence, killing. Would we gain a better understanding of the value of life if we choose to do things God’s way, not just for our own peace and satisfaction?

What If There Was Less Pain?

What if women believed and learned through others’ experience or their own personal experience, that they would not suffer physically and emotionally if they chose life instead of an abortion? Or maybe we could help them understand what abortion does to them, to their baby, to the father, to the family and to friends? Would this make any difference in lives saved today and hurt going on around us?

What if doctors today saw the many lives spared that they delivered? Are these lives wonderful, successful adults, going good things now? If they are saving babies, they are making this possible!

A Real Life Example

I listened last week to a woman, a retired OB-GYN named Kathi Aultman. So many things she said on Focus On The Family, stood out to me. Not only had she had an abortion herself, in her past, she spoke of how she performed many abortions as well. She said that she realized as she walked through Neonatal departments in a hospital that some of these babies were the same age as some of the babies she was aborting. The only difference for some is that the babies who were wanted, vs the babies that were not wanted, were defined as “babies”.

Is this really how we determine truth though? Is a baby only called a “baby” when it is wanted? Does someone or something only truly exist when we want it to exist? Our existence doesn’t depend on whether it is wanted. Life is simply life, regardless if it is wanted or not. Life should be spared regardless of whether he or she was planned. It is a beating heart, a life, not a tissue that can be ripped up and thrown out if situations are inconvenient in a mothers life.

What About Other Options?

If a mother and father and family really cannot raise a child, there are many families so willing to love and raise the child. There are also some families concerned about babies born with disabilities and Down Syndrome. They are unsure how they could care for babies born with these conditions or whether anyone is willing to adopt babies born with conditions such as these. I learned that there are people specifically wanting to adopt babies with disabilities such as these. National Down Syndrome Adoption Network, America World Adoption Down Sydrome Adoption, Adopt America Network, The Adoption Exchange, Rainbow Kids Adoption and Child Welfare Advocacy (abclawcenters.com)

Dr. Kathi Aultman realized that she had not allowed some life to enter this world, but by changing to a pro-life stand after having her own child, she allowed many an opportunity to live now.

There is hope for life and hope in life. No one is beyond help. Circumstances can be difficult for some, but it is no reason to take someone’s life. God is the one who created life. Psalm 139 explains how God formed each part of every human being’s body and He knew us before anyone knew that we exist. Let us consider how we can make the right decision for each life.

Resources

Some resources that are available and helpful are:

Crisis Pregnancy Centers all around the United States. In many of these are Ultrasound machines available for women to see the life inside them and then make the best choice for their baby. You can now donate $60 to Focus on the Family to provide an ultrasound for one woman considering an abortion.

ProLove Ministries provides practical ways for women to get help and support is at proloveministries.org

For more information and help, Focus on The Family phone number is 1-800-A Family(800-232-6459). They have a special page dedicated to pro-life resources here

Alive 2020 is an event happening in 5 cities throughout the USA this year. In Southern California, Dallas,Chicago, Atlanta and South Florida

The annual March for Life takes place yearly in Washington D.C.

The Midwest March for Life takes place Saturday, February 1st, in Jefferson City, MO. http://www.midwestmarchforlife

Watch the movie Unplanned

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+ Driving through the storm give Him the wheel!

Driving Through The Storm Give Him the Wheel!

I found that I am prepared for driving through the storm, best when I give Him the wheel! The experiences I have in life have demonstrated to me that when I anticipate a storm, I brace myself and start preparing.

This last weekend, my husband and I left our area to go visit my sister and her family. They live around six hours away from us, and further north than we do. My husband, Daniel, as he usually does, checked the weather. He saw how the weather was calm, with no snow here in the St Louis area on Friday, the day that we left. We should not experience any other weather on the trip north but possibly some rain on Saturday while we were up in Wisconsin.

On Sunday though, we saw that we would encounter a snow storm on our way back home. Knowing this, we decided it was best to take our safer vehicle, a 4 wheel drive Hummer. This way, we felt we could better handle the roads as we traveled. Make the wisest choices for what we will encounter is critical in life too! If we did not have a sturdier vehicle, we may have needed to reschedule our plans.

Driving through the storm give Him the wheel!

Change To Give Him The Wheel In The Storm

As we drove home on Sunday, I saw very small amounts of snow, grow to large amounts and larger flakes, the closer we got to home. I could barely see flakes at first. At other times, I could see larger flakes, coming down very rapidly, making it very difficult to see through the windshield. We had to turn the wipers on to move quickly to clear the windshield.

As we drove further along, the more rapidly the knew then, that we were “in the storm.” We had now reached what we heard was coming!

The changes we experience in life though, can surprise us. There are calm times, then there are busy times, that we have to prepare and be aware that they are coming. What are we going to do and how are we going to react to change? I can honestly say, that I don’t always react to change gracefully! When I see I am in the busiest, craziest part of the storm, I get real nervous about what can or will happen. Then I start thinking of all of the possibilities, and I think negatively, instead of just being calm.

Often, I think of how people on the road drive, when watch news reports and I then get concerned that this will happen! I can see many people who do not know how to drive in this weather and believe that they should not be out, because they are not prepared for what has come.

Adapting In The Storm, When He Takes the Wheel

When we reach the storm, either while driving, or in any aspect of our life, we have to make changes. The weather now has affected what we were planning to do. We have to slow down and adjust what we planned to do. Remember, when driving through the storm, give Him the wheel! I had to change and reschedule appointments for Monday. We have to adapt to the circumstances we are in. Stay calm, watch and wait for it to clear. At times, we made plans or hoped something would happen , but it didn’t. It is disappointing to us. We have to live though with what comes, and deal with what happens. http://stltoday.com

Beauty Minus Comfort In The Storm

I love the beauty of the snow, especially looking out of our windows in our house, but I don’t like the cold. I don’t like the hassle and the discomfort that the cold brings when having specifically a snow storm. https://heartshare.blog/2019/11/30/in-bright-or-dim-lights-lets-see-him/Seeing how things turn out as snow develops is great, but I don’t like how it feels right then. This reminds me of the verse, Hebrews 12:11 . Our discipline is not pleasant. Good things happen even when things don’t seem pleasant at that moment.

No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful. Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it.

Hebrews 12:11 NIV
Driving through the storm give Him the wheel!
Driving through the storm give Him the wheel!

Jesus, Take the Wheel

Carrie Underwood sings the song, Jesus Take the Wheel!” I am reminded of how when He takes the wheel, He makes the adjustments and changes necessary! He will make all things beautiful in His time! I also love the verse Isaiah 61:3 that speaks of turning beauty from ashes. Though it is hard for some of us, we can believe that God will really make change. Beauty is in the middle of uncomfortable, difficult circumstances that we are not prepared for. We must believe that God is in full control no matter how much we prepare, adapt and deal with change. Giving Him full control is something that my husband and I are learning at the moment.

…to bestow on them a crown of beauty, instead of ashes, the oil of joy instead of mourning and a garment of praise instead of a spirit of despair. They will be called oaks of righteousness, a planting of the Lord for the display of His splendor.

Isaiah 61:3 NIV

We must remember, when driving through the storm, give Him the wheel!

+ Consider The Temporary and the Eternal

Consider The Temporary and the Eternal

Well Done by The Afters

Consider An Eternal Perspective!

When we think about what really matters in life, we often consider what we are bothered and upset about. We wonder “why”? There are a lot of “why’s” that I thought of very recently! Let’s take a moment to consider the temporary and the eternal.

I see some people have less difficulty than others do. Wondering when I have trials already, why does God go deeper and deeper, to catch my attention?https://heartshare.blog/2019/11/30/in-bright-or-dim-lights-lets-see-him/ Then, I seem surprised. 1 Peter 4:12-13 says, “do not be surprised,” though.

Beloved, do not be surprised at the fiery trial that has come upon you, as though something strange were happening to you. But rejoice that you share in the sufferings of Christ, so that you may be overjoyed at the revelation of His glory.

1 Peter 4:12-13

Consider What We Face Temporarily

As we consider the temporary and the eternal, look over this list of some common hurts and trials that we face regularly:

  • Grief
  • Job stress
  • Physical health
  • Family disputes
  • Missing family
  • Loss

Consider Temporary Testing and Refining

Some days, it is really hard to have an eternal perspective! Especially when we are only looking at what hurts us now! We can’t imagine or think about joy with Him for eternity!

I was reading today about refining silver and testing gold, because of a verse I read in Zechariah 13:9. As I researched the terms refining and testing, I noticed that the term “refining” is a also a term used to describe improving. Testing the gold, is meant to see if the gold is real or fake. Some of the tests I read about regarding gold testing involved using a magnet or floating because real gold is not magnetic and does not float! http://bullionexchanges.com Are the trials and difficulties in our lives, improving us or are they making us more genuine? Do other people and God know that we are real? The process of improving our life is hard! Lots of trials really hurt!

Consider Pressing On for His Purpose!

Be thankful and full of joy when you know that God has us here for a purpose; because we know that we are fulfilling that purpose! We were told by Paul to Press on and finish the race that is set before us!

Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already arrived at my goal, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me. 13 Brothers and sisters, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, 14 I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.

Philippians 3:12-14 (NIV)

Consider How Are We Faithful?

I have several people in my family who have dedicated their lives to share the gospel with people on the other side of the world! One of these couples is my sister and her husband, who are being faithful in fulfilling what God called them to do. What has God called you to do or what has He called you to be faithful in?

  • In your marriage and family
  • Loving Him
  • Be a witness
  • Disciple
  • Go into all the world to preach the gospel- Jerusalem, Judea, uttermost part of the world.

Consider Your Temporary Role!

The New Testament uses several metaphors for us as believers to help us consider the temporary and the eternal. We are:

24 Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one gets the prize? Run in such a way as to get the prize. 25 Everyone who competes in the games goes into strict training. They do it to get a crown that will not last, but we do it to get a crown that will last forever. 26 Therefore I do not run like someone running aimlessly; I do not fight like a boxer beating the air. 27 No, I strike a blow to my body and make it my slave so that after I have preached to others, I myself will not be disqualified for the prize.

1 Corinthians 9:24-27(NIV)
  • Fighters- Fight the good fight! ( 2 Timothy 4:7-9) and spiritual warfare( Ephesians 6)

I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. Now there is in store for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will award to me on that day—and not only to me, but also to all who have longed for his appearing.

2 Timothy 4:7-9 (NIV)
  • Conquerors- We are more than Conquerors! (Romans 8:37)

…No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us.

romans 8:37 (NIV)

Consider His Eternal Actions!

Although I don’t know you personally, and you may be ready for trials and suffering to be over, take heart when Revelation 21:4 says:

  • He will wipe away all tears
  • Death will be complete
  • No more sorrow
  • No more pain
  • Past is over!

Consider His Eternal Word!

23 “His master replied, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant! You have been faithful with a few things; I will put you in charge of many things. Come and share your master’s happiness!’

Matthew 25:23 (NIV)

Consider What Eternal Outcome We Will See!

In summary, do you remember the “revelation of His glory” in 1 Peter 4:13? Peter is saying that “we rejoice as we participate in the sufferings of Christ, so that we can be overjoyed when His glory is revealed!”. According to Revelation 21 & 22, this is because He is making everything new! As a result, it will be beautiful and nothing that defiles or is an abomination will exist. He will bring glory and honor and when He comes, and He will bring reward with Him only to those whose names are written in the Lambs Book of Life! …”Even so, come Lord Jesus!”

+ These are a few of our favorite things

These Are A Few of Our Favorite Things – Con’t

I sent out a blog post two days ago including “a few of our favorite things,” of our family recipes! You can follow a link to the first half of this post here.

I remember trying Sweet Potato Soufflé for the first time in the 1980’s. It has always been my favorite way to eat Sweet Potatoes!

Sweet Potato Soufflé

Sweet Potato Soufflé
  • 3 Cups of mashed sweet potatoes
  • 3/4 Cup of sugar
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/3 stick of margarine
  • 1/4 Cup of sweetened condensed milk
  • 1 tsp of vanilla

Mix all of these ingredients together and place in a greased 9×13 glass dish. For a delicious topping, mix these ingredients and sprinkle on the top:

  • 1/2 Cup of brown sugar
  • 1/3 Cup of flour
  • 1/2 Cup of nuts (I usually use pecans, but walnuts can be substituted)
  • 1/3 stick of margarine

Bake at 350 degrees for 35 minutes

East Indian Curry

Chicken Curry

I was introduced to this meal around the time that my husband and I got married! His family eats it often! The flavors are great and I love the wonderful toppings! I normally make a double or triple recipe and save it to use for leftovers. This is the simple recipe, not doubled or tripled.

  • 3 Tbsp of butter
  • 1/4 Cup of minced onion
  • 1 1/2 tsp of curry powder
  • 3 Tbsp of flour
  • 3/4 tsp of salt
  • 3/4 tsp of sugar
  • 1/8 tsp of ground ginger
  • 1 cup of chicken broth
  • 1 Cup of milk
  • 2 Cups of diced, cooked chicken
  • 1/2 tsp of lemon juice
  • make 3-4 cups of cooked rice to go with it ( place on the bottom of other ingredients)

Melt the butter over low heat in a saucepan. Saute the onion and Curry Powder in the melted butter. Blend in the flower and the seasonings. cook over low heat until mixture is smooth and bubbly. Remove from the heat. Stir in chicken broth and milk. Bring to a boil, stirring it constantly. Boil for 1 minute. Add cooked chicken and lemon juice. Keep heated. Spoon this mixture over the rice, then add desired toppings! Some examples of toppings that I’ve enjoyed are (none of them are required):

  • Chutney
  • Tomato wedges
  • Raisins
  • Chopped, Slivered Almonds
  • Chopped, salted peanuts
  • Sauteed onion rings
  • Pineapple chunks
  • Apple chunks
  • Hard boiled eggs, chopped
  • Crisp bacon bits
  • sweet or sour pickles
  • Currant jelly
  • Flaked coconut
  • India relish
  • Sliced avocado
  • Banana chunks

Tater Tot Casserole

I made this for years especially when our kids were young. I really miss those days!

  • 2 pounds of ground beef or turkey
  • 1 small onion
  • 1/4 cup of green peppers
  • 1 can of cream of mushroom soup
  • 1 can(use soup can) of milk
  • Garlic to taste
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 large package of frozen french cut style green beans
  • 1 package of frozen tater tots

Saute the meat, onion, green pepper and seasonings. In a separate pan, cook green beans. In another dish, mix the soup and the milk. Layer the casserole dish with the meat mixture 1st, green beans 2nd, tater tots 3rd, then pour the soup and milk mixture over the top. Bake it in a 350 degree oven for 45 minutes.

Mom’s Pecan Pie

Pecan Pie

This was one of my Nana’s special recipe’s! I miss her very miss!

  • 3 Eggs well beaten
  • 1 Cup of brown or white sugar
  • 1 cup of Karo Corn Syrup
  • 1-2 tsp of Vanilla
  • a dash of salt
  • 3/4 Cup of Pecans

Mix together all of these ingredients and pour into a 9 inch unbaked pie crust. Bake at 350 degrees for 1 hour approximately.

Cherry Dump Cake

I have this recipe in a few family cookbooks and am frequently asked to make or bring to meals or parties

  • 2-3 Cans of Cherry Pie filling
  • 1 Large can of Crushed Pineapple
  • 1 Yellow Cake Mix (dry)
  • 1/2 Cup of melted margarine
  • 1 Cup of Chopped Pecans

In a 9×13 glass dish, mix the pineapple and the cherry pie filling. Dump/sprinkle the dry yellow cake mix on top of this. Pour the melted margarine over the cake mix and then add the pecans over the top and bake it at 350 degrees for 1 hour. I usually serve it with vanilla ice-cream or whipped topping! Often I add more melted butter and pecans than the recipe calls for.

Chocolate Peanut Clusters

Chocolate Peanut Clusters

This is another of my family’s favorites and is a very simple recipe to make, but it is loved and enjoyed so much! It’s usually easy to go through several batches because they are eaten up fast!

Prepare by placing some wax paper on some cookie sheets or other flat surfaces.

  • 1 Package of chocolate almond bark, melted
  • 2 cups of Salted Peanuts
  • 1-2 Cups of Miniature Marshmallows, depending on your preference

Mix these ingredients and drop them by Tablespoons on to wax paper. Let them form and harden. Next, enjoy them! It usually takes 30 minutes to an hour!

Now try some of your own family favorite recipes for the Holiday’s!

+ These are a few of our favorite things

These Are A Few Of Our Favorite Things!

What I Love To Make!

Making our favorite dishes, is something I love to do around the holidays. I love cooking, baking and making a few special things that our family loves! Throughout the years, I am always asked to make them or send the recipe, so I will put the items on this post so everyone who wishes to, can refer to my blog for these! https://heartshare.blog/2019/11/02/top-10-ways-to-prepare-for-the-holidays/

One of my favorite things is ANYTHING Peppermint! My most recent creation is my newest Peppermint Mocha!

Peppermint Mocha

Peppermint Mocha
  • 2 tsp Peppermint syrup(for coffee)
  • 1 Cup of freshly brewed coffee
  • 1 cup of boiling water
  • 2 heaping Tbsp hot chocolate mix( I use mix with mini marshmallows)
  • Whipped Cream
  • Crushed candy canes or peppermints

Instructions:

Place Peppermint syrup at the bottom of your cup. Then add freshly brewed coffee, hot chocolate mix, and water. Then stir, add whipped cream on top. Place crushed peppermint on top with a candy cane on the side! You can adjust the amounts according to your taste preferences and the size of your cup!

Kentucky Corn Pudding

This is one of our family’s favorite vegetable casseroles! Our girls ask for the recipe and I make it often during the holiday meals!

Kentucky Corn Pudding
  • 2 cans of whole kernel corn
  • 1 can of cream style corn
  • 1/2 cup of self-rising flour
  • 1 cup of milk
  • 1/4 cup of sugar
  • 1/2 tsp of salt
  • 2 sticks of margarine
  • 4 eggs

Instructions: Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Drain the whole kernel corn. Beat the eggs and melt the margarine. Mix together the corn, flour, sugar and salt into a large mixing bowl. Then add the beaten eggs and melted margarine and milk. Stir these together and place them in a 9×13 glass dish and place them in the oven for 1 hour approximately. When the hour is over, check to make sure it is finished by placing a knife inside and poke several holes throughout the casserole. If the knife comes out clean, it is finished. If not, bake for a few more minutes, checking it regularly to see if the knife is clean.

Cheesy Potato Casserole

Another one of our favorite casseroles! I also regularly add small diced ham cubes. It adds extra protein, color and adds extra flavor! I normally use about 1/2-1 cup of the diced ham if I include ham in the recipe.

  • 2 lb bag of frozen hash browns ( thaw them out before making this)
  • 1 can of cream of mushroom soup
  • 1/3 cup of chopped green onion
  • 1 pint of sour cream
  • 2 cups of shredded cheese
  • salt and pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Mix all of these ingredients together and place them in a 9×13 glass dish. For the topping, use 2-3 Tbsp of melted butter or margarine and mix with 1 cup of crushed corn flakes. Place them over the ingredients listed above and place them in the oven for 45 minutes.

Easy Fudge

This is my famous fudge recipe! It is our favorite candy recipe! I have had many people request it as gifts at Christmas time or to bring it to gatherings! What is interesting is, I had trouble in the past with getting fudge to reach the correct temperature, using a candy thermometer for years. When my husband and I were in college, one day we got some junk mail that included a recipe in it for fudge. This did not include having to use a candy thermometer, so I decided to give it a try! It came out great and I’ve made it ever since, for close to 20 years now!

Easy Fudge
  • 1/2 stick of butter( it has to be butter, not margarine, and needs to be salted)
  • 1 cup of sugar
  • 2/3 can of evaporated milk
  • 1 tsp of vanilla (I use real vanilla)
  • 1 and 1/2 cups of semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • 2 cups of mini marshmallows ( nuts are optional)

Measure the chocolate chips and marshmallows and place in separate bowls and place them aside! Timing is very important for making this recipe!

Prepare ahead of time, 1 8×8 glass dish by greasing the dish with butter, on the bottom and half way up the sides.

In a heavy non-stick pan, melt the butter, then add the sugar and evaporated milk. Bring these ingredients to a boil and watch for 3-4 minutes. Just watch for the 3-4 minutes, and stir it regularly until it looks like a smooth foam. Take off the stove and add the 1 tsp of vanilla, stir, add the chocolate chips, stir, add marshmallows and stir until they are completely melted, to where you can’t see any white, everything has to be smooth! Immediately place into the buttered pan. Spread it and let it set for about an hour. I also place it in the refrigerator to let it set quicker. After that hour, slice and serve it! Enjoy!

Sausage Balls

  • 1 pound of ground pork sausage.( in a tube, I use Jimmy Dean usually)
  • 1/2 cup of extra sharp cheddar cheese
  • 3 cups of Bisquick

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Mix all of the ingredients together. Then roll the sausage balls the size that you want them. Sometimes I have to dampen the ingredients with very small amounts of water in order to keep the ingredients together when I roll them. I then bake them for 15-20 minutes. My husband got this recipe from a coworker many years ago and we traditionally make them for breakfast for Christmas morning. We love them! Another recipe I found that you can use to spice the recipe up is: http://delish.com

Pass On A Few Of Your Favorite Things!

I’m going to create another blog post of our favorite family recipes another day this week. I hope that you enjoy these recipes! Please find some of your favorite recipes and pass them on to other people who can enjoy them!

+ Bright Light or Dim - Let's Se Him!

In Bright or Dim Lights – Let’s See Him!

Thy Will by Hillary Scott

The Lights

One thing I love during the fall and winter is seeing lights. Some are very bright and some are rather dim, low lights and some are candles. Either way, they are beautiful! I’ve been thinking of this as it pertains to our life, especially during the holidays. Some years have been bright and cheerful. Some years have been darker, harder to see joy from pain. They are calmer. Sometimes candles are present at sad times. Other times they are used at quiet times, some of which are romantic. Even in more difficult times, with the beautiful light from candles, God can bring about the best through showing His presence and by using us to be a light to brighten another persons life!

In Bright or Dim Lights – Let’s See Him!

Bright Lights

When the lights are bright, it seems that everyone is happy and circumstances are working out great. We have lots of fun and excitement. I found myself jealous this year, wanting what I see other people have. My husband reminded me though of a message our pastor gave a few months ago, that I have a problem known as ” FOMO- Fear of Missing Out”! I don’t like missing out! Adapting to change, is another struggle I find difficult. It upsets me when I want traditions and circumstances to stay the same. I want to enjoy and recreate memories from the past but with new family members such as grandchildren. I would say that the lights were quite dim at first during this Thanksgiving holiday. Daniel is good though in reminding me what I have. The lights glowed brighter because of him!

Low Lights

Sometimes though, circumstances are tough and seem dark. During this week of Thanksgiving, where we should give thanks for what we have, it seems so difficult to be thankful for the hard, painful things that happened in our life. Finding joy seems very impossible to us. It is tough when we experience hurt right now. Should we still be thankful regardless?

I believe, looking deep. we can always find something to be thankful for. We realize that others don’t have what we have. It seems like a more difficult task though to figure out what we really have that we can thank God for. Lots of fake smiles appear as well as pretending and looking like everything is just fine, are very common.

Solitary Lights

Comfort in the Low Lights

We know though that our Savior loves us dearly and He is close to the brokenhearted. He is available for us to call on us even on the stormy days, when we see others celebrating. and we know that we have celebrated in the past. I viewed holidays for many years, as a time that is cheerful. These times aren’t always cheerful though. I know of people who grieve from loss during and around the holidays. It really throws a wrench in how holidays would normally be celebrated. We remember from then on, that specific holiday and the hurt we felt.

He still loves us even when we don’t see and understand why things have happened and when we can’t make sense of what we are going through. The God of all comfort is available for us to be close to, even in the most difficult of times.

Know therefore that the Lord your God is God, He is the faithful God , keeping His covenant of love to a thousand generations of those who love Him and keep His commandments.

Deuteronomy 7:9 NIV

Battling with the Lights

If you are hurting for any reason, during this time of year, please know that our God loves you, despite circumstances. He wants you to turn to Him. Remember Him, He knows that we are broken and He wants to comfort you. “He knows the sorrow and the hurt” ( Mercy Me song “Even If).

He sets on high those who are lowly, and those who mourn are lifted to safety.

Job 5:11 NKJV

I found myself battling over which light I should embrace this year. I knew I should be full of joy and thanksgiving, but I also felt down. What do I do with this pain and discouragement? Is this really how I should be at this time? Do other people hurt too ? I often wonder how they are really doing.

Listening to music really helps me. Music first reminds me of what I should be doing, praising Him in the middle of dark circumstances. It also encourages me through the message I hear. Below is a list of songs that have been an encouragement to me lately, especially in this last week.

  • Once And For All song – Lauren Daigle
  • Spirit Lead Me – Michael Ketterer
  • Yes I will – Vertical Worship
  • Event When it Hurts – Hillsong
  • Even If – Mercy Me
  • Thy Will Be Done – Hillary Scott
  • I Can Only Imagine – Mercy Me
  • You’re Gonna Be Ok – Brian and Jenn Johnson
  • Is He Worthy – Chris Tomlin
  • Symphony – Switch
  • Give Me Faith-Elevation Worship

Identifying with the Light

I really do understand, maybe not for all of the exact reasons you may have. I have had some heavy circumstances this year. My heart is burdened for several reasons. Though I don’t understand what God is doing, I know that He does have reasons beyond what I can see.

Be A Light

Going through tough times doesn’t make sense to us, but God can use us to help others in the middle of tough times in their life, if we allow Him to use us. Check out my previous blog here about some folks who we can encourage. If we are sensitive to other people and what they are going through. I know that I have hope through my relationship with Him. I Can Only Imagine!

Praise the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and the God of all comfort. He comforts us in all our affliction, so that we may be able to comfort those who are in any kind of affliction, through the comfort we ourselves receive from God.

2 Corinthians 1:3-4 HCSB
+

I Miss The Days When: We Created, Gave and Invested

I miss the days when I Knew that our family would be at home for the holidays. I miss creating, giving and investing in time together!

We Created Together

Being creative, we decorated gingerbread houses for many years! By the way, here is a neat “how-to” video on gingerbread houses:

https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=i8nI5m39p50

We baked, shaped and frosted cookies together. Mom cooked fudge each year to send out to family and have some of our own! We licked the bowls and enjoyed this time together!

Decorating each year, trimming the tree, we then set up the nativity! https://heartshare.blog/2019/11/02/top-10-ways-to-prepare-for-the-holidays/

We Gave Together

We gave to each other and made for each other! Packing, shipping, writing and signing cards, we gave to other family and friends also! Taking pictures added to the joy of sharing!

We Invested Time Together

Smiling, Hugging, we watched movies, listened to music, played games and read the Christmas story found in the Bible, in Luke 2:2-20.

How We Feel, What We Hope For Again

We miss everyone as we live so spread out now. Also, we hope that we can get together as much as possible in the future and communicate as often as possible. Please don’t let the negative, keep us from trying. As our family expands, let us try to see each other as much as we are able and maintain a special bond. I hope we can keep what is important, in perspective.

I miss the days! I hope they come back again!

+

On A Faith Journey- Let God Use You to Impact Lives!

Sometime He Calms The Storm by Scott Krippayne

Have you had a difficult time and situation in your life and someone is available to help you at the right time, put the pieces together? We have! A couple of people did many years ago for us, but someone specifically helped around 23 years ago, making something that seemed impossible, work out.

Our Plan

We had no idea how it would happen, but Daniel and I really believed that at least he needed to return to college someday ! Daniel had some ideas of what he would like to do and what he would study if he started a college degree. The plan we originally had when we got married, fell through.

We struggled to support our family and once we knew our third child was on the way, there were important decisions to make. Daniel worked very hard to support us. He worked often over 90 hours a week with no breaks for months, managing a restaurant. With more children, we knew we needed better housing options and the cost of living in the Fort Worth area was difficult without having a college degree or both of us working. We knew that it wasn’t good for Daniel to continue working in restaurant management and spending such limited time with our family. Something had to change.

An Option

While looking at our options, we met a family who lived at the apartments we lived in also. This family was from out of state but connected us to Bryan College in Dayton Tennessee. Paulakay is now the Alumni director at Bryan! We looked through the handbook and she answered some questions for us as well as connecting us to some key people who could help us. The main person she directed us to was Tom Shaw, the Director of Admissions at the time.

We figured out a way since we lived in Texas and the college was in Tennessee, to go on a 2 day trip, there and back, to check out Bryan College. Originally, we weren’t sure how this would work out because of Daniel’s and my schedule at the time. His boss agreed to allow him to leave for a two days! We had a:

  • 14 hour trip there
  • 2-4 hours to look at the college and talk to Tom
  • Look around Dayton and the surrounding area
  • drive 14 hours back to Texas

At this time, we had two daughters who were ages 4 and 2 and another daughter on the way, due in 3 months.

Meeting Tom Shaw at Bryan College

We drove in the afternoon, into the night. In the morning we met with Tom to tour the college and got some help figuring out details for attending college. I remember calling Tom on our way there to make sure that we could still meet with him, and we were able to! There were so many “unknown’s, such as obtaining financial aid and was it likely that a married couple with children even, could make it through college, studying and working?

Going to a private, Christian college was also a higher cost than attending a state school. That was a concern of ours. But, Tom Shaw took the time needed to help us and explain what we needed to know! He gave us advice and helped us understand how this could work for us! He helped us understand enough about the college and the process and details for starting a degree.

Meeting Dayton Tennessee Too!

We didn’t know what the Dayton area was like either and if this was a good move for us. Housing costs and what the community was like was a consideration also. Living in the Dallas/Fort worth area was very large and busy. What would it be like living in a small town? Daniel would have to still work too! These were some thoughts we had and what we needed to consider before moving 14 hours away especially from family.

While in town, we picked up a newspaper so that we could look at some housing options and make some phone calls. We looked around and then looked at each other. Knowing that the situation would be tough, it was clear to us still that we needed to come to Dayton to start college at Bryan. It was important to trust the Lord to bring the circumstances together for us to move, for Daniel to start college and graduate.

As it turned out, Dayton had a much lower cost of living, as far as housing was concerned. Our housing cost was split in half immediately when we moved . Then the following year, the cost was lowered even more by renting a house owned by the college.

Leaving a Permanent Impact

It was not easy, but we could tell through the people we met, especially Tom, that he had a heart that wanted to see people succeed and make a difference in people’s lives. The mission of Bryan College states, they are “educating students to become servants of Christ, to make a difference in today’s world.” We could tell that Tom was well aligned to this mission and was a great example! He did what it took to help us get there.

Tom even told us about the church that he and his family went to. He told us that his wife, Carolyn, led a ministry to mom’s! This was such a valuable ministry to me as a wife and mom. I had an important role to fill to support my husband through school and be available to our children. I needed to stay focused and help encourage Daniel to keep the goal of graduating, in front of him and encourage him along the way.

Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance of what we do not see.

Hebrews 11:1 NIV

The Change in our Life

After our trip to Dayton, Daniel continued working for Braum’s until our youngest daughter Jessica, was born. When she was 6 weeks old, we moved to Tennessee. God worked things out in amazing ways! He especially used Tom to help us! Daniel graduated in 2002 with 2 degrees; a Bachelor of Science degree in Mathematics: Computer Science and an actual Computer science degree. I also returned to school, and graduated from the Aspire program in 2005. This was something that I never even thought possible at the time.

Getting to know Tom and Carolyn and their family through Bryan College and Grace Bible Church was very special and we are very grateful for them! We stay connected still and we want to say Happy Birthday to Tom!

Also, we are very grateful to other people who helped along the way like Paulakay and people in our church, and many of our professors!

Calming Thoughts

Around the time that we were seeking what to do and circumstances were so difficult, a song we listened to often was Sometimes He Calms the Storm by Scott Krippayne. Life seemed like so much of a storm, but God worked things out in great ways. Our problems weren’t fixed soon, but He certainly calmed us, His children, down. He showed us what His plan was for us in the future. We needed to trust Him to lead, guide, and provide for us.

By faith Abraham, when called to go to a place he would later receive as his inheritance , obeyed and went, even though he did not know where he was going.

Hebrews 11:8 NIV

On our move from Texas to Tennessee, we listened to this song several times. We were also reminded about the example of Abraham, when He was called to move. He did not know where He was going so he had to take one step at a time. Little by little, God made things apparent. He uses people and circumstances in our life everyday to take us where He wants us. We have to walk by faith.

My Family When I Graduated

Ending Challenge

Do you know someone who impacted your life in a big way? Please share your story! Let them know that they were a blessing and help to making it where you are today! I wonder, when you know that others have difficult storms in their life, do you allow God to use you? Think of how you can make a great difference in someone else’s life!

Thank you Tom for your investment in me and my family!!

+ In Honor of Epilepsy Awareness Month

Remember National Epilepsy Awareness Month!

You’re Gonna Be Ok by Brian and Jenn Johnson

November is National Epilepsy Awareness Month! Many of us were surprised this year when we heard of the celebrity Cameron Boyce, Disney Channel star passed away. His cause of death was due to epilepsy, but specifically SUDEP. Hearing that a person can pass away with Epilepsy is a surprise to many and many people were saddened by his death. Cameron’s parents have since created a charity. Their charity is called the Cameron Boyce Foundation which joined forces with the Epilepsy Foundation to create K(NO)W SUDEP NOW- an initiative to bring awareness and to end sudden unexpected death in epilepsy.

https://www.google.com/search?client=firefox-b-1-d&q=Good+Morning+America+Cameron+Boyce+parents+charity

My Story and Links

It is interesting to me, after seeing the color purple representing Epilepsy especially on Purple Day, March 26th annually. Epilepsy’s color is actually Lavender, which is a color representing peace and comfort. This is very appropriate as those of us who have epilepsy really need peace and comfort. We need comfort when having seizures and we need peace and calmness on a regular basis, not stress, as stress often induces seizures for many of us.

Other well known people who have (or had) epilepsy:

  • Alexander The Great
  • Theodore Roosevelt
  • Edgar Allen Poe
  • Julius Caesar
  • Vincent Van Gogh
  • Socrates
  • Michelangelo
  • Charles Dickens
  • Agatha Christie
  • George Gershwin
  • Susan Boyle
  • Elton John
  • Prince

If you are in the fight against epilepsy and want to be a part of a faith-based epilepsy support group that I run, feel free to visit my Facebook group at the following link or search for the group called Epilepsy Hope.

https://www.facebook.com/groups/219050065651906/

+ Who we should thank and why!

Who We Should Thank and Why- Understand the Sacrifice!

It is important to understand who we should thank and why we should be thankful. We have a specific day in November each year set aside for Thanksgiving. It is a fun day to get together with family and friends to eat. Sometimes we get ourselves worked up over all the details we put into this day. We often take turns telling each other what we are thankful for. Even if we have had a tough year, we can still find something for which we are grateful. Being thankful should make us aware of who we should be thankful to and why we have what we have. We should appreciate the sacrifices made on our behalf.

Reliable- Those We Can Thank!

This weekend, I went with my husband, Daniel, to see the movie Midway. http://moviemidway. It is about the Battle of Midway which took place just after Pearl Harbor in Hawaii was attacked by the Japanese in World War II.

There were two quotes also that caught my attention. They are:

“you’ll remember this moment for the rest of your life. If you know that you came through, when people are counting on you, you’ll be able to face anything.”

LT Dick Best

He stated this when the U. S. Navy was persevering during the Battle of Midway in 1942 against the Imperial Japanese for four days.

I have not always watched movies about wars and the events surrounding them. I really enjoyed this movie though. Several things resonated with me. I appreciate how the wives stayed close to support their husbands. I also love how they wanted their children to know their father. The fathers were reliable. They could be trusted. They could be counted on! Fathers, as a rule, were willing as a result to take risks, to face and sacrifice what was necessary to protect their nation and their family.

Who I Should Thank and What should I Be Thankful For ?

How often do we think of people who we are thankful for? Some of our family members gave their time and sacrifice in going to war for our nation. They took a risk physically, knowing they may never return home.

We also can think of day to day situations like our parents sacrificing daily for us when we were young and when we are adults as well. This is what they sacrificed! Some parents work some very difficult physical jobs and/ or work more than one job. I know parents ( including my husband and I) who returned to college after we had children, to make a better life for our children and offer better opportunities for them.

It is difficult and quite a sacrifice when we know that other people in our life are counting on us to come through when we commit to do something. We go from day to day, figuring out how we can work to accomplish what we need to and care for ourselves and our family. This motivation though, keeps us going. We keep our goals in front of us!

Staying on Task

Some ways to accomplish goals we have, to keep motivated are:

  • Take a picture and place it in front of us, to look at it often, where we look on a regular basis.
  • Set a date! Put a date in front of you for which you plan to accomplish it by. For instance, if you have a graduation coming up, set the date on your calendar and look at it often. I had to think of this often when my husband was in college, and when I went to college as well! This kept me going and kept my husband going.
  • Keep things as stable as possible. It is really easy to let the world fall apart when there is so much change. While our kids stayed busy with friends, church, school and our family; it was best that we have at least one meal a day together as a family which we worked around Daniel’s school and work schedule. Time with their dad every opportunity they could have it, was very important!

Let us continue knowing who we should thank and why we should be thankful! http://heartshare.blog

Happy Veteran’s Day!

+ Our grief

Our Grief – Let’s Care For Those Who Hurt

With Veterans Day approaching, we know that many have experienced loss that is sudden! Their family and close friends have experienced grief! They were known and loved as they made a huge impact, giving their life for the freedom we experience. We can be so thankful that they cared not only for us, but for their country. Let us care for those who hurt!

Our hearts hurt when we know we may lose someone soon, that means a lot to us. Then they pass away and we go through stages of grief. At times, loss is completely unexpected such as an accident or due to a sudden health situation like a heart attack, stroke, SUDEP (Sudden Unexplained Death in Epilepsy). Then there is suicide that leaves us in shock and we don’t understand at all what happened and why. This is becoming more common as more people are struggling with mental health issues.

Take this fainted heart
Take these tainted hands
Wash me in your love
Come like grace again

Even when my strength is lost
I’ll praise you
Even when I have no song
I’ll praise you
Even when it’s hard to find the words
Louder then I’ll sing your praise

I will only sing your praise

Take this mountain weight
Take these ocean tears
Hold me through the trial
Come like hope again

Lyrics from “even When It Hurts ” by Hillsong

Sometimes though, we go through grief when there is no sickness or death, but because of separation from someone we love. We miss that person. We simply don’t understand. It hurts so much. Other reasons for grief and loss are: (http://helpguide.org)

  • Divorce or Relationship breakup
  • Loss of health
  • Losing a job
  • Loss of financial stability
  • A miscarriage
  • Retirement
  • Death of a pet
  • Loss of a cherished dream
  • A loved one’s serious illness
  • Loss of a friendship
  • Loss of safety after a trauma
  • Selling the family home

The five stages of grief are denial and isolation, anger, bargaining, depression and acceptance. People grieve differently. They don’t have the same order in which they grieve. http://psychcentral.com. This loss, grief can cause difficulty for us physically also. It can be very difficult for us to sleep, eat or think as we normally are able to.

When we have hope in knowing someone we love has eternal life, we grieve, but we don’t grieve as others do. We have an assurance that we will see them again in eternity. It really hurts though when we are not sure of their standing before God.

Brothers and sisters, we do not want you to be uninformed about those who sleep in death, so that you do not grieve like the rest of mankind, who have no hope.

1 Thessalonians 4:13 NIV

As this Veterans Day approaches, let’s pray for peace for those who grieve for friends and family lost to those who protect us and our liberties.

+ Mr Rogers' Values

Four Values I Learned from Mr. Rogers

When I was a child, I loved watching Mr. Rogers Neighborhood! This show touched my heart very much and Mr Rogers’ values taught me some important life lessons that I still value today. Since a movie came out last year called “Won’t You Be My Neighbor?” about Mr Rogers and his life and a movie is scheduled to be in theaters on November 22, 2019 called “A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood” staring Tom Hanks; I see this is a good time for people to relearn or watch Mr Rogers’ values, even if it’s your first time.

Won’t You Be My Neighbor?

I see so much on the news and watch the way people act and I realize that many people don’t know how to live in community anymore. Some refuse to be kind to each other. They don’t respect each other as people regardless of the different views we have. We can be kind and still have different views and know what we believe and why we believe it. I regularly see anger, fighting and hate. Again, we can have our views, but they don’t have to entail hate.

Be a Positive Thinker

This is an area that I have to be reminded of sometimes! As a child, for many at least, the present seems positive, so we look to the future thinking that will be positive too.

Unfortunately, with the storms of life, we feel beat up and we know longer think with a positive outlook on so many areas of our life, whether it be our family, our finances, our country and politics. We often stop believing too, that God is able to do great things!

Now to Him who is able to immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to His power that is at work within us, to Him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen.

Ephesians 3:20-21 NIV

The Neighborhood of Make-Believe

Often, I have not taken the time to think outside the box. I stay in my own world and cannot imagine how things are any other way. This allows for stress to build up and not think about what someone else has gone through and learned through their circumstances. I then don’t learn and imagine. When I don’t think this way, I also cannot be creative and give to other people, what I have learned. I can’t state things another way.

Continue Learning

I enjoy learning. In fact I recently wrote another blog post about being a lifelong learner because it’s such an important value. Reading often, studying and then writing give to other people, what I have learned also. This is an opportunity to grow emotionally, mentally and spiritually in some cases.

Concepts and values from the past are often forgotten today or perhaps they were never introduced. I believe that it is time that these are brought to light again!

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