Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Rejoice In ALL Things

This month Pastor Frank has been doing a series at church titled "Rejoice-Life With Attitude". This past weekend he was speaking about rejoicing in ALL things, so he did things a little differently than the usual weekend services. He did a live interview during each of the services with Joy Ross, a very good friend of mine, who has had to make a choice to do just that. Joy grew up vision impaired, but a little over a year ago she lost what little sight she did have. She shares in this video what that journey has been like, and how she CHOSE to pull herself out of depression and despair and begin to live a life filled with joy.

This interview is both moving and inspiring. I encourage you to take a few minutes and watch it.

Dec 13 Message from City Bible Church on Vimeo.

Friday, December 11, 2009

Mary, A Woman of Courageous Faith

In the sixth month, God sent the angel Gabriel to Nazareth, a town in Galilee, to a virgin pledged to be married to a man named Joseph, a descendant of David. The virgin's name was Mary. The angel went to her and said, "Greetings, you who are highly favored! The Lord is with you."

Mary was greatly troubled at his words and wondered what kind of greeting this might be. But the angel said to her, "Do not be afraid, Mary, you have found favor with God. You will be with child and give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus. He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High. The Lord God will give him the throne of his father David, and he will reign over the house of Jacob forever; his kingdom will never end."

"How will this be," Mary asked the angel, "since I am a virgin?"

The angel answered, "The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you.So the holy one to be born will be called the Son of God. Even Elizabeth your relative is going to have a child in her old age, and she who was said to be barren is in her sixth month. For nothing is impossible with God."

"I am the Lord's servant," Mary answered. "May it be to me as you have said." Then the angel left her.

Luke 1:26-38 (NIV)

Can you even imagine what that moment must have been like for Mary? Here she was, this young peasant woman, being approached by an angel. She must have been wondering what on earth was about to happen in her life that the Lord felt she needed an angel to walk her through it. The angel, sensing that, was quick to quiet those fears and reassure her that she had found favor with God.

And then he went on to tell her that although she was a virgin, was going to give birth to the Son of God. The SON OF GOD! Seriously, can you imagine???

The fact that God chose Mary tells us what a remarkable person she was. We can see by her response why God chose her. Even though she was stunned, and probably a little self-conscious to have such a conversation with an angel, when she asked the question, "How will this be, since I am a virgin?", it wasn't the message from God she was questioning. She was just wondering how on earth this was going to happen, since she was a virgin?

I am always impressed and challenged by Mary's response to this news. "I am the Lord's servant," Mary answered. "May it be to me as you have said." Then the angel left her. She didn't try to convince the angel why this would be a bad idea. Rumors would be circulating once the news became public. Her reputation was going to be ruined. She would be ridiculed. She could even be stoned for getting pregnant while engaged to someone else. And yet, her response was one of total willingness to do whatever God called her to do.

She would tell about the visit from the angel, but who in their right mind would believe such a story? Her parents? Joseph? Her in-laws? The Rabbi? It wouldn't matter to Mary if no one believed her. That would not stop her from believing. She was willing to take whatever came her way as a result of believing God. Even if it cost her everything, including the man she loved, she would be obedient. What a courageous faith she had.

I wish I could say that I have always responded just like Mary did. But, the truth is, there have been times have tried to reason with God before I obeyed Him. But as I've gotten older, I realize that everything God does in my life is good. And I've learned that obeying Him immediately and completely is always the best choice to make. I pray to have a heart like Mary's. A heart that never questions God's plans for my life, a heart that immediately and completely obeys His every call.

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Imperfect People ~ God's Perfect Plan

Ah, December. What a wonderful time of year.

I’m one of those people that likes to celebrate Thanksgiving. And then move on to Christmas. I know a lot of people who put up their tree before Thanksgiving. But, just so you know, I am not one of them. You will never see my Christmas decorations up until the smell of that fabulous turkey no longer lingers in my home. Not that either is right or wrong, it’s just my tradition.

Once that turkey smell is gone, however, I kick into high gear for the next week. For me, the week following Thanksgiving is always busy with getting the church decorated, which is a great way to work off all of those yummy garlic mashed potatoes from the week before. Between all the moving of heavy buckets containing tree parts, moving huge wreaths out of storage and hoisting them to the top of a 12 foot ladder to hang them above doorways, not to mention all the walking involved, etc. etc., I feel that I have succeeded in working off the extra Thanksgiving calories I consumed.

Once all of that is done, I then move to decorating my home. Yesterday the tree went up and today I will hang garlands and put out all the other miscellaneous decor I have collected over 29 plus years of marriage.

But before I get back to the busyness, I pause. I just need to sit and spend a few moments with Jesus, reflecting on the amazing story of how and why he came to earth. Each December I am drawn to reread the gospels as they tell the story of the life of Jesus and the humbling story of His birth.

If you’ve read the gospels you know that Matthew’s account starts with the genealogy of Christ. I used to just skim over this part quickly without really absorbing the importance of it all. Now I realize that it is there as evidence for us to know that God uses imperfect people to produce even the most amazing of miracles. A few stood out to me this morning as I read.

First there was Abraham, who we know as a man of faith. But he also lied. He sent his wife into Pharoah’s arms, putting the promise of his future into jeopardy.

And then we have David, whom scripture tells us, was a man after God’s own heart. But he definitely got sidetracked when he committed adultery with Bathsheba. Not only that, he committed murder so he could take her as his own.

Rahab was a harlot.

Ruth was a foreigner who was grafted into the family tree, even though foreign marriages were forbidden by Jewish law.

Bathsheba, the adultress who married David, was Solomon’s mother.

Sometimes it’s hard for me to wrap my mind around the fact that God used so many imperfect people to bring forth His perfect plan ~ the birth of His own Son. But, this shows us that God’s purposes are not stopped by our humanity, no matter how weak and imperfect we are; no matter how far we have strayed. He is continually at work in us and through us, and a good deal of the time he works in spite of us. It is evidence of His Grace.

Thank you, God, for the grace you have poured down through the generations, reaching me. Your grace is so amazing that it leads me to turn from my own sinful, selfish ways and look to you and our will for my life. Help me go through this Christmas season with my heart focused on the true meaning of it all, Jesus.

My prayer is that each one of you would find the grace of God evident in your life as we spend this month celebrating the birth of His Son, Jesus.

Matthew 1:16 ~ Jacob was the father of Joseph, the husband of Mary. Mary gave birth to Jesus, who is called the Messiah. (NLT)

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Happy Thanksgiving

I just wanted to take a minute before my day gets all crazy and wish you all a very HAPPY THANKSGIVING from all of us at Mom2Mom Cafe. We are thankful for each one of you that God has brought into our lives. We pray that your day is blessed and you find yourselves with much to be thankful for.

My husband just posted a really great post titled 'What Are You Thankful For?' over on his personal blog. If you'd like to check it out just click here.

Enter his gates with thanksgiving and his courts with praise; give thanks to him and praise his name. Psalm 100:4

Monday, November 23, 2009

The Miracle of You

I am so proud that I just can’t keep it to myself...

Karen Wells, who is a dear friend as well as one of the contributors to this blog, recently had her book, The Miracle of You, published and has already sold out the first printing!! Congratulations, Karen.

If you are expecting a baby, this is the book to have. It also makes a lovely gift for newly expecting parents. It is a beautifully illustrated book that takes you on a journey from conception through the weeks of pregnancy. For each week of pregnancy, The Miracle of You gives the reader an inspirational promise. It is laced with scriptures that have been prayerfully selected to minister specifically to those expecting.

Words really can’t do justice to how beautiful this book is, so I suggest you get your hands on a copy to see for yourself. It is truly one of the most beautiful pregnancy books I have seen.

For more information, click here to go to The Miracle of You website.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

More Thanksgiving Recipes ~ Garlic Mashed Potatoes & Gravy

On Thanksgiving, my kitchen reminds me a little bit of one of those Italian kitchens where every person that walks by adds something to the sauce. In our case it's the garlic mashed potatoes. One daughter decides they need more pepper, while the next one comes by and thinks they need more butter.....you get the idea. One thing that doesn't get messed with though, is the consistency. How they turn out is every bit as important as how the turkey itself turns out. We like them 'mashed', with a potato masher, not mixed with a mixer as this makes them too creamy for our personal preference. We like there to be little chunks for texture. My daughters are what you might call 'mashed potato snobs'. They take their mashed potatoes very seriously and because of this they won't allow anyone else to volunteer to make them. I know, it really is kind of pathetic. But there you have it. It just is what it is. :)

Since we are a garlic loving family, we like our mashed potatoes loaded with garlic flavor. If you've never branched out and put garlic in yours, trust me - it brings them to a whole new level of yumminess!! Here's how I make mine, but remember how I said everyone adds as they go? Well keep that in mind. These are the amounts I start with...I don't think anyone really knows how much butter, garlic, salt & pepper or milk/half & half we really end up using:

(serves 10)
5 lbs russet potatoes
1 head of peeled garlic cloves (I usually use more)
1 ½ to 1 ¾ cups milk (I like to substitute half of the milk with ½ & ½)
1 ½ sticks butter, cut into pieces (sometimes I add more)
Salt (I like to use the course kind)
Pepper to taste (we like lots of pepper on ours)
Peel potatoes and cut into 1 inch chunks. Put potatoes and garlic cloves into a 5 quart pan and completely cover with water. A 1 tablespoon salt.
Bring to a boil; reduce heat and simmer until potatoes pierce easily with a fork, approximately 25 to 30 minutes.
Drain; return potatoes and garlic to pan. Set aside.
In a small saucepan, heat milk; pour over potatoes. Add butter and salt and pepper to taste. Mash until desired consistency is reached.
Here’s a nifty little tip I learned from Martha Stewart: You can make mashed potatoes up to two hours ahead of time. Just make as directed and then top with a thin layer of milk. Cover; set aside in a warm place. When ready to serve, just stir the milk into the mashed potatoes.
Of course, we only serve these with homemade gravy (remember - 'mashed potato snobs' - what can I say?). Making gravy is one of those things that can seem intimidating, but it really isn't hard to make. I don't have a recipe for mine, because I usually just make it to taste and consistency as I go, but you can click here for a recipe on the allrecipes website that looks like what I do to make mine.
Okay, so am I the only one with such an opinionated family? Do any of your families have quirks like ours?

Friday, November 20, 2009

Thanksgiving Turkey

I am very traditional when it comes to my Thanksgiving menu. Apparently I've trained my children to be also, because if I even mention the thought of changing up the menu, I get a reaction. So, we are all happy to have it stay very basic every year, with an extra side dish or dessert thrown in here and there. What is the menu? Well, since you asked...


Turkey (recipe follows)
Garlic Mashed Potatoes & Gravy
Sweet Potatoes
Green Beans
Cranberry Sauce
Rolls & Butter
(I no longer bother making the Green Salad since nobody seems to want it on Thanksgiving)


Apple Pie
Pumpkin Pie with Whipped Cream
Homemade Fudge

Mmmmmm. That made my mouth water, just writing out the menu. This is definitely one of my favorite meals of the year. Comfort food at it's finest.

If you've never made a turkey before, here's how I do it. It's really easy and I always get rave reviews.

First I gather the following ingredients:
  • A bunch of celery
  • A whole yellow onion (I like the sweet ones)
  • A head of garlic
  • Several sprigs of rosemary
  • Several stems of thyme
  • Several stems of sage leaves
  • 2 cubes of butter
  • Salt and Pepper (I use kosher salt)

Next, I chop up the celery and onion, peel the garlic cloves, cut 1 1/2 sticks of the butter into pieces, and break herbs into smaller pieces and toss it all into a mixing bowl with salt and pepper.

When that's all ready, I set it aside while I rinse the turkey in cold water and pat it dry. I put some of the mixture into the neck cavity of the turkey and secure the flap of neck skin with toothpicks.

I flip the bird over and use the rest of the mixture to stuff the inside. (Note: I usually roast a turkey that's somewhere around 25 pounds so it all fits. If you prepare a smaller turkey, just place any extra mixture around it in the pan.) Then I take the remaining 1/2 stick of butter, cut it into slices and tuck it under the skin. Next, I rub the turkey down with olive oil (you can also use vegetable oil), sprinkle with salt and pepper. This is what it looks like right before I put it into the oven:

I cover it with aluminum foil before putting in oven and remove the foil for about the last hour or so of cooking to brown the turkey.

Side Note: After preparing poultry, I spray down my counters, and sink with a bleach cleaner to make sure and kill any bacteria before I prepare any other food.

After roasting for about 5 1/4 hours at 325 degrees, and the turkey has reached 165 degrees internally, it comes out looking like this:

For more tips on thawing and roasting a turkey you can check out the USDA website by clicking here.

What are the traditions and recipes that are your family favorites? If you'd like to share, please leave us a comment.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Thankful Thursday

As I was sitting here with my grandson this morning, listening to his endless chatter, I became completely overwhelmed with gratefulness once again. I was reminded of what a blessed woman I am to have these amazing children be a part of my day to day life.

Just some of the things I am thankful that I am able to experience with them around:

  • lots of snuggles
  • endless chatter
  • amazing company
  • loud squeals of laughter when they are chasing each other around the yard (or through the house)
  • wrestling matches
  • fun teaching moments (6 year old Devin - referring to sandwiches: "Two halves + one whole = 'a double whole'.")
  • lots of snuggles
  • lots and lots of artwork (Even the artwork on the coffee table done with a black sharpie pen reminds me of how blessed I am to have them around.)
  • the new things I learn every day (This week I learned that hand sanitizer will take a silver sharpie mural off of the lamp ;), but it won’t take black sharpie off of the coffee table.)
  • did I mention all the snuggles and love I am blessed with????

So anyway, as I was sitting there basking in the blessedness (is that even a word?) of my life and feeling so incredibly thankful for so many things, I realized it is only ONE WEEK until Thanksgiving!!!! Seriously, where has this year gone?!?

As we celebrate this season of giving thanks, what are you finding yourself thankful for?

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Keeping Germs At Bay

With flu season in full swing, I have found myself feeling a bit like the ‘germ police’. It seems like every other sentence out of my mouth the past couple of weeks has had something to do with washing hands or sanitizing. At moments I even catch myself about to frisk the kids to check for germs. Just kidding. I’m not quite that bad.

But, seriously, in spite of my best efforts of keeping sickness at bay, I am staying home from church today with my son, who has been ill all weekend with the flu. So, I figured I might as well make good use of my time and put up a blog post while I'm watching football.

While I don’t have any control over what my son's exposed to or how well he remembers to wash his hands when he goes to his Adult Transition Program during the day, I can still work to keep my home as germ free as possible.

In addition to the frequent hand washing and other recommended ways to prevent the spread of illnesses, here are a few tips I’ve learned over the years:


My dishwasher is my friend!! Did you know that you can use the dishwasher to sanitize many household things, besides dishes? When I am in sanitizing mode, I go through the house and start gathering toys and other random items for the dishwasher. Here is a list of just a few of the items I’ve used the dishwasher for:

  • kids plastic toys, including bath toys
  • pet toys
  • toothbrush holders and soap dishes
  • toothbrushes
  • scrub brushes, kitchen sponges, vegetable brushes, baby bottle brushes
  • cup holders from car
  • makeup brushes
  • brushes & combs

It’s a good idea to use the top shelf for toys, brushes, or anything else that you aren’t sure of it’s durability. If you have toys with small parts you can get a dishwasher basket that will fit in the top rack.

I’ve even heard some people use the dishwasher to sanitize their trash cans and lids, though, personally I’ve never tried that.


If you don’t have a dishwasher, or you prefer bleach as a method of sanitizing, you can use the following method.

  • wash in warm, soapy water
  • rinse in clean water
  • fill sink with one part bleach to 10 parts water and submerge items for 10 to 20 minutes.
  • rinse thoroughly
  • air dry


For an inexpensive and effective way to kill bacteria and viruses around the house mix 1 ounce of bleach with 20 ounces of water. This can be safely used around the house on all non-porous surfaces like counters, door handles, sinks, baby changing stations, plastic toys of any type, etc. etc.

I’ve read that you don’t have to worry about toxic residue because bleach breaks down very easily into its component parts within 24 hours. Just spritz the diluted bleach mixture on all the surfaces at night before bedtime and you will have a lot less on your mind the next day about keeping your family healthy.

If ‘Lysol’ is you cleaning agent of choice, be aware that it kills bacteria, NOT viruses. That means flu and cold viruses will still be present after using Lysol.

Diluted bleach, on the other hand, does kill the flu and cold viruses as well as bacteria.


Occasionally I run plush toys through the gentle cycle in the washing machine and dryer to make sure they are clean.

If you have any additional tips that you use in your home, please feel free to share by leaving a comment.

Well I guess since I’m stuck at home I will just have to curl up and enjoy a football game or two. That is, after I gather a few random things and run them through the dishwasher. ;)

Happy Sunday!!

Monday, October 5, 2009

Simmering Stovetop Potpourri

One of the things I love about Fall is the yummy smell of potpourri permeating my home. What I don’t like is the price of those yummy smelling potpourri concoctions. So years ago I started making my own version, using ingredients already present in my pantry.

All you do is throw a few ingredients into a pan of water and simmer on the stove. Here’s how easy it is:

Fill a small saucepan with about 1 to 1½ cups of water. Then add the following ingredients:

1 cinnamon stick (or about a tsp. of ground cinnamon)

1 teaspoon vanilla

Heat on stove until it just begins to boil, then lower heat to a low simmer. Add water as needed.

For variation, sometimes I’ll throw in a few whole cloves or some ground allspice. If I’m in a fruity mood, I’ll even place a whole tangerine or lemon in, or cut an apple in half and put it in.

Really, it’s that simple. And before you know it your whole house smells like you’ve been hard at work, baking yummy treats.

The only problem is, now I'm craving a piece of apple pie. :)

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Thankful Thursday

I just can't help but be thankful this morning. Thankful for a God who looks beyond all outward appearances and talents and goes straight to the heart of His people.

Last weekend Pastor Frank continued his series entitled 'Psalms ~ Desiring God'. In order to better understand the author, David, he took us to the book of Samuel; all the way back to when David was still a boy, working in his father's field. The Lord had sent Samuel to anoint one of Jesse's sons to be the future King of Israel. After Samuel assumed it would be Eliab, the obvious choice, comes this verse:

But the Lord said to Samuel, “Don’t judge by his appearance or height, for I have rejected him. The Lord doesn’t make decisions the way you do! People judge by outward appearance, but the Lord looks at a persons thoughts & intentions.” 1Samuel 16:7 New Living Translation

I don't know about you, but that is very encouraging to me.

God sees things inside of not only me, but each one of us that we can't even think or imagine. Take David for example. Of all the sons that Jesse had, David was the one least likely to be a candidate to be anointed as the future King of Israel. He was so unlikely a choice that Jesse didn't even call him out of the field when Samuel had him call his sons in. After all, he was the youngest. And it's not like he was already out leading people, showing his leadership skills at an early age. He worked out in the field, watching over sheep. And yet God saw in him a heart that would follow hard after God. He didn't see one who would be perfect or who wouldn't make mistakes. But, God saw something that no one else saw. He saw a future King.

The truth is, it's the outward appearance and abilities one has that impress people. But it's the thoughts and intentions within the heart that impress God. People have the ability to look ahead and see where someone's abilities may take them. But it's what is deep in a person's heart that can take one to places that only God can fathom.

I think this is a great lesson for all of us Moms. To not only be open to God using us in ways we can't imagine, but also being aware of this thought as we raise up our children. It's a great lesson as to how we should be as parents, not just noticing what is obvious in our children, but also seeing into their hearts and recognizing things within them that they don't see for themselves.

Let's let today be a day of believing God for things that seem unimaginable!!

Friday, September 18, 2009

Fruitful Fridays - Biscuits and Gravy

I am a huge fan of "Breakfast for Dinner Nights". One of my favorite dishes to make is Biscuits and Gravy. This dish is so easy and quick, too!

For those of you that need an exact ingredient amount, you might want to skip reading how I make this. I never measure for this recipe, so I'll give you a link that sounds about right to me, though I've never tried it.
1 lb. Breakfast Sausage
When I make Biscuits and Gravy I like to use 1 pound of breakfast sausage (did I mention this is not a low-fat dish???) and brown it in a large skillet. Then I stir in about 2-4 heaping tablespoons of flour. Once all of the flour is absorbed, I stir in about 2-4 more scoops of flour. I like to add a lot of flour because I like my gravy really thick. If you prefer a thinner gravy, go easy on the flour. Once all my flour is stirred in, I let it simmer on medium for about 3-4 minutes, lightly cooking the flour. Lowering heat, I begin adding milk slowly. I add just enough to stir in to and make a thick paste. I continue to add milk and then stop to stir. I do this until it is a little thinner than I want it to be. Allow it to simmer on low for a few minutes to and it will thicken.

For Biscuits, I use several options. The simplest version is a piece of toast. My mom would make this and call it S.O.S. ('stuff' on a shingle ;-). Next option is a tube of biscuits baked in the oven. If I want to make biscuits from scratch, they're not that difficult. Here's a recipe I use:
2 cups flour
1 tbsp baking powder
3/4 tsp salt
3/4 tsp baking soda
5 tbsp vegetable shorting
1 cup buttermilk (or regular milk if I'm in a pinch)
Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Mix dry ingredients and cut in the shortening. Add milk slowly forming a rough dough. Do not "over" kneed. Roll out and cut into biscuits or dollop mounds on to a baking sheet. Bake 12-15 minutes.


Thursday, September 17, 2009


As moms, we often wonder what goes through little children’s minds in different situations. Other times, we are fortunate enough to have them speak what’s on their minds. The other day was one of those times. I have to share this one with you because...well, just because it made my day...and it’s really cute.

The other day my 4 year old grandson had spent the afternoon with his little friend after preschool. The friend’s mom dropped him off at my house and had the following conversation afterward.

Friend: “It’s not fair that ‘T’ has two Mommies.”

Friend’s Mommy: “What do you mean?”

Friend: “It’s not fair that ‘T’ has two Mommies and I only have one Mommy.”

Friend’s Mommy: “‘E’, he only has one Mommy. Susan’s not his Mommy, she’s his Grandma.”

Friend: “She is NOT his Grandma.”

Friend’s Mommy: “‘E’, what makes you think she’s ‘T’s Mommy instead of his Grandma?

Friend: “She’s not his Grandma, ''cause she’s NOT OLD.”

Well there you have it. I’m not old, even in the eyes of a 5 year old child. Yep, MADE. MY. DAY. :)