Saturday, January 29, 2011

Birdwatching Saturday

As sickness comes to our house once more, my daughter and I are missing out on her grandpa's 70th birthday party over at the Farm! Julia had to check out of school early Thursday, and has been having fever and a croupy cough...today she feels better though! The birthday party is going to be a Big Thing! about 35 are expected to be there...I sent barbecued chicken drumsticks with my husband and son for my contribution to the feast, using Sweet Spirit Food's Barbeque Sauce (medium) that is made in Oklahoma City! actually they are right down the street from where we lived up until this summer...it's the best sauce, REALLY. We tell people that and they always say AWWWWW... but when we give them a bottle they have to agree with us. That's something, especially here where Head Country is the established favorite brand. When my husband was still actively selling Real Estate he always gave bottles away to his clients, with a personalized sticker to remind them of him, of course...Now that he is back in the oilfield he still gives it away and just the other day one recipient got back to him to request 2 GALLONS of this great sauce! We are down to one case in storage now LOL.


Sorry my picture is fuzzy- this is taken from my phone. Here's a link to the Sweet Spirit Foods webpage  http://www.sweetspiritoklahoma.com/index.html  Actually we just got a new camera Yesterday but my husband took it with him to the birthday party.

Julia and I were sitting in the living room together this morning when a bird flew into our picture window WHUMP leaving some tiny feathers on the glass outside. We got up to look out and there the little thing was lying in the empty flowerbed, head back, panting for breath...must've got the air knocked out of itself. After several minutes it's head came up to the proper position, but it stayed there on the ground at least 10 minutes, just breathing fast. We got our Audubon bird handbooks out to try to see if we could figure out what kind of birdie it was. The only picture that really looks like our visitor is the female Ruby-crowned Kinglet, but these birds are very small, and our hapless "victim" is about the size of a sparrow or warbler. I checked the internet and found a picture that MAY be the correct one- this is a female American Redstart, or an immature male (according to my Audubon book). The picture is from Stulpfarms.com and is in a list of Oklahoma bird sitings. Here's the link from where I copied these pictures.  http://www.cminet.net/~stulp/birdquestions.html










The first two pictures are the American Redstart, and the last picture is the Ruby-crowned Kinglet. But my Audubon book says the kinglet is just a little bigger than a hummingbid, so I cannot really make a determination on what we've sited! But the poor thing did finally fly up into a tree- when our dog came poking along! So it's a happy ending.


Thursday, January 27, 2011

God's Good Will



Let nothing make thee sad or fretful
Or too regretful-
Be still.
What God hath ordered must be right-
Then find in this thine own delight,
HIS will.

Why shouldst thou fill today with sorrow
About tomorrow,
My heart?
ONE watches all with care most true;
Doubt not that He will give thee too
Thy part.

Only be steadfast; never waver
Nor seek earth's favor-
But rest.
Thou knowest that God's will must be
-for all His children, so for thee-
The Best.
-adapted from Paul Fleming



Monday, January 17, 2011

Sanctity of Human Life



Since 1984, Americans have observed Sanctity of Human Life Sunday (SOHLS) as a day to celebrate the intrinsic value of all human life. This important day also provides an opportunity for pregnancy centers to share about the work they do to bring life-affirming resources to their communities and to empower women and men to choose life for their unborn children. The date was chosen to coincide with the  anniversary of the Roe v. Wade Supreme Court case that legalized abortions in the United States.

This year SOHLS will take place on January 23, 2011.

The first proclamation of National Sanctity of Human Life Day was made by President Ronald Reagan and repeated annually. The tradition was continued by President George H. W. Bush, suspended during the eight year term of President Bill Clinton, and resumed under President George W. Bush. While prior to his leaving office President George W. Bush issued a Sanctity of Life Day proclamation for 2009, such a proclamation was rejected by President Obama for 2010.

Wendy Wright, President of Concerned Women for America was not surprised by President Obama's actions. "Obama is consistent," she said in an interview with Life Site News.  "He takes the side that is short-sighted, harmful to individuals and society, and focused on self. He sides with those demanding that the innocent be discriminated against and the immoral celebrated. He is consistently wrong on moral issues."

The proclamation of National Sanctity of Human Life Day has been heralded by National Right to Life as "a wonderful statement of what the pro-life movement is really all about". Reproductive activist groups like NARAL and Planned Parenthood of course have denounced it. National Sanctity of Human Life Day has been sited by the National Lawyers Association as an instance of the executive branch acknowledging the theistic philosophy of the United States government. (this paragraph is from wikipedia)


To read President Ronald Reagan's original proclamation, go to this link
http://www.covenantnews.com/ReaganProclamation.htm


Friday, January 14, 2011

Coming Up This Sunday


Each year since 1993, the President of the United States declares January 16 Religious Freedom Day. (Why have I never heard of this before? Where and how does he declare it, why don't I know about this?!) I am cutting and pasting here from blog.speakupmovement.org.


"You probably didn’t know that several of our Presidents, past and present, have declared January 16th of each year to be “Religious Freedom Day.” You will not likely see any fireworks displays, or even hear about it in the mainstream media. So exactly what is it? Well, as the title states, it is a day which is meant to celebrate the freedom of religion that we all enjoy here in our great country.

But don’t we have religious freedom every day of the year? Why do we need a special day? And doesn’t it exist in our public square as well as in our public schools? While it is certainly supposed to, very often it does not. So what does it look like when religious freedom doesn’t exist? It looks like students at school being told that they may not mention the word Christmas during December. Or that they may not include a small cross on their artwork. Or that they may not make an announcement at school because it includes the word “pray.” Or that they may not hand out an invitation to Vacation Bible School. I can go on, but you get the point.

Because of these and many other instances that continue throughout the year, ADF has teamed up with Gateways to Better Education for Religious Freedom Sunday. This is a national event, which occurs this year on January 16th, in which churches honor educators and inform their congregations about the freedom of religious expression that students enjoy (or should enjoy) in our public schools. Although not always respected, students have constitutional rights to pray and read their Bibles during free time, to include aspects of their faith in their homework and artwork, to form religious clubs, and to share their faith with their friends and classmates. Detailed information is available on Gateways website. ADF has also written a document explaining the law in this area.

Some may deny that there is any need for such a day and that the “religious right” is just making up sad stories to create much ado about nothing. In addition to the fact that several of our current and past Presidents seem to think such a day is warranted, we also need to remember that to these kids who are told that their faith is “illegal” at school, it is no small matter. Nor should it be a small matter to any of us. Such religious freedom is the bedrock of our nation as it gives us all the right to worship as we choose, or not at all. And that is something many need to be continuously reminded of."

- - the above is a blogpost by David Cortman from Speak Up Movement, here is the original link http://blog.speakupmovement.org/church/religious-freedom/isn%e2%80%99t-every-day-%e2%80%9creligious-freedom-day%e2%80%9d/
Here's what YOU can do:

1. Equip your students and congregation. Gateways To Better Education has created a pocket-sized pamphlet entitled Free to Speak. It quotes the U.S. Department of Education statements clarifying seven important religious freedoms on public school campuses. http://www.gtbe.org/news/index.php/56.html


2. Bring clarity on the issue for local school officials. The Alliance Defense Fund (ADF) has created a detailed letter and stands ready to send it to school officials you designate. They have donated their time to the campaign by offering to send this letter to one school official for every set of pamphlets you order for your church, Sunday school, Youth group, or campus Bible club. You will be able to designate the schools as part of your ordering process. (Your name will not be mentioned in the letter.) This is available also at the Gateways To Better Education link http://www.gtbe.org/news/index.php/56.html



TOO LATE FOR JANUARY 16? If it's too late for including Religious Freedom Day in your January 16th services, ANYTIME during the year you can distribute the Free to Speak pamphlets and have the ADF letters sent to your local school officials.

Again, Here's the link for information from Gateways To Better Education
http://www.gtbe.org/news/index.php/56.html

Monday, January 10, 2011

Good News from China


When my oldest daughter was thinking of applying for college scholarships, I hoped she could get into a Christian-based one, and discovered Regent University in Virginia Beach, Virginia. Their mission statement is: "Christian Leadership To Change The World." I was put on their mailing list to receive their publication, Impact, which has been very impressive and encouraging to me. My daughter did not pursue a scholarship since she was fortunate (blessed) to be hired in a lawyer's office as a runner, and has since been promoted to paralegal work, although she has no degree. I think she's been employed there 3 years ? But I have continued to receive the mailing from Regent, and now in this new year, January's issue, there is a WONDERFUL little bit that I am so happy to share with my blog readers! I would never have thought it possible to be true, but I'll let you see what I mean! Without further ado, here is the short article from Regent University's Impact mini-magazine.

Unusual Connections
Regent's Dr. Corne' Bekker discusses the university's surprising impact in China

For generations, people around the world have worshipped the almighty dollar, deutschermark, yen or yuan. But Regent's Dr. Corne' Bekker says times have changed: "This global economic collapse that we've all experienced has opened people's minds to the fact that what we have is not working. People are deeply interested in more than making money. They are not just interested in power, prestige and privilege.

"This is true in countries around the world. People are hungry for leadership and business principles that have a solid values and virtues call to them. They want to know how these things can change their world."

Bekker says one of the best examples of where that is happening is in China. The School of Global Leadership & Entrepreneurship (GLE) has several agreements with Chinese universities and government agencies to provide leadership training. Regent also has opportunities to train church leaders and entrepreneurs across that nation.

Bekker says officials he has talked to inside the Chinese government link Christianity with economic development: "Everyone I've spoken to says this is why the West has prospered so much, and from a theological perspective, I would agree with that. The Chinese are deeply interested in finding out what are the true values of Christianity."

In April 2010, Regent's assistant vice president for professional and continuing education Julianne Cenac led a university delegation to China to work with a government organization. Bekker tells the story of how his time in Beijing ended with one of the most special experiences of his life: "It was very curious to me why they would choose Regent to help. But at the end of the trip my Chinese guide and I were doing some sightseeing. At one point when we were alone, he opened his jacket and pulled out a tiny Bible. Then he said, 'China has the power, has the influence, has the people. But what we don't have are the values, and you have that.' Then he pointed to the Bible and said, 'This is what we're interested in. This is where Regent can make a difference.' "

GLE offers fully accredited master's and doctoral degrees both on campus and in a flexible online format. GLE provides rigorous yet innovative academic programs that can accommodate even the busiest professional.


That's some of the best news I've heard in a long time! Won't you join me in praying with new hope for the people of China? And that God will send workers into the harvest...

Here is the link to Regent's homepage.
http://www.regent.edu/acad/global/home.html

The picture at the top of this post is from a 2008 businessweek.com article entitled Praying for Success in Shanghai.  It's interesting also- here's the link. http://www.businessweek.com/magazine/content/08_28/b4092087099280.htm


Sunday, January 9, 2011

New Recipe for Soup Season

Happy New Year again to us all!

In keeping with the tradition of starting fresh in the new year, I have been going through my collection of recipe clippings, deciding which to discard and which to keep a little longer. Last summer my mother gave me a medium-sized box of recipes that she had saved, some herself and some from HER mother! I kept quite a few of them then, and now again I have let go quite a little pile. It was interesting going through my grandmother's clippings...I enjoy reading old recipe books, too! In going through my folder and notebook I found a recipe for Pumpkin Chili. Imagine that! I thought, and told my husband about it with a laugh. I tossed that page...then later I thought I'd try it out! It had piqued my interest I guess. So in trying to find it again, I went through the trash, through my clippings twice at least, through my pile of stuff where I had been sitting...NO RECIPE TO BE FOUND! I can't imagine where it disappeared to. But INTERNET to the rescue! I did a search for Pumpkin Chili, and found LOTS of recipes! So it must not be too bad, I reasoned to myself. Today it is cold and spitting snow outside, and I had some fresh pumpkin puree frozen from October, so it seemed like a perfect time to try this new taste out! I'll share the one I chose to follow- I found it at (never home) maker http://www.neverhomemaker.com/2010/10/new-and-improved-pumpkin-chili-recipe.html

As is my way, I used the recipe as a guide, not following it precisely. One reason for this is I did not have everything that it called for! No meat was in the original recipe, but I used hamburger and sausage. The hamburger is from my husband's parents' farm-raised beef, and the sausage is from WILD BOAR that the family shot this winter in western Oklahoma! Wild hogs are becoming quite a nuisance around the area where my husband's family's farm is located. I lost count of how many they have shot this year. I did not have any Kidney Beans on hand, so I could not put that in...I did not WANT to add the corn called for...and I had no Paprika in my spice cabinet. I used a dash of red cayenne pepper instead, and some frozen chopped Pimientos that my sister-in-law gave me last year, about 1/4 cup...Instead of broth, I used our leftover roast gravy...for the can of tomatoes called for I used one can of Ro-Tel tomatoes with Chili Peppers...and I added no black pepper, because of the other peppery things already in use. No Sage leaves in my cabinet either...

Smoked Pumpkin Chili (new and improved)
~1 medium onion, chopped
~3 cloves of garlic, chopped
~1 Tablespoon olive oil
~2 cans (or one large can) dark kidney beans, drained and rinsed
~1 large can whole peeled tomatoes with juice
~ 1 can pumpkin puree
~1 cup broth
~1 Tablespoon smoked paprika (or regular)
~1 teaspoon black pepper
~1/2 teaspoon salt, or to taste
~10 to 15 sage leaves (optional)

Surely you can figure out how to mix this all together on your own! 

I took a picture of my pot steaming on the stove -



and here is a picture of the little dish I use to keep my garlic in -


and the tea towel is one I bought before I got married, one of a whole set marked with the days of the week, with the little sunbonnet lady. For a long time I would not use them, but finally decided "Hey! I bought them to use in my home, and I need to use my pretty things!" I love pretty tea towels and table linens, but I don't like to think of ruining them through use! But they bring no joy hiding in the drawer...

Yes, we enjoyed this new dish! I only thought you could make pies or bread with pumpkin- I'm glad to have discovered this delicious way to use it for a main dish that is not sweet.

This gives me POINTS on my New Year's Resolve to try new recipes!!!!!!

I would be very happy to hear from you if you try out this recipe...let me know how you like it! Thanks to Ashley and Stephen at (never home) maker for posting this recipe on the web!


Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Starting the New Year, and Each New Day, RIGHT

Have you made resolutions for this New year of 2011?

Would you dare to share them with me? LOL Please leave a comment, if you would...

Here is a great little inspirational reading from the book Devotions for Women at Home by Martha Meister Kiely. With the Holidays over now, we want to make sure all our decorations are put away, and we want to enjoy a little simplicity for a while, right? I enjoy all the Christmas "clutter" LOL but I don't want it out all year long. The celebration of the birth of Christ deserves its special time in the calendar, I believe, and I love concentrating on it in December, although I rejoice in the reality of His Advent all year long. The wonderful words of the Christmas Carols were so alive to me this year, and somehow I think if I heard them every day I would get a little numb to the wonder of it all. So as we settle down to the everyday life again, I think the musings from this special writing will help get us on the right track for this new year of 2011. Enjoy and be blessed!



Tightrope Act on a Clothesline

"Come to me, all who labor and are heavy-laden, and I will give you rest." Matthew 11:28

Each morning as the children and I dash out the back door to the car in our usual rush to school, my attention gets caught on the clothesline stretched from house to garage. It always snaps into my consciousness some words of Anne Morrow Lindbergh which I memorized from her gem of a book Gift from the Sea:
     What a circus act we women perform every day of our lives. It puts the trapeze artist to shame. Look at us. We run a tight rope daily, balancing a pile of books on the head, baby-carriage, parasol, kitchen chair, still under control. Steady now!
     This is not the life of simplicity but the life of multiplicity that the wise men warn us of. It leads not to unification but to fragmentation. It does not bring grace; it destroys the soul.
That clothesline then causes me to slow down my gait; and when I return from depositing the children, its persistent signal reins me to a halt. I sit down with a warmed-over cup of coffee, my Bible, and one of my favorite devotional books. With their help I pull myself together so that God can pull me to Himself. Out of these moments of quietness and fellowship with God come my directions and strength for the day.
Today remember you can't do everything, but you can do some things. Ask God to point out the right things.

Psalm 25:4-5  "Show me thy ways, O LORD; teach me thy paths. Lead me in thy truth, and teach me: for thou art the God of my salvation; on thee do I wait all the day.

Pray:  My Lord, yoke me to thyself that I may experience thy gentleness and strength as I labor with thee.  AMEN



The fun picture of the decorated clothespins is from Elyse's blog, Cottage. You can visit her and see more of these cute clothespins, and even find the directions for making some yourself, here at this link:
http://tinkeredtreasures.blogspot.com/2010/12/smitten.html  Below is a button from her blog...


Just Curious...I wonder if any of my readers use a clothesline! So many people do not, anymore...I grew up using one before my mother got a dryer. After I married we had an outdoor line for many years and I enjoyed using it, but only in the summertime! Now I totally use an electric dryer, high capacity of course! I can dry a comforter in it nicely. Another by-the-way...I raised my first two children in cloth diapers, and I liked drying those outside on the line...but these last two have been in disposables all the way!

One of my old friend's daughters is a talented photographer...she gave me permission to post this photo from her portfolio. The links to her website and etsy shop are below. Thanks, Mandy!


http://www.mandylynne.com/
http://www.etsy.com/listing/59353050/apron-strings-5x5



Saturday, January 1, 2011

A New Year Has Arrived!




With every rising of the sun
Think of your life as just begun.
The past has shrivelled and buried deep
all yesterdays...
So let them sleep.
Nor seek to summon back
one ghost of that innumerable host.
Concern yourself with but today,
Woo it,
and teach it to obey.
You will
and wish.
Since time began,
Today has been the friend of man;
But in his blindness and his sorrow
He looks to yesterday and tomorrow.
You and today!
A soul sublime
and the great pregnant hour
of time.
With God Himself to bind the twain,
Go Forth, I say!
Attain!
Attain!

-from British Weekly,
many years ago





Everyone should be familiar with the passage in John Bunyan's Pilgrim's Progress in which Bunyan saw Christian in a time of indecision. Christian looked "as if he would run, yet he stood still, because, as I perceived, he could not tell which way to go." Then Bunyan, in his dream, saw Evangelist come up to Christian, and here is the immortal passage:
"Then," said Evangelist, pointing with his finger over a very wide Field, "Do you see yonder Wicket-gate?" The man said, "No..."  "Do you see yonder shining light?" Evangelist asked. He said, "I think I do."  "Then," said Evangelist, "keep that light in your eye, and go up directly thereto, so shalt thou see the Gate; at which when thou knockest, it shall be told thee what thou shalt do."
This is the message for a New Year.
We may not see the goal, but we need have no doubt as to the direction in which we should be traveling.

The Gate, Christian could not see; the light, he could see. If he went towards the light, he would surely find the gate. He knew the direction, and for the time being, that was enough.

There are certain directions in which we should be traveling all through this year.
They are: Forward, Outward, and Upward.

We should be traveling forward.
When David Livingstone volunteered for missionary service, he was asked where he was willing to go. He said, "I will go anywhere, so long as it is forward."
The daunting thing about life is that so often the end of one year finds us no farther on than the end of the year before. We have still the same faults; we are still making the same mistakes; we are still falling to the same temptations.
Let us resolve now to go forward.

We should be traveling outward.
If we look out instead of in, if we think of others instead of self, if concerned care for others takes the place of selfishness, then obviously life will be more useful, and certainly life will be happier.
It was once said that in certain places in Africa, when a native gets a very heavy burden to carry, he puts it at one end of a pole. He then gets a stone of equal weight to the burden and attaches it on the other end of the pole. He then puts the pole with burden and stone across his shoulders and goes off. The stone balances the burden, and that is the easiest way to carry it.
Often the easiest way to carry our own troubles is to carry someone else's as well. To take thought for the troubles of others is the surest way to forget our own.

We should be traveling upward.
In a sense we cannot help doing that, for every day brings us nearer the end of this life and nearer the entry to the next life. We would see things very much more clearly and in their true proportions if we lived with that perspective. We would see the difference between the things which are important and the things which do not matter, if we looked at them in the light of eternity.

See yonder light?
Keep climbing!

-from Daily Celebration, by William Barclay