Welcome to our Blog! We are still newbies at this whole blogging thing, but are learning! Please bear with us as we get it started. Our favorite things to talk about will be books, God, Tea, and cats, not necessarily in that order. Hope to have some fun and inspirational things floating through here and we welcome any comments and feedback on how we can improve! God Bless all of you as we journey together.
My New Blog is going to be called: “Comfort and Tea”. It is a book I started awhile back, but I thought instead of finishing the book I would turn it into a blog. It will have photos, devotionals, and recipes and some other fun stuff. Please come and join me for a cup of tea and some delicious down home comfort food! God Bless!
And that, knowing the time, that now it is high time to awake out of sleep: for now is our salvation nearer than when we believed. The night is far spent, the day is at hand: let us therefore cast off the works of darkness, and let us put on the armour of light.
It was a cold dark night in the North Atlantic in April of 1912. It was the night the mighty ship, the Titanic, met her doom. It was a magnificent vessel. It was the one ship that her crafters were very proud of having made. They even boasted she was “unsinkable”.
Still, while some people on board were fast asleep and others partied, enjoying their wealth and status, and many others were in a drunken stupor, little did they know that in a few short hours, their lives would either come to an end or be forever changed.
All of a sudden when they struck that iceberg and the ship was sinking, they were faced with their own mortality and they had only one place to go and that was to God.
Several survivors claimed that the string ensemble that night played bright lively music to calm the passengers down, but as the mighty ship began to plunge to it’s watery grave, they began to urge the musicians to play hymns to direct their thoughts to God. They realized He was the only one who could save them in their dire circumstances, or as in the case of so many of them, for eternity.
One of the hymns that some of the survivors said they played was “Nearer My God, to Thee”.
Many of us have grown older and maybe just a bit wiser, but wisdom can come at any age. Wisdom comes from knowing our God and knowing no matter what befalls us, our strength and our lives are in His hands. I pray when the end comes for us, we can say “Nearer, my God, to Thee.”
The following are the lyrics to Nearer, My God, to Thee (chorus omitted):
Nearer, my God, to Thee, nearer to Thee!
E’en though it be a cross that raiseth me;
Still all my song shall be nearer, my God to Thee
Though like the wanderer, the sun gone down,
Darkness be over me, my rest a stone;
Yet in my dreams I’d be nearer, my God, to Thee
There let the way appear steps unto heav’n;
All that Thou sendest me in mercy giv’n
Angels to beckon me nearer, my God, to Thee
Then with my waking thoughts bright with Thy praise,
Out of my stony griefs Bethel I’ll raise;
So by my woes to be nearer, my God, to Thee
Or if on joyful wing, cleaving the sky,
Sun, moon, and stars forgot, upwards I fly,
Still all my song shall be nearer, my God, to Thee
The verse was written by Sarah Flower Adams and set to music by her sister, Eliza Flower
Heavenly Father, I pray that you would hold my hand as I walk through the uncertainty of life. Your will be done in whatever befalls me. Help me not to be afraid of what lays ahead, but trust you to comfort and support me in everything that happens. I pray that I will always be able to say ‘nearer, my God, to Thee’. Amen.
Grandy’s Apple Strudel
1 ½ cups of peeled and diced apples
½ cup of raisins (optional)
½ cup chopped pecans or walnuts
¼ cup of brown sugar (packed)
Flour for dusting
1 can of raw refrigerated crescent rolls
2 tablespoons melted butter or margarine
½ cup confectioner’s sugar combined with ½ teaspoon
cinnamon (to sprinkle on top)
Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Prepare cookie sheet with cooking spray or parchment paper (preferred). Combine filling ingredients in large bowl. Set aside. Dust work surface with flour. Unroll crescent dough and press into a rectangle. Press perforations in dough to seal. Roll dough until it becomes thin. Brush melted butter or margarine over entire area of dough. Spoon apple mixture in straight line along one of the longer sides of flattened dough. Beginning with the edge that holds the apple mixture, fold the dough over the apples and then roll the dough to the other plain dough edge, sealing all edges and the two ends. Place on prepared baking sheet. Brush entire surface with additional melted better for a flaky crust. Bake for 25-28 minutes. While it is cooling, sprinkle with the confectionary sugar/cinnamon mixture over entire strudel.
“Nothing feels more like a country kitchen than the sight and smell of apples picked fresh off the trees and piled high in a woven basket on the counter. From the oven, comes the delightful aroma of a freshly baked strudel or pie with its delicious smell of cinnamon and apples.” Grandy Dee
“My parents were scheduled to go on their honeymoon on the Titanic, but had to cancel because my grandmother fell ill at the last minute. While they were cancelling their tickets, they found this pretty china teacup at the souvenir shop. Later, following that great disaster, it served as a reminder of what would have been.” Grandy Dee
And it came to pass, that, as they went in the way, a certain man said unto him, Lord, I will follow thee whithersoever thou goest. And Jesus said unto him, foxes have holes, and birds of the air have nests; but the Son of Man hath nowhere to lay his head.
What a beautiful picture. Jesus loved to use mental images of God’s awesome world and nature. ‘The birds have nests, and the foxes have holes,’ He had told them. They have a place to call home and a place where they can nurture their young and be at rest. They have a place where they can be protected from harm.
Jesus said in Matthew 26:41: ‘Watch and pray, that ye enter not into temptation: the spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak.’
We, as humans, have needs. That is a given. We need to have food, rest, and nourishment for our souls. God knows what our needs are and he lovingly provides for those needs. He also made our bodies to crave these basic things.
When Jesus spoke these words, He was searching for people to follow Him and become His disciples. Many were willing to follow Him because they thought He was someone they could look to and provide something that was lacking in their lives. They heard He had come to save them and possibly become their new ruler, but when they realized He was calling them to a life of self-sacrifice and service to others, many fell by the wayside and sadly walked away.
There have been many people throughout history who had given up everything they owned, even their own families and comfortable surroundings, to answer His call, beginning with His original disciples all the way through today. Often times, Christians in today’s world leave their homes and loved ones to go far away to minister to people who have never heard of Christ. Of course, the most extreme examples of self-sacrifice are those who are daily being persecuted and even being killed because they refuse to deny Him.
We need to pray daily for those in service to Christ or those who are being persecuted and we need to pray even more diligently that we become so indwelled in the spirit that if we are called on to give up everything, that we would have the strength and determination to follow Him no matter what the price.
Dear Lord, I admit that my spirit is willing, but my flesh is often weak. I’m ashamed to say that I don’t know what I’d do if I were ever confronted with persecution. Thankfully, I have never been in that situation, but I’d like to think that if that were ever to happen, I would boldly defend my faith. Father, be with those less fortunate than myself who have to deal with this on a daily basis. Bless them and keep them strong and protect them. Also be with those who share your word with others, even at the risk of their lives and who have given up everything to do so. In Jesus name, I pray, amen.
Walnut Tea Scones
2 cups all purpose flour
2 tbsp. sugar
1 tbsp. baking powder
½ teaspoon salt
½ cup chopped walnuts (or pecans)
6 tbsp. butter (softened to room temperature)
1 egg (beaten)
½ cup milk
Another beaten egg (to brush on top)
Preheat oven to 425 degrees F. Blend all dry ingredients together. Add walnuts. Cut in butter until mixture resembles coarse breadcrumbs. Add 1 beaten egg and milk and stir until dough sticks together. Knead mixture on a floured surface and divide in half. Shape each half into a ball and flatten until it becomes a 6-inch disc. Cut each disc into 6 sections or flatten entire ball of dough and cut with a biscuit cutter. Place wedges onto an ungreased cookie sheet (or lined with parchment paper). Leave at least an inch between them to allow them to spread while cooking. Brush tops of scones with beaten egg to give them a nice golden brown finish. Bake at 425 degrees F for 12 to 15 minutes or until golden brown.
Serve with jam and/or Devonshire cream (recipes coming with next devotional).
“I was born and raised in a large manor house in England. My father would often have several of his friends over and invite them to share in morning tea before they would all go out for a day of fox-hunting. One of our favorite foods was walnut scones with homemade strawberry preserves and fresh clotted cream. It was wonderful with our tea and the scones were filling because of their density and they would keep us satisfied all morning during our hunt.” Grandy Dee
“When I turned twelve, I begged my father to let me go fox hunting with him and his friends. Unfortunately my horse was spooked and threw me off and I broke my arm. Father felt so bad about what happened, he got me this pretty tea cup with the fox hunting scene to cheer me up.” Grandy Dee
And if it seems evil unto you to serve the LORD, choose you this day whom ye will serve; whether the gods which your fathers served that were on the other side of the flood, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land ye dwell: but as for me and my house, we will serve the LORD.
Life is full of choices. At the beginning of the day, we either choose to stay in bed or get up, what clothes to wear, the food we are going to eat for breakfast, that is, if we eat at all. Then we have to make up our mind if we’re going to work or not and which route to take if we do go. These are choices that are all made within the first hour after we open our eyes. There are often many more choices throughout the day that are too numerous to even contemplate.
Some of those choices are easy. We need to work so we can pay our bills and feed our families, so our choice is to get out of the bed and go to work. We know if we are going to have to concentrate on our jobs and work more effectively, we are going to need to eat something before we leave out the door. Besides, our bodies tell us that they need something to satisfy our hunger. Our route to work depends on how much time we have to get there or if there are barriers or road construction on our normal route.
Whether we spend our days at work, at play, or we work from home, or are retired, the rest of the day we continue to make choices. Many times, it’s easy to decide what to do, other times, not so much.
Some of the choices we make in life affect what happens the rest of our lives and for eternity. Those are the hardest things to decide.
When we are children, many decisions about our lives are the results of what our parents want us to do. Later, as we become adults we decide our own destinies. We choose whether or not to finish school and continue on to college, What school we will go to, who, or even if we will marry, whether or not to have children, where we are going to live, etc.
But the biggest choice that we all must make is the one that will affect not only all of our other decisions, but also where we will spend eternity. That choice is whether or not to accept that Jesus truly is the Son of God, and He alone can save us from our sins and then we must choose to turn our lives over to Him. Once we make that decision and allow Him to work in our lives and to do His will, the other choices we make will follow what He has planned for us.
So what will you choose today? Will it be the brief temporal pleasures that will only last for a short time and then they are gone, or will you choose the Son of God and the promise of eternity?
Dear Lord, Help me in all my choices today, to choose only those things that are pleasing in your sight. I believe that you are the key to a better future and through faith, I will accept the choices you have made for me. Let me not be led astray by temporal things that seem pleasant for the moment, but have no eternal value. Give me wisdom and direction in everything I do today. I will give you all the glory. In Jesus name, I pray, amen.
Homemade Strawberry Freezer Jam
2 cups crushed fresh strawberries
3 or 4 cups sugar
1 (1.75) ounce dry pectin (e.g. Sure Jell)
¾ cup of water
Thoroughly wash and rinse five jars or storage containers (I used jelly jars). Mash the strawberries into a pulp. Stir in either 3 or 4 cups of sugar. Let stand for 10 minutes. While it is sitting, mix the pectin with the water in a small saucepan and bring to a boil while stirring. Continue to boil for one minute until the pectin is dissolved. Stir the boiling mixture into the strawberries and allow to sit for 3 minutes. Pour the mixture into the jars. Secure the lids on the jars and let sit at room temperature for 24 hours. Place in freezer until ready to use. Once thawed, the jam will last up to one month in the refrigerator.
Homemade Devonshire Cream
1 (8 ounce) package of cream cheese (softened)
½ cup sour cream
2-3 tablespoons of confectionary (powdered) sugar
In a small mixing bowl cream the sugar and cream cheese together until smooth and well blended. Add the sour cream and continue beating until smooth and creamy. Refrigerate until time to serve. Store left over cream in refrigerator. It will last several days.
“Some choices are easier to make than others. In the case of what to eat with scones, this is a no-brainer. You can have either jam or Devonshire cream, or most of the time people like to serve them with both! These would be great with the Walnut Scones (see previous recipe).” Grandy Dee
“When I was thirteen, my parents and I took a large passenger ship to New York City to visit my father’s aunt and uncle. It was quite an adventure! I was excited to learn that their servants still served scones with Devonshire cream and jam for breakfast. It reminded me of my home in England.” Grandy Dee
Be ye angry, and sin not: let not the sun go down upon your wrath: Neither give place to the devil.
Let all bitterness, and wrath, and anger, and clamour, and evil speaking, be put away from you, with all malice: And be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ’s sake hath forgiven you.
Ephesians 4:26-27 and 4:31-32
It will come to no surprise to anyone especially to my dear family and friends that I am not perfect…
There, I said it and I’d be the first person to admit it. I would like to say that I’m a wonderful wife and mother and my house is spotless and my cooking is spot on and that I always greet everyone with a genuine smile on my face. I’d like to be everything to everybody, but sadly, that just isn’t always the case.
I’m getting older now and there are days when I’m in pain or just too tired to get my work done. I don’t always feel like smiling and sometimes even little things become big aggravations. I get frustrated easily because I can’t do the things I use to do or have the energy to do what I want.
Those frustrations often lead to anger. At times, the anger is built up inside myself so much that it festers up and comes to the surface and spills out, affecting those around me.
Today was such a day. I lashed out at my husband, even though he was only trying to be helpful. Angry words once spoken can’t be taken back. It’s like driving a nail into a board. Even though I remove it, the hole is still there. I can try to smooth over the hole or fill it with wood putty or glue but there is still an ugly scar where the nail first entered it. Still, trying to repair that hole is better than leaving it open to the elements to become larger or spoiling the whole wooden plank.
The Bible says to be angry and sin not. God knows there are times when we will become angry. Some anger is righteous, as in when we see injustices in the world that needs to be mended. That sort of anger leads us to want to do something to make the world a better place. The wrong kind of anger is the kind that belittles or tries to hurt someone else or destroys our relationships with others.
The verse also says to not let the sun go down on your wrath. That could have a double meaning. First, if you are angry with someone and hurt them with your anger, apologize and try to make things right again before you go to bed at night. Anger can rob both you and that person you hurt of a peaceful, restful sleep. Second, in the case of the righteous anger, make a decision about what you are going to do to right the wrong that you see going on around you and make plans to implement that decision.
The next time you feel the need to lash out at someone in anger, think about the next verse that Paul wrote to the Ephesians: that is, to put away the wrath, anger, and evil speaking and replace it with tenderheartedness and forgiveness and being kind to one another.
Always remember that no one is perfect. We are all flawed, but even in our imperfect state, Christ died for our sins and forgave us. We need to forgive those around us who do us wrong, and we need to forgive ourselves for our failings. The next time you want to lash out at someone, remember the nails in the wood, both in this story and the ones on the cross.
Easy Fruit Cobbler
4 tablespoons of butter
¾ cup all-purpose flour
¾ cup sugar
1 teaspoon baking powder
¼ teaspoon salt
¾ cup milk
2 cups fresh fruit of choice (sliced peaches, blueberries, strawberries, blackberries, diced rhubarb, cherries, etc.) or combine different fruits for a total of 2 cups.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Place butter in an 8-inch square or 9-inch round pan and place in oven to melt. After butter had melted remove from oven. Mix all dry ingredients together in a small bowl. Add milk and whisk or stir until it forms a smooth batter. Evenly pour batter over melted butter. Scatter fruit over batter. Sprinkle entire surface with the tablespoon of sugar. Bake until it is a golden brown and the fruit bubbles. It will take about 50-60 minutes to bake. Eat while it is still warm or at room temperature. Add whipped topping or ice cream with it for an extra treat or use some Devonshire cream with it.
“My garden was filled with an overabundance of fruit this year. The apple and cherry trees were beautiful this spring with all their blossoms, I worried that the late frost would kill their budding fruits, but my worries were for nothing. My strawberry plants seemed to thrive for over a month, and my blackberry and blueberry bushes also produced well this year. Of course, the rhubarb, I planted, grew abundantly as usual. Sometimes, however, I didn’t have enough of any one fruit at a time to make a pie, so I threw a bunch of stuff together and made a cobbler. The one fruit I didn’t have in my garden was peaches. I had to get those from the store if I wanted to include them in my cobbler.” Grandy Dee
“When we returned to England from our trip to America, my parents weren’t speaking to one other. My father was angry with my mother for her getting us into trouble in NYC, and my mother was angry with my father for investing all our money in the stock market. When they finally got over being mad at each other we sat down and had a nice cobbler and used our best Imari china. The bright colorful dishes always made us feel better.” Grandy Dee
For as the rain cometh down, and the snow from heaven, and returneth not thither, but watereth the earth, and maketh it bring forth and bud, that it may give seed to the sower, and bread to the eater: So shall my word be that goeth forth out of my mouth: it shall not return unto me void, but it shall accomplish that which I please, and it shall prosper in the thing whereto I sent it. Isaiah 55:10-11
Is there anything more welcoming to a farmer, after a long dry spell, than the sound the rain falling on his roof and watering his parched crops? In my book about Grandy Dee, she and her husband, Freddie, worked for a landowner who had hundreds of acres of crops and cattle. As payment for their labor, they were able to live in a small house on the property and they to planted their own small garden as well as get some food from the landowners. When the weather was favorable, they had plenty to eat, but there were also times of drought when they had to make do with what they had.
During the Great Depression, times could be hard. Many people lost everything and often went hungry, but through the grace of God, they usually had enough food on the table to satisfy them. God in his mercy sent the rain and the snow, so they had fresh vegetables and fruit in the summer and stored food for the winter to put on their table.
Likewise, they found a local church where they could be fed with the word of God and share with others about what God had done for them. Because of the Word of God preached in the church and through their testimony, many others had also been saved. God not only fed their bodies with good food, but He also fed their souls with His Word.
Just as seeds are planted and brought to fruition because of the rain and snow, the seeds of faith and the word of God need to be watered and cultivated by the fellowship of other believers and through Bible study and worship.
Have you ever thought of yourself as a tender young plant, one that needs to be constantly watered and groomed to be all that you can be? Have you played the role of the farmer, helping others to grow in their Christian faith? To be a fully effective Christian, sometimes you need to be a little bit of both. Allow God to plant the seeds in yourself and others and allow yourself to be used by God to help cultivate the growth.
Lord, I’ve never considered myself to be a farmer, nor a plant, for that matter, but I am willing to be used by you, help me to grow by studying your word and worshiping you. Use me to lead others to you and then allow me to help them to grow. Let my ministry to others be honoring in your sight. In Jesus name, I pray, amen.
2 beaten eggs
1 1/3 cup sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla
3 cups grated fresh zucchini
2/3 cups melted butter or margarine
2 teaspoons baking soda
3 cups all-purpose flour
½ teaspoon nutmeg
2 teaspoons cinnamon
1 cup chopped nuts (walnuts or pecans – optional)
1 cup of other add-ins as desired (e.g. raisins, blueberries, chocolate chips, mashed bananas, etc. – optional)
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease (or use cooking spray) two 5 by 9 inch loaf pans. Grate zucchini to make 3 cups. In a large mixing bowl mix eggs, sugar, and vanilla. Beat until creamy. Stir in the grated zucchini (do not use mixer). Stir in melted butter. In a large bowl mix all the dry ingredients and add to the zucchini mixture a third at a time until well blended into the mixture. If nuts or other add-ins are desired, fold these into mixture. Divide the batter between the two pans. Bake for 50-55 minutes or until a wooden toothpick or knife comes out clean when inserted. Cool in pan for about 10 minutes. Remove from pans to finish cooling. Delicious warm from the oven! Can be refrigerated or stored in freezer to use for later.
“When my children were little, sometimes I had a hard time getting them to eat their vegetables. They didn’t realize when they were eating this delicious bread they were not only eating a delicious bread, but they also were getting vegetables, fruits, and nuts. Sometimes, if they had been extra good, I gave them a treat by adding in some chocolate chips!” Grandy Dee
“The depression era was hard on us. My parents lost all their money when the stock market crashed. Freddie and I ran away to America and found work on a large farm in Lancaster County, Pa. We didn’t have it too bad, we had enough to eat and we were in love. We even were able to get these pretty little teacups free in the boxes of oatmeal we bought. They were made from something they called Depression glass. They were rather pretty!”
Who can find a virtuous woman? For her price is far above rubies. The heart of her husband doth safely trust in her, so that he shall have no need of spoil. She will do him good and not evil all the days of her life. Proverbs 31:10-12
The Virtuous Woman – Part 1
In the book of Proverbs, the characteristics of the ideal woman are listed. It is the ruler by which we are all measured and hope to aspire to…at least in the eyes of King Lemuel (Solomon?).
In the 31st chapter of proverbs these characteristics are:
- She is completely trustworthy, especially in the eyes of her husband. She is always good and has his best interests at heart. She always places his needs above her own.
- She seeks wool and flax and works willingly with her hands. In Biblical days, my guess would be that she either went to the market to buy the wool and flax or actually sheared the sheep herself and went to the field to gather the flax and then spun and wove it into material for clothes. Either way, it was a tedious job. Thankfully, today we can buy ready-made clothes or the material to make them.
- She’s like a merchant ship, bringing food from afar. I’m sure back in the ‘good old days’, she had to go to different markets in the surrounding area to find what she needed to serve her family. Since they didn’t have the same means to store their food like we do, she most likely had to go to the market several times a week.
- She rises while it is yet night to prepare food for her household and for her maidens. Before the advent of instant oatmeal, cold cereal, and another delectable cold things to pop in the toaster at a moment’s notice, people actually had to prepare food for their families. I’m sure in the society of their day, it was usually left up to the woman of the house. To get the kind of breakfast to which they were accustomed, it took a lot of planning and preparation. To get the hubby and children off for the day ahead, she would have to rise long before her family and often times she would have to work by the light of the candles or oil lamps to prepare the meal.
- She considers a field and buys it. With the fruit of her hands she plants a vineyard. I’m guessing the women of that time held the purse strings and took care of the budget. It was up to her to find a good plot of land where she could plant a garden and then she tilled the ground she bought and sowed the seeds as well, and I’m even willing to bet that she was responsible for tending the garden and gathering the produce!
All of these things were a lot to ask of any woman at any time in history, but this is just the beginning. Over the next two devotionals I’ll finish the rest of this chapter in Proverbs.
Lord, reading about the virtuous woman and her attributes makes me realize how far from perfect I am. I’ll bet that even though she had so many things she had to do, she still had time to worship you and take time for her family. Lord, forgive me for complaining about how hard I have it, and give excuses why I can’t serve you more. Help me to find time in my own busy day, to take a moment to come to you in prayer and thanksgiving. In Jesus name, I pray, amen.
Amish Shoo Fly Pie
1 prepared piecrust (store bought or homemade)
Liquid Filling (Bottom layer):
¾ cup dark molasses
¾ cup boiling water
½ teaspoon baking soda
Dry Filling (Top layer):
1 and ½ cups all-purpose flour
¼ cup shortening or butter
½ cup packed brown sugar
For the bottom layer: dissolve baking soda in boiling water and then add the molasses. For the top layer: in a medium size bowl mix the ingredients until the consistency of breadcrumbs. Pour a third of the liquid filling into an unbaked crust. Cover with one third of the dry filling. Continue alternating the layers, ending with the crumb (dry filling) layer on top. Bake at 375 degrees F for about 35 minutes or until filling is set and the crumb coating is golden brown. (For a variation of this recipe, add some chopped pecans or walnuts on top). Pie would be great with a dollop of whipped cream!
“When I first came to Lancaster County, I didn’t know what to think. I had grown up in a wealthy family with servants waiting on me hand and foot. Now I was the one serving others. All my friends and co-workers were either Amish or Mennonites. My husband and I decided to join the Mennonite church and felt quite comfortable with our decision to serve the Lord along with them. I had a hard time learning to cook at first, but my best friend gave me this recipe for shoofly pie. It seemed easy enough. While it was cooling in my window, I learned why it was called shoofly pie. The flies loved the sweet smelling molasses and I had to keep shooing them away.” Grandy Dee
“When our employers on the farm where we were working heard that Freddie and I were once English nobility and how much we loved our teas, she gave me a set of her old teacups. They were beautiful with their golden trim. It made it even more special when I learned they were made in England. Since we ran away from home and didn’t have a proper wedding, and this was a gift from her, I considered it my “wedding china”. Grandy Dee
A virtuous woman is a crown to her husband: but she that maketh ashamed is as rottenness in his bones. Proverbs 12:4
The Virtuous Woman – Part 2
Almost hate to go on. I’m learning how much I fall short of being the perfect wife and mother. Continuing on from the last devotion:
- She girds her loins with strength, and strengthens her arms. In 1 Corinthians 6:19, Paul writes “that the body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own? For ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God’s.” For the virtuous woman, she had a very demanding schedule to accomplish everything that she was required to do. She had to make sure her body was strong and healthy so she could perform her tasks to the best of her ability. To honor God, she had to honor her body (her temple).
- She perceives that her merchandise is good: her candle goes not out by night. She is a perfectionist and refuses to rest until everything is done to her satisfaction.
- She lays her hands to the spindle, and her hands hold the distaff. The distaff is a long pole that holds un-spun fibers; it is held or attached to the spinning wheel. The spindle spins and twists the fibers so they can be used in making material for clothes. Back before the advent of modern thread and yarn manufacturers, it was up to the woman of the house to prepare the wool and flax in this way before she could weave the threads into material and finally make the clothes. Preparing clothes for her family was certainly no easy task.
- She stretches out her hand to the poor and reaches forth her hands to the needy. In addition to all of her dedication to seeing to the need of her family, she also works for charities. No doubt, she gives them food from her, of course!
- She is not afraid of the snow for her household: I’m not sure what the significance of scarlet and purple clothes. I’m sure that it indicates a sign of luxury and high social stature. She not only makes her family’s clothes, but they are of excellent quality and are beautiful. She takes pride in the way her family is dressed. In some translations, the word for scarlet can mean that they are covered with more than one layer of clothes. A more allegorical reference would be that we are covered and protected with the crimson blood of Christ.
Heavenly Father, I am truly thankful that I don’t have to go through all of the things that this woman had to go through to make clothes for her family, but if I had to, I’d pray that I would have the strength to do so. Help me, Lord, to remember that my body is not my own, but it is a temple for your spirit to dwell in. Help me find ways to strengthen and protect it. In Jesus name, I pray, amen.
Homemade Cake Donuts
3 ½ cups of all-purpose flour
1 cup sugar
3 teaspoons baking powder
½ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon cinnamon
¼ teaspoon nutmeg
2 tablespoons shortening or butter
¾ cup milk
Heat about 2 to 4 inches of oil on high in deep skillet or fryer. To make dough, measure half of the flour and mix with the remaining ingredients with a mixer on low speed. Add remaining flour gradually. Place dough on a floured surface, and form into a ball coating all sides with flour. Roll dough to a little less than ½ inch thick. Cut with a floured doughnut cutter (if you don’t have a doughnut cutter you can use a round cookie cutter and cut hole in center with a bottle cap). Place doughnuts and “holes” into hot oil and cook until they rise to the surface. Flip them over and continue to cook until they are a golden brown. Drain on rack or paper towels. They can be eaten plain or coated with confectionary sugar, or cinnamon and sugar, or frosted with or without sprinkles. Recipe makes about 2-dozen doughnuts and holes.
“My children always loved it when I made fresh hot doughnuts for breakfast. When they were little, they loved to help me frost them or coat them with confectionary sugar or sugar and cinnamon. It was messy when they helped, but it made for some fond memories. If they were very good, we made them extra special by putting a little food coloring in the icing and covering them with colorful candy sprinkles. They were so pretty that my son requested me to make them, instead of a birthday cake one year. When they were older we often had them with our afternoon teas.” Grandy Dee
“A few days after I learned that my husband was wounded in the attack on Pearl Harbor, my family received a package in the mail from him. It held Christmas presents for our two small children and a beautiful set of dishes he bought in Hawaii that was made in Japan. They had geisha girls and cherry blossom trees and a pretty blue trim. I loved them, but after he was almost killed in the bombing, I couldn’t bear to look at them until a few years later.” Grandy Dee
Favor is deceitful, and beauty is vain: but a woman that feareth the LORD, she shall be praised. Give her the fruit of her hands; and let her own works praise her in the gates.Proverbs 31:30-31
The Virtuous Woman – Part 3
After reading parts 1 and 2 of the description of the virtuous woman, I can only come to one conclusion. I am nowhere near what I ought to be. I’ve found myself thanking the Lord that I don’t have to do what the women in Biblical times had to go through to get a new outfit of clothes or provide clothes for their family. I’m glad we have modern supermarkets where we can get fresh food and I don’t have to plant a garden unless I want to. Continuing on:
- Her husband is known in the gates, when he sits among the elders of the land. Because he has a faithful and dutiful wife back at the house, her husband is free to do his business at work. He’s not worried that his family is not being taken care of because he fully trusts his wife to take care of things at home. Those he’s associated with, respect him and his family, and are envious of his marriage to such a wonderful woman.
- She has a business of her own. She is so good at spinning flax and making fine linen, she is able to sell her material and clothes to the merchants in the area.
- Because she is strong and honorable, and takes pride in everything she does, she knows that she will be successful in whatever she accomplishes.
- She is wise and kind. She thinks through things, and doesn’t make rash decisions. She makes smart choices. She is kind to her children and husband and to everyone she meets. She is hospitable to everyone.
- She looks well to the ways of her household. Her home is always clean and safe for her family and it is always ready for guests. She is not lazy but diligent in everything she does.
Because of everything she does, her children and husband bless and praise her. This woman seemed to have everything together in her life. She was industrious, wise, kind, and willingly served others. She went above and beyond everything that was expected of her. I’m sure at the end of the day God instilled in her heart the words: “well done thy good and faithful servant.” I’m sure that she must have rested well when she went to bed at night from all her hard labors and knowing that everything was done completely and according to God’s will and her own satisfaction.
I can’t help but wonder if this perfect woman ever held even the tiniest bit of a grudge when she was struggling with everything she was required to do when she was trying to be everything to everybody. I’d like to think that she did everything without complaining and praised God for the ability to take care of her family and home. It is definitely something to aspire to, but alas the reality is; the only one I know that is perfect is Jesus. Thank goodness that he knows me and my imperfections, but loves me anyway!
Thank you, Lord, for loving me even though I’m not the perfect, virtuous woman that I should be. I pray that through you I can be the best that I can be and forgive me when I fall short of that goal. In Jesus name, I pray, amen.
Old Timey Bread Pudding
¼ cup softened butter or margarine (4 tablespoons)
2 cups of milk
½ cup sugar
¼ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon nutmeg
3 cups bread cubes
½ cup raisins or 1-cup fresh fruit (diced apples, blueberries, or diced peaches would be great in this)
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Put butter or margarine in a small bowl. Heat milk to scalding. Pour over butter and mix well until the butter is completely melted. In large bowl beat eggs. Pour in milk slowly while stirring constantly so not to “cook” eggs when added to the hot milk. Add the sugar and spices to the milk mixture. Dice bread into cubes or break up into small pieces by hand. Place bread and raisins (or fruit) into a 1-1/2-quart baking dish. Pour milk mixture over entire surface of bread and fruit. Stir to moisten all of the bread. Set baking dish inside a larger pan and fill the larger pan with hot water about ½ way up the side of the baking dish. Bake about 40-45 minutes or until a knife comes out clean when inserted into it. Serve warm or cool. Tastes great with syrup or ice cream.
“During the second world war, when my husband was away, sometimes we had to stretch our food budget a little further when it took a while for us to get his pay. My landlord/employer would often give us some leftover bread from their larder along with some milk and eggs from the farm. We were also allowed to pick some apples from their trees. The children loved it when I made some homemade bread pudding from all of these things. When I couldn’t get fresh maple syrup or ice cream to serve with it, I would boil down sugar and water and add a little vanilla to it until it became thick like syrup and poured it on top. It was delicious!” Grandy Dee
“When Freddie was off fighting in World War 2 for the British Royal Air Force, the children and I missed him terribly. We so looked forward to his letters. In one of those letters, came the sad news that my parents were killed in the bombing of London. A few days later, a package arrived. There were gifts for the children and a beautiful set of Royal Albert china. It had yellow roses, a symbol of hope. He said that it would remind me of my parents, and at the same time, give me hope for our future life together.” Grandy Dee
And Ruth said, Intreat me not to leave thee, or to return from following after thee: for wither thou goest, I will go; and where thou lodgest, I will lodge: thy people shall be my people, and thy God my God. Where thou diest, will I die, and there will I be buried: the Lord do so to me, and more also if ought but death part thee and me. Ruth 1:16-17
Ruth had lost her husband, her brother-in-law, and her father-in-law. Her mother-in-law Naomi begged Ruth and Orpah to go back to their own homes and families to live out the rest of their lives and to find husbands from their own countries, but Ruth was having none of that. Even though Orpah left grudgingly, Ruth stayed behind, unwilling to leave a devastated Naomi. As the story of Ruth continues, we learn that Naomi did a little matchmaking for Ruth and made a way for her and Boaz to get together. They eventually met, fell in love, and married and through their lineage, came King David and later on, Mary and Joseph, the human parents of Jesus.
Even though the words in Ruth 1:16-17 were words spoken to her mother-in-law, today they are often used between lovers and in marriage ceremonies.
I’ve been married for almost forty-three years now. I grew up in New York State and my husband was from Louisiana. I had been in the service at the time I met him. We dated and fell in love and after three years, we decided to get married. We lived in Louisiana for several years before moving to North Carolina. We didn’t have a lot of money to go back to New York to visit my family very often. As a matter of fact, I was lucky to see my parents once a year and my brothers and sisters even less than that. It was hard to not see them, but I had made the commitment to my husband that I would follow him wherever he needed to go and I would be there for him.
While we were living in Louisiana, we lived close to his family, and I grew close to them, and they became my family. We all went to the same church and worshipped God together.
Now both our sets of parents have gone on to be with the Lord, and our family centers on the two of us, and our daughters. My older daughter has moved away with her husband across the country to Arizona to establish their home far away from us.
Life is like that, especially when we find a special someone to share it with. It’s not always easy saying goodbye to those who are close to us, but God’s will is for us to find our own way in the world, and commit ourselves to someone else and follow them, even if that someone is Christ.
Lord, I am committed to following you and forsaking those things I have in my past that are incompatible with my walk with you. Help me to let go of the things that bring me down, and look forward to what you have in store for me in the future. In Jesus name, I pray, amen.
Italian Cream Layer Cake
1 cup softened butter 11 ounces cream cheese
2 cups of sugar ½ cup butter (softened)
5 eggs 4 cups powdered sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla 1 teaspoon vanilla
2 cups all purpose flour 1 cup chopped pecans
1 teaspoon baking soda
¼ teaspoon salt
1 cup buttermilk
1 cup chopped pecans
½ cup coconut (optional)
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease and flour (or use cooking spray) 3 nine inch round baking pans. In a large bowl, mix the butter and sugar until light and fluffy, add the eggs one at a time, beating after each. Add the vanilla and continue to beat until creamy. Mix the dry ingredients and add to egg mixture, a little at a time, alternating with the buttermilk. Mix well after each addition. After mixing, fold in the pecans and coconut. Pour mixture into the 3 pans and bake for 20-25 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into center, comes out clean. Cool for 10 minutes and remove to wire rack to cool completely.
To make frosting, mix the cream cheese and butter in a large bowl with a mixer until creamy and well blended. Add the powdered sugar and vanilla and continue to beat until smooth. Fold in the pecans until well distributed. Frost each layer of cake and stack. Finish by frosting top and sides of cake. Store uneaten cake in the refrigerator. Enjoy!
“While we were in England visiting with Freddie’s parents, their cook made this delicious cake. I thought I was in heaven when I tasted its mouth-watering goodness. I’m glad the English and Americans didn’t hold a grudge against the Italians after the war. We would have missed out on some delicious food!” Grandy Dee
“While Freddie was in the war in England, he visited his parents. His family forgave us for running away to get married and live in America. After the war was over, they invited us to come and visit them. The children loved the huge manor house and all the servants. I’m afraid they were spoiled while we were there, so much so, they never wanted to leave. While we were there, my in-laws gave us gifts to bring back to America with us. My gift was a gorgeous set of Royal Albert dishes with beautiful pink roses. They were called “American Beauty” how appropriate!” Grandy Dee
God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble. Therefore will not we fear, though the earth be removed, and though the mountains be carried into the midst of the sea; Though the waters thereof roar and be troubled, though the mountains shake with the swelling thereof. Selah. Psalm 46:1-3
“When peace like a river attendeth my way,
When sorrows like sea billows roll;
Whatever my lot, Thou hast taught me to say,
It is well, it is well, with my soul.
Though Satan should buffet, though trials should come,
Let this blest assurance control,
That Christ has regarded my helpless estate,
And hath shed His own blood for my soul.”
Horatio Spafford 1876
Horatio Spafford was going through some unspeakable tragic events in his life. The Great Chicago Fire destroyed property he had invested in 1871. Two years later there was an economic downturn in his business investments. Although he was a successful lawyer, these two events all but destroyed everything he owned. He and his family decide to go to Europe. As fate would have it, he wasn’t able to travel with his family and he sent them on ahead while he wrapped up some of his real estate business deals following the fire.
Somewhere in the middle of the Atlantic the ship his family was sailing on sank after it collided with another ship. His wife’s life was spared, but his four daughters were all killed. Later when he traveled to meet his wife, he was inspired to write the words of the song “It Is Well with My Soul,” a song that has inspired so many people since that time, to overcome their own grief’s following tragedies. Later on, the Spaffords had three more children, one of whom died of scarlet fever. They moved to Jerusalem and formed a group called the ‘American Colony’. It was a group that helped all of the religions in the area during and after World War I, by running soup kitchens, hospitals, orphanages, etc.
Tragedies happen to most people at one time or another. Some people seem to have more than their fair share of them. I don’t know how people cope if they don’t know God. God in his infinite grace and mercy can use all of these things and turn them into something that can bring honor and glory to him.
If all of those things didn’t happen to Mr. Spafford, we wouldn’t have that beautiful hymn, and a countless number of people who were affected by war, might never have been helped and saved.
The next time you see or hear of a situation that seems hopeless to others, or to yourself, lift it up to God to discover why it happened and what can be learned by it and how God can turn it into something that can be used for good.
Dear Heavenly Father, As I read the news and hear about all the tragedies in the world, it grieves my heart. Some people look at those things, and ask where you are in all of it. Some even deny that you exist, because surely a loving God wouldn’t allow all these things to happen, but God, I know you are in control and you see further down the road of our lives and know the final outcome. Help us to have faith to see beyond the immediate things and look forward to the blessed hope that you have for us. In Jesus name, I pray, amen.
Banana Nut Crumb Muffins
1 ½ cups sugar Topping
1 cup sour cream 1/3 cup packed brown sugar
½ cup butter (softened) 2 Tablespoons flour
2 eggs 1/8 teaspoon cinnamon
3 or 4 ripe bananas (mashed) 1 Tablespoon butter
2 teaspoons vanilla 1/3 cup crushed walnuts or pecans (optional)
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
¾ teaspoon salt
½ cup walnuts or pecans
Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Lightly grease or place muffin papers in a muffin pan (hint: for easier removal of muffins from papers, lightly spray the papers with cooking spray). In a large bowl, beat together the sugar, sour cream butter and eggs until creamy. Blend in bananas and vanilla. Add flour, baking soda and salt and beat until well mixed and smooth. Stir in nuts. Fill muffin tins/papers ¾ full. For the topping, mix the brown sugar, flour, cinnamon, and nuts until blended. Cut in butter until consistency is like coarse meal. Sprinkle on each of the muffins. Bake for 18-20 minutes. Makes about 2-dozen muffins.
“After we came back from England, We set up housekeeping in our new home. The two older children started to school at the local Mennonite school. Since they didn’t have a school lunch program, I would have to send them on their way with lunches from home. One of their favorite things to take for dessert, along with their sandwiches and fruit, was one of my tasty banana nut muffins. They especially loved the crunchy nut topping. It was very filling and kept them satisfied until they came home in the afternoon. By that time they were ready for a second helping.” Grandy Dee
“While we were in England visiting Freddie’s parents, the girls fell in love with the horses in the stables on their estate. We promised them that when we returned to the states and bought our own home, we would get each of them their own horse. The children were unhappy about coming home, but that seemed to satisfy them, knowing that soon they would have their own horse to care for. When we bought our new house, I was excited when I saw that the previous owners left some old china cups in the cupboards. I especially loved the “Blue Willow” set.” Grandy Dee
Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends. John 15:13
As I am writing this, it is Memorial Day. It is a day that we, as Americans, celebrate our freedom. I’m sure that other countries have a similar day to celebrate their freedom and their heroes, as well. Freedom is ours because of the sacrifices made by so many men and women over the years that had served in the armed forces and gave of themselves, their time, and sometimes their lives so that life could be better for the rest of us.
As I go back through even my own history, members of my own family fought in the Civil War, WW I, WWII, Korean War, Viet Nam, and most recently in the Gulf War. I, personally, was in the service during the Viet Nam war, although I didn’t see combat, many of my friends did, so this day holds an even more special meaning for me.
It isn’t always easy to make the decision to fight for one’s country and for people they hardly even know, but they do it just the same, because they love liberty and their country and want to preserve the freedom that is granted to them through the constitution. Sometimes that decision can end in the ultimate sacrifice.
Along the same line, we think of Jesus. Because of our enemy, Satan, he willing came into the world, sent by his Father, to fight our battles for us. It was a hard fought battle with skirmishes that he would encounter with the devil, as he tried to destroy the souls of those who would follow Christ. He was even tempted by Satan in the wilderness to surrender his Godly mission. But Jesus was victorious. He laid down his life willingly for his friends and for us in his final battle on the cross. Even though the battles and skirmishes seemed hopeless at the time, an even greater victory was won. Mankind was saved in that final battle. Anyone willing to take up his cross and follow him into the battle can share in that victory.
We may never be called into a physical battle as a soldier, but we all face a spiritual battle everyday for our souls. We need to equip ourselves with the tools to fight the battle. The tools are the Word of God, worship, praise and prayer. Are you ready to fight for your eternal life? What about the battles that others are going through? Are you willing to do whatever you can to bring others to Christ and show them how to be saved?
Help me Lord to have the strength and determination to fight the everyday battles against Satan. Keep me from the temptations that would destroy my testimony and get in the way of becoming victorious over sin. Show me the way that I can help others win their battles against evil in their lives, as well. In Jesus name, I pray, amen.
Red, White and Blue Parfaits
1 cup strawberries or raspberries
1 cup blueberries
2 cups Devonshire cream (see week 3 recipe)
or store-bought vanilla yogurt
1 chopped nuts, coconut, or granola
(see week 12 recipe)
4 springs of mint (optional.
Prepare Devonshire cream per recipe. If you use homemade granola, allow to cool before putting on parfait. Using 4 clear parfait cups, start with bottom layer of cream or yogurt and then alternate with ¼ cup of strawberries, then cream, then ¼ cup blueberries, finally add last layer of cream. Top parfait with granola or nuts and add one berry on top with a spring of mint for a garnish if desired. Makes 4 individual parfaits.
“After the long hard winter, it was nice to have fresh fruit from the garden again. I was looking forward to eating a lighter fare for desserts and salads, too. I needed to shed the few pounds I had gained in recent months because of the extra food I ate when I was worried about my husband fighting in World War II. Now it was the end of May and the war was over and Freddie was coming home at last. I planned a special dessert as a surprise for him. It would be so patriotic to have one that was red, white, and blue. Just like our American Flag as well as the British Union Flag. It was a time of celebration!” Grandy Dee
“I loved my Royal Crown Derby antique teacups with their vibrant red, white, and blue designs with a hint of gold. The colors reminded me of our flag and of Jesus. The white represents purity and innocence, the red, hardiness and valor, the blue, justice and vigilance. The same can be said of Christ, but also adding, the red that could mean the blood he shed for us on the cross and the added gold because he is the King of Kings.” Grandy Dee