August 21, 2014

About coleen hayden

Coleen Hayden – Director of Women's Ministry - Prayer Ministry Leader - Blog Contributor
Coleen and her husband Robert have been married for 19 years and currently live in the Capital District area of New York State. They have one beautiful daughter, Kassia, who is married to Matt, and 4 delightful grandchildren Elijah, Kaylie Joy, Levi, and Rebekah. She enjoys sewing, cooking, and playing the piano.

Lay It Down


I’ve been lookin’ till my eyes are tired of lookin’
Listenin’ till my ears are numb from listenin’
Prayin’ till my knees are sore from kneelin’ on the bedroom floor
I know that you know that my heart is achin’
I’m running out of tears and my will is breakin’
I don’t think that I can carry the burden of it anymore
All of my hopes and my dreams and my best-laid plans
Are slowly slippin’ through my folded hands

So I’m gonna lay it down
I’m gonna learn to trust You now
What else can I do
‘Cause everything I am depends on You
And if the sun don’t come back up
I know Your love will be enough
I’m gonna let it be, I’m gonna let it go,
I’m gonna lay it down

I’ve been walkin’ through this world like I’m barely livin’
Buried in the doubt of this hole I’ve been diggin’
But You’re pullin’ me out
I’m finally breathin’ in the open air
This room may be dark but I’m finally seein’
There’s a new ray of hope, and now I’m believin’
That the past is past, and the future’s beginning to look brighter now
Oh, cause all of my hopes and my dreams and my best-laid plans
Are safe and secure when I place them in Your hands 

Singer / Songwriter – Jaci Velasquez
* ~ ♥ ~ ✞ ~ ♥ ~ * 

Each of us has burdens and cares and concerns…some days it seems they are more than we can bear.  To think you can walk through this life without them is to deny the Truth.  However, they are not ours to carry and bear on our own. Throughout the Scriptures, we are told that the Lord will bear them for us.

Blessed be the Lord, Who bears our burdens and carries us day by day,
even the God Who is our salvation! Selah
Psalm 68:19

Come to Me, all of you who are weary and burdened,
and I will give you rest.
All of you, take up My yoke and learn from Me,
because I am gentle and humble in heart,
and you will find rest for yourselves.
For My yoke is easy and My burden is light.
Matthew 11:28-30

The burdens, the concerns, the cares of this life can turn into worries, doubts, fears if we do not bring them to our Father letting Him take care of them. We are to humbly recognize our great need for our Great God, and all that He has promised to do for us, because He cares for us.

Humble yourselves, therefore, under the mighty hand of God
so that at the proper time He may exalt you,
casting all your anxieties on Him, because He cares for you.
1 Peter 5:6 and 7

Let’s listen to Jesus’ admonition and promises in Matthew chapter 6:

Therefore I tell you, stop being perpetually uneasy (anxious and worried) about your life, what you shall eat or what you shall drink; or about your body, what you shall put on. Is not life greater [in quality] than food, and the body [far above and more excellent] than clothing?
Look at the birds of the air; they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father keeps feeding them. Are you not worth much more than they?
And who of you by worrying and being anxious can add one unit of measure (cubit) to his stature or to the span of his life?
And why should you be anxious about clothes? Consider the lilies of the field and learn thoroughly how they grow; they neither toil nor spin.
Yet I tell you, even Solomon in all his magnificence (excellence, dignity, and grace) was not arrayed like one of these.
But if God so clothes the grass of the field, which today is alive and green and tomorrow is tossed into the furnace, will He not much more surely clothe you, O you of little faith?
Therefore do not worry and be anxious, saying, What are we going to have to eat? or, What are we going to have to drink? or, What are we going to have to wear?
For the Gentiles (heathen) wish for and crave and diligently seek all these things, and your heavenly Father knows well that you need them all.
But seek first of all His kingdom and His righteousness, and then all these things will be given you besides.
So do not worry or be anxious about tomorrow, for tomorrow will have worries and anxieties of its own. Sufficient for each day is its own trouble.

Jesus’ words are full of action for us to take…but not the action of taking care of ourselves. Rather, our Lord and Master tells us to–

  • stop being perpetually uneasy
  • look at (and consider) the birds of the air
  • consider the lilies of the field
  • do not worry and be anxious
  • seek (first of all) His kingdom
  • <again> do not worry or be anxious

These are not always easy to do…but they are what we are to do in obedience. The choice, moment by moment, is ours (yours and mine)—will we stop… look…consider…not worry or be anxious…but seek His kingdom OR will we worry, doubt, have anxiety and fear.

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I am praying for you that TODAY you will choose to trust and say, “I’m gonna let it be, I’m gonna let it go, I’m gonna lay it down…in Jesus’ powerful name, amen.” (Will you pray that for me, too?  I’d be so appreciative!)


Arugula, Peach, Quinoa Salad

Recently a friend told me about this delicious ‘rice’ salad that she and her family were enjoying that she purchased at her favorite grocery store from the fresh salad bar. Well, as it turns out it wasn’t rice (when I questioned her thoroughly) but red quinoa!  Oh, I do love quinoa…so I was quite interested!  Here is my variation on this salad.  You can surely make this ‘your own’ by varying the fresh veggies added, what type of fruit you put in (berries would also be lovely!), the kind of vinaigrette you use (perhaps use your family’s favorite bottled vinaigrette!), and what variety of nuts you sprinkle across the top!  I would love to hear how you changed it up; leave a comment below!

Quinoa <kEEn-wah> is a grain but it is the seed that we eat! (Good news for those who eat low-carb, right?)  And it is jam-packed full of protein.  Have you and your family enjoyed quinoa before?  To find quinoa in your grocery store, check the natural food section, or the rice/pasta aisle.  Usually when I prepare a pot of quinoa, I make extra to use for another meal. Our favorite is ‘red’ quinoa although it also comes in white (or golden), and black variations. Check out these nutritional facts.  This light salad fits well into our ‘healthy but oh-so-yummy’ POV since it has a great vegetable protein base, and lots of fresh veggies and fruit!  Serve it alongside something yummy from the grill—chicken, shrimp, or salmon, for example.  Oh, and if you DO grill…throw the peaches on the grill for 5 minutes or so, too!  Enjoy!

Quinoa, Peach and Arugula Salad

2014-08-17 19.34.04

1 cup red quinoa
1+3/4 cup water
1/3 cup olive oil
1/3 cup mango (or orange) juice
1 tablespoon honey, agave or maple syrup (optional)
2-3 splashes of white balsamic vinegar
1 teaspoon minced garlic (I use jarred)
sea salt & freshly ground black pepper
3 cups arugula
2 ripe peaches (or mango), chopped
1/2 small red onion, finely diced
1 cup cucumber, small dice
handful of sugar snap peas (defrosted from frozen OR fresh)
3 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
3 tablespoons chopped fresh mint
1/3 cup nuts (pistachios, pignoli, chopped almonds)
4 ounces goat cheese, crumbled
sea salt & freshly ground black pepper


  • prepare quinoa: bring water to a boil in a small saucepan; add the quinoa, bring back to boil, stir, cover, and then reduce heat to very low and simmer until the water is absorbed (10-15 minutes).  remove from the heat, keep covered, and let sit for 5 minutes.  fluff up with a fork and transfer to a large mixing bowl to cool2014-08-17 18.59.45 HDR
  • make vinaigrette:  whisk together the juice, garlic, sweetener (if using), balsamic, and s&p; slowly drizzle in the olive oil while continuing to whisk away ‘til thoroughly emulsified. (this can be done in your food processor or using an immersion blender)
  • assemble:  add the veggies, arugula and herbs to the quinoa already in the large mixing bowl, ; toss together
  • pour 3/4 of the vinaigrette evenly over the mixed salad; season well with additional s&p to taste
  • top with sliced peaches, nuts, and cheese

♥   ♥   ♥   ♥   ♥

God loves you!  ♥  (Don’t ever forget that!)

♥  coleen

Praise Him


Praise the Lord!  Hallelujah!  Praise the Lord, O my soul!

While I live will I praise the Lord; I will sing praises to my God while I have any being.

Put not your trust in princes, in a son of man, in whom there is no help.

When his breath leaves him, he returns to his earth; in that very day his thoughts, plans, and purposes perish.

Happy (blessed, fortunate, enviable) is he who has the God of  Jacob for his help, whose hope is in the Lord his God,

Who made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that is in them, Who keeps truth and is faithful forever,

Who executes justice for the oppressed, Who gives food to the hungry. The Lord sets free the prisoners,

The Lord opens the eyes of the blind, the Lord lifts up those who are bowed down, the Lord loves the [uncompromisingly] righteous.

The Lord protects and preserves the strangers and temporary residents, He upholds the fatherless and the widow and sets them upright, but the way of the wicked He makes crooked.

 The Lord shall reign forever, even Your God, O Zion, from generation to generation. Praise the Lord!  Hallelujah!

Psalm 146

As Long As I Live


Praise the Lord! (Hallelujah!) Praise the Lord, O my soul!
While I live will I praise the Lord;
I will sing praises to my God while I have any being.
Psalm 146:1 and 2

Haven’t we each uttered words similar to these!  I know for myself that there are times when my heart is just so full of praise and I profess that I will always be found praising Him…my whole life-long!  And, by God’s grace, we each will continue to praise our God for as long as we are alive!   ‘Cause, truly, is there anything better?

Throughout the psalms, we read of David’s (and the other psalmists’) dedication and commitment to praise the Most High God.  Verse after verse, chapter after chapter, contain beautiful words of praise and worship!  And it is such a joyful thing to do when days are easy, and trials are few, and our minds and hearts are not stressed and overwhelmed.

But we each know that, at times, days like those are a distant memory…. We each have experienced seasons of our lives where the pressures and stresses are so burdensome. And our relationships with friends and loved ones seem filled with contention. Times when the cares of this world—finances, and health issues, and rumors of wars, and threaten to overshadow the praises we have committed to bring to our God.

These are the very times…the situations and circumstances…when our praises should be more constant.  It takes a concerted effort and a willful choice sometimes to sing out our HalleluJAHs! And yet we must! We are not yet in the grave. Our lives are not over. We do still have voices and strength to lift our hands in praise to the One Who deserves every praise!

Here are a few expressions of one who is praising God ‘as long as I live!’ Perhaps you might write them down…and tuck them away for encouragement when the times come that the praises of your own heart are not spilling over. Our God does not change. He is faithful. He always brings to pass what He has promised to do. So let’s purpose to do as we so want to do—praise Him as long as we live!

Because Your lovingkindness is better than life,
My lips will praise You.
So I will bless You as long as I live;
I will lift up my hands in Your name.
Psalms 63:3 and 4


I love the Lord, because He has heard my voice and my supplications.
Because He has inclined His ear to me, therefore will I call upon Him as long as I live.
Psalms 116:1-2


Let my supplication come before You; deliver me according to Your word!
My lips shall pour forth praise [with thanksgiving and renewed trust] when You teach me Your statutes.
My tongue shall sing [praise for the fulfillment] of Your word, for all Your commandments are righteous.
Let Your hand be ready to help me, for I have chosen Your precepts.
I have longed for Your salvation, O Lord, and Your law is my delight.
Let me live that I may praise You, and let Your decrees help me.
Psalms 119:170-175


I will sing to the Lord all my life; I will sing praise to my God while I live. *
May my meditation be pleasing to Him;
I will rejoice in the Lord.
Psalms104:33 and 34


(* some other versions translate this phrase: while I have my being, to my last breath, while I exist)

*   ~   ♥   ~   ✞   ~  ♥   ~   *

Let everything that has breath and every breath of life praise the Lord!
Praise the Lord! (Hallelujah!)
Psalm 150:6

My prayer today is that we will praise God—from morning when we get up ‘til night when we lay our heads down—we will sing our praises to the One Who deserves all the praise and glory!  May we recognize the privilege of praising our great God!  As long as we have breath, may our lives and hearts and everything within us PRAISE THE LORD!


So, check right now…are you breathing?  Is blood flowing through your veins?  Is your heart pumping?  Can you wiggle your toes?  Well, GOOD!  Now get busy praising Him!

Every Praise Is To Our God


Hey now!  Chair dancing is just NOT going to be good enough with this moving and inspiring song!  Are your toes tapping…head bobbing…shoulders jiving…hands clapping?  Up on your feet!  Use your whole self—hands, arms, feet…and mind, heart, voice! Allow your WHOLE self to fully engage in giving ‘every praise!’ to your God!  Sing HalleluJAH!

*   ~   ♥   ~   ✞   ~  ♥   ~   *

Every praise is to our God
Every word of worship with one accord
Every praise every praise is to our God
Sing Hallelujah to our God
Glory Hallelujah is due our God
Every praise every praise is to our God

God my Savior
God my Healer
God my Deliverer
Yes He is, yes He is

Praise sung by Hezekiah Walker and friends
Songwriters: Hezekiah Walker and J. David Bratton

*   ~   ♥   ~   ✞   ~  ♥   ~   *

Our God—our Savior, our Healer, our Deliverer—deserves all the praise there is to give!

Praise the Lord! (Hallelujah!) O give thanks to the Lord, for He is good;
for His mercy and loving-kindness endure forever!
Who can put into words and tell the mighty deeds of the Lord?
Or who can show forth all the praise [that is due Him]?
Psalms 106:1 and 2

Truly, no one can…that is why all of the praise of all of the peoples throughout all time is required to ‘show forth all the praise…’!

Throughout the Scriptures there are many records of God’s people praising and worshipping Him—the object of their every praise. For example,

  • Moses praising with the children of Israel praising God Almighty for the miraculous way He saved them from the Egyptians (Exodus 15)
  • David worshipping with the people of Jerusalem when the Ark of the Covenant was returned to Jerusalem (1 Chronicles 16)

Each of these show us wonderful examples of these Old Testament believers and their hearts to praise the Great I AM!  However, I just love the praises that are given to God by Daniel…and the king, Nebuchadnezzar…recorded in the Book of Daniel.  Here is one prayer of praise and worship Daniel prayed after God gifted him with wisdom and explanations of King Nebudchednezzar’s dream.

Then the secret was revealed to Daniel in a vision of the night, and Daniel blessed the God of heaven. Daniel answered, Blessed be the name of God forever and ever! For wisdom and might are His! He changes the times and the seasons; He removes kings and sets up kings. He gives wisdom to the wise and knowledge to those who have understanding! He reveals the deep and secret things; He knows what is in the darkness, and the light dwells with Him! I thank You and praise You, O God of my fathers, Who has given me wisdom and might and has made known to me now what we desired of You, for You have made known to us the solution to the king’s problem.

Daniel 2:19-23

Just like in this song we are inspired by today, Daniel sang out his ‘HalleluJAH!’ and gave all the praise to his God! What can we see in his prayer of praise? First, he praised God. Then he acknowledged Who God is and that He is in-charge and in control—‘He changes the times and the seasons…He removes…and sets up kings.’ And that all wisdom and knowledge are His. And then Daniel thanked and praised God for giving him wisdom and might.

Later on, given the mighty and miraculous acts seen as well as the humbling that Nebuchadnezzar received, he had much praise to give to God, too. He lifted his praise of the Most High God before all the peoples of his kingdom.

It seemed good to me to show the signs and wonders that the Most High God has performed toward me.
How great are His signs! And how mighty His wonders! His kingdom is an everlasting kingdom, and His dominion is from generation to generation.

And at the end of the days, I, Nebuchadnezzar, lifted up my eyes to heaven, and my understanding and the right use of my mind returned to me; and I blessed the Most High [God] and I praised and honored and glorified Him Who lives forever, Whose dominion is an everlasting dominion; and His kingdom endures from generation to generation. And all the inhabitants of the earth are accounted as nothing. And He does according to His will in the host of heaven and among the inhabitants of the earth, and none can stay His hand or say to Him, What are You doing? Now I, Nebuchadnezzar, praise and extol and honor the King of heaven, Whose works are all faithful and right and Whose ways are just. And those who walk in pride He is able to abase and humble.

Daniel 4:2 and 3, 34-37

And, of course, there are many, many, many additional accounts throughout the Scriptures of praise and worship being offered to the One Who deserves every praise—our Great God!

Every praise is to our God
Sing Hallelujah to our God
Glory! Hallelujah! is due our God
Every praise, every praise is to our God!

 ♥   ~   ✞   ~  ♥

I will confess and praise You [O God] with my whole heart;
before the gods will I sing praises to You.
I will worship toward Your holy temple and praise Your name
for Your loving-kindness and for Your truth and faithfulness;
for You have exalted above all else Your name and Your Word
and You have magnified Your Word above all Your name!
Psalms 138:1 and 2

Pesto Pasta with Grilled Chicken

Look what someone who loves me gave me today?  Oh happy me!

2014-08-07 17.34.47

My daughter, Kassia, lovingly gifted me with a jar of her healthy but-oh-so-yummy pesto (and luscious balsamic reduction)!  This is precious stuff…what to make, what to make?  Eventually, I just decided to keep it simple: I took a couple of tablespoons to marinate chicken tenderloins, which we then grilled; and then topped off sauteed zucchini and onions with another couple of tablespoons and combined it all together with some gluten-free penne pasta. So yummy!

2014-08-07 19.31.01

Kassia graciously is sharing her pesto recipe with us today…. This recipe is vegan and dairy-free (along with being intrinsically gluten free, soy free). Her secret ingredient? “Nutritional yeast.” Yup! Don’t knock it ‘til you try it! (Oh, speaking of trying it…dust your freshly popped popcorn with it!) Here’s a fun link loaded with lots of good info about nutritional yeast, or noosh, and some ideas where to purchase it. Enjoy!


1/4 cup walnuts2014-08-10 17.47.41
1/2-1 tablespoon finely minced garlic (she uses jarred garlic, like her momma!)
2 cups fresh baby spinach
1 cup fresh basil (leaves only!)
1 tablespoon nutritional yeast flakes
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1/4 cup+/- extra virgin olive oil
sea salt, freshly ground black pepper (to taste)


  • in a food processor, process the walnuts and garlic until minced
  • add the spinach, basil, nutritional yeast and lemon juice; process by pulsing until spinach is finely ground
  • with food processor running, s-l-o-w-l-y pour the oil down the food chute ‘til all is well incorporated
  • season with salt and pepper, to taste
  • this will make approximately 3/4 cup (about 12 tablespoons) of pesto. I only used 5 tablespoons in the entire dish pictured above which made 4 generous servings!

♥   ♥   ♥   ♥   ♥

God loves you!  ♥  (Please don’t ever forget that!)

♥  coleen



Psalm 100…Three Reasons to Praise Him


Make a joyful noise to the Lord, all the earth!
Serve the Lord with gladness! Come into His Presence with singing!
Know that the Lord, He is God! It is He who made us, and we are His;
we are His people, and the sheep of His pasture.
Enter His gates with thanksgiving, and His courts with praise!
Give thanks to Him; bless His name!
For the Lord is good; His steadfast love endures forever,
and His faithfulness to all generations.
Psalm 100

‘Make a joyful noise!’  Oh, you don’t have to tell me twice!  (And sometimes it is just that—a joyful noise.)   Don’t we just love to sing our praises to the Lord God?!?  We have so many, many reasons to praise Him, to thank Him, to bless His Holy Name.  Here in Psalm 100, verse 5 offers three extremely compelling reasons to praise Him:

He is good

The Lord is good, a refuge in times of trouble.
He cares for those who trust in Him.
Nahum 1:7

This we know…in fact, isn’t there a praise chorus that we love to sing: ‘God is good ALL the time! And ALL the time, God is good!’

His love endures forever

Give thanks to the God of Heaven for His steadfast love endures forever.
Psalms 136:26

Twenty-six (yes, 26!) times in Psalm 136, this praise is exclaimed! (Here’s a link to read the whole psalm.)  Throughout the entire history of mankind from Adam & Eve, all the way along through the Scriptures, we read of the myriad of ways that our Great God has manifested His steadfast love.  AND He has made promise after promise to His children (us! you and me!) that His love will endure for eternity!

He is faithful to all generations

Know therefore that the Lord your God is God; He is the faithful God, keeping His covenant of love to a thousand generations of those who love Him and keep His commandments.
Deuteronomy 7:9

What a promise of hope He has made—His ‘covenant of love’ to those who love Him and obey! Our God always brings to pass His promises! What a faithful God!

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Dear Lord,
We love to make a joyful noise, Lord, singing Your praises!  You are the Almighty God Who deserves all the praise there is to give!  Thank You for Your faithfulness, Your goodness, and Your love!  HalleluJAH!  Amen.

I’ll Do My Best For You


I’ll love
I’ll love You, Lord

I’ll do my best
I’ll do my best
Oh, I’ll do my best for You
Oh, oh, oh
I’ll do my best
I’ll do my best
Oh, I’ll do my best for You

I’ll serve
I’ll serve You, Lord

I’ll praise
I’ll praise You, Lord

I’ll love
I’ll serve
I’ll praise You, Lord

I’ll do my best
I’ll do my best
I’ll do my best
Oh, I’ll do my best for You
Oh, oh, oh
I’ll do my best
I’ll do my best
Oh, I’ll do my best for You

 Jamie Statema, Jason Folkmann and Andy Selness  aka, The GoFish Guys

*   ~   ♥   ~   ✞   ~  ♥   ~   *


We (meaning the grandkids and I!) have been getting our groove on recently since we purchased an adorable little bluetooth speaker.  (At least ‘til the speaker or the device we are using loses it charge!)  ;-)  Of course, they each have their favorites! But this little song from the GoFish Guys seems to be popular on everyone’s playlist!

I asked them “What does it mean to ‘do my best’ for God?”  Kaylie Joy responded, “Welllllll, I guess it means to obey Him…the best I can.”  Levi, singing away (with his voice AND his body!), “obey my dad and mom…and you, too, TaTa!”  And when I prompted Elijah, a man of few words, singing “Do you want to want to love God forever?” he signed ‘LOVE’ right back to me.

And I thought to myself that from their perspective, it is pretty darn simple.  But sometime it gets rather complicated for me.   At times, I am tempted to think that my efforts, my good works, my trying hard are the things that i should be doing to do my bestfor my God.  (Ummmm…no.)  I was convicted in my heart…as I realized it is no more complicated for me (a follower of Jesus Christ for almost 35 years) than for children who have just begun a relationship with Him.  The motivation for doing my best for God is LOVEHis love for me and me proving my love for Him!

His love for us (oh-how-He-loves-us-so! ) is unconditional.  We cannot earn…or do anything to provoke Him to love us.  He simply DOES love us.

For God so greatly loved and dearly prized the world that He [even] gave up
His only begotten Son, so that whoever believes in Him shall not perish
(come to destruction, be lost) but have eternal (everlasting) life.
John 3:16

And our love for Him  is proven or shown by our adherence to His commands.

But whoever keeps His word, in him truly the love of God is perfected.
1 John 2:5

By this we know that we love the children of God,
when we love God and observe His commandments.
1 John 5:2

For this is the love of God, that we keep His commandments.
And His commandments are not burdensome.
Verse 3

And this is love, that we walk according to His commandments….
2 John 1:6

If you love Me, you will keep My commandments.
John 14:15

So ‘doing my best’ for God is much more about loving Him and wanting to live in such a way that proves my love!  Whether I am serving Him, praising Him, or loving others…it is all to say ‘I love You, Lord!’  And any good works that I do, as I endeavor to do my best for Him, are all for His glory!

So, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God!
1 Corinthians 10:31

To the praise of the glory of His grace, where in He hath made us accepted in the Beloved.
Ephesians 1:6

Fruit Parfaits (to go!)

Here in our little village, we have a community park which fronts on the river which runs through the village.  Twice each week during the summer season, free concerts are held in the bandshell!  This week the Schenectady Pipe Band was scheduled to play!  Oh, I just love bagpipe&drums!!!  (How about you?)  So Robert asked if I would like to go…ummm, let me think…YES!

I thought that he would love it if I made some kind of sweet treat to bring along and enjoy out under the stars listening to stirring bagpipes!  Originally I was planning on making some cookies (his favs!) but we had an abundance of gorgeous berries this week. So then I got ready to make a berry crisp…all yummy warm berry sweetness with a healthy topping of cinnamon-y crunchiness!  But THEN I was talking with my daughter, kassia, about the trendiness of mason jars filled with salads, and suppers…and desserts! My mind was made up—Fruit and Cake Parfaits!

2014-07-31 18.51.46

These were super simple to put together.  I prepared all the components earlier in the day: an easy-peasy yellow sheet cake (gluten free, of course), a berry compote, and homemade whipped cream.  After supper, all that was needed was to layer it all up into mason jars, cap ‘em off, and put them into my picnic basket!  I hope you give these a try!  They would be a great dessert to bring along to a bbq, or picnic…or how about taking them to the drive-in?  Enjoy!

Fruit and Cake Parfaits…to go!

mason (or Ball) canning jars2014-08-03 21.13.26
yellow cake or angel food cake
fresh fruit
whipped cream

note: quantities are at your discretion! For our parfaits, I used a ‘manly’ quart-size jar and a pint-size jar for me. I would suggest “wide mouth” jars, too (much easier to spoon out the yumminess!).

cake component:

  • I simply baked up a plain yellow cake (use a mix…go right ahead!)
  • when thoroughly cooled, cut up into small cubes

fruit component:2014-07-31 14.55.43

  • we had strawberries, blueberries, raspberries, blackberries, and cut up peaches
  • sprinkle sugar (I used coconut sugar) over the fruit and gently combine
  • proportions: 1 tablespoon sugar to 1 cup fruit (I used 3 cups of fruit)
  • set aside for a minimum of 30 minutes (or up to 2-3 hours) to allow the sugar to draw out the moisture from the fruit creating a syrup

whipped cream component:

  • please indulge and make your own whipped cream
  • I used a half-pint container of heavy cream, 1/2 teaspoon of almond extract, and 2 teaspoons of confectioners (10X) sugar

to assemble:
in this order—cake cubes, macerated fruit, whipped cream—fill up your jars; done!  oh…if taking along with you…don’t forget the spoons!!!  Enjoy!

♥   ♥   ♥   ♥   ♥

God loves you!  ♥  (Please don’t ever forget that!)

♥  coleen


Be Exalted


I stand in awe of who You are
You have overwhelmed my heart
once again
My all in all, my everything
With abandon I have come
to meet You here

Be exalted
Be exalted
In my life above all else
Be lifted up

My eyes have seen
Your majesty
Filled with wonder
Now my soul must sing

There is only one true God
Who is holy
You are holy 


 Singer / Songwriter: Ben Cantelon (along with Mia Fieldes, Jason Ingram)

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Throughout the Bible, there are many, many, many records of those who truly exalted God in their hearts and with their words of praise and through their actions!

A few who quickly come to my mind are,

  • Jesus
  • David
  • Esther
  • Moses
  • Job
  • Paul

But one example that I just love is Mary, the mother of our Lord.  Oh, what a heart she had!  She is a great standard for having the right type of heart and life. Mary was so very humble!  (Check out Luke 1:38.)  Her pure and praise-filled heart for her God is shown in many ways.  One illustration is found recorded in Luke chapter 1.  Upon hearing her cousin Elizabeth confirm what the Angel Gabriel had told to Mary, she was filled with praise! Listen to these words of hers…

And Mary said: “My soul exalts the Lord,
And my spirit has rejoiced in God my Savior.
For He has had regard for the humble state of His bondslave;
For behold, from this time on all generations will count me blessed.
For the Mighty One has done great things for me;
And holy is His name.
And His mercy is upon generation after generation
Toward those who fear Him.
He has done mighty deeds with His arm;
Luke 1:46-50

And she continues in her praise to exalt her God, the Almighty One.  But what does it mean to ‘exalt’ God?  One reference I checked, defines exalt as

EXALT‘, v.t. egzolt’. Low L. exalto; ex and altus, high.

  1. To raise high; to elevate.
  2. To elevate in power, wealth, rank or dignity; as, to exalt one to a throne, to the chief magistracy, to a bishopric.
  3. To elevate with joy or confidence; as, to be exalted with success or victory. We now use elate.
  4. To raise with pride; to make undue pretensions to power, rank or estimation; to elevate too high or above others.
  5. To elevate in estimation and praise; to magnify; to praise; to extol.

We can see through these definitions and practical usages of the word exalt that clearly it is to ‘raise…elevate…magnify…praise…extol.’  And it is easy to see how and why our God is THE One to be exalted!  As Ben Cantelon sings, ‘You alone and no one else, be lifted up!’

The following psalm suggests another important perspective to exalt that includes our own bowing down.

The Lord is king!
Let the nations tremble!
He sits on His throne between the cherubim.
Let the whole earth quake!
The Lord sits in majesty in Jerusalem,
exalted above all the nations.
Let them praise Your great and awesome name.
Your name is holy!
Mighty King, lover of justice,
You have established fairness.
You have acted with justice
and righteousness throughout Israel.
Exalt the Lord our God!
Bow low before His feet, for He is holy!
Psalms 99:1-5

Notice in verse 5 the difference between the two exclamations made: “Exalt the LORD our God!” is given in comparison to “Bow low before His feet.”  In studying this verse and looking at the Hebrew words used, I read that the word translated as “bow low” is one of the basic Hebrew words for worship.  Literally it means “to bow low” or “to prostrate” oneself before and worshipping a sovereign, a king.

Wouldn’t you say this could apply to how we can exalt God, figuratively, by not only by raising our voices in praise to Him, but also by humbly bowing low before Him in worship.  Truly,  at times, we are literally bowing before God as a response to His incredible and awesome greatness!  This physical act can help our hearts to humbly bow before Him.  But whether we kneel or are prostrate on our faces before God or not, we can exalt Him within our hearts as we recognize and praise, “Be exalted…in my life above all else, be lifted up!”

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May our prayer and our praise be to always exalt Almighty God whether we be standing with arms raised in praise, or singing joyfully out our praises, or kneeling humble before Him, or flat out before Him in submission to Him!

I will bless the Lord at all times; His praise shall continually be in my mouth.
My life makes its boast in the Lord; let the humble and afflicted hear and be glad.
O magnify the Lord with me, and let us exalt His name together.
Psalms 34:1-3