October 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.

Some of my Favorite Things…and Cheesecake

So it was suggested to me to post a recipe today that is one of my very own favorites…since it is my very own birthday!  Woo-hoo…59 ! So I began to think about some of my favorite things…here are  ♪♬♪ a few of my favorite things! ♪♬♪

anything lemon-y
cheese
thai food
butternut squash (prepared just about ANY way!)
a really good mixed greens and veggie salad

But none of these yummy, delicious things are truly enjoyable to me without being able to share them with others. My FAVORITE things include being able to share a meal and God’s blessings with family and friends around our big old oak table!


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As far as a recipe for one of my favorites…well, I wasn’t quite sure and then decided to post my daughter’s Cheesecake Recipe (with her permission, of couse!). This was our indulgence for my birthday cake this year! This recipe is gluten free and refined sugar free; and prepares a huge cheesecake…enough for many slices! Enjoy!

 

2014-10-19 19.42.00

Cheesecake ala Kassia

crust
ingredients:
1 cup gf graham cracker crumbs (or traditional)
1/2 cup ground pecans
3 tablespoons softened butter

directions:

  • preheat oven to 400
  • butter sides and bottom of springform pan
  • mix ingredients together
  • pour mixture into springform pan and press firmly onto bottom of pan and up sides approximately 1+1/2″
  • bake for 10 minutes; remove from oven
  • set aside to cool
  • lower oven temp to 325

filling
ingredients:
4 (8 ounce) packages cream cheese or neufchatel (or combination)
1/2 cup coconut sugar
1/2 cup agave nectar (or honey)
16 drops vanilla creme stevia
4 eggs, room temperature
1 cup plain 2% Greek yogurt
2 tablespoons cornstarch
3/4 cup half&half
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
1 tablespoon lemon juice

directions:

  • (set eggs out when starting to make the crust)
  • adjust racks in oven so that one is in the high middle position (not the top position) and one is in the highest low position (#2 and #4 of 5)
  • put a roasting pan on the lower rack and add approximately 1″ water
  • beat cream cheese ‘til light and fluffy
  • gradually beat in sugar ‘til fully incorporated
  • add agave (or honey) and liquid stevia
  • add eggs one at a time, beating after each addition ‘til egg is fully incorporated
  • add cornstarch and beat ‘til smooth
  • add lemon juice and vanilla; beat ‘til fully incorporated
  • add yogurt and half½ beat just ‘til combined
  • carefully pour the filling mixture into the cooled crust
  • place filled springform pan into 325 oven; bake for 70-75 minutes ‘til very center of baked cheesecake is just a tiny bit jiggly when pan is gently wiggled
  • leave cheesecake in oven! turn oven off and leave door slightly ajar for two hours
  • it is best to refrigerate cheesecake for 24-48 hours before serving

topping
can be topped with {our choice} homemade whipped cream, canned pie filling, a drizzle of chocolate sauce, fresh fruit, caramel sauce, etc.

(I would love to hear what your favorite cheesecake topping is!)

♥  ♥  ♥  ♥  ♥

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

♥  coleen

Every Promise Of Your Word

SeekingHimLogo

Remember Your promise to me;
    it is my only hope.
Your promise revives me….

Psalm 119:49 and 50

 Stuart Townend along with Keith Getty

*  ~  ♥  ~  ✞  ~  ♥  ~  *

From the breaking of the dawn to the setting of the sun
I will stand on every promise of Your Word
Words of power strong to save that will never pass away
I will stand on every promise of Your word

For Your covenant is sure
And on this I am secure
I can stand on ev’ry promise of Your word

When I stumble and I sin condemnation pressing in
I will stand on ev’ry promise of Your word
You are faithful to forgive that in freedom I might live
So I stand on ev’ry promise of Your Word

Guilt to innocence restored
You remember sins no more
So I’ll stand on ev’ry promise of Your word

When I’m faced with anguished choice, I will listen for Your voice
And I’ll stand on every promise of Your word

Through this dark and troubled land
You will guide me with Your hand
As I stand on ev’ry promise of Your word

And You’ve promised to complete
Ev’ry work begun in me
So I’ll stand on ev’ry promise of Your word

Hope that lifts me from despair, love that casts out ev’ry fear
As I stand on every promise of Your word

Not forsaken not alone for the Comforter has come
And I stand on ev’ry promise of Your word
Grace sufficient,grace for me
Grace for all who will believe
We will stand on ev’ry promise of Your word

God Always Keeps His Promise

SeekingHimLogo

Remember Your word to Your servant,
for You have given me hope.
My comfort in my suffering is this:
Your promise preserves my life.
Psalms 119:49-50

Throughout the Scriptures, there are many, many records of God fulfilling His promise to His people.  Whether it be to an individual, or a group of people, or all mankind—God always keeps His promise.  I am so thankful to have these stories recorded in the Scriptures because they encourage and comfort us.  At any time, we can sit down with a bible and open up to one of numerous accounts.  One that I am always reminded of when thinking of God’s promises fulfilled is the record of Abraham and Isaac climbing Mount Moriah…remember? (Click here to read the entire record.)

As he walked toward Moriah with Isaac, Abraham must have felt conflicted…and heartbroken beyond words….  Can you imagine?  How could God ask him to sacrifice this miracle child He had blessed him and Sarai with!  No doubt, he did not understand all that God was doing.  He didn’t know he was illustrating for God’s people for all time what faith and trust looked like.

Was not our father Abraham considered righteous for what he did
when he offered his son Isaac on the altar? You see that his faith and his actions
were working together, and his faith was made complete by what he did.
And the scripture was fulfilled that says, “Abraham believed God,
and it was credited to him as righteousness,” and he was called God’s friend.
James 2:21–23

He didn’t know this provision for the sacrifice would foreshadow the sacrifice of God’s only Son —a Son who would not be spared because He was the provided Lamb.

The next day John saw Jesus coming to him and said,
Look! There is the Lamb of God, Who takes away the sin of the world!
John 1:29

He only knew that God had promised and that He surely knew what He was doing. He stood on his faith and belief that God could be trusted to keep His promise—even if it appeared like the promise was going to die. And God proved himself faithful to Abraham.

By faith Abraham, when he was tested, offered up Isaac,
and he who had received the promises was offering up his only begotten son;
He considered that God is able to raise people even from the dead,
from which he also received him back as a type.
Hebrews 11:17, 19

Jehovah – Jireh, our faithful Father, proves Himself faithful to us constantly. Even if it doesn’t look like it right now, God will bring His promise to pass. We have hope through His Word. Trust Him.

What particular promise has God has made to which you can confess,

“Remember Your word to Your servant,
for You have given me hope.
My comfort in my suffering is this:
Your promise preserves my life.”

Child Forgiven

psalmshymnsspiritualsongskjv

I thought I had my bases covered
My destiny was in control
But I could see I’d never reach perfection
The day I hit a slick spot in the road

After that I thought my life was over
But Jesus had a different point of view
All I did was confess, and Jesus did the rest
Thank God I’ve been released and made brand new

You’re looking at a child forgiven
You’re looking at a soul set free
You’re looking at a pardoned prisoner who’s walking now in liberty
I’m standing here because of wondrous grace
My sins are in the deepest sea
He washed me clean somehow
So what you’re seeing now
Is a happy, happy child set free

Now what you see is not a perfect person
What you see is not a faultless soul
What you see is someone who was broken
Until the hand of Jesus made me whole

What you see is not a finished product
What you see might sometimes miss the mark
But I know my Father’s eyes see only His sweet prize
The perfect holy children that we are

Performed here by the Gaither Vocal Band
Songwriters: Suzanne Jennings and Bill Gaither

  *  ~  ♥  ~  ✞  ~  ♥  ~  *

Hey, before we go any further, would you do one thing, please?  Would you go look in the mirror….  Now, see there?!  There is a “child forgiven, a happy happy child set free”…you!

But for the grace of God, we would still be prisoners and slaves to sin. But for His wondrous and amazing grace, we would be without hope.  But,

This righteousness is given through faith in Jesus Christ to all who believe.
There is no difference between Jew and Gentile, for all have sinned
and fall short of the glory of God, and all are justified freely by His grace….
Romans 3:22-24

For He rescued us from the domain of darkness,
and transferred us to the kingdom of His beloved Son,
in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins.
Colossians 1:13 and 14

For He chose us in Him before the creation of the world to be holy and blameless in His sight.
Ephesians 1:4

One of the joy-filled lines of this song is “But I know my Father’s eyes see only His sweet prize—the perfect holy children that we are… ”.  Now I know we aren’t completely and totally perfectly perfect yet…but remember Jesus told His disciples (and us!) to “Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect” (Matthew 5:48).

The apostle Paul, who is such a wonderful example to us of how to live righteously, wrote of his own struggle with this Truth:

Not that I have already obtained it or have already become perfect, but I press on
so that I may lay hold of that for which also I was laid hold of by Christ Jesus.
Brethren, I do not regard myself as having laid hold of it yet; but one thing I do:
forgetting what lies behind and reaching forward to what lies ahead,
I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.
Let us therefore, as many as are perfect, have this attitude;
and if in anything you have a different attitude, God will reveal that also to you;
however, let us keep living by that same standard to which we have attained.
Philippians 3:12-16

It is so very important to remember the Truth of who you are in Christ.  Here are just a few aspects of this reality that, by God’s grace, He has made us to be.

  • I am forgiven; Jesus paid my debt

When you were dead in your sins and in the uncircumcision of your sinful nature,
God made you alive with Christ. He forgave us all our sins,
having cancelled the written code, with its regulations, that was against us
and that stood opposed to us; He took it away, nailing it to the Cross.
Colossians 2:13 and 14

  • I am His child

Yet to all who received Him, to those who believed in His name,
He gave the right to become children of God.
John 1:12

  • I belong to Him

Little children, you are of God [you belong to Him]
and have [already] defeated and overcome them [the agents of the antichrist],
because He Who lives in you is greater (mightier) than he who is in the world.
1 John 4:4

  • I am chosen, holy

But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood,
a holy nation, a people belonging to God,
that you may declare the praises of Him
who called you out of darkness into His wonderful light.
1 Peter 2:9

  • I cannot be separated from His love

Who shall separate us from the love of Christ?
Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword?
…No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us.
For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons,
neither the present nor the future, nor any powers,
neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation,
will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.
Romans 8:35-39

  • I have been given strength to do all which God calls me to do

I have strength for all things in Christ Who empowers me
[I am ready for anything and equal to anything through Him
Who infuses inner strength into me...].
Philippians 4:13

*   ~   ♥   ~   ✞   ~   ♥   ~   *

…Grace to you and peace, from Him who is and who was and who is to come…
and from Jesus Christ, the faithful Witness, the Firstborn of the dead,
and the Ruler of the kings of the earth. To Him who loves us
and released us from our sins by His blood—
Revelations 1:4 and 5

Spaghetti Squash with Garlicky Shrimp and Tomatoes

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Healthy but oh-so-yummy…that’s this dish! I think that, even if you were ‘piggish’ and loaded your plate up with a bigger than usual portion of this dish, you would still be around 300 calories!  Enjoy!

Here’s how I figure that…
– spaghetti squash has 31 calories and less than half a gram of fat per cup
– 4 ounce serving of shrimp is going to set you back 100 calories with less than 1 gram of fat
– the tomatoes contain approximately 25 calories in one cup
– red onion and garlic add maybe 50 or so calories
– of course, the 1 tablespoon of olive oil adds 120 calories; the butter 100 calories; and the grated asiago (like most cheeses) brings 100 more calories
– and there is a good amount of protein in this dish, too!
NOTE: each pound of spaghetti squash will yield approximately 2 cups cooked squash

ingredients:
1 (1+1/2 – 2 pound) spaghetti squash
1 tablespoon olive oil or salted butter
1 medium red onion, finely diced
8 ounces grape tomatoes, halved
2 tablespoons chopped garlic (I use jarred)
1 cup dry white wine (or chicken broth)
1/2# raw shrimp, tails pulled off
sea salt & freshly ground pepper (I use a lemon pepper blend grinder)
1 tablespoon salted butter
3 tablespoons fresh parsley (or 1 tablespoon dried)
1-2 ounces of finely grated asiago (or other strong flavored hard cheese)
lemon slices for finish & garnish

directions:

spaghetti squash (there are a number of other methods, see link for some suggestions):

  1. 2014-10-07 18.42.53
    I simply cut one in half; pull out the seeds (only the seeds); rub the cut edges with a tiny bit of olive oil; season with sea salt and freshly ground pepper; place flat sides down on a piece of parchment paper or foil laid on a baking sheet.
  2. bake in a preheated 425 oven for 30 minutes; remove from oven, carefully flip over and allow to cool while you prepare the rest of the dish.
  3. when ready, take a serving spoon and run it along the edge between the skin of the squash and the cooked ‘meat’ of the squash. remove from skin and, using a fork, separate into strands.

shrimp and tomatoes:

  • heat olive oil in a large saute pan over medium-high heat
  • add the minced onion and cook ‘til it begins to soften and slightly brown around the edges, 2-3 minutes
  • add the diced tomatoes (flat side down) and a pinch of salt and a few grinds of pepper. lower heat to medium and allow to cook undisturbed for 6-7 minutes
  • the tomatoes will ‘give up’ some liquid and begin to create a sauce
    scatter the chopped garlic over the tomatoes, and stir constantly for an additional minute ‘til you begin to smell the garlic
  • pour in the wine (or broth), increase heat to medium and simmer ‘til the liquid has reduced by about half as much, maybe 5-6 minutes
  • add in the shrimp, and reduce heat to low; cook ‘til shrimp turn pink on the bottom side; flip over and cook ‘til shrimp are just pink all the way through; do not overcook
  • then when the shrimp have nearly cooked through, add the butter.  stir the butter so that it gets all around the contents of the pan and begins to slightly thicken the sauce
  • when the butter has fully incorporated, add the parsley and the spaghetti squash
  • gently fold everything together, allowing the spaghetti squash to reheat in the sauce for a minute or two so everything becomes the same temperature
  • sprinkle the shredded cheese across top
  • serve immediately with lemon to squeeze over the top; season to taste

♥  ♥  ♥  ♥  ♥

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

♥  coleen

More To Be Desired Are They Than Gold (Psalms 19:7-11)

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The law of the Lord is perfect, converting the soul;
The testimony of the Lord is sure, making wise the simple;
The statutes of the Lord are right, rejoicing the heart;
The commandment of the Lord is pure, enlightening the eyes;
The fear of the Lord is clean, enduring forever;
The judgments of the Lord are true and righteous altogether.
More to be desired are they than gold,
Yea, than much fine gold;
Sweeter also than honey and the honeycomb.
Moreover by them Your servant is warned,
And in keeping them there is great reward.
Psalms 19:7-11

Sólo El Amor

psalmshymnsspiritualsongskjv
For love I’d do almost anything
I’d cross the widest of oceans
For love, I’d fly with an broken wing
Just to taste it for a moment
For love, I’d turn back the strongest tide
There’s no storm I couldn’t weather
‘Cause it’s more than a gleam in someone’s eye
It’s what holds us all together
But I’ve only known once in my lifetime
Love in its purest form
He came here for me
Suffered and then died under a crown of thorns

Sólo el amor es la salida {Sólo el amor, only love can save me}
Limpia, construye, concibe y procres {Conquering death and the sting of the grave }
Tan solo el amor sana la herida {Kingdoms will fail and tongues will cease}
Que alguna vez nos causara el dolor {But through all eternity love will remain}

Sólo el amor, when all else has failed me,
Will take me to places that I’ve never dreamed
Healing my wounds and setting me free
There’s nothing else worth living for
Sólo el amor

Por amor murio crucifecada la esperanza de la humanidad
{For love the Hope of humanity made the lame to walk again}
El amor es al fruta sagrada {For love He settled the raging sea}
La promesa de la libertad { And became the sinner’s friend} 

For love He drank of His Father’s cup
With all my shame on His shoulders
And He offered forgiveness through His shed blood
Tell me, is it any wonder
That I’ve only known once in my lifetime
Love in its purest form
He came here for me
Suffered and then died under a crown of thorns

Sólo el amor…only love

Performed by Sandi Patty, Miguel Angel Guerra
Songwriters: Donato Póveda / Kelly Minter

*   ~   ♥   ~   ✞   ~  ♥   ~   *

This morning I was sitting at my piano playing, and singing along to the words of this song.  I was struck so deeply by the very first line: “For love I’d do almost anything…”.  Because I WOULD do almost anything due to the love I have for my family and loved ones!  You would, too…I am sure!  Those of us who are mommas (or grammas!), we know the truth of this feeling in our hearts.  Y’know the whole “don’t get between a mother lion and her cub!” thing.  Definitely a deep, strong, passionate love there. But (as the lyrics go on to tell us) there is a love that goes beyond what you or I have done or could even imagine doing. The love of Jesus our Savior and Redeemer:  “He came here for me, suffered and then died under a crown of thorns.

You see, at just the right time, when we were still powerless, Christ died for the ungodly…
But God shows His love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.
Romans 5:6 and 8

For God so loved the world that He gave His one and only Son,
that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life.
John 3:16

Despised and rejected by men;
a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief . . .
we esteemed Him stricken, smitten by God, and afflicted.
But He was wounded for our transgressions;
He was crushed for our iniquities;
upon Him was the chastisement that brought us peace,
and with His stripes we are healed.
All we like sheep have gone astray;
we have turned every one to his own way;
and the Lord has laid on Him the iniquity of us all.
Isaiah 53:3-5 (spoken prophetically of our Messiah)

But God—so rich is He in His mercy! Because of and in order to satisfy
the great and wonderful and intense love with which He loved us,
Even when we were dead (slain) by [our own] shortcomings and trespasses,
He made us alive together in fellowship and in union with Christ;
[He gave us the very life of Christ Himself, the same new life with which He quickened Him,
for] it is by grace (His favor and mercy which you did not deserve)
that you are saved (delivered from judgment and made partakers of Christ’s salvation.
Ephesians 2:4-5

Christ’s death is not only the demonstration of God’s love (John 3:16), it is also the ultimate expression of Jesus’ own love for all mankind. And my part (yours AND mine) is being convicted of this fact: “Christ loved me and gave Himself for me.”  And not just convicted…my response (OUR response) should be LOVE.   How do we prove our love for our Savior?  Simply by our obedience.

No matter where you look in the Scriptures—whether back in the records of the Old Testament…or in the words of our Lord contained in the Gospels…or in the doctrine given to the 1st century Church—to say ‘I love You, o God’ means you choose to obey.  Here are just three examples:

Know therefore that the LORD your God, He is God, the faithful God,
who keeps His covenant and His lovingkindness to a thousand generations
with those who love Him and keep His commandments;
Deuteronomy 7:9

“If you love Me, keep My commands.
Whoever has My commands and keeps them is the one who loves Me.
The one who loves Me will be loved by My Father, and I too will love them
and show Myself to them.
…Anyone who loves Me will obey My teaching. My Father will love them, and We will come to them and make Our home with them.
Anyone who does not love Me will not obey My teaching. These words you hear are not My own; they belong to the Father who sent Me.”
John 14:15, 21, 23-24

By this we know that we love the children of God, when we love God
and observe His commandments. For this is the love of God,
that we keep His commandments; and His commandments are not burdensome.
1 John 5:2 and 3

I would love to leave you with a couple of resources that communicate so beautifully about the love of Jesus demonstrated through the sacrifice of His life for you and me.

The first is a sermon, Herein Is Love, that Charles Spurgeon preached.    Click here.

And the second is a book, Fifty Reasons Why Jesus Came to Die,  that Pastor John Piper wrote.  Click here.

*   ~   ♥   ~   ✞   ~  ♥   ~   *

I hope that you will take make the time, maybe not today but soon…or perhaps read them as part of your quiet time over a few days.  As you listen to this song and read through these teachings, my prayer is “…that you, being rooted and firmly established in love, may be able to comprehend with all the saints what is the length and width, height and depth of God’s love, and to know the Messiah’s love that surpasses knowledge…” (Ephesians 3:17-19).

Pear Butter

I’m just warning you—if you make this pear butter, your family is going to be looking around for a pie!  The aroma is amazing!  This is a super simple recipe and requires very little attention as it cooks.  I put it together in the morning, and it gave a very “autumnal” feel to the house inspiring me to <finally> switch out the summery wreaths to more fall-ish ones and adding little bits of fall decor around and about!

This recipe definitely fits in with our healthy but oh-so-yummy POV, too!  If you are someone who knows how to can (not in my skill set…at least as of yet!), this would be an excellent choice to fill some jars and store them away. I am just keeping ours in the ‘fridge while it lasts.  Someone suggested to me to add a small bowlful to a cheese platter; oh, my…wouldn’t that be yummy?!!  Here are a few ideas of ways I am thinking of to use the pear butter.  (I would love to hear your ideas, too…please share!)

  • mixed in with granola and yogurt
  • topping a bowl of hot oatmeal
  • spread on a piece of toast or a bagel w/cream cheese
  • on a peanut butter or almond butter sandwich
  • served with pork chops or a pork tenderloin
  • mixed in with roasted veggies
  • base for a vinaigrette

Pear Butter

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ingredients:
2-2+1/2 pounds of ripe pears, peeled and cored
1 large apple, peeled and cored
1 cup of water
2 chai teabags
3 small pieces of crystallized ginger OR 1/4 cup liquid sweetener
(i.e., honey, agave, maybe even maple syrup or molasses)
1/2 vanilla bean, seeds scraped out2014-10-04 14.38.27
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon cardamom
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon sea salt
juice of 1/2 of a lemon

 

directions:

  • chop fruit into smallish cubes (1-1+1/2″)
  • in a 2 quart saucepan, bring water, fruit, and tea bags to a boil; lower heat and allow to simmer for 30 minutes
  • discard tea bag
  • using * an immersion blender puree the cooked fruit
  • pour into a mini-crockpot and cook on low for 2 hours, stirring every 20 minute or so
  • after 2 hours, add in the seasonings and the lemon juice; stir really well and cook for 1 more hour. it is finished when the quantity has reduced by 1/4 to 1/3, and it is nice and thick
  • blend to make it REALLY smooth!  done!  enjoy!

NOTE: it is super important not to tightly seal the crockpot or else the pear butter will become watery and not cook down into a nice, thick consistency. I simply propped up the lidon one side the whole time it was cooking with the spatula I was using to stir

* instead of an immersion blender, puree the cooked fruit and liquid very carefully in a standard blender or a food processor…or you could even mash it with a potato masher. the finer it is in the end, the better “butter” you will make.

♥  ♥  ♥  ♥  ♥

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

♥  coleen

As Sure As The Sun

psalmshymnsspiritualsongskjv

There is good news
There is good truth
That you could never change
No matter what you do
You are loved
More than you know
More than you could hope for
After everything you’ve done

As sure as the sun will rise
And takes away the night
His mercy will not end
His mercy will not end

There is good news
There’s a promise
That no matter where you go
You will never be alone
In the dark
In the doubting
When you can’t feel anything
Oh, His love remains the same

Even through the night
Silver stars will shine
Hope of glory’s light
That will wake us once again


singer/songwriter – Ellie Holcomb
*   ~   ♥   ~   ✞   ~  ♥   ~   *
The premise of this song is truly something we don’t ever worry about, right? Oh, we have our worries…I hear you! But not this—not the rising of the sun…we just KNOW it will be there when we awaken each and every morning. And as assuredly as we stake our trust and confidence on God’s faithfulness to His plan for each new day, we should be equally as positive of His mercy and love. Perhaps when we are ensnared in doubt we could remind ourselves, “See…look! The sun came up this morning! And just like that, God will faithfully provide mercy and lovingkindness today!”

Let us acknowledge the Lord;
let us press on to acknowledge Him.
As surely as the sun rises, He will appear;
He will come to us like the winter rains,
like the spring rains that water the earth.
Hosea 6:3

There is a promise in chapter 3 of the Book of Lamentations that I cling to every day of my life…may I share it with you?

But this I recall and therefore have I hope and expectation:
It is because of the Lord’s mercy and loving-kindness that we are not consumed,
because His [tender] compassions fail not.
They are new every morning; great and abundant is Your stability and faithfulness.
Verses 21-23

Some days it is difficult, seemingly near-to-impossible sometimes, to be hopeful and have joyful expectations. The world we live in is full of things that snatch away our dreams and desires; tempting us to feel futile and overwhelmed. But, Jesus assured His disciples (and us!) of the peace and hope we have been given. And so we endeavor to hold this Truth firm in our thinking knowing that Jesus spoke it and so it IS the Truth.

“I have told you these things, so that in Me you may have peace.
In this world you will have trouble.
But take heart! I have overcome the world.”
John 16:33

At times when my heart is needful of being reminded that “as sure as the sun will rise and take away the night…” I confess the following promises made in Jeremiah chapter 29 by our faithful, loving, compassionate, merciful Father. And I recite it like this…

For I know the thoughts and plans that <You> have for <me>…thoughts and plans for welfare and peace and not for evil, to give <me> hope in <the> final outcome.
Then <I> will call upon <You>, and <I> will come and pray to <You>, and <You> will hear and heed <me>.
Then <I> will seek <You>, inquire for, and require <You> and find <You> when <I> search for <You> with all <my> heart.
<You> will be found by <me>….
Jeremiah 29:11-14 AMP (pronouns changed)

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Here are some additional verses from the Scriptures to persistently hang onto. I pray that you will be encouraged by each one of them as You remember Who has made the promises—the same One Who causes the sun to rise each and every morning—Almighty God, our heavenly Father.

Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for He who promised is faithful.
Hebrews10:23

I wait for the Lord, I expectantly wait, and in His word do I hope.
Psalm 130:5

God is not human, that He should lie, not a human being, that He should change His mind.
Does He speak and then not act?  Does He promise and not fulfill?
Numbers 23:19

Be strong and courageous.  Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the Lord your God goes with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you.  The Lord himself goes before you and will be with you; He will never leave you nor forsake you.  Do not be afraid; do not  be discouraged.
Deuteronomy 31:6 and 8

Because God wanted to make the unchanging nature of His purpose very clear to the heirs of what was promised, He confirmed it with an oath.  God did this so that, by two unchangeable things in which it is impossible for God to lie, we who have fled to take hold of the hope set before us may be greatly encouraged.  We have this hope as an anchor for the soul….
Hebrews 6:17-19

 

Granola and Grilled Peaches

This recipe came about backwards…first I was looking for something to do with a few gorgeous, huge, fragrant peaches. Then I saw a picture of a grilled peach topped with homemade vanilla ice cream with a big scoop of granola over top. Oh, yeah!

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Grilled Peaches with Ice Cream and Granola

I don’t know if you remember but just a few weeks ago, Dana shared her recipe for “No-Ice-Cream-Machine-Needed” Ice Cream (here’s a link).  THAT would be a great option for the ice cream portion.   To put this yummy simple dessert together, slice a big peach around the middle (the ‘equator’), pull the pit out, and put on a hot grill for 3-4 minutes. (Other options: either place face down on a hot stovetop grill pan or simply broil for a few minutes.)  When the peach halves get a little caramelized, place one (or two!) into a bowl. Top with a couple of tablespoons of granola, a scoop (or two!) of vanilla ice cream, and some additional granola scattered on top.  Get your spoon ready…the ice cream will begin to melt quickly! Enjoy!

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Your granola will keep well in the pantry in a glass jar with a lid.  I put a small scoop right into or attached to the jar for easy access to a scoop on the fly for my husband. Oh, and he really likes this best when I add a bag of mini chocolate chips (I just mix it in when the granola is cool enough to place in the jar). Just sayin’.

Granola

ingredients:
5 cup rolled oats*
3 cups nuts and seeds (almonds, walnuts, pistachios, pumpkin seeds, sesame seeds, sunflower seeds, etc.)** – give a quick chop to whole nuts
2 teaspoons spice (cinnamon, or cardamon, or pumpkin pie spice, etc.)
1+1/2 teaspoons sea salt
3/4 cup liquid sweetener (maple syrup, honey, agave nectar)
1/3 cup oil (coconut or canola)
1 teaspoon extract (almond or vanilla)
1+1/2 cups mixed dried fruit (apricots, golden raisins, banana chips, pineapple, papaya, etc.)

directions:

  • preheat the oven to 325
  • place parchment paper in a baking or sheet pan (with sides); use enough parchment paper to slightly extend to use as ‘handles’
  • warm the liquid ingredients for 20-30 seconds in the microwave
  • mix dry ingredients, spice, and salt together in a large bowl; stir well
  • pour the warm liquid ingredients over top and stir it all up ‘til all the oats are well coated
  • place the mixture onto the parchment lined pan; with slightly wet hands, press down gently into an even layer. this will help to make some ‘chunks’
  • bake for 15 minutes or so; remove pan from oven and add the dried fruit. stir to incorporate the fruit and so that everything is cooking evenly. try to pull the mixture from the outside edges to the middle, and the middle ‘stuff’ out to the edges of the pan.
  • return to oven and bake for another 15 minutes or so
  • remove pan, add any roasted nuts you were holding out and stir gently again; place back in oven for 15 minutes…or so
  • at this point, your granola quite possibly is done. the goal is not wet, slightly crunchy, and just beginning to turn golden brown. (y’know, like granola!) if done, let cool before popping a handful in your mouth. if not, 10-15 additional minutes should do it
  • let thoroughly cool before placing in glass storage jar (optional: toss in a bag of mini chocolate chips)

Makes 9-10 cups

*    be sure to use ‘old-fashioned, rolled’ oats not ‘quick-cooking oats! the latter will break down as the granola bakes. :-(
**  IF you are using any nuts/seeds that are already roasted (like the sunflower seeds I used), DO NOT add them ‘til the last 10-15 minutes. Since they are already ‘roasted’ they will burn if added for the entire baking time

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

♥  coleen