Monday, April 29, 2013

Time Matters

What are the things that matter?

* Time in God's presence

* Time with family

* Time with spouse

* Time with friends

* Time for quiet and just myself

* Taking care of myself physically and spiritually, which takes time.

All this on top of the required time we spend at work or school.

Basically how we use our time is what matters.

I've heard it said, "Look at someone's checkbook and you'll see their priorities." It's true, how we spend our money shows a lot about what we care about. How we spend our time is just as telling.

This Spring, as new life is just beginning, take a few moments to do a time inventory of your schedule. Does your calendar reflect what you believe to be your priorities? Some days we don't have much choice, but over a week or month's time, we should see a good reflection of what's important to us.

Time for my own inventory.

Monday, April 22, 2013

Learning from Lilies: Earth Day

Earth Day is a day to remind each other and ourselves to be good stewards of nature because of all it provides for us. This Earth Day, I'd like to focus on a different aspect of the earth. . . It's ability to teach us.

God is faithful. He is Creator. He designed within nature life lessons. Jesus, himself, used nature to teach spiritual lessons as He did here in Matthew.

I'm learning anew that worry, regret and even striving with all my might do not produce success.

"Do not be worried about your life, as to what you will eat or what you will drink; nor for your body, as to what you will put on. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing? Look at the birds of the air, that they do not sow, nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not worth much more than they? And who of you by being worried can add a single hour to his life? And why are you worried about clothing? Observe how the lilies of the field grow; they do not toil, nor do they spin, yet I say to you that not even Solomon in all his glory clothed himself like one of these. But if God so clothes the grass of the field, which is alive today and tomorrow is thrown into the furnace, will He not much more clothe you? You of little Faith!" 
~Matthew 6: 25-30.

He's not saying here that we don't need farmers, we don't need to plant or gather in the harvest. He's saying our hope for the provision of our needs is rooted in our faith in God. He is our provider, our source. So when our human efforts are not enough, which is all of the time, we need not worry because God is the One who will bring forth the result.  

Next Jesus says, "But seek first His [God's] kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be added unto you." Matthew 6:33

If we occupy our minds with God's purposes in the earth as we go about our daily tasks, God will take care of our needs. We see this truth reflected in the flowers and birds of this earth. 

This Earth Day, let us remember to be good stewards of the earth. To maintain God's creation in the way He made it is honorable and helps all life on earth. And let us also take this opportunity to find God and His purposes as we ponder nature. 

Monday, April 15, 2013

To Jamaica and Back

Today I borrow from my husband's blog, I couldn't have said it better myself!

I mentioned last week the incredible surprise our church and city gave us for our 15th anniversary as pastors and 25th wedding anniversary.
It was a “there and back” trip that was all too quick, and beyond imagination for us. We are so immensely grateful to everyone who gave so much to treat Terri and I to such a wonderful gift. Every moment (with the exception of coming back to snow on the ground) was simply perfect. We could not have planned or asked for anything more incredible to celebrate these milestones.
We are deeply grateful to our church family, our city family, and our great friends Dave and Carolyn, since it was their wedding we were able to attend!
2013-04-12 08.48.30

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Jamaica & Home-Made Insect Repellent

We have been given a trip to Jamaica for our 15th year as pastors at our church and our 25th wedding anniversary, which is coming up. People from our church, our community leaders and the local clergy fellowship went together to do this for us. We feel so blessed, not only to be going but to have such wonderful friends and community.

We've heard insect repellent is a must. Today it's hard for me to imagine needing bug spray. It's raining and 34 degrees right now. They're predicting snow. But by tomorrow night in Jamaica, I might be glad I have some.

I Googled natural repellents and came up with some very effective essential oils. Lavender came up again and again. So did Citronella and Catnip. So here's a recipe I pulled together from several I found.

Insect Repellent:

Witch Hazel (or other carrier oil)
Eucalyptus Oil
Citronella Oil
Lavender Oil
Choose from Cinnamon, Patchouli or Tea Tree Oils

(other good ones include Catnip, Thyme, Rosemary, Cedar, Mint)

Use 8-10 ounces of witch hazel in a new spray bottle. Use 25-50 drops of essential oils combined. The more you use, the stronger it will be. You can play with the combinations to get the scent and effectiveness that you want.

I also read that you can add a teaspoon of vegetable glycerin (available in natural food stores). I think this would help it to mix a little better and possibly go on better.

Now we can be prepared for Summer, rest assured, it WILL come.

Monday, April 1, 2013

Spinach Pie - A Hit Easter Recipe

On Easter, we usually invite people over for the meal after our church service. Considering all that Christ accomplished for us, it's a good day to be with the body of Christ. I didn't count, but I'm sure we had at least 20. It was busy and fun.

Outside of dessert, I think the favored dish was Spinach Pie, or Spanakopita. Even people who don't like to eat their veggies might like this dish! It's a classic Greek food and not hard to make. I was able to make it the day before and then reheat it just before we ate. I hope you enjoy it too.

Spinach and Feta Pie
(Lund's and Byerly's Real Food, Winter 2009)

2 Tbsp olive oil
2 C chopped onion (2 med-size onions)
3 10-ounce packages frozen chopped spinach thawed and well drained
4 large eggs
8 ounces feta cheese, crumbled
1/2 C (2 ounces) shredded Parmesan cheese
1/3 C toasted pine nuts (*see note) [or walnuts]
1 1/2 tsp salt
6 Tbsp butter, melted
8 sheets phyllo dough, thawed

Place a rack in center of the oven and preheat to 375 degrees F.

Heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add onion and cook, stirring, until soft, 3-4 minutes. Spoon cooked onion into a large mixing bowl. Add spinach, eggs, feta and Parmesan cheese, pine nuts, and salt. Season with pepper to taste.

Brush a 9-inch glass pie plate with some of the melted butter. Place a sheet of phyllo dough in a pie plate, letting ends overlap side. Brush phyllo with some of the butter. Repeat with 5 more sheets of phyllo, then spoon spinach filling in center of pie plate. Pull edges of phyllo up over filling to almost cover it. Place 1 of the remaining 2 sheets of phyllo on top and brush it with some of the butter. Cover with remaining sheet of phyllo, tucking ends under to form a round. Brush phyllo with remaining butter.

Bake pie until browned all over, 50-55 minutes. Let pie cool for about 20 minutes before slicing.

*Note: To toast pine nuts scatter in a single layer on a rimmed baking sheet and bake at 350 degrees F until golden brown, 5-7 minutes. Shake baking sheet once or twice as pine nuts toast to prevent them from burning.

Note: If you make the pie ahead of time, simply reheat in a 350 degree oven for 5 minutes to crisp the top.

May God bless you with the blessings of the Resurrection. The Lord is risen indeed!!