"Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things."
Philippians 4:8

Thursday, February 24, 2011

It Was a Wonderful Wednesday!

Whew! am I tired, and it is only Wednesday.
Well, what I want to say is, God Bless America!
I had a Root Canal on Monday, A great Bible study from the book "Crazy Love" on Tuesday, company for dinner every night since Saturday, and Jury duty all day today.
What did Wednesday whirl my way?
I dreaded Monday's Root Canal, but to my surprise I was blessed. My Dentist was compassionate ( a Christian man.) I learned that my daughter went to high school with my Dentist's son, a neat coincidence!
 His assistant was cheerful. I learned that she is a single mom of four. She stands all day long helping our decaying teeth to heal. She supports her children herself. Do you ever think of the people we dread, as having fears and troubles of their own? This young lady has a special needs 22 yr. old daughter at home who needs constant care and has to be fed with a tube, and she has a tracheotomy.
My Dentist is a Ballroom dancer, and he co-owns a Dance studio; so now I can imagine him gracefully dancing without a drill in his hand, Gee! he has a life LOL!
After observing other people's circumstances, I got through a Root Canal without much thought of myself (for a change!)
Tuesday, I read  the book, Crazy Love. I was convicted of my spiritual life; learning how much more I can do for Christ, how much more I can be through Him, how much more time I need to spend alone with Him, and HOW MUCH CHRIST LOVES US! Such a real truthful book!
I have a meniscus tear in both of my knees, so I was really dreading Wednesday; Jury Duty, the underground parking, the stairs, the transfers from room to room.
A Judge orientated us with a speech of appreciation, thanking us for helping our judicial system; "Innocent until proven guilty."
Speeches, paperwork, more paper work, transferring around from room to room, jury selection, prosecution, defence, evidence, deliberation, verdicts, waiting, waiting and more waiting!
I sat next to an Arab woman who was so delightful. She was born in Bethlehem, and told me all about it saying that she made the two hour car trip to Nazareth every time she went back there to visit her parents. I was awed!!! I dream of going to the Holy Land and this woman was born and raised there! She told me how she became an American citizen. Her husband has an affluent job here. She spoke well of living in the United States. She impressed and taught me. As I was sitting in the juror selection seat; #6; 2445, I listened to so many stories about other peoples life's, occupations, and their opinions.
There are many wounded people in this world.
The judge was a perky down to earth, young Anglo woman. The court reporter was a very beautiful, intelligent, well dressed African American woman. She was wearing some beautiful gold jewelry on her wrists which were typing what seemed to be as fast as lightening.
The D. A. was also a very distinguished, intelligent African American woman. I was so happy to be around a courtroom that was well run by women!
I found myself staring at the accused criminal. I was thinking of how he was once a precious innocent baby in his mother's womb. What happened? I started praying for him.
I thank God for the judicial system, and yet, at the same time, I think it is sad that we have to have one at all. It started with Cain and Abel and it won't end until Jesus comes back. Until then, please pray! You are soooooooooo important and so are your prayers for a fallen world.
Sometimes I wonder what my significance is in this great big planet, and other times I know it perfectly. It is simple: serve!
Give a penny, give a smile, give a glass of water. Give hope, give love, give the gift of Christ through you, despite you, and then just LET IT BE...

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Lentil Soup

We had a rainy weekend and our weather has been cold for California's standards.
I made a quick and easy Lentil soup which was warm and comforting. Here are the directions:

                                              Chop 1 1/2 cup of celery
                                             Dice 1 onion
                                             Chop 1 cup of carrots
                                   1 cup of frozen or drained canned peas
                                    1  1/2 cup washed and drained Lentils
                                          1 cup Marinara sauce :any flavor

                              Add 4 1/2 cups of water  or 3 1/2 cups of water plus 1 cup chicken or beef stock. I did add more water as the Lentils swelled. I like a soup consistency. Boil until the Lentils are just soft enough to bite: 25 min. to 1/2 hour. Keep checking them. Season well to your own liking. Serve with some grated cheese on top and Enjoy!  

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Home is Where Your Heart is

I was out of town, so I didn't make it home to post my Women Living Well story on time for Wednesday.
I was at my daughter's house . We are preparing her baby's nursery.
I was painting my old baby dresser and it began to rain. As I was wheeling it into her garage, I thought, Why am I doing this :sanding, priming, spakling holes and dents? I am tired and it is cold. Let's just get a new one. There is a little door that opens on the side of the dresser, and I remember hiding in there when my siblings and I played hide and go seek. Then, I remembered being pregnant many years ago and painting this very dresser for myself. All of my Sarah's pretty little clothes were washed and hanging awaiting her birth.
 My own mother got this dresser from her sister when she was expecting my older sister; and Daddy was in Korea as my mom painted it for her baby 60 years ago! The little door has a picture of Jack and Jill climbing a hill and they are holding a bucket of water. That was the first nursery rhyme I memorized because I am a visual learner. My mother embroidered a quilt for me that had the words and the picture of Jack and Jill. I marveled at how my blanket matched the dresser!
Tuesday, I attended my dear friend's father's funeral. Today is my daughter's father's 60th birthday. I will soon become a grandma! WHERE DOES THE TIME GO? My mind is still a young girl. My body feels the creaks of a 55 yr. old. My energy needs boosting these days, but my spirit is hopeful: onward and upward!
I recently visited with some of my childhood friends who are now retired. WOW!
I was in San Clemente, Newport Beach, Pasadena, and Monrovia all in one day. We saw so many beautiful homes, stores, and gardens. The freeways were ridiculously full, almost frighteningly so.
As I returned home, I was greeted by my rascal cats who seemed to anxiously tattle on each other. A vase had fallen in my bedroom. One of them slid the dining room tablecloth to the floor. My crocus plant had bloomed; a butter-yellowish orange color! I had several phone calls awaiting me, and I thought, there is no place like home! Then, I thought of the recent funeral and then I thought of my mother painting the very same dresser I had just painted, and my daughter's children will most likely; someday paint it again.
The Bible says that we are only aliens to this life on earth. My mom is deceased and I miss her, and so goes the cycle of life as we know it.
I believe that our purpose here on earth is to glorify God in all we do, especially when we don't feel like it. I can go back in my mind, to those happy days and times anytime I want to. Jesus promised us many mansions in His father's house. I believe this, and so I know that there is no place like home.
I anticipate eternal happiness, this day is but a vapor in time; let's make it matter!
Happy Thursday!

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Happy Valentine's Day !

                                    I am getting ready for a special dinner on Valentine's Day.
                              As I am setting my table, I am thinking of the name sake of the day:

The story of Valentine's Day begins in the third century with an oppressive Roman emperor and a humble Christian martyr. The emperor was Claudius II Gothicus. The Christian was Valentinus.

Claudius had ordered all Romans to worship state religion's idols, and he had made it a crime punishable by death to associate with Christians. But Valentinus was dedicated to the ideals of Christ, and not even the threat of death could keep him from practicing his beliefs.

During the last weeks of Valentinus's life a remarkable thing happened. One day a jailer for the Emperor of Rome knocked at Valentinus's door clutching his blind daughter in his arms. He had learned of Valentinus's medical and spiritual healing abilities, and appealed to Valentinus to treat his daughter's blindness. She had been blind since birth. Valentinus knew that her condition would be difficult to treat but he gave the man his word he would do his best. The little girl was examined, given an ointment for her eyes and a series of re-visits were scheduled.
Seeing that he was a man of learning, the jailer asked whether his daughter, Julia, might also be brought to Valentinus for lessons.
Julia was a pretty young girl with a quick mind. Valentinus read stories of Rome's history to her. He described the world of nature to her. He taught her arithmetic and told her about God. She saw the world through his eyes, trusted in his wisdom, and found comfort in his quiet strength.
"Valentinus, does God really hear our prayers?" Julia said one day. "Yes, my child, He hears each one, "he replied. "Do you know what I pray for every morning and every night? I pray that I might see. I want so much to see everything you've told me about!"
"God does what is best for us if we will believe in Him," Valentinus said.
"Oh, Valentinus, I do believe," Julia said intensely. "I do." She knelt and grasped his hand. They sat quietly together, each praying. Several weeks passed and the girl's sight was not restored. Yet the man and his daughter never wavered in their faith and returned each week.
Then one day, Valentinus received a visit from Roman soldiers who arrested him, destroyed his medicines and advised him against his religious beliefs. When the little girl's father learned of his arrest and imprisonment, he wanted to intervene but there was nothing he could do.
On the eve of his death, Valentinus wrote a last note to Julia - knowing his execution was imminent. Valentinus asked the jailer for a paper, pen and ink. He quickly jotted a farewell note and handed it to the jailer to give to his blind daughter. He urged her to stay close to God, and he signed it
From Your Valentine.
His sentence was carried out the next day, February 14, 270 A.D., near a gate that was later named Porta Valentini in his memory.
When the jailer went home, he was greeted by his little girl. The little girl opened the note and discovered a yellow crocus inside. The message said,
From your Valentine.
As the little girl looked down upon the crocus that spilled into her palm she saw brilliant colors for the first time in her life! The girl's eyesight was restored!
A miracle!
He was buried at what is now the Church of Praxedes in Rome. It is said that Julia herself planted a pink blossomed almond tree near his grave. Today, the almond tree remains a symbol of abiding love and friendship. In 496 Pope Gelasius named February 14 as
Saint Valentine's Day.
On each Valentine's Day, messages of affection, love and devotion are still exchanged around the world!
I am getting ready for Valentine's Day with my special someone!

Happy Valentine's Day to all!
 May we practice the greatest command which is eternal: To love one another :)

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

There is a Time for Everything

It is 12:20 am, technically it is Wednesday. I call it very late Tuesday night.
I spent the entire day in San Clemente, California. My daughter had to have a Glucose Tolerance test this morning. She was told to bring someone along with her; because some people feel too faint afterwards to drive themselves home.
As I sat in the lobby waiting, I observed many mothers-to-be, each woman that walked in was more beautiful than the next. Everyone seemed so happy and excited!
I began day dreaming. Solomon's prayer came to my mind: Ecclesiastes chapter 3:2 " a time to die and a time to be born" etc...
...verse 14: "I know that everything God does will endure forever; nothing can be added to it and nothing taken from it. God does it so  that men will revere Him."
I was silently conversing with God. I thanked Him for the beauty of all these pregnant women.
Psalm 139 came to my mind; the prayer I have been thanking God for every single night for my future grand baby, Robert.
Verses 13-16: "For you created my inmost being;
you knit me together in my mother's womb.
I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made;
Your works are wonderful,
I know that full well.
My frame was not hidden from you when I was made in the SECRET place.
When I was woven together in the depths of the earth,
your eyes saw my unformed body.
All the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be."
Ephesians 2:10 states that God designed each one of us for a particular purpose. We are God's masterpieces!!! Our ONLY job is to accept Him and live for Him.
God awaits for the day that we can depart from this earth to dwell with Him in heaven where we belong.
Lastly, I quote Colossians chapter 3:2:  "Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things."
Many people know this story about me, I am telling it again for those who do not know it:
In 1978, I became pregnant with my firstborn child. We were so happy. I was satisfied attending daily Mass; as I was reared a Catholic. It was comfortable, and a familiar habit to fear God, go to Communion and Confession; make your sacraments, and rear Catholic children. I was RELIGIOUS!
On July 28, 1978, I became AGNOSTIC for twenty four hours; a hellful state to be in!
I had a stillborn baby boy; Robert Raymond. He was born at 6 1/2 months. Today he would have lived, "I thought." But God had other plans.
"I thought" How could or why would, a God who I tried to obey; why would He punish me so by allowing this so wanted, precious little baby to die?
When I came home from the hospital, I sat in my fully decorated baby nursery. I rocked for hours in the rocker that sat next to a bookcase. This terrible disappointment truly was God's appointment with me.
I have learned that every single prayer we pray to God is answered! It annoys me when people sometimes say, "Well , I guess God didn't answer that prayer!" God answers all who sincerely seek Him. This I know for sure! He answers with His will, and His plans, and mostly for His glory!
My husband's grandfather was an Evangelical Nazarene preacher. He sent my husband many Bibles from his different travels. We had them sitting unopened on the bookshelf in the baby's nursery.
I was rocking in a fury weeping uncontrollably over my dead, stillborn son. Honest to heaven; the rung from that huge antique rocker got caught underneath that bookshelf, and a green Living Bible wrapped in a box, hit me on the side of my head from the top shelf.
I saw stars and blacked out for a moment. When I came to, I got the Bible in my hand, lifted it to heaven, and I said: " I hate you God! You aren't even real anyway. I will no longer serve you, obey you, or go to church! I declare war! I will read this Bible and any other information I can. I will disprove you if it is the last thing I do. You do not answer prayers!" For the next month, I ravenously ate the words from that Bible. I could not put it down. I lost my hope. I became skin and bones. No appetite for joy or life.
One day, I came to read John, chapter 3 where Nicodemus, a member of the Jewish council; (a Pharisee, ) and Jesus had a discussion about being BORN AGAIN.
Nicodemus goes on to tell Jesus that an old man cannot enter a second time into his mother's womb to be born again. Jesus replies, " I tell you the truth, no one can enter the Kingdom unless he is born of water and the Spirit. Flesh gives birth to flesh, BUT, the spirit gives birth to spirit. You should not be surprised by my saying, You must be BORN AGAIN."
Jesus explained that we cannot control the Holy Spirit in the same way we could not control our physical birth.
Here is the part that convicted me: "verse 8. "The wind blows wherever it pleases. You hear it's sound, but you cannot tell where it comes from or where it is going."
I don't know why Robert Raymond died, I don't know exactly why God allowed my pain. I don't know God's business with Robert. I don't know the covenant they made , or where Robert is, or went. I believe he is of God, sent by God and is with God in a spiritual form. I just trust God!
I do know however, that I became Born Again that day! IF, BIG IF, God gave me His son, who am I not to give Him mine.
My son was the catalyst to my conversion of true faith, an angel of God directing me to God's will and not my own. I found God through so much pain; just as Jesus' pain gave me the chance to keep God!
In my life, faith has not been what I have seen, it is what I believe, and I believe God's ways are perfect.
When I arrived back home this evening, I received two phone calls. One, from a childhood friend. Her father died this morning. The next call was from another friend who had a death in her family also. I am not sad. I'm sorry for their pain, but both people proclaimed to know Christ. They are home and perfect now and may they rest in peace.
God has so much better for us all when we go home to Him.
I enjoy observing all of His miracles, like the pregnant women I saw today. We are allowed little glimpses of heaven, but if that is all there is, we would not seek God.
By the time you get finished with this post, it may be THURSDAY! LOL! I think it is worth it!

My Stillborn Child

I knew you in my heart
And in a twilight dream
I felt you in my womb
And in my labors scream
You were my life's biggest disappointment
God's destined appointment
You are like fruit that did not meet my season
I know God had a reason
You came and went so suddenly
My stillborn child!
You humbled me
I have salvation because of thee
You passed through earth
With a human birth
But your aim was heaven all along
God chose you to sing His song
You prospered and achieved
You saved and you relieved
Because of you, I know God's mercy
I feel His mighty touch
I have learned so much!
Thank you for choosing to flow through me
I shall never forget thee
When we meet someday, I 'll kiss your precious wings
To release life's stings

We must believe that even through tragedy, God has a plan.
"What eye has not seen, and ear has not heard, and what has not entered the human heart, what God has prepared for those who love Him."  1 Corinthians 2:9

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Cool and Refreshing Veggie side dish

I prepared this side dish one day and it was a hit, so I decided to share it. It is tangy and somewhat tart!

1 15-oz Can of sweet corn
1 15-oz can of dark Red kidney beans
1 16-oz can of Garbanzo beans
1 - 6 oz can of Black pitted olives
4 long green onions
2 Avocados
2 Tomatoes
2 Tbls Apple cider vinegar
2 Tbls Olive oil
1 Tbls Pickle juice
Drain and rinse all canned goods
Dice : onions, avocados, and tomatoes.
Place all of these ingredients in a bowl.

Mix in another small bowl:
Olive oil
Apple cider vinegar
Pickle juice
one squeezed lemon
and one squeezed orange
Season with salt and pepper to your preference. = This is your salad dressing!
Pour dressing over the salad and chill 1 hour before serving. (toss well before serving)
you may add 2 Tbls sugar if you prefer a sweet/sour taste

My friends and neighbors keep me well supplied with lemons and oranges, and I am so grateful!

 I squeezed 15 oranges

I freeze fruit cubes and use them for future recipes as needed.
I got 42 ice cubes from 15 oranges.
I use 3 cubes to = 1 orange.
You can use the salad dressing for a regular green salad, or for the veggie salad below.

Here is a picture of my favorite veggie salad. We like a vinegar twist to it; however, 2 tbls. of sugar can be added to the dressing if you want it to be a bit sweet and sour.
Hope you enjoy it!


Thursday, February 3, 2011

Kleenex Box Cover

I have made so many of these Tissue box covers.
I first saw one of these in my friend Rosemarie's guest room at her beautiful home in Georgia.
Hers was all white Battenburg lace; so stunning!
I thought perhaps I could crochet one!
I crocheted 2 doilies; placed them on top of each other, and I sewed a silk rose on top of the doilies.
Next, I got an old pillow slip and just placed it over the tissue box; tracing the two long sides, the two short sides, the top, and finally the bottom; leaving an inch extra on the 5 panels mentioned for sewing space,
Lastly, cut out the bottom panel allowing an extra 2 1/2 inches to sew in a casing for the elastic.
I then sewed the panels together.
I slit a good sized oblong ( allowing about 1 1/2 inch of space on margins) in the middle of the bottom panel and then made a casing around it for the elastic.
Remember to turn your work inside out before tacking the doilie on.
Also; I cut a slit in the middle of the doilie and the top panel, and I puff painted over the slit so as not to unravel it.
It would be easy if you use wide bias tape for the casing. I did not, I just made a casing from the bottom's hem; which made the bottom seem oblong after the elastic was put in.
This now enables me to refill old boxes into new, and also ; it allows me to launder the doilie cover.
These are not difficult to make and I believe they make beautiful room accents! 
Price: I only purchased the elastic which was under $2.00= makes 4 boxes. considering if you have the fabric/pillow case, a doilie and a silk flower!

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Wednesday, February 2, 2011

I am thrilled to Welcome WEDNESDAY!

Yesterday, was not a fabulous day! I had an early morning dental appointment, then; a not cooked yet breakfast at McDonald's, a jungle ride through Target, a loading zone at Michael's craft store, a hit and miss butt-in-line, grand time at Target, a hair appointment changed at the last minute, and good old Jury Duty waiting for me at home!
I have been waiting for you Wednesday!

Looks like I need another Root Canal!
My daughter tried to cheer me up with food! After my dental appointment, my daughter and I treated ourselves to breakfast at McDonald's. We were asked to move on up because our eggs needed more time. we waited...
Then, we went to Target to look at Baby things. A lady butted right in front of me! She told the cashier, "I only have one thing, and I am in hurry!" THEN!! another lady BUTTED and she said to me, "I have a cold and I need to hurry to go back to the pharmacy before noon, you'll let me go ahead of you, won't you?" I said, "Go right ahead everyone else is."
THEN! A very, very rude man was running with a large basket through the aisles. We were walking straight north and he peeked out from his east west direction. I looked him in the eye as we went walking; and as if a whistle blew for him to run for his life, he darted right in front of us.
It was so deliberate, it was frightening!
I grabbed my pregnant daughter away from his cart.
My daughter was behind me. When she placed her things on the conveyor to be rung up, I heard a little voice say, "Daddy you are rude, don't put your things there, that lady was there first." NO LIE! It was the running cart guy trying to butt in front of my daughter! Unreal! It seems like
almost everyone there was sick. Snivelling, coughing, drippy noses everywhere in Target!
When leaving Target, a man was driving on the wrong side of the parking lot. He was tying to get my space from the wrong direction which held up traffic! Whew!
At Michael's crafts we told one another to hurry; because I had a hair appointment which I had waited one month to get. I was looking pretty shaggy. My daughter only needed blue yarn. WELL!! there were two women chatting in the middle of the yarn aisle. We said, "Excuse us ladies." They were not moving at all. They commenced with their conversation. I told my daughter that we will go up the other side of the aisle.
A woman was standing at the end of that aisle reading a book on Knitting.
We excused ourselves to her and she moved about 5 inches. We still couldn't get through. Is there a rude flu?
We are in a terrible hurry for me to get to my hair appointment. We see Sarah's Dad having his lunch at Taco Bell near our car. He gets chatty and we are trying to leave. My cell rings and it is my hair Salon saying that my stylist is cancelling. I take the substitute. We made it home; starving for lunch. I hunt through the house looking for a fix of chocolate. The mail arrives as I'm hunting. Goody, goody gumdrops! I got summoned to Jury Duty!
There was no chocolate to be found on the premises. I remembered I bought a bag of Brach's conversation hearts to put in my candy jar for Valentines. They will be gone by then I am certain! LOL.
As I finally got a chance to have a sugar high, I reminisced about the Butterscotch candy I so loved as child. I got to thinking that not everyone is rude; and then I remembered dear, Butterscotch George!
So now, to make a long story even longer, Here is my story about Butterscotch George:

I didn't like Kindergarten, I was freightened of it. I remember working myself into a tizzy of stomachaches, and sometimes even creating a fever because of school anxiety. IN retrospect, I think I was too immature to be starting school. I was a November baby. I should have waited another year.
I remember endless mornings filled with tears, pleading with my mother to, "Take me home!"
My mother told me to ask God to send my Guardian Angel to watch over me while we were apart, so I did! I think my angel was Butterscotch George.
We weren't allowed many sweet treats while growing up because our mother had Diabetes. She was extremely strict concerning our sugar intake.
We were allowed sweet treats only on special occasions; birthdays, holidays, Saturday ice cream while watching The Lawrence Welk Show, Sunday lollypops and popcorn while watching Bonanza and Disneyland!
My guardian angel was unaware of our sweets rule. Butterscotch George would slip me a piece of butterscotch candy wrapped in golden cellophane. Oh! how that wrapper glistened in the sunlight!
When George would see me at the crosswalk, which was almost daily; he would whistle some pretty little tune that always made me feel better.
George seemed really old, almost ancient to me. He was very tall and he had grey hair, a moustache, and very bushy eyebrows. He wore all white clothing and a white hat that resembled a Sea Captain's hat. He was very neat. His shoes were always shiny-black, and they squeaked with a quenching, leathery sound when he walked.
I loved George because he was kind to me, also; his love and compassion comforted my little heart!
looking back, in retrospect; I don't recommend accepting candy from strangers. However, George was no stranger, he had been a crossing guard at that corner for many years. The whole town knew him.
I was too young to know if George was a God fearing man or not. I do know that he lived God's word:
"If anyone gives even a cup of cold water to one of these little ones because he is my Disciple, I tell you the truth, he will certainly not lose his reward." Matthew 10:22
Because February is upon us, and in honor of ST. valentinus; I am going to try to live God's love and be kind to someone (mindfully so) each day of this month. Maybe it will become a habit. Pray for me, I am sometimes rough around the edges. Better yet, join me!
Have a grateful, blessed Wednesday! :)