I gazed up at the sky, overcome once again by a vibrant Summer Sunset in this blistering desert. Quickly I grabbed my camera and snapped away before the colors faded and the clouds pulled apart like cotton candy. When I checked the views billowing into my camera’s viewfinder, I was struck at the deep roiling red captured in my first photo. It eerily reminded me of fire more than a peaceful sunset ushering in a docile evening. I winced, not realizing that the next night, those fiery storm clouds would billow out of my mouth and set my home ablaze. Scripture warns us that the tongue is like a fire and sets the whole course of one’s life on fire (James 3:5-6). That night, I forgot about the eery crimson clouds that had covered the sky. Maybe they had been a warning that I had not heeded. Or a vivid declaration of Scripture that I would not heed as I emotionally let words erupt like a volcano out of my mouth. Sure I had valid reasons to be upset. Sure I had been hurt deeply. This was not the way this evening was supposed to play out. I was not supposed to be duped or surprised at the sudden turn of events. But did these reasons–events–validate the vindictive words that spewed from my mouth with justification.
Pride. Vengeance. Retaliation. My rights had been usurped.
“Likewise the tongue is a small part of the body, but it makes great boasts.” James 3:5 NIV
Were the roiling feelings inside of me based on pride,? My eyes would not see that truth for days to come.
But right before my eyes I witnessed a great forest fire that scorched the one in my family who was in the path of my burning words. They tore us apart like fragile pieces of timber, not like the soft puffs of cloud pulled apart like cotton candy. Would the fire not cease?
Who or what could douse the pride giving fuel to the flames? All my tears could not quench the damage caused by the inferno.
“The wise woman builds her house, but with her own hands (and mouth) the foolish one tears hers down.” Proverbs 14:1 NIV (words in parenthesis mine)
All I had worked toward for several months came crashing down around me in a matter of minutes. And the storm continued through the night. The aftermath left destruction in its path and barrenness where once a forest and a relationship had stood.
Who could replant life where charred ruins now lay dead?
I awoke during the night in tears once again. What could I do?
Just confess my sins and wait for time to heal the wounds. Sound counsel from the Spirit through my husband. I crawled out of bed and confessed my sin to God. I asked forgiveness from the Lord, although I had asked forgiveness so many times of the one burnt by my words.
As light filtered through the wooden blinds, I experienced one of God’s greatest promises.
Yet this I call to mind and therefore I have hope:
Because of the Lord’s great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.” Lamentations 3:21-23 NIV
He began a replanting of tender shoots that will take time to grow. Ones that will take nurturing and care and water from His Word.
Because of His mercies, the relationship could begin to see new life again. But there are scars from where the fire charred both of us. Realize that a fire does not consume only one space in a forest but also burns over the spot that ignited it. Both of us had charred remains that would need the healing balm of Christ.
Words. Pride. The tongue that spews the fire forth can cause unrelenting damage. God warns us and I take heed:
“…but no man can tame the tongue. It is a restless evil, full of deadly poison. With the tongue we praise our Lord and Father, and with it we curse men, who have been made in God’s likeness. Out of the same mouth come praise and cursing. My brothers, this should not be. Can both fresh water and salt water flow from the same spring?” James 3:8-12 NIV
Who can clean this contaminated spring?
God alone can clean the spring with His mercies and the Holy Spirit can set a guard over our lips that we may not come to ruin.
So we humbly present our need for cleansing to the Lord.
“If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.” 1 John 1:9 NIV
And the Holy Spirit sets the guard:
“He who guards his mouth and his tongue keeps himself from calamity.” Proverbs 21:23 NIV
Linking with Spiritual Sundays and Scripture and a Snapshot
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|Sesame Seed Chicken with Broccoli Crumb Casserole and Stove Top Dressing|
I figure it is still barely Friday here in Arizona, so I’m legally posting a recipe for Ann Kroeker’s site Food on Fridays. While I await a letter from my youngest son who is in Navy Boot Camp, I thought I might include one of his favorite recipes that I made while he was still home. Yes, this one is chicken. If you know our family, you know we eat a lot of chicken, and it’s a standing joke in our family that if our sons’ fiances serve chicken–the wedding is off! However, certain chicken dishes were looked forward to at our home. One of them was Sesame Chicken. Besides the flavor that soaked into the chicken during its cooking, the juices on the bottom of the roasting pan (Corning Ware in our case), turned crispy and made for scrapings after the meals. The boys would vie for who would get the tasty browned morsels in the bottom of the pan.
When the weather begins to cool down, I hope you’ll try this simple but tasty recipe for your family.
taken from the American Heart Association Cookbook Ballantine Books, New York adapted by Janis Van Keuren About 3 pounds of chicken pieces 1 large scoop of flour seasoned with paprika, salt, and pepper to taste 3 TBLS of minced green onions Heat oven to 375 degrees. Melt butter with oil in the baking pan. In the meantime, put the flour and seasonings in a storage bag. Shake each individual piece of chicken in the seasoned flour. Roll pieces in the melted oil in the bottom of the baking pan and place them skin side down or face down for the side you will want facing up when you serve it. Leave room between the pieces. Sprinkle with half of the lemon juice and half of the sesame seeds. Bake 30 minutes. Turn chicken and sprinkle with the rest of the lemon juice, the sesame seeds and the minced onions. Pour wine gently over the chicken pieces and cook for 30 to 45 minutes longer. (45 minutes yields those crispy morsels in the bottom of the pan) Linking with Food on Fridays Share: Share what you have enjoyed.
The text from youngest beeped at me, “(Lol) Sean Miller is on my flight.” The thoughts start whirring as I walk through the grocery story. The basketball coach of the University of Arizona is on the plane with youngest. The basketball coach for whom Jordan was one of several team managers a couple of years ago.
It was the road we all thought youngest would travel. Keep working for the team, continue his major in Journalism, and blaze a trail into the sports broadcasting world. An internship with ESPN, or FOX Sports News, or maybe the radio station in Timbuktu. It was the dream we all shared. Then life took a U-turn.
Youngest is now heading off into Navy Boot Camp on Wednesday. I stopped the thoughts as I stared down the aisles. First the Mexican food, then the coffees. Before I reached the cake mixes, I repeated in my mind. “God is in control. He has other plans for Jordan. His plan for Jordan is perfect, for his good, to give him a hope and a future. His plans are better than my plans.”
Breathe again. Remember the blessings. Recount the blessings God has bestowed in this present moment, day, time. I grabbed the Ghirardelli semi-sweets to make chocolate chip pancakes for youngest’s last breakfast at home. Tomorrow. His favorite.
So, I look beyond the U of A shirt and envision the Navy DEP (Delayed Entry Program) shirt he has been wearing for the past four months.
Even in these last moments and days, the destructive thoughts can still assail me although I have surrendered myself to Jordan’s decision and God’s plan. So I count the blessings.
“Seven times will pass by for you until you acknowledge that the Most High is sovereign over the kingdoms of men and gives them to anyone he wishes.” Daniel 4:25 NIV
To You, Oh, Sovereign Lord be the glory, honor, and praise for blessings you pour out, even when we still have a faint hold on the dream that has escaped us:
911) Texts and phone calls from youngest on this past weekend’s trip 912) Co-hosting a tea party for our prayer group friends, friends tied by love and prayer and caring for each other’s families throughout our 18 years here in Arizona 913) All the feminine frills, dainty floral teacups, bite-sized sweet treats, scones, a sterling silver tea set and brunch-like entrees to decorate our gathering of friendship 914) Caring conversation 915) Torrential monsoon rain to clear away the cobwebs–outside and in the head 916) Star balloons still dancing high in the air now delight house-bound individuals 917) The grace to wait–to hold back on sending a text to youngest; guarding the mind 918) Leftovers! 919) The Lord sustaining me in battle 920) The Lord being in my messy behavior and bringing peace 921) Meeting son’s recruiter~knowing what youngest’s future holds 922) Making youngest’s favorite dinner~beef stroganoff~ and watching him gobble down three helpings 923) Using Coach John Wooden’s quotes as a brief meditation before praying as a family. Holing on to what will soon be taken from my hand 924) Learning so much about the Navy, what to expect in these next two months and beyond on the NavyForMoms website.~Navy personnel guiding the discussions so they are accurately answered.
925) Writing again
Where have you seen God as sovereign in your life?
Where are you still struggling to release your grip on life?
Linking with Multitude Monday and On, In, and Around Mondays
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“You have made known to me the path of life; you will fill me with joy in your presence with eternal pleasures at your right hand.” Psalm 16:11 NIV
Watching the fireworks explode color across the sky filled my heart with praise for God. Patterns danced their praises to God, the Lord of heaven and earth.
From My Heart to Yours,
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In the middle of July with the temperature roasting us at 104 degrees, you may be asking yourself, “Why would she turn on the ovens to make dinner?” For our family, these past couple of weeks have been like winter holidays for us–as far as the dinner fare is concerned. We’ve taken this opportunity to celebrate as if these were holidays, fixing our youngest son’s favorite meals and side dishes~as we all prepare for the real farewell. Farewell to the moments of having Jordan stretched long and lean across the family room floor; farewell to hearing both sons rip into the latest sports news; farewell to evenings of him wrestling with Chip, the Wonder Dog; farewell to mounds of laundry everywhere; farewell to trips to the grocery store with youngest for spicy chips and Gatorade; farewell to seeing his face across the table from mine.
Instead of focusing on the inevitable July 18 date of his departure from our home and arrival at Navy Boot Camp, where he will become a man and leave behind his childish ways and any dependence on Mom, we have chosen to celebrate! I’ve prepared everything from Aunt Mary’s Enchiladas to No Bake Peanut Butter Bars; from Beef Stroganoff to the dish our family calls “Those Potatoes.” We’ve had Popcakes with strawberries and powdered sugar for breakfast while feasting on Sweet and Sour Meatballs in the evening. We’ve also delighted in homemade chocolate chip cookies, more than once.
Tonight, we had our Thanksgiving special–“Broccoli Crumb Casserole.” I paired it with Sesame Seed Chicken (what other meat do we serve here?) and some Stove Top Dressing–an outdated box I found in the pantry. Without further adieu, we present to you Broccoli Crumb Casserole.
Golden Crumb Broccoli
as featured in “Better Homes and Gardens All Time Favorite Casserole recipes”
(c) 1977 by Meredith Corporation, Des Moines, Iowa
1 and 1/2 ponds fresh broccoli (weighed with stems on-if you buy just the heads, buy less)
1 10 and 3/4-ounce can of cream of mushroom soup
1/4 Cup of Best Foods mayonnaise
1/4 Cup grated sharp cheddar cheese
1 TBLS chopped or diced pimiento
1 and 1/2 tsps. lemon juice
1/3 Cup of crushed Ritz crackers (about 8)
Now you have to realize, I probably have not made this recipe without at least doubling it or even tripling it in the past 12 years (guys appetites have increased and then you add in the company for dinner).
|This gives you an idea of what the soup mixture looks like as you stir it in–thick|
Cut up the broccoli to have just the flowerets. You should have about 6 cups. I steam my broccoli for about 7-8 minutes, with the lid on the pan, after the water has come to a boil under the steam rack. Then I drain the broccoli, holding the lid askew and let the steaming water pour over the broccoli. Put the broccoli, which should still be somewhat firm into a 1 and 1/2 quart casserole.
Mix the soup, mayonnaise, cheese pimiento, and lemon juice. Pour over the broccoli and gently mix it in. Top with the crackers and a few pieces of cooked broccoli to decorate the top.
Bake, uncovered at 350 degrees for 35 minutes (until it bubbles). The recipe says it serves 6, but in our house, it only serves 4 with a little left over.
Hope you enjoy! I’ll save the Sesame Seed Chicken for another post.
From My Heart to Yours,
Linking with Food on Fridays at Ann Kroeker’s
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