“Blessed are they whose transgressions are forgiven, whose sins are covered. Blessed is the man whose sin the Lord will never count against him.” Romans 4:7-8 ref. Psalm 32: 1-2 NIV
An overcast sky greeted a normally sunny spring day in Arizona. My friend and I chatted as we left our Zumba class. The subdued sky was a welcome sign to us. It was Good Friday and the whole desert mirrored the heavy hearts that stood at the cross that Friday long ago on Calvary when Jesus paid a debt we never could pay. He laid down his life with the heavy weight of our sins on his body and surrendered His spirit to the Father so that we could be free from our sin.
“I really like it when Good Fridays are overcast,” my friend remarked. ” It helps us remember how dark the land became as Jesus hung on the cross.”
A meditative mood indeed, I thought.
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A New Year opens up like the budding of a new blossom. Some blossoms are filled with a sweet fragrance. Some blossoms have large, colorful petals. Some blossoms unfurl with spots, scars from pest-infested days. And some blossoms open quickly, announcing their presence to the world, then suddenly the petals fall off in rapid succession. The memory of the flower is gone.
We cannot predict how the New Year will unfold anymore than we can predict the unfurling of a blossom. Of course, with a blossom we have some control if we plant the shoot in fertile soil, feed it properly, pour water into the depths of its roots, and add a pesticide. But the New Year is beyond our control.
Circumstances can bombard us and like unseen pests can gnaw away at the goals we set for this New Year. Or our health or the health of those we love could make a u-turn and suddenly the large, colorful life we were planning drops to the ground. Or without warning, a fierce trial that shakes our faith to its roots can leave us with shriveled petals in a season of drought.
What a dismal outlook on a New Year you may say. Others are looking at the New Year as a time of hope and promise. And a New Year is a time of hope if we know where to place our trust–and our hand. With a well-intentioned heart and a firm promise to change ourselves this year, the best place to put our trust is in the Lord’s hand and His promise for us.
The Lord has a firm grip on our hand and will not let anything or anyone snatch us out of His hand, regardless of how our New Year plans, resolutions, and days turn out. Knowing that He hangs onto to us even when we cannot hold on ourselves give me great peace and hope for the New Year.
“and I give eternal life to them, and they shall never perish; and no one is able to snatch them out of the Father’s hand. I and the Father are one.” John 10:28-30 New American Standard
“Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword? As it is written: ‘For your sake we face death all day long; we are considered as sheep to be slaughtered.’ No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am convinced that neither height nor depth 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 35-39 NIV
In these promises from God, I can breathe easy at the year ahead. He has me in His hand and won’t let go! Tweet This
Some sisters-in-the Lord have been tweeting–No Fear New Year. Ann Voskamp and Beth Moore have found the security as we look ahead and move forward.
Linking with: 3dlessons4life
Three Word Wednesday
Faith Filled Friday
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A special friend stopped by today. Unexpectedly. In her hand, she held a Christmas present meant just for us writers. Pencils standing at attention with their points poking up encircled a fashionable holder. Kindred spirits we are. I felt the bond of friendship deepening.Where could she find such a perfect gift? She casually mentioned that it just happened–“while looking in and out of the shops.” I imagined her strolling the aisles, poking in those cutesy boutique shops, and suddenly finding this unique pencil holder.
The discovery would have taken away my breath.
Then I turned back the wrapping inside the pencil holder. Inside were chocolate delights and behold–an angel. A nightlight angel to see me through the dark hours. An angel watching over me. The meaning was not lost on us. The Lord had knitted our hearts together over one of those unplanned deep conversations where each one discovers how much they have in common in the buried recesses of hurt hearts.
An angel watching over me. Yes I need one. Just like the angels watching over shepherds in the fields tending their sheep that night so long ago.
“An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people. Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is the Messiah, the Lord. This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.”
“Suddenly a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel, praising God and saying, ‘Glory to God in the highest heaven, and on earth peace to those on whom His favor rests.’” Luke 2:8-20 NIV
Angels, the messengers of God, sent to be by our side, to light and guard to rule and guide (taken from the Prayer to Your Guardian Angel, author unknown).
On Memorial Day weekend, we had friends over for a lasagna dinner, so I wanted to serve a light dessert. (Lasagna is not typical for Memorial Day but I had an extra tray) I found a recipe online for chocolate fudge pie. It looked like a chocolate mousse with a light whipped topping. Chocolate shavings swirled across the white froth and made a delectable looking dessert.
Before posting this, I contacted “Real Simple” recipes at www.realsimple.com/food-recipes and asked their permission to publish as the site is copyrighted. In a couple of weeks they replied with their approval as long as I gave them clear credit for the recipe. With that done, let’s dive into that delicious chocolate.
As I prepared the meal, time was at a premium (as always), so I asked hubby to run to the store for me and pick up a pre-made pie crust. A dangerous task to give any husband, but even harder for hubby who didn’t know which aisle they were on and whether I wanted graham cracker or what it would look like. I told him to get the Pillsbury ready made pie crusts in the refrigerator section where the biscuits are. I thought that would be clear. He came home with a Kroeger bland crust, no fluted edge. I was just grateful we had one.
Basic Flaky Piecrust or 1 store-bought pie crust fitted into a 9-inch pie plate (check above for hazards)
6 ounces of semisweet chocolate, chopped, plus 4 more ounces for shaved topping ( I had hubby get 2,
6-ounce Ghirardelli semisweet chocolate candy bars–from the candy section
1/2 C unsalted butter (1 stick)3 large eggs1/8 teaspoon salt1/2 C plus 3 Tbls granulated sugar
1 and 1/2 C heavy cream
It really isn’t hard! Just lots of explaining in the steps.
1. Heat oven to 375 degrees. Place the pie plate on a baking sheet. Prick crust with a fork and line with foil Fill with pie weights or dried beans. (I had never done this before but I scrounged a package of dried beans from the pantry and tossed them on. It worked flattening wonders) Bake 20-25 minutes. Remove the foil and weights and bake until just golden 8 to 10 minutes more.
2. Reduce oven temp to 325. In a heatproof bowl or container place the broken chocolate and butter. Then place the bowl over a saucepan of simmering water to melt the chocolate and butter.
I did this but I’ve melted chocolate and butter slowly over a low flame without any problem of it burning. Just keep stirring until melted.
3. Using a mixer, beat the eggs, salt, and 1/2 C of the sugar until fluffy–4 to 5 minutes. Fold a third of the egg mixture into the chocolate mixture, then fold in the remainder.
4. Pour the combined mixture into the crust and bake until puffed and beginning to crack, 20 to 25 minutes. Cool for 1 hour, then cover with plastic wrap and chill.
You can make the pie, the night before and then whip the cream the next morning. The directions say you can actually make this part of the pie and keep it refrigerated for up to 2 days before adding the topping.
5. Beat the cream with the remaining sugar until SOFT peaks form. Don’t overbeat!!! Spread over the pie and top with the shavings.
I checked one of my cookbooks to discover how to make chocolate curly q’s. Use a vegetable peeler. Make some long strokes for tightly wound curls. Make short strokes for some straight pieces.
Yummy and pretty. And it really wasn’t hard to make. It’s all the explaining that makes it look difficult. If I can make this–anyone can!
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We hang the flag out on Memorial Day and decorate the house in patriotic red, white, and blue. The theme remains until Labor Day~or a few days later. One of our favorite desserts to serve on any one of the holidays falling during this time of year is our “Stars and Stripes” refreshing cake. When our friends came for Memorial Day, I whipped this up quickly~a major feat for me. It combines the refreshing chill of a fruit-filled gelatin with the traditional makings of a shortcake. All in a 9X13 easy to carry and serve-many size.
Hope you like it as well as we do.
2 containers of strawberries1 and 1/3 Cup of blueberries 1 large pkg. of Strawberry Jello to serve 81 10 or 12 oz loaf of angel food cake (or pound cake if you can’t find angel food in loaf size) cut into 10 slices1 and 1/2 Cups of boiling water1 Cup of cold water
1 tub (8 oz) of thawed COOL WHIP whipped topping
Slice 1 cup of the strawberries and halve enough of the rest of the strawberries so that you will have three long rows of strawberry stripes across the bottom and two short rows of strawberries (as the picture above the cake I’m working on shows). The halved strawberries will come out to about 16 or more strawberries. You want to try and get the strawberries about the same size, giving them an even look.
Stir boiling water into gelatin in a bowl until completely dissolved. Mix in cold water and enough ice cubes to make 2 cups. Stir into gelatin until ice is melted. Then refrigerate about 15 minutes until gelatin is slightly thickened.
Slice up the angel food cake and line the bottom of the 9×13 dish.
Stir sliced strawberries and 1 cup of the blueberries into gelatin. Spoon mixture over cake.
Refrigerate covered for 4 hours or until firm.
Spread COOL WHIP over gelatin. Arrange strawberry halves and blueberries on top to create flag.
Serves 16 small pieces. More like 10 in our family.
Linking with Ann Kroeker at Food on Fridays Share: Share what you have enjoyed.