Friday, December 9, 2011
Tuesday, December 6, 2011
I made these biscuits this morning. I didn't have any of my round cutters because my mom is borrowing them. All I had was this small fluted cutter. I used it with great success. We got light mini biscuits. I also didn't have buttermilk for the dough, so I made my own using milk and lemon juice. Worked well, although the dough was a little more wet than usual. No worries. These biscuits were light, fluffy, melt in your mouth good, and rose sooo high, with flaky layers. Love..!!! We scarfed down quite a few. The key is a high baking temp. and cutting in the butter into the flour just right. This is my favorite biscuit recipe. No frills, but hey, that is a biscuit for you.
Friday, November 4, 2011
Monday, October 31, 2011
I got this in my email box today. I think this letter describes me to a T. I needed the encouragement that I am not the only one, but more importantly the reminder to rest in God and BE PATIENT. We are struggling with issues this year in our homeschooling, while not new, are compounded with an increase in work load. I am having trouble being patient with them, and as I pray for them, I want God to fix our situation NOW! I must be patient for God to work out his purposes, which he promises to do. I must be humble and gentle of spirit and do what I know is right and wait for him on the results. Too many times I don't do what I know I ought and then get mad when I don't get the results I want. Anyway, I am sharing this letter with you. Maybe it will encourage you too.
The Impatient Homeschooler
I have learned something about myself over the years. I keep thinking maybe this will be the day (or year?) I'll "get a hold" of a certain issue and fix it. And my problem is a spiritual one - many problems are. It has to do with patience: you know, "long-suffering." Whether it's with my husband and kids, or with those whom I work, or patience with my current situation (whatever that may be at the moment), the quandary is still the same. I'm not even patient with myself; I notice I scowl even when I make mistakes that can't be helped. I'm impatient.
In the past, I have wondered about patience. Some people come across really unruffled, calm and carefree. Even if they are going through a crisis, or their lives are turned upside down, somehow they are marked by patience, demonstrating an even-tempered and soft approach to their problems. I've often thought, Well, it comes natural to some, but others (like me) have to work at being patient. Some of us don't have that natural talent. But is it a talent? And how *does* one "work at being patient"?
Interestingly, in recent days, it's starting to come together. No, I'm not more patient. But I've discovered how to be.
It goes back to God's Word, the Bible. He has given us lots and lots of scriptural points of reference and I'm starting to think that a number of different issues are only seemingly not the same. In reality, they're tied together. I'm talking about waiting on the Lord, exhibiting self-control as well as not succumbing to anxiousness or fear going hand in hand with being a patient person. Let me explain.
I worry about everything.
Even though God's Word actually commands us to be anxious for nothing (Philippians 4:6), I blow it almost every time. If a crisis is on the horizon, even a small one, I'm shaking in my boots. Usually if I'm stressed, it's over money. TOS is a high-overhead company. Our staff/payroll costs are astronomical. It's incredible what goes on behind the scenes of the magazine to "make it happen." And while I will say over and over that TOS is the Lord's company, and His magazine, when things get rough (like payroll is due) I keep snatching what's His back into my hot restless hands, milling it 'round and about and sweating over it. Yuck. Why do I do this? I'm impatient.
God says to wait on Him. He says a lot in His Word about waiting, in fact, and we'll talk more about that below. It's so easy to spiral down into "need to worry" mode about things, even though the Lord has told us over and over in His Word that He is in control. That means COMPLETE control. He doesn't need Gena to come along and try to fix things, and worrying or becoming anxious over any of it is only a hindrance to my peace of mind. It does not bring Him glory.
I take matters into my own hands.
I have this personality trait that is good yet can be very bad. I'm highly functional even though I have too much going on. I can multi-task very rapidly and somehow keep things moving at a swift pace. But that can have its downfalls, too, if not placed in the right perspective - in light of God's Word. See, when I really should be waiting on the Lord, being still and resting in Him (since after all, He does take care of EVERYTHING in His time), I jump the gun and try to make events happen. It's kind of like a matchmaker who really should mind her own business instead of trying to rush romance. Not that I've ever matched anyone up. But still - you get the idea. I (impatiently) get my hands in there whipping things around like a mini tornado, trying to "make it happen." God doesn't want me doing that. He wants me to move, to walk, to work hard, but not to rush what He is trying to do in my life. I have to remember that His timing is perfect. It is good and it is right. My timing is muddled and imperfect at best, and by getting myself in the way of His plan, I make myself a hindrance. Taking His work, whatever that may be, behind the scenes, and attempting to hijack it and then cram it through a blender to make it happen in MY time and MY way does not bring Him glory. It's just an icky, impatient milkshake by the time I'm done with it. He has things under control . . . always did. Still does.
Sometimes I'm not very nice. I snap at Paul. I scold the kids a little too loudly or rush to make them mind. Don't get me wrong; we have our light, sweet times too. I love my family dearly. But I'm not what you'd call the perfect mommy/wife/homeschooler, far from it. In fact, I more represent the impatient homeschooler during times I am not letting myself be led by the Spirit. The fruits of the Spirit are love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. Impatience and a snapping lack of self-control are not. These things do not bring Him glory.
I faint. I am weary.
Are we supposed to faint? I don't mean physically; I mean spiritually. Isaiah 40:31 tells us, "But they that wait upon the LORD shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint." Apparently, we're not supposed to faint dead away (or throw in the towel). We're to keep walking, but how? God's Word teaches us that if we are WAITING ON THE LORD (key word - wait), He will meet us right there in that waiting place. He will never leave us. This means impatience is out; waiting is in. The more I worry, take matters into my own hands, and wring my hands with frustration (over whatever my "issue" is at hand), the more I realize how impatient I am. This is just a hindrance to my own peace of mind, and it does not bring Him glory.
"I give up."
How many times have I silently shrugged my shoulders and muttered these words. Shameful. No, we do NOT give up. What does God's Word say? Is life supposed to be an easy street, or are there also trials to build our character and make us more like Christ? Are we to sit down in the dirt and die? Of course not. Second Corinthians 4:8 tells us, "We are troubled on every side, yet not distressed; we are perplexed, but not in despair." This is true. There will be times we are perplexed or curious over what the Lord is doing. "Why, O God?!" we cry out. There will be troubles in this world, but we're not to fear; we are not to sink into despair. He has already overcome this world, we are His, and yes, we can WAIT on Him as He will protect us and take care of us. He has given us His Word. Read it and take note of His utmost care for us - if you think you are a good parent, He's an even better one. His eye is on you all the time just like yours is on your sleeping infant. I remember holding little Chloe while she was sleeping once. She was on her back, in my arms, but only just barely asleep. Every few minutes, she'd open her sleepy little eyes and peer up at me; it seemed she was making sure I was still there, gazing down at her. When she'd look up, there I still was. I wasn't going anywhere and she could be assured of it. When you look up, there He is too. Your loving Father will never leave you. He won't leave me either, so why am I so impatient? Why do I resort to "giving up" mode when I'm frustrated? It only hinders (again) my peace. No, I won't give up, nor will I despair. His Word tells me I will not. I believe Him. And I want to bring Him glory.
I don't choose joy.
You know what the irony here is? Lukey, our now 20-year-old, was our little scowler when he was 3 years old. We were always telling him, "Lukey, choose joy." It was our way of reminding him during a given "3-year-old mad episode" that he was to be a joyful boy and not be malcontent. Our friends even came to his birthday party and in his card, wrote the words "Dear Lukey, choose joy." It was a laughing moment for all of us because that little phrase was SO commonly used with little Lukey. But here I am, someone who knows that I should walk in joy because of my very salvation, not to mention everything I have seen the Lord do in my life. But when things go wrong, I worry. I fret. I am impatient and unwilling to wait (after all, my timing is better since I'm the poor soul going through the trial, right - wouldn't I be the best judge?). But what does Habakkuk 3:17-18 say? Amazingly, it's this: "Although the fig tree shall not blossom, neither shall fruit be in the vines; the labour of the olive shall fail, and the fields shall yield no meat; the flock shall be cut off from the fold, and there shall be no herd in the stalls: Yet I will rejoice in the LORD, I will joy in the God of my salvation."
Ummm, wow. For the most part, for our family and business, the figurative "fig trees," do blossom. And "fruit" is on the vine at some point in the game, and the "olives" come (even though they're usually late). Our "fields yield meat" (so to speak), and even if it doesn't happen fast enough in MY timetable, there are eventually "herds in the stalls," not to mention the "flocks are still in the fold!" In other words, God does provide. He never lets us down. But look at Habakkuk! Even if the figs NEVER come, we are to be walking in JOY. We are to be rejoicing in the Lord because of Who He is and because of what He has done. He is our Holy God, our Savior. He does take care of us, but even if we have to wait what seems like an eternity to have things work right again, or to pay some bill, or to fix a relationship, we should be content to know that He is working things out behind the scenes and just WALK with Him in joy.
Besides, what does Romans 5:3-4 say? Check this out: "And not only so, but we glory in tribulations also: knowing that tribulation worketh patience; and patience, experience; and experience, hope . . . ," and we all know that hope in Christ does not disappoint, does it? So in our trials we find patience IF we are seeking God's Word. How can I become the PATIENT homeschooler? I think I just figured it out. My afflictions are working patience in me. I have lots of experiences I can some day pass on to others; I have hope (His Word!) I can offer. I don't have to be the impatient homeschooler at all.
It's all tied together! Whether I'm nit-picking at my family, angry at myself for some goofy error, scared and anxious over my circumstances that I have no control over anyway, or simply frustrated with God's timing, it all boils down to a lack of patience on my part - an unwillingness to wait on the Lord. The fact that I refuse to wait on Him actually DEMONSTRATES impatience. How awful. I don't want to be plagued by that reality. By the way, do you know what the definition of "patience" even is? It's pretty simple and it's what God asks of us. Ready for this? Patience: willing to endure. Are we willing to endure? To endure, by the way, is to "stick it out." To survive, to subject oneself to Another (in this case, to God and His plan for our lives - yes, during the burdensome AND the easier times). Not only that, but consider the spirit we have been given by God Himself. Read Romans 8:15. It's clearly stated that we have not received a spirit of slavery, which leads to fear. No! We have received the Spirit of ADOPTION. We are sons and daughters of the living God, our wise King. "Abba! Father!" is what we say, when we start to feel ourselves slipping into fear. Daddy God! That's right - He is your Parent, your Dad. And He hears. He will never leave us any more than we would abandon our own little one. We can peer up at Him like Chloe did with her earthly parent (Mommy) and find Him there, gazing back on us. We're in His arms too.
Lord, make me endure joyfully even through my sorrowful times. The righteous DO endure to the end. My heart is willing; I am resolved to bear the hardships and trials You deem necessary for my life. Build my character as I abide in You. Cause me to remember what You showed us in James 5:10 - that we should look to the prophets of old who spoke Your Name as an example of patience and suffering. They abided in You because they knew You. And since You have called me (and know me), I want to endure in all things, great and small, also to the end as they did.
Today I choose peace.
Waiting on Him is pure peace and He blesses those who do it; He smiles on those who persevere (with rejoicing) through the trials He brings us. Waiting on the Lord is an act of worship and a symbol of our faith. I will choose to be joyful in all things, no matter the tribulation. When difficulties come I may cry for the moment, but immediately thereafter I must look up and press onward because there waiting for me is the very strength that the Lord Himself renews in me. (Isaiah 40: 31) I won't faint nor will I walk in weariness. I will bring Him glory.
Not perfect. But ever enthusiastic.
I need to be eager to read His Word and obey it. I am not the perfect homeschool mommy or beautiful, adoring wife. Think about your toddlers, though. Remember how they would traipse around behind you, following you as you were doing your chores, wanting to help? They were so eager to please. Their work was kinda crummy by adult standards, but their hearts were right there with ours. They wanted to please us - to bless us (even though they made more of a mess than anything else). We have to be that way with the Lord, our Parent. We don't get it all right. But we can follow after Him and try. We can obey His Word and even after messing up, get back up again and run after Him. Of course, He is there with us with arms outstretched, ready to let us try ever again. He dusts us off and sets us on the right path (through His Word, the Bible). He is the Perfect Homeschooler, isn't He? His kindness - His PATIENCE - drives me to want to bring Him glory.
Psalm 37:24: "Though he fall, he shall not be utterly cast down: for the LORD upholdeth him with his hand." He will hold you up! He will not let you spiral downward. You might free-fall for a bit, but listen, as you do it, REJOICE IN HIM. Rest in Him. Be still. He is in control even if it doesn't feel like it. Feelings are subjective at times! Lean on Him (yes, even as you are falling). Forsake your own understanding (Proverbs 3:5) and trust in Him with all your heart instead.
Psalm 55:22: "Cast thy burden upon the LORD, and he shall sustain thee: he shall never suffer the righteous to be moved." Cast your cares on Him, friends. He hears you. He sees your trials and He knows them even better than you do. He holds the timing in His Hand, too, to relieve you of them. Be patient. Let Him work behind the scenes. Trust the Lord; trust Him. He is trustworthy.
Love to you all, and abiding in Him right along with you,
The Old Schoolhouse Magazine, LLC
Tuesday, September 27, 2011
Friday, August 19, 2011
Thursday, July 28, 2011
Okay this is a post about a super easy appetizer that is way better than those restaurant pepper poppers you can buy. My very sweet aunt Margie showed me how to make this a few weeks ago, and they were a huge hit with my wonderful husband. We grow jalapeno peppers in our garden and they are always one of the things that are a great producer for us. Not much else works out for us except okra, but I digress. Here is how you make this super yummy treat. Bet you can't eat just one.
Okay, buy a bunch of large jalapeno peppers. If you are feeding a small crowd you are going to need a lot of these. For two people, about a dozen or so.
BACON (4 strips per dozen peppers)
Cheddar cheese, you can use grated or buy a block and cut off 1/4 inch thick slabs.
STEP 1: Take the peppers and slice them in half lengthwise. Don't worry about cutting off the stems. They make great little handles for later. De-seed the peppers with a small paring knife, or if you are brave, use your fingers. You want to get out the membrane and the seeds. Leave a few seeds on if you want them to taste hotter. Beware, just a couple of stray seeds can make these babies HOT!!!
STEP 2: Really this should be your first step and it can be cooking as you do step 1. (I don't claim to be a regular food blogger so pardon my order here.) You need to fry up about 4-6 slices of bacon till it is crisp. I buy the thick sliced bacon and simply peel off the number of strips I need in a stack and take a sharp knife and cut them into pieces. Then I fry them up till crisp. Drain on a paper towel. (My aunt cuts the slices of bacon into about 3 pieces and fries them that way.) Don't discard the bacon grease. You need it for the next step. It really makes these poppers taste better.
STEP 3: Keep that bacon fat in the pan. Depending on how much you cooked up you may need to drain off some. You want grease to cover the bottom of the pan, but you don't want it to be more than coated. Your peppers shouldn't swim in the pan. Place the peppers in the pan skin side down and let cook till they blister and sort of color (brown) on the bottom. Turn and cook the inside for a minute or two. Peppers will soften, but you don't want them mushy.
STEP 4: You can do this last step one of two ways. You can take the peppers out of the skillet and slightly drain them on a paper towel. Then place them on a foil lined cookie sheet and top with cheese and bacon. Bake at 300 F for 5-10 min. till cheese is melted. Or broil them slightly till melted but beware of leaving them too long. They will burn.
Or you can place the cheese and bacon on them in the skillet and let them cook a little more till the cheese melts. If you do this method I would suggest cooking a little less in Step 3 on the skin side.
Serve these babies warm to your guests. They are sure to disappear fast. And then everyone will beg you to share the recipe.
Beware of eating straight from the pan or oven cause they will be HOT!!!! Like temperature hot, not so much spicy hot. Although these little beauties do pack a bit of a spicy punch. My husband loves me when I make these for him. He likes hot stuff. Not that he doesn't love me normally. Just sayin'. :)
Sunday, July 24, 2011
Thursday, July 21, 2011
I chose to sign up with Thirty-One for a couple of reasons. First was to see if there was a little potential to make some extra money to pay for fun things and trips for our family. The boys and I really want to go to this horse ranch near Atlanta for a few days. Secondly, it did not seem like doing this would take nearly the prep time to do that Stampin' UP! took to do. I just have to grab some of the totes and go. I also think their hostess and customer specials are great. Thirty-One's August special is incredible: you get 15% off everything in the new Fall/Winter catalog. Amazing. I also figured with the upcoming holiday seasons, it would be a good time to promote their products as possible gift ideas. The totes are awesome for giving as gifts, filling with gifts, or toting all the gifts and other stuff to family for the holidays.
So, anyway, I hope to squeeze in some time to make this work. If you are interested in my business or want to see the products, go to www.mythirtyone.com/masibert. Again the August special is 15% off anything in the new catalog. The new catalog goes live on my website on Monday, July 25.
Thursday, April 21, 2011
For the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even his eternal power and Godhead; so that they are without excuse
A Christian Response to Earth Day
All men are religious because all men have an object of worship. All men have faith in something. In the end, men will either worship and serve the creature, or they will worship and serve the Creator. But they will worship something.
In the 18th century, many began to worship the mind. The religion of that day was rationalism. In the 19th century, this god morphed into scientism. But science failed to provide the answers to ultimate questions. The men of the 20th century looked for a more immediate solution to the problems of humanity — they chose to worship the State. This failed. Statism proved to be a harsh taskmaster. In the absence of any real solutions from rationalism, scientism, and statism, men fixed their attention on a new god — or rather, an ancient God that just needed a new facelift.
That god is the earth.
21st-century men are earth worshippers. They are sanitized pantheists. Of course, they don't call themselves pantheists or earth worshippers, but religious devotion to the material world is the essence of this modern faith.
This religious devotion to the material world as god comes in many shapes and sizes, but it has become ubiquitous in our culture. The new pantheism is at the heart of the green movement. It is reflected in the priorities of Hollywood, in the agenda of politicians, and in the curriculums of the government schools. It is found in the marketing campaign of Madison Avenue, in the reality TV shows of cable television, and sadly, even in pulpits across the nation. The worship of the creation has become a defining undercurrent in our culture, even as it is reshaping many of the cultures of the modern world.
And this is one reason why this Friday, April 22, millions of people (perhaps billions) representing the countries of the United Nations will stop to celebrate the high holy day of this religion as they pay homage to the earth God. Of Earth Day, evolutionary anthropologist Margaret Meade once explained that:
EARTH DAY is the first holy day which transcends all national borders, yet preserves all geographical integrities, spans mountains and oceans and time belts, and yet brings people all over the world into one resonating accord, is devoted to the preservation of the harmony in nature and yet draws upon the triumphs of technology, the measurement of time, and instantaneous communication through space. EARTH DAY draws on astronomical phenomena in a new way — which is also the most ancient way — by using the vernal Equinox, the time when the Sun crosses the equator making the length of night and day equal in all parts of the earth. To this point in the annual calendar, EARTH DAY attaches no local or divisive set of symbols, no statement of the truth or superiority of one way of life over another.
Should Christians care about the earth? Not only must we care about it, we have a holy duty to engage the earth. The difference between the objectives of biblical Christianity and radical environmentalism can be found in the religious assumptions of both groups.
Four Lies of the Radical Environmentalist Movement
With Earth Day comes billions of dollars worth of environmentalist propaganda driven by their religious worldview. Some of the themes you can expect to hear repeated this year include the following:
- The Earth Is Our Mother: The very expression “Mother Earth” is popular parlance in our culture and reflects the old pagan longing to worship the physical world. Modern environmentalists, with their devotion to the idea that man is just another life-form to spring from the womb of the earth on the evolutionary journey of life, speak openly about earth being the mother of man.
- Human Life Has No Greater Intrinsic Value Than Animal Life: The notion that man is an insignificant blip in the universe and that our planet is almost as insignificant as man is an oft-repeated concept of the modern environmentalist movement. Radical environmentalists complain about the carbon footprints of humans, and the sin of “Speciesism” — man discriminating against lower life-forms.
- The Greatest Crisis Facing Humans is the Despoiling of the Earth: From the media campaigns of former Vice President Al Gore, to the film agenda of Avatar, radical environmentalists want you to believe that the single greatest problem facing humanity is the environmental destruction of earth.
- Absent a Radical Shift in Private Practice and Public Policy, the Environmental Crisis Will Lead to the End of Life on Earth: Modern pantheists care deeply about the future. One thing is clear: Radical envioronmentalists have their own eschatology. They see the end of the world coming because of nuclear waste, global warming, the loss of rainforest in the Amazon, or any of a host of perceived environmental hazards.
Four Christian Assumptions About the Earth
- The Earth is Witness to the Power and Authority of God the Creator Who Alone May Be Worshipped: The Bible teaches that the very existence of the earth is a reminder to all men of the eternal power and Godhood of Christ, so that they are without excuse (Romans 1:20). It reminds us that as long as the earth continues, the promises of God will remain faithful (Genesis 8:22; Deuteronomy 7:9). Significantly, the Bible warns us that the consequence for man rejecting the witness of creation is that he worships creation itself (Romans 1:22-25).
- The Earth Was Made for the Glory of God and the Benefit of Man Who Was Made the Pinnacle of Creation and of Infinitely Greater Value than Animals or the Earth Itself: Man is the pinnacle of creation and has more eternal value than the earth or any of the creatures who live on it (Psalm 8:5). Man is not a carbon footprint; he is the image-bearer of God. This means that the most "insignificant" human life (insignificant only in the eyes of man) is of inestimably greater value than that of a blue whale, a snail darter, a spotted owl, a mountain, or a tree.
- The Earth Has Been Placed under Man who Has a Moral Obligation to Subdue it and to Exercise Wise Stewardship over the Earth: Man is God’s appointed steward on earth, and his core mission is to be His agent of dominion over it. Toward this end, God has placed all things under man to be used for his benefit and to be carefully stewarded and cultivated for God’s glory. “Thou madest him to have dominion over the works of thy hands; thou hast put all things under his feet” (Psalm 8:6).
- The Earth is Not the Problem: The reason why the earth suffers is because of man’s sin that has plunged the earth into judgment. Man brought death and judgment to earth. In fact, the whole creation is groaning and waiting redemption (Romans 8:22-23). Despite the righteous judgment of God on earth, He is merciful and promises the continuation of the seasons and the fundamental stability of the planet until the end of time (Genesis 8:22), at which there will be a new heaven and new earth (2 Peter 3:13).
All men are religious because all men have an object of worship. In the end, they will worship and serve the creature, or they will worship and serve the Creator. But they will worship something.
Earth Day, and the radical environmental movement that spawned this high holy day of pantheism, are at war with the Gospel because they perpetuate false worship. The Christian response to the idolatry of Earth Day might be reduced to this simple thought: Jesus Christ is the Creator, and He alone is to be worshipped. He created man as the pinnacle of creation and determined that humans would be the only part of creation to be made in the very image of God, and that man as the image-bearer of God would rule over the earth.
On a practical level, this means that Christians need to stop allowing the radical environmentalist movement to define the issue. We must cease from being the tail and become the head on the question of our duties, privileges, and responsibilities vis-a-vis creation. The Bible has a great deal to say about our use of the resources of the world and our relationship to the earth. Of all people, Christians who honor the Creator should have a passion for creation. We are losing the debate through subversion, silence, lack of vision, and because of the Christian community’s fear of the God-ordained, perpetually valid, creation precept called “The Dominion Mandate.” This mandate directs man is to rule over the earth, subduing it and taking dominion over it for his benefit and for God’s glory. Implicit to the Dominion Mandate is the duty of man to cultivate, wisely manage, and carefully steward the planet.
Finally, man’s problems will never be solved through the elevation of human reason, the power of science, or the interventions of the state. Nor will rescuing the biosphere of planet earth save man or ensure him a future on this planet. You cannot save the earth. But human beings can be saved. And the only hope of salvation is found in Jesus Christ — the Creator! It is this Creator through whom we live and breathe and who by the very power of His word holds the worlds together. He will someday establish a new heaven and a new earth and will bring all of His people into Glory.