Thursday, October 29, 2009

Peanut Butter Blossoms

• 1/2 cup Crisco® Butter Shortening
• 1/2 cup Jif® Creamy Peanut Butter
• 1/2 cup firmly packed brown sugar
• 1/2 cup granulated sugar
• 1 large egg
• 2 tablespoons milk
• 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
• 1 3/4 cups Pillsbury BEST® All Purpose Flour
• 1 teaspoon baking soda
• 1/2 teaspoon salt
• Sugar
• 48 foil-wrapped milk chocolate pieces, unwrapped

1. HEAT oven to 375°F.
2. CREAM together shortening, peanut butter, brown sugar and 1/2 cup sugar. Add egg, milk and vanilla. Beat well.
3. STIR together flour, baking soda and salt. Add to creamed mixture. Beat on low speed until stiff dough forms.
4. SHAPE into 1-inch balls. Roll in sugar. Place 2 inches apart on ungreased cookie sheet.
5. BAKE 10 to 12 minutes or until golden brown.
6. TOP each cookie immediately with an unwrapped chocolate piece, pressing down firmly so that cookie cracks around edge. Remove from cookie sheets to cool.
Yield: 4 Dozen Cookies

FLO Ministry Team

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Beautiful Offering - Week 7

Saturday, I sat in front of my laptop thinking “okay self, we need something amazing to send to Christa for the Bible Study Blog post.” Nothing. I sat and stared at the screen for ever. Nothing. I made several attempts over a few days at a post and deleted them all. Today Christa sent me a sweet e-mail along the lines of “Hi friend….we gonna have a post this week?”

I am not entirely comfortable with this…but here goes...

This week’s lesson started off with a sucker punch.

“In order to be salt and Light, you have to cultivate your ‘secret’ life with God. Your secret prayers, your secret giving, your secret fasting…these are the things that that ONLY God sees and they are the things that allow you to be salt and light.”

No GOING? No DOING? No TEACHING? No ENCOURAGING?......That’s not too exciting. See, Last time we met, we talked about being Salt and Light. Good stuff… “go and light your world”…”make a difference for the Kingdom”… “Tell people about Christ”. That sort of lesson is right up my alley. I love getting people excited about “Going” and “doing”. “Okay, girls! Let’s go shine like a City on a Hill!!!!!” So, I set the Bible study aside for a few days. I guess I thought that God would stop talking to me if I stopped studying.

I was mistaken. God did not stop talking. As a matter of fact, He has dealt with me constantly these past 2 weeks. I, in turn, have thrown a fit or two. I have argued with Him. I have been a whiney baby. It really has NOT been fun couple of weeks for me.


God has shown me where I need to grow. He has shown me where I am weak.

He told me that I have gotten everything all turned upside down. I put serving Him above Loving Him (I cannot believe I am actually putting this in print). I put Leading others to Him above my personal Spiritual Growth. My “Quiet Time” has been reduced to the time I spend studying to teach others. My prayer life has been reduced to emergency prayers for friends and family. My “spiritual life” has turned into something for others to see.

As I type, seeing this all in print makes it a bit clearer.

There is a burning passion in my very soul to share Christ with women. I cannot imagine how in the WORLD Satan could ever quench that desire. Instead of going after FLO (where I am well guarded), Satan slipped into my personal life unnoticed and, as a result, I gave up my secret life with God. Satan didn’t steal my peace, my joy, my mercy, my grace, my compassion…..I gave it up freely when I stopped spending time with Jesus for MYSELF. As we discussed earlier in the Bible Study…these things only come from Jesus.

God in His infinite love and mercy has drawn me to Himself, not because I am “FLO Ministry Coordinator”, “Sunday School Teacher”, “FLO Bible Study Leader”, or “the Pastor’s wife” --- but just because I am his daughter and he loves me….just plain old ordinary me.

I thought I wanted to do something with FLO in December. Some amazing mission project or fellowship event, but it feels really good to be back in HIS arms. I think I’ll just spend Christmas there.


Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Beautiful Offering - Week 6

For the past several weeks, we have been studying Angela Thomas’ Beautiful Offering.
This week our study revolved around being Salt and Light and about being Reconciled. Jesus says in Matthew Chapter 5:

"You are the salt of the earth. You are the light of the world. A city on a hill cannot be hidden. Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before men, that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in heaven.

"Therefore, if you are offering your gift at the altar and there remember that your brother has something against you, leave your gift there in front of the altar. First go and be reconciled to your brother; then come and offer your gift.”

Sunday in Bible study we talked about how hard it is to shine like a city on a hill when we aren’t reconciled. It’s hard to shine when we are holding a grudge. It’s hard to be salty enough to make someone thirsty for Christ when we are bitter and judgmental. We may give off a little light and we may be a little salty without being reconciled, but we can’t SHINE with the Glory of God or be the SALT of the earth unless we obey Jesus’ instruction and reconcile to the people in our lives.

Maybe you just let out a sigh of relief because that doesn’t apply to you. Perhaps you aren’t bitter, judgmental, unforgiving, or holding a grudge, but your light is still more like a night light than a spot light. Maybe YOUR light is just supposed to be enough to read your Bible by. Maybe YOUR light isn’t SUPPOSED to shine like a beacon in the night. Or… Perhaps your light is not shining like a city on a hill because you are hesitant to let go and just shine. Perhaps the thought of falling head over heels in love with the Creator of the universe kinda freaks you out. Maybe you aren’t absolutely 100% sure that He is all He claims to be. Perhaps the thought of surrendering your entire life to Christ and losing your control of it scares you to death. Maybe you have trusted Jesus to get you to heaven, but aren’t sure you want to completely trust Him with all the details between here and there. Maybe? Maybe you’re stuck between where you were when God saved you and where He wants to take you. Maybe you’re stuck in the middle.

Dear reader,

We don’t want you to be stuck in the middle. We want you to SHINE. Please don’t settle for giving off 10 or 15 watts of light…just enough light to keep the people around you from running into a wall. Shine like the sun! Chase the darkness out of your life and the lives of everyone who meets you! When you walk in a room, bring the Glory of God with you!

We are praying for you!
FLO Ministry Team

Monday, October 19, 2009

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Beautiful Offering - Week 5

For the past several weeks, we've been taking a fresh look at the Beatitudes through Angela Thomas's "Beautiful Offering". I’d like to share Angela’s explanation of how we are a beautiful offering to God “when we are.....”

...Poor in Spirit
"Your life is a beautiful offering to God, even when your spirit is poor, because THEN you are very close to the kingdom of Heaven."
"Even when you are mourning, your life can be a beautiful offering to God because in HIS presence and by HIS healing, your empty soul will find all the comfort it's aching for"
"When you are sure that you are not enough and in desperate need of the Savior's strength, then your life is a Beautiful offering because God comes to the rescue with all the resources of HIS Kingdom here on earth."
...Hungry and Thirsty for HIM
"Your life is a beautiful offering to Me when you are crying out for God to come and make you hungry for HIS righteousness, because HE is the only One who will satisfy your spiritual appetite with the food that will fill your very soul."
"It is a beautiful offering to me when you lay down your judgement and choose compassion. When you love others the way I love you, when you hold back the consequences they could have deserved, and when you treat them the way you want to be treated, then you shall receive mercy as well"
...Pure in Heart
"It is a beautiful offering to Me when you are pure in heart. That kind of heart gives you spiritual eyes to see God"
...A Peacemaker
"Your life is a beautiful offering when you are a peacemaker, because then you look like you belong to the family of God"
...Persecuted for Him
"It is a beautiful offering when you are persecuted because you look more and more like Me, stand for the things I would stand for, love the ones I would love, and hate the injustice I would hate. I am proud of you when they lie about you and accuse you falsely because you are acting like Me. And when that happens, then I want you to know that I will draw you deeper into My Kingdom Blessings."

Join us this week as we begin the Part 2 of Beautiful offering as we learn how our lives are a Beautiful Offering to God “As we Go”.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Lessons Learned from a Bridal Shower - Part III


I sat next to Mary and Willie and had the BEST time with them as the gifts were being opened and passed around. We talked about how you can give a new bride all the advice in the world, but nothing will really prepare her for marriage, and how you can tell a mom-to-be all you know about parenting, but nothing can prepare her for motherhood. Along with this serious conversation, we joked about slipping some of the gifts under our chairs because our (toaster, coffee maker, sheet set, etc.) needed replacing. The Bride-to-be got a WONDERFUL set of cookie sheets. (amazing what I covet these days) As I admired them, I told Mary, “I need these. Mine look just like my mom’s”. I was startled when Mary whispered in a wistful voice, “yeah, mine look like my mom’s too.” Now, I am not ABOUT to speculate on this wonderful lady’s age, but I am thinking she is closer to my Grandmother’s age than she is to mine, and at that moment, we bonded…over missing “mom” and ……of all things…cookie sheets…
And that’s when it hit me:
Cookie sheets, the new shiny ones, the ones that dark and spotted, or ones that are stained and even dented, are a lot like the women at that shower.

The new cookie sheets look so pretty, all shiny, smooth and new and so full of potential… so much like the Bride-to-be…unblemished, radiant, glowing, excited about the adventure before her. As I admired (and perhaps envied) the Bride-to-be’s youthful beauty (and her new cookie sheets), I was reminded that the old-worn out cookie sheets are the ones that make the BEST cookies and pizzas! While they appear spotted, stained, blemished, and maybe even dented here and there, they are seasoned, tried and true, reliable, durable and able to do the job well….

The same can be said of women. We may be a little rusty around the edge, a bit spotted, a little blemished, stained, and maybe even dented…not by cookies and pizzas, but by marriage, jobs, friends, pregnancies, kids, joy, laughter, heartache, and tears….. but nothing can take the place of the life experiences that influenced and made us into the women we’ve become (and are becoming) ...seasoned, tried and true, reliable, durable, and able to do the job well.
Proverbs 31:30-31 says, "Charm is deceptive, and beauty is fleeting; but a woman who fears the LORD is to be praised. Give her the reward she has earned, and let her works bring her praise at the city gate.


Thursday, October 8, 2009

Cheddar Cheese Baked Potato Soup

1 baking potato
2 (10-ounce) cans Cheddar cheese soup
2 1/2 cups low-sodium chicken stock
1/4 cup real bacon pieces
Sour cream, for garnish
Green onion, finely chopped, optional for garnish

Microwave the baking potato for 7 to 8 minutes on high. Carefully remove from microwave using oven mitts. It will be HOT! Set aside until cool enough to touch.
When potato is cool, cut into 1/2-inch cubes.
Add Cheese soup, chicken stock, and bacon pieces to a medium pan. Bring to a simmer, stirring occasionally over medium high heat. Add potato and continue to heat soup for 5 minutes.
Ladle soup into bowls and garnish with a dollop of sour cream and a few chopped green onions.

FLO Ministry Team

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Beautiful Offering - Week 4

For the past several weeks, we've been taking a fresh look at the Beatitudes through Angela Thomas's "Beautiful Offering". Rather than looking at them as a list of "you gotta be's" (as in "You gotta be merciful to receive mercy" or "you gotta be poor in spirit to get the Kingdom of Heaven"), she presents them as promises for “when you are".

This week it finally came together for me....the Sermon on the Mount is not about what I need to BE in order to gain God's favor. The Sermon on the Mount is about what I need to DO when I am....well, whatever it is that I am.

I just need to
GO to every situation
LOOK for every circumstance
DESIRE HIM....more than anything else

The promise of the Beatitudes is that, if I will just seek Him, Jesus will meet me where ever I am…and I will walk away from that meeting looking less like me and more like Him.

I don't need to try harder, I don't need to explain all the reasons why I am where I am, I don't need to retrace every detail of every step that brought me here, I don't need to give Jesus a detailed plan of action for not landing here again, I don't need more will power or more resolve or more self control. I don’t have to get it all together…….

And neither do you….

Just go to Him……He promises to do the rest.

This week, we'll look at the last 2 Beatitudes...
You cannot manufacture is a byproduct of being with God.

In the midst of persecution, we get a double blessing....being drawn deeper into the embrace of God Almighty and knowledge of what awaits us in Heaven.

Join us for FLO Bible study Sundays at 5 at Pearson Baptist Church.


Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Lessons Learned from a Bridal Shower - Part II

Walk on

Not too long ago, I shared some thoughts about things I learned at a recent Bridal Shower. I want to share a few more.

The Bride-to-be grew up in our church, but has since moved on. Her Grandmother however, is still a faithful member. Grandma’s Sunday School class, “The Homemakers” were the hostesses for the shower.

The “Homemakers” had a picture made together at the shower. I was struck by their beauty as they laughed and joked about who would stand in the front, and who wanted to stand behind someone else so she’d be hidden. I got tickled because these ladies were acting JUST like my friends and I do when we take a group picture. Then I remembered something my mom said when I was a teenager...”I still FEEL like I’m 18. I’m the same person, I just look different.” Watching these ladies throw their shoulders back and suck in their tummies for their picture, I wondered “Do they still feel 36?” I think they must.

They have been friends for AGES…some since they were my age. They have celebrated together at weddings, and at births of grandchildren….and they have cried together and prayed for wayward children and grandchildren….and they have mourned the loss of husbands, children, siblings, and parents. I was thinking how cool it must be to have been friends for so long, and how great it would be to know what they know.

I admire them for not giving up. I admire them for holding on to each other. I admire them, plain and simple. It is hard to think of any of these “Grand Dames” bursting into tears because her newborn won’t sleep or won’t eat or won’t stop crying. It is hard to imagine any of these ladies as new brides with a life of uncertainty stretched out before her. I found myself wishing I could stand in their shoes…see life from their perspective.

I realized….the only way to get to where they are is to keep going. That may not make sense. I guess the thought was born out of something in the Bible study we are doing, “Beautiful Offering”. In this Bible study, Angela Thomas said that sometimes the only way to get through something is to…well…go through it (“walk through” is the terminology she uses). So as I am sitting at the shower with these women…most of them the Matriarchs of their families, a new appreciation for them was born in my heart and I began to wonder “what have they ‘walked through’?” What RICH memories they must have! It occurs to me that, in order for me to have what they have, I must keep walking …. through marriage, through parenting, through church, through friendships…..I admire them, not so much for their age, but for the things they have “walked through” to get where they are.

I have adopted a new motto. When I find myself falling to pieces because the laundry is piling up, my best friend’s kid got in trouble at school, another friend’s brother had to give his baby daughter back to Jesus because of a heart defect, I miss my mom and she lives 6 hours away, my husband STILL won’t unload the dishwasher, my 4 year old won’t sleep through the night, and I have to stop at least one morning each week and double check to make sure I have all my clothes on and that my shoes match (my outfit and each other)…I take a deep breath and tell myself to “walk on”. Just take the next step. One foot in front of the other. I think of those beautiful women posing for a picture at a bridal shower, still radiant after years of putting one foot in front of the other. I want to be them one day. In order to get to where they are, I just have to…

Walk on.

Likewise, teach the older women to be reverent in the way they live, not to be slanderers or addicted to much wine, but to teach what is good. Then they can train the younger women to love their husbands and children, to be self-controlled and pure, to be busy at home, to be kind, and to be subject to their husbands, so that no one will malign the word of God. Titus 2:3-5