Thursday, January 20, 2011

Chocolate Coffee Crunch Bars

So I meant to add this recipe the other day, but as usual time just escaped me.  I tried these bars for the first time the other day and I have to say they were really good.  I think they taste fabulous with coffee.  They are really simple but totally enjoyable.

You will need:

2 Cups of brown sugar
2 eggs
1 Cup of Veg. Oil
1 Cup of warm coffee
1 t. vanilla extract
3 Cups of flour
1 t. baking soda
1 t. salt
12-oz pkg. of chocolate chips
1 Cup of salted peanuts (optional...if you don't like peanuts)

Combine all ingredients, except chocolate chips and peanuts.  Pour mixture in an ungreased 13X9 pan.  Top with peanuts and chocolate chips.  Bake at 350 for 30 minutes. 

These are so gooey and yummy! 

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

The Attitude of Gratitude Challenge!

I was just thinking to myself this past week how easy it is to complain.  It doesn't take any special talent, skill or education to do it.  It just comes natural...and all to frequently for most of us!  Next I was thinking of people I know who are NOT complainers.  The first person to come to mind was my mother.  I have never known my Mom to complain about anything to anyone.  Even though I know at times she wanted to complain (and believe an earthly sense there was a lot to complain about) she kept it to herself.  What a great testimony...and one I will never forget. So on that note, I have felt really convicted to take the time to give thanks more and complain less.  In second Thessalonians we are told to "give thanks for everything."  So really it's a command not a suggestion.  Maybe we need to hear this because 1)  It's not part of human nature to give thanks and 2)  because giving thanks makes whatever we may be going through a lot easier to bear.  It is always easier to do what comes natural, but not so easy to do what is being thankful.  What do you complain about?  Not having enough money?  Your spouse?  Your friends?  Your house?  You fill in the blank for yourself...I've already done mine.  I'm a quote fanatic so here are some quotes I found on being thankful.

The Pilgrims made seven times more graves than huts. No Americans have been more impoverished than these who, nevertheless, set aside a day of thanksgiving. ~H.U. Westermayer

When we were children we were grateful to those who filled our stockings at Christmas time. Why are we not grateful to God for filling our stockings with legs? ~G.K. Chesterton

If a fellow isn't thankful for what he's got, he isn't likely to be thankful for what he's going to get. ~Frank A. Clark

The unthankful heart... discovers no mercies; but let the thankful heart sweep through the day and, as the magnet finds the iron, so it will find, in every hour, some heavenly blessings! ~Henry Ward Beecher

Gratitude is the best attitude. ~Author Unknown

If you want to turn your life around, try thankfulness. It will change your life mightily. ~Gerald Good

Gratitude is the least of the virtues, but ingratitude is the worst of vices. ~Thomas Fuller

The hardest arithmetic to master is that which enables us to count our blessings. ~Eric Hoffer, Reflections On The Human Condition

Thou hast given so much to me,
Give one thing more, - a grateful heart;
Not thankful when it pleaseth me,
As if Thy blessings had spare days,
But such a heart whose pulse may be Thy praise.
~George Herbert

Hem your blessings with thankfulness so they don't unravel. ~Author Unknown

If your life feels like a sinking ship, then gratitude and thanksgiving to Jesus Christ is the lifeboat you've been waiting for. -Victoria Mitchel

Phillipians 4:6&7-Be Careful for nothing; but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be mae known unto God.  And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus. 

Are you going through a hard time?  Don't be anxious.  Pour your heart out to the Lord  with....Thanksgiving.  It may be what pulls you through.  We may not understand how, but it works.  Think of all the things you have to be thankful for and thank God for them.  Write them down if you need to.  Somehow it really helps to keep problems and trials in their proper perspectives.  You will find it's harder to complain when you think or all the things you have to be thankful for.  I've been doing it and want to keep doing it.  It really is like a great medicine for the spirit.  Being thankful uplifts the soul in a way our human minds can't understand.  I speak to myself when I write is so damaging to the cause of Christ  when we grumble, grumble, grumble.  If Christ is in our hearts then there is no room for ingratitude. 

So THIS is my challange to you and myself.  Will you join me this week or month, whatever the case may be, and really make an all out effort to be more thankful to the Lord?  He has done so much for us.  Psalm 68:19 says,"Blessed be the Lord, who daily loadeth us with benefits, even the God of our salvation.  Selah.  Did you get that...he doesn't just weekly give us one or two things....he DAILY LOADETH us with benefits.  And one more verse...Psalm 40:5..."Many, O LORD my God, are they wonderful works which thou hast done, and thy thoughts which are to us-ward:  they cannot be reckoned up in order unto thee:  if I would declare and speak of them, they are more than can be numbered.  So according to the Bible...there should be no end to our thanksgiving.  Let this be a personal thing between you and the Lord, but I would love to hear any blessings you receive from having an attitude of Gratitude.

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Joy in Serving!

Has anyone seen my JOY?  JOY....where are you?  I've looked everywhere and can't seem to find it. 

Do you ever feel like this?  I've felt this way on and off for a few weeks now.  I love the Lord, I love His word but sometimes I find myself doing my ministry work grudgingly.  Without going into a great amound of detail, my husband and I serve in a very small church.  We live in a rural area and that in and of itself poses certain obstacles to overcome.  My hubby also works a fulll time job and there are certain pressures that somone who is fortunate enough to  be in full-time minstry,might not understand.  It is very hard to extend yourself physically (and my hubbies job is physical) and then also try to be an associate pastor.  It just gets tough sometimes, especially when you don't always see a lot of fruit for your labor.  But again all this is okay.  God isn't under any obligation to give us what we THINK we deserve.  He knows what's best and what is needful to turn us into the people He wants us to be.  So on this note...the Lord showed me that I forgot WHO I was serving.  I have been to focused on the negative things and they have robbed me of the joy of serving my Lord.  Every bulletin I type and fold, every time I play the piano, everytime I teach a class, everytime I paint a room, everytime I do something that no one else sees....the LORD sees. And he won't forget my labor.  It isn't in vain.  I don't do my labor as unto the people of my church...I do it as unto the Lord.  How oft we forget that taking our eyes off the Lord for just one brief moment can give Satan just the opening he needs to bring discouragement, bitterness and spiritual apathy into our lives.  I don't want these things.  I want the JOY of the LORD.  I want HIS peace.  I want HIS approval.  I want HIS reward.  I've had to confess this attitude and ask the Lord to help me keep my focus on HIM and HIM ALONE.  If my Lord could carry an old rugged cross on his battered body and stretch out His arms for me, then surely I can bear whatever "light affliction" comes my way.  Christ was so humble... and sometimes in light of His humbleness I just feel like a whiny little kid crying because I can't have my way. 

 So turns out that my Joy really was never lost at all because my joy is CHRIST and He is right where He always has been...patiently waiting for me to see my error and come back to where I should be.

I Cor. 15:58..."Therefore, my beloved brethern, be ye steadfast, unmoveable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, forasmuch as ye know that your labour is not in vain in the Lord." 

Are we abounding or floundering?  Remember the Lord...He is who we work for!

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Spiritual Health for this New Year!

As we begin a new year I know that many of us have made getting in shape or losing weight one of our main goals.  Don't get me wrong...this is a great goal and one we should make a priority everyday but how many of us have given our spiritual lives any thought.  The Bible says that as the years go by we should be growing in grace and "feasting" on the deeper things of God.  We shouldn't find ourselves in the same place we were when we first got saved or even a year ago.  We should be growing day by day. And as the Psalmist says in chapeter 1 we should be like a tree planted by the rivers of water that bring forth fruit.  A tree's roots as it ages go deeper and deeper into the ground.  This in turn makes that tree strong, unmovable.  Likewise as Christians, the longer we have been saved the deeper our roots should be making us strong in the Lord, wise in His Word, grounded in our faith and focused on the race before us.  Here are some verses that I believe our like a spiritual prescription for our life...and I quote..."My son, attend to my words:  Incline thine ear unto my sayings.  Let them not depart from thine eyes; keep them in the midst of thine heart.  For they are life unto those that find them, and health to all their flesh"  Proverbs 4:20-22.   Also...verse 23 of that same chapter..."Keep they heart with all dilligence; for out of it are the issues of life."  So our spiritual heart health if of the utmost importance.  Below I've listed some heart attitudes that we must have in our spiritual lives.  If we find areas where we lack...let's work on them.  I know mine and it would be of the utmost benefit for each of us to know our areas of weakness.

1)The regenerated heart-Therefore if any man be in Christ he is a new creature:  old things are passed away:  behold, all things are become new ( II Cor. 5:17).  Has your heart been regenerated?  If it has are you living your life in such a way that says "Behold,"  All things are new...I'm not the same man or woman I used to be.

2)A merry heart-A merry heart doeth good like a medicine: but a broken spirit drieth the bones, (Prov.17:22).  Are you merry?  There sure is an awful lot to be merry about.  The thing that makes the Christian heart merry is Christ's presence there.  If Christ is in our heart, we can certainly find something to be merry about.  Christ, himself, is the very essence of joy and true happiness.

3)A sound heart-Let my heart be sound in thy stautes; that I be not ashamed, (Psalm 119:80).  The word "sound" hear means blameless.  I think it is safe to assume that they way to have a sound heart is to have our sins confessed and to not be harboring any secret sins.  Guilt has a way of making us not have a sound mind, Christ on the other hand frees us from that guilt.  So if you want a sound heart, keep your sins confessed and keep your mind clean.  I have found from personal experience that confessing my sins and be very careful of what comes into my mind makes me have a sound heart and mind.  A sound heart is a happy heart.  "A sound heart is the life of the flesh," Prov. 14:30a.

4)A humble heart-"Every one that is proud in heart is an abomination to the LORD," (Prov.14:5a). Being humble isn't always easy.  For some reason we humans just can't grasp the fact that in being humble we are lifted up.  Who is the most humble person you know?  I think of Christ.  Who has ever been more humble?  He was God in flesh yet he was born in a lowly stable.  He was the Son of God, but on earth he was the son of a carpenter.  In heaven he was adored, on earth he was despised.  In heaven he was rich, on earth he was poor.  In heaven angels were at his beckon call, on earth he had to carry his own cross on which he was to be crucifed.  In heaven he was robed with glory, on the cross he hung in nakedness.  In heaven he was the Light, on earth he became the blackness of sin.  Are we more humble than that?  And this he did all for us...people who were sinners.  We might sometimes feel like we don't get recognized for things we do in the church or for people (I know I have), but let's remember Christ.  There has never been one who was more humble...and now He is lifted up!  Let's serve with humility.  "Let this mind be in you , which was also in Christ Jesus:  Who being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God:  But made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men:  And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross.  Wherefore God also hath highly exalted him, and given him a name which is above every name,"  Phil. 2:5-9.

This is all I'm going to post for today, I'll try and finish up tomorrow.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011


I start my day by making beds,
And kissing gently messy heads,
There’s not much time to stop and rest,
For little tummy’s need refreshed.

On to breakfast and morning chores,
When one jobs done, there’ll be one more
And so it goes right through the day,
So I stop and take the time to pray.

On to academic things,
But not before the cell phone rings,
The house needs cleaned, the floors need swept,
A drink has spilled, the table’s wet.

A cry comes out from the second floor,
Someone left open the kitchen door,
The dog gets out and has some fun,
The kids love to see Mom on the run.

Time for dinner and Dad comes home,
And I’m still trying to find my phone.
Table’s set and all are waiting
A home cooked meal they’re anticipating.

The dishes clean, the laundry done
Onto baths and bedtime fun.
Kids in bed I shout, “Amen!”
And tomorrow we’ll do it all again.

While some have chosen big careers,
I have found fulfillment here,
Between dirty laundry, plates and chores,
I found I want for nothing more.

Written by Victoria Mitchel 1/4/2011

Budget meal...and yes it's yummy!

So today I thought I'd post one of my favorite go to meals. It's inexpensive, I usually have the ingredients on hand, everybody likes it and you can change up ingredients for a different taste each time. So here it is...I call it Creamy Chicken and Noodles.

You will need...
2 cups (or so) of eggnoodles, cooked
1 lb. of chicken breast, cut up in small pieces
1 can of cream of mushroom soup
about 1/2-1 cup of milk
1 cup (or more if you like) of shredded cheddar cheese.
2 oz. of cream cheese
1 bag of mixed veggies(or whatever you perfer).

Sautee your chiken in a pan with a couple of teaspoons of butter.I always add garlic (because garlic makes my life better) and a sprinkling of pepper. I like to brown my chicken because I like the flavor it adds to the sauce. Once the chicken is done go ahead and add the milk. Don't clean out the pan, all those brown bits make it so good. Add the cream cheese as well and stir until melted. Add the mushroom soup and bring to a simmer over low heat. Throw in those veggies. Remove from heat and stir in the cheese until melted. Combine the sauce with the cooked egg noodles. Serve with some crusy bread or salad. It's comfort food and it comes together in less than 30 minutes.

For tasty variations try:
*changing the soup
*changing the veggies
*changing the cheese
*using some flavored cream cheese

The possibilites are endless! Enjoy!!!