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Faith's Firm Foundation: April 2010

Friday, April 30, 2010

Food Friday: Recipe for Chocolate-Drizzled Cherry Bars

Kelsey found this recipe on Taste of Home's online site this week, and we served them at my "Mom Thing" (encouraging young moms and mentoring group, click on the link to read the amazing things Bonnie shared with us to do with your little children in my post, "Children's Work is Only Begun: Learning to Play, Playing to Learn").  I'll be posting more of her great ideas in the next few Timely Tips on Tuesday posts!

As to these bars, my husband really loved this recipe!  So funny:  he rarely if ever takes seconds of anything!  Wednesday or Thursday, when these were a day or two old already, he took the pan, put 2 bars on his plate, and then began eating the crumbs out of the pan!  Ok, we know this is a recipe to definitely keep and make again for him.  I hope you'll enjoy it, too!

Chocolate-Drizzled Cherry Bars
Serves 36 servings
Ingredients:
2 cups all-purpose flour
2 cups quick-cooking oats
1-1/2 cups sugar
1-1/4 cups butter, softened
1 can (21 ounces) cherry pie filling (we made two 8inch square pans, and did one cherry and one raspberry pie filling, because we had some of each to use up)
1 tsp almond extract
1/4 cup semisweet chocolate chips
3/4 tsp shortening

Directions:
  • In a bowl, conbine flour, oats, sugar and butter until crumbly.  Set aside 1-1/2 cups for topping.  Press remaining crumb mixture into an ungreased 9x13 inch baking dish.  Bake at 350 degrees for 15-18 minutes or until edges begin to brown.
  • In a bowl, combine pie filling and extract; carefully spread over crust.  Sprinkle with reserved crumb mixture.
  • Bake 20-25 minutes longer or until edges and topping are lightly browned.  In a microwave or  heavy saucepan, melt chocolate chips and shortening; stir until smooth.  Drizzle over warm bars.  Cool completely on a wire rack.
Nutrition Facts:  1 serving (1 each) equals 156 calories, 7 g fat (4 g saturated fat), 17 mg cholesterol, 68 mg sodium, 22 g carbohydrate, 1 g fiber, 2 g protein.

Oh, man! Do these smell good when they come out of your oven!!
Enjoy!

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Follow Friday: I May Be A Friend You Haven't Met Yet

Welcome, Old and New Friends!  Introduction to you who don't know me:
I am a SAHM, wife, mom and Homeschooler, though my teaching days are completed, as my "children" are now 24 and 20, though still single and living with my wonderful husband and me at home.  My passion is to help and encourage young women, wives and moms to fulfill their God-given role, and I love to write, so this blog is my way of doing it all.  
Specific themes that I have written on which you might enjoy (click on the links) are my

  • Hospitality Series: check out "The Ghastly Guest"  and "The Goldens"
  • Love and Marriage (Mondays) Series: just completed some fun Courtship Stories and now I'm doing a series of interviews, showing How and Why the subject of Courtship applies to you as a mom of little ones--Wonderful ideas and insights.   (Grab my button on the sidebar to let people know)
  • Timely Tips on Tuesdays (Everything helpful: from organization, to scheduling your prayer time, to child-training, to running a home, to tips for you as a mom to littlees)
So, get a cup of coffee, tea or glass of lemon water, sit for a little and enjoy reading!
I also really love meeting new people, so please let me know you were here, so I can get to know you!
The way it works, kind of (go to the site for detailed info): 
Out of hundreds of participants, you should be able to find a few likeminded friends, don't you think? Choose carefully, take your time, the list will show up all week, but to participate, you have to link up today, Friday.
You link using the code on one of the three hostesses sites, (they're the first three on the list: linking on one links to all three, so you only have to do it once) link to your post with the Friday Follow image above, and follow the three hostesses. Then visit as many of the other participants as you want, and comment (and follow if you want), letting them know you came through Follow Friday. When someone comes to your site, go back and visit theirs and reciprocate by following, if you want. They're adding perks, but the main perk is the opportunity to meet other bloggers who you may have something in common with, that you'd never know were there any other way. Disclaimer: Like everything else in the world, don't leave your discernment at home. 
Old and new friends, check out my Food Friday posts where you'll find great recipes! Look for one today (soon)!

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Thursday, April 29, 2010

Thankful Thursday: Seeing Beauty is in How You Look At Things

I love optical illusions. I love the way the mind works to cause you to see things that aren't there.  I also love seeing things that are there, but I couldn't see them before.  I love looking at a picture and suddenly seeing something completely different than was there a minute ago!  Are you one who sees the "old hag" or the "beautiful young woman" in the picture?  I see the "hag" (what does that say about me?). but sometimes I can see the "beautiful young woman" more quickly when I focus in on one small part of the picture, or if I move just a little and look at the picture from a different angle.

Seeing Beauty on the Detours of Life
This morning, I was looking at a picture of the "Christian road" that I've been walking down lately.  I've stared and stared at this "picture", and particularly at the bumpiness of the road--it's like a Minnesota county road during road construction!  Potholes and bumps, seemingly constant signs to watch for flagmen ahead and curving and veering, where once you had a straight road, and barricades where you'd really like to go:  the short way to your destination.  Oh, no, I have to take another detour? And this road seems so full of potholes!  And it's taking me completely away from where I want to go! Why is it taking me so long to get anywhere?  Sometimes, the little detours get my nose bent out of shape more than being stopped altogether.

I have stood and stared so long at this "picture", and all I have seen is the same "hag" every time.  It just seems that I must be doing something wrong, when I'm seemingly taking 2 steps forward and 1 step back.  Yes, I am moving forward. Yes, I can see fruit in my life. But some days it has felt like it was such hard work just to keep from going backwards and make any forward movement at all.  That doesn't sound very victorious. Or efficient. Sometimes I've thought, "Maybe I'm on the wrong road, or there's a better way to go.  Should it really be this bumpy?"  Maybe I've missed signs that told me not to go on this road, like the time I ended up stuck in the deepest mud and snow of my life (and no I don't have 4WD), in the middle of a construction zone, and the Very Perturbed and Condescending Workmen who helped me get unstuck wanted to know why I hadn't seen the SIGNS! (and obeyed them) So, today, as I stared at the "picture" once again, the Lord took ahold of my shoulders very gently and moved me ever so slightly to the right... and... there was the "beautiful young woman".  I was stunned.  Thank you, Lord.  Sometimes all you need is a different perspective.

Changing Your "Frame" of Mind
So, go and read Charles Spurgeon's morning devotional for today, April 29, 2010, which I heard read aloud on my local Christian radio station (WCTSradio.com) which I listen to online, and see if your "picture" looks any different. Here is the ending. Make sure to read it all, though.
"Perhaps the Lord allotted you at first a smooth and unclouded path, because you were weak and timid. He tempered the wind to the shorn lamb, but now that you are stronger in the spiritual life, you must enter upon the riper and rougher experience of God's full-grown children. We need winds and tempests to exercise our faith, to tear off the rotten bough of self-dependence, and to root us more firmly in Christ. The day of evil reveals to us the value of our glorious hope."
It's Thankful Thursday.  Thank you, Lord, for taking me beyond the smooth, unclouded path, and that I may enter upon the "rougher experience of God's full-grown children". Help me see the beauty in the bumps, relax and enjoy the ride during the detours, and always remember that the destination isn't everything.

To read other thankful posts and participate, visit Lynn (Thanks, Lynn, for hosting in April!) at her blog, Spiritually Unequal Marriage.  Next week and all of May, Laurie, at Women Taking A Stand, will be hosting, so come on back and join in a chorus of thanksgiving!

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Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Children's Work is Only Begun: Learning to Play, Playing to Learn


Bonnie Anderson is a dear friend of mine and extremely qualified to talk about what to do with little children! (see her credentials below) I invited her to be our guest at "A Mom Thing" last night and to share activities and teaching ideas for little children, especially what they can do while you are needing one-on-one teaching time with an older child.  She shared with us so many wonderful ideas.  Here is Part 1 from the notes I took on:
Ideas For Activities That Teach Little Ones Important Concepts
Have an overstuffed chair to curl up in and get cozy to read to your children.  Reading to your children is very important!  Pick books with lots of pictures for your little ones. They love the visuals--you can talk through the book with them as you look at the pictures and they can tell you what's going to happen next; an important skill to be able to think ahead to what will happen.

Bonnie's "Two Most Important Things to Have":
Activities for Teaching Skills needed for Reading and Math: 2 to 4-years-old
  • Playdoh
  • Round wood pieces you put into holes, colored ones even better
"Contracts": A Paper with the agreed-upon "work" they are to do in the time allotted
  • A Written list (with pictures) of "their work" for their schoolday
  • Have Special things which they use only during this time (when you're working with older children)
  • Put an Animal shape on the page: they can look for that shape in the "school area" to find the next thing they're to do.
  • Tape your voice reading a story or talking
  • Put a sticker or picture of a puzzle:  Do 3 puzzles: Let them make the decision of which ones; teaches decision-making
  • Hang clothes on a "clothesline": String a light rope up where they can clip real clothes or construction paper clothes (clip a large green dot on the left of the rope and a large red dot on the right)
  • Always have them go from left to right in everything they do, reinforces left to right in reading and writing
Resources: (Older resources are probably out of print, so you may have to hunt for them)
  • Montessori:  teaches how to fold a napkin and make a pile of them, and put away.  Scrubbing, cleaning a Conch shell, getting in the crevises. Teaches how to work--to do things.  Once taught, they can do that as their "work" in their schoolday.
  • Book:  Homemade Toys That Teach II, by Rhoda Redleaf, Toys'n Things Press, illustrated by Ellen Krans
  • Book:  Mathematics Their Way, Things you can make to teach, by Mary Baratta-Lorton
  • Teach how to glue: there's a product with a red top that replaces the normal glue top, which only allows one drop to come out
  • They receive a Reward of placing something to indicate they completed the task: a button on the Gingerbread Man, (he has three buttons--one for each of the three things they are to do)
  • Match the Reward to their likes: glue, buttons, paint, etc.
  • "Place your finished items on this shelf where I can see your work later"
  • Give the praise when Mama's free--they're learning independence
  • Puzzles--independent pieces, with knobs; Choose puzzles that teach something: e.g. development of a frog
Teaching Motor Skills
  • Teach to Trace: teach how to hold a pencil correctly
  • Later teach how to read cursive, so they'll be able to read letters written by their Grandma's
  • Teach "pulling down" on letters, not up; start with tracing with their fingers; draw in the sandbox
  • Learn Block Letters--Direction is important
Teaching Visual Skills
  • Matching activities and games
  • Make a pizza round with pictures on the wedges--have them clothespin the two that match
  • Make it self-checking:  on the back put matching colored dots, so turning over they know immediately if they got it right:  They want to get it right!
  • Memory Games--Look for old games at Garage Sales:  Four Seasons Memory Game (teaching something as they play)
  • Dominoes (Big chunky ones):  e.g. Add on to the end of the picture the piece that matches
  • Dominoes Colors
These activities introduce everything that's in a "Contract".  You can start as young as 2-1/2 years old, depending on the child. You know your child best.
  
About Bonnie: Go to her Timeline of History here.
Bonnie Anderson has been a Teach Institute and Accreditation Association consultant for 25 years. She is a former Kindergarten teacher, and loves using her creativity working with families and children. She is a wife and mom who Homeschooled her own two sons, Ben and Dan, who now are grownup and on their own and one was married this past year. Bonnie loves books, and sells used children's books through her business, Bonnie's Books.  She has a personal library of over 20,000  used children's books.  She specializes in historical fiction, but has her loft filled with books for younger "readers".  She loves to collect the stuffed animal or doll which "is" the character for a particular book. 

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Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Timely Tips on Tuesday: "Holier, But How?"

We have talked for a number of weeks about Child-Training, and the Ten Things I would tell a young mom to do in order to raise Godly children...
Now, having said all of the above, I want to emphasize this...
We can do all the “right things” on the outside and even be one of the “Godliest” families to everyone else’s eyes...
and yet be filled with pride, arrogance, lust, envy, covetousness, unforgiveness, hatred, impatience, boastfulness, and every evil thing.
In Matthew 23:27 Jesus railed on those who were hypocrites:
“Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites!
For ye are like unto whited sepulchers which indeed appear beautiful outward,
but are within full of dead men’s bones, and of all uncleanness.
Even so ye also outwardly appear righteous unto men,
but within ye are full of hypocrisy and iniquity.”

Iniquity has been defined as “doing my will.” Righteousness is “doing God’s will” or "obeying the standards of the One who sets the rules”.

The gospel:  It is only Jesus Christ who saves us. Only by Jesus, who was perfect, dying on the cross, being punished for our sins, and by God showing that He accepted that payment by raising Jesus back to life, and bringing His dear Son back up to heaven where He lives now, where He sits at the right hand of God, the Father--only by believing this gospel truth and trusting in Him and His work on the cross to save us from hell—not by anything in us—no right things that we do--are we saved. We may know all that. But, do we also know, and act like we know, that He sanctifies us, or makes us perfect, like Jesus Christ? Or do we think we need to help Him out on this one? Do we have a list of things that we do or don’t do—anything from Homeschooling our children, to dressing a certain way, to eating or not eating certain foods, to having our babies by a particular method or in a particular place, to having many babies, to belonging to "the" organizations... (Each of us would have a slightly different list)—and so on and so on and so on...that we have made into a "religion"? Do we think that it is our "work" that accomplishes the perfecting of ourselves? Have we begun to look to our own standards of righteousness, instead of God's?  Setting up a set of rules for ourselves, which is a standard of righteousness, apart from Christ's, is called iniquity. Or perhaps, we are proud that we don't have to follow rules at all.  Perhaps the opposite is true of us, and we have decided that there are no standards of righteousness:  it doesn't matter what we do, once we are saved, that God will love us no matter what, so who cares?  Does God look on us more favorably when we do, or don’t do, certain things?

What do you think? Join the discussion.

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Monday, April 26, 2010

Love and Marriage: Preschool Premarital Counseling

"Courtship stories are fun and I never tire of romance, but I'm a mom with little kids, so how does the subject of courtship apply to me?"
If that statement could have been written by you, please read on.

David and Carolyn, 46 and 48, parents of 7 children, aged 3 to 26, have walked the path of courtship twice with their children. They have 3 grandchildren through these two marriages and are expecting their fourth any day.  But they can also easily identify with parents of small children, because they have 4 younger ones, also, and their three grandkiddos, all under 5 years old, spend much time at their house.

Sitting across from me at the long wooden table in the community center we call "church" on Sundays, David and Carolyn were ready and eager to talk.  David began looking at the five questions I'd jotted down before church on a small lined yellow notebook page, which I'd handed to Carolyn earlier, to give her a little time to think about what I was going to ask.  With paper plates of bagels and fruit before us, we began talking about dating and courtship.
Wendy:  "So, I know people are asking, 'Why not date?'"
David:  "Well, it's a 100 year experiment, getting people ready for divorce...giving your heart away again and again..then you give only part of it to the one you decide is the one to marry."
Wendy:  "What led you to decide to do this (courtship, instead of dating) in your family?"
David:  "We didn't want this for our children."
Carolyn: "We wanted better for them."
David and Carolyn's married daughter, Michelle, walks over to where we are sitting, and, as she sits down next to her dad, I indicate to her that it's fine for her to join our conversation. Michelle is David and Carolyn's oldest child. She's one of the two who are married; she's the mom of David and Carolyn's three grandchildren, who are all under 5 years old, and she is expecting their fourth child in August.  She is 26.
Still pondering the question of how they got into this "thing called courtship" with their family, David and Carolyn look quizzically at one another, questioning, "What did lead us into this?  We didn't know anyone who was doing this.  How did we hear about it?"
Michelle:  "I was the one who told you about it!  I had read Joshua Harris' book, (I Kissed Dating Goodbye) and I showed it to you, and you read part of it."
Wendy:  "How old were you then?"
Michelle:  "15?" (After her parents became Christians, they saw their 13-year-old's attitude of rebellion and alarming behavior, and pulled her out of public school and took action. In the next few years God did incredible things, but, well, that's a great story, but for another post.)
David:  "She was saved out of the world, too, like us, and she began looking for something different."
Carolyn:  "There's no protection in dating, not that it's always there in courtship either, but there's so much more of the father being involved, protecting a daughter's heart."
David:  "It's a lot tougher road for the young man. He has to go to the father of the girl. (Also, sometimes dads make it hard on the young man by making him fulfill many requirements before he can marry a girl.)"
Michelle:  "I think it's unfair. They set this unrealistic expectation that's way too high."
David:  "I think it's a lot harder for the young man."
Carolyn:  "The father has to be protecting the young man's heart, too."
David, looking at the next question which I had written down for them to think about, laughs and says, "This is really funny!"
Wendy: "What do you mean?" Reading the next question to myself, which was, "How did you convince your children?" I didn't see anything particularly funny about it.
David:  "Well, you can't!  (He laughs.)  If you have fearful parents, telling their children it's something to be afraid of, then they'll be fearful about courtship, too.  It's wonderful!" (He goes on about how wonderful this way of leading into marriage is.) "If the parents are confident, the children will be confident.  We were always talking about 'finding God's best'."
Michelle:  "I wanted what they had!  I saw their marriage. It was never, 'We made terrible mistakes, and we don't want you to do it that way.' But, I knew that.  But, I saw what they had and it gave me a desire for what they had."
Carolyn: "The marriage example gives kids a desire to have that: to be married. And how do you get that?  (As they talk on about the example of a loving marriage, she says, "You can't patch courtship onto a bad marriage.")
David:  "Finding God's Best" is going to speak through the father.  I just encouraged and talked about seeking out His Best.
Michelle:  "I wanted God's Best!"
Carolyn:  "I was jealous at times in the beginning.  He (David) was winning her heart first.  They were talking. She was telling him all her thoughts and emotions. But he felt it was his responsibility to have their hearts. It's important that they be talking to Dad about emotions--heart-to-heart. Bringing their struggles to him, not talking to their friends."
Michelle:  "I didn't talk to my friends about it." (Her eyes widen as if the very thought is unimaginable.)

I had asked them specifically to communicate to young moms/parents why in the world this subject of courtship should matter to them.  Both of them immediately lit up, eyes wide, and exclaimed, "Oh, it's very important!"
(Their younger children include a son, Daniel--all boy--who is 8, and three beautiful, sweet girls adopted from Liberia two years ago: Janae, who they think is 10 or 11--they thought she was the same age as Daniel when they got her; Addy, 5 or 6 years old; and Hannah, 3.)
David: "We talk about it all the time!"
Carolyn: (finishing his thought) "...how glorious marriage is.  They need to be shown a loving relationship. Not that we're kissing and hugging in front of them all the time. But we're preparing them to be married someday."
David: "I heard it again this week. (About preparing a child for the possibility that God will call their child to a life of singleness, and talking about that.)  God made people to be married!  God will give them a very clear call, calling them out, and give them contentment if He gives them that calling (to be single). We're preparing them to be married someday."
Carolyn: "Addie calls him her 'future honey'!" (Addie's 5)  "She's already got a little name for him. Not that she knows his name, but that's what she calls whoever he is (that she'll marry)."
David: "We don't use terms of 'dating', 'boyfriend', 'girlfriend'."
Carolyn:  "Marriage and family are a precious gift from God, and a picture of Christ and the Church."
Michelle: "Gavin", (Michelle's middle child, who's 3), "says, 'I'm going to be a big, strong Daddy!'"
David:  "His hero's his daddy! Not an action figure."
Michelle: "We're always saying, 'When you're a daddy...'"
Carolyn:  "We need to be teaching Love and Respect* (the principles taken from Love and Respect, by Emerson Eggerich) to children at a young age:  'Was that loving?'" (When speaking to her son about how he treats his sister.)  "When Janae (their 10 year-old daughter) came in upset about something and kind of pouting, I told her, You need to learn how to handle this. You need to say to him, 'Those words were very unloving.'  She did and then he asked forgiveness.'  I had to ask forgiveness from their dad in front of them the other day. They need to see that modeled and know that Mommy and Daddy love each other."
Wendy:  "It gives a child security."
Carolyn:  "Absolutely!"
Michelle:  "Couch Time is very important. They need to see that!"  (Mommy and Daddy talking to each other, paying attention to each other, and not being centered on them). "Mommy and Daddy's relationship comes first.  Everything comes out of that.  This new trend, I'm just becoming aware of it, where it's child-centered in the family, and they tack 'Christian' onto it, it's not good.  It has to be God first, then your spouse, and then your kids.  It's good for them to see you paying attention to your husband!"

By now, they're all talking at once, emphasizing the importance, and specialness of marriage...David's telling me about resources and links I should include in my post, and Carolyn's telling me about how David was winning the heart of his daughter before they ever got to the time when she began courting, and how Michelle could and would talk about her feelings and emotions with her dad: He felt that was his responsibility.
Turning to David and Michelle, I make an appointment with them, "I want to interview the two of you on that." Looking back to Carolyn, I affirm her statements about reading books that depict good examples of marriage, "Yes, I know you read to the kids all the time, so I want to know what books you're reading to them on this subject." (David has already mentioned a favorite of mine, The Princess and The Kiss.)

At this point, I can't write fast enough, and I stop them all, saying, "I can see this is going to be at least a three-part series!" All laugh. Looking directly at David, who is telling me about an audio of a "Courtship Presentation" he gave a few years back, and other resources, I assure him, "We'll definitely have one post just for resources and books"; then turning to include Michelle, I say again, "I want to interview you, David and Michelle, on how you did that (winning her heart).  It would be scary for a girl, if she didn't trust her dad, to trust him to lead in a courtship."
I barely got them to stop talking--actually I didn't.
I'm going to have to figure out how to videotape an interview...or learn shorthand!
To Read all the posts in the Monday Love and Marriage Series, click on the link.

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Sunday, April 25, 2010

Announcement!

Dear Friends, Followers, and Fellow Bloggers out there! I bought a domain name!
It is www.wendygunn.net

For a few days, you will be able to get to this blog, Faith's Firm Foundation, by typing in either http://www.faithfultojesus.blogspot.com/
or
www.wendygunn.net
and then it will be only http://www.wendygunn.net/, so...

Please, write this down, memorize it, change it wherever you need to, and keep coming to visit me.
This should make it easier, and I was encouraged by reputable people to take the plunge, so I decided that I should go ahead and get it done.

I have also been working on a new design for my blog in a 3-column format--I am very excited about it--and I hope you will like it.  Not totally throwing out all the old, but adding some new.  Check back and look for it in the coming days!

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Friday, April 23, 2010

Food Friday: Recipe for Southwestern Lasagna

Today, when I returned from a birthday luncheon at a friend's, I knew the minute I walked in the door that Kelsey had been cooking!  It smelled so good!  Besides chocolate chip cookies, she was making a favorite recipe of ours that we found just in the last couple of years:  Southwestern Lasagna.  We really like this recipe, for many reasons: It's easy to make, it calls for ingredients that you usually have on hand, you can make it ahead and freeze it, and you use tortillas instead of lasagna noodles; but what I especially like is the flexibility of the recipe. No enchilada sauce in the house? Just use salsa.  No ricotta cheese, use cottage cheese, which is what she did today.  No Monterey Jack cheese, use another that you like.  And so on.  It's also filling and very delicious--I think your family will like it! (I'll try to come back later and add a photo:)

Southwestern Lasagna

Ingredients:
Serves 8
1 1/4 lbs ground sirloin (hamburger, lean)
1/2 cup chopped onion or 1 Tbsp minced onion
1 tsp minced garlic
1 (14.5-ounce) can chopped tomatoes and green chilies
1 cup canned mild enchilada sauce (I use salsa--medium)
2 tsp chili powder
1 1/2 tsp ground cumin
Salt and pepper to taste
1 (15-ounce) container light ricotta cheese
1 egg white
14 (6-inch) corn or flour tortillas, cut int quarters
1 1/2 cups frozen corn
8 ounces shredded, reduced-fat Monterey Jack cheese

Directions:
In a large non-stick skillet coated with non-stick cooking spray, cook the hamburger, onion, and garlic over medum heat until done, and drain any excess liquid.  Add the chopped tomatoes and green chilies, enchilada sauce, chili powder, cumin, and salt and pepper, cooking for 5 minutes.  Remove from heat and set aside.

Meanwhile, in a small bowl, blend the ricotta and egg white; set aside.

Coat a 9x13x2-inch baking dish with non-stick cooking spray.  Cover the bottom of the baking dish with six quartered tortillas.  Layer all of the corn, half the meat mixture, half the cheese, four quartered tortillas, then all of the ricotta mixture, the remaining half of the meat mixture, and the remaining four quartered tortillas and top with remaining cheese.

You can freeze this for later use or serve it now with these further instructions:

To Prepare and Eat Now:
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.  Bake uncovered, for 30 minutes. 

To Freeze:  Do not bake before freezing.  Cool to room temperature, then wrap, label and freeze.  Recommended freezing time:  up to 3 months.

To Prepare After Feezing:  Remove from freezer to defrost.  Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. and bake, covered with foil, for 30 minutes.  Remove the foil and continue baking for 5 to 10 minutes longer or until well heated.

Enjoy!

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Thursday, April 22, 2010

The Flipside of Irritations: What Are You Getting So Upset About?!

Without warning, a bomb explodes under your feet soon after your foot hits the floor by the side of your bed.  Your spouse is angry.  And by seemingly small irritations!  Little things you neglected to do for him.  Careless words you tossed out without thinking.  "Minor" infractions of the rules of marriage.  Certainly nothing to get angry over!  Really no big deal, right?  Now he's "attacking" you like a wounded bear! And everywhere you step you fear setting off another explosion.  Both of you have already been injured and are bruised and bleeding.  What can be done?

A number of weeks ago, I wrote an article, "He's Driving Me Crazy!  When Little Things Become Big".  This article is the flipside of the coin.  What do we do when "little" things which we have, or have not, done, become "big" to him?

I've noticed that there are 4 Steps We're Tempted to Take that will lead to certain destruction. I've also found at least 8 Steps that will lead to Healing Wounds and Restoring the Minefield of Marriage to a Field of Beauty.  Let me share them with you here.

Steps We're Tempted To Take
That Lead To Certain Destruction
  • Anger and Bitterness
Oh, how easy it is to become bitter!  Fight it in God's strength, with all your might. Speak out loud these words: I will trust God. I will obey. I will forgive and I will love my husband.  "Follow peace with all men, and holiness, without which no man shall see the Lord: Looking diligently lest any man fail of the grace of God: lest any root of bitterness springing up trouble you, and thereby many be defiled." Hebrews 12:14-15
  • Thinking of His Faults (see taking your thoughts captive, below)
  • Taking Revenge
What does God say? Don't give back evil for evil.  "Dearly beloved, avenge not yourselves, but rather give place unto wrath: for it is written, Vengeance is mine; I will repay, saith the Lord."  'Giving place' means stepping out of the way of the wrath of God coming down!  You don't want the wrath of God coming on you, because you are taking revenge--Get out of the way! If there's wrath coming down, let it hit the target! Let God take vengeance, if there's any to be taken.  (This is not wishing my spouse to "get it" from God, though.)
  • Giving Up
Satan wants us to just get tired of trying, to give up.  We are in a spiritual battle. Satan wants to steal, kill and destroy, and marriage and family is a favorite target.  Be strong and of good courage and don't give up!

Steps That Lead To Healing Wounds and
Restoring Your Marriage To A Field Of Beauty
  • Like a drowning man, cry out (to the Lord), and look UP, for help.
You will be tempted to look for help from every other source. You will be tempted to look within yourself, to be introspective, to have a "pity-party"--fight the urge. Cry out to God: if you don't know how or what to pray, or if you're too hurt or angry to pray, just cry, "Help!" He's there.
  • Take your thoughts captive; resist the devil and he will flee from you.
This is so important.  Actions follow thoughts. Satan will tempt partners in even the best marriages to hear thoughts such as, "Just walk away. You don't have to put up with this", etc. Put those thoughts away--you have power over your thoughts.  To be tempted in this way is not sin, but it is sin to let these thoughts in, and to dwell on these thoughts, and let them set up residency in your heart and mind.  Discipline your mind to think on truth, and what God says.  Choose righteousness, and you do what is right, without regard to what anyone else is doing. Be strong and vigilant in this area. It is so important.
  • Pray for your adversary/enemy/attacker/offender.
Now that he is hurt, he is hurting back, and you feel offended back. You feel attacked.  Be the first to seek peace.  Pray for him.
  • Think of what their needs might be and have compassion; show mercy.
Is it possible that he is under special pressure at work?  What happened today or this week?  Might there be things you don't even know about that are beating him up, making him feel like a failure and causing him to question his manhood or his ability to provide for his family? Might this not even have anything to do with you, but be a hurt man lashing out? Does he especially need your love and support right now?
  • Treat your spouse as you would want to be treated.
How would you want to be treated right now? When things are really bugging you, and/or you get upset, how do you want him to respond? Now is the time to show the love of Christ (who loved us when we despised him, even dying for us).  The Golden Rule: "Therefore all things whatsoever ye would that men should do to you, do ye even so to them:  for this is the law and the prophets." Matthew 7:12
  • Fill your mind and heart with truth.
Quote appropriate Scripture to yourself.  Open your Bible and read 1 Corinthians 13 (the Love Chapter).  Read Ephesians 5! and Galatians 5:22-23 about the fruit of the Spirit.  Remember Proverbs 18:17: "Death and life are in the power of the tongue: and they that love it shall eat the fruit thereof." And Proverbs 31:26: "She openeth her mouth with wisdom; and in her tongue is the law of kindness." This is the moment to be the woman worthy of your children rising up and calling you blessed someday. Be an example of how to take reproaches, and criticism, and how to handle tensions and strife.  Your children are watching. Read 1 John 3, especially verse 18.
  • Throw out the trash.  Do what is right; confess your sins.
  • Purify yourself.  Apply Scripture.  Examine yourself, not him.
1 John 3:1-3: "Behold, what manner of love the Father hath bestowed upon us, that we should be called the sons of God:  therefore the world knoweth us not, because it knew him not.  Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be:  but we know that, when he shall appear, we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is. And every man that hath this hope in him purifieth himself, even as He is pure." God is perfect. We are not responsible for others' actions, but we are responsible for our reactions. Look within. Don't think about how he has to change. What does God want to change in you? Why did God allow this. Is there any truth in what he says? Anything God wants to change in you through this? This takes a lot of humbling yourself, but remember,
"He giveth more grace. Wherefore he saith, God resisteth the proud, but giveth grace unto the humble.  Submit yourselves therefore to God.  Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.  Draw nigh to God, and he will draw nigh to you.  Cleanse your hands, ye sinners; and purify your hearts, ye doubleminded." James 4:6-8
Purpose to do today that which will be a step to setting right the thing that has caused the most friction.  Do it for the Lord, who deserves much more than this.  Do what is right. "I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me." Philippians 4:13

God is developing in you a "message" and giving you a ministry, which will help other women in the future.  Wives everywhere around you are searching for the answers to their marital problems.  How God helps you now will become truth lived out in your life, which He then will use to help others.  Learn the lessons well.  God bless you.

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Are We Celebrating the Wrong Thing?


Today is Earth Day, and I don't celebrate it.  Here is a really excellent and positive-speaking article by my blogging friend, Kelly, at Wisdom Begun on Why We Don't Celebrate Earth Day:  I couldn't have said it better, Kelly!
If  you don't know the Creator of all the earth, God, our Heavenly Father, please contact me at the link (Contact) above, and I'll be happy to talk to you about any questions you may have.
Blessings,
Wendy

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Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Quote of the Day: We're in a War

Do you realize that you're in a battle?  Have you gone into battle without armor, or ammunition?  Are you feeling besieged, and don't know why?  "What have I done wrong?  I feel so overwhelmed!  I'm losing the fight.  I feel like quitting.  I'm the only one who feels this way.  Oh, Lord, help me."  As wives and mothers, we are in a battle. We are the major influencers of the next generation!  Satan is fighting to win the souls of our children.  Our husbands fight the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life daily, out in the world, as they strive to provide for their families.  We are attacked.  There is a war on, and we have gone into battle unprepared!  We must put on the whole armor of God. We must above all be in God's Word, and we must pray!  We are on the winning side:  Don't give up--we will win!



“Every spiritual program must be defended and supported by definite believing prayer. Every God-called man and every God-planned enterprise must have praying folk to pray out the problems. To carry on the work of God is to wage a terrific warfare with Satan and all his hosts. Before the battle there must be preparation wrought in prayer; during the battle the warriors must be upheld by those guided of God to be intercessors; after the battle there should be praise.”
EVERYTHING BY PRAYER - Overholtzer



"10 Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord, and in the power of his might.
11 Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil.
12 For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.
13 Wherefore take unto you the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand. 14 Stand therefore, having your loins girt about with truth, and having on the breastplate of righteousness; 15 And your feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace; 16 Above all, taking the shield of faith, wherewith ye shall be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked. 17 And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God: 18 Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, and watching thereunto with all perseverance and supplication for all saints;


19 And for me, that utterance may be given unto me, that I may open my mouth boldly, to make known the mystery of the gospel...(Ephesians 6:10-19, KJV)

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Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Timely Tips on Tuesdays: Rob Barrett Cooking Monkey Bread

I love Rob Barrett's "Cooking for Dads" shows!  I get such a kick out of him! (Ok, please just start the video, and the big baboon face will go away, if it is still there:)  Yes, this really is a cooking show video--trust me! Oh, Rob.  And didn't his mother ever teach him not to slam doors? even microwave doors?  Well, anyways, these recipes look wonderful, and so easy.  I'm sure that you could substitute your own homemade bread dough--if you try that, make sure and tell me (and him) how it turns out!  Which kind of monkey bread do you like the best? I think I like two of them: the Savory, especially with the sauce he dips them in at the end:) or the White Chocolate and Raspberry! (Anything with chocolate in the name has to be good, right?!) Nummy! Enjoy!

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Winners of My Very First Blog Contest and Giveaway!

Yay! to All of You!!
First, here's how I did the drawing:  Due to the fact that the number of contestants was manageable, and it was fairly easy to do a drawing without using an outside random generator, I decided to save the money, and do the drawing myself.  I used index cards and assigned one card for each entry of each person, (and assigned a number to each entry), writing on each card a small number in the corner. I shuffled the cards thoroughly, and cut the deck, and used a different system for drawing the winner each time I drew, (counting from one end and then another, I counted out cards equal to my age, my daughter's favorite number, the perfect number 7, half of the number of index cards, etc., and the card I came to next was the winner).  During the whole time of the drawing, my eyes were closed. After counting out the cards, I drew a card, all with my eyes closed.

I drew for the three most valuable prizes first, from most valuable to least, in order: in other words, everyone was in the drawing for the most valuable prizes. Then, after those three, all the prizes were pretty much the same value.  I numbered sticky notes with the numbers of the remaining prizes, and with eyes closed, mixed them up.  Before each drawing, with eyes closed, I shuffled (I'm always accused of overshuffling), and cut the deck.  Still with eyes closed, I went through the process mentioned before, for drawing a card.  After each drawing, still with eyes closed, I reached out and picked a sticky note, and attached it to the card.  I didn't know until the very end of the drawing which numbers (or in other words, which people) had been picked.  After all the sticky notes (prizes) had been drawn, and attached to an index card, I wrote down the number of the prize, and the number of the winner next to it.  Until this moment of typing the following list, I still have not actually looked to see who won what.

Here are all the winners!  Congratulations to all of you!!
The first three prizes drawn, in order by value:
Nicole at Help! Mama Remote won Beauticontrol's Detoxifying Body Facial (valued at $41)
Steph at Mommy of 2girlz won Giorgio Eau de Toilette (.13 fl. oz.) and Body Moisturizer (1.6 fl. oz.) (valued at approximately $15)
Kel at Between the Lines won "No Greater Joy, Volumes 1-3", by Michael and Debi Pearl (valued at approximately $14)
Then, the rest of the prizes (all valued at approximately $10 each):
Alyssa at Days to Remember won "To Train Up a Child" by Michael and Debi Pearl along with the Magnetic Notepad and matching Recipe Cards
Heather at Fields of Heather won the Bath and Body Works products (Gift card)
Jen at Be Thou Exalted won "The Excellent Wife" by Martha Peace
Colette at Jamerican Spice won the eGift Card for Amazon.com
Rachel at Finding Joy won the "Pick Your Level Weight Loss Pilates DVD" with Ellen Barrett
Amber at He who watches over you will not slumber won "Five Love Languages" by Gary Chapman
Susan at Susieqtpies Scraps of Life won "Wrestling Prayer" by Eric and Leslie Ludy

Again, Congratulations to the Winners! 
and Thank You so much to all who entered!
 
Important Notice To the Winners: (I will be contacting you by email, if you gave me the information, or I was able to find it, or I will be commenting on your blog to let you know you won).
If you are a winner,  you have until Thursday night, April 22, 2010, 10 PM CST, to contact me at faithsfirmfoundation@embarqmail.com with information on where to send the prize (your name and address), or I will draw another winner for that prize, and announce it here on my blog.  After receiving information on where to send the prize, I will send  you a confirmation email, and let you know when I have sent the prize.

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Monday, April 19, 2010

Love and Marriage: Character Qualities of a Future Daughter-in-Law?

I read somewhere once that it's a good idea to write down a list of the characteristics that you want to be present in the girl/guy that your child will marry someday, when it's still a long, long ways off, and you can be objective. It's important to use Scripture as your guide, as well as prayer.  So, when he was a little boy (smile) I did this (he is now 24). I made a list of the character qualities in a wife for Dane.  There are no Scripture verses written down, and there are items that only reflect my son's interests and personality, but otherwise they are pretty good guidelines for preparing our daughter to be a good wife, too, and may also be helpful as characteristics that I should still aim for as a wife after all these years.
This is the first time anyone has ever seen this. I share it hesitantly, but in the hopes that it will encourage you young moms to be praying regularly for your children's future spouses, and to make a list yourselves. Character is important, and if you've written character qualities down, and have been praying for the person displaying those qualities to come along for years, you'll not only recognize those qualities in a person when you see them, but you'll recognize when they're missing, and not be so willing to settle, or compromise, and accept a person who lacks character.  You marry a family, not just a person, and emotions can sometimes cloud the perceptions of everyone and cause people to become enamored with someone who's lacking what have always been considered essentials in character and circumstances.  Each person's list will be different in some respects but, for a Christian, at the top of the list must be to marry a solid Christian, who is living for the Lord. So, here's my list of:
Character Qualities of a Wife for Dane
  1.  Submissive (demonstrates this in her present home)
  2.  Respectful (demonstrates this in her present home)
  3.  Sweet and Gentle
  4.  Bright/Intelligent
  5.  Beautiful/Attractive
  6.  Disciplined/Self-controlled: in body, mind, and spirit
  7.  Well-ordered:  present near surroundings (such as her bedroom and desk) and in personal life
  8.  Good manager of money, time and home
  9.  Good sense of humor
  10. Active person:  Enjoys doing things, going places, being busy
  11. Skilled musician (loves music and plays at least one instrument)
  12. Loves History, interested in current events
  13. Completely sold-out to the Lord; knows and is a student of the Word; not a new Christian
  14. Using her gifts in some way:  fruitful
  15. Growing in the Lord:  Responding, Changing in response to the Holy Spirit and the Word of God
  16. Loves to read
  17. Discerning
  18. Wants however many children the Lord will give
  19. Committed to Staying Home and Being a Wife and Mother
  20. Not ambitious:  Content to Stay at Home, under authority, using her gifts to build up other families.  Not restless or rebellious--fighting her role
  21. Flexible
  22. Cheerful/Easy-going
  23. Loves to Travel
  24. From a solid, conservative, Godly family--Likeminded:  raising their children to go in the same direction and with same values as ours.
  25. Will raise daughters to wear dresses.
  26. Is Modest
  27. Not flirtatious
  28. Treats her Dad with respect, and serves him.
  29. Great relationships with siblings.
  30. Is Kind in Tongue
  31. Not an angry woman
  32. Compassionate, Generous, Giving
  33. Will reach out her hand to the needy
  34. Skilled in wifely duties
  35. Comes from a family that we respect
  36. If she would become "just like her mother/father", it'd be fine.
  37. We have a good relationship with her, and love her.
  38. Is a people-person
  39. Personable; confident/polite in social settings; Poised
  40. Given to Hospitality.  Able, having helped her mom in this area for a long time--a good cook.
  41. Hard worker; self-motivated
  42. Creative/Resourceful

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Friday, April 16, 2010

What Is In Your Hand?

Everyday lessons for life
From the Bible record of the feeding of the 5000 as recorded for us in Mark 6:30-44.


35And when the day was now far spent, his disciples came unto him, and said, This is a desert place, and now the time is far passed:  36Send them away, that they may go into the country round about, and into the villages, and buy themselves bread: for they have nothing to eat. 37He answered and said unto them, Give ye them to eat. (emphasis mine) And they say unto him, Shall we go and buy two hundred pennyworth of bread, and give them to eat? 38He saith unto them, How many loaves have ye? go and see. And when they knew, they say, Five, and two fishes. 39And he commanded them to make all sit down by companies upon the green grass. 40And they sat down in ranks, by hundreds, and by fifties.

 41And when he had taken the five loaves and the two fishes, he looked up to heaven, and blessed, and brake the loaves, and gave them to his disciples to set before them; and the two fishes divided he among them all. 42And they did all eat, and were filled. 43And they took up twelve baskets full of the fragments, and of the fishes. 44And they that did eat of the loaves were about five thousand men.
What I have is nothing, really--my talents, my abilities, my resources-- in myself, I have nothing to give.  The need, the complexity, the magnitude is so great (whatever is before me on any given day: my "things to do" list, my problems, those who I will meet and the problems they bring to me).  There is no way that what I have will make any difference or meet the need.  Satan says, "Why bother?  Why try?  What difference can it--can you--possibly make?"


He is right, if not for Christ.  When I give Jesus what is in my hand--nothing really, but I give it, nonetheless--a miracle happens.  What before would not even be enough for me--or my family--now is more than enough for all the need!


Why did Jesus instruct the disciples to find out how much food they had?  Perhaps, I think, so they would recognize their total inability within themselves to meet the need.  Now they were ready to recognize Christ at work.  Now they were humble.


He had them sit everyone down on the grass.  Did they believe, or just obey?  Then Jesus gave them back what had been in their hand before, only now it had been transformed by His Touch, His Blessing.  Before He gave it back, He broke it.  When we give ourselves and what is in our hand to Him, we must be willing to be broken.  Then, in obedience, the disciples, and we, give what is in our hand--now transformed, changed, multiplied--to all those before us, and it fills them, feeds them, nourishes them.  And we are not left depleted and empty, but filled ourselves.  There is enough for all when we bring what is in our hand to Jesus.
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Food Friday: Recipe for Baked Fish and Popovers


This is one of my all-time favorite fish recipes.  And it's healthy.  Use a fish with few, if any, bones.  It is flaky, and delicious.  I hope you like it as much as I do!
Baked Fish

Ingredients:
1 lb fish fillets
2 Tbsp light mayonnaise or mayo of choice
1 tsp lemon juice (fresh squeezed, if possible)
1/2 tsp prepared mustard
1/2 tsp sugar
1/4 tsp Worcestershire sauce
1/4 tsp onion powder
1/4 tsp garlic powder
1/8 tsp cayenne pepper, optional
Paprika

Directions:
Rinse fish and pat dry.  In a small dish combine remaining ingredients except paprika, mixing well.  Lay fish in an oblong baking dish coated with nonstick cooking spray.  Spread mayonnaise mixture over fillets.  Marinate 30 minutes.  Preheat oven to 500 degrees.  Sprinkle with paprika.  Bake for 10-15 minutes or until fish flakes easily with fork.

Nutritional Info per serving
Calories: 122
Protein (g): 20
Carbohydrate (g): 2
Fat (g): 3
Cal. from fat (%): 25
Saturated Fat (g): 1
Dietary Fiber (g): 0
Cholesterol (mg): 51
Sodium (mg): 133

Popovers
Ingredients:
1 Tbsp shortening or nonstick cooking spray
2 beaten eggs
1 cup milk
1 Tbsp cooking oil
1 cup all-purpose flour

Directions:
Grease bottom and sides of six cups of popover pan, or 12 cups of muffin pan.  Place pan on cookie sheet.  Set aside.

In a mixing bowl, use a wire whisk or fork to beat eggs, milk and oil until combined.  Add flour and 1/4 tsp. salt (and 1/2 tsp cinnamon, if desired); beat til smooth.

Fill prepared cups 1/2 full.  Bake in 400 degree oven about 40 minutes (35 for muffin pan) or til very firm.

Immediately after removing from oven, prick each popover to let steam escape.  Turn off oven.  For crisper popovers, return them to the oven for 5-10 minutes or til desired crispyness is reached.  Remove and serve immediately, with butter and honey.

(The secret to wonderful popovers is not opening the oven door during baking!)
Popovers are not really that hard, and are such a treat!  Do something special for your hubby and family today!
Enjoy!

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Thursday, April 15, 2010

Thankful Thursday: Don't Give Up, Don't Give In

It's Thankful Thursday, hosted by Lynn, (thanks Lynn!) and you can go over and participate and read other thankful posts by clicking on the link!

There's so much to be thankful for each week, I have a difficult time picking one thing. Please don't get me wrong.  Outwardly, you would not see me bubbling over with joy and gratefulness.  In fact, I'm in a battle right now.  But I know Who has won the war.  And deep within, that gives my heart joy and gratefulness.  I know the Captain, and not only am I fighting, but I know He's fighting for me.  I'm so grateful for that.  I feel my need intensely, which makes this quote most precious: (from "If You Will Ask", Reflections on the Power of Prayer, by Oswald Chambers, pg. 66.)
"A great many people do not pray because they do not feel a sense of need.  The sign that the Holy Spirit is in us is that we realize that we are empty, not that we are full.  We have a sense of absolute need.  We come across people who try us, circumstances that are difficult, conditions that are perplexing, and all these things awaken a dumb sense of need, which is a sign that the Holy Spirit is there.  If we are ever free from the sense of need, it is not because the Holy Spirit has satisfied us, but because we have been satisfied with as much as we have. 'A man's reach should exceed his grasp.'  A sense of need is one of the greatest benedictions because it keeps our life rightly related to Jesus Christ."
When you're hardest hit by the enemy is when you need to resist in the power of the Spirit and stand fast; it's a sign that satan would like to push you back, there's important ground to be won, you must not give in.

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Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Food Friday: Recipe for Petite Cheesecakes

With all the excitement of the Ultimate Blog Party on Friday, I forgot all about Food Friday! But now I will make it up to you!  This recipe was served to us Friday night by a young newlywed wife, who is an excellent and experienced cook!  They had our family over for a Thanksgiving-like dinner with all the trimmings.  We ate turkey, stuffing, special mashed potatoes, homemade rolls--the works! The only thing we contributed was the salad.  It was all so delicious--thank you Brianna and Steven for inviting us!  For dessert, which we put off eating until later, because we were so full from stuffing ourselves, she served Petite Cheesecakes.  My husband, when he tasted them, immediately told me I needed to get this recipe! My husband is not that much of a foodlover, so when something brings out a request like this, I usually jump on it.  I was a step ahead of him this time, because I had already taken my first bite, and as soon as I tasted the creamy filling of these little morsels, I was asking for the recipe.

I hope you'll enjoy making this easy, make-ahead dessert, and sharing Petite Cheesecakes with your family and guests sometime soon. (They look something like the photo above or below, but not exactly, because, unfortunately, we forgot our camera that night!)
Petite Cheesecakes
Serves approximately 12 (one apiece)

Ingredients:
2 (8 oz) pkgs cream cheese, at room temperature
3/4 cups sugar
2 eggs
1 Tbsp lemon juice
1 tsp vanilla
Vanilla wafers
1 can pie filling (whatever flavor you like--we were served raspberry)

Directions:
Blend together cream cheese and sugar; add eggs one at a time, then add lemon juice and vanilla.  Line muffin cups with paper cups, or spray with Pam.  Put 1 vanilla wafer in each.  Fill 2/3 full with filling.  Bake at 375 degrees (Brianna suggests that 350 degrees would be better) for 15-20 minutes.  Top with 1 tablespoon pie filling when removed from the oven.  Cool.  Chill in refrigerator until ready to serve.

Note:
This would be an excellent "starter recipe" for a young girl learning to bake desserts!
Enjoy!

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Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Timely Tips on Tuesday: Child-Training (Part 4) "That's Too Hard Work (Do I Hafta?)!"

(This is Part 4 in a continuing series on Child-Training.  Click on "Ten Things" in the sidebar under Topics to go and read the other posts.)
In my list of "Ten Things to Focus On", that I, as an older woman who's raised her children to adulthood, would share with a young mom who wants to raise Godly children, number eight is:

8) Train your children to work hard and serve.  Do not be afraid that you might be working your children too hard. You'll notice that they love to work when they’re very small.  Give them jobs to do. Let them help you. Have them by your side.  Yes, you can do it faster and better without them, but that’s not the point.  It's your job to train them to be Godly! Work is one aspect of life as a Christian. Jesus Christ came to serve, not to be served. As a family, serve others together. As a benefit to you in the future, you'll have trained a workforce, and you’ll be glad you did. The more children you have, the more work that will get done, and the greater service you will do. (Make it your goal to train them well in the work of the home, and become the manager of the workforce.)


Train their hearts to work, not only their bodies. The Lord examines the heart. He cares about our motives. Discipline the attitude, and you won't have to discipline the action. Though, at times, it may not feel like we are serving the Lord, we must look past the person and task, to see Him.  "And whatsoever ye do, do it heartily, as to the Lord, and not unto men; 24 Knowing that of the Lord ye shall receive the reward of the inheritance: for ye serve the Lord Christ." Colossians 3:23-24 (KJV)  "Whatsoever thy hand findeth to do, do it with thy might." Ecclesiastes 9:10 (KJV)


As they get older, and when they complain, and they will—ignore their complaints, or follow the Biblical injunction, “He that will not work, shall not eat.” This is especially effective with teenage boys who have hollow legs.  Paul says, in 2 Thessalonians 3:10 (KJV), "For even when we were with you, this we commanded you, that if any would not work, neither should he eat."  If they won't work, or have dilly-dallied, they get no supper until they're done. (Explaining this rule before it has to be applied is helpful, but not essential.) They won't starve. The growling noise in their stomachs will encourage a change in their attitudes. Oh, and they don't get breakfast either until the job is done. It's a good idea to have Dad lay down the law on this, because we moms tend to wimp out and our attitude of, "Oh, my poor baby", shows on our faces. I only remember having to do this one or two times. When a child sees that you mean business, they don't try this again--it's not worth it.
 
In my husband's family, as I've noted before, the character quality of being a hard worker was almost as "genetic" as the color of your eyes.  Because their last name was Gunn, they were all expected to be hard workers.  Known for it.  And that was that.  We fell into line. (That's a lot of good peer pressure, or should I say, "relative pressure", that shouldn't go to waste!)  We raised our children to think that they'd better work hard and be known for it, or they'd bring "disgrace" to the family name. Actually, we put it in the positive.  A common verse I quoted to them was, "A good name is rather to be chosen than great riches, and loving favor rather than silver and gold." Proverbs 22:1 We showed them that there was another family Name to think of, more importantly. They would either bring praise or disgrace to their Heavenly Father's Name, which they bore, by how they worked. Now, please don't get me wrong, our children are not perfect, and did their fair share of complaining. And shirking. And doing poor, and incomplete jobs. Just as we, their parents, have in our lifetimes. But, it didn't get them very far. I remember one notable example, when one of my children was told to wash the large kitchen floor, a task they had performed many times, and knew how to do well. Their flesh persuaded them that it was too hard, too tiresome and didn't need to be done well, and they listened. This child, old enough to know better, skipped over the step of sweeping the floor first, and went straight to washing! Needless to say, they might as well have skipped the whole job! For some reason, I lost perspective for a moment, and though I told them to do the job over again, and right this time, the devil tried to persuade me to feel sorry for them. We were having dinner with friends that night, and I was feeling like a mean mama. I still can hear and see our friends' laughter at my wishy-washyness, and remember their support of the "harsh" treatment.  Fortunately, in this case, my husband's firm resolve balanced my jello backbone with strength, and other times, when he was tempted to be soft, I was firm.



Eventually, with perseverance in prayer and training, our children have each developed a good work ethic.  For some reason, this was the quality which seemed to make the most impact on our unsaved neighbors and relatives, who commented on it frequently. It opened up doors for us and our children to talk about spiritual things with them and to share Christ. We worked together as a family and our children worked hard. Jerry always worked with Dane on outside projects, large and small. Though we just took working hard for granted, and eventually, so did our children, it takes intentionality, and effort, to raise children this way.  I wasn’t raised this way: to do work heartily, and cheerfully, as unto the Lord. This has made it more difficult for me in my Christian life to obey and to serve, and I have found this discipline hard at times. It has tempted me to be too "soft" on my children, and slothful myself. 
 
As Christians, we are commanded to work heartily, cheerfully and to do it for the Lord. So, we must train our children's hearts and attitudes. This character quality will open doors of opportunity for them later in life, help them live successful and fruitful lives, and give them a good name. It will be a big help to you as a mom, when your children are trained to work hard and with a good attitude. And, most importantly, it will help them to obey the Word of God, and to be like Christ, Who was a Servant, and bring praise, and not disgrace, to the Name of Christ.

"Now them that are such we command and exhort by our Lord Jesus Christ, that with quietness they work, and eat their own bread." 2 Thessalonians 3:12
"For even when we were with you, this we commanded you, that if any would not work, neither should he eat." 2 Thessalonians 3:10
"And that ye study to be quiet, and to do your own business, and to work with your own hands, as we commanded you" 1 Thessalonians 4:11
"Well reported of for good works; if she have brought up children, if she have lodged strangers, if she have washed the saints' feet, if she have relieved the afflicted, if she have diligently followed every good work." 1 Timothy 5:10
"He also that is slothful in his work is brother to him that is a great waster." Proverbs 18:9
"The desire of the slothful killeth him; for his hands refuse to labour." Proverbs 21:25
(All Scripture taken from the King James Version.)

Recommended word studies in the Bible: "slothful" vs. "diligent".

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