Thursday, December 13, 2012

Best Christmas Cookies Ever!

Cream Cheese Cut-Out Cookies

1 C. butter
1-8 oz. package cream cheese (softened)
1 ½  C. sugar
1 egg
1 tsp. vanilla extract
½  t. almond extract
3 ½  C. flour
1 tsp. baking powder
Mix together butter and cream cheese - let stand a few minutes.
Add egg, vanilla, almond extract and sugar, beat well.  Beat in flour and baking powder.  Divide dough into two balls.  Cover and chill 1 ½  hours.  
Roll out on floured board about ¼  inch thick. Cut cookies with desired cutter, placing them on an un-greased cookie sheet at least ¼ inch apart. Bake  8-10 min. at 350 degrees.

Icing: Mix together:
2 C. confectioner's sugar
2 T. butter
1/4 tsp. almond extract
Add milk so that it is the right consistency to spread on cookies.  (Use food coloring as you desire).

These cookies are very moist. An evangelist’s wife taught me how to make these cookies when we were starting our first church in Peoria, Arizona. I make them almost every Christmas! They are yummy!

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Bountiful Blessings

Thanksgiving is a time of giving thanks to God for his bountiful blessings. Blessings… the good things God gives us….or is it?  Are blessings always little sweet pieces of candy falling from heaven? 
When we are thanking God for His blessings, do we really understand God’s definition of blessing? Blessings come in all shapes and sizes, including pain and suffering many times. It is easy to be thankful for a new car, food on the table, a great paying job, or some other “feel good” gift from God. Can we thank God for the blessing of pain or the difficult lessons we are learning while struggling through a relentless never-ending trial? 
I have two very dear friends that are devoted and dedicated pastor’s wives. Each of these ladies have struggled valiantly this last year with Cancer. I called one on a particularly “bad report” day to encourage her and let her know how much I loved her and was praying for her. To my surprise, she answered the phone with a chipper, up-beat spirit. As we chatted about this and that, I suddenly realized that she was encouraging me to have faith. She was challenging my ability to believe God for healing and miracles in our church. She was expressing to me how blessed she was to be going through something that was challenging her faith. Whether God healed her or not, He is still God and he is still the healer. When the conversation was finished, I replaced the receiver on the telephone, so full of faith and excited about the blessings of God that I rejoiced for hours! Where did this extraordinary amount of faith come from? Was not she struggling with a painful disease stealing healthy blood cells and weakening her body daily? 
So, my paradigm of  “blessing” has changed, which has ricocheted a change in my attitude toward “thankfulness” drastically. I am learning daily how to be thankful for every part of life, good or bad. I understand that God uses blessings of uncomfortable proportions to perform his purpose and plan in my life. He desires to perfect Himself in me. To do that, to know Him the way I want to know Him includes sharing in His suffering….heavy duty isn’t it? But I am thankful that I have the opportunity to share in His suffering….for through that conduit, I will find compassion, perseverance, and like my friend, a generous portion of positive faith. I would not trade what I am learning in the classroom of suffering for a thousand buckets of little sweet pieces of candy falling from heaven.
This Thanksgiving my prayer will be the same, “Thank you God for your bountiful blessings.” But this year, I understand a little better the meaning of “blessing”. This year I am thankful for His bountiful blessings like never before!

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Leave Room for Cream

A true "cupper" would probably say that I could never be a coffee taster; that I cannot possibly decipher the nuance between different coffee beans on my tongue. Perhaps they are right, but in my defense, I have found joy in sipping hot coffee by adding great flavor to a good cup. I've learned to leave room for cream - lots of cream. In my case, that small colorful addition to a plain cup of coffee adds a whole new dimension to my morning sipping. I've tried black coffee on many occasions and find that it just makes me appreciate my creamer all the more. Sorry, "cuppers," this gal is going to spice up her cup every chance I get. When I go to my favorite coffee shop, I tell the barista, "leave room for cream." I have to ask for it or he automatically fills it up to the brim with the plain stuff and there's no room for my yummy sweet add-in.

What about you? Are you leaving some space in your life for spice - some room in your cup for cream? We get so busy with work, raising the kids, doing house chores, turning favors for friends, and other commitments that we forget to leave room for the finer things in life. Don't let your life be automatically filled to the brim with everything else. I hope as you look at your next cup of coffee you remember to leave some room for cream in your life. Would a coffee stop make your work day a little more enjoyable? "Stop and smell the roses" is an old saying to remind us to enjoy the journey. Don't get so busy with life that it passes you by. Enjoy life and remember to leave room for cream.

Monday, November 12, 2012

Fresh Cranberry-Pecan Jello Salad

This recipe is so yummy. I always passed up the Cranberry sauce at our Thanksgiving celebrations. Now, I can't wait for an excuse to make this yummy rendition of an old tradition.

1 package fresh cranberries
1-1/2 cups sugar
1 large package raspberry Jello
1 cup boiling water
1 can crushed pineapple (drained)
¾ cup diced celery
2 apples (grated)
½ cup pecans

Preparation time: 15 minutes. Servings: 12.

Grind or chop cranberries in blender or food processor. Work sugar into cranberries until completely dissolved. Dissolve Jello in boiling water and add to cranberries. Add pineapple, celery, apples and nuts. Chill for a few hours before serving.

*This yummy recipe was shared by Jennifer Gregory Van Ryswyk at our Thanksgiving celebration November 1999 in Stockton, California. It was her mother’s recipe. It was an instant hit and I’ve been making it every year since.

Saturday, October 27, 2012

God With Us

 I love Christmas. I love everything about it; shopping for Christmas gifts and wrapping them in my "themed" paper; placing them under my tree; decorating my house with evergreen swags and twinkling lights; the smell of apple cider and cinnamon; listening to Christmas music in the mall; and singing beloved carols with my family. I love Christmas more than any other holiday because it seems all the world pauses to celebrate. Although it is primarily a "Christian" holiday, others have joined in and participated in this celebration. Howbeit, they may not even call it "Christmas" but we know the source of our celebration is in reality the manifestation of God come to us.  "God With Us," Our theme for this Christmas Season at LifeChurch has put my mind in action. Please pause with me for a moment and let me mutter my musings.

I like to think that God is very pleased to have his people devote one special day a year to celebrate the amazing entrance He made from eternity to earth. It's as if he chose the backdoor of humanity to show us He was a relative savior. He was tempted in all ways as we are, and yet found with no sin. This amazing fact reinforces the fact that God of heaven, robed himself in flesh and became one of us. The fact that He was God, gave him the advantage to triumph over sin. His purpose and plan was to come, teach us how to live, then to die, so that we could have that same power to overcome sin. What an amazing gift He gave us. It came with no small price. His blood was the ransom for our eternal salvation. Every person is privileged to be a recipient of His gift. God walked among us to show us that He would go to the ends of the earth to do what had to be done so that we could spend eternity forever with Him. God, put on a body and came to us! One day, we will put off these bodies, and go to Him!

So, there you have it; the reason Christmas is my favorite holiday. This is the reason I greet people with "Merry Christmas" unashamed to acknowledge the One who gave me the ultimate Christmas Gift - Himself. God With Us.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

The Light

Lighthouse. See it? She is pointing at it. 

For 30 days prior to elections, the members of LifeChurch are praying for our country, our officials, and the upcoming elections. I've had so many opportunities to call our nation out in prayer. Yet, in my effort to truly pray without ceasing, I've found days where fear and despair overcome my well meaning intentions. One day, while sitting in the car waiting for time to pass for an appointment, I began praying for my beloved country. In the midst of my prayer the enemy wove little seeds of doubt and fear into my mind. Sadly, I focused on the fact that our country is moving farther and farther away from being a Christian nation. As I prayerfully pondered our situation I realized that in a few years darkness will cover our nation as God is pushed to the background more and more. Then He spoke, not in a loud thunderous revelation, or a flash of illuminous light, but in a still, small, familiar voice. "The darker the night, the more my light shines." His words brought new hope, new resolve and a new passionate desire to be that light. From that morning, I began to pursue the intentional act of showing the reflection of Christ to a dark, disillusioned world. To be truthful, it works! 

Rather than waiting for our usual Saturday night prayer,  I prayed for two ladies immediately on the phone when they requested prayer. I was in Wal-Mart when one called from the hospital. With my new resolve I moved aside and standing in front of the tweezers and nail files, began to pray and interceded for healing. Yes we are the light and we will shine brighter as this country becomes darker. Am I looking forward to it? Of course not. Am I afraid? Sometimes, but at least I know that there is hope...and we are the ones that will carry it to those who are looking for something better; looking for a hope; looking for a light at the end of their dark winding tunnel.

Is this little girl pointing at you? I sure hope so.

Friday, August 31, 2012

Her Glory

Long hair has long been a signet identifying the consecration of Pentecostal girls. Paul referred to a woman's long hair as her glory in a letter he wrote to the Corinthian church (1 Corinthians 11:15 Holy Bible). Although, many women today prefer the shorter, freshly cut styles, these Pentecostal girls don't take a back seat to fashion and beauty. We can debate how long is long and discuss for hours if it is a "salvation issue" or not, but the cold hard facts are the symbol she wears on her head by leaving her hair uncut is a sign to the angels that she is in submission not only to her spiritual authority but to her Heavenly Father. What better way to advertise our devotion to God. You go girl!

For more information on this subject read Paul's first letter to the Corinthian Church.

10 Good Reasons to Make Your Bed

My dad insisted that we make our bed every morning! Really, Dad, really? Even when our traveling family band was housed in a 32-ft motorhome, we were forced to make our beds (never mind that my bed was disguised as our breakfast table during the day)! Now that I'm a mom, wife, and grandmother with a very sensitive nose, I see great value in the daily chore of making my bed. So, let me share with you a few words of wisdom from the "bed"of my father's teaching garden.

10 Good Reasons to Make Your Bed
  1. Since the bed is the largest thing in your room, it makes the whole room look tidier.
  2. It creates a feeling of accomplishment. It only takes about 10 seconds to make the bed; an easy chore to check off your daily to-do list. 
  3. You are less likely to jump back in bed if it is made.
  4. You can proudly give tours through your house at any time. Every girl longs for that "model home" feel...but model homes don't display unmade beds.
  5. It makes the house smell better, especially at the end of the week before sheet changing time. No one wants her house to smell like a men's locker room! You can leave the bedroom door open if your bed is made, airing out the room with fresh air every day.
  6. A made bed is a great place to fold laundry.
  7. It seems more fresh to turn down a neatly made bed at night than to crawl into a disheveled mass of sheets and blankets.
  8. You can teach your children to make their beds, if you are a good example.
  9. You can show off that beautiful bedspread or comforter you bought with the matching throw where are they? Oh, there they are under the bed! Really? No one will see them there!
  10. It is more fun to jump on a freshly made bed (Just kidding). Kids are less apt to jump on a made bed. Really, no kidding.

Sunday, August 19, 2012


Today I just had to take a moment and thank God for bringing my Prodigal son home. There he was, sharing the Bible story of the Prodigal Son in a dramatic sermon. As he talked, I looked over at my husband. There were tears in his eyes. I knew he was remembering the hours we paced the floor, praying that our son would come back safe; believing that this journey he was on would soon bring him back home. We prayed that the wounds sin left would be treatable and leave minimal scarring. Yes, we prayed and we believed and we cried and we paced. Today, I'm reminded of the words he said that gave me hope. "It's time for me to get back in church." I will cherish those moments as we sat across from him in a small Mexican restaurant. Tears streaming down our cheeks, he began a journey back home.

Today he stood on the platform of our church with great passion touched the heart of those who had wondered away from God's house. His portrayal of The Prodigal Son was like none I've ever seen. And I cried...touched and thankful!

Saturday, August 18, 2012

Bimbos cause Bumbo Recall

There is a re-call on the Bumbo baby seats. I really don't see the problem. Any sane person would not put a child in a Bumbo Seat, set the child on an uneven surface (like a table top!) and leave said child unattended! Really folks! How can a child fall out of a Bumbo Seat when a parent, guardian, or attentive baby sitter is near by? In my opinion, there is nothing wrong with the's the Bimbos neglecting the children in them that are at fault.

Just Sayin'

Wednesday, July 11, 2012


I remember the cold winters in Idaho as a child. Mama would get my sister and me up early for school. She helped us get dressed, fed us breakfast, packed a lunch, bundled us up and sent us off to school.
It was warm as toast in our house, but Mama knew it was cold outside so she prepared us for the journey ahead. She would put on my coat, hat and mittens, and check to make sure I had warm socks on underneath the tall boots that underlined my knees. 
She prepared us the best she could – but she didn’t go with us. She just prepared us for the journey – the rest was up to us.
I was the oldest, so I had to hold my little sister’s hand and make sure she got to school safely before going to my class. After school, she had to wait for me by the door of my classroom and we would walk home together. 
After a day of school, the walk home was cold and crisp, but there mama would be waiting in a nice warm house to help us strip the winter garb off. We were safely home now.
We do our best to prepare our children for the journey of life. We teach them Bible songs, tell them stories of a great flood, Daniel in the lion’s den and the miraculous healings Jesus performed when He walked this earth from the Word of God. We teach them how to pray and how to respect their elders. We do all we can because we know how cold it is outside, and they must be prepared. Then, when they are ready, we send them out into the world hoping we prepared them for the storm of life. 
After we send them off, all we can do is wait, because we can’t go with them. We wait, and we pray. We know that they have to make some decisions without us and take some responsibility. They know their way home, because they know we are here, waiting, and ready to welcome them into the warm, shelter of home. 

Thursday, June 14, 2012


My father is an amazing man. He gave me the gift of music. He put a guitar in my hands when I was five years old. I was too small to stand with his gigantic guitar, so I would sit on the amplifier and play. I would cry and beg him not to practice, and I'm sure that broke his heart, but thankfully, he had a dream and I was a big part of that dream. With his firstborn daughter, he was determined to start a family band. He did in fact live that dream through his children. We played many gigs and services together. The Bible Singing Bibb Family was a pivot for the generations of music that have followed. His grandchildren and great grandchildren now love and perform music. Thank you, Daddy, for passing along your passion for is etched into our souls!

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Return to Reverence

Reverence. You don’t hear that word much anymore. It seems to have been drowned out by the clamor of individual raucousness. I applaud in the background when I see a child showing respect to his or her parents. I glow with pride for the parent that stops a youngster from running a lap around the pews or darting for the platform after an energetic service. My heart goes out to the young person that carefully positions the Bible on the top of a stack of books or papers rather than shuffled in the middle. I applaud, not because I am an authority on the subject, but because once again, I am reminded that respect and reverence are not antiquated attributes lost on today’s generation. 
Reverence is a feeling or attitude of deep respect, admiration, awe and worship. I believe when parents teach their children reverence for the things of God, it has a positive repercussion on the respect and reverence those children show their beloved teachers. Plato once said, “Let parents bequeath to their children not riches, but the spirit of reverence.”
 In teaching reverence for something or someone, we are putting a value on that object or person. When we show reverence we are showing our level of respect or our amount of admiration and worship. Who more than God deserves reverence? He is the most admired, amazing, awesome One that has ever been in existence. Everything about Him is held in highest regard. His Word, His House, and His Presence are all worthy of the respect reverence brings. 
I remember when I was a girl getting my first Bible. It was so special. It was a hand-me-down from my mother. Her name was in the front, but I immediately added my signature to the inside front cover. It was bold letters and not to neatly done, but it made the Bible mine, all mine. I would hold it, turn it over in my hands, smell the leather, and fan through the pages, drinking in the feeling of owning my very own Bible. Oh what a sweet memory. Mama taught me how to take care of my Bible. She told me how her mother taught her to take care of it because it was Holy. She would point to the word on the cover. “Holy Bible” was inscribed in bold white letters on the front and it should be treated as such. 
I still have that Bible. Although, it is on the book shelf with a dozen “newer” versions, I still have a special place in my heart for that first one. I learned at youth camp to take care of it because it was the written word of God. I should respect it and not throw it down on the ground, or even put other books on top of it. I remember sliding into the pew, arranging my coat, purse, and Bible next to me. Of course, the purse never sat on top of the Bible. I just couldn’t bring myself to put anything on the Bible. I’m still a lot that way. The Bible is so special to me. Someone once said, “so, you want to hear the audible voice of God? Read His word out loud.” We forget that the Bible is the written Word of God almighty. It is inspired, and infallible. It is the answer for all of life’s problems. It has the answers to our questions. It is relevant to every situation we face today and will be one hundred years from now. This book is amazing! How fortunate we are in this country to have the privilege to own a Holy Bible. We should revere it and remember that it is a priceless treasure.

We were never allowed to go to the restroom during the preaching. Before church Mama would say, “Go to the bathroom now because when the preacher starts, you will stay in your seat and listen.” She was not punishing me; she wanted the Word of God established in my heart. How could that happen if I was coming in and out during this special time of each service? I’m thankful she taught me to reverence God’s Word during the preaching. 
The altar was a sacred place. It was a place we came when we were burdened, or needed healing. It was not a place to play tag or jump off the platform. The prayer room was another place that was reverenced. I brought my small children right along with me when I visited the prayer room.  When they were old enough, I taught them to pray in the prayer room, not play in the prayer room. They learned at an early age when they needed to get alone with God, the prayer room was a quiet, safe place to pour their hearts out to God.
Thankfully, some things my parents taught me stuck and I have passed them along to my children. For example, my husband and I would never allow our children to run in the church. We would stop them and tell them that we don’t run in God’s house. When I walk into our church, I am filled with vivid memories of the moving of His presence. I can see the place I fell on my knees and repented. I see that special corner that one of my sisters danced until she was drunk in the spirit. With those precious memories alive, it is easier to remind myself that this is not just any ordinary building. It is a place that we meet with God and He meets with us.
I have a wonderful memory when we were evangelizing. One particular service, the presence of God moved in such a special way. The whole congregation was stirred. I watched from the platform while people cried, hands in the air, some of them swayed back and forth, and some were driven to their knees as we experienced an awesome demonstration of the Spirit. From this moment of awe, I wrote the song, “This is What I Live For”. There are many churches in our cities that do not experience the demonstration of the Spirit of God. We should respect and cherish that phenomenal spiritual experience. The demonstration of the power of God is what makes Pentecostal services unique. It is wonderful that God honors us by His presence in such an intimate way. Not everyone has that privilege. I grieve in my heart when I see people disregarding the presence of God by talking to their friends, or filing their nails when the almighty God of Glory is honoring us with His presence.
I don’t think God expects us to never laugh, have fun or enjoy life. On the contrary, I believe He is pleased when we demonstrate the joy that He has so generously given us. But when it comes to the things that draw us close to Him in the midst of worship, I believe He is pleased when reverence is exhibited. Today I will examine my attitude and see that I am showing the proper amount of reverence for the things of God.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012


My Granddaughters inspired my poetry and photography today.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

I Still Do

Like most girls, when I met my husband I had a list. You know "the list" that every girl hides in her secret place and takes out at night just before going to bed. Yup, I had one too. Funny thing is my husband didn't meet every criteria on my list. Believe it or not, there were a few things He just didn't measure up to. Now that I think about it, I don't remember it being a major melt-down kind of disappointment. Sure this guy I dated for a few months wasn't perfect; neither was I. I secretly wondered if I met all the criteria on his list. Do guys have lists? You better believe it! Anyway, back to my list...after 32 years of marriage (we'll be married 33 years come May 26th), I realize that if he would have had the traits I thought I wanted in a man, it would have been a sure road to disaster in our marriage. I put some things on my list that were just too much like me. I really didn't want someone like me! Heaven forbid! We would have KILLED each other! I'm so glad that my forever Valentine is pretty much the opposite of me. We balance each other out. My weakness is camouflaged by his strengths; and my strengths are appreciated in the face of his weaknesses. Did I think I would find someone perfect? If so, I certainly wouldn't have put some of my traits on that list.

So a little advice to you girls out there that are still looking for your special Valentine; pull that list out and mark off anything that looks remotely like you...better yet figure out the opposite of that trait and you will find someone that will fit your needs better. So, Happy Valentine hunting!

"You'll find the right one if you let God do the choosing" - Quoted from Debbie Saiz

Preacher's Kid

Okay, let's be honest. Life isn't always easy for PK's (Preacher's kids), but I'm sick and tired of all the negative stuff going around at our expense. I was a PK before I became a PW (Preacher's wife). I will admit that there were bumps in the road growing up in a pastor's home, but for the most part, it was a wonderful place to be nurtured in.

My home was a loving, godly, happy home. My parents made a point to keep a lot of the church "trouble" from us kids, for which I am very grateful. As role models for ministry, somehow my parents made ministry look enticing. I WANTED to be a preacher's wife. Sure there were times I struggled; like the time I threatened suicide to get a boy's attention, or the time I snuck off to a football game with my girlfriend and cruised the strip afterward making me miss curfew; or the time a "caring" saint said she would love to have me for a daughter-in-law if I wasn't so fat. But to be honest, these weren't PK related. These were "life" situations that could have happened to any teenager.

Yes, the minister's family does live in a glass house, but is that all bad? Perhaps we should all wish to be accountable to the public for our actions. It might just make this world a better place to live in. Living in a glass house helped me balance some of my otherwise unwise decisions. For example, I never stepped foot in a bar because I knew the impact this would have on my father's reputation as a local pastor. I don't really see this had a negative effect on my life; just the opposite! I have never had to wake up with my aching head stuffed in a toilet from a hang over. I've never had an alcohol drinking problem because I've never tasted the stuff.

In Highschool when my other colleagues were sauntering over to the local "pot hangout" I was waiting on the corner for my mom to pick me up and take me to our favorite taco place. Was that so bad? It cultivated a best-friend relationship with my mother I have to this day (she is now 80 years old). I don't think so. It saved me multiple visits to the principal's office and a stretch in the juvenile detention center. Am I sorry I never shared a joint with my friends? Of course not! I'm thankful I didn't get started on "harmless" weed and moved to more potent substances. I've never spent one night in a drug rehab "clean house" or woke up in bed with a stranger after a love-in with the pot heads and hippies.

Come on folks, let's be honest. The best place in the world for me to grow up was in a glass house. I was blessed to be a PK. It paved the way for me to be a PW. I will be grateful forever for the things I learned at the feet of my minister-drenched parents. It made me want to jump in and get wet too!

I love ministry and chose to raise my children in a Preacher's home. They are PK's too. I didn't raise them in my home as a punishment, keeping them  away from fun, freedom, and frequent fornication. No my friend, I gave them the joy of a non-disfunctional home! A home that offered peace during their troubled teen years, a good hot meal when they were flat broke and needed some grub, and open arms when life just wasn't fair and they needed a hug to reassure them that someone loved them unconditionally. I offered them a curfew to let them know that I cared about where they were and wanted them home safe in bed so I could sleep. Yes, I sheltered them but I'm not sorry, not one bit! Perhaps life was difficult for them too as teenagers, but life is difficult for everyone at times. I believe they had a better chance with two parents that loved each other, loved God and loved them than trying to survive in a dog-eat-dog world where parents beat their children behind closed doors because no one is looking.

I think I would rather have a glass house any day than one where no one knows what is going on because no one in the house is held accountable to anyone else. Give me accountability over self centered uncontrolled parents any day!