Saturday, October 24, 2015

Microwave Alfredo Sauce

I will probably never buy Alfredo Sauce in a jar again. This is so easy and tastes delicious!

Microwave Alfredo Sauce
Nutrition SERVINGS 4

1⁄4 lb sweet butter (1/2 cup, light butter works fine!)
1 cup heavy cream or 1 cup light cream
3⁄4 cup parmesan cheese, freshly grated

1⁄4 teaspoon pepper, freshly ground

1. Place butter in microwave safe bowl and heat on high for 30 seconds or until melted.
2. Add cream and warm on high for approximately 1 minute.
3. Add Parmesan cheese and warm until cheese melts.
4. Add salt and pepper to taste. (If serving with shrimp, you might not need much salt.).
Pour over 4 servings of warm noodles (I use angel hair) and toss to coat. Serve immediately.

Sunday, October 18, 2015

The Value of a Friend

We used to do puzzles a lot when my children were home. Every Christmas vacation we would go to the store and pick out a big puzzle. We would bring it home, pull out the card table and work on it in our spare time between decorating, baking and shopping for the holidays. I remember some wonderful times around the puzzle table. We would always start with the outside edges, you know, the pieces with one flat edge. Then we would tackle the pieces that had bumps and cut outs on every side….these pieces were the challenge.

Proverbs 17:17 (NLT) 
A friend is always loyal…

A British publication once offered a prize for the best definition of a friend. The winning definition read:
"A friend is the one who comes in when the whole world has gone out."

Friendship is like a jigsaw puzzle. Each bump on a puzzle piece is one’s strength, and each hole or cut out is her weakness. We all have our share of weaknesses and strengths. Because of friendship, other puzzle pieces fill up the gap that is our weaknesses. And sometimes we, ourselves, fill the gap of the other with our own strengths. And together, we create a bigger picture, a bigger picture that can only be revealed when we share with others our strengths and weaknesses. Isko P. Lipino

Pooh's Philosophy on Friendship

“I wonder what Piglet is doing,” thought Pooh. “I wish I were there to be doing it, too.”
“We’ll be friends forever, won’t we Pooh?” asked Piglet. “Even longer,” Pooh answered.
“Some people care too much. I think it's called love.”
“You can't stay in your corner of the Forest waiting for others to come to you. You have to go to them sometimes.” 

Proverbs 27:9 (The Message)
 …A sweet friendship refreshes the soul.

Close Friends Fit

If you have ever worked a puzzle you know that all the puzzle pieces do not fit each other. They are not all interchangeable. How boring would that be? There are a lot of people you will come in contact with during your lifetime. But not all of them will be close to you. We may have a lot of friends. Some tall, some short, some fluffy and some thin; some outgoing, some shy, and some bossy. Each one is different. But we are closer to those who fill the gap in our weakness.  Some people may rub you the wrong way, maybe the bumps just clash with your bumps. That is okay….you won’t be close to everyone. Sometimes we may try to be friends with a person and when we get to know them we find that their bumps get in the way and we just cannot be close. We are too much alike. Just because we cannot be close to someone does not mean she is a bad person; it just means she will fit closer to another person in this great big picture that God is putting together.

Friendship takes time and patience:

Sometimes you know a piece is a perfect fit, but you try to put it in and it doesn’t seem to go. You turn it and try again. Sometimes it takes a lot of time but you keep trying and finally it slips in effortlessly. Some people take time to cultivate a friendship with. You have to work through some difficulties, but you know that it will fit if you just give the relationship some time. Patience is rewarded when the connection is made and you both realize how valuable you are to each other, and to the bigger picture. You are so glad she didn’t give up on you. And she is glad you didn’t give up on her. How many wonderful memories and lifetime friends are missed because someone got impatient and gave up “working” on a relationship.

Sometimes it seems the pieces will never come together and there are gaps in our relationships….that is where God’s help comes in. When we cry out to God to help us in our relationships, he can reveal things in our life that we can change to make the necessary changes that will help the relationship along. We cannot change other people, but good changes in us can bring about good changes in others.

Friendship must be found:

Have you ever looked and looked for a missing piece of a puzzle? I’ve actually reduced myself to crawling on my hands and knees, under the table to see if it has fallen because I cannot find it in the obvious place, the top of the table. Suddenly when I’ve given up and start looking for another piece, back up on the table, there it is…..right in front of my face! The piece I’ve been looking for. How could I have missed it?

God reveals that missing link. Just when we think the effort is not worth it and we move to another person, something clicks and suddenly we realize that we have connected! Ahh….that feels sooo good!

Are you lonely? Do you feel you have not connected to anyone yet? Do you have difficulty making friends? To have friends you must make yourself friendly (Proverbs 18:24). It may not be easy, buy if you really want to have a friend, you have to be proactive in the search. When you are at a church function, find someone alone and make yourself go over and get acquainted. They are probably lonely too. It's okay to rehearse what you will say at first. Usually, after a few questions like, "How are you?" or "What do you think of the food table." you will find the barrier begin to break and you will find yourself in the middle of a conversation. Make yourself talk to someone even if they don’t talk to you. Send a card or a text to someone you want to say something to. Reach out and find a friend. You do the reaching and many times the person you are reaching for will be forever grateful for their "hero" who saved them from an evening of alone-ness.

Friends see God’s bigger picture:

As the puzzle gets near completion, excitement begins to boil. We huddle around the now almost finished puzzle hoping to be the one that finds the final piece. Now we can see what the picture is; even though the puzzle is still missing a few pieces but we are not happy until that last piece is in place. 

The bigger picture is the plan God has for us. We are all a part of his creation. If one piece is missing, it ruins the big picture. The friends closest to you are very valuable to your success as a Christian. We must pray for each other and lift each other up because we are valuable to each other. Sometimes we may need to lovingly tell a friend that they are involved in something that would be harmful to their walk with God. That is a true friend.

Proverbs 27:6  
Faithful are the wounds of a friend…

Here are some of the things that make up a valuable friend. Do you meet the criteria? Do you see some of your friends here?

A Valuable Friend:
 V- Values time with me
 A- Accepts me as I am
 L- Loves me
 U- Understands my moods
 A- Allows me to make mistakes
 B- Believes in me
 L- Laughs with me and is Loyal
 E- Expects nothing in return

Faithful friends:
 F- Faithful and consistent/forgiving
 R- Respects me
 I- Includes others in our friendship/not possessive
 E- Encourages me and prays for me
 N- Never puts me down
 D- Deserves my best
 S- Someone I can count on

Our best friend is Jesus, but He knows we need each other. I am reminded of the little boy who was afraid of thunder and lightning. One night, as he was sleeping, a violent storm blistered the skies. He awoke, terrified, and ran into his parents' bedroom crying. His mother tried to calm him. "Jimmy, I told you God loves you and is with you. Don't ever be afraid. You are never alone." Jimmy replied, "I know, Mommy, that God loves me and listens to my prayers. But sometimes I need someone with skin!"
Jesus put a value on friendship when he said, “Greater love has no one than this, than to lay down one’s life for his friends” (John 15:13). Jesus had close friends. He wept at the tomb of Lazarus. He dined at Mary, Martha and Lazarus's house. He calls us friends. He said in "No longer do I call you servants, for a servant does not know what his master is doing; but have called you friends, for all things that I heard from My Father I have made known to you" (
John 15:15). 

In the beginning when God created the universe, He said it was good after every part of His creation, until he made man. Then he observed Adam naming the animals, and tending the beautiful garden He made him. God stepped back and said, "It is not good -- that man be alone". He never intended for us to be alone. He created us to need each other. He created us for relationship and friendship.

"You can’t buy friends.
 Friends stay when you give them your heart." 

-Gayla Baughman

Thursday, September 17, 2015

Words that Edify

You’re worthless, you won’t amount to anything. I wish you were pretty. How can you be so stupid? Don’t be so lazy. You’re so weak. If you had a brain in your head…
Words that hurt. Words that tear down. Do any of these words ring a bell? How do words affect us? How do they affect our children?

We cannot stop other people’s destructive words toward our children, but we can guard our own. Before we speak, we should measure our words with “how would this make me feel?” Many people that struggle with a poor self image have carried destructive words from their parents into adulthood. In Christian Social Graces, I approach the subject of self and social image in more detail helping us realize where poor self image has its root.

“The concepts that were programmed in us as children many times carry through into our adult lives. A child who was neglected, or consistently told he was worthless, has a very difficult time believing otherwise as an adult. On the other hand, a child who is secure in his parent’s love and told how special he is will be more confident and sure, believing he has value” (Pg.12). 

Why are parent’s words so powerful? Because our children love us. They trust us. In the formative years they don’t have a grasp on how fallible we really are. They think we are perfect. They want to be like us. So our words are like gospel to them. They take them to heart. They are stamped on their minds forever. Good words stay with them, but if mean and harsh words outweigh the good ones, they will remember the negative.

What words should we leave with our children and grandchildren? Think about it. If we could create a memory right now, what image would we want our grandchild to remember years down the road when we are gone? Wouldn’t we like to give them hope, courage, and self worth? They need our good words. They need words that edify rather than nullify. 

Friday, May 29, 2015

Tommy and Cindy

Tommy was nine years old. Ever since he moved next door to Cindy he was in love. He watched her from the front porch when she pushed “Bunny” around in a stroller. He always sat as close to her as possible and stared at the back of her head in Sunday School class. He wrote her name on the inside cover of his favorite “Spiderman” notebook. 

The years flew by as Tommy secretly admired the beautiful Cindy. After many failed attempts to talk to Cindy, he finally mustered up the courage to ask her to the Valentine’s banquet. He stammered and stuttered but he finally got the invitation out. Cindy looked at Tommy with soft brown eyes and said, “I’m so sorry Tommy, but Allen already asked me. Maybe another time?” Tommy was bitterly disappointed and excited at the same time. Did she say another time? 

Graduation day rolled around and Tommy again approached Cindy. Would she come to his graduation party with him? To make a long story short, she said yes and they had a great time. That began a beautiful relationship of love and devotion. Cindy and Tommy eventually got married, had four children and loved each other faithfully for many years. 

On their 50th wedding anniversary, Tommy shared the years of personal pain that preceded his first encounter with Cindy. Cindy was aghast. She always wondered why Tommy waited so long. She liked him the moment he moved in next door. Tommy confessed he loved her from that moment too. She put her wrinkled hand on his and with fading brown eyes said lovingly,   “Tommy, I’m so thankful that you let love give you courage. I wouldn’t have wanted to miss you for the world!” Tommy smiled. Yes, it was his love for Cindy that gave him the determination to make her his own and the prize was worth every failed attempt.

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Cut The Onions

When we lived in California, my husband and I would often go to this little Mexican fast-food restaurant close to where we worked. Although the people running the establishment spoke broken English, we managed to order and sit down to a very tasty burrito! All the food there came with raw onions and I detest onions…so one day I ordered my own and asked them to please, “cut the onions."

When I got my burrito, to my dismay, I not only found onions, but there were more than ever on my burrito!  As I inspected my desecrated dinner I could see that these onions were not only in great supply, they were also diced up in tiny pieces which made them impossible to pick off. I don't have to tell you how aggravated I was after making my preferences very clear when ordering. 

I marched back up to the counter to voice my complaint. The sweet little lady behind the counter gave me a very confused look.  “I am veery sorry ma'am, but you said to cut the onions so that is what we did.” So I guess she added extra to make it even better. LOL!

When I explained that I meant to delete the onions, no onions, nada onions, she was very gracious and made me another very delicious burrito with no onions in sight. I thanked her very sheepishly and vowed to remember how to order my burrito with no onions next time.

Monday, February 02, 2015

Love's Quest

Love was on a Quest to find me—
            And it did.
It first found me in my Mom and Dad. I don’t remember the first time I laid eyes on my parents. I do remember the many family outings to the park; the Sunday dinners and special Friday nights at a local drive inn. Memories that spell L-O-V-E. Love’s quest had begun…

            Not long after my discovery of my parents, a little sister came along – Jolene
She was a treasure and soon became my best friend. We played together, had disagreements, kissed and made up. We shared the same room, she got my hand-me-down clothes; and I was rewarded with her love and respect as we grew older. Love began a work in me. I was learning how to love, sharing the most tender part of my heart with someone else besides myself.

            Then we were joined by Tamra. She was the cutest little thing – with a tuft of coal-black hair to match big, brown, beautiful eyes. This little sister became the baby, and we all adored her. She rewarded our “cooings,” and “booings,” with charming smiles and giggles.

            Love found me once again when my baby brother came into my life. He was like a real-to-life baby doll. And I thought he was mine! (I still do!) A bundle of life and energy evaded our all-girl sibling committee. He was quite an education for us girls. Barely old enough to take care of myself, I claimed parenting to this human doll. He was my pride and joy and of course he turned out so good because I take all the credit for raising him.

            For many years love continued to pursue me with determination. Ignorantly, I would hide and seek love, running from it and then wonder where it had gone. At times I would fling it from me and other times cling to it. Sibling rivalry would cloud the essence of love, but emergencies would make it clear again. Finally love taught me that it can survive in the toughest of times. I committed to let love be my teacher.

            Love embraced me once again when I met my one true love – Terry Baughman
I thought love’s quest was complete; How could I love someone more? This was the essence of love. Still, love kept me in its boarding school. I had more to learn, and Love had something more to teach. It was on a quest to prove that love does not divide. It multiplies.

            Then, my first-born daughter, Marenda came barreling into my heart –
She was my joy….my little sunshine every day! I loved her immensely and yet, strange as it was did not diminish my love for my husband. How could this be? How could I have more love in my heart when I thought it was full?
            Love just smiled…..more teaching was to come.
                        And more loving was to be done.      
My son stole my heart when he was born—
                        My little Terry Robert the miniature little man that wrapped his arms around my neck and love around my heart.

Now love reaches for me again through those my children love –

            My son-in-law, Steven, is a joy to my heart.
            He is so good to my little girl. I know he will take good care of her. I love him like my own son. That was easy….love smiled; I am learning.

            Then Love bombarded my heart with two little granddaughters. I thought my heart would burst, but it didn’t, it just expanded. With each passing day I think, I can’t love any more. I’m so full I shall run over with this explosion of feeling every day. Every time I see them, hold them, or hear them say, “Gammy, I wuv you so much.” My heart is packed full.
            But is it?

            The older I become, the more I realize the value of loving. Giving myself in love is a gift. Not only to the recipient, but to myself. I am the one who gleans the reaping of love whether it is returned or not, for to love is to share myself with someone else. As I give, I receive. I receive more room to give….a refillable hole, if you may. A vast chasm filled with caring that refills with the act of loving.
            I realize that God is love. If I house his spirit in me, I will naturally house his love. There is now no more question. I have no reservations of loving. All the risks of loving others are outweighed by the dividends of love freely given.

In that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.
              The teacher of love;
                                     The essence of love;

                                                             The ultimate example of love.