Wednesday, January 17, 2018

Hold On!

I’m a gal who craves peace and quiet. I NEED my moments of recharging and solitude. It just makes for a kinder, gentler Debbie (smiles).

However, PEACE has completely escaped my house the past few days. I can pretty much hear an official voice over a loud speaker coming from somewhere upstairs announcing, “PEACE has LEFT the building!”

Yesterday began with an overflowing toilet upstairs. An all-out 4-alarm-grab-every-towel-shirt-sock-and anything fluffy you can find kind of episode. ANYthing capable of sopping up gallons of water as it freely poured from a defective toilet tank.

The rest of my Tuesday involved trying to appease my little male mini-dachshund. Without going into much detail, I’ll just say that our 8-month old FEMALE lab/whippet mix has come into her first season, and little Willy just doesn’t know what to do with himself. The earliest appointment for getting Abbey “fixed” isn’t until later this month, so for the past couple of weeks, we’ve been like over-protective chaperones enforcing the 6-inch rule at a school dance. The real downside of this is Willy’s incessant whining, barking, crying and squeals of all around frustration over Abbey’s “condition.” My attempted moments of peace have been interrupted with verbal reprimands of “STOP THAT!” “Be quiet!!!” “Leave her alone!” as well as perhaps a few more colorful scoldings.


To cap off the day, there was a slight “malfunction” of the refrigerator door at about 10pm last night which resulted in a full gallon of milk crashing to the ground and exploding into a frothy white pool that ran underneath the fridge as well as every square inch of kitchen floor! Aahh, of course…

This is the day the Lord has made;
We will rejoice and be glad in it. (Psalm 118:24)

I have to remind myself sometimes that the God who brings us peace, joy and happiness in all shapes and sizes has also made the days that grow and stretch us. He allows the challenges that either cause us to draw closer to our Savior OR hop aboard the life boat of our own devices and slowly drift away, and we’ll probably never really understand why.

Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for he who promised is faithful.
(Hebrews 10:23)

And the words “hold on” come to mind. Hold on, hang on and press on. Not alone, but with Jesus. Hold on to the promise of His constant presence. Hang on every God-breathed Word and Truth of scripture. Press on through each day because He has created and equipped each of us to finish victoriously. Through every frustration, through every tangled, matted mess in which we find ourselves, whether sopping up spilled milk at 10 o’clock at night or seeking a quiet corner to escape the noise of the day, hold on!

Friday, October 13, 2017

The Songbird

There’s that sweet little songbird again today. I wonder if he’s new to my back yard or if I’m just new to listening.

He’s hard to spot, so I just follow the sound of his melody from somewhere up high beautifully singing the song God gave him.

I love when I’m busy here in the kitchen, here at the sink, lost in my thoughts and sorting through all that clutters the mind, and the sweet gift of the songbird dances in on a breeze through the open window.

I have to wonder if there are other “songbirds;” sweet blessings throughout the day strategically placed to calm and to soothe just waiting for a break in the noise. I’m sure they’re there. God promised they would be.

“From his abundance we have all received one gracious blessing after another.” (John 1:16)

“The wind blows where it wishes, and you hear its sound, but you do not know where it comes from or where it goes. So it is with everyone who is born of the Spirit.” (John 3:8)

I hope you’ll be alert to the songbirds in your life. They’re the sweet, unexpected moments that gently interrupt and divert to fill the heart and bring a smile from the inside out. God knows the song you need to hear. He knows just how to reach you with the sweetest of blessings. I pray your day will be filled with songbirds... or, better yet….look for ways to be the songbird to someone today.

*I’m making my delicious corn chowder today. Click HERE for the recipe*

Thursday, September 7, 2017


Some days, I should probably just stay out of the kitchen completely.

Some days, I’m clumsy. I pour in a wrong ingredient or miss one, entirely. I misread one of my own recipes OR, like yesterday…I spend ALL DAY working on a new recipe for cinnamon rolls. However, when I “invert” the whole pan of fresh and fluffy, hot and sticky darlings onto a larger baking pan, I leave said pan on the counter (because I’m distracted by the hurricane action on the news), therefore INVERTING about 4 of my delicious cinnamon rolls directly onto the floor before I realize what I’m doing! Uggh!!! The sheer injustice! They may not look it, but these are amazingly delicious…even if they are pieced together, LOL.

All I could do was stand there and laugh – I could totally relate as I gathered up bits and pieces of my hard work before the dogs could find it!

I’ve had many such days lately where I feel pieced together; a little haphazard and not quite up to the task. Sort of like finding out at the end of the day that I’ve been wearing my shirt inside out or that I’ve had a dryer sheet stuck to my pant leg after a full day of shopping. :/ When we’re clumsy or maybe those days when we’re a little more human than most, we definitely need a lot more Jesus to complete us.

In my weakness and in my brokenness, it’s the peace and grace of God that connects all the broken parts; makes sense of the missing pieces to create the full and finished product.

“…and provide for those who grieve in Zion—
to bestow on them a crown of beauty
    instead of ashes,
the oil of joy
    instead of mourning,
and a garment of praise
    instead of a spirit of despair.”
(Isaiah 61:3)

It’s only God’s grace that allows us to pick up the pieces of our good intentions when they lie scattered at our feet. There are those moments when we’re to overlook the missing parts and make sense of what we can patch up in an attempt to turn the unrecognizable into something more pleasing, but we could never do this ourselves. It takes the God of all to do that. I need more of Jesus EVERYday...especially in the kitchen!

“I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing.
(John 15:5)

Drop by my Joyful Kitchen for the complete recipe and directions for making these delicious cinnamon rolls.

Monday, August 28, 2017

Camera Ready

So, I am a food blogger (like that’s news to you, LOL). My kitchen is my happy place. I love working on new recipes, tweaking old ones, cooking, baking even cleaning! I just love spending time in there.

But, what’s a gal to do when she spends a whole Sunday working on a recipe and it comes out looking like road kill deeming the fruits of her labors unworthy of the scrutinizing food blogging world??? We eat with our eyes first, right? Well seriously, if this came to me on a plate in a restaurant, I’d probably send it back. No…I’m SURE I’d send it back!

So, here’s what happened: I tried my hand at lasagna roll-ups and apparently used too much sauce and too much cheese (insert big frown here – the term “too much cheese” isn’t a phrase I use very often). After all, it was my own recipe and not everything can come out right the first time, right (hands in pockets and kicking the dirt)?

Well, I had no other alternative than to eat my failure /unappealing creation and you know what??? It’s delicious! I just used all the basic ingredients found in lasagna; spread the ricotta mixture onto each individual noodle, 

rolled them up, placed them in a cast iron skillet with a little sauce poured in the bottom, 

then poured the remaining sauce over it all and sprinkled a combination of cheeses over the top and baked it.

But here’s the thing with food blogs: 1) the food HAS to look good first – good enough to catch people’s attention (like, you want your blog followers practically licking the screen) and B) it has to actually taste amazing – amazing enough to share with the rest of the world and invite them all over for dinner and finally…4) the recipe itself should be easy to prepare; not a lot of fuss. Yes, the term “user friendly” applies here.

As I stood at the kitchen counter eating my disaster (a.k.a. scarfing down the evidence of a recipe gone wrong), it donned on me just how much I can personally identify with this whole experience.

For example: I absolutely detest having my picture taken first thing in the morning…or any other time, for that matter. I mean, really. Who bounces out of bed at o’dark thirty looking picture perfect and ready to greet the day??? (OK, I know a few of you who can pull if off, but I’m not one of ‘em). Even on Christmas morning when we’re all sitting around in our jammies and one of the kids wants to capture Mom’s reaction to a special gift, you’ll see nothing but the palm of my hand in every pic as I try desperately to spare the world from the horrors of “Morning Debbie.”

I’m just so glad that God doesn’t judge us based on our camera readiness, even though it seems this whole crazy world demands it at all times. We’re expected to always be “on” like the cameras are always rolling and we’re expected to give our best effort at everything we do.

You have searched me, Lord,
    and you know me.
You know when I sit and when I rise;
    you perceive my thoughts from afar.
You discern my going out and my lying down;
    you are familiar with all my ways.
Before a word is on my tongue
    you, Lord, know it completely. (Psalm 139:1-4)

The essence of who we really are is so much more than skin deep. So much more than what others see on the surface and so much more than what a lens can capture. I think I’d rather strive for a camera-ready heart; a heart of love and compassion, forgiveness because I’ve been forgiven, of reverence for the God Who knows my thoughts before I do, a deep, undying love for my family and my country, thankfulness for a life filled with blessings, and an appreciation for the lessons learned along the way.

Don’t you know that you yourselves are God’s temple and that God’s Spirit dwells in your midst? (1 Cor. 3:16)

And in the end, when it’s all said and done and we’ve breathed our last, what we threw on a plate and tried to pass off as “food” won’t matter. What WILL matter is at the very essence of who we really are is found a camera-ready heart.

Wednesday, August 23, 2017

Let's Create a Family Recipe Book!

I have felt a real prompting lately; actually, more like a gentle shove off a steep cliff! (I'm a little stubborn and sometimes that's what it takes). I guess I'm still learning that dreams are just thoughts until we put wings and faith to them. If we let apprehension and insecurity hold us back, we'll never experience some of the joys God has in store for us or for others. I try not to jump off that cliff with EVERY idea I have, but this one has been around awhile.

When I married my husband back in '88, my grandmother gave me a bridal shower. She asked all the guests to bring at least one or more of their favorite recipes to share with me. I ended up with quite a stack of cherished, handwritten, tried-and-true recipes from grandmothers, my mom, my sweet aunts, cousins and friends and I still treasure them to this day! I have many more than what this photo shows and each one always brings a smile.

These recipes...your recipes...are a part of family history; a part of who we are. I just feel they should be enjoyed and preserved for the next generation (and in some cases, even perfected, LOL).

I would love to help you create a beautiful collection of favorite family recipes to share with generations to come. Recipes, photos of loved ones along with comments or stories about each one can evoke the most cherished of memories. If you'd like to preserve your family traditions in this way and create a lasting memento, you're welcome to leave a comment or contact me at the email address given in the photo for more information.

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

He decreed statutes for Jacob
    and established the law in Israel,
which he commanded our ancestors
    to teach their children,
 so the next generation would know them,
    even the children yet to be born,
    and they in turn would tell their children. (Psalm 78:5-6)

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Perfect Imperfection

Yesterday was a big laundry day, and I do mean a "wash and fold everything in sight and get it put away" kind of laundry day. I also vacuumed, cleaned the kitchen, made dinner, washed rugs and sheets and everything in between. 

Mondays are like that around here. It’s the day I tidy up all the remnants of a busy weekend and hope it lasts till…Tuesday!

But who am I kidding? I will never be able to accomplish all that needs to be done around this place. There will always be a missing sock or a clump of dog hair under the couch (right next to a stale potato chip). There will always be weeds in the flower beds, dog nose art on my windows and maybe a few drops of something sticky on the floor in front of the fridge. It is home, after all! Life happens here.

But it seems no matter how hard I work at cleaning, fixing and doing there will always be something messy and needing attention in my life, and I’m learning to be OK with that. Having an imperfect house…an imperfect me acknowledges my great need for a Savior.

For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and all are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus. (Romans 2:23-24)

The only "perfect" element in my life is Jesus. He brings perfection to my imperfect day. He is my strength when I crumble in weakness and He lights my path on the darkest days. In Him, all is made perfect and new.

And there is salvation in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved.” (Acts 4:12)

Wednesday, January 11, 2017

Did you know...

...that you can sign up to receive my Joyful Kitchen recipes by email???

I wouldn't want you to miss out on some of my recent favorites, like these flaky, buttery croissants, perfect for your breakfast or brunch table (above)...OR this amazing salad (below) using whole grain pasta, tossed with fresh vegetables and a wonderful pear balsamic vinaigrette:

...or THIS! A breadless version of bruschetta - fresh grape tomatoes and pesto with a sprinkling of Mozzarella and a drizzle of olive oil all cradled in zucchini halves! SO good!

Or maybe you're in the mood for a decadent, sweet treat??? This definitely answers the call! These are my fudgy rum (flavored) chocolates - not only perfect for the holidays, but for ANY time of year :)

Creating delicious food and sharing it with those I love is my passion. So, head over to my food blog and sign up to receive my recipes! There's always room for one more in my Joyful Kitchen :)


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