Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Praising through the Bible I Thessalonians 1 - Philemon 25

Loving Father
Your grace gives me
eternal encouragement and certainty,
protecting me
and strengthening me
to serve You.

(2 Thessalonians 2:16-17)

I'm praising through the Epistles as a preview of reading the whole Bible in 90 Days.

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Praising through the Bible Galatians 3:26-Colossians 4:18

I praise You, Father God!
I am overwhelmed by Your blessings
and Your lavish grace.
I approach You freely and confidently
asking You to show me
the work You are calling me to accomplish.

(Ephesians 1:3, Ephesians 1:7-8, Ephesians 3:12, Ephesians 2:10)

I am praising my way through the Epistles as a preview of reading the entire Bible in 90 Days, beginning January 1.

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Praising through the Bible I Corinthians 15:1-Galatians 3:25

Lord Almighty
I dare to call You Father
because Your light shines in my heart,
Your grace abounds,
and Your comfort overflows.
Thank You
Great and Mighty God
for victory
for hope
for glory and transformation
and for love.

(2 Cor. 6:18, 2 Cor. 4:6, 2 Cor. 3:5, 2 Cor. 9:8, I Cor. 15:57, I Cor. 15:54, 2 Co4. 1:10, 2 Cor. 3:18, Gal. 2:20)

I am praising my way through the Epistles as a preview of reading the entire Bible in 90 Days, beginning January 1.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Music for a December Afternoon

Here's another eclectic mix of old and new. I'm finding that every Christmas mix I make has one or two versions of "O Come O Come Emmanuel." If you haven't heard "Rose of Bethlehem," it's certainly worth a listen.

Praising through the Bible

I'm reading through the Epistles to get a little preview of what my reading routine will be when I read through the Bible in 90 days. Today I read Romans 15-I Corinthians 14. As I read I looked for reasons to praise God.

O Savior Jesus Christ,
Power and Wisdom of God,
I praise and thank You
for clothing me with Yourself
and Your armor of light.
You have made me a temple for Your Spirit
filling me with Your power
and Your overflowing hope.
Thank You that Your kingdom is not
a collection of inspiring words
but a powerful force.
Empower me today, Lord,
to follow Your way of love and peace.

(I Cor. 1:24, Rom. 13:14, Rom. 13:12, I Cor. 3:16, Rom. 15:13, I Cor. 4:20, I Cor. 14:1, Rom. 14:19)

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Praising through the Bible

In preparation for beginning The Bible in 90 Days, I'm giving the Epistles a quick run-through as the year ends. Tonight I read Romans 1-14, and this was my prayer after I read:

I praise You Lord
for righteousness through faith
for the gift of eternal life
for release from sin's control.
I trust that Your resurrection power
can make weak sinful helpless me
more than conqueror.

(Rom. 3:22, 6:23, 8:9, 1:4, 8:37)

Monday, December 21, 2009

A Goal for the New Year

I've looked at The Bible in 90 Days several times, trying to decide if this was a challenge I wanted to begin. Today I read Mom's Toolbox's plan to start reading this on January 1 and blog about her journey through the Bible. I prayed about it and decided to go for it. I've read a lot of Psalms in the last few years, I've read the Gospels and the Epistles several times, but I've really neglected the rest of the Bible. I think this will be a great way to start the new year!
To see the schedule (and save it as a printable bookmark) go here and click "bookmark" on the right hand side under "PDF Files."

Friday, December 18, 2009

What is Your Wilderness?

"Loneliness is a wilderness,
but through receiving it as a gift,
accepting it from the hand of God
and offering it back to Him with thanksgiving,
it may become a pathway to holiness,
to glory and to God Himself."
--Elisabeth Elliot

This quote on a page-a-day calendar spoke to me today, but I think the message is far bigger than the topic of loneliness. Any wilderness, if accepted from the hand of God, can be "a pathway to holiness, to glory and to God Himself."

What is your wilderness today? Sickness? Financial trouble? Stress? Pain? Grief? You may not be ready to see it as a gift, or to offer thanksgiving for it--perhaps you're still struggling towards acceptance.

My prayer today is that we will each look at our own personal wilderness and ask God to make a path through it, bringing us closer to Himself.

And while you pray, leave me a comment about your own wilderness.

Monday, December 14, 2009

Crockpot Split Pea Soup

The Swedish Table cookbook has a delightful yellow split pea soup recipe. My grocery store doesn't carry yellow split peas, and I wanted to use my crockpot, so I adapted the recipe a bit. My husband and my kids all declared this "yummy" and my oldest daughter has been gobbling up the leftovers.

1 TBS olive oil
1 onion, diced
1 carrot, diced
3 cloves garlic, diced
2 1/3 cups green split peas
4 cups vegetable broth
3 cups chicken stock
fresh dill

1 cup cherry tomatoes
2 TBS olive oil
fresh dill

cooked bacon (1 slice per person, if desired)

Saute the onion and carrot in 1 TBS olive oil until the onion begins to turn golden. Add garlic and saute for another minute or two. Put cooked vegetables in the crockpot and add peas, broth, stock, and dill. Cook on low for 8 hours. Taste the soup to see if you'd like to add salt, keeping in mind the saltiness of the bacon you might use as a garnish.

Meanwhile, cut each cherry tomato in half and marinate them in 2 TBS olive oil with dill.

Serve soup garnished with tomatoes and bacon.

The soup made 9 cups. Each cup has about 216 calories. The garnishes have about 173 calories per person if divided between 5 people. I counted the olive oil as my MUFA for the Flat Belly Diet.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Words of Praise on Wednesday

When I am filled with cares, Your comfort brings me joy. (Psalm 94:19)
Bring joy to Your servant's life, since I set my hope on You, Lord. (Psalm 86:4)
My lips will shout for joy when I sing praise to You, because You have redeemed me. (Psalm 71:23)
Happy are the people who know the joyful shout; Lord, they walk in the light of Your presence. (Psalm 86:15)
Satisfy us in the morning with Your faithful love so that we may shout with joy and be glad all our days. (Psalm 90:14)
For You have made me rejoice, Lord, by what You have done; I will shout for joy because of the works of Your hands. (Psalm 92:4)

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Music for a December Sunrise

I put together an eclectic mix of Christmas music, from U2 to Dolly Parton. I wanted a blend of songs I discovered this year ("Awake, Arise Good Christians" by Kate Rusby) with songs that remind me of my childhood (101 Strings' "It Came Upon the Midnight Clear") and songs that speak to me of Christmas hope ("I Heard the Bells on Christmas Day" by Casting Crowns).

Monday, December 7, 2009

Holiday Heritage

We began a family tradition last year of celebrating our heritage during December. We focus on a different country each week. We read books about Christmas in each particular country and we eat foods from that country too.

The first week is German week--we celebrated St. Nicholas Day (December 6) by putting small gifts in the children's shoes and reading about the historical St. Nicholas. We eat bratwurst and sauerkraut and strudel.

The second week is Swedish week--we'll celebrate St. Lucia Day (December 13) with St. Lucia buns and coffee cake. We'll read Annika's Secret Wish and Hanna's Christmas. I'll make Janssen's Temptation, probably the yummiest thing I've ever made: salmon and capers and dill and potatoes and cream. I don't want to know how many calories it contains; I will just enjoy it and walk an extra five miles that day.

The third week will be Irish week, and my husband will make my favorite dinner ever: Irish Seafood Chowder. I'll make Irish brown bread, and I'm sure we'll have a Full Irish Breakfast at some point.

On Christmas Day we're English; we'll have a roast and yorkshire puddings and roasted brussel sprouts (forget everything you know about brussel sprouts--roast them--and be amazed). We'll buy crackers...the wrapped kind with paper hats and jokes inside.

The week of New Year's is Scottish week: we'll have kippers for breakfast, with perhaps some Scottish oatmeal too.

My oldest daughter has requested that we add a French week, but we may do this the easy way by taking a trip to the local French bakery.

How do you celebrate your heritage this month? Please leave me a comment.

Roasted Baby Carrots

My kids always want me to buy baby carrots, but they don't always welcome them on their lunch plates. Yesterday, however, I served roasted carrots, and they gobbled them up.

Preheat oven to 450.

Toss 1 pound baby carrots with 1 tablespoon olive oil, 2 diced garlic cloves and 1 teaspoon Fines Herbes (or your favorite herb blend). Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Spread carrots in a single not-too-crowded layer on a cookie sheet (with a lip around it to prevent carrots landing on the floor when removing from oven). Bake for 20 minutes. If the carrots are too crowded, they will cook much more slowly, and they will steam themselves rather than roasting, giving a slightly different texture and not as much sweetness.

A 1/2 cup serving will have about 104 calories.

I added diced roast beef and a little mustard to my bowl of carrots to make a complete lunch. I counted the olive oil as my MUFA on the Flat Belly Diet.

(adapted from Eating Well magazine)

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Guest Post: Elisabeth Corcoran, author of He Is Just that Into You

Today I am honored to be part of Elizabeth Corcoran's blog tour promoting her new book, He Is Just That Into You. Elizabeth wrote a post for Read.Hear.See.Feel on the topic of Prayer.

I have a constant conversation with my best friend running in my head. He hears the smallest detail that I wouldn’t dream of bothering anyone else with. He hears my lame attempts at humor when I’m bored. He hears the subtle self-esteem bashing, the ferocity of my grumbling against other people, the hopes that are unfulfilled and have been for a long time. He hears it all.

And yet, I do not consider myself to be a great pray-er. I love talking with God all day long. But I do not “pray” nearly as much as I should. Nearly as much as I’d like.

I think I struggle with feeling like my stream-of-consciousness relational conversation isn’t really prayer. And if it’s not really prayer and prayer is only when I’m writing in a journal or going through a list of praises or requests or sitting down with another person, then, no, I do not pray enough.

But I think it’s both. And I think it’s more.

I think we sell ourselves short with our lists. And, on the other end, when we kick ourselves for maybe only getting around to saying “help” in a three-day span of time because of our busyness and chaos.

Here’s a verse I’ve memorized recently…from Ephesians 3:20-21a:
Now to Him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to His power that is at work within us, to Him be the glory.

Because the above verse tells us that God is able to do so much more than we ask for. I’ve heard it said that when He hears us pray sometimes asking for things like protection or a parking space (there’s no way I’m the only one), He just might be thinking, That’s it? That’s all you want? I can do so much more for you than just that!

If the whole point of life is to love God and bring Him glory, then really, how is a good parking space going to do that? Where is the faith needed in that? He wants to do immeasurably more for us. He wants to set us free from a long-time addiction. He wants to bring us peace in the most chaotic of life circumstances. He wants to bring us healing from the deep pain that has chased us all our lives. He wants to bring us out into the light…He wants to soften our rough, rough edges…He wants to help us love each other. Can you imagine?

So whether you pray once a day at 5:30 in the morning on your knees for an hour, or on the fly, or all day long…pray bigger. Believe more. Hope higher. And then watch for the immeasurably more of God to come through for you.

© 2009 Elisabeth K. Corcoran

Please visit Elizabeth's book trailer and website.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Words of Praise on Wednesday

Lord, You light my lamp; my God illuminates my darkness. (Psalm 18:28)
The revelation of Your words brings light and gives understanding to the inexperienced.
(Psalm 119:130)
Your word is a lamp for my feet and a light on my path. (Psalm 119:105)
You guide me with Your counsel, and afterwards You will take me up in glory. (Psalm 73:24)
Open my eyes so that I may see wonderful things in Your law. (Psalm 119:18)

Tuesday, December 1, 2009


As sunset comes a little earlier each evening, twinkling lights adorn a few homes in our neighborhood, and I'm searching for my apple cider candle while I meditate on Light. Advent has arrived and the Christmas rush has hit shoppers and decorators. This is a joyful time of year for many, but a dark and difficult time for others. Whether we are the harried shoppers, the exhausted decorators, the bah humbug complainers or the lonely mourners, we all crave Light to cheer and guide us through this month. We all need to take a moment to lift our eyes from the sales and the trees and our own troubles, to the Creator...the Savior...the Prince of Peace who longs to guide our feet into His way.

The people walking in darkness have seen a great light;
on those living in the land of darkness a light has dawned. Isaiah 9:2

Because of our God's merciful compassion, the Dawn from on high will visit us to shine on those who live in darkness and the shadow of death, to guide our feet into the way of peace. Luke 1:78-80

Glory be to God who has shown us the light!
Lead me from darkness to light,
Lead me from sadness to joy,
Lead me from death to immortality.
Glory be to God who has shown us the light! (Glenstal Book of Prayer, p. 22)

O Emmanuel,
remind me that You are with me
lighting up my world
and filling my heart with peace.