Friday, September 21, 2012


"What kind of excitement are you sensing right now as the Spirit "hovers over" (Genesis 1:2) your study of His Word?"
(From BSF notes)

Does your Bible study time ever get you excited? I will be honest and say that a lot of the time, for me, it doesn't. I am so excited right now, though, as I have begun this systematic study through BSF.

"Are you now aware of a life-giving movement of God's Holy Spirit drawing you toward God and preparing your heart to receive God's spiritual light?"

A good study is life-giving and invigorating to my soul!

Do you have a way of studying that makes you wanna shout? Please share!!!

On a much less serious note, look at this cute notebook I found for my BSF materials! I LOVE school supplies and this is first time I have gotten to buy any since 2004.

I am hoping that we can get a post from Ben soon... who's with me?!

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

September Freezer Recipes

Chicken Artichoke Bake (from Taste of Home)

  • 2 cans (10-3/4 ounces each) condensed cream of celery soup, undiluted
  • 1 cup mayonnaise
  • 3 cups cubed cooked chicken
  • 1 can (14 ounces) water-packed artichoke hearts, rinsed, drained and chopped
  • 1 can (8 ounces) sliced water chestnuts, drained
  • 1 package (6 ounces) long grain and wild rice mix
  • 1 cup sliced fresh mushrooms
  • 1 medium onion, finely chopped
  • 1 jar (2 ounces) diced pimientos, drained
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper
  • 1 cup seasoned stuffing cubes

In a large bowl, combine soup and mayonnaise. Stir in the chicken, artichokes, water chestnuts, rice mix with contents of seasoning packet, mushrooms, onion, pimientos and pepper.
Spoon into a greased 2-1/2-qt. baking dish.

Freeze if desired.

Thaw for 24 hours in refrigerator.

Sprinkle with stuffing cubes. Bake, uncovered, at 350° for 55-65 minutes or until edges are bubbly and rice is tender.

Vegetable Beef Soup ( quick, yummy & budget-friendly!)
  • 1 lb. lean ground beef (you could make this with ground turkey or go vegetarian by omitting the meat all together)
  • 16 oz. frozen mixed veggies
  • large can of seasoned diced tomatoes
  • 1 can condensed tomato soup
  • 1 pkg. onion soup mix
  • 1 tsp. sugar
  • 1 cup water

Brown the ground beef. Transfer to a freezer bag or container with all remaining ingredients and freeze (if desired).

For slow cooker: Thaw slightly (or completely) and cook on high for 4 hours or low 6-8 hours.

For stove top: thaw completely and transfer to a large pot. Bring to a boil and simmer (covered but vented) for about an hour, stirring occasionally.

We are having this tonight! Perfect way to end a rainy day!

Friday, September 14, 2012

Changing Seasons

It seems like people in East Tennessee get the most excited about fall of all the seasons. I know there are lots of reasons for this, but here are some of my own:

  • Perfect temperatures: more pleasant outside playtime, hiking, camping, eating dinner on the back deck, windows open in the morning and at night. 
  • The food: I love using my slow-cooker and fixing all the yummy comfort foods that I associate with cooler weather.  
  • The beauty: I feel like God gave me an extra little blessing by placing me in the Smokies. Wow! The leaves changing is an incredible sight to see! I love the colors of fall... if you have been in my house, you know this. I love all things brown & orange & red! Fall even has a certain scent that I love. [side note: speaking of scents, I went to Bath and Body Works to get some refills for my wallflower plug-in and I discovered a new one that I am loving: Plum Wine Amber... heavenly! ]
  • Rush's birthday: this year is his 3rd! It seems like yesterday I woke up to my water breaking. I have fun planning his party, and this year will be extra fun since he actually has little "friends" that will be coming. He has asked for a "Choo Choo" theme. :)

Speaking of all things fall, I mentioned a couple of weeks ago that I would like to make some homemade granola. I pinned a recipe for pumpkin granola a month or so ago and I have been waiting for the right time to make it. I gave it my own little twist...

5 cups rolled oats (I reduced by 1/4 cup & added 1/4 cup ground flax seed)
1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
¾ tsp. salt
¾ cup brown sugar ( I reduced to 1/2 cup.)
½ cup pumpkin puree (I think it needed just a bit extra (maybe a TBsp) to add moisture where it is lost in reducing the agave.)
¼ cup applesauce
¼ cup maple syrup (I used maple flavored agave and reduced to about 1/5 cup.)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3/4 cup dried cranberries
1/2 cup pepitas
1. Preheat the oven to 325° F. Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper and set aside.
2. In a large bowl, combine oats, spices, and salt. Mix well.
3. In a medium bowl, whisk together brown sugar, pumpkin puree, applesauce, maple syrup and vanilla extract. Whisk until smooth. Pour wet ingredients into oat mixture and stir until the oats are evenly coated. They will be moist. Evenly spread the mixture onto the prepared baking sheet.
4. Bake for 20 minutes. Remove pan from the oven and stir. Bake for an additional 15-20 minutes or until the granola is golden and crisp. Remove from the oven and stir in dried cranberries and pepitas. Let cool completely. Store in an airtight container.
it turned out to be very yummy! I took a picture of it next to one of the pumpkins from my dad & papaw's garden. :)

Nicole Nordeman has a song called "Every Season" that is one of my favorites. This is the verse about fall. I love how she captures the beauty of each season, but, of course, fall is my favorite!

And even when the trees
Have just surrendered
To the harvest time
Forfeiting their leaves
In mid-September
And sending us inside
Still I notice you when change begins
And I am braced for colder winds
I will offer thanks for what has been and what's to come
You are autumn
We memorized Jeremiah 17:5, 7-10 quite a while ago, and just this week we added verse 6. It is not the nicest verse, but a great reminder of how much we need to depend on the Lord.
"He will be like a bush in the wastelands; he will not see prosperity when it comes.  He will dwell in the parched places of the desert, in a salt land where no one lives."
On another true East Tennessee fashion, and as the wife of proud UT grad (I went there too), I will be spending this Saturday in a sea of orange watching the Vols take on the Gators. It will be my first time spending a day away from Lottie. I am looking forward to a fun time with Ben!

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

It's Not Good For Woman to be Alone

Ben was gone most of last week... I really hate it when he's gone... have I mentioned that?
He left on Wednesday morning and came home on Saturday evening. Not only was this a longer-than-usual work trip, but it came after a long weekend; I had been spoiled with his presence (one of the dialects of my love language) so it was extra hard to have him gone for 4 days! Did I say that I hate when he is gone?
By Thursday night, I was convicted (through the Holy Spirit and through a phone conversation with Ben) that I was relying too much on Ben's presence for my sense of security. (I almost don't know what to do with myself when he is away... does that ever happen to you?) So, after reading my bedtime devotional from "Utmost," I decided to journal out a prayer to the Lord to forgive me for not calling on him and to have a word that I could call on when I feel insecure. Here is an excerpt from my journal:
While I was writing this prayer, the Lord brought to my mind a line from one of my favorite memory passages: 2 Peter 1:3 "His divine power has given us everything we need for life and godliness..." I am trying to grab on to this verse whenever I catch myself not relying on Him. It is not good for me to be alone, but I must remember who I need to rely on more! Thankfully, I have the Holy Spirit and a husband who remind me of these things!
On another note, we memorized Proverbs 1:7 a couple of weeks ago and the word discipline was really laying heavy on my heart. I realized (it was being affirmed everywhere around me: pastor, Bible study leader, friend conversations, books- does God talk to you that way???!!!) that I need more spiritual discipline. So, I feel compelled to do two things:
1. get up early to have some quiet time
2. start attending Bible Study Fellowship
My first class was just this morning. I am very excited/intimidated by this in-depth Bible study.
I will only be able to do these two things through the power of the Holy Spirit. Boy, am I a weak little woman! But, "when I am weak, then I am strong!" 2 Corinthians 12:10 (emphasis added) I just want to be "fruitful!"